7 Quick Takes Friday (set #148)

A wonderful video on why women a veil at Mass. The Giver is a new movie about the perfect utopia we are striving to reach. Native Americans speak-out about the Washington NFL team’s use of the “Redskins” name. How do we work with radical Islam to achieve peace and harmony – a realistic analysis. A black Marine offers his own challenge. Growing racism in America, but it’s not what the media would have us believe. Finally, something odd, very odd.

— 1 —

Have you seen women wearing a veil at Mass and wondered what is all about? This excellent video explains why:

Spotted by Fr. Z

— 2 —

This looks like a good movie (released 2 weeks ago). It’s called The Giver and is about the secular utopia we are inching toward:

— 3 —

If you have been watching the news, when those of a certain political persuasion are not race bating or inflaming a non-existent “war on women,” they join hands with native Americans whose #1 issue is obviously the insensitivity of the Washington Redskins. Thank goodness somebody is finally doing something to alleviate this suffering:

— 4 —

Dr. Bill Warner of the Center for the Study of Political Islam discusses the implications of jihad and what it takes to effectively deal with it:

— 5 —

This black Marine has makes a challenge of his own (oorah!):

— 6 —

Have you noticed a new, growing racism in America. Has the media, backed by the administration, already determined guilt without the need for any credible investigation or an actually fair hearing?

Will officer Darren Wilson be treated fairly? It will take a miracle and a lot of money. If you are inclined to justice, help him to present a defense against the mighty forces arrayed against him. Donate here.

— 7 —

From the Convert Journal “just odd” desk: Two 30 year-old guys record one’s mom and aunt engaging in idle chit-chat. Then they lip-sync to it.

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!

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Elsewhere: Christianity and secular values

Secularism (typically liberalism) has molded many non-Catholic ecclesial communities. They have “progressed” away from Christ into updated, modern, non-Christian values. Traditional, orthodox (true) values are viewed as outdated. A “poster-child” for this are the Episcopalians, but most other mainline groups have been affected as well. Some have historically had orthodox/liberal internal splits.

Part of the attraction for such “evolution” is seen as meeting people where they are, inclusiveness and “not judging.” All good, except the problem is they do this at the expense of truth. To put it bluntly, they simply redefine truth to accommodate sin. So, how has this worked out for them? Spoiler: they are on the fast path to extinction.

Please consider this coming Sunday’s readings:

Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.

Alexander Griswold has written about this phenomenon recently for the Federalist:

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) was formed in 1987, when three Lutheran denominations merged to create the largest Lutheran church in America. For most of its history, gay men and women were permitted to be pastors, so long as they remained celibate. But in a narrow vote at its 2009 Churchwide Assembly, ordination was extended to gay men and women in “committed monogamous relationships.” In addition, the Assembly passed an amendment allowing churches “to recognize, support and hold publicly accountable life-long, monogamous, same-gender relationships.”

From ELCA’s formation in 1987 to 2009, the average decrease in membership each year was only 0.62 percent. But after the liberalization of the ELCA’s stance on sexuality, membership declined a whopping 5.95 percent in 2010 and 4.98 percent in 2011. Since 2009, more than 600 congregations abandoned the denomination, with almost two-thirds joining conservative Lutheran denominations like the North American Lutheran Church and Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.

By the end of 2012, ELCA had lost 12.3 percent of its members in three years — nearly 600,000 people. If the present rate of defections holds steady, ELCA will cease to exist in less than two decades.

The United Church of Christ

The United Church of Christ (UCC) has long had a reputation for unfettered liberalism, sometimes bordering on the radical. In 2008, for example, the pastor of the largest UCC congregations in the country was one Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The UCC’s tendency for pushing traditional boundaries has led to unquestionably positive developments (such as the first African-American pastor as early as 1785) and the unquestionably silly (such as the first hymnal that refuses to call Jesus male). Needless to say, in 2005 UCC became the first U.S. mainline Protestant denomination to support same-sex marriage, and has been an outspoken voice in the gay marriage debate ever since.

While UCC has been bleeding members for decades, its decline rapidly accelerated after the gay marriage vote. Since 2005, UCC has lost 250,000 members, a decline of 20.4 percent over seven years. While an average of 39 congregations left UCC annually from 1990 to 2004, more than 350 congregations departed in the following three years. The UCC’s own pension board called the 2000′s decline “the worst decade among 25 reporting Protestant denominations,” and admitted that ..”.the rate of decline is accelerating.”

2013 marked a particularly grim milestone for the denomination, as membership finally fell below one million. If the post-2005 rate in membership losses doesn’t taper out, the denomination will cease to exist in 30 years.

More groups are covered in the piece, including Presbyterians and (of course) Episcopalians. The article concludes with a comparison to those who have not gone down this rabbit hole. Read the whole post: How to Shrink Your Church In One Easy Step


7 Quick Takes Friday (set #147)

A beautiful, vibrant church may be crushed. An amazingly evil abortion bill is proposed and solidly supported by 1 easily identifiable group. Many presidents from both parties have spoken on their Christian faith in the past, here is one. A black man rants about Ferguson, but from a different perspective than many. Antisemitism is the only explanation for the 1-sided support of Palestine (Hamas). Two good analysis videos are offered. The quality of Hamas staged scenes is slipping (the world will likely lap it up anyway).

— 1 —

The beautiful Holy Innocents church in New York City may be closed. It is vibrant, growing, self-sustaining and the only daily traditional Latin Mass available. I suspect it is that last fact which endangers it as no other credible reason has been offered. Take a look, this is brief:

Please consider signing this respectful petition to Cardinal Dolan.

— 2 —

ATTENTION DEMOCRATS: every voting Senate Democrat voted for S. 1696 last month. It was one of the most radical abortion bills ever before them. Its purpose was to, in one sweeping gesture, wipe out almost every pro-life law passed by states. We are talking about laws requiring informed consent, restricting partial-birth abortion, medical safety standards and use of public funds. They called it the Women’s Health Protection Act but a better name would have been the Gosnell Prerogative Act or The Real War on Women Act. Every single Democratic senator who voted (51 – only 1 did not vote) voted for this:

These are not evil people. Many are very nice, responsive to their constituents and support responsible government programs. Yet, when it comes to killing children in the womb, they can be counted on to support the most egregious proposals put before them. The people are not evil but their actions are extremely so. NOTHING trumps life. Will you vote for people who do everything in their power to make this possible?

— 3 —

A president speaks from the heart on Christian faith:

Real hope and change, not what we have now.

— 4 —

An angry black man speaks about Ferguson, MO and the sorry state of black America.

— 5 —

Why are so many people protesting against Israel with so much anger, while nary a peep is heard against Muslims anywhere?

— 6 —

The quality of Hamas staged scenes is slipping. Here we have a display of victims of “Israeli aggression” upon the innocent and peace loving people of Palestine. The martyred are lying in an impressive display in their burial shrouds:

— 7 —

The hypocrisy surrounding the Hamas attack on Israel is incredible. Do people really not know any of the history? Do they even care about truth? Here, Pat Condell gives a good summary of the big picture which somehow is being completely hidden:

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!

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Priest or Christ?

Hamburgers do not have ham. English muffins are not. Strangely, an alarm goes off when it is on. Language can be very misleading indeed. As a convert, I noticed that Catholicism has added to this list a good bit!

One rich area of saying one thing while meaning another is on the role the priest fulfills in the sacraments. We say things like:

  • The priest absolved my sins in confession.
  • Father Joe confected the Eucharist at Mass.
  • They were married on Saturday by Father Paul.

Strictly speaking, it is not the priest who absolves your sins or who confects the Eucharist. He does not have the power, but he does stand-in for Christ who most certainly does. By virtue of Holy Orders, passed in an unbroken chain directly from Christ Himself (apostolic succession), priests are uniquely configured to the one High Priest. It is Jesus who, in these examples, absolves our sins and transubstantiates ordinary bread and wine into His Body and most Precious Blood.

“Stand-in” is not the best way to describe the priest’s role. More precisely we say that he is acting in the person of Christ (in persona Christi). He is, to put it another way, acting sacramentally for Christ (“another Christ” or alter Christus) from whom sanctifying grace is conferred. It is Christ and His power at work, through His ministerial priesthood (we are all in His common priesthood via our baptisms).

The distinction is important. Consider a confession where the penitent knowingly omits a mortal sin (a/k/a a “bad confession”). The priest, if given no reason to suspect this, will say the words of absolution. Never-the-less, the sins are NOT absolved and the penitent remains in a state of mortal sin. Priests can be deceived, Christ can not. The priest acts for, not in replacement of, Christ.

The traditional words of absolution were actually clearer than the current formula:

May our Lord Jesus Christ absolve you; and by His authority I absolve you from every bond of excommunication (suspension) and interdict, so far as my power allows and your needs require. [making the Sign of the Cross:] Thereupon, I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

My third example (marriage) is a tricky one. In this case, the priest is not the minister of the sacrament – just a witness. It is the couple themselves who are the ministers…   even if they are not Catholic. Barring impediments, every validly baptized man and woman enter into a sacramental marriage (whether they realize it or not).

Back to my main point, when a non-Catholic says only Christ, no man, can forgive sins they are correct. It is Christ working in the confessional who absolves our sins, doing so through the ministerial priesthood He commissioned and ordained.

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The Narrow Gate

Guest contributor:   Ed Trego “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14) […]

Elsewhere: Ecumenism and the Church of England

I have written many times about downfall of the Episcopal church. They are the American version of the Church of England (the main Anglican church). The Episcopalians have been out-front on hard-left ideology for some time while the Anglicans have been at least a little more restrained. A big obstacle to Christian unity, at least […]

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #146)

This week: The latest issue of New Evangelists Monthly is ready and calling you. A question on “discriminating” against homosexuals in marriage. The Chosen program’s clip on happiness (right now). A surprising quote from Richard Dawkins. A reunion makes a young dog so happy he faints. The Bell Telephone picture phone remembered. Hamas has their […]

New Evangelists Monthly – August 2014, Issue #20

This is the August 2014 issue of New Evangelists Monthly. With this announcement, participating Catholic bloggers link their best stories from last month right here at NewEvangelists.org. Revisit anytime to see up-to-the-minute posts in this dynamic format! Contributor links are accepted beginning at noon (ET). Most contributions are received in a day or two. To […]