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House churches signify the end of protestantism July 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Ecumenism, foolishness, General Catholic, Society.
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There is an article on onenewsnow.com that discusses the growing protestant phenomenon of ‘house churches.’  If you don’t know what they are, they consist of folks who decide they don’t need any Church authority and can gather together themselves for some old tyme praise and worship!  Eschewing any ecclesial authority, they gather together, read the Bible, discuss it a bit, eat some bread and drink some wine in a community sort of meal, have a potluck, and then sing pop-inspired praise and worship hymns.  They limit the size of each group to about 12-15 people, to keep it ‘personal.’

These groups feel that they are emulating the earliest Christians

House church proponents claim their small groups are sort of a throwback to the early Christian church in that they have no clergy and everyone is expected to contribute to the teaching, singing and praying.

Unfortunately, this belief is contradicted by Scripture and Catholic Tradition.  Scripture makes plain that the Church is hierarchical, and the earliest (Catholic) Christian fathers writing supports this.  I gave my early Church fathers book to a friend and can’t use it as a reference right now, but St. Justin Martyr, Origen, St. Irenaeus, and others describe the role of priests, bishops, the whole hierarchy in their writings dating from the 2nd and 3rd century.  St. Paul refers repeatedly to Authority in his writings, citing himself and his writings as one source of Authority, St. Peter as another, and St. Timothy and other of Paul’s assistants as others.  St. Paul was constantly writing to ‘house churches’ in Corinth and other locations to correct the heresies that had cropped up in their Faith and worship – he was defining that the Church has one Truth and that there are people, whom we call bishops, who were instituted by Christ to disseminate and explain that Truth.  These house churches are essentially each a miniature protestant denomination, with slightly different beliefs and practices, and no Authority to inform the believers and provide guidelines to keep them from going off the rails.  This nothing short of theological chaos.

We have seen repeatedly in history what happens when there is no Authority, or it is ignored, and the negative consequences that invariably result.  History is replete with those who have sought to use ‘scripture alone’ or some other rationalization to formulate their own views of the Faith.  Gnostics, Manicheans, Arians, Pelagians, Monophysites – they all embraced one heresy or another due to their rejection of, what?  Authority.  That is why the Church has always maintained that strict adherence to the Magisterium is necessary, and why we need a re-invigoration of the enforcement of discipline in the Church today, to return to a greater adherence to this all-important Authority.

As for the protestants, they certainly can’t sit still for long, can they?  They’re always out there “re-creating” the church, first rejecting the traditional church, then a glitzy bombastic megachurch, now a house church – all in the name of convenience and providing the maximum appeal to the individual conscience.  And there’s the key rub – while these individuals state repeatedly in the article that they are trying to live fully for Jesus, and trying to get the best, most meaningful (to them) worship experience possible, our fallen human nature insures that this house church movement ultimately will devolve down to a representation of what is appealing to the various members, and not necessarily what God wants for them, or is trying to get them achieve.  It’s just our nature: we are irredeemably selfish, narcissistic, comfort-craving creatures.  We need an Authority, an unchanging Truth,a divinely inspired Institution to give us guidance as we try to shake off our fallen nature and climb the ladder of existence to draw nearer to God.  Left to our own devices, we will fall prey to our own selfish desires and crave the comfort of having our preconceived notions go unchallenged, even if those desires and notions are not consciously visible.  I sense the protestants casting about in what appears to be an increasingly desperate manner of late, constantly changing and re-inventing what they think a church is, because I think they know that what they have in protestantism just isn’t quite working.  I don’t mean to say this about all protestants, but for those that are really seriously trying to live their faith, I think there is a sense of something missing.

That something can only be found in the Seat of Unity.  They need to come home.

Pray for them.

Speaking of dress codes July 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, General Catholic.
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It appears the Vatican has expanded the dress code that used to apply to St. Peter’s to all of Vatican City (all 109 acres of it).  The Swiss Guard are turning people away at the gates!

I, for one, welcome a return to more appropriate dress.  That doesn’t mean an Armani suit, just something appropriate for the situation, instead of uber-casual for every occasion.

As if we needed it – CRS confirms Obamacare funds abortion July 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, asshatery, General Catholic, scandals.
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There are three Congressional research and reporting institutions.  Two of them, the General Accounting Office and Congressional Budget Office are completely agendized and unreliable.  The third, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) is far more dispassionate and reliable.  CRS recently issued a report analyzing Obamacare and found that, surprise!, there is nothing in federal law to limit Obamacare paying for abortions, especially in so-called ‘high risk pools.’   So, we now have the word of the best Congressional research and analysis unit, all the pro-life groups, the Catholic bishops, and essentially everyone not wedded emotionally and doctrinally to the success of Obamacare asserting that Obamacare can and does fund abortion.  On the other side, we have CHA, Sr. Carol Keehan, the LCWR dissenting religious sisters, and their allies in the Catholic press stating that there is NO way St. Obama would ever fund abortion.  In fact, Commonweal and Vox Nova are growing increasingly strident in their attacks on all those who dare say that Obamacare DOES fund abortion, to the extent that each new bit of damning evidence brings ever more hostile responses from those Obamacare-lovin’ folks. 

There is an interesting side note: both Commonweal and Vox Nova, along with Sr. Carol Keehan and CHA, have been asked to publically support the Protect Life Act.  This bill would leave Obamacare in place but just insure that it could not, under any circumstances, pay for abortion.  Why would they be opposed to that?  Apparently, signing on even to this piece of legislation is a bridge too far for those wedded to Obamacare – perhaps they see supporting the Protect Life Act as a tacit admission that Obamacare does indeed provide funding for abortion.   Is it so important not to admit error that even this good piece of legislation cannot be supported, even if simply to err on the side of caution?

Chilean Cardinal draws ire for upholding Church doctrine July 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, scandals.
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Recently, Chilean Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez drew the ire of media in S. America and around the world for stating that a homosexual tendency is a disorder, a defect like being born blind or with a club foot.   From CatholicCulture

The gay community in Chile is reacting with indignation to recent comments by 83-year-old Cardinal Jorge Medina Estévez, who led the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments from 1996 to 2002.

Reacting to Argentina’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage, the cardinal said that “the Church distinguishes the homosexual tendency and homosexual practice. If a person has a homosexual tendency it is a defect, as if one lacked an eye, a hand, a foot.” On the other hand, homosexual activity, he noted, is immoral.

“In my life as a priest, I have had [pastoral] care of many people with this problem,” he added. Some, like alcoholics, have overcome this tendency by “discipline, education, or reeducation,” he said, while others have heroically resisted this tendency for their entire lives.

Same-sex marriage, he added, “is something in opposition to the law of God, and no human law can go against the law of God. If a human law goes against the law of God, that human law does not exist.”

In a 2002 letter, Cardinal Medina Estévez, in his capacity as a Vatican prefect, had reiterated the Church’s discipline against ordaining men with homosexual inclinations.

“Ordination to the diaconate and the priesthood of homosexual men or men with homosexual tendencies is absolutely inadvisable and imprudent and, from the pastoral point of view, very risky,” he wrote. “A homosexual person, or one with a homosexual tendency is not, therefore, fit to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.”

Now, scientifically, it has not been established that a person can be born gay.  Researchers have been frantically searching for a ‘gay gene’ for years and have not found one.  There does seem to be some correlation in terms of homosexual tendencies among siblings, but that could just as easily be due to upbringing and environment as a genetic cause.  So, from the outset, it is not certain that having strong homosexual tendencies is quite like being born blind or with cerebral palsy.  But, the prefect was simply stating Church doctrine: homosexual tendencies are fundamentally disordered and homosexual acts are intrinsically sinful.  I think the relation to addiction is one that may hold some merit: there is no proof of one being born with an addictive personality, although it could be a factor among many.  But let’s say that addiction is 100% genetic, and let’s say homosexuality is the same thing.  What does that change?  It is a sin to be drunk or loaded on drugs.  That I have a very strong genetic or other predisposition to get drunk or loaded might mitigate some of my culpability, it is still sinful.  Having a tendency to get drunk or high all the time is inherently disordered.  But the fact that one may be born an addict does not suddenly mean they can go crazy getting loaded all the time and the Church will be just fine with it, “because they were born that way.”  And there is no question that addiction is a fundamental, deep seated part of one’s personality, and once  you’re an addict, you’re always an addict.  Not so different from the situation ascribed to homosexuality, at least on some level.

And we can take the analogy a step further.  Certainly, the Church spreads its arms wide to welcome addicts into Her fold, but I don’t know of any churches that have programs to keep addicts in active addiction, that embrace the “addictive lifestyle” and march in “addiction pride” parades.  Why not?  Isn’t this discrimatory?  Shouldn’t we have Church groups catering to those in active addiction who have no desire to reform?  Shouldn’t  we have progams for parents that convince them that addiction is something their child was born with, and therefore nothing can be done about it?  In fact, wouldn’t it cause more harm to “reform” an addict than to embrace their crazy, lovable drunk, drugged up ways? 

Any sane person would say, absolutely not.  That’s crazy.  But such things are argued within the Church in order to support a “change” in Church doctrine regarding homosexuality.  I don’t think the analogy is too unreasonable.  There are certain acts that are sinful.  Homosexuals do have a particularly heavy cross to bear, but so do those who are called to the single life, and, thus, celibacy, as well as addicts who must maintain their sobriety, and others.  We do not have “fornication pride” or “adulterer pride” groups in our Catholic churches, but I am certain that one day science will “prove” that we’re all born to have lots of sex partners and this idea of marital fidelity is an outmoded, antiquated construct. 

Church doctrine on homosexuality has been consistent for over 2000 years.  In God’s prior revelation, before Christ came to establish the last age, prohibitions against homosexual acts were clear.  It is only in the last few decades that there have been serious efforts to change this unchangeable doctrine.  Those who cannot accept that God might create them having homosexual tendencies, and at the same time expect them not to act on those tendencies, have a great deal of company.  Every human being has innate tendencies that are contrary to the Law of God.  The answer is not to scream at God for making you this way (the created telling the Creator He did it wrong?) and demand that His Church change to accept your preferences.  The answer is the universal call to holiness.  The answer is to do the best you can and live for God, by the Truth He has revealed through His Church.

STOPP Planned Parenthood Rally on Friday, July 30 July 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery.
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The organization STOPP, Stop Planned Parenthood, is having a rally protesting a Planned Parenthood indoctrination campaign, called Teen Savvy, at City Place on Friday, July 30.  City Place is the 50 story granite office building at US75 (Central Expressway) and Haskell in Dallas.  If you want to join in this protest, you need to arrive at around 7:45. Planned Parenthood has convinced organizations like the YWCA (Christian – riiiiiight), Boys and Girls Clubs, etc., to send the kids in their care to a Planned Parenthood indoctrination event in order to insure a great future for abortion on demand.   A few details from JoAnn Murray, who is deeply involved in the Dallas Catholic Pro-Life committee. :

We will be bringing some signs if you want to hold a sign.  Please try to bring one with Planned Parenthood on it if you have one.  The teens and people dropping them off don’t usually know this event is sponsored by Planned Parenthood.  We want them and everyone driving by and the hotel to know we are protesting Planned Parenthood.  This is very important. There are large sums of money coming to Planned Parenthood  clinics and their sex ed programs this fall unless we can block it.  We want to discredit and expose Planned Parenthood  as much as possible to every citizen , who hopefully will contact their elected officials to defund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion promoter and provider.  Please try to stand 5-10 ft. apart so that the messages on the signs can be read.  I will be notifying the Dallas police that we are coming.  This is a peaceful, prayerful protest.  We must stand on public property and obey the law.

Parking near City Place may be an issue.  There is a Target nearby but they may not allow its use.  You may have to find a space on Haskell or somewhere nearby.  If you have any questions call JoAnn Murray at 214-228-7504 or e-mail her at joannmurray@verizon.net.

More on St. Francis Xavier New York July 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, scandals.
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St. Francis Xavier parish in NYC, the very gay friendly (gay dominated?) parish that was the subject of a CNN report as well as much coverage elsewhere, was covered in a RealCatholicTV video from a few weeks ago.   In the intervening time, many have contacted the Archdiocese of New York and Archbishop Dolan to let him know how his seeming endorsement of this parish was unacceptable.  Well, the archdiocese has responded to those people.  Was this response a rigorous defense of Catholic doctrine and a call for change at St. Francis Xavier?   You decide:

I think the fact that St. Francis Xavier has no association with COURAGE is the most damning bit of evidence, because COURAGE is the only Catholic group dedicated to help those who have same sex attractions overcome them and lead a life faithful to the doctrine of the Church.  If you recall back to the CNN video, however, the woman from the parish interviewed made it plain to me that she is in an active sexual relationship.  I think the response is deliberately evasive and entirely disappointing.  This is not the kind of leadership we need in the Church, and certainly not from the leader of  a See as influential as that of New York’s.