Monday, April 1, 2013



The Washington Times

The Puzzling Papacy 

of Pope Francis


Tuesday, March 19, 2013


by Wesley Pruden

The new pope is a puzzle to nearly everybody, particularly to the politicians, pundits and other know-it-alls. He looks and sounds like a remnant of a previous time, thrown up in the squalid swamp of a trashy and superficial age. He’s not at all hip and “with it.” He’s not interested in “moving forward,” as in the current cliche. He projects humility and kindness and speaks of his Christian faith as if he really believes in the amazing grace of the Gospel. This makes the intellectual elites, and even some “holy men” of the various bureaucracies of modern Christendom, incredulous, nervous and embarrassed.
The elites are willing to tolerate religious faith as long as a believing Christian keeps it to himself and never acts on it or even talks about it. It’s OK, barely, to be a “cultural Christian,” who often isn’t really a Christian at all as Christ defined the faith in the New Testament. The new pope rebukes this synthetic Christianity, urging a return to “the Christ of the Cross” who came to redeem humankind with a sacrificial death on Calvary. This puts Pope Francis clearly at odds with cultural Christians who would reduce the faith of our fathers to a catechism lifted from the pages of The New York Times.
“I don’t think he’s what we need right now in the Catholic Church,” Madeline Cuomo, the sister of the current governor of New York and member of a powerful family with a lot of the vowels in their name that Daddy Cuomo imagined kept him out of the White House, tells Crain’s New York Business magazine. “We’re looking to move the Church forward, with gay marriage and women priests. He’s going to turn back the clock.”
Her father, Mario Cuomo, a former governor himself, offers more unsolicited advice for the new pope, with an avuncular pat on the head: “The way he’s lived has been simple and admirable, but it has not taught him how to deal with the high pressure of huge problems in the Church … The whole question of women, the question of marriage — not even the question of same-sex marriage, which is a recent development — but the whole idea of priests not being allowed to be married. That’s led to a lot of unhappy relationships and ugly relationships by people who are basically sick. That’s something this new pope will have to deal with.”
And he had better deal with it at once, and deal with it in the “forward” way that will please those for whom the Cuomos, pere and fille, speak.
Women, wedding bells and furtive sex are much on the mind of the new pope’s critics and tutors. Some of them obviously expected a lady, perhaps someone nominated by the National Organization for Women, to succeed Benedict XVI. (Hillary Rodham Clinton was currently between engagements, and as a Methodist she could have been a two-fer, a bow not only to feminism but to the spirit of ecumenical sisterhood.)
The media, big and little, insist on running everything through the filter of the modern, the secular and the political. The Associated Press, perhaps being deliberately provocative, suggests that the election of Francis might have been, if not illegal, at least offensive to “international standards for the election of a world leader.”
The Associated Press man at the State Department asked the department spokeswoman whether she “thinks the election of the pope was OK. [Does it meet] the free and fairness standard? No, I’m curious. I mean, and with all due respect. I’m not accusing the Vatican of doing anything improper, but you seem to take issue with theocracies in places like Iran, and you celebrate the theocracy in the Vatican.” This exchange followed:
The State Department flack: “He is the head of the [Catholic] Church.”
The reporter persisted: “Is it then correct that the United States does not take a position on whether the election of the pope was free and fair and transparent? Without universal suffrage …”
The State Department spokesman, after further research, returned to the podium to say that since the government regards Vatican City a sovereign juridical state, if a request from the international organization monitoring elections were to “come forward, we would take it very seriously.”
The question was hardly off the wall, whence come so many press questions. President Harry S. Truman, a Baptist, tried to recognize the Vatican just after World War II, but outraged objections on First Amendment grounds from Protestants and others prevailed. Religion and the Constitution were taken more seriously then. Ronald Reagan succeeded in 1985, and the U.S. has since recognized the Catholic Church as its diplomatic equal.
Odd, but true.
Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.




36 comments:

  1. He looks and sounds like a remnant of a previous time, thrown up in the squalid swamp of a trashy and superficial age. He’s not at all hip and “with it.” He’s not interested in “moving forward,” as in the current cliche....

    Remember the old line, "Is the Pope Catholic?"

    Regardless of modernism, the Pope has always stood for old traditions.

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  2. “I don’t think he’s what we need right now in the Catholic Church,” Madeline Cuomo, the sister of the current governor of New York and member of a powerful family with a lot of the vowels in their name that Daddy Cuomo imagined kept him out of the White House, tells Crain’s New York Business magazine. “We’re looking to move the Church forward, with gay marriage and women priests. He’s going to turn back the clock.”

    --wrote Wesley Pruden, whose name sounds like a remedy for constipation.

    PS. Mr. Pruden, Mr. Obama has the same number of vowels in his name as does Ms. Cuomo.

    The new pope has already irritated Catholic conservatives by breaking with tradition by his Holy Thursday feet-washing. The Pope washed the feet of women--one of which GASP! was a Muslim!

    As AOW rightly put it: Is the Pope Catholic? Yes. And we may see some changes in style from Francis, but the substance will be the same.



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  3. You mean that G_d hasn't adopted the PoMo attitude that everything is permitted, yet?

    How arcane...

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  4. @ Shaw: " And we may see some changes in style from Francis, but the substance will be the same."

    And despite what American "Catholic" royalties the Kennedys, Pelosis, Cuomos claim, this is just what we need.

    This is not the middle ages. We are free to exercise our free will and disagree with the pope without fear of penalty.

    God bless Pope Francis!

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  5. "...this is just what we need."

    We?

    Pope Francis has no authority over me, nor many people who are religious, or even Catholic.

    Almost 100% of Catholics, for example, practice birth control. What's Pope Francis going to do about that? Excommunicate all the Catholics in this country and every other Catholic country that ignores this ridiculous prohibition? He'll do nothing, and American, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Austrian, Catholics will do as they see fit on that issue--despite the fact that it is considered a mortal sin to use any artificial birth control.

    What about in vitro fertilization? A mortal sin for Catholics--why? Because in order to capture the semen, a man must produce it himself, outside the woman's body, and THAT's a big NO-NO in the Catholic Church. Therefore, infertile Catholic couples cannot use IVF, because a group of old, celebate men said so. And it is a mortal sin.

    You say God bless this pope? He's the same as the other popes in his unyielding ignorant ideas that have nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

    Those ideas were formed by mortal men, popes, who gave themselves authority to make other people's lives difficult.

    You seem to be looking at this guy simply through a political lens, not in how he and the RCC affect very real people's lives.

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  6. I forgot to mention one other thing about the Church that Francis leads:

    If you're not baptised in the Catholic religion, no matter how faithful and pious you are in your religion and to Jesus Christ, you are an infidel. And will not see God, Jesus, or anyone else who lives in Heaven--according to Catholic dogma.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994), deals with the relationship of the Roman Catholic Church to non-Catholics in Topics 839 to 845. 9 Some points are:


    839: Followers of other religions are referred to as "Those who have not yet received the gospel..." The implication is that they will eventually become united with the Roman Catholic Church.


    Sort of how the Muslims regard other religions, eh? Once you accept the Catholic religion, you'll be saved, until then, not so much.

    And in case you didn't get that implication, Here's the last pope, Pope Benedict, asserting in 2007:

    LORENZAGO DI CADORE, Italy — Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches.

    It restates key sections of a 2000 document the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, “Dominus Iesus,” which set off a firestorm of criticism among Protestant and other Christian denominations because it said they were not true churches but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the “means of salvation.”

    So, unless you're Catholic, you're not saved.

    God Bless the Pope.

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  7. When the Church decides its mission is elsewhere than controlling human sexuality.
    When the Church decides that a bench of celibate men are in no position to sit in judgement of human sexuality (unless it's criminal abuse) we may see the Church return to having value as a moral guide.

    Get a copy of the Dutch Catechism, Silver. It may help you out of your rut.

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  8. "This puts Pope Francis clearly at odds with cultural Christians who would reduce the faith of our fathers to a catechism lifted from the pages of The New York Times."
    -----

    I must have missed something. Is the NYT now preaching a doctrine that could possibly embraced by "our fathers". Rather I see the NYT preaching a doctrine diametrically opposed to the documents of the Founding Fathers of the country, for which the "newspaper of record" assumes to be the the so-called "first draft of history". What a sorry history it becomes through the skewed lens of the New York Times.

    From the front-page propaganda of Walter Duranty touting the wonders of Bolshevism and the bloody tyranny of Josef Stalin in the 1930's to another of similar ilk(Herbet Matthews) touting the revolution of Fidel Castro as being simply a case of Robin Hood robbing the rich to give to the poor in Cuba during the 1950's. The world the NYT seeks to bring to the fore is a new form of enslavement of the Earth's population.

    Could the New York Times be more primitively regressive than a pope who seems at home in a world devoid of modernity? Maybe so. But, of course, the NYT, would have to pretend not to be...

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  9. If you're not baptised in the Catholic religion, no matter how faithful and pious you are in your religion and to Jesus Christ, you are an infidel. And will not see God, Jesus, or anyone else who lives in Heaven--according to Catholic dogma.

    Memo to Pope Francis...

    "Do ya think you can ask G_d to be a little MORE inclusive, please? I mean, even Sodomites need eternal marriage bonds.... but with secular escape clauses. ;)

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  10. Let's face it, the ONLY reason that mankind EVER NEEDED the Ten Commandments was so that we could then invent secular "progressive" governments that granted "alternate authorities" the power of "negating" them.


    Sheeeeeeez!

    Memo #2 to G_d....

    "Do ya think that you could try that flood thing, again? I think it's about time we wrote another Bible... but w/o ANY Commandment's this time. That way, You can be a REAL PoMo "Father"... "no RULES!" Just perpetually "Guilt-Trip" everyone into compliance... and if they don't... well, then it'll ALL be on them...

    Heh...heh...heh!

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  11. Hmmmm. It's kinda like a Constitution sans that annoying "Bill of Rights"

    1. Right to Blaspheme
    2. Right to Kill
    3....

    ReplyDelete
  12. How "liber" -ating!

    I am SO glad that lent is FINALLY over-for-good!

    Carnival FOREVER!

    Woo-hoo!

    ReplyDelete
  13. @ Shaw: "Pope Francis has no authority over me, nor many people who are religious, or even Catholic."

    You got the point of my comment. Congratulations!

    Now, go convince the Cuomos...

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  14. Shaw: You and the progressive Cuomos are the ones looking at everything through political lenses.

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  15. @ Shaw: If you're not baptised in the Catholic religion, no matter how faithful and pious you are in your religion and to Jesus Christ, you are an infidel. And will not see God, Jesus, or anyone else who lives in Heaven--according to Catholic dogma.

    Wrong. You are categorically wrong.

    I suggest you back up a little and read what came before the passage you cited.

    Priests have been suspended of their duties for preaching that non-Catholics are damned, because that is not Chuch teaching.

    Just go googling, and you will see protestant fundamentalists throwing just the opposite accusation that you just have: That Catholics allow the possibility that even *gasp* non-Christians can make it into heaven.

    It's a complex issue, but you've done a great job cartooning it!

    And based upon your previous statement regarding the Pope's authority, why does it matter?

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  16. Ducky: I'm not in a rut. It's evident I understand the topic better than you or shaw, so stuff it where the sun don't shine.

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  17. Here is but one example of those who would be "more Catholic than the pope" criticizing Pope John Paul II for not damning all non-Catholics to hell.

    http://www.rosarychurch.net/answers/rev021995.html

    I recommend his fine book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope.

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  18. "The measure of the worth of our public activity for God is the private profound communion we have with Him.… We have to pitch our tents where we shall always have quiet times with God, however noisy our times with the world may be."

    ~ Oswald Chambers - My Utmost or His Highest

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  19. I didn't say this:

    "Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches.

    It restates key sections of a 2000 document the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, “Dominus Iesus,” which set off a firestorm of criticism among Protestant and other Christian denominations because it said they were not true churches but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the “means of salvation.”


    The previous Vicar of Christ did.

    What part of "...they were not true churches but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the 'means of salvation,' that Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed that you don't get?

    The Catholic Church by means of the POPE claimed that, not I.

    Nowhere do I state that non-Catholics are "damned."

    It is the POPE who said non-Catholics do not have the "means of salvation."

    Unless Pope Francis comes out and disputes that, that's how the Catholic faith views non-Catholics, individuals priests, notwithstanding.

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  20. As a non-Catholic with a branch of his family who are serious practicing traditional Catholics and any number of Roman Catholic friends I can attest to the veracity of SilverFiddle's remarks.

    Those possessed of pugnacious, rebellious, hypercritical temperament will always find "good excuses" to express their ire, their disapproval, and above all their compulsive need to find fault, even when their reasoning is not truly reasonable. ;-)

    I've often said such folk -- if by some miraculous turn fate they arrived in Heaven -- would quickly set themselves to complaining that the Pearly Gates were rather small and did not begin to live up to their reputation, and that the streets might be paved with gold, but it was gold of the lowest grade, the 8-carat variety, when, if things were as they ought to be, it would be 24-carat gold of the highest quality. These discontented types gravitate towards each other, and would quickly form a Pressure Group to make sure something was done about these grievous faults pronto.

    A tiny wisp of verse characterizes these types brilliantly:

    ”The Crusader

Arrived in Heaven, when his sands were run,
He seized a quill, and sat him down to tell
The local press that something should be done
About that noisy nuisance, Gabriel.”

    ~ Dorothy Parker - from Tombstones in the Starlight

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  21. I thikn it's sort of funny how the author of the article claims that Jesus "defended the faith."

    Does the author not realize that Jesus was defending JUDAISM? So many Christians completely miss the point that Jesus didn't intend to start a new religion, but rather wanted to reform Judaism.

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  22. Excuse me, thought I had overcome Blogger's basic unfriendliness to properly formatted poetry. Apparently, I was wrong.

    ____________ The Crusader

 ____________


    Arrived in Heaven, when his sands were run,


    He seized a quill, and sat him down to tell


    The local press that something should be done

    
About that noisy nuisance, Gabriel.



    ~ Dorothy Parker - from Tombstones in the Starlight


    A humbler, less elegantly incisive rhymester made the point another way:

    Wherever you may wander,
    On your trek from pole to pole,
    Keep your eye upon the doughnut
    And not upon the hole!


    ~ Anonymous

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  23. "Jesus didn't intend to start a new religion, but rather wanted to reform Judaism."

    That's a widely accepted canard, Jack. Jesus came to show us the Truth of Being -- which would, if properly understood, bring all the human tribes into harmony with one another.

    Jesus came to tell the ancient Jews they were WRONG and had for selfish, egoistic reasons of their own had perverted the doctrines of their faith, or completely misunderstood and misapplied the revelations given to their ancient leaders.

    Instead of learning and profiting from His Truth and His Example, the majority of the Jews of His time continued to go their own "stiff-necked" way, and and have suffered mightily for it ever since.

    Jesus was not about "Judaism" at all. He came to TRANSCEND the narrowness, bigotry and malice of the Old Testament.

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  24. FYI: The term " a stiff-necked people" appears as a characterization of the Jews any number of times in the Bible.

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  25. Not so fast, Shaw. You said this:

    "If you're not baptised in the Catholic religion, no matter how faithful and pious you are in your religion and to Jesus Christ, you are an infidel. And will not see God, Jesus, or anyone else who lives in Heaven--according to Catholic dogma."

    Your words, from earlier in the thread.

    I will repeat. This is categorically wrong. I again ask you to read the entire section in context. I know context kills leftwing activism, but give it a try.

    Of course the Catholic Church believes is has the complete package, but that is not interpreted to mean everyone else, using your words "will not see God, Jesus, or anyone else who lives in Heaven"

    Go back and read the whole section that you snipped one piece out of, and you will see charity when speaking of other religions, not condemnation.

    This is what happens when people make pronouncement upon subjects they are ignorant of.

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  26. FreeThinke: I apologize in advance for clogging your blog with Catholic Doctrine, but I am instructing the ignorant.

    Shaw: Here's some more help for you:

    “Outside the Church there is no salvation”

    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335

    Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body: (161, 1257)

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336

    847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation.337

    848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”338 (1260)


    I didn't bold anything because the whole thing is important.

    This is all a fancy way of saying it is a matter of conscience. If someone is aware of the Catholic Church, but is not aware or does not believe "the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ" then that person has not forfeited salvation.

    Likewise, there is room also for non-Christians.

    Again, The Catholic Church believes it has the full message of Christ, based upon apostolic succession and history. Rather than cast aspersions on other churches, it looks for those things we have in common, and it praised and acknowledges those things in other Churches.

    Indeed, someone baptized in a Baptist or Presbyterian Church who enters the Catholic Church will not be baptized again, since we believe in only one baptism, so long as it is in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    I provide this information not to damn all other religions, but rather to set the record straight.

    If you're going to attack an institution, Shaw, at least understand what you are attacking.

    It is clear you do not have a good intellectual grasp on Catholic doctrine, so I can understand why you've so mischaracterized it.

    I accept that people of good will can disagree, but we must at least disagree over the plain-stated facts.

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  27. I'll provide even more help:

    Catholic Catechism On-Line

    You can even do a word search on the entire document. Guess what? "Infidel" does not occur even one time...

    Here's more!

    Wikipedia: Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus

    The article has a nice summary of the issue, from not just a Catholic viewpoint, but protestant and Orthodox as well.

    What those churches took issue with was the pope restating basic Catholic doctrine. For they too believe they have the entire Revealed Truth, and they resent anyone alleging otherwise.

    So it is a legitimate theological dispute, not a declaring others to be infidels.

    Here is a similar explanation from a pretty conservative Catholic website:

    EWTN: Expert Answers: Outside the Church There is no Salvation

    FreeThinke: I apologize again for jamming this thread with Catholic information. I readily accept that there are people who disagree with the Catholic faith (I'm a constitutional libertarian after all), but if people are going to do that, I at least want to educate them on what the doctrine actually says, not what they've lapped up from anti-Catholic propagandists.

    I am beginning to understand why you believe that leftists take purposefully obdurate postures in an effort to vex and tire us, in the hope of eventually wearing us down.

    I just wasted a half hour of my time I will never get back, providing information that is readily available on the internet for those who sincerely search for it.

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  28. "And so it is with the theological slogan, extra ecclesiam nulla salus (Latin for "outside the Church, no salvation"). This is a doctrine of the Catholic Church, one that's found in every age of Catholic history, and it's held to by the Church's best and most influential minds. Understood properly, its dogmatic truth is beyond question."

    What is your definition of "salvation?"

    Mine is being saved in Christ.

    When one is saved, one will be one with Christ/God/etc.

    extra ecclesiam nulla salus is Catholic dogma.

    I left the RCC 30 years ago. Whether or not it has rejected its own dogma is unclear to me.

    "...many followers today who continue to stand by the original extra ecclesiam nulla salus. Their rhetoric is often angry, decrying what is, in their view, the corruption of authentic Catholicism. For them, there is no salvation for anyone outside the visible bounds of the Catholic Church; to deny this is to deny a consistent teaching of the Church. Their claim is a troubling one: If indeed, the Church at one time taught as infallible dogma a notion it now rejects, then the Catholic assertion of ecclesial infallibility is a myth..."

    What you so gleefully claim as my "ignorance," is, in reality, still an argument within the RCC on who gets to salvation and who doesn't; an argument on whether a foundational tenet of the RCC can be set aside after centuries or not.

    It would be more useful to have a discussion on the differing views within the RCC than to resort to triumphalism and labeling people as ignorant.

    "extra eccelsiam nulla salus" is Catholic dogma.

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  29. "extra eccelsiam nulla salus" is Catholic dogma.

    Yes it is, Shaw, and I put it in proper context for you.

    As in any organization, there is disagreement, but if you had read the EWTN link, Popes going back hundreds of years have interpreted it in the charitable sense that I have stated it here, not in the narrow sense you attempted to portray it.

    Some Catholics may take a narrow interpretation, but the official church does not.

    I am not being triumphant. As I hope you appreciate, I have a love of the truth. I do not resort to cheap rhetorical tricks, and I do not put words in my adversary's mouth.

    So, in light of the information I provided, do you still stand by this statement, even though Popes going back hundres of years do not?

    "If you're not baptised in the Catholic religion, no matter how faithful and pious you are in your religion and to Jesus Christ, you are an infidel. And will not see God, Jesus, or anyone else who lives in Heaven--according to Catholic dogma."

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  30. FYI: The term " a stiff-necked people" appears as a characterization of the Jews any number of times in the Bible.

    -----

    Aren't there many points of serious contention between Christianity and Judaism? For instance:

    Jesus is considered to be a false messiah, the most influential and damaging messiah to have appeared. This is a central tenet of Christianity and by rejecting this doesn't Judaism reject Christianity?

    The idea that Jesus is God, or the son of God is at odds with Judaism of any man claiming to be God is lying.

    In light of these fundamentally opposing views, I'm guessing "stiff-necked" is likely one of the kindest epithets to be used by some of either religion in describing others of the opposite religion. What say you?

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  31. My dear friends,

    Please don't ever feel the need to apologize for presenting sincere, well-founded arguments from any particular point of view.

    What I absolutely discourage -- even forbid -- is the posting of prepared, "canned" remarks filled with vitriolic rhetoric that have no discernible bearing on whatever subject we're supposed to be addressing.

    Also, I have lost all patience with personal attacks, caustic insults, and argumentation designed primarily to humiliate, destroy another's self-confidence, or hurt the feelings of others.

    As Ms Shaw, herself, often indicates, criticism is not necessarily hateful and destructive when it is based on fact or -- I would add -- a sincere desire to instruct and possibly shed light.

    Those who do not accept and cannot bring themselves to show respect for God, the Father, God, the Son, and God, the Holy Ghost are not unworthy infidels deserving of harsh criticism and Draconian punishment. They simply do not understand who and what God really is.

    Unfortunately, neither have untold millions who have blindly sworn allegiance to Him.

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  32. FT,
    The term " a stiff-necked people" appears as a characterization of the Jews any number of times in the Bible.

    The message that I get from that term: If Jehovah, a God of justice more than a God of mercy, could love such a people, how much more can He love those of us who follow the teachings of Jesus, His begotten Son?

    Just my two cents.

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  33. "So, in light of the information I provided, do you still stand by this statement, even though Popes going back hundres of years do not?



    My answer is still that it is not clear if Catholic dogma has completely changed.

    When I was a child I was taught by nuns and priests what I wrote and what you quoted above. And despite what you may thing, I am not hundreds of years old. I was emphatically taught that ONLY CATHOLICS could attain heaven, and that other religions were invalid.

    If the RCC has changed that or softened it, I don't know; since, as I said, I have long since left the Church and all religion.

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  34. "I have long since left the Church and all religion."

    What a pity! You might be happier, less angry and less inclined to be a sharp tongued critic today, if you had developed more humility through worship of something greater than yourself.


    ----------> Katharine Heartburn

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  35. Shaw:
    I accept your answer in the spirit of charity and goodwill. I have no doubt that you indeed were taught that. I also cannot deny that many, perhaps millions hold that view.

    Things are changing, but during my many years over a few decades in Latin America, the view you descrive was prevalent.

    I was struggling to point out first of all, that the question turns upon how one parses the statements from the Catechism, and second of all, that recent Popes have interpreted it in a charitable light.

    So this is the framework:

    Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

    So, for someone to be damned, he would have to "know that the Catholic Church was founded..." and then refuse to enter.

    It is a matter of the state of mind of the individual, her conscience and her circumstances.

    The Catholic Church believe she was founded by Jesus himself, and are therefore the One Legitimate Church. They do not deny what is true and good in other churches.

    I understand the arguements over this claim and do not resent or deprecate them. Were I a protestant, I would probably take issue with it as well.

    I was not always Catholic. I have sat in churches, and I am well aware of the virulent anti-Catholic strain (Whore of Babylon and all that Chick Comic stuff) preached in many churches.

    I have never heard any religion trashed or damned while sitting at a Catholic mass. Even in Catholic religions education, comparative religion is as close as you get to a criticism of other religions.

    Theology and religious philosophy are deep subjects, not easily discussed in blog posts.

    And, please, my dear Shaw, I never considered you old, or even speculated upon your age.

    Despite our polar opposite differences on almost everything, I genuinely like you. :)

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