Papist Orthodoxy

September 27, 2009

Obama’s Self Portrait?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 9:21 pm

selfportobamsplash

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St. Thomas Aquinas by Jacques Maritain

Filed under: Doctrine, Philosophy — Tags: , , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 9:28 am

The entire treatise, including the chapter shown below, can be found here.

IV. The Common Doctor

Because Thomas illuminated the Church more than all
the other Doctors
. — John XXII (1318).

The Church declared Thomas’ doctrine to be her own.
— Benedict XV (1921).

I would wish that no one misunderstand the intention of this chapter, in which, considering the philosophy of Saint Thomas in abstraction from the theology, which latter maintains an intrinsic and essential relationship with faith, I try to characterize the attitude of the Catholic Church in regard to this philosophy. In publishing it I am fully aware that it would be absurd to try to replace by the argument from authority or by a kind of constraint the reasons of intrinsic evidence which alone can motivate scientific adherence to a system of philosophy. It is not in religious faith nor in the authority of the Church that Thomist philosophy has its principles and its raison d’être, and one would be greatly deceived if he were to see in it a doctrine reserved for clerics and for sacred offices. It is a philosophy, it is founded on evidence alone, it lives by reason alone. Of itself it belongs to the same secular cycle as the liberal arts. I even think that the time has come for it to spread into every order of secular speculative activity, to leave the walls of the school, the seminary or the college in order to assume in the whole world of culture the role that befits a wisdom of the natural order: its place is among its sister sciences, it must converse with politics and anthropology, history and poetry; formed in the open air, in the free conversations of peripateticism, it desires, though all the while remaining apart from the traffic of men, to take an interest in everything that concerns the life of men, it is essential for it to keep contact with sensible experience; to maintain its own vitality it needs a vast breathing space and incessant exchanges.

But the body politic, with all its secular culture, is enveloped by the Church as the earth is enveloped by the heavens; the Christian lay is part of the Church. The more lay it becomes, and the more it advances boldly toward the most exposed frontiers, the more will the perennial philosophy, to preserve its integrity, have to remain in continuity with the superhuman sources without which the human weakens, with the sacred wisdom which transcends it and whose native land is the contemplative activity of the Church. This is why it was normal and consonant with the eternal order that, venturing into the universe, it should first be commissioned by the Papacy.

This predilection of the Church, these recommendations, these exhortations of the Popes, do not constitute and do not claim to constitute an intrinsic demonstration of the truth of Thomism. They are extrinsic arguments and guarantees, signs which induce in the intelligence of the believer a well-founded confidence. Unbelievers, no doubt, are unmoved by them; nay more, such recommendations rather render suspect to them a philosophy thus patronized. For all that, the Church does not lower her voice; she does not mind compromising philosophers with her company and that of Jesus Christ; she doubtless considers that if these unbelievers do not listen to First Truth, they would listen still less to metaphysical reasonings, because their hearts are prejudiced; let them take scandal at seeing a science honored by faith, she regards their scandal as pharisaical. In any event, it would be ridiculous to present before them evidence based on the feeling of the Church in favor of one philosophy.

(more…)

September 26, 2009

A Would-be Muslim Head-Hunter of Coptic Christians…

Filed under: Ethics & Epistemology, Morality — Tags: , , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 10:16 pm

From Coptreal.

By BosNewsLife Middle East Service

CAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife)– Egyptian police have detained a Muslim man who allegedly killed a Coptic Christian and seriously injured two other Copts in two different villages, north of the capital Cairo, Christians said Wednesday September 23. Galal Nasr el-Dardiri, 35, attacked 63-year-old Abdu Georgy in front of the victim’s shop in Behnay village late September 16, news reports said.

Christians said El-Dardiri stabbed Georgy several times, disemboweled him, slit his throat and began sawing off his head. El-Dardiri then allegedly went to a nearby town and stabbed Coptic shopkeeper Boils Eid Messiha, 40, and then went to Mit Afif and attacked another Copt, identified as Hany Barsom Soliman.

Messiha reportedly remained in intensive care and Soliman suffered lacerations to his arms. On Thursday, September 17, about 1,000 people gathered at Georgy’s funeral to protest the killing and assaults on Coptic Christians.

“BLOOD NOT IN VAIN”

Protestors reportedly chanted that Georgy’s “blood was not [spilled] in vain” as they carried signs that read, “Where are you, government? The terrorists are going to kill us.” [Personally, I think this horrendous incident is a good apologetic for the necessity of the religious military orders. –Antiochian-Thomist]

El-Dardiri was arrested also September 17 and charged with murder, church sources said.

The latest attack underscored international concerns about growing tensions between minority Christians and majority Muslims in Egypt. There have been several violent attacks against Coptic Christians in recently in the mainly Islamic nation.

For the full article, go here.

How Do Eastern Catholic Clergy Mark the ‘Year for Priests’ Whose Patron is a ‘Latin’?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 9:52 pm

From Catholic News Service.

By Mark Pattison

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Much of the focus of U.S. commemorations and celebrations for the Year for Priests has been on Latin-rite priests, but priests in the Eastern Catholic Church also are marking the year, many by renewing their priesthood with retreats or days of recollection and also promoting vocations.

[…]

Chorbishop Saad said the St. Louis-based Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon would use the observance to “emphasize the ordination of all the orders this year (including minor orders and the diaconate), making sure everybody knows about them and mentions it as a way of tying it in with the Year for Priests and work for vocations. … These are the most teachable times for me.”

For the full article, go here.

Religious Marathon?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 9:45 pm

From Catholic News Service.

By Joyce Duriga

CHICAGO (CNS) — When Alicia Torres laced up her running shoes and tackled the 13.1 miles of the Chicago Half Marathon Sept. 13, her goal was to become a nun.

Torres is not a runner and had never run a distance race. But she ran the race as part of an appeal to friends and strangers to help pay off more than $90,000 in student loans so she can enter religious life.

For the full article, go here.

September 25, 2009

On Prayer

Filed under: Ascetical & Mystical Theology — Tags: , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 9:11 pm

“There is nothing more worthwhile than to pray to God and to converse with Him, for prayer unites us with God and His companions. As our bodily eyes are illuminated by seeing the light, so in contemplating God our soul is illuminated by Him. Of course, the prayer I have in mind is no matter of routine — it is deliberate and earnest. It is not tied down to a fixed timetable; rather it is a state that endures by night and day.

“Our soul should be directed to God, not merely when we suddenly think of prayer, but even when we are concerned with something else. If we are looking after the poor, if we are busy in some other way, or if we are doing any type of good work, we should season our actions with the desire and remembrance of God. Through this salt of the love of God we can all become a savory dish for the Lord. If we are generous in giving time to prayer, we will experience its benefits throughout our life.

“Prayer is the light of the soul, giving us true knowledge of God. It is a link mediating between God and man. By prayer the soul is borne up to Heaven and in a marvelous way embraces the Lord. This meeting is like that of an infant crying on its mother, and seeking the best of milk. The soul longs for what it needs and what it receives is better than anything to be seen in the world.

“Prayer is a precious way of communicating with God; it gladdens the soul and gives repose to its affections. You should not think of prayer as being a matter of words. It is a desire for God, an indescribable devotion, not of human origin, but the gift of God’s grace. As Saint Paul says:

We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.

(Romans 8:26)

“Anyone who receives from the Lord the gift of this type of prayer possesses a richness that is not to be taken from him, a heavenly food filling up the soul. Once he has tasted this food, he is set ablaze by an eternal desire for the Lord, the brightest of fires lighting up his soul.

“To set about this prayer, paint the house of your soul with modesty and lowliness and make it splendid with the light of justice. Adorn it with the beaten gold of good works and, for walls and stones, embellish it assiduously with faith and generosity. Above all, place prayer on top of this house as its roof so that the complete building may be ready for the Lord. Thus He will be received in a splendid royal palace and by grace His image will already be settled in your soul.”

St. John Chrysostom

Homily 6 On Prayer

Kathleen Sebelius: Communion Prohibition “Painful”; Archbishop Naumann Responds

Filed under: Ethics & Epistemology, Morality, Politics — Tags: , , , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 6:59 pm

An article has appeared on Life Site News discussing Archbishop Joseph Naumann’s prohibition of pro-abort, Kathleen Sebelius, from receiving the Sacred Mysteries due to her publicly known moral stances which run contrary to Church teachings and the Natural Law. In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Sebelius claims the prohibition to be “painful”, appealing to the erroneous notions of the “separation of church and state.”

Excerpts of the article follow with selected responses from Archbishop Joseph Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

From LifeSiteNews.com.

By Peter J. Smith and Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 23, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Over a year after Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann publicly prohibited the pro-abortion U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from receiving Communion, Sebelius has broken her silence on the matter.  Appealing to the “separation of church and state,” Sebelius said the episcopal order was “one of the most painful things I have ever experienced” and implied that her pro-abortion position was part and parcel of upholding the rights of an inter-faith constituency.  In a response given to LifeSiteNews.com, Archbishop Naumann of Kansas City said the secretary’s argument “misrepresents the issue” to make it appear that “she was the victim of merely upholding the law.”

Former Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius proved her bona fides to the pro-abortion movement time and again through close associations with now-slain abortionist George Tiller and Planned Parenthood, and through numerous vetoes of pro-life legislation and common-sense regulations on the abortion-industry.

But the former governor described by the late-columnist Bob Novak “the national pro-choice poster girl” is far from being a Catholic in good-standing with the Catholic Church – a status that rankles the HHS Secretary and for good reason: Sebelius has the distinction of being one of the highest ranking Catholics in the Obama Administration, who is forbidden to receive Holy Communion – a Church sacrament that also symbolizes spiritual unity with the rest of the Church’s members.

Back in May 2008, Archbishop Naumann publicly directed Sebelius to refrain from presenting herself for Holy Communion until she takes “the necessary steps for amendment of her life which would include a public repudiation of her previous efforts and actions in support of laws and policies sanctioning abortion.”

KathleenSibelius2

Excerpts From interview Dialogue

Sebelius: Well, the Archbishop in the Kansas City area did not approve of my conduct as a public official and asked that I not present myself for communion.

Washington Post: What did you think about that?

Sebelius: Well, it was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced in my life, and I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state, and I feel that my actions as a parishioner are different than my actions as a public official and that the people who elected me in Kansas had a right to expect me to uphold their rights and their beliefs even if they did not have the same religious beliefs that I had. And that’s what I did: I took an oath of office and I have taken an oath of office in this job and will uphold the law.

Washington Post: Do you continue to take communion?

Sebelius: I really would prefer not to discuss that with you. That’s really a personal-thank you.

ArchbishopNaumann200

Arcbhishop Naumann Responds to LifeSiteNews

However the Catholic Church views abortion and as first and foremost a moral issue – not a religious or faith issue – because the sacredness of human life pertains to the natural law, which reveals the intrinsic rightness or wrongness of human acts through reason.

In response to Sebelius’ statements to the Post, Archbishop Nauman told LifeSiteNews.com that he issued the request “to motivate her to recognize the serious error of her past support and advocacy for legalized abortion, and to protect other Catholics from being misled by the Governor’s actions into thinking that abortion is not a grave moral evil.”

“Secretary Sebelius misrepresents the issue by her attempt to invoke separation of church and state,” wrote Naumann.  “At no time did I ask her not to execute her oath of office.

“Secretary Sebelius makes it appear that she was asked not to receive Holy Communion because she was the victim of merely upholding the law.  In reality, Secretary Sebelius opposed even such modest restrictions on abortion as parental notification of minors, required waiting periods before an abortion, as well as meaningful regulation of abortion clinics to protect, at least, the mother’s health.”

Naumann said it was “very painful” to ask Sebelius not to receive Communion.  “However, I had exhausted every reasonable means to convince her to change her position,” he said.  “I also had a serious obligation to uphold the integrity of the Eucharist and to protect other Catholics from being misled by the former Governor’s support for legalized abortion.

“I continue to pray for Secretary Sebelius that she will accept the grace to acknowledge the grave evil in which she has been involved and will have the courage to take the necessary steps to correct the scandal created by her past actions.”

For the full article, go here.

Sacred Scriptures: How to Study Them

Filed under: Doctrine, Sacred Scripture and Theology — Tags: , , , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 12:27 am

Hebrew Scriptures

St. Augustine on how we should proceed in the study of Scripture (On Christian Doctrine, Book II, Chapter 9):

“And in pursuing this search the first rule to be observed, as I said, to know these book [of Holy Scriptures], if not yet in understanding, still to read them so as to commit them to memory [emphasis mine –Antiochian-Thomist]…. Next, those matters that are plainly laid down in them, whether rules of life or rules of faith, are to be searched into more carefully and more diligently…. For among the things that are plainly laid down in Scripture are to be found all matters that concern faith and the manner of life, –to wit, hope and love…. After this when we have made ourselves to a certain extent familiar with the language of Scripture, we may proceed to open up and and investigate the more obscure passages, and in doing so draw examples from the plainer expressions to throw light upon the more obscure…. And in this matter memory counts a great deal.”

St. Augustine on knowledge of languages for Sacred Scriptures (On Christian Doctrine, Book II, Chapter 11):

“The great remedy for ignorance of proper signs is knowledge of languages…. And men…need two other languages for the knowledge of Scripture, Hebrew and Greek [emphasis mine]…. For in some languages there are words that cannot be translated into the idiom of another language.”

St. Augustine gives counsels on how and what to study in Sacred Scriptures. From the context, it should be evident that our Latin Father of the Church is addressing the clergy and learned laity. Nonetheless, his pronouncements should still ring true for our clergy and apt laity of today. Consider the instruction of Pope St. Pius X in his letter Quoniam in Re Biblica (24 March, 1906) which established the rules governing education in Holy Writ in the seminaries. It is as though he read St. Augustine, put down the book, and picked up the pen and scribed the following:

“In all of the academies, the candidates for the academic degrees of theology must answer certain Scriptural questions concerning the historical introduction of the Bible and its critique, and also concerning exegesis; and they will show by an examination that they can interpret Holy Writ with relative ease and understand Hebrew and Biblical Greek [emphasis mine].”

Further, consider this from Pope Leo XIII in Providentissimus Deus

“It is necessary that professors of Holy Scripture –and the same applies to theologians– know the languages in which the canonical books were originally drafted by the sacred writers, and it would be excellent if the ecclesiastical students acquire the same knowledge, above all those who aspire to academic degrees in theology. It will be necessary to take special care to have, in all Academies, teaching chairs in the languages of antiquity, above all the Semitic languages [emphasis mine].”

How many seminaries, ‘traditional’ or otherwise, Latin or Eastern, can claim to train at least the better part of their seminarians in this manner (admittedly, probably more Eastern than Latin)?

It should be noted that the Church continues to encourage the laity to delve into the infinite riches of Sacred Scripture. Although many of the faithful do not have the time or the aptitude to memorize Scripture or the learn Scriptural languages, much wisdom can be gleaned from the prayerful rumination of Holy Writ translated into one’s vernacular. Further, there exist several good translations of Scriptural commentaries composed by various Fathers of the Church and St. Thomas Aquinas, so one need not worry about lacking good guides through some of the complexities of Holy Writ.

In the words of Our Lord to St. Augustine as the latter was pondering a theological issue: “Tolle et lege!” [Take and read!]

St. Augustine of Hippo

St. Augustine of Hippo

September 24, 2009

Anselm’s Three Stages of Theology

Filed under: Doctrine, Philosophy, Sacred Scripture and Theology — Tags: , , , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 7:57 pm

From Zenit.org.

Pope Benedict XVI notes St. Anselm’s three stages of theology.

Excerpts follow:

‘VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 23, 2009 (Zenit.org).- St. Anselm is one of the eminent personalities of the Middle Ages, but his teaching continues to be pertinent today, 900 years after his death, according to Benedict XVI.

‘The Pope reflected today during the general audience in Paul VI Hall on the life of the “magnificent doctor” (1033-1109), claimed by the cities of Aosta, Bec and Canterbury. […]

‘The Pope said that the “clarity and logical rigor” of Anselm’s thought always sought to “raise the mind to the contemplation of God.”

“He states clearly that whoever attempts to theologize cannot just count on his intelligence, but must cultivate at the same time a profound experience of faith,” the Holy Father noted. “According to St. Anselm, the activity of a theologian, therefore, develops in three stages: faith, free gift of God that must be received with humility; experience, which consists in the incarnation of the word of God in one’s daily life; and lastly true knowledge, which is never the fruit of aseptic thoughts, but of a contemplative intuition.’

Read the full article here.

Cardinal Mahoney: Abortion in Health Bill ‘Beyond My Field’

Filed under: Doctrine, Ethics & Epistemology, Morality, Politics — Tags: , , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 6:51 pm

http://www.cnsnews.com/public/cnsnewstv/video.aspx?v=GdkUnz6UqG

What exactly is your field your ‘Eminence’? Clown Masses? Moral scandals? — Antiochian-Thomist

“COMPULSORY Abortion Backed by Constitution” Says Obama Czar

Filed under: Doctrine, Ethics & Epistemology, Morality, Politics — Tags: , , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 5:31 pm

According to the article linked, Obama’s Science ‘Czar’ thinks that compulsory abortion can be backed by the U.S. Constitution. Supposedly large families are contributing to the impending environmental catastrophe.

You can’t put numbers to the moral catastrophe we are facing. — Antiochian-Thomist

Excerpts follow.

‘Obama science czar John Holdren stated in a college textbook he co-authored that in conditions of emergency, compulsory abortion would be sustainable under the U.S. Constitution, even with Supreme Court review.

‘….A series of papers recently published by the Royal Society in Great Britain and by the United Nations have made a direct link between global population growth and anthropomorphic, or man-made global warming.

‘….The Economist magazine summed up the current argument Monday, stating, “A world with fewer people would emit less greenhouse gas.”

‘….The authors of “Ecoscience” argued that a “legal restriction on the right to have more than a given number of children” could be crafted under the U.S. Constitution in crisis situations under the standard that “law has as its proper function the protection of each person and each group of persons.”

‘On page 838, the authors argued, “The law could properly say to a mother that, in order to protect the children she already has, she could have no more.”

‘To justify the point, the authors commented “differential rates of reproduction between ethnic, racial, religious, or economic groups might result in increased competition for resources and political power and thereby undermine social order.”

‘The authors continued their constitutional analysis of government-mandated population control measures by writing: “If some individuals contribute to general social deterioration by overproducing children, and if the need is compelling, they can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility in their resource-consumption patterns – provided they are not denied equal protection.” (Italics in the original text.)’

Find the full article here.

September 23, 2009

When Western Culture Was Catholic

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 4:32 pm

From InsideCatholic.com.

A Village Called Wakefield

by Antholy Esolen

Our family has finally called it quits. We’ve folded our tents and abandoned the strip mall and peep show known as American television. We still have the machine in the living room, whereon we can watch Going My Way, with Bing Crosby as the “progressive” Father O’Malley, back when progressive meant that he took the street boys to the ballgame and then made a choir out of them. He could do that, because all the boys’ families knew one another and knew the priests. And the Irish policeman could bring the runaway lass to the church, because he knew, though he’d not been to Mass in ten years, that a priest rather than a social worker or a jail cell or a shrug was what the young lady needed. The culture of that movie was Catholic, true enough. More remarkable than that: It was a culture. It was a way of life, cherished, inculcated in the young. People ate together, snooping neighbors patrolled the streets, and when the church needed to be rebuilt, the parishioners came out to hoist the planks. Boys played stickball and dodged traffic; old ladies gave presents, even unwanted ones, to the pastor; the people sinned, but knew they were sinning; they came together to praise God, to marry, to christen children, to bury the dead, and to beg for mercy. They tilled the fields of the soul.

Shut your doors upon the tele-god, and you may find yourself accused of retreating from “the world” and of despairing that our popular culture can be redeemed. But show me where there is a popular culture to reject. Mass entertainment we do have, aplenty. Mass entertainment grinds our land flat, leaving bandstands and ball fields and public squares empty while people watch in isolation the games they do not play and listen to the music they do not sing. Mass entertainment dampens the heart; it keeps us content and offhandedly contemptuous of our forebears, for it likes to serve us new vices because they are new–or if not new, then packaged as new. It is crowd control for prisons. It is music at the mall to relieve us of our money. It does not arise from the people; it is dosed out to them. It cultivates no land, sows no seed. One cannot predict what it will be like after a single generation. It is culture’s solvent.

In 1215, to celebrate the resolution of a controversy regarding Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist, Pope Innocent III declared a new holiday: Corpus Christi. What happened then should astonish us. People across Europe greeted the feast not just with joy but with an outburst of grateful creativity so powerful it revived the drama, a form of art that had lain dormant since the days of Terence 1,400 years before. From Portugal to Poland, from England to the Alps, arose the tradition of staging town-wide dramas to celebrate Corpus Christi. Not single plays, put on by a few literate people on the holiday itself and attended by the town. That would be a bolder work of culture than we now know. Yet it was more.

Imagine that for weeks in advance, all the trade guilds and altar societies–carpenters, tanners, wheelwrights, blacksmiths, clerks–build floats and props and fashion costumes and prepare a sweeping pageant of plays (57 at York!) to be performed before all the people, proceeding from one end of the town to the other, from the Thursday of Corpus Christi to the eve of Pentecost Sunday. Imagine that these plays form a cycle to lead the players and the audience in a pilgrimage over the whole terrain of the Christian life, from creation and Adam’s fall to the last judgment.

Such an expression of Catholic culture you would remember till the day you died. And people did remember: Roles were passed down like heirlooms, so that as late as Shakespeare’s day everybody knew that Herod was a roaring bully and that devils are fundamentally stupid. But could only the rich towns afford it, or cosmopolitan places like London and Paris? Not so. A village called Wakefield staged a cycle of 32 plays, a tradition its residents maintained for more than three centuries. In 1377 the adult population of Wakefield numbered 567. That is what ordinary people of faith can do.

How good were the plays? They are not for people who read the New York Times. Their theology is too profound for such. They evince a deep belief in Providence, an abiding awareness that everything in place and time plays its role in God’s salvific order. Let us look at the most famous of them, the so-called Second Shepherds’ Play of Wakefield.

Read the rest of it here.

Synod on the Church in the Middle East

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 4:25 pm

From ByzCath.org.

Pope Announces a Synod on the Church in the Middle East

Monday, 21 September 2009 18:46

VATICAN CITY, 19 SEP 2009 (VIS) – This morning in Castelgandolfo Benedict XVI received Catholic patriarchs and major archbishops from the Oriental Churches, in response to a request the prelates had made on various occasions in the past.

Participating in the meeting were Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, alongside the “Heads and Fathers” of all the Eastern Catholic Churches in communion with the Bishop of Rome.

They are: His Beatitude Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon; Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq; Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine; Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil C.SS.R., Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, India; His Beatitude Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt; His Beatitude Gregorios III Laham, Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek Melkites, Syria; His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon; His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX, Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, Lebanon; Archbishop Lucian Muresan of Fagaras and Alba Iulia of the Romanians, Romania; His Beatitude Baselios Moran Mor Cleemis Thottunkal, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankars, India, and His Beatitude Fouad Twal, patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins.

According to a communique, the representatives of the Eastern Churches spoke to thank the Holy Father for his initiative and highlighted the two facets of the faithfulness that characterises them: “the bond with the Christian East and the bond with Peter’s Successor, the universal Pastor, with his charism of unity in truth and in love”. They also focused on “a number of more general themes, such as the phenomenon of migration … and the ecumenical and inter- religious context in which their Churches live”.

Find the rest of the article here.

September 22, 2009

“Twelve Differences”

This comes to us from Vivificat! via Orrologion via Eirenikon. — Antiochian-Thomist

Fr. Alvin Kimel publishes on the blog, Pontifications.

Fr. Alvin Kimel on the “Twelve Differences”

Originally posted by Irenaeus.

Orrologion has posted the original text of the “Twelve Differences between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches” by Teófilo de Jesús along with excellent responses to each of the twelve points from Fr Alvin Kimel, of Pontifications* fame, who in his extended period of discernment after leaving the Episcopal Church studied the claims of both Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy in great depth.

Some excerpts:

On Primacy. Is it true that the Orthodox Church rejects totally any understanding of ecclesial headship? What about the bishop of a diocese? Does he not wield and embody a divine authority given to him by Christ Jesus? Is he not the head of his community, which precisely is the Church? And when Catholics speak of the Pope as the earthly head of the Church, are they in any way denying that Christ alone is properly head of the Church? When Catholics speak of the primacy of the Pope, are they exalting the Pope above the Episcopate, as if their power and authority derived from him? And are Orthodox theologians incapable of entertaining an authentic primacy within the episcopal college for the bishop of Rome? …

On Conciliarity. The Catholic Church understands the Church precisely as a communion of particular Churches and local dioceses; moreover, the Church as the universal Church is not to be understood as simply the sum or collection of all particular Churches: each diocese is itself a truly catholic body … Catholic ecclesiology is so much more complex and diverse than is sometimes appreciated …

On Original Sin. I’m sure there are differences between Catholic construals of anthropology and Orthodox construals of anthropology (please note the plural); but I do not believe that this is because the Catholic Church authoritatively teaches a forensic imputation of original sin and the Orthodox Church does not. Why do I say this? Because it is not at all clear to me that the Catholic Church authoritatively teaches the *forensic* imputation of Adam’s guilt to humanity. I know that some (many?) Catholic theologians have sometimes taught something like this over the centuries, but the Catholic Church has strained over recent decades to clarify the meaning of Original Sin not as the forensic transfer of Adam’s guilt but as the inheritance of the Adamic condition of real alienation from God–i.e., the absence of sanctifying grace … Important differences on the nature of original exist between St Augustine and magisterial Catholic teaching …

You can follow the rest of this article at Eirenikon or Orrologion.

Roman Rite: Cardinal Says Communion Received Kneeling and on the Tongue is Most Reverent

Filed under: Doctrine, Liturgy — Tags: , , , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 7:52 pm

From CNA.

Lima, Peru, Sep 22, 2009 / 01:31 pm (CNA).- In a homily Sunday at the Cathedral of Lima, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani said, “The most respectful manner of receiving the Eucharist is kneeling and on the tongue.  We must recover the respect and reverence that the Eucharist deserves, because the love of Jesus is the center of our Christian life.  The soul is at stake.”

Find rest of the article here.

Obama’s Top Muslim Fund-Raiser Defrauds U.S. Banks Out of $290 Millions

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 7:43 pm

From Reuters.

By Grant McCool

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Hassan Nemazee, a fund-raiser for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, has been indicted for defrauding Bank of America, HSBC and Citigroup Inc out of more than $290 million in loan proceeds, U.S. prosecutors said on Monday.

The announcement follows last month’s indictment of Nemazee, head of a private equity firm and an Iranian American Political Action Committee board member, on one count of defrauding Citigroup’s Citibank.

The new indictment adds allegations that he defrauded two other banks, Bank of America and HSBC Bank USA, in a similar fashion by falsifying documents and signatures to purportedly show he had hundreds of millions worth of collateral.

The office of the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan and the FBI said he used the proceeds of his scheme to make donations to election campaigns of federal, state and local candidates, donations to political action committees and charities.

He bought property in Italy and paid for maintenance on two properties in New York.

His lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

As of August 2009 Nemazee owed Bank of America about $142 million and owed Citibank about $74.9 million, the indictment said. He drew on a line of credit he fraudulently obtained from HSBC to pay the Citibank loan.

Nemazee, 59, typically donates more than $100,000 annually to Democratic political candidates. He is listed as one of the top “bundlers” of contributions to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, according to OpenSecrets.org, a website run by the Center for Responsive Politics research group.

“For more than 10 years, Hassan Nemazee projected the illusion of wealth, stealing more than $290 million so that he could lead a lavish lifestyle and play the part of heavyweight political fundraiser,” United States Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan said in a statement.

Nemazee was arrested at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey on August 23 as he was checking in for a flight to Italy, according to court papers. He was released on bail.

If convicted on three counts of bank fraud, Nemazee faces up to 30 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines. He is also charged with identity theft.

The case is: U.S. v. Nemazee, 09-mj-1927 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan)

(Reporting by Grant McCool, editing by Leslie Gevirtz and Matthew Lewis)

The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 7:25 pm

Infidel Guide Koran

Go here for the author’s (Robert Spencer) website.

Go here for the book.

Hamas-Linked CAIR Bullying a PA School District? Say it Ain’t So!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Antiochian-Thomist @ 7:17 pm

From JihadWatch.org.

Hamas-linked CAIR: Jump. Pennsylvania school district: How high?

Dhimmitude and ignorance from a Pennsylvania public school district. At the slightest hint of pressure, most individuals and groups who find themselves in this position cave in faster than you can say “Islamophobia” — and most of the time, as in this case, they don’t make the slightest effort to verify whether or not the pressure group’s claims are true. “CAIR: Penn. High School Drops Anti-Islam ‘Obsession’ Video,” a CAIR press release, September 22 (thanks to James):

Civil rights group calls film ‘vehicle for promoting anti-Muslim bigotry’

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Pennsylvania chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-PA) announced today that a high school in that state has dropped an anti-Islam video listed for use in one of its classes.

Earlier this month, CAIR-PA sent a letter to the superintendent of the Council Rock School District expressing concerns about a hate-filled video, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” listed in the syllabus of a course at Council Rock High School in Newtown, Penn.

In her letter, CAIR-PA Director of Civil Rights Marwa El-Turky wrote in part:

“‘Obsession’ is a vehicle for promoting anti-Muslim bigotry that seeks to blur the distinction between violent extremism and mainstream Islam. The use of such an inaccurate and inflammatory film in a world history class would inevitably result in both the promotion of stereotypes and the creation of a hostile learning environment for Muslim students.

“The hate-filled agenda promoted by the film has been repudiated by the Hate Hurts America Multifaith Community Coalition (HHA), a group of religious and civic organizations seeking to challenge hate speech in our society… Those interviewed in Obsession constitute a veritable who’s who of Muslim-bashers. SEE: http://www.obsessionwithhate.com/

“. . .this film is obviously not suitable teaching material for a captive audience of impressionable youth. We therefore respectfully ask that ‘Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West’ be dropped from the curriculum and that representatives of the local Muslim community be invited to offer balanced and accurate information about Islam and the American Muslim experience.”

These are all highly debatable claims. Did Superintendent of Schools Mark J. Klein seek to verify CAIR’s (false) claim that Obsession “seeks to blur the distinction between violent extremism and mainstream Islam”? In fact, the movie bends over backwards not to blur that distinction — so much so that some say it errs too much on the other side, giving viewers the impression that the Islamic jihad globally is just the property of a few nuts, and is condemned and actively opposed by the vast majority of Muslims. Did Klein receive this claim from CAIR and investigate it? Or did he receive it and immediately move to accommodate these thugs and bullies, without giving it a moment’s thought?

Find the rest of the article here.

Will “Third Rome” Reunite with “First Rome”?

Filed under: Doctrine, Papacy & Patriarchy — Tags: , , , , , , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 5:43 pm

Might be a bit over-zealous. Nonetheless, there is reason to hope.  — Antiochian-Thomist

From Zenit.org.

Recent Meeting Could Mark Turning Point

By Robert Moynihan

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 21, 2009 (Zenit.org)- Sometimes there are no fireworks. Turning points can pass in silence, almost unobserved.

It may be that way with the “Great Schism,” the most serious division in the history of the Church. The end of the schism may come more quickly and more unexpectedly than most imagine.

On Sept. 18, inside Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer palace about 30 miles outside Rome, a Russian Orthodox Archbishop named Hilarion Alfeyev, 43 (a scholar, theologian, expert on the liturgy, composer and lover of music), met with Benedict XVI, 82 (also a scholar, theologian, expert on the liturgy and lover of music), for almost two hours, according to informed sources. (There are as yet no “official” sources about this meeting — the Holy See has still not released an official communiqué about the meeting.)

The silence suggests that what transpired was important — perhaps so important that the Holy See thinks it isn’t yet prudent to reveal publicly what was discussed.

But there are numerous “signs” that the meeting was remarkably harmonious.

If so, this Sept. 18 meeting may have marked a turning point in relations between the “Third Rome” (Moscow) and the “First Rome” (Rome) — divided since 1054.

Archbishop Hilarion was in Rome for five days last week as the representative of the new Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.

One key person Archbishop Hilarion met with was Cardinal Walter Kasper. On Sept. 17, the cardinal told Vatican Radio that he and Archbishop Hilarion had a “very calm conversation.”

Cardinal Kasper also revealed something astonishing: that he had suggested to the archbishop that the Orthodox Churches form some kind of “bishops’ conference at the European level” that would constitute a “direct partner of cooperation” in future meetings.

This would be a revolutionary step in the organization of the Orthodox Churches.

Papal-Patriarch encounter?

Cardinal Kasper said a Pope-Patriarch meeting was not on the immediate agenda, and would probably not take place in Moscow or Rome, but in some “neutral” place (Hungary, Austria and Belarus are possibilities).

Archbishop Hilarion himself revealed much about how his Rome visit was proceeding when he met on the evening of Sept. 17 (before his meeting with the Pope) with the Community of Sant’Egidio, an Italian Catholic group known for its work with the poor in Rome.

“We live in a de-Christianized world, in a time that some define — mistakenly — as post-Christian,” Archbishop Hilarion said. “Contemporary society, with its practical materialism and moral relativism, is a challenge to us all. The future of humanity depends on our response… More than ever before, we Christians must stand together.”

A report from Interfax, the news service of the Moscow Patriarchate, on Sept. 18 revealed that Archbishop Hilarion spoke to the Pope about “cooperation between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches in the area of moral values and of culture” — in particular during the “Days of Russian Spiritual Culture,” a type of exhibit with lectures scheduled for spring 2010 in Rome. (One might imagine that the Pope himself could attend such an exhibition).

In memory of the visit, Archbishop Hilarion gave the Pope a pectoral cross, made in workshops of Russian Orthodox Church, the report said, Interfax reported.

Today, an Interfax report supplied details of Hilarion’s remarks this morning in the catacombs of St. Callixtus.

“Denied by the world, far from human eyes, deep under ground in caves, the first Roman Christians performed the feat of prayer,” Hilarion said. “Their life brought the fruit of holiness and martyr heroism. The Holy Church was built on their blood shed for Christ.”

Then the Church came out of the catacombs, but Christian unity was lost, the archbishop said.

Archbishop Hilarion said that human sin is the cause of all divisions, while Christian unity can be restored only in the way of sanctity.

“Each of us, conscientiously fulfilling a task the Church has given him or her, is called to personally contribute to the treasury of Christian sanctity and work to achieve God-commanded Christian unity,” the archbishop said.

A second Interfax report today added further information about the meeting with the Pope.

Growing influence

“During a talk with Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk pointed out the status of Orthodox believers in Western Ukraine where three Orthodox dioceses had been almost eliminated as a result of coercive actions of Greek Catholics in late 1980s and early 1990s,” Interfax reported.

Archbishop Hilarion “stated the need to take practical steps to improve the situation in Western Ukraine,” within the territories of Lvov, Ternopol and Invano-Frankovsk Dioceses, the report said.

Meanwhile, in Russia itself, the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, headed by Patriarch Kirill, seems to be growing, though not without opposition.

The rise in Russia of Kirill and his increasing influence in legislative matters seems to be arousing opposition from the “siloviki,” forces connected with the old KGB.

In an article in the current issue of Argumenty Nedeli, Andrey Uglanov says that Kirill’s extraordinary activity has attracted attention from some who do not like to have their positions questioned, let alone challenged. And that has become Kirill’s “big problem.”

These “siloviki,” Uglanov says, have been offended by Kirill’s “anti-Stalinist and anti-Bolshevik actions,” including his appearance at the Solovetsky stone in Moscow’s Lubyanka Square on the very Day of the Memory of the Victims of Political Repression.

In this context, Hilarion’s visit to Rome takes on even more importance.

The Russian Orthodox Church is a power in Russia, but it faces opposition and needs allies.

What is occurring in Hilarion’s visit to Rome, then, may have ramifications not only for the overcoming of the “Great Schism,” but also for the cultural, religious and political future of Russia, and of Europe as a whole.

It is especially significant, in this context, that Hilarion, Kirill’s “Foreign Minister,” has some of the same deep interests as Benedict XVI: the liturgy, and music.

“As a 15-year-old boy I first entered the sanctuary of the Lord, the Holy of Holies of the Orthodox Church,” Hilarion once wrote about the Orthodox liturgy. “But it was only after my entrance into the altar that the ‘theourgia,’ the mystery, and ‘feast of faith’ began, which continues to this very day.

“After my ordination, I saw my destiny and main calling in serving the Divine Liturgy. Indeed, everything else, such as sermons, pastoral care and theological scholarship were centered around the main focal point of my life — the liturgy.”

Liturgy

These words seem to echo the feelings and experiences of Benedict XVI, who has written that the liturgies of Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday in Bavaria when he was a child were formative for his entire being, and that his writing on the liturgy (one of his books is entitled “Feast of Faith”) is the most important to him of all his scholarly endeavors.

“Orthodox divine services are a priceless treasure that we must carefully guard,” Hilarion has written. “I have had the opportunity to be present at both Protestant and Catholic services, which were, with rare exceptions, quite disappointing… Since the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, services in some Catholic churches have become little different from Protestant ones.”

Again, these words of Hilarion seem to echo Benedict XVI’s own concerns. The Pope has made it clear that he wishes to reform the Catholic Church’s liturgy, and preserve what was contained in the old liturgy and now risks being lost.

Hilarion has cited the Orthodox St. John of Kronstadt approvingly. St. John of Kronstadt wrote: “The Church and its divine services are an embodiment and realization of everything in Christianity… It is the divine wisdom, accessible to simple, loving hearts.”

These words echo words written by Cardinal Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, who often said that the liturgy is a “school” for the simple Christian, imparting the deep truths of the faith even to the unlearned through its prayers, gestures and hymns.

Hilarion in recent years has become known for his musical compositions, especially for Christmas and for Good Friday, celebrating the birth and the Passion of Jesus Christ. These works have been performed in Moscow and in the West, in Rome in March 2007 and in Washington DC in December 2007.

Closer relations between Rome and Moscow, then, could have profound implications also for the cultural and liturgical life of the Church in the West. There could be a renewal of Christian art and culture, as well as of faith.

All of this was at stake in the quiet meeting between Archbishop Hilarion and Benedict XVI on Friday afternoon, in the castle overlooking Lake Albano.

Palamas: Dormition of the Theotokos

Filed under: Doctrine, Liturgy, Sacred Scripture and Theology — Tags: , , , , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 12:23 am

A Homily on the Dormition of Our Supremely Pure

Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary


by St. Gregory Palamas


Both love and duty today fashion my homily for your charity. It is not only that I wish, because of my love for you, and because I am obliged by the sacred canons, to bring to your God-loving ears a saving word and thus to nourish your souls, but if there be any among those things that bind by obligation and love and can be narrated with praise for the Church, it is the great deed of the Ever-Virgin Mother of God. The desire is double, not single, since it induces me, entreats and persuades me, whereas the inexorable duty constrains me, though speech cannot attain to what surpasses it, just as the eye is unable to look fixedly upon the sun. One cannot utter things which surpass speech, yet it is within our power by the love for mankind of those hymned, to compose a song of praise and all at once both to leave untouched intangible things, to satisfy the debt with words and to offer up the first fruits of our love for the Mother of God in hymns composed according to our abilities.

If, then, “death of the righteous man is honorable” (cf. Ps. 115:6) and the “memory of the just man is celebrated with songs of praise” (Prov. 10:7). How much more ought we to honor with great praises the memory of the holiest of the saints, she by whom all holiness is afforded to the saints, I mean the Ever-Virgin. Mother of God! Even so we celebrate today her holy dormition or translation to another life, whereby, while being “a little lower than angels” (Ps. 8:6), by her proximity to the God of all, and in the wondrous deeds which from the beginning of time were written down and accomplished with respect to her, she has ascended incomparably higher than the angels and the archangels and all the super-celestial hosts that are found beyond them. For her sake the God-possessed prophets pronounce prophecies, miracles are wrought to foreshow that future Marvel of the whole world, the Ever-Virgin Mother of God. The flow of generations and circumstances journeys to the destination of that new mystery wrought in her; the statutes of the Spirit provide beforehand types of the future truth. The end, or rather the beginning and root, of those divine wonders and deeds is the annunciation to the supremely virtuous Joachim and Anna of what was to be accomplished: namely, that they who were barren from youth would beget in deep old age her that would bring forth without seed Him that was timelessly begotten of God the Father before the ages. A vow was given by those who marvelously begot her to return her that was given to the Giver; so accordingly the Mother of God strangely changed her dwelling from the house of her father to the house of God while still an infant . She passed not a few years in the Holy of Holies itself, wherein under the care of an angel she enjoyed ineffable nourishment such as even Adam did not succeed in tasting; for indeed if he had, like this immaculate one, he would not have fallen away from life, even though it was because of Adam and so that she might prove to be his daughter, that she yielded a little to nature, as did her Son, Who has now ascended from earth into heaven.

Find the rest of the homily here.

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