Skip to comments.Papal pruning? A smaller but purer church may actually have more influence
Posted on 05/06/2005 1:07:06 PM PDT by Caleb1411
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This is a challenge that evangelicals need to consider. With our megachurch, church-growth mindset, we often assume that bigger is better, and a church with lots of members is a strong church. Is this always true? In our efforts to reach the secular culture, is the secular culture instead sometimes reaching us?
The ideal would be to have both size and purity. But might there come a time when American evangelicalism too will need to be winnowed?
Good! A twist on "liberation theology" - this time the Vatican will use theology to liberate people from the socialists.
I wish this guy was 25 yrs younger. God bless Pope Benedict XVI.
"Eighty percent of Spaniards are Catholic, but only a third of them go to church and follow its teachings."
Well then - hate to be too logical here- then only a third of the 80% ARE Catholics.....duh.
>>"If it's true Pope Benedict XVI prefers a leaner, smaller, purer church as he has spoken of before," said Notre Dame professor R. Scott Appleby, "we could see a withering of certain Catholic institutions because they're not considered fully Catholic. This might include Catholic colleges, hospitals, and other Catholic institutions."
The more I read about our Holy Father, the more I LOVE him!
No, the result will be fewer "Catholics." Get 'er done, Pope Benedict!
Yes, absolutely. I'm am thrilled to see the question being asked. This is, in my opinion, at the heart of the problems in the church today. We need a biblical church, not a big secularized one. The size is up to God. Obedience to God should be our concern.
The Church has spiritual authority over the state, not temporal authority. If this gentleman seriously thinks that is unBiblical, he needs to explain away Samuel, Nathan, and Elijah ... just for starters.
Our new Pope is a very clever man. He used the liberal's separation of church and state demand against them in dealing with rouge priests working with Marxist governments in Central America. He won't be easily outwitted by liberals, no matter how intellectually superior they think they are.
Well then - hate to be too logical here- then only a third of the 80% ARE Catholics.....duh.
Eighty percent of Americans are Millionaires, but only a small fraction of them actually have a million dollars.
if catholicism is to have any meaning, it is going to have to put it's foot down every now and again.
The Body of Christ will always be few (narrow is the way, and few who find it). Hence, even large evangelical churches, the RC church, and even mainline protestant churches only contain a small subset of those in the Body. The rest have conformed to the world, but like to call themselves Christians. But, the Bride of Christ (universal, not exclusive to one denomination, and being called out by God) will be presented spotless to Her Bridegroom - redeemed by His own blood. Maranatha!
So there is to be a TEST for membership in the
Roman Catholic church.
There are a few more institutions that require a TEST of membership.
Membership in the Judicial Branch of government needs a TEST based on swearing allegiance to the Constitution AS WRITTEN.
Employment in this country needs a TEST of legal residence.
On the matter of civil disobedience:
Jesus did not admonish us to obey un-Godly laws. He taught that money belongs to the government. Life belongs to God.
When the government takes a life, whenter by court order or legalizing abortion it is playing God. The government can take all the money it prints. It can not take the life that it does not give.
There must be a TEST for the law, any law. The test must be administered in the heart of the believer. Does obedience to the Law require separation from the Will of God? If it does it must not be obeyed.
Thank you Pope Benedict.
Okay, I'll tell them right now.
The man who Should have been Pope.
From a nun in Fort Dodge...
What you probably don't know about the recent conclave to select the new pope is that there is one particularly qualified and distinguished man who could not be selected.
Bishop Hans Grapje was raised in a Catholic school in The Hague. As a young man, he aspired to become a priest, but was drafted into the army during WWII. He spent two years flying aboard B17s as a co-pilot until, in 1943, his aircraft was shot down and he lost his left arm.
While a POW, Hans spent the remainder of the war as a chaplain, giving spiritual advice and last rites to dying soldiers, allied and enemy. He was renowned for his ecumenical tenderness and compassion.
After the war, Grapje became a priest and served as a missionary throughout Africa. In spite of his handicap, he was noted for piloting his own bush plane into the deepest, most primitive villages to spread the church's message and charity to the impoverished.
In 1997, then Archbishop Grapje was serving at an outpost in Zimbabwe when an explosion in one of the country's vast silver mines caused a catastrophic cave-in. The archbishop, in spite of his age and infirmity, went down into several of the shafts to administer last rites to those who would never escape.
He was in one of these shafts when it partially caved in, trapping him and several rescuers. Although he was rescued three days later, he suffered several painful injuries, including one that cost him his right eye. Additionally, the silver content in the shaft's air supply had poisoned him, causing his skin to take an indigo hue - a condition known as argyriasis - that persists to this day. Although the Cardinal has devoted, and indeed risked, his life in the service of God for nearly 70 years, as a scholar, a mentor, and the epitome of a holy man, church politics preclude his ascension to the Papacy.
Church leaders have made it clear they don't want a one-eyed, one armed, flying purple, Papal leader.
Now THAT is a good tagline.
but what did Jesus mean though when he said "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's"
Yes, I caught that, too. He forgets that Jesus told us to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's - that is, the parts of our lives legitimately owed to the state. But our conscience and our duty before God to adhere to and defend the truth are not things that belong to Caesar.
I do think that the writer was aware of the difference in the Catholic attitude, even though he misunderstood it. This is because for many evangelicals, obeying secular law is synonymous with being a good Christian. But for Catholics, this has never been the case, and the Church has often been in conflict with the State. Today, btw, the Spanish Bishops' Conference reminded Catholic legislators that they may NOT vote for that law (which is still awaiting approval by the Spanish Senate, sometime next week or so). They didn't say what would happen to them if they did, however.
I spend 80 percent of my time at work working, but only a third of that is actually productive...
You say this like it would have been a bad thing!
Look, either JFK or one like him claims to be a Catholic but doesn't actually submit to the teachings of his religion (IOW, he's a fraud), OR he's willing to contravene his conscience because his political ambition trumps his conscience (IOW, he's an amoral opportunist), OR he's lying when he says he puts, as you put it, "his duty to the laws of the US above his obligation to Rome".
Fraud, amoral opportunist, or liar ... some choice.
good point, sort of like, a Muslim President of the US would be a very bad idea without similar assurances....
yeah Bin Laden's been saying the same thing about Muslims
>>yeah Bin Laden's been saying the same thing about Muslims<<
I'm sorry, are you comparing Bin Laden to the Pope?
I ponder the same question when I do tax returns every year. The way our tax code is written, you could say that not even Caesar knows what he wants in a given year.
For those who say government should not legislate morality, why are 18 year old soldiers unable to legally drink beer, while 13 year old girls can get an abortion without parental consent?
However, I understand your concern that good Catholics ought to follow the dictates of Church doctrine.
The difficulty arises in two areas:
1st--if their civic duty and religious duty conflict; and
2nd--does a foreign sovereign have the right to command American citizens in the performance of their duties to the republic?
In the first instance, painful as it may be, it seems to me that the only honorable course if one's civic responsibilities (freely undertaken as in public office) conflict with religous duty, is resignation.
In the second instance, the answer, of course is an emphatic NO. I believe that neglect of civic responsibilities at the behest of a foreign sovereign, such as the Pope, is seditious at least, if not treasonous.
>>does a foreign sovereign have the right to command American citizens in the performance of their duties to the republic?<<
Well, ya know, if they don't want to follow their Holy Father, there are other religions around.
Sorry FRiend, I'm Catholic first. The Pope is not giving commands for Protestants or Muslims, just Catholics.
This is a future Smackdown of the Kerry Catholics. Get it? The Pope saying that a Catholic must follow the teachings of his/her religion? Who da thunk it.
They should start by kicking all the queers out of the seminaries -- fast. The, perhaps, heterosexual men will be willing to go to the seminaries to become priests.
While in the past that may have been true, the Church's position has generally historically been that it's spiritual authority gave it temporal authority. The conflict between the Papacy and the various secular powers over temporal power is a major theme in European history.
In the United States, the Church has NO spiritual authority over the republic or any of the states (although technically as the Constitution was originally understood individual states could, and did, have established churches as late as the 2nd quarter of the 19th century). The very broadest claim permissible in this country is that the Church has spiritual authority over its members. Not temporal authority. It has no ability to punish members for not acting in accordance with it's dictates other than the threat/actuality of excommunication. Likewise, those whose conscience dictates they should follow Church teachings rather than the law of the republic cannot complain if the republic visits secular punishment upon them for violation of the law.
I'm suggesting that he was a CINO and proudly advertised the fact, and was therefore unfit for office. CINO-ism is fundamentally dishonest.
I believe that neglect of civic responsibilities at the behest of a foreign sovereign
To me, as a Catholic, that's a silly argument. If the Pope were an Italian citizen, would your argument be different? If the Pope were an American citizen, would your argument be different?
What if we were speaking of the President of some hypothetical foreign country, who happens to be a Mormon? His spiritual leader is then (more than likely) an American. Would the same argument apply? Would you suggest that a Mormon would be unfit to be President of, e.g., Argentina, simply because he owes relgious allegiance to a church headquartered in a foreign country?
To a Catholic, the Pope is a spiritual leader. The fact that he is temporally the chief-of-state of a "nation" the size of a large city park is irrelevant. His spiritual authority would be the same if he were legally a citizen of Zambia.
If you think that people in government ought to ignore their spiritual leaders just because those leaders are citizens of a different country, I think that's silly and provincial.
I am sympathetic to your emphasizing the importance of Catholics following Catholic doctrine. When doctrine conflicts with secular duty, however, what do you do? Do you (like the martyrs of old) cheerfully accept whatever punishment the state metes out for breaking the law? Do you withdraw from public life? It's not so simple, it seems to me, for Catholics in public life.
That is tantamount to the idolatrous worship of the state. If the state is executing Christians for practicing their faith, I have every right, responsibility, and duty to object to that. The state is not God, and has no authority to promulgate or enforce immoral laws.
Not according to God.
Actually, I think the pope would be glad if these nominal Catholics became faithful Catholics.
This could get very interesting.
I don't think your argument rebuts mine at all: the Pope isn't an Italian citizen, but rather a temporal sovereign as well as a spiritual leader. Furthermore, he is a temporal leader whose state has a 1500 year history of claiming temporal power over other sovereigns and which has never fully renounced its claims to temporal power. So, it is the very status of the Pope as a temporal sovereign that creates a part of the problem. You can't wish that aspect of the problem away without abandoning the notion of Papal sovereignty. (And, there is a lot of history about relations with the Vatican by temporal states as well).
As to your Mormon example, if the First President of the LDS Church claimed the right to order a Morman President of (say) Argentina to act or refrain from acting, in violation of the law of Argentine, then I would argue against electing a Mormon as president of (say) Argentina. And, if elected, if the Mormon president of (say) Argentina were not prepared to put the law of Argentina first, then I would argue him to be unfit for office.
We're not talking about obligations to Rome here; we're talking about obligations to God. I think any and every Christian would agree with the principle Lex mala, lex nulla (a bad law is no law) when "bad" means a law which prohibits that which God has commanded, or commands that which God has prohibited.
There can be plenty of debate about civil disobedience: when is it misplaced? When is it allowable? wwhen is it required? and for whom? But the basic principle is clear.
In some ways, the legacy of John Kennedy for Catholic politicians was disastrous. It gave us the Law of Obligatory Hypocrisy (being required to promise in public that your beliefs about right and wrong will not influence your behavior) and the Cuomo-Kerry Corollary (the only Good Catholic is a Bad Catholic.)
People who cooperate with evil are still responsible for their actions, even if it was "their job" or it was "the law" or they were "following orders." Didn't we nail that down at Nuremberg?
Not according to God.
I'm so glad you told me. I had no idea you knew God's will exactly. Other than arguing who's right about God's will, there's no difference between your attitude and the Wahabi Islamofascists.
Why don't you address the hypothetical situation?
Furthermore, he is a temporal leader whose state has a 1500 year history of claiming temporal power over other sovereigns and which has never fully renounced its claims to temporal power.
What, exactly, are you referring to? Most of the quarrels between Church and state in the Middle Ages involved the state claiming illicit power over the Church, not the other way around. Regnans in excelsis? A rather special situation, involving an apparently-Catholic sovereign who was illegitimate and persecuting Catholics.
You can't wish that aspect of the problem away without abandoning the notion of Papal sovereignty.
Which isn't intrinsic to Catholic doctrine at all. The Pope's spiritual authority would be the same if he were an Italian citizen; his freedom to exercise that authority might not be.
no not at all let me try to explain
you made a remark that most Catholics are not in fact real Catholics because they don't follow all of the teachings of Vatican and/or Bible, fair enough
Osama Bin Laden and other Islamists say most Muslims aren't real Muslims because they are not following the teachings of Mohammad or the Koran which turns out to be a good thing
for the world in respect to the teachings which encourage the killing of infidels, as in the rest of us
however I guess my real problem is with fundamentalists who would impose their views on me, a non Catholic, for example but I realize now that here the Church is not imposing its views on non Catholics it is merely imposing its views on Catholics, or those that claim to be Catholic or better phrased, asking Catholics to follow the teachings of the Vatican even if that means contravening the secular law
hmmm, still not sure if that sit wells with me though, as a concept, and hey, I think gay marriage is a silly notion, I do not agree with it, I got no problem with civil unions,
but by telling your flock to disobey secular law are you not imposing your religion on me in a reverse kind of way by disrupting secular society
as far as the Presidency is concerned then, does that mean no person of a religious faith should ever be elected President if they are going to out their faith about the law they are sworn to uphold, by a Constitution that mandates separation of church and state,
is the world better if no person of religious faith never serves office, on the contrary.......
so where is the compromise?
It seems to me that a Catholic (or a Mohammendan or a Presbyterian, for that matter) in this republic who believes (or is told by a religious authority) that his duty as a citizen violates his religious principles must choose which duty to obey. If he cannot in good conscience obey his civic duty, he must perforce resign office (if his violation of religious duty was occasioned by the requirements of office) and (if the civic duty is one required of all citizens) accept the punishment of the state. Religious conscientious objectors to military service are an example, they either perform alternative service or accept state sanction for refusal of their duties.
Scripture says flatly that the secular power is subject to God, and gets its legitimate power from Him. It's not a Catholic thing; it's a Christian thing.
Other than arguing who's right about God's will, there's no difference between your attitude and the Wahabi Islamofascists.
The standard FR throwaway when you have nothing better to say: compare someone to al Qaeda. I think we need a corollary to Godwin's law: the first person who can't find anything better to say than to assert that their interlocutor is no better than people who fly airplanes into office buildings has automatically lost the argument.
As to the history of the Church's claims to temporal authority, I think we read the historical record so differently that discussion is fruitless.
ah but what I also meant to say, following on someone else who mentioned JFK, is that when the Catholic Church instructs its flock to disobey secular law, then don't be surprised when the Protestants in Northern Ireland for example don't want to be a minority in a Catholic country because they fear that Catholic not secular law will be imposed upon them, just as many Arabs don't want to live in Islamist theocracy, where the rights of the minority are not respected in the least......
hey if Israel can remain a Jewish state in a sea of Muslims...you can understand the Irish Protestant position...
It's not a throwaway. I'm simply observing that you apparently believe yourself possessed of The Truth. It is not possible to have a rational argument with you.
Nice try, but, sorry, this was the pretext used by absolutist rulers to deny religious liberty to their Catholic subjects. Abortion, gay marriage etc. defy natural law and no one can be compelled to obey "laws" that violate natural law. For the state to claim that power is for the state to play God. What Benedict XVI is doing in Spain is consistent with what John Paul II did in Evangelium Vitae The difference is that in 1995 it was largely hypothetical: abortion was "legal" but rarely was anyone being forced by law to cooperate in it. Since 1995, the pro-aborts, the sodomy lovers have upped the ante: they are using the courts to compel Christians to aid and abet their crimes against nature. The efforts to force pharmacists to sell abortifacients, the efforts to force Catholic hospitals to give out the morning-after-pill, the efforts to force justices of the peace to officiate at sodomite marriages etc.--these are all efforts (like taxpayer-funded abortions would also be) to force people against their will to cooperate in what they believe is evil. The Culture of Death people realize they are losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the populace so they are turning to coercive means via the courts. The showdown is beginning because no longer is it merely a matter of someone else getting an abortion--increasingly it's a matter of trying to force all of us to cooperate in it. The pressure will only increase and pseudo-Catholic and liberal Protestestant judges and legislators will actually create and enforce the laws by which other Christians are persecuted. Heads-up before it's too late.
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