Opinion Thomas Reese: Signs of the Times

Pope Francis and hell

Via Wikimedia Commons.
Via Wikimedia Commons.

(RNS) — Social media has been going crazy with reports that Pope Francis has denied the existence of hell. Even some mainstream media have picked up the story supposedly based on an interview by an Italian journalist.

Anyone who has followed the pope’s talks and sermons would immediately know that something does not smell right here. The pope has in fact spoken of hell in the past in a way that clearly indicates that he believes in it.

In 2014, the pope mentioned hell when calling the Mafia to conversion. In 2016, he said that people who do not open their hearts to Christ will end up condemning themselves to hell. The same year, he referred to hell as “the truth” and described it as being “far away from the Lord for eternity.”

The most extensive papal explanation of hell came in response to a 2015 question from a female scout who asked, “If God forgives everyone, why does hell exist?” Francis acknowledged that this was a “good and difficult question.”

The pope spoke of a very proud angel who was envious of God, reports Catholic News Service.

“He wanted God’s place,” said Francis. “And God wanted to forgive him, but he said, ‘I don’t need your forgiveness. I am good enough!'”

“This is hell,” explained the pope. “It is telling God, ‘You take care of yourself because I’ll take care of myself.’ They don’t send you to hell, you go there because you choose to be there. Hell is wanting to be distant from God because I do not want God’s love. This is hell.”

Most contemporary theologians would agree with the pope. Hell is not about fire and brimstone; it is about our freedom to say no to God, our freedom to reject love and choose loneliness. If you believe in freedom, you have to believe in hell.

When we close our hearts and tell the world to go to hell, we are in fact choosing hell for ourselves. Hell is the absence of love, companionship, communion. We are not sent there; we choose it.

God did not create hell; we did.

On the other hand, some theologians think that hell is empty because once we meet God, we will choose him.

So why the confusion about Francis and hell?

The confusion came from Eugenio Scalfari, the 93-year-old co-founder and former editor of La Repubblica, an Italian daily, who in a March 28 story claims the pope told him “Hell does not exist.”

This is not the first time Scalfari has caused a sensation by reporting his conversations with the pope. Scalfari is an atheist friend with whom the pope enjoys talking. Scalfari presents detailed quotations of the pope despite the fact he does not record their conversations or even take notes. Every reporter in Rome knows that you cannot take Scalfari’s reports seriously, but his stories are just too sensational to be ignored.

The Vatican press office has issued a mild statement indicating no quotation in the article can “be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.” What it should have said is that the article was absolute nonsense. It could then have given reporters the pope’s 2015 explanation of hell. That would have saved everyone a lot of confusion.

About the author

Thomas Reese

The Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest, is a Senior Analyst at RNS. Previously he was a columnist at the National Catholic Reporter (2015-17) and an associate editor (1978-85) and editor in chief (1998-2005) at America magazine. He was also a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University (1985-98 & 2006-15) where he wrote Archbishop, A Flock of Shepherds, and Inside the Vatican. Earlier he worked as a lobbyist for tax reform. He has a doctorate in political science from the University of California Berkeley. He entered the Jesuits in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1974 after receiving a M.Div from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.


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  • Hold on here, the existence of hell was addressed by one of the outstanding theologians of the 20th century. To wit:

    Father Edward Schillebeeckx, the famous contemporary theologian, has a different take on hell. He reasons that God does not tolerate imperfection in his spiritual realm. Therefore, any soul dying in mortal sin will simply disappear since hell the imperfect state does not exist.

  • “God did not create hell; we did.”

    Uh, no. That is, quite literally, the opposite of Catholic dogma. As is virtually every thing out of Reese’s mouth.

  • But let’s be honest here. This ain’t no small-potato pot-boiler debate like “transubstantiation.” This time, Francis’s mess — and I do mean mess — is FOR REAL.

    This one cuts across all the standard Catholic-Protestant debates. It’s a huge public negation of the direct words of Jesus, on a topic that fully involves the issue of the final destiny of all humans.

    It’s not possible to sugarcoat this one. Even John 3:16 is rationally eliminated, and Jesus is put on the unemployment line, by Francis’ claims.

  • No, brother Thomas Reese, your analysis of the situation is incorrect, useless & disappointing. Go with other Catholic writers on this controversy who, unlike you & brother Francis, believe hell exists, is my suggestion to your readers here.

  • The late Edward Cornelis Florentius Alfonsus Schillebeeckx was certainly an outstanding theologian in his own assessment.

    Beginning in 1976 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote him regularly, including demanding his appearance in person in Rome, first due to his questioning the Resurrection “Jesus: An experiment in Christology,1974), then in 1984 for “The Ministry in the Church”, again in 1986 for – in “The Church with a Human Face” – denying the apostolic succession, and those questions were never satisfactorily resolved.

    None of his books bore the required approvals to be used as Catholic texts.

    His Christology was criticized by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, later elected Pope Benedict XVI.

    The numerous references to hell in the New Testament make it essentially impossible for a Christian to claim it’s hogwash.

  • Jesus spoke & warned of ‘hell’ much more than He spoke about heaven.
    So everyone who prefers to choose to believe it does not exist, will be finding out how wrong they were, when they hear, “Depart from me…I never knew you…” from God.
    Not believing, never changes the facts of reality.
    Unfortunately, too many lost souls will find that hard reality out, the hardest of ways. And when they do, it will be too late to changed their minds.
    Once we are before our Creator God, our chosen fate is well sealed. Here. Prior to our death.
    Choose wisely.

  • Francis is another lost soul, who is playing with Fire here. Taking billions down a sordid, wide road to Perdition, as his followers & worshippers eat up his false words, like kittens at a big bowl of poisoned milk, they are too ignorant to realize it will wind up killing them.
    Follow JESUS. NO ONE ELSE!

  • “If you believe in freedom, you have to believe in hell.”

    Absurd on more levels than i can count.

    God loves you so much that he invented hell just in case you dont love him back.

    Bondage to the gods of men is freedom.
    now dont that beat all?

    “God did not create hell; we did.” based upon what? Apart from being a refutation and negation of centuries of christian belief? Apart from all of the gods of men being such an invention? of all of the thousands of religion and tens of thousands of the gods of men since the beginning of time? Dont worry! you have the only one that is not such an invention.

    Hell isn’t the lake of fire. Hell isn’t eternal torment. Hell is being separated. Did anyone tell that to the fundelibangelists who talk of all of it literally? Or centuries of catholic and protestant thought?

    Jesus and the harrowing of hell. So jesus was separated from god? But jesus is god, so how does it work? And all of the righteous people he rescued? How did they get there? What about the righteous people since.

    Hell is being separated from god. Of course those who are not mythical brings like satan would never be capable of seeing him in all of his irrefutable glory and admit that they were wrong, because that just doesnt fit the narrative or the religious sales pitch. The church of england is now taking credit cards doncha know?

    Freedom is being an atheist where considerations of .Heaven or hell simply disappear. Bondage is living your life by patent absurdities that are put forth without a shred of evidence or logic. And certainly not the logic and pronouncements of christian belief.

  • Spoken with the greatest authority based upon absolutely nothing except your preferred beliefs.

  • Careful Ben. Your ignorance of God’s Word & Jesus is showing.
    Study up.
    Don’t rely on your religious leader(s) to tell you.
    The Holy Spirit will Reveal much to you. Once you make the time/effort to know Him.

  • I’m an atheist. I think it is all silly. A god that is obsessed with sending people to hell or heaven sounds an awful lot like the people who believe in him. Not to mention, why does your religion tell you the same as so many other religions: do what we say that our particular god/gods wants or/and god will punish/reward you. And yet, none of you even begin to ask the simple question: …”Why?”

    It seems to me that the people you should be explaining all of this to are All of You christians, so certain that you know the nature of hell just as well as you know the mind of god, posting on these very pages. You are all so quick to consign people to hell, all the while forgetting that others are busy doing the same to you, because they have the truth and you do not.

    A good dose of humility would do you all of a world of good, and dothe world a world of good as well. But there is no entertainment in that.

  • Hell, also commonly known as Sheol (Old Testament) and Hades (NewcTestament) is not a place of fiery torment forever. It is only the GRAVE, where both good and bad persons go to after death (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10), not aware of anything at all.

    Just as God told Adam and Eve, after their disobedience to him, thereby earning death, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shall thou return” (Genesis 3:19, King James Version).

    We have all followed suit since we inherited sin and resulting death (Romans 5:12), and why we benefit from Jesus’ ransom sacrifice (Matthew 20:28).

    When a close friend of Jesus, Lazarus, had died for a few days, Jesus referred to him as “sleeping” in death before resurrecting him back to life (John 11:1-44).

    Jesus himself was sleeping in death in his tomb for 3 days and 3 nights (and not in a place of fiery torment), until which time his Father, or God, resurrected him back to life (Acts 2:32).

  • That was certainly one of the best compendiums of complete religious ignorance I have ever read.

    I suppose that’s what happens when an atheist decides he likes to read and post on “Religion News”.

    It’s rather like the late Billy Graham commenting at an atheist discussion group.

  • Both Heaven and Hell are figments of human imaginations. Just as is the belief that if you don’t love God your life will be a living hell. Both designed to frighten people to keep them under the control of their priests, the only ones that could help them gain the first and avoid the second.

  • Good points! Shooting holes in people’s beliefs causes them great discomfort as those that have posted here so far show.

  • Jesus certainly didn’t think so. In fact He warned against sinning so strongly that it would be better to cut your arm off if it causes you to sin.

  • There is no freedom in atheism. If atheism is true, then its just the chemicals in your head that make you say nonsense. There is no freewill.

  • And now again for some 21st century reality:

    The Apostles’ Creed 2018: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus’ story was embellished and “mythicized” by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    (references used are available upon request)

  • “Just as is the belief that if you don’t love God your life will be a living hell.” The rain falls on the just and the unjust, Susan. It’s the afterlife you’re thinking about

  • God doesn’t send anyone to Hell, Ben. They make that choice when they reject Him.

  • “Jesus himself was sleeping in death in his tomb for 3 days and 3 nights…”

    Tradition has it that Jesus died at 3:00 PM on a Friday, and was resurrected sometime early on Sunday morning. That isn’t 3 days and 3 nights. It’s about a day-and-a-half and two nights. Jesus gave up part of his weekend for your sins.

  • Have you seen hell? Has anyone living seen hell? NO. So how is it that one should believe that it exists? Unless you’re a child living in war-torn Syria.

  • Why be a Christian when 2/3 of the world says it is nonsense? They even have their holy books to prove it.

  • Bad even for regurgitated c.s. Lewis.

    If atheism is true, then it is just chemicals in your head that make you think Christianity is true. If atheism is false, then It is just chemicals in your head that make you think Christianity is true, because that is how your head works.

  • Atheism has no way to account for thinking or freewill. Man is just a monkey meat machine if atheism is true.

  • How would some guy today know if Jesus uttered the words that are written about him from 2000 years ago?

  • Precisely JP. Why would you think he actually uttered those words? You undercut your own argument with that comment.

  • No, there is no afterlife. Our bodies breakdown (including our soul, spirit) returning to their fundamental raw parts and get recycled.

  • Why, thank you bob. I know I’m on the right track when I get one of your “you’re a big poopy head” attacks.

    BTW, Jose the Arnzen Parrot has been resurrected by you, as you no doubt know, because you did it yourself. It’s almost enough to make me believe in resurrection. Was it difficult? did you have to give up anything to do it? Are you really Jesus after all?

    Nah. It’s just that several other people noticed what I noticed. And it bothered you ever so much that your credibility was even more questionable.

    I’m glad I was able to get your parrot, err, umm, your goat.

  • You are right it doesn’t jive with “traditional” Catholic teachings and I think what Francis is trying to point out is that those teachings are wrong. There is no physical place called Hell (or Heaven) though he doesn’t actually say that. Both Heaven and Hell are emotional/mental states. And as Canis Pulchrae points out war-torn Syria is a physical example of what people’s mental states can create.

  • JP is so used to undercutting his own arguments that he thinks he is a wise man stead of simply a wise guy.

  • CanisPulchrae,

    “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40).

    Jesus died on Nisan 14 according to the Jewish calendar, on the Passover day. That year, the Passover occurred on the 6th day of the week (counted by the Jews as from sundown on Thursday to sundown on Friday. This is evident from John 19:31, which shows that the following day was a “great Sabbath.” The day after Passover was always a Sabbath, no matter what day of the week it came (Leviticus 23:5-7).

    But when this special
    Sabbath coincided with the regular Sabbath, (the 7th day of the week), it became a “great one.” So Jesus’ death took place on Friday, Nisan 14, by about 3:00 p.m. (Luke 23:44-46).

    The corresponding date for his death this year was Saturday, March 31, after sundown, which varies every year; and so would the anniversary of his resurrection.

    However, Jesus never instructed his followers to memorialize his birth (which date is not even provided in the Bible), nor his resurrection. He only instructed they memorialize his death (Luke 22:14-20), also referred to as the “last supper,” which was observed by millions on earth after sundown on March 31, 2018.

    Jesus willingly gave up his life for all mankind, so that we may receive forgiveness of our sins now, and may finally live forever on earth (Revelation 21:3,4), God’s original purpose for mankind! ?????☝️

  • If you got a “you’re a big poopy head” attack, or any other kind of attack, you’d be a lot less polite than your post-it to which I am responding.

    I do find it amazing that you’re willing to display your total ignorance on matters religious so completely.

    My credibility was never even a little bit questionable, as your stuttering responses always demonstrate.

  • I agree with your opening sentence Susan. That is EXACTLY what the Pope is saying.

    Imagine the resulting damage to Christianity if the late Billy Graham had said such a septic falsehood. But this mess is WORSE: the leader of a billion worldwide Christians has openly & directly negated Jesus’s own words about Hell and Final Judgment. Making Jesus out to be a divine Liar.

    I know he’s got a good humble pastoral attitude, but THIS Grade-A Prime-Cut Mess, will help shipwreck many youth & adults. Not just Catholics but many others too.

  • And yet another big poopy head attack. You re on a roll today Bobby.

    Or, as Jose the parrot would put it, your on a rôle.

    Me, I’m just ROFL

  • Pope Francis is a disaster. Zero clarity and nothing over the past five years other than confusion, vindictiveness, and a spurious humility show for the cameras.

    I hope his pontificate terminates soon.

  • Thank you so much for proving my point far better than I could have. You speak with authority about the nature of hell. Thomas Reese speaks with authority about the nature of hell. Just1name speaks with authority about the nature of hell. Pope Francis speaks with authority about the nature of hell. Shawnie speaks with authority about the nature of hell. sandimonious speaks with authority about the nature of hell. Fran speaks With authority about the nature of hell. And if BobbJose was saying anything at all about the nature of hell instead of calling me a big poopy head, he would speak about the nature of hell with all of the authority that he could muster.

    And yet, all of you disagree with each other with complete authority about the nature of hell.

    All I can say is…


    But with a hell of a lot of authority

  • Sweetheart, there is an after life.
    Numbers 23:19 – English Standard Version
    God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

  • “Papal infallibility is a dogma of the Catholic Church that states that, in virtue of the promise of Jesus to Peter, the Pope is preserved from the possibility of error “when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church.”[1][2]”

    So obviously there is no hell!!

  • According to you, everything can be justified merely by saying “I’m an atheist.”

    Works fine till you run into God, post-death. And you and I both know that God ain’t gonna follow Francis’s script on THIS one. Nope!!

  • From rigorous historic testing: a single attestation from 60-80 CE

    (1a) Mark 9:43-48 = Matt 18:8-9

    /9:43/ If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. /9:45/ And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. /9:47/ And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, /9:48/ where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.

    = Matt 18:8-9
    /18:8/ “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or two feet and to be thrown into the eternal fire. /18:9/ And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the hell of fire.

    (1b) Matt 5:29-30

    /5:29/ If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. /5:30/ And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.

    John Dominic Crossan

    Item: 248
    Stratum: II (60-80 CE)
    Attestation: Single
    Historicity: – None
    Common Sayings Tradition: No

  • Nope. I’m not saying that. YOU are.

    It’s funny how god is going to get me, but only after I die. He has the option of getting me right now, if you want to believe in a god that has to “get” someone at all. He has the option of showing me that I am wrong right now, but for some reason, he keeps sending me the likes of you, sandimonious, JP, Franklin Graham, or mike Hucksterbee, Or JoeBob or Bobbly Joe, to show me how wrong I am.

    I’d say that is pretty much a guarantee that I’m going to think it is all pretty silly, if the best ambassador he can muster is one of you.

  • Has it ever occurred to you that God desperately wants you — personally — to go to Heaven and live with Him?

    Has it occurred to you that maybe, in the last final seconds of life & consciousness, other people abandoned their atheism, accepted Christ, and now walk the amazing streets of heaven waiting for a brand new, incredibly powerful family & friends reunion with you?

    The Pope offers false hope to all atheists. Go with Jesus instead. Gotta win this, Ben.

  • No, Sandi Luckins, you lecherous old cougar and despicable bigot, your religion never delivers on its promise and your bible not only is full of lies -it even contradicts itself repeatedly!

    And your insincerity is offensive, you vicious, bigoted old cur.

  • #neveragain

    Benchwarmer Bob, enough of your blathering. Get off your lazy obese backside and start working to make gun control happen.

    Here’s what you need to do, so get on it and do something useful in your wretched life for a change:


    Get on it, Bob, you obese, lazy old fool.


  • I see you managed to create yet another Disqus “Lisa Strom” account after the first two were blocked.

    Well, no problem.

    I’ll never see your posts again.

    Bye bye.

  • Fran, I’ll see you in the Rapture Capsule with the unicorns.

    This time, don’t forget to wear your nose ring -the big steel one that I padlocked the chain onto when we were practicing for the Uplifting. This time, though, when the swirling starts and your head goes under, don’t keep your mouth open, so the floaters won’t go in like they did in your last several practice sessions.

  • No, Sandi Luckins, you lecherous old cougar and despicable bigot, you and your bible say that it is god doing all the creating and all the sending.

    Can’t have it both ways. Either your creator of everything is doing what you say your bible says he does, or you were fibbing and you don’t believe what you said.

    Your whole religion is a giant farce. Just get over it.

  • LOL Sandi Luckins, you lecherous old cougar and despicable bigot, your Jesus died and rotted away long long ago and never was a divine being, and he ain’t existing let alone loving anything now.

    Your whole religion is a giant farce. Just get over it, you deluded old wingnut.

  • LOL back at you, Sandi Luckins you lecherous old cougar and despicable bigot, your religion never delivers on its promise and your bible not only is full of lies -it even contradicts itself repeatedly!

  • Oh please. Crossan bases his worn-out dropped-dead conclusions NOT on unbiased historical homework, but instead on his own messed-up personal rejection of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    (Crossan accuses God of divine child abuse. Why? Because Jesus, the only-begotten Son of God, took the time to die on the cross for Crossan’s dirty-butt sins.)

  • As a result of typology, traditional Catholic doctrine turned the Father into a *divine child abuser*. After all, God Sent His Only Begotten Son to Die for Us on the Cross to Save Us from Our Sins (read: Hell). This kind of belief would demonstrate the Father sacrificing His Son. Ergo, the Church would need cultic “priests” to offer the “Victim” (read: Jesus) on the “altar”. What this orthotoxic doctrine effectively ignores or deliberately denies is that Jesus’ “sacrifice” was “self-sacrifice”. Jesus was not sacrificed by the Father.

    But tell the above to self-described “orthodox” or “traditionalist” Catholics and be labeled by them as a “Heretic”. A certain subset of Catholics is so ignorant of church history and doctrine. Sad.

  • If that’s what god so desperately wants, I’m sure he’ll find a way. But once again, you simply have no problem assuring me that you are personally acquainted with the mind of god.

    And therein lies the problem.

  • Reese is not denying Hell as a reality. Like JPII and Francis, the author is saying that Hell is a state of being. You’re engaging in eisegesis.

  • Because its not nonsense. It has facts that support it. Atheism is nonsense. It has no facts that support it and it leads to all kinds of absurd ideas.

  • Huh??? Ever read 4 different accounts of 911? Each account gives different details yet no one who was alive that day knew it happened if they were aware of it.

  • I have no reason not to think He didn’t say those words. If He didn’t, then who wrote these words down were smarter than Jesus. Don’t forget that Jesus is the most influential man in history.

  • Your being wrong really has nothing at all to do with a deity.

    It seems to source from:

    – your inherent arrogance, which

    – prevents your recognizing you’re firing blanks, and

    – your complete hatred of religions and those who adhere to them, although

    – you feign not to hate them.

    It would be sad except that you seem to deserve yourself.

  • Ben,

    I just felt compelled to share what the Bible teaches on the matter! That’s what I believe to be the truth, and I also have no fear of death at all!☝️

    The doctrine of “hellfire,” aside from what the Bible teaches, never made any sense to me.? If a person is “feeling” torment forever in “hell,” then he/she is definitely still alive…not dead! And since God’s most prominent quality is love ???, that eternal torment ????would definitely go against his grain and personality! “Sleep” is definitely more loving and comfortable so that even I could handle it!!?

    Many believe that the “lake of fire” referenced in the book of Revelation (some of which is both symbolic and literal), represents “eternal torment.” However, Revelation refers to both “death and hell” being thrown into it. Since death is a “condition of man” that cannot be thrown into something that is literal; and hell is the “common grave of mankind,” the lake of fire is just a “symbol” of “eternal destruction” with no hope of resurrection, which Satan and his demons are guaranteed to face ???after they test mankind one last time at the end of Jesus’ upcoming millennial rule.

    That is why God’s promise of no more death, pain or sad tears??? is promised to mankind on earth at Revelation 21:3,4, since those terrible conditions of man, and even the common grave, shall pass away or simply die!! ????☝️

  • Just1Name,

    The major preaching and teaching that Jesus did while on earth, and a major theme of the entire Bible, was about “God’s kingdom,” or heavenly government (Matthew 4:17). The apostles continued that work after Jesus died.

    That heavenly government will soon replace all human governments (Daniel 2:44).

    Jesus, as its King and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6, 7) will then start his loving, just and peaceful millennial reign over all meek mankind on earth, after destroying all wicked ones (Isaiah 11:1-5).

    His kingdom rule, and the benefits of his ransom sacrifice, will put an end to all pain and suffering, sickness and disease, old age, and even death (Revelation 21:3, 4).

    An innumerable amount of persons who have been sleeping in death will be resurrected from their graves back to life on earth throughout that rule (John 5:28,29).

  • Ben,

    As Doris Day used to sing way back in the day, que sera, sera…whatever will be, will be. Whatever God promises will, without fail, take place.

  • Fair enough, brother. But I tell you my problem. It’s like the captain of the winning soccer team accidentally got lost in the stadium after the match and found herself in the locker room of the losing club. They were arguing on the finer points of the cause of their defeat. She cared less, of course, because they’re losers and she & her teammates winners. Yet she got herself in the argument.

    I’m like her (so is floydlee, though the name suggests he’s a guy; anyway) and it’s fair to say that you, Reese, Francis & Paul John and your conservative Catholic naysayers make up the losing side.

    The match, you see, was already long ago played out & terminated. The Bible Christian doctrine of hell trumps the Catholic version. Not just on what or where hell is in God’s will in Jesus; but on why He wills it so. In other words, this in-house debate among Catholics just pales in comparison. So to what The Catechism of the Catholic Church establishes on this matter of hell.

    So, really, what I meant by Reese, Francis & Associates not believing hell exists, is in NOT the way Bible Christians believe hell exists. That’s one. The other is Francis told the truth privately to Eugenio Scalfari about his denial of hell’s existence – TWICE NOW. And each time afterward he chickened out in church & in public.

  • You’re a kind person, Fran.

    That’s why I always say that how someone reads the Bible very much depends upon what kind of person she is, rather than the other way around.

  • Awwww, Bobby joe or joe bob, whichever one of your two bilious personalities is emergent at the moment….

    Ya love me. I can tell. Ya really, really love me.

    But your ignorance of me and who I am is exceeded only by your bile.

  • Rather than just provide initials for what we both know it means, why don’t you actually say it out loud.

    But yes, you are right. I am a big Effin fig. The biggest fig you will ever meet. And proud of it.

    And I truly rejoice that your bilious personality cannot restrain itself from saying so, even though you didn’t spell it out, and wouldn’t, lest it disturb the image of yourself and your parrot friend that you truly wish other people saw you as.

    But if you really want to spell it out, please, please do so. We both know what really lurks in your black heart.

  • A charming conservative Catholic has spoken.

    The only vindictiveness I can see is you saying you hope his papacy terminates soon.

    Projection. Projection. Projection.

  • Jesus Christ makes Hell perfectly clear. in Luke 16,24..The Rich man,”‘for i am tormented in this flame.” Meaning, burning sensation. He asked to come back to warn his family.

  • Sure.

    Despite the fact that you could put everything you know about religion on a single sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper with a 1/8 inch margin in large type, you insist on commenting on religious matters with things like:

    “God loves you so much that he invented hell just in case you dont (sic) love him back.”

    And when you get a non-PC blow-it-out-your-barracks-bag response, we’re treated to your victim pose:

    “We both know what really lurks in your black heart.”

    It doesn’t take a Sigmund Freud to decipher it.

  • If that is indeed what Francis is trying to ‘point out’, then he needs to immediately resign as Pope. He has no business leading the Church if he doesn’t believe in what the Church has taught for over 2000 years.

  • I’m convinced Strom is an Admin here. I’ve had comments removed for minor guideline infractions. Nevertheless……………….she is one unhappy person. And very immature.

  • Very strange………………..RNS is a religious site; but yet 80% of the commenters are atheists. I’ll be honest………………..the last thing that I think about doing as something rewarding and fun to do, is comment on atheist sites. I have better things to do.

  • That is one way to look at it. BUT for someone who wants to see the church survive for another 1000 years it will have to change or go the way of the dinosaurs.

  • That guy is really sick! Christianity certainly hasn’t helped him become a better person, it has helped him become a worse person.

  • Sweetheart! Please, that is so juvenile. If you want to believe in a fantasy feel free to do so. I prefer to live an honest life, not a dishonest one.

  • I don’t need facts to prove he didn’t say those words. You have no facts to prove that he did.

    We know the Bible from start to finish is the work of men. Men make unsubstantiated claims (that God or Jesus said something) in order to give more credibility to what they write or say.

    They have no credibility with me, because I know God doesn’t exist.

  • The part about Jesus being the most influential man in history actually is debatable. Buddha is thought by many to be more influential, since he appeared long before Jesus and his religion still survives and many think it influenced the real man called Jesus. Then there is Mohammed and Islam is certainly more influential in many areas than Christianity.

    There is no denying that there is great wisdom in the pages of the Bible. The Sermon on the Mount is a beautiful piece, no matter who wrote it.

  • Francis is caught between that proverbial rock and a hard place. I think he is intelligent enough to realize how damaging a literal reading the Bible and Christian doctrine/theology has been to individuals and societies.

    BUT he realizes that the changes that need to be made will rock the very foundations the church has been built upon–the infallibility of the popes and priests.

    He is, so to speak, damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t make changes.

  • And that as with other passages was never meant to be read literally. Reading the Bible literally causes people to misunderstand (as in get wrong) the messages the Bible is trying to impart.

  • If the Catholic church, because of the words of Christ, told a fundamental falsity for 2000 years, it’s not clear what you want to survive for another 1000 years. In fact, if a fundamental dogma is false, the church has no reason to be believed and the Son became flash and died on the cross for nothing.
    Even after 2000 (or 200000) years, you are not in the position of knowing anything better than Jesus Christ about hell; unless He is no God, but in that case: why do we need a Catholic church at all for the next 1000 seconds?

  • Except that every person who has used that tired old cliche has to ignore the irrefutable fact that those religious institutions that do change all die and wither away faster than traditional institutions.
    There are no dinosaurs quite like theological liberals, who’ve been peddling the ‘keeping up with the times’ con job for 50 years, all the while seeing their membership hemorrhage by the tens of millions.
    Perhaps you don’t recall Shelby Spong’s late 80s book ‘Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism’. It’s subtitle was ‘Why Christianity Must Change or Die’.
    Spong is (or was) an Episcopal bishop, whose denomination embraced every new, faddish liberal notion that came along.
    The result? Episcopalianism is now virtually extinct, which is what Spong eventually admitted that he wanted all along – not for Christianity to change, but simply to die. He later declared himself an atheist, although he refused to give up his role as bishop. He simply preached his new faith from his old pulpit to a largely empty sanctuary.
    Every so-called ‘change’ you want for the Catholic Church has already been implemented in some other denomination. Why not go and join them?
    They have plenty of empty seats to choose from.

  • Call it whatever you want, hell is a condition where you have no contact with God, and this causes deep suffering for ever. You, and I, don’t know anything at all about after-life conditions: it may as well be that there’s something analogous to space (Gv 14,2), as you – and I – think that there is something analogous to emotional/mental states.
    In any case, the point about what the pope allegedly said has nothing at all to do with speculations about physicality or mentality; there are just a couple of plain heresies here:
    – hell (be it “physical” or “mental”) does not exists, and
    – (bad) souls are not immortal, since they disappear after death.
    The reverse sentences are both binding truths for Catholics, in full accord with Jesus’ words in the Gospels.

  • He does. Hell is a concept derived from the Bible without the slightest bit of evidence. Plus there is, IMO, confusion. The concept of hell or Sheol in the OT is different from hades in the NT. Also Revelation states that death and hell (hades) were thrown into the lake of fire – the second death. Is it a physical realm? If so, then how will our corporeal bodies allow it to be eternal? Is it really a spiritual abyss – a separation from god? All of this is speculation and interpretation of a flawed book of mythology. I tended to agree with the JW idea of no hell. It is easier to deal with and your god comes off as less brutal.

  • Because they are written in the Gospel. And what argument have you to support the contrary view? Nothing.
    Thank you very much.

  • Yea, you need that, because there are written sources reporting that he actually said so. This is a fact. Does it “prove” it? Of course not, but it is “a proof”, that is some evidence and you should contrast that with other evidence (if you are serious, I mean); while your assertion that you “know” God does not exist neither proves anything nor is evidence of anything.
    Of course the Bible is written by men, who said the contrary? But it was written by (or according to the witness of) men who lived with Jesus and saw what he did and said. You don’t believe even that fact? Well, feel free for that, but you have to substantiate your ideas with arguments (beside your emotional omniscience) if you enter a public discussion.

  • Susan, no one can change your opinion, or your heart, and that is not my intention, because I do not have the power to do that. I would ask you to start thinking about origins, and look at both special and general revelation.

    For me personally, it is impossible to believe that our universe, and ourselves came about by random chance. What are the odds of a protein molecule occurring by random chance? Do the math.

    I then ask how would God/Creator, reveal himself to his creation, and how would he draw his creation to himself in a relationship?

    Of all the religions, Christianity is the only one where the creator reached down to commune with his creation. Think about it. Jesus was God incarnate, and He came to save us from our sinful nature, by given us a choice. By giving us the free will to choose Him or to choose otherwise.

    You have the freedom to make your own choice, and that is because God loves you. He could have made us all love him automatically, but that would not have been true love. He wants individuals to come to him of their own will, by accepting His Love through Jesus Christ.

    If I am correct Billy Graham defined hell as eternal separation from God, along with many other historical theologians. And people will choose to send themselves there. No one really knows what that reality will be like, but we can surmise that living in the presence of the Creator of the Universe will be perfect.

  • Sorry but no. What the pope allegedly said, if Scalfari understood well, is that:
    – souls not going to Heaven just disappear,
    – so Hell does not exist.
    Both are heresies.
    I am Italian, Scalfari’s article is very clear and there was no explicit correction by the Vartican.
    It’s time to stop telling lies.

  • Susan, it would be helpful for you to study the hundreds of prophecies that have been fulfilled from the Bible. In addition the textual voracity of scripture is proven by comparing all available texts. There are minor differences but in the end they all get you back to the autographa, or the original texts.

    It sounds like there are issues that you have not explored in a critical manner. The Bible is the work of men inspired by the Holy Spirit to reveal the word of God.

    In the book of Luke, Pilate says to Jesus: “Are you the son of God? Jesus replies: “you say that I am”. I love that verse because Pilate is fulfilling an Old Testament prophecy by his actions against Jesus, and Jesus is responding “you” meaning what you are about to do to me, says that I am the Son of God. Pilate does not understand this.

  • You are so charming, bobblyjoe or joeblob.

    So, are you going to tell us what BFF means?

  • “For me personally, it is impossible to believe that our universe, and ourselves came about by random chance.”

    So you believe something entirely different. You can summarize the entirety of your post by that.

    But of course, you are wrong about Christianity being the only religion where god came down. The world’s religions are full of the same concepts of the savior god, often born of a Virgin, who died and was resurrected.

  • So, the words are true because you believe they are true and because the Bible says they are true. That’s a low standard of proof.

    2/3 of the world believes something different. A good portion of Christianity’s history has comprised Christians killing other Christians. Half of the super duper Christians posting here routinely damn the other Christians posting here for not being the right sort of Christian, when they are not damning everyone else.

    There is the argument that you were searching for.

  • You, and I, don’t know anything at all about after-life conditions:

    And yet the entirety of the your post asserts that you do.

  • Everywhere in the West, religion is declining. Liberal religion is declining faster simply because fear and damnation sell better than love one another. And of course, the hyper conservative attacks on other Christians for not being the right sort of Christian, as well as on everyone else that doesn’t toe your theological line, or object to the formication of church and statethat so many of you advocate, pushes more people away.

  • Sorry, but Reese has observed, “The pope has in fact spoken of hell in the past in a way that clearly indicates that he believes in it.” Reese gives examples. I would simply add that souls can “disappear” into hell.

    No lying here, and no “heresies”, either.

    It’s time to stop fabricating.

  • I disagree with everything you just wrote, but one cannot really argue with a closed-minded guy/gal like you.

  • Even more heresy!!!!!

    This is the only was to depict properly the face of The Smiling One:


    Rot in hell!

  • I think if folks read JoeMyGod for a week or so they’ll figure it out.

    While they’re over there they could adopt your mode of operation and make disparaging nasty remarks about the participants and their beliefs.

  • It’s not a religious site, but a site about religion, which includes atheists, as the religionists are always click to assure us.

    But you are wrong. On this thread alone, 14 are true believers, 6 are
    Atheists, 1 is somewhere in the middle.

  • Yet, Sandi Luckins, you are still a lecherous old cougar and despicable bigot, and still trying to get your leg up on old Roy…Strom had that right.

  • Did Edward Schillebeeckx “deny apostolic succession”?

    “[I]n The Church with a Human Face Schillebeeckx argued, on biblical-historical grounds, that the consecration to Catholic priesthood does not necessarily gain its validity from, and can therefore be detached from, apostolic succession; rather, the choice of priests (and as a consequence the celebration of the Eucharist) is dependent on the local church community.

    “However, despite three investigations with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the writings of Schillebeeckx were never condemned” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Schillebeeckx#Second_Vatican_Council).

    Here we return to the meaning of “apostolic succession”, not to mention the history of Roman Catholic ministerial orders.

  • Yes, Schillebeeckx argued, and argued, and danced around, and waffled, and argued some more.

    The notion that “that the consecration to Catholic priesthood does not necessarily gain
    its validity from, and can therefore be detached from, apostolic
    succession” was condemned by his own church, and runs headlong into the beliefs of Orthodox, Assyrian, Oriental Orthodox, Swedish and Finnish Lutherans, and by far the largest percentage of Christians in the world.

  • So-called “traditionalist” and/or “orthodox” Catholics enjoy tossing around the word ‘heresy’ like fixins’ in a salad. I don’t eat their salads, and neither do you. Good for us!

  • Bobbly joe or joe blob, you seem to obsess over me. but visiting gay websites? Ya know, there are easier way to look at slightly erotic pictures of men, ways that won’t ypset you so much. Or will.

  • All of the hyper religionists seem to have that problem. And a persecution complex. And a Need to project onto others. And an insistence that any disagreement is hate. Anfd that anyfdisagreement is evil.

    And and and and and and.

  • “Yes, Schillebeeckx argued, and argued, and danced around, and waffled, and argued some more.”

    So, in other words, Schillebeeckx did not “deny apostolic succession”.

    What does the term mean to you as a Catholic?

    “The notion that ‘that the consecration to Catholic priesthood does not necessarily gain
    its validity from, and can therefore be detached from, apostolic
    succession’ was condemned by his own church…”

    Please document the “condemnation”.

    Do the “Orthodox, Assyrian, Oriental Orthodox, Swedish and Finnish Lutherans” embrace the same understanding of “apostolic succession” as do you? Any evidence they do?

  • There are over 2 billion people today alone that swear allegiance to Christ. His teachings are known by billions. Sunday is known as the day of worship of Him.
    Can you tell me a couple of Muhammad’s teachings that has affected your life for the better and where I can I find them?

  • I have the records of 4 eyewitness accounts called the gospels where His sayings are found.

    What evidence do you have that God does not exist?

  • Schillebeeckx did a Raymond Brown.

    What he did was he did not “deny” apostolic succession. He admitted that there was a line of bishops laying on hands and ordaining deacons, priests, and successors going back to the apostles.

    However, you did not need that ordination.

    You could function as a deacon or priest without it, which effectively denies it.

    This was one of the issues which kept him visiting Rome and corresponding right up to his death since his evasions made it hard to pin down.

    Orthodox, Assyrian, Oriental Orthodox, Swedish and Finnish Lutherans do not recognize the ministry of priests or bishops who have no received ordination with the laying on of hands by someone in the apostolic succession. You’re quite capable of confirming that, and I am sure you already have since the topic so interests you.

    The condemnation took place at the Council of Trent dealing with the same proposition proposed by various Protestant denominations.


    “CANON X.-If any one saith, that all Christians have power to administer the word, and all the sacraments; let him be anathema.”

  • Dave, in Hinduism God doesn’t have to reach down to reveal himself to his creation because he is part of creation. Paul Tillich had a similar belief. Both of those views, in my opinion, make more sense than a God who creates humans whom he knows will sin (which calls into question free will) and thereby needs to sacrifice himself in-order to re-connect with the creatures he created to sin in the first place. How does this make sense and how does this show God’s love?

  • Dave, could it also be possible that whoever create the gospel of Luke was familiar with the OT prophecy and included that in the gospel to give it more credence?

  • The statement “creatures he created to sin in the first place” is inconsistent with the beliefs of mainstream Christianity.

  • Sandi, is God really giving anyone a choice when the options are either to believe or eternal torment?

  • Is Calvinism not part of mainstream Christianity? I have a problem with the idea that God gives one freewill if your choices are known ahead of time by God.

  • It isn’t José Carioca – it’s originating from the same address as “Lisa Strom”.

  • Would God really be giving anyone a choice if believing and disbelieving had the same payoffs?

  • That’s a parable. Jesus stated in the gospels that King David was still in hell (hades) – consistent with Jewish word Sheol. Hades gets thrown in the Lake of Fire. Far from cut and dried.

  • Several have but I don’t know where the 80% comes from besides being an exaggerated way to make a point. But even if they have, religion must have some significance in their life to draw them to site like this where they spend hours commenting.

  • Personally I do not consider Calvinism part of mainstream Christianity.

    As the three Abrahamic religions see God, the deity knows everything past, present, and future.

    I am not sure I see how that would affect anyone’s choices.

  • If I point at you and give you the choice between handing your wallet or experiencing a sharp pain in your chest, I believe I am giving you a choice.

    Or, I could just shoot you and skip the choice.

    Either way I get the wallet.

    Does that appeal to you more?

  • Is it choice or fate? If God knows your future ahead of time one cannot change it. To suggest that you can means God doesn’t know your future. If you can’t change it then you are either damned or saved from the start.

  • Read in Ben in Oakland.

    Sometimes sad people just like to share the pain by annoying others.

  • Bob, is it really a choice based out of love? Or out of love are you trying to save me from spending my money foolishly?

  • The statement “(i)f God knows your future ahead of time one cannot change it” is not logical. If you are damned or saved it is still your choice. It is not the deity’s fault that you choose one path or the other.

  • I don’t know anything about Ben but I do know that sometimes behind annoying comments are deep seated questions.

  • If your future is known ahead of time and there is no ability to change it then that is fate. Your life is predetermined from the start. From a person’s limited perspective there may be the illusion of choice but really there is not since ultimately you will act just as God has foreseen.

  • You would be better off considering this as a problem in relativity.

    From your perspective you experience two things: the passage of time, the making of choices.

    It’s not an illusion – you live in time and you exercise choices.

    From the perspective of a deity who created time and therefore does not experience the passage of time, the past, the present, and the future are all apprehended in the same way and all at once.

    Unless that deity compels you to A rather than B, its knowledge does not affect your choice.

    We can’t frame this because we can’t experience it. For us the future is at best probabilistic with sufficient knowledge.

    John Calvin always struck me as a third-rate theologian.

    His views on Original Sin and his misuse of Augustine to support it led the Orthodox to attribute his errors to the Catholic Church, which completely rejects Calvin’s thinking.

  • I did not realize that you were a hyper religionist until you delineated the characteristics.

  • I’ve no idea what a “Raymond Brown” is. This exegete was a highly respected biblical scholar both in the Church of Rome and among Christian scholars generally. Having perused his AN INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW TESTAMENT (1997), I’ve detected nothing contrary to Catholic doctrine in it. In fact, I recall him writing that he would be faithful to the Catholic tradition within the larger world of biblical studies.

    We do know the earliest Christians did not have ministerial ordination to any “priesthood”. Every Christian man and woman was a “priest” by virtue of his or her baptism. Unlike later practice in the Church of Rome, liturgical leadership, i.e., presidership, was based on the person’s community leadership. Ministerial ordination and the introduction of *ministerial priesthood* were later ecclesial developments over the course of several hundred years. Typology and its use to portray the superiority of Christian belief over Judaism played a key role in this trajectory culminating in institutional change.

    If Schillebeeckx advocated what you’ve described (and I’ll rely on your reply for purposes of discussion), he was being faithful to Catholic/Christian tradition. As Richard McBrien observed, Schillebeeckx, in his CHURCH: THE HUMAN STORY OF GOD (1990), “argues…for a democratic rule in the Church, free of authoritarian structures, and open to the Spirit who inspires all, without regard for canonical status” (McBrien, CATHOLICISM, 1994, p. 695). Perhaps in this picture, ordination, as you’ve noted, is not needed. (On the other hand, if Schillebeeckx held that there was a line of ordained — “laying on of hands” — bishops going back to the Twelve, we know there is no historical evidence to support this claim.) Vatican II’s LG-12 states, “The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One, cannot err in matters of belief…..[T]he people of God accepts that which is not just the word of men but truly the word of God.” It is the Church itself that is infallible at all times whereas a pope teaches infallibly only under the specified conditions (cf. Vatican I’s “Pastor Aeternus”, Chapter IV).

    Regarding the other Christian bodies you mention, Wikipedia’s entry for “Apostolic Succession” states, “Each of these groups does not necessarily consider consecration of the other groups as valid [per Encyclopaedia Britannica].”

    The Council of Trent knew nothing, of course, of Edward Schillebeeckx. In his TWENTIETH-CENTURY CATHOLIC THEOLOGIANS (Blackwell Publishing, 2007), Fergus Kerr writes in relevant part, “[O]n 20 November 1980, Schillebeeckx received a letter from the Congregation [for the Doctrine of the Faith] inviting him to clarify some points and remove some ambiguities — stating, however, that while some questions remained open on matters which are not in accord with the doctrine of the Church, they were in accord with the [Christian] faith. There was no ‘condemnation'” (Kerr, p. 57).

    The Council of Trent was not just a reform council. It was also a reactionary council. The bishops were on the defensive. They made claims that — today — cannot withstand historical scrutiny. To “muddy the waters”, a number of bishops believed their episcopal office was simply an honorific, an administrative function. They did not regard their own priestly status as any higher than the priestly status of the men they ordained to the regular ministerial priesthood!

    One thing I’ve concluded from my study of church history is that much of what we were taught years ago — and, regrettably, still taught today — is a mishmash of history colored by doctrine. This approach is obviously self-serving for the hierarchs. It was Joseph Ratzinger, I remind you, who wrote years ago that “facts, as history teaches, carry more weight than pure doctrine” (Ratzinger, THEOLOGICAL HIGHLIGHTS OF VATICAN II, Paulist Press, 1966, p. 16). Vatican II’s main theme was ecclesial renewal. In his COMMONWEAL article on women’s ordination, Robert Egan quotes the late theologian Bernard Lonergan, “The meaning of Vatican II was the acknowledgement of history.” To make the Church “new again”, we must be willing to confront the lessons of history.

  • My response to Susan explained why I believe what I believe with gentleness and respect.

    Of the major religions Christianity is the only one with a personal God who became incarnate in human flesh to create a relationship with His creation.

    Those who take the time to fully explore the beautiful message of the Bible are rarely disappointed.The message is that God loves you, and gave you the free will to spend eternity in His presence.

  • From quickly scanning the Wikipedis site on Gehenna, I learned the following:
    Jesus mentioned Gehenna several times in the New Testament as a place where unrepentant sinners would go. It historically was a place where a King of Judah sacrificed his children and later generations may have sacrificed their children. The Roman legions reportedly carried out cremations in the same area.
    Several Jewish commentaries list Gehenna as a type of Purgatory in which the maximum term of punishment/purification was 12 months. Several translations have mixed the term Gehenna with Hades, Hell, Sheol, and Tarturus.
    We mortals are not advanced enough to determine scientifically if there is a soul and an eternal afterlife exists. Based on faith, historical teachings, ghostly encounters, and the stories of people brought back to life, many of us are willing to believe in an afterlife where there is a Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell.

  • Mark, God gave his creation the free volition to act as they will. While God did not create evil, or sin, he did create the potential for evil by giving us free will. Otherwise he would have had to create automatons who had no choice but to love Him. And as you know that kind of love would not have been real.

    Both Hindus and Christians sin and are evil, as is all of humanity, we know that as a fact. The word of God (the Bible) is very clear about the solution for sin. Hindu’s acknowledge Jesus as a great prophet and an avatar. However, Jesus was very clear about who he was. As I mentioned before, when Jesus was asked if he was the son of God, he replied, “you say that I am”. On numerous other occasions in the Bible Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, the Chosen one, the Son of Man, and the Son of God. Jesus was not a prophet, or an avatar, He was God in Human Flesh.

    God is not part of the creation, He is the creator. He spoke and the universe leapt into existence. That is what scientists refer to as the Big Bang, or the beginning of the universe.

    Hinduism is largely pantheistic, and relies on the concepts of Kharma, and reincarnation to deal with the problem of sin and judgment. When and how will you eventually achieve Nirvana? This is the ultimate in cruelty, leaving Hindus to spend their lives wondering if they have done enough to move onto the next level.

    The God of Christianity says, I love you, I want you to love me. You are a sinner, and I am a just God. The punishment for sin is death, but if you love me, and accept my sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins, you will spend eternity with me in Heaven. There is no guessing with the God of the Bible, believe that Jesus died for your sins, accept the gift of salvation, and you are saved. It is the most beautiful message, there is nothing you can do to earn your salvation, but thankfully God has done it for us. As you become closer to Jesus you want to do his will, and love others, as He loves us.

  • Because God foresaw your choice, does not mean that you did not make the choice by your own free will.

  • This exegete was a highly respected scholar in the Church until his wonderfulness went to his head, and he had a series of skirmishes with it from the mid-70s until his death.

    Given your eccentric views, it’s no shock you detected nothing contrary to Catholic doctrine in it.

    We do know the earliest Christians had a ministerial ordination to the diaconate, priesthood, and episcopate. We even have extensive records of the rites used and a record of the meticulous documentation kept to ensure only the ordained performed sacerdotal duties.

    That ministerial ordination and the priesthood survive in churches which separated in the first few hundred years attests to the fact that this was not some later “Roman” innovation.

    The Catholic/Christian tradition is as described in the Church’s teaching documents.

    Citing the late Richard McBrien, whose major work had its approval removed by the American bishops, another zany fringe “scholar”, doesn’t help your argument.

    Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium actually states:

    “12. The holy People of God shares also in Christ’s prophetic office: it spreads abroad a living witness to him, especially by a life of faith and love and by offering to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips praising his name (cf. Heb. 13:15). The whole body of the faithful who have an anointing that comes from the holy one (cf. 1 Jn. 2:20 and 27) cannot err in matters of belief. This characteristic is shown in the supernatural appreciation of the faith (sensus fidei) of the whole people, when, ‘from the bishops to the last of the faithful” they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals. By this appreciation of the faith, aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth, the People of God, guided by the sacred teaching authority (magisterium), and obeying it, receives not the mere word of men, but truly the word of God (cf. 1 Th. 2:13), the faith once for all delivered to the saints (cf. Jude 3). The People unfailingly adheres to this faith, penetrates it more deeply with right judgment, and applies it more fully in daily life.”

    Without the bishops, nada.

    The Council of Trent luckily knew nothing of Edward Schillebeeckx, and apparently the contrary is true since his position contradicted it and was indistinguishable from a number of the Protestant positions it condemned.

    The Council of Trent taught infallibly.

  • I think his friendship with Eugenio Scalfari is beautiful & endearing. Think about it. The only time he can be a 100% honest to himself is when he’s with his atheistic friend!

    “Eugenio, Eugenio, I can’t take it anymore!”

    “Sit with me, Francisco, my old friend, tell me all about it.”

    Beautiful. Endearing.

    Not “damned” at all.

    Just not Catholic, is all.

    Hey, don’t ever forget, this Argentinian guy was buddy buddy with the junta in the old country!

  • I prefer “Open-Minded Sectarian”, actually.

    Or Straight & Narrow Yet Dialectical, that’s me.

  • It’s all part of accommodationism of religionists, just like Mormons who excluded blacks from the priesthood but allow them now (God was wrong!?) and now the Catholic Church supports evolution (God forgot to put that in the Bible!?).
    All myth, just like Adam and Eve as primordial couple, the Noachal Flood, virgin birth, the Resurrection, the Ascension.
    Myth, like “original sin” heritable to all humans till the end of time!!?
    No original sin, no need for redemption, no need for a savior, no need for resurrection, etc.
    I consider the foisting of the “afterlife” on people the ultimate crime against humanity.
    1) Guess who you must go through to attain it? The priesthood and clergy! Duh!
    2) No proof whatsoever exists of the afterlife. Does God prohibit ALL communication of the dead to the living(!) or is it all just a lie?!
    People need to take responsibility for their actions, here and now, as that’s all there is!

  • Then they love her and her use of language because I have had comments ‘removed’ for far, far, far less. A religious site who loves atheists more than they respect those who hold to a particular religion.

  • Just start calling him Bobosé :-). He’s actually used several other IDs here too (eh, little Jackie…).

    He’s a paid shill and snowflake for the NRA and other faux conservative causes, and now the NRA is being revealed as having been a front for Russian donors to Trump.

    Bobosé has been an active little boy…

  • I see you are new to trolling. Welcome to Disqus.

    Now, if you are going to stay, I recommend bringing your argumentation/rhetorical skills up a notch. Too many more inane comments like that will only get you blocked by the commenters who matter.

  • If there is no God, and there is no afterlife…then there is no right or wrong. There is no evil. There is no responsibility to anything or anyone else, because there is no indisputable source to declare that such things are.

    The idea that “there is no God…and therefore humans are obligated toward _____” is farcical. If there is no God, there is nothing worth serving beyond my own pleasure.

  • Oh, and by the way, there are a few living folks who have seen hell. One of the most terrifying accounts, for me, was this one online Christian who bravely & sincerely asked God to show him what the biblical Hell was really like.

    So God graciously showed him. But He didn’t show him the actual surroundings. Instead, God selected one current resident of Hell — just one, no more than that — and allowed this Christian guy to see this person’s face. But not even the resident’s entire face was shown — only the eyes of that one person were visible.

    Immediately the Christian asked God to bring him back, to get him outta there immediately. The Christian didn’t need any more divine Show-And-Tells after God answered his prayer.

  • Read the Koran. Islam was originally a very tolerant religion and promoted the advancement of knowledge between the faiths–Judaism, Christianity, Islam. Mathematics comes from the Arabs. Ever here of Arabic numerals? Hermetics originated in Egypt, and led to the field of chemistry. It was the climate promoted towards knowledge that is Islams greatest contribution to the world.

  • First Dave you don’t understand “random chance” and how matter has evolved over the centuries. The choices are neither random or by chance. Matter responds to conditions in the only ways that it can respond–which is different for different forms of matter. Nothing random or chancey.
    You need to ask yourself if those ‘revelations’ really come from God, OR from the Devil (the Devil is known as the great deceiver and nothing is more deceptive in my opinion than convincing folks they are listening to God when they aren’t!) OR from your own Ego.
    You are free to believe whatever nonsense you want. As I pointed out earlier I prefer to be honest and truthful rather than live a lie.

  • Sorry Dave you are wrong. You need to educate yourself about the world’s religions past and present. There is no excuse for your ignorance, OR for continuing to spread misinformation (called lies).
    Do you think that “gentelness” and “respectfulness” is the way I need to be treated?
    Respect is accepting that I hold opinions that are different from yours. Instead of trying to insist that I am wrong perhaps you should gently and respectfully simply state what you believe and let it go at that!

  • How about several: Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis, Dionysus. The concept of the death and resurrection of the Gods was found in The Golden Bough, by Frazer. You might want to read the book.

  • If the future is already known than how free are you to actually make a choice? Decisions are already made for you.

  • BUT Bob you only have the ILLUSION of exercising choices because the outcomes are already known. The explanation you give just doesn’t hold which is what the problem with free will has been from the first!

  • Osiris – Egyptian

    Set (Osiris’ brother) conspired with 72 accomplices to plot the assassination of Osiris. Set fooled Osiris into getting into a box, which Set then shut, sealed with lead, and threw into the Nile. Osiris’ wife, Isis, searched for his remains until she finally found him embedded in a tamarisk tree trunk, which was holding up the roof of a palace in Byblos on the Phoenician coast. She managed to remove the coffin and open it, but Osiris was already dead.

    She used a spell learned from her father and brought him back to life so he could impregnate her. Afterwards he died again and she hid his body in the desert. Months later, she gave birth to Horus. While she raised Horus, Set was hunting one night and came across the body of Osiris.

    Enraged, he tore the body into fourteen pieces and scattered them throughout the land. Isis gathered up all the parts of the body, except the penis (which had been eaten by a fish, the medjed) and bandaged them together for a proper burial. The gods were impressed by the devotion of Isis and resurrected Osiris as the god of the underworld.

    Boy, THAT sounds just like the story of Jesus.

    Dumuzid (Tammuz) – Mesopotamian

    In the epic poem “Inanna’s Descent into the Underworld”, Dumuzid’s wife Inanna escapes from the Underworld, but is pursued by a horde of galla demons, who insist that someone else must take her place in the Underworld. They first come upon Inanna’s sukkal Ninshubur and attempt to take her, but Inanna stops them, insisting that Ninshubur is her loyal servant. They next come upon Shara, Inanna’s beautician,and the demons attempt to take him, but Inanna insists that they may not, because he mourned for her. They come upon is Lulal, who is also in mourning, and Inanna stops them once again. Finally, they come upon Dumuzid, who is lavishly clothed and resting beneath a tree, or sitting on Inanna’s throne, entertained by slave-girls. Inanna, displeased, decrees that the demons shall take him, using language which echoes the speech Ereshkigal gave while condemning her. The demons then drag Dumuzid down to the Underworld.

    In the poem “The Return of Dumuzid”, Geshtinanna laments continually for days and nights over Dumuzid’s death, joined by Inanna, who has apparently experienced a change of heart, and Sirtur, Dumuzid’s mother. The three ladies mourn continually until a fly reveals to Inanna the location of her husband. Together, Inanna and Geshtinanna go to the place where the fly has told them they will find Dumuzid. They find him there and Inanna determines that, from that point onwards, Dumuzid will spend half of the year with her in Heaven and the other half of the year with her sister Ereshkigal in the Underworld.

    Another near CLONE of the Christian New Testament, eh?

    Adonis – Greek

    Adonis was the son of Myrrha, who was cursed by Aphrodite with insatiable lust for her own father, King Cinyras of Cyprus, after Myrrha’s mother bragged that her daughter was more beautiful than the goddess. Driven out after becoming pregnant, Myrrha was changed into a myrrh tree, but still gave birth to Adonis.

    Aphrodite found the baby, and took him to the underworld to be fostered by Persephone. She returned for him once he was grown and discovered him to be strikingly handsome. Persephone wanted to keep Adonis; Zeus settled the dispute by decreeing that Adonis would spend one third of the year with Aphrodite, one third with Persephone, and one third with whomever he chose. Adonis chose Aphrodite, and they remained constantly together.

    One day while Adonis was out hunting, he was wounded by a wild boar, and bled to death in Aphrodite’s arms.

    Sir James George Frazer, a late 19th cenutry anthropolgist, wrote about Adonis in his “The Golden Bough” (1890) and in later works. Frazer claimed that Adonis was just one example of the archetype of a “dying-and-rising god” found throughout all cultures intending to prove that all religions were fundamentally the same and that all the essential features of Christianity could be found in earlier religions. Frazer’s arguments were criticized as sloppy and amateurish from the beginning.

    Not much in common with Christianity there.

    Dionysus – Roman

    Dionysus’s mother was a mortal woman, Semele, and his father was Zeus, the king of the gods. Zeus’s wife, Hera, discovered the affair while Semele was pregnant. Appearing as an old crone, Hera befriended Semele, who confided in her that Zeus was the actual father of the baby in her womb. Hera pretended not to believe her, and planted seeds of doubt in Semele’s mind. Curious, Semele demanded of Zeus that he reveal himself in all his glory as proof of his godhood.

    Zeus begged her not to ask this, she persisted and he agreed. He came to her wreathed in bolts of lightning. Because mortals could not look upon an undisguised god without dying, and she perished in a blaze. Zeus rescued the unborn Dionysus by sewing him into his thigh. A few months later, Dionysus was born on Mount Pramnos in the island of Ikaria, where Zeus went to release the now-fully-grown baby from his thigh.

    His rebirth is the primary reason for the worship of Dionysus in several mystery religions.

    Wow, another near clone of Christianity!

    Not, not, not, and not.

  • What you’ve failed to demonstrate is how knowing the outcome determines it.

    If you jump from a 19th story window of building, I know what’s going to happen when the pavement stops your fall, but that doesn’t mean I cause it to happen.

  • Certainly if there is no deity, there is no natural law.

    Thus adios to:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

  • Krishna, Buddha, Horus, and in a pinch Quetzalcoatl. Among a slew of others. Odin wasn’t born of a Virgin, but he did sacrifice to himself to benefit mankind by hanging himself on a tree, which is another name for a cross, if you are familiar with medieval Lyrics and poetry.

    But do your own research. I would suggest a good starting place to you, but I don’t want to deprive you of another ChanCe to sneer and denigrate.

  • Krisha – Indian

    In Krishna charitas, Krishna is born to Devaki and her husband, Vasudeva of the Chandravanshi clan. Devaki’s brother is a tyrant named Kansa. At Devaki’s wedding, Kansa is told by fortune tellers that a child of Devaki would kill him. Kansa arranges to kill all of Devaki’s children. When Krishna is born, Vasudeva secretly carries the infant Krishna away across the Yamuna and exchanges him. When Kansa tries to kill the newborn, the exchanged baby appears as the Hindu goddess Durga, warning him that his death has arrived in his kingdom, and then disappears, according to the legends in the Puranas. Krishna grows up with Nanda and his wife Yasoda near modern-day Mathura. Two of Krishna’s siblings also survive, namely Balarama and Subhadra.

    Krishna’s childhood and youth describe him as a cow herder, a mischievous boy whose pranks earns him the nickname a Makhan Chor (butter thief), and a protector who steals the hearts of the people in both Gokul and Vrindavana.

    Even when he is battling with a serpent to protect others, he is described in Hindu texts as if he were playing a game.

    Krishna legends then describe his return to Mathura. He overthrows and kills the tyrant king, his uncle Kansa after quelling several assassination attempts by Kansa. He reinstates Kansa’s father, Ugrasena, as the king of the Yadavas and becomes a leading prince at the court. In one version of the Krishna story, as narrated by Shanta Rao, Krishna after Kamsa’s death leads the Yadavas to the newly built city of Dwaraka. Thereafter Pandavas rise. Krishna befriends Arjuna and the other Pandava princes of the Kuru kingdom. Krishna plays a key role in the Mahabharata.

    According to the epic poem “Mahabharata”, Krishna becomes Arjuna’s charioteer for the Kurukshetra War, but on the condition that he personally will not raise any weapon. Upon arrival at the battlefield, and seeing that the enemies are his family, his grandfather, and his cousins and loved ones, Arjuna is moved and says his heart will not allow him to fight and kill others. He would rather renounce the kingdom and put down his Gandiv (Arjuna’s bow). Krishna then advises him about the nature of life, ethics, and morality when one is faced with a war between good and evil, the impermanence of matter, the permanence of the soul and the good, duties and responsibilities, the nature of true peace and bliss and the different types of yoga to reach this state of bliss and inner liberation. This conversation between Krishna and Arjuna is presented as a discourse called the “Bhagavad Gita”.

    The Kurukshetra War leads to the death of all the hundred sons of Gandhari. On the night before Duryodhana’s death, Krishna visits Gandhari to offer his condolences. Feeling that Krishna deliberately did not put an end to the war, in a fit of rage and sorrow Gandhari places a curse on Krishna that he, along with everyone else from his Yadu dynasty, will perish. According to the Mahabharata, a fight breaks out at a festival among the Yadavas, who end up killing each other. Mistaking the sleeping Krishna for a deer, a hunter named Jara shoots an arrow that fatally injures him. Krishna forgives Jara and dies.

    After his death, Krishna returned to his transcendent abode directly because of his yogic concentration. Waiting gods such as Brahma and Indra were unable to trace the path Krishna took to leave his human incarnation and return to his abode.

    I can see the similarity.

    Both Krishna and Jesus were born.

    Next: Buddha.

  • As I said, do your own research, not just the research that appeals to you. Devake was worshipped as a Virgin, as was Isis, as was Mara.

  • Your second clause doesn’t follow from your first, your third clause doesn’t follow from the first two, the fourth is demonstrably wrong, the fifth ignores human biological and social evolution, and the sixth is wrong because there never was a an indisputable source, and there isn’t now.

    Your second paragraph is precisely why I would never go to a bible believing Christian with any sort of a moral question. You people obviously know nothing about it. Please stay away from my children.

  • I of III

    Gautama Buddha – Indian

    In Buddhist tradition Lumbini, in present-day Nepal, is the birthplace of the Buddha.

    Gautama was born as a Kshatriya, the son of Suddhodana, “an elected chief of the Shakya clan”, whose capital was Kapilavastu, and who were annexed by the growing Kingdom of Kosala during the Buddha’s lifetime. His mother, Maya (Mayadevi), Suddhodana’s wife, was a Koliyan princess. On the night Siddhartha was conceived, Queen Maya dreamt that a white elephant with six white tusks entered her right side, and ten months laterSiddhartha was born. As was the Shakya tradition, when his mother Queen Maya became pregnant, she left Kapilavastu for her father’s kingdom to give birth. However, her son is said to have been born on the way, at Lumbini, in a garden beneath a sal tree.

    Buddha’s mother died at his birth, a few days or seven days later. The infant was given the name Siddhartha (Pali: Siddhattha), meaning “he who achieves his aim”. During the birth celebrations, the hermit seer Asita journeyed from his mountain abode and announced that the child would either become a great king (chakravartin) or a great sadhu.

    Early texts suggest that Gautama was not familiar with the dominant religious teachings of his time until he left on his religious quest, which is said to have been motivated by existential concern for the human condition.

    Siddhartha was brought up by his mother’s younger sister, Maha Pajapati. By tradition, he is said to have been destined by birth to the life of a prince and had three palaces (for seasonal occupation) built for him. His father, said to be King Suddhodana, wishing for his son to be a great king, is said to have shielded him from religious teachings and from knowledge of human suffering.

    When he reached the age of 16, his father arranged his marriage to a cousin of the same age named Yasodhara. She gave birth to a son, named Rahula. Siddhartha is spent 29 years as a prince in Kapilavastu. Although his father ensured that Siddhartha was provided with everything he could want or need, the future Buddha felt that material wealth was not life’s ultimate goal.

    At the age of 29, Siddhartha left his palace to meet his subjects. Despite his father’s efforts to hide from him the sick, aged and suffering, Siddhartha saw an old man. When his charioteer Channa explained to him that all people grew old, the prince went on further trips beyond the palace. On these he encountered a diseased man, a decaying corpse, and an ascetic. These depressed him, and he initially strove to overcome aging, sickness, and death by living the life of an ascetic.

    Accompanied by Channa and riding his horse Kanthaka, Gautama quit his palace for the life of a mendicant.

    Gautama initially went to Rajagaha and began his ascetic life by begging for alms in the street. After King Bimbisara’s men recognised Siddhartha and the king learned of his quest, Bimbisara offered Siddhartha the throne. Siddhartha rejected the offer but promised to visit his kingdom of Magadha first, upon attaining enlightenment.

    He left Rajagaha and practised under two hermit teachers of yogic meditation.After mastering the teachings of Alara Kalama, he was asked by Kalama to succeed him. However, Gautama felt unsatisfied by the practice, and moved on to become a student of yoga with Udaka Ramaputta. With him he achieved high levels of meditative consciousness and was again asked to succeed his teacher. But, once more, he was not satisfied, and again moved on.

    After realizing that meditative dhyana was the right path to awakening, but that extreme asceticism didn’t work, Gautama discovered what Buddhists know as being, the Middle Way – a path of moderation away from the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification, or the Noble Eightfold Path, as described in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, which is regarded as the first discourse of the Buddha.

    Gautama was famously seated under a pipal tree – now known as the Bodhi tree – in Bodh Gaya, India, when he vowed never to arise until he had found the truth. Kaundinya and four other companions, believing that he had abandoned his search and become undisciplined, ceased to stay with him, and went to somewhere else. After a reputed 49 days of meditation, at the age of 35, he is said to have attained Enlightenment, and became known as the Buddha or “Awakened One”.

    He realized complete insight into the Four Noble Truths, thereby attaining liberation from samsara, the endless cycle of rebirth, suffering and dying again.

    Nirvana is the extinguishing of the “fires” of desire, hatred, and ignorance, that keep the cycle of suffering and rebirth going. Nirvana is also regarded as the “end of the world”, in that no personal identity or boundaries of the mind remain.

    After his awakening, the Buddha debated whether or not he should teach the Dharma to others. He was concerned that humans were so overpowered by ignorance, greed and hatred that they could never recognise the path, which is subtle, deep and hard to grasp. However, Brahma Sahampati convinced him, arguing that at least some will understand it. The Buddha relented, and agreed to teach.

    After his awakening, the Buddha met Taphussa and Bhallika – two merchant brothers from the city of Balkh in what is currently Afghanistan – who became his first lay disciples. It is said that each was given hairs from his head, which are now claimed to be enshrined as relics in the Shwe Dagon Temple in Rangoon, Burma. The Buddha intended to visit Asita, and his former teachers, Alara Kalama and Udaka Ramaputta, to explain his findings, but they had already died.

  • II of III

    He then travelled to the Deer Park near Varanasi (Benares) in northern India, where he set in motion what Buddhists call the Wheel of Dharma by delivering his first sermon to the five companions with whom he had sought enlightenment. Together with him, they formed the first company of Buddhist monks.

    All five become arahants, and within the first two months, with the conversion of Yasa and fifty-four of his friends, the number of such arahants is said to have grown to 60. The conversion of three brothers named Kassapa followed, with their reputed 200, 300 and 500 disciples, respectively. This swelled the sangha to more than 1,000.

    For the remaining 45 years of his life, the Buddha is said to have traveled in the Gangetic Plain, in what is now Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and southern Nepal, teaching a diverse range of people: from nobles to servants, murderers such as Angulimala, and cannibals such as Alavaka.

    The sangha traveled through the subcontinent, expounding the dharma. This continued throughout the year, except during the four months of the Vassa rainy season when ascetics of all religions rarely traveled. One reason was that it was more difficult to do so without causing harm to animal life. At this time of year, the sangha would retreat to monasteries, public parks or forests, where people would come to them. A view of Vulture Peak, Rajgir, India where the Atanatiya Sutta was held

    The first vassana was spent at Varanasi when the sangha was formed. After this, the Buddha kept a promise to travel to Rajagaha, capital of Magadha, to visit King Bimbisara. During this visit, Sariputta and Maudgalyayana were converted by Assaji, one of the first five disciples, after which they were to become the Buddha’s two foremost followers. The Buddha spent the next three seasons at Veluvana Bamboo Grove monastery in Rajagaha, the capital of Magadha.

    Upon hearing of his son’s awakening, Suddhodana sent, over a period, ten delegations to ask him to return to Kapilavastu. On the first nine occasions, the delegates failed to deliver the message and instead joined the sangha to become arahants. The tenth delegation, led by Kaludayi, a childhood friend of Gautama’s (who also became an arahant), however, delivered the message.

    Now two years after his awakening, the Buddha agreed to return, and made a two-month journey by foot to Kapilavastu, teaching the dharma as he went. At his return, the royal palace prepared a midday meal, but the sangha was making an alms round in Kapilavastu. Hearing this, Suddhodana approached his son, the Buddha, saying:

    “Ours is the warrior lineage of Mahamassata, and not a single warrior has gone seeking alms.”

    The Buddha is said to have replied:

    “That is not the custom of your royal lineage. But it is the custom of my Buddha lineage. Several thousands of Buddhas have gone by seeking alms.”

    Buddhist texts say that Suddhodana invited the sangha into the palace for the meal, followed by a dharma talk. After this he is said to have become a sotapanna. During the visit, many members of the royal family joined the sangha. The Buddha’s cousins Ananda and Anuruddha became two of his five chief disciples. At the age of seven, his son Rahula also joined, and became one of his ten chief disciples. His half-brother Nanda also joined and became an arahant.

    Of the Buddha’s disciples, Sariputta, Maudgalyayana, Mahakasyapa, Ananda and Anuruddha are believed to have been the five closest to him. His ten foremost disciples were reputedly completed by the quintet of Upali, Subhoti, Rahula, Mahakaccana and Punna.

    In the fifth vassana, the Buddha was staying at Mahavana near Vesali when he heard news of the impending death of his father. He is said to have gone to Suddhodana and taught the dharma, after which his father became an arahant.

    The king’s death and cremation was to inspire the creation of an order of nuns. Buddhist texts record that the Buddha was reluctant to enjoin women. His foster mother Maha Pajapati, for example, approached him, asking to join the sangha, but he refused. Maha Pajapati, however, was so intent on the path of awakening that she led a group of royal Sakyan and Koliyan ladies, which followed the sangha on a long journey to Rajagaha. In time, after Ananda championed their cause, the Buddha is said to have reconsidered and, five years after the formation of the sangha, agreed to the ordination of women as nuns. He reasoned that males and females had an equal capacity for awakening. But he gave women additional rules (Vinaya) to follow.

    According to the Mahaparinibbana Sutta of the Pali canon, at the age of 80, the Buddha announced that he would soon reach Parinirvana, or the final deathless state, and abandon his earthly body. After this, the Buddha ate his last meal, which he had received as an offering from a blacksmith named Cunda. Falling violently ill, Buddha instructed his attendant Ananda to convince Cunda that the meal eaten at his place had nothing to do with his passing and that his meal would be a source of the greatest merit as it provided the last meal for a Buddha.

    The precise contents of the Buddha’s final meal are not clear, due to variant scriptural traditions and ambiguity over the translation of certain significant terms; the Theravada tradition generally believes that the Buddha was offered some kind of pork, while the Mahayana tradition believes that the Buddha consumed some sort of truffle or other mushroom.

  • III of III

    According to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha died at Kusinara (present-day Kushinagar, India), which became a pilgrimage center. Ananda protested the Buddha’s decision to enter Parinirvana in the abandoned jungles of Kusinara of the Malla kingdom. The Buddha, however, is said to have reminded Ananda how Kushinara was a land once ruled by a righteous wheel-turning king and the appropriate place for him to die.

    The Buddha then asked all the attendant Bhikkhus to clarify any doubts or questions they had and cleared them all in a way which others could not do. They had none. According to Buddhist scriptures, he then finally entered Parinirvana. The Buddha’s final words are reported to have been: “All composite things are perishable. Strive for your own liberation with diligence”. His body was cremated and the relics were placed in monuments or stupas, some of which are believed to have survived until the present. For example, the Temple of the Tooth or “Dalada Maligawa” in Sri Lanka is the place where what some believe to be the relic of the right tooth of Buddha is kept at present.

    The actual date traditionally accepted as the date of the Buddha’s death in Theravada countries is 544 or 545 BCE, because the reign of Emperor Asoka was traditionally reckoned to be about 60 years earlier than current estimates.

    At his death, the Buddha is famously believed to have told his disciples to follow no leader. Mahakasyapa was chosen by the sangha to be the chairman of the First Buddhist Council, with the two chief disciples Maudgalyayana and Sariputta having died before the Buddha.

    Just like Jesus, except for the elephants and some other minor details like no resurrection, no divine father, no dying for men’s sins, no claim of divinity, and so on.

    Otherwise the same thing.

  • Horus – Egyptian

    Horus was born to the goddess Isis after she retrieved all the dismembered body parts of her murdered husband Osiris, except his penis, which was thrown into the Nile and eaten by a catfish, or sometimes depicted as instead by a crab, and according to Plutarch’s account used her magic powers to resurrect Osiris and fashion a golden phallus to conceive her son.

    Once Isis knew she was pregnant with Horus, she fled to the Nile Delta marshlands to hide from her brother Set, who jealously killed Osiris and who she knew would want to kill their son. There Isis bore a divine son, Horus.

    Since Horus was said to be the sky, he was considered to also contain the sun and moon.The reason that the moon was not as bright as the sun was explained by a tale, known as The Contendings of Horus and Seth. In this tale, it was said that Set, the patron of Upper Egypt, and Horus, the patron of Lower Egypt, had battled for Egypt brutally, with neither side victorious, until eventually the gods sided with Horus.

    As Horus was the ultimate victor he became known as”Horus the Great”, but more usually translated “Horus the Elder”. In the struggle, Set had lost a testicle, explaining why the desert, which Set represented, is infertile. Horus’ left eye had also been gouged out, then a new eye was created by part of Khonsu, the moon god, and was replaced.

    Horus was occasionally shown in art as a naked boy with a finger in his mouth sitting on a lotus with his mother. In the form of a youth, Horus was referred to as”Good Horus”.

    The Eye of Horus is an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection and royal power from deities, in this case from Horus or Ra. The symbol is seen on images of Horus’ mother, Isis, and on other deities associated with her. In the Egyptian language, the word for this symbol was “wedjat”. It was the eye of one of the earliest of Egyptian deities, Wadjet, who later became associated with Bastet, Mut, and Hathor as well. Wadjet was a solar deity and this symbol began as her all-seeing eye. In early artwork, Hathor is also depicted with this eye. Funerary amulets were often made in the shape of the Eye of Horus. The Wedjat or Eye of Horus is “the central element” of seven “gold, faience, carnelian and lapis lazuli” bracelets found on the mummy of Shoshenq II. The Wedjat “was intended to protect the king in the afterlife” and to ward off evil. Egyptian and Near Eastern sailors would frequently paint the symbol on the bow of their vessel to ensure safe sea travel.

    Horus was told by his mother, Isis, to protect the people of Egypt from Set, the god of the desert, who had killed Horus’ father, Osiris. Horus had many battles with Set, not only to avenge his father, but to choose the rightful ruler of Egypt. In these battles, Horus came to be associated with Lower Egypt, and became its patron.

    According to The Contendings of Horus and Seth, Set is depicted as trying to prove his dominance by seducing Horus and then having sexual intercourse with him. However, Horus places his hand between his thighs and catches Set’s semen, then subsequently throws it in the river so that he may not be said to have been inseminated by Set. Horus then deliberately spreads his own semen on some lettuce, which was Set’s favorite food. After Set had eaten the lettuce, they went to the gods to try to settle the argument over the rule of Egypt. The gods first listened to Set’s claim of dominance over Horus, and call his semen forth, but it answered from the river, invalidating his claim. Then, the gods listened to Horus’ claim of having dominated Set, and call his semen forth, and it answered from inside Set.

    However, Set still refused to relent, and the other gods were getting tired from over eighty years of fighting and challenges. Horus and Set challenged each other to a boat race, where they each raced in a boat made of stone. Horus and Set agreed, and the race started. But Horus had an edge: his boat was made of wood painted to resemble stone, rather than true stone. Set’s boat, being made of heavy stone, sank, but Horus’ did not. Horus then won the race, and Set stepped down and officially gave Horus the throne of Egypt. After the New Kingdom, Set was still considered lord of the desert and its oases.

    In many versions of the story, Horus and Set divide the realm between them. This division can be equated with any of several fundamental dualities that the Egyptians saw in their world. Horus may receive the fertile lands around the Nile, the core of Egyptian civilization, in which case Set takes the barren desert or the foreign lands that are associated with it; Horus may rule the earth while Set dwells in the sky; and each god may take one of the two traditional halves of the country, Upper and Lower Egypt, in which case either god may be connected with either region. Yet in the Memphite Theology, Geb, as judge, first apportions the realm between the claimants and then reverses himself, awarding sole control to Horus. In this peaceable union, Horus and Set are reconciled, and the dualities that they represent have been resolved into a united whole. Through this resolution, order is restored after the tumultuous conflict.

    Again, another close parallel to Jesus, except for the golden phallus, Mary not being a goddess, his left eye not being gouged out, the lack of polytheism, resurrection, dying for sin, and a few other, minor I am sure, details.

  • The truth is much simpler. The author of the piece never takes notes during “interviews” and admits to taking great liberties in writing creative quotes. Pope Francis never said that there was no hell. Everything that he has said indicates that he does, in fact, believe in hell.

  • Quetzalcoatl – Mesoamerica

    There are several stories about the birth of Quetzalcoatl. In one version Quetzalcoatl was born by a virgin named Chimalman, to whom the god Onteol appeared in a dream. In another story, the virgin Chimalman conceived Quetzalcoatl swallowing an emerald. A third story narrates that Chimalman was hit in the womb by an arrow shot by Mixcoatl and nine months later she gave birth to a child which was called Quetzalcoatl. A fourth story narrates that Quetzalcoatl was born from Coatlicue, who already had four hundred children who formed the stars of the Milky Way.

    According to another version of the myth, Quetzalcoatl is one of the four sons of Ometecuhtli and Omecihuatl, the four Tezcatlipocas, each of whom presides over one of the four cardinal directions. Over the West presides the White Tezcatlipoca, Quetzalcoatl, the god of light, justice, mercy and wind. Over the South presides the Blue Tezcatlipoca, Huitzilopochtli, the god of war. Over the East presides the Red Tezcatlipoca, Xipe Totec, the god of gold, farming and springtime. And over the North presides the Black Tezcatlipoca, known by no other name than Tezcatlipoca, the god of judgment, night, deceit, sorcery and the Earth. Quetzalcoatl was often considered the god of the morning star, and his twin brother Xolotl was the evening star (Venus). As the morning star, he was known by the title Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, meaning “lord of the star of the dawn.” He was known as the inventor of books and the calendar, the giver of maize (corn) to mankind, and sometimes as a symbol of death and resurrection. Quetzalcoatl was also the patron of the priests and the title of the twin Aztec high priests. Some legends describe him as opposed to human sacrifice while others describe him practicing it.

    Most Mesoamerican beliefs included cycles of suns. Often our current time was considered the fifth sun, the previous four having been destroyed by flood, fire and the like. Quetzalcoatl went to Mictlan, the underworld, and created fifth-world mankind from the bones of the previous races (with the help of Cihuacoatl), using his own blood, from a wound he inflicted on his earlobes, calves, tongue, and penis, to imbue the bones with new life.

    In the Codex Chimalpopoca, it is said Quetzalcoatl was coerced by Tezcatlipoca into becoming drunk on pulque, cavorting with his sister, Quetzalpetlatl, a celibate priestess, and neglecting their religious duties. (Many academics conclude this passage implies incest.) The next morning, Quetzalcoatl, feeling shame and regret, had his servants build him a stone chest, adorn him in turquoise, and then, laying in the chest, set himself on fire. His ashes rose into the sky and then his heart followed, becoming the morning star (see Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli).

    More startling parallels with Jesus. There was a 20% chance Quetzalcoatl was born of a virgin. Of course Jesus did not give corn to mankind and was silent on human sacrifice pro or con. Nor do we find anything in the New Testament about Jesus cavorting drunk with anyone.

    Bottom line: anyone with enough imagination to buy any significant parallel between those pagan gods and the story in the New Testament should have less trouble buying the story in the New Testament.

  • Obviously it must have been God. If that is there is one. Which is what religious scholars have argued for centuries. Other arguments have been based on the claims of some like Fesser and Kreeft (not sure I spelled those right) that God is in full control of everything at all times, nothing is done that he doesn’t want done. Again throwing into question the whole idea of free will. If people are curious about the full details of the arguments I suggest they google the term free will. Too much to go into with short comment space.

  • That analogy doesn’t work. Because you didn’t know that I would jump from the window before I made the jump and supposedly God does know. Therefore I am not really making a free choice, as someone else pointed out it was predetermined to be my fate.

  • Physics. History, Current Events. Arguments made by Christian apolgetics. Check out my essays on the Religious Tolerance website. The latest one was in March under the New Essays tab–Why a Perfect Being cannot Exist.

  • Dave it would be wise for you to read something other than the Bible and read the work of respected Biblical scholars. There are obviously issues you have not explored in a critical manner and there is really no excuse for your ignorance.

    The Bible is the work of men who were determined to prove their “truth” so the stories were modified (as in edited) to present particular points of view. The publication and study of the Dead Sea Scroll and Nag Hamadi materials has shown how texts have been modified to present particular view points, and what were most likely simple transcription (as in copying errors) and what have been translation errors.

    There is a wealth of information about the Bible that you have obviously never investigated.

  • No Mr. Pagliaro. The 4 gospels were written 30 – 40 years after the death of Jesus and none of the writers knew him personally. Many have claimed they were divinely inspired but there is no proof of that and the writers themselves don’t make those claims. You need to educate yourself before you enter a public discussion. There is no excuse for your ignorance.

  • That is entirely reasonable, and I’d like to think correct. But then why the obvious non-denial denial?

  • Even if I knew you were going to jump, if I decided your free will entitled you to that choice, I would still let you jump.

    Since the Judeo-Christian deity truly grants free will, it does not intervene.

    Therefore, you are really making a free choice.

    The only way that you could be deprived of free will would be if the deity compelled you to choose A over B.

  • In the Judeo-Christian view of God, nothing is done that God does not permit.

    Since that deity wishes you to have truly free will, it does not intervene in your choices.

    Trying to use preknowledge to kneecap free will does not work.

  • You are talking past each other. PP is saying that Scalfari’s depiction of the Holy Father’s statements would render those statements heresies, which is true. He never says that Scalfari’s depiction is accurate, but worries about the Vatican’s non-denial denial — which is perfectly fair.

  • The Gospel, was never meant to be read literally. It is NOT an historical account of events. The stories were first passed orally in a pre-literate society. Stories were used to impart information that was deemed important for a particular group to know. Story tellers would change names, add local landmarks and known events to make the stories memorable. BUT it was the message hidden within the story that was important.

    One example is the story of the good Samaritan. It doesn’t matter if there ever was such an actual event, that is totally irrelevant. What is important is the message that the man stopped and helped a stranger and the religious leaders of the day passed the injured man by and ignored him.

    The resurrection stories also have a hidden message. NOT that there was a bodily resurrection BUT that they eyes and ears and hearts of the disciples were opened when they saw the essence of Jesus/God (the common humanity) in the gardener, and the strangers.

    You need to educate yourself about the Bible. You have missed the beauty of what it has to teach you.

  • The Him of Sunday isn’t Jesus or the Christian God it is Sol Invictus, a pagan God.

  • The shame is yours Mr. Callahan. it is important on public forums that all sides of the issues have a chance to make their points. As long as people are going to insist that the laws of this land must adhere to their religious beliefs, or that they be given a free pass so the laws don’t apply to them, because they claim they are following God’s word THEN folks like me need to speak up honestly and forthrightly and tell the TRUTH. It is time to stop the lies and the misinformation.

    If you can’t face the Truth (other viewpoints) you are the one that needs to go somewhere else.

  • I’m not sure what you are referring to. It’s been reported that recommendations have been made that Pope Francis not agree to interviews with this guy (as he has a habit of putting words in people’s mouths) but Pope Francis, for some reason has taken a liking to him.

  • The claim is made by some that the “Judeo-Christian” deity grants free will AND it is made by some that said God doesn’t and the debate has been going on between the two groups for centuries with no clear winner.

    I fully accept that people have some degree of free will BUT it doesn’t come as a gift from a deity!

  • The point is Bob that stories are shared and some parts used, some parts modified, and some parts rejected. There is not claim that any of the stories are identical. Besides look up the birth of Osiris not of his son!

  • I agree. I am reminded of “Flatland,” and one two-dimensional being trying to explain to another where “up” is.

  • “This is the only was to depict properly the face of The Smiling One:


    Rot in hell!”

    Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

    As an expression of my repentance, I hereby acknowledge the truth of your instruction:


    Please forgive me.

  • Let’s wait for a clear, unambiguous clarification from the pope. In the meantime, I’m convinced that Francis believes there is a hell, just not its physical manifestation taught for centuries by the Church of Rome to scare the bejeezus out of us little kids years ago. Thank you for taking the time to reply.

  • The physical manifestation to which you refer was never a teaching, dogmatic or otherwise. In any case being scared of Hell is quite sensible.

  • Or even more simply, if you see a stupid and completely irrelevant comment, chances are it’s Lisa’s.

  • The statement that “stories are shared and some parts used, some parts modified, and some parts rejected” more or less rests on the ASSUMPTION that none of them are original.

    That is an assumption rather than a fact.

    That’s more or less what got Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer in a bit of sticky wicket.

    After getting severely drubbed, Frazer himself accepted that his theories were speculative and that the associations he made were circumstantial and usually based only on resemblance.

    Ludwig Wittgenstein in “Remarks on Frazer’s Golden Bough” (1979), wrote: “Frazer is much more savage than most of his ‘savages’ [since] his explanations of [their] observances are much cruder than the sense of the observances themselves.”

    There’s only so many ways to construct a pantheon of imaginary deities, and the ancients appear to have covered most of them.

  • The minority who claims that God doesn’t are Calvinists.

    Even most Calvinists don’t take Calvin seriously anymore.

    In any case, your argument doesn’t sink or even dent free will.

  • My alleged “eccentric views” are in full accord with church history.

    You claim, “We do know the earliest Christians had a ministerial ordination to the diaconate, priesthood, and episcopate. We even have extensive records of the rites used and a record of the meticulous documentation kept to ensure only the ordained performed sacerdotal duties.”

    Please document.

    You write, “The Catholic/Christian tradition is as described in the Church’s teaching documents.”

    If by “tradition” you are referring to the characteristic mishmash of doctrinally flavored “history”, then I most certainly agree. Otherwise, history being on my side, we most certainly disagree.

    Thank you for quoting LG-12. As to your mention of the bishops, please note the following: “By this appreciation of the faith, aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth, the People of God, guided by the sacred teaching authority (magisterium), and obeying it, receives not the mere word of men, but truly the word of God (cf. 1 Th. 2:13), the faith once for all delivered to the saints (cf. Jude 3). The People unfailingly adheres to this faith, penetrates it more deeply with right judgment,…” In other words, the People of God — all of us baptized — are responsible for distinguishing “the mere word of men” (read: “hierarchs”) from the true “word of God, the faith once for all delivered to the saints.” We are expected to “adhere to this faith” and to exercise “right judgment” to gain a better understanding and appreciation of the one and only Christian faith.

    Yes, the Council of Trent taught infallibly. The modern question is, What takes precedence, history or doctrine? Does doctrine inform history, or should not actual history inform church doctrine? Rome values faith *and* reason. Theology, as St. Anselm wrote, is “faith seeking understanding”. A critical source of our understanding is genuine history, not a self-serving attempt to maintain ecclesiastical/canonical authority over the “sheep” by recourse to official defensive pronouncements made by a body of bishops five hundred years ago.

    B16, of course, while acknowledging the rationality/truth of historical fact trumping “pure” church doctrine, would never utter statements contrary to self-serving official teaching. He would be anathematized :o)

  • Our morals are scientific. Religion was devised as a bio-evolutionary survival mechanism (cooperative crop planting and harvesting, group defense or attack (war!) and method of enabling trust for trade, commerce, etc.).
    We have “moral intuition” (ancient, instinctive, fast) and “moral reasoning” (learned, cultural, slow). Additionally, US attorney Alan Dershowitz postulates our morals are experiential, that is, over eons we have determined what is right and wrong.
    The three monotheisms, Judaism, Catholicism, and Islam, are syncretically derived, that is, they have evolved in some fashion from preexisting pagan(!) religions and idols, or from each other.
    Also, the Golden Rule is derived from great ancient societies such as China, the Middle East, India, Greece and Rome.
    Our Republic was fashioned as a secular state (neutral in matters of religion) with a Constitution, a Bill of Rights and laws to protect our right to life, pursuit of happiness, etc.
    The myths and fictions of religion were useful when life was short, brutal and nasty and nights were long, dark and scary. Anthropocentric religion, relying on dusty old tomes of 1500-2500 years ago, has outlived its usefulness. Such books may have some value as poetic metaphor or allegory, only. We see the absurdities and tragedies of today inspired by religion which is on whole, intellectually dishonest, cognitively dissonant and harmful to the psyche (and harmful to the planet: overpopulation, climate change denial, sexual abuse crises, terrorism!).
    So, if you have any proof whatsoever of God, the afterlife, heaven or hell, let’s hear it.
    The burden of proof is on the believer.

  • You’re so right. the parallels don’t exist— in your imagination.

    You went to Wikipedia, or some such, cut and pasted. You didn’t bother with research. There are a great many more sources than the one you want to, based upon piles of research that isn’t referenced in the website or sites you went to.

    But it doesn’t matter. If I said the sky was blue, you would find some reason to disagree. As I said, I wouldn’t want to deprive you of a chance to sneer and denigrate, and you wouldn’t want to disappoint me.

  • What you said does not respond to the concept of matter organizing itself into something as complex as a protein molecule.

    How does life come from non-life? Does matter organize itself into life? I don’t have the kind of faith it takes to believe that kind of nonsense.

  • I have explained what I believe and also stated that I have no ability to change your beliefs.

    I have studied all religions and Christianity is indeed unique in how it defines the nature of God and his relationship to his creation. There is no debating that.

    I felt I was respectful of your beliefs, but I must have failed on that point.

    I am sorry to see that I put you into a state of anger. That was not my intention.

  • “Please document.”

    ” ‘….We do know the earliest Christians had a ministerial ordination to the diaconate, priesthood, and episcopate. We even have extensive records of the rites used and a record of the meticulous documentation kept to ensure only the ordained performed sacerdotal duties.’”

    That is rather outside the scope of commenting in Disqus.

    The “go to” scholar on ordination is Paul F. Bradshaw.

    In print I see “Rites of Ordination: Their History and Theology” in paperback. “Ordination Rites of the Ancient Churches of East and West” is out of print and I loaned my copy out. However, I see it is available used at reasonable prices. At unreasonable prices his “Liturgical Presidency in the Early Church” is also available.

    Calling the Church’s teachings a “characteristic mishmash of doctrinally flavored ‘history’” simply restates your unsupported assessment of its teachings.

    Well, you made rather a mess of Lumen Gentium 12, but considering who you read I understand how you did it. The phrase translated in English “guided by the magisterium” does not convert into “using the magisterium as a guide”.

    The Latin reads:

    “Illo enim sensu fidei, qui a Spiritu veritatis excitatur et sustentatur, Populus Dei sub ductu sacri magisterii, cui fideliter obsequens, iam non verbum hominum, sed vere accipit verbum Dei (cf. 1Thess 2,13), “semel traditae sanctis fidei” (Iud 1,3), indefectibiliter adhaeret, recto iudicio in eam profundius penetrat eamque in vita plenius applicat.”

    which translates literally:

    “By the sense of faith that the truth is excited by the support of the people under the guidance of the magisterium, to which it is faithfully obedient, it is not the word of men, but truly the word of God (cf. 1 These 2,13), “to the faith” (Jude 1,3), unfailingly adheres right judgment, and applies it more fully penetrates it more deeply in their lives.”

    It has nothing at all to do with “ecclesial reception”, which is a zany theory that gives folks like yourself veto power over the Church teaching authority, and which has zero grounding in anything at all in either the Tradition or Scriptures. “Ecclesial reception”, in fact, is the opposite of “faithfully obedient”.

    If the Council of Trent taught infallibly, you’ve answered the question “What takes precedence, history or doctrine?”

    If your history conflicts with infallible doctrine, your history has one or more issues.

    And that’s where McBride, Schillebeeckx, and your other favorites went off the rails.

    And you with them.

  • The parallels don’t exist.

    Real experts like anthropologists Robert Ackerman, Lienhardt , and Ludwig Wittgenstein have dismissed such comparisons ans simplistic, misguided, and amateurish. Like four-sided pyramids and four-sided church steeples, they represent independent efforts by folks separated by time and geography.

    Yes, I did not do 16 hours of research to point that out.

    And if there were actual startling parallels, you would have pointed them out.

  • I can’t see anything that looks like a non-denial denial (whatever that is) but it’s all good.

  • “The physical manifestation to which you refer was never a teaching, dogmatic or otherwise.”

    I don’t know your age, but, at age 70, I remember the good sisters teaching us parochial school kids about “the fires of hell”. There was no discussion, “dogmatic or otherwise”.

    “In any case being scared of Hell is quite sensible.”

    Two questions:

    1. How do you conceive of Hell?

    2. How is “being scared of Hell…quite sensible”?

  • I did point them out.you claimed it wasn’t so, but citing just one version of those faiths thatbyou found easily on the web.

    What you’re claiming is that as there is only one version and vision of Christianity, so there is onlyone version and vision of every other faith on earth. Neither statement is even remotely true. The very mishmash of stories you presented, giving three different versions of the
    Same events, proves the point, just like the gospel stories do, and hardly constitutes The Whole story.

    Scholars far more versed tHan you and I put together long ago concluded that Jesus was another solar myth. Even we’re his story particularly special, so are all of the other stories of th3 god’s of men.

  • In point of fact, what you pointed out was that Odin was born of a virgin and hung from a tree to save mankind.

    Let’s parse that.

    There are so many stories involving Odin in so many cultures, some conflicting, it’s difficult to say what the canonical story of Odin is. There appear to be multiple conflations of Odin with Thor, which makes developing a canon even more complex.

    In Old Norse texts, Odin is depicted as one-eyed and long-bearded, wielding a spear named Gungnir, and wearing a cloak and a broad hat. He is often accompanied by his animal companions and familiars – the wolves Geri and Freki and the ravens Huginn and Muninn, who bring him information from all over Midgard – and rides the flying, eight-legged steed Sleipnir across the sky and into the underworld. Odin is attested as having many sons, most famously the gods Thor (with Jörð) and Baldr (with Frigg), and is known by hundreds of names. In these texts, he frequently seeks greater knowledge, at times in disguise (most famously by obtaining the Mead of Poetry), makes wagers with his wife Frigg over the outcome of exploits, and takes part in both the creation of the world by way of slaying the primordial being Ymir and the gift of life to the first two humans Ask and Embla. Odin has a particular association with Yule, and mankind’s knowledge of both the runes and poetry is also attributed to him, giving Odin aspects of the culture hero.

    In Old Norse texts, female beings associated with the battlefield – the valkyries – are associated with the god and Odin oversees Valhalla, where he receives half of those who die in battle, the einherjar. The other half are chosen by the goddess Freyja for her afterlife location, Fólkvangr. Odin consults the disembodied, herb-embalmed head of the wise being Mímir for advice, and during the foretold events of Ragnarök, Odin is told to lead the einherjar into battle before being consumed by the monstrous wolf Fenrir. In later folklore, Odin appears as a leader of the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession of the dead through the winter sky.

    So far no virgin, no tree, and nothing in common with Judaism or Christianity.

    Apparently your reference to the tree stems from the epic poem Hávamál.

    Rúnatal or Óðins Rune Song, is a section of the Hávamál where Odin reveals the origins of the runes. In stanzas 139 and 140, Odin describes his sacrifice of himself to himself:

    “I know that I hung on a windy tree nine long nights, wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin, myself to myself, on that tree of which no man knows from where its roots run.”

    “No bread did they give me nor a drink from a horn, downwards I peered; I took up the runes, screaming I took them, then I fell back from there.”

    The “windy tree” is identified with the world tree Yggdrasil by commentators. The entire scene, the sacrifice of a god to himself, the execution method by hanging the victim on a tree, and the wound inflicted on the victim by a spear, is an incidental similarity of the mode of human sacrifice offered to Odin and the crucifixion.

    Since the story of Jesus predates this poem, if there was any fertilization of stories it was from the Christian one to the pagan one.

    Yes, a variety of yahoos have proposed that Jesus was another solar myth. No one today takes them seriously.

    At the very least we can establish that Jesus actually existed in history, which is more than can be said for any of your gods.

    You avoid the fact that the stories you point out involve pantheons of gods and goddesses acting on the most base motives, including murder, incest, lust, revenge, deceit, and on and on and on. Two involved phalluses, which is no shock since the pagan deities and base lust were so intertwined that prostitutes were frequently employed in their temples so that the faithful could express their faith through coitus.

    They have more in common with a San Francisco bathhouse than any extant faith.

    There are no calls to better behavior, no monotheism, no advice to treat each other well.

    If it makes you feel better to pretend that you’ve in any way “explained” Christianity with this tripe, well peace be with you.

  • Although I’ve asked this question before a number of times, please outline – one or two paragraphs at most – the source of “right or wrong” in the absence of a deity and an afterlife.

    Just to remind you, you’ve already ruled out majority rule in the past, claiming that it violates “minority rights”, although you’ve also been unable to articulate a source of those “rights” since you also rule out natural law. That puts the kibosh on:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    If folks should not go to “a bible believing Christian with any sort of a moral question”, this is your chance to demonstrate why they should go to you or someone like you.

  • Yes, and nuns taught us the world was created in 6 days too, but maturation normally allows one to understand metaphors and explanations intended to be accessible to young and simple minds.

    1. I know that Hell is a punishment that includes the absence of God. Whether such absence is the entirety of such punishment I have no idea. The interplay between the spiritual world and the bodily resurrection and other details of the afterlife are beyond our understanding.
    2 The idea of a being permanently separated from my loving Creator is a fearful one, especially when one contemplates honestly the actions and decisions of his life.

    I am 60 and have professional and personal responsibilities that are more urgent than the temptation to participate in prolonged online debates, so feel free to respond with the last word.

  • Parochial school kids generally do not “understand metaphors”. It was “explained” to us kids that if we died in mortal sin without confession, we were going to hell (or, as some teachers put it, “risked eternal fires of hell”, which, to us grade-schoolers, meant the same thing). Pre-Vatican II indoctrination on hell mirrored in many ways what Alphonsus Ligouri taught adults on the subject. For more information on his approach, see historian Paul Johnson’s A HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY, Simon & Schuster, 1976/1995, pp. 382-383). You can get a “preview” of sorts at http://www.copiosa.org/liguori_sermons/liguori_sermon_20.htm. In Johnson’s text, the author notes that “Redemptorists [founded by Liguori in 1732] often preached Hell-sermons at Catholic schools. One of them, the Reverend Joseph Furniss, wrote a number of books for children, in which Hell figured prominently.” Johnson elaborates on this practice on p. 383. Talk about instilling toxic FEAR of God in little children!!!

    At least you effectively admit FEAR of God separating you from eternal bliss. If God is your “loving Creator”, you are in a quandary like most of us Catholics (regrettably, myself included as a result of that sick indoctrination instilled in us kids 55+ years ago). How can we love a Being ready to send us to hell or let us send ourselves to hell? It’s like trying to mix oil and water: Impossible. We HOPE we love God; we WANT to love God; we THINK we love God. However, orthotoxy gets in the way.

    Fortunately, God’s love is unconditional, “no strings attached”.

  • To clarify, it was *you* who claimed earlier, ” “We do know the earliest Christians had a ministerial ordination to the diaconate, priesthood, and episcopate. We even have extensive records of the rites used and a record of the meticulous documentation kept to ensure only the ordained performed sacerdotal duties.”

    I respect Paul Bradshaw. I’ve perused several books with him as author or lead author including his ORDINATION RITES OF THE ANCIENT CHURCHES OF EAST AND WEST (1990). Perhaps your problem is confusing the adjectives “earliest” and “ancient”. I first used the adjective “earliest” as in “earliest Christians”. Except for Bradshaw’s discussion of the “Apostolic Tradition”, his work otherwise focuses on *later* ordination rites. The “Apostolic Tradition”, customarily attributed to Hippolytus ca. 215 CE, is now regarded by liturgical historians including Bradshaw as a redacted collection of liturgical writings from authors representing various communities over a span of time. These historians think this collection may date from as early as 150 to as late as 350 CE. The ordination rite for bishop includes only a threadbare mention of liturgical presidency; the rite for presbyter includes no such mention.

    As for my reference to “characteristic mishmash of doctrinally flavored ‘history’,” I refer you to a few examples from the Council of Trent:

    + If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law were not all instituted by Jesus Christ, our Lord…

    + If any one saith, that in the Roman church, which is the mother and mistress of all churches…

    + …which the Catholic Church, instructed by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and by His apostles…

    + He delivered (His own body and blood) to be received by His apostles, whom He then constituted priests of the New Testament; and by those words, Do this in commemoration of me, He commanded them and their successors in the priesthood, to offer (them)…

    + And the sacred Scriptures show, and the tradition of the Catholic Church has always taught, that this priesthood was instituted by the same Lord our Saviour, and that to the apostles, and their successors in the priesthood, was the power delivered of consecrating, offering, and administering His Body and Blood, as also of forgiving and of retaining sins.

    + …from the very beginning of the church, the names of the following orders, and the ministrations proper to each one of them, are known to have been in use; to wit those of subdeacon, acolyth, exorcist, lector, and door-keeper…

    + …bishops, who have succeeded to the place of the apostles…

    + If any one saith, that order, or sacred ordination, is not truly and properly a sacrament instituted by Christ the Lord…

    + If any one saith, that matrimony is not truly and properly…(a sacrament) instituted by Christ the Lord…

    Let’s not forget official church teaching that Peter was the first pope.

    As to LG-12, I’ll stick with the official Vatican translation. Understanding church teaching as *guidance* is in full accord with official church doctrine on Moral Conscience (CCC-1776 thru 1802).

    Ecclesial reception is part of the church’s history. It is indirectly acknowledged in canons 749 and 750’s references to *proposed doctrine*.

  • We do know the earliest Christians had a ministerial ordination to the diaconate, priesthood, and episcopate. We even have extensive records of the rites used and a record of the meticulous documentation kept to ensure only the ordained performed sacerdotal duties.

    We see them treating this alleged bishop’s consecration as invalid, this one’s as valid, and we see numerous references to avoiding pretenders and impostors.

    While Bradshaw’s books deal with the ordination rites, he prefaces his work with the recognition that these rites are the inheritance and development of the early Church.

    “As for my reference to “characteristic mishmash of doctrinally flavored ‘history’,” I refer you to a few examples from the Council of Trent” as examples of how your reject the constant clear teaching of that Church.

    As to Lumen Gentium 12, I’ll stick with the official Latin.

    But whether I use Latin, or either English translation, the meaning is precisely as I outlined. Understanding Church teaching as *guidance* is in direct conflict with both the plain words of Lumen Gentium and church doctrine on Moral Conscience (CCC-1776 thru 1802), which references forming the conscience to comport with the Church’s teachings. The role of the bishops in a hierarchical church, which is also part of Lumen Gentium and the documents of Vatican II and Vatican I, is hardly at the expense of the Holy Spirit.

    “Ecclesial reception” as you portray has never been a part of the church’s history, unless you’re an adherent to a Protestant.

    In Canons 749 and 750

    Can. 749 §1 In virtue of his office the Supreme Pontiff is infallible in his teaching when, as chief Shepherd and Teacher of all Christ’s faithful, with the duty of strengthening his brethren in the faith, he proclaims by definitive act a doctrine to be held concerning faith or morals.

    §2 The College of Bishops also possesses infallibility in its teaching when the Bishops, gathered together in an Ecumenical Council and exercising their magisterium as teachers and judges of faith and morals, definitively declare for the universal Church a doctrine to be held concerning faith or morals; likewise, when the Bishops, dispersed throughout the world but maintaining the bond of union among themselves and with the successor of Peter, together with the same Roman Pontiff authentically teach matters of faith or morals, and are agreed that a particular teaching is definitively to be held.

    §3 No doctrine is understood to be infallibly defined unless this is manifestly demonstrated.

    Can. 750 Those things are to be believed by divine and catholic faith which are contained in the word of God as it has been written or handed down by tradition, that is, in the single deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and which are at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn magisterium of the Church, or by its ordinary and universal magisterium, which is manifested by the common adherence of Christ’s faithful under the guidance of the sacred magisterium. All are therefore bound to shun any contrary doctrines.

    There is no mention of teaching being “proposed” to the faithful, as though they could veto a teaching, despite what McBride and Schillebeeckx.

    Since all of this belongs over the National “Catholic” Reporter where the heterodox gather, and I find even talking about this nonsense distasteful with someone who is merely parroting that party line, I see no point in continuing the discussion.

  • Once life has come from non-life, all the forms are created by natural selection. This process removes the randomness. This was not known before Darwin. It has since been proven over and over.
    I don’t have or want the faith to doubt this.
    Although there are hypothesis, we don’t yet have the theory of how life started.
    Faith has been defined as: to pretend to know what you don’t know. I will not do this.

  • The Judaeo-Christian view of God covers a lot of territory. Are you certain that your view is accepted by all?

  • Susan, I agree with you from the perspective of theology.
    However there are many neuro-scientists, philosophers and other brain scientists who believe we don’t have free will from a secular perspective. I think they are in error.

  • “We do know the earliest Christians had a ministerial ordination to the diaconate, priesthood, and episcopate…”

    No, the evidence strongly indicates otherwise, and Paul Bradshaw — your own “go to” scholar — would disagree with your claim. We have nothing before the Apostolic Tradition that would support your view. Jesus ordained nobody to any kind of sacred orders; he was a Jew at his crucifixion. There is no evidence, before the Twelve died, that they served as heads/bishops of any local churches, nor is there any evidence they ordained anyone to serve in this capacity. Jesus instructed them to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20). And forget the Last Supper: it included no ministerial ordination.

    As for my direct quotes from Trent, I challenge any doctrine that contradicts actual church history. “[F]acts, as history teaches, carry more weight than pure church doctrine” (Joseph Ratzinger, THEOLOGICAL HIGHLIGHTS OF VATICAN II, Paulist Press/Deus Books, 1966, p. 16).

    Contrary to your assertion, CCC-1776 thru 1802 do not instruct Catholics to “form the conscience to comport with the Church’s teachings.” To be informed by official teaching is not necessarily to be conformed with such teaching. Most church teaching is not infallible.

    You claim, “‘Ecclesial reception’ as you portray has never been a part of the church’s history…” Yes, it has, and reception has been a part of church history since the beginning.

    Thank you for quoting canon 749.3. The burden of teaching is on the bishops in concert with the bishop of Rome. Western Catholics educated on ministerial ordination do not regard JPII’s “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” as conveying infallible doctrine. Their arguments have convinced *ordinary Catholics in the pews* that there are no reasons, only excuses, to deny diaconal, presbyteral, and episcopal ordination to women.

    Thank you for quoting canon 750.1, which reads in relevant part: “…which are at the same time proposed as divinely revealed [and] manifested by the common adherence of Christ’s faithful under the guidance of the sacred magisterium.” All doctrines are ultimately proposed. When a proposed teaching is not received by the faithful, there is no “common adherence of Christ’s faithful.” A guide is not a dictate.

    “I see no point in continuing the discussion.”

    Some folks like you just cannot learn.

  • Bob, the statement “once life has come from non-life” pretty much says it all, don’t you think. That is quite the leap! Once life has come from non-life. You brush that off as if it is no big deal.

    Again, “this was not known before Darwin”. Are you serious? Darwin had all kinds of doubts about his theory. Darwin was clear about the Cambrian Explosion of complete life forms. He stated that hopefully future scientists would be able to explain this. They never have. He was also doubtful about the extreme lack of transitional forms in the fossil record. This too has never been resolved. Don’t hang your hat on Darwinism, that is a losing game.

    Stephen Jay Gould, the preeminent evolutionary biologist came up with his own theory called “punctuated equilibrium” in order to explain the Cambrian Explosion of complete life forms. Punctuated Equilibrium portends that sometimes evolution just allows an organism just jumps way ahead on the evolutionary timeline and complete life forms just appear. What?

    How exactly did life come form non-life?

    Explain how natural selection accounts for the development of the eye? Please tell me how natural selection accounts for a caterpillar cocooning itself into a state of suspended animation and emerging as an indescribable creature of untold beauty with wings that flutters about making our lives better? Are you kidding me?

    Just for extra credit explain how natural selection accounts for the blow-hole of a whale, or the sophisticated echo-location system of a dolphin. What exactly was the natural selection that led to these traits?

    There is no doubt that you have to suspend your natural curiosity in order to believe what I have described above. Many, yourself included are willing to do this in order to separate themselves from the notion of a God or a creator. It’s okay, I understand. I have had this same discussion on numerous occasions.

    You say something like, “once life has come from non-life” and then pretend to have a superior paradigm to rest your hat on by saying, “this was not known before Darwin”. Really? Darwin had as much doubt in his dubious theory as anyone else. It has taken hold only because it is the easiest of all excuses for pretending there is not an intelligent designer.

    Scientists and theologians agree on one thing, the universe had a beginning. Scientists have no answer for what caused the beginning of the universe, just as they have no answer for what caused life. You are forced to believe that in a cold dark universe (a universe you that just happened) and that in that random universe, that somehow the complexity of life just up and organized itself. You can somehow believe that is a superior theory? C’mon man.

    DNA, humanity, love, all scream intelligent design. I believe that God also spoke to us and has told us that He loves us, and what we need to do to have a relationship with the creator of the universe. I do a really bad job with this relationship, but I am often brought to tears that there is a God who cares enough about me to keep giving me another chance. This is what I put my faith in.

  • If you get your understanding of evolutionary theory from Discover Institute or other attempts to create a creationist science, you will not understand evolutionary theory. Creationists take the Bible as the source of all knowledge and try to interpret scientific data in such a way that it seems compatible. There main technique is the one you use: The explanation of the presently unexplainable is that God is responsible. This makes him the God of the gaps in our knowledge.

    Darwin had not yet developed a scientific theory. His dangerous idea that he insisted was true was the fact of natural selection which explains that intelligence is not necessary for complex design. His reluctance to publish this was his concern that this fact would have a detrimental effect on his Christian society. His hypothesis was that all life forms have a common ancestor and evolved through natural selection. Since his time this hypothesis has been tested and verified in many ways multiple times. It is now considered by scientists a theory that will not likely be overturned. This will not stop scientists from continuing to try to challenge this theory.

    Scientists have found that the Cambrian Explosion was caused by a combination of factors that include the formation of enough oxygen, the temperature, the evolution of worms that were able to penetrate the floor mat of the ocean to provide nourishment for other forms of life. The knowledge of the processes at work at that time is increasing as scientists learn more about them.

    I first became interested in evolution by reading the works of the late Stephen Jay Gould. While he was still alive he kept digital copies of his published books available to the public. He wrote in such a way that laypersons could understand.

    Gould’s hypothesis about punctuated equilibrium was quite controversial among evolutionary scientists. This was sorted out as a misunderstanding. It is true, for example in the Cambrian, that evolution was quicker than in other times. It is true that the rate of evolutionary change varies quite often. This is caused mostly by differing environmental conditions. Gould eventually accepted that although the rates differed, that all evolutionary changes were gradual. The Cambrian period was short but millions of years was plenty of time for gradual change. Complete life forms did not just appear.

    For an explanation of the evolution of the eye, it happened more than once, read The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins. For the whales blow hole: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blowhole_(anatomy)

    DNA, humanity, love, do not indicate intelligent design. They are all explained by natural selection.

    I understand that it is more comfortable for an Evangelical Christian to believe they are saved and that there is a God to protect them and provide a happy afterlife. You can put your faith in this, but as I explained before, to have faith is to pretend to know what you don’t know. You cannot change reality with faith. No alternative facts.

  • Bob, your explanation of faith and Christianity is simplistic and condescending, couched in mockery, which is typical of those who put their faith in a theory that becomes more and more untenable the more we learn.

    My understanding of these things should be clear to you by the fact that I am very familiar with all things evolution, as I noted in my previous comment.

    You state things as fact that require so much faith and belief in your paradigm that I am amazed that you have the will to mock people of faith in a designer, creator, or a god. “Millions of years was plenty of time for gradual change”, really? That is silly Bob, and you know it. It is almost as nonsensical as your last comment, “Once life has come from non-life”. Bob, I am okay if you don’t want to believe in a creator or designer, but please take a look at the things you say, and then expect people to believe there is some kind rationale behind them. You have made a choice just like me, and you are trying to defend that choice. You just cannot do a very good job of defending it, and to date I have not met anyone who can.

    If you want to believe in random chance, and that life just happened, and then organized itself into complex beings knock yourself out, but it goes against the logic that there is an intelligent designer.

    I like a quote from Blaise Paschal, “There is enough light for those who only desire to see, and enough obscurity for those who have a contrary disposition.”
    I tried for many years to believe that evolution was logical, but the more you dig and dig, you just have to come to the conclusion that it is wrong.
    I must conclude that if you seek the truth of Jesus Christ you will not be disappointed. God bless you.

  • I’m familiar with the term. Unfortunately, too many reactionary Catholic bloggers are not. I, for one, am not a “heretic”. I am a schismatic Catholic prepared to return to the Church of Rome if/when the damage inflicted by JPII and B16 is adequately addressed.

    If you, on the other hand, accuse Catholics like myself of “heresy” for disagreeing with non-infallible church teaching and/or discipline, then you, too, would need to review the content of your “newadvent” link.

    In any event, you lack the qualifications to make “heresy” determinations of your fellow Catholics with whom you disagree.

  • I didn’t accuse you of anything.

    I simply provided some material for your consideration while you look into a mirror.

    A schismatic refuses to recognize the competent authority.

    In your case you disagree with foundational beliefs and teachings such as the existence of the sacrament of orders and its necessity for the Eucharist, penance, ordination, and confirmation.

    If the shoe fits ….

  • Mainstream christianity knew nothing of so-called original sin till Augustine.Even the orthodox church who are no less catholic than we are believe we are born in a state of grace but it is ours to lose on account of us imitating our first parents or free will.Old testament jews never heard of original sin,jesus never taught it and as Richard Mcbrien points out in his book Catholicism,scholars dont see a original sin in Romans. Tell me,Adam and eve were created in a state of grace—–but they chose to sin freely.What a crock to hold a child born is in a state of serious sin.What a crock that popes once hailed unborn babies not baptized went to hell.

  • The late Richard McBrien’s book “Catholicism” had the singular privilege of having its imprimatur and nihil obstat removed by the American episcopate, which puts his musings into a proper perspective.

    Every grade school child is familiar with the story of Adam and Eve and their banishment from the garden.

    1 Corinthians 15: 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

    Apparently, then, St. Paul read Augustine but not McBrien.

  • refusal of nihil obstat like science books that supported Galileo back in the day ?.Nihil Obstat and impramatur are meaningless. Paul,a jew well versed in the old testament was very well aware of the scripture passages where we are held accountable for our own sins and not somebody else.Deut 24;16—FATHERS SHALL NOT BE PUT TO DEATH FOR THEIR CHILDRENS SIN,AND CHILDREN SHALL NOT BE PUT TO DEATH FROM THEIR FATHERS,EVERY MAN IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH FOR THEIR OWN SIN. The same theme/rule applies in 2 kings 14:16 2 Chronicles 25:4. IF adam was not meant to die,then the earth would keep populating continously,we would be up to 15 billion and growing. yesi THINK scholars should be taken seriously,not yes men from vatican hired under john paul ii for issues surrounding sexuality and gender

  • The nihil obstat and imprimatur are meaningless to you, and they were to the late Richard McBrien.

    On the other hand to a Catholic trying to learn without being led astray, they have a lot of meaning.

    Your explanation of what Paul was aware of does not comport with what Paul wrote. Go figure, eh?

    So, your argument includes arguing with both Paul and the Old Testament.

  • As your buddy Hans Kung wrote in his excellent Christianity—essence,history and future. AUGUSTINE found in the latin translation of the bible of his time was IN QUO,and he referred this “in him” to Adam. But the original Greek text simply has eph’ ho—which means because(or ‘in that’) all sinned. So the proper translation is for Romans 5;12 is not “In him all have sinned’ but
    “BECAUSE (OR IN THAT) ALL HAVE SINNED”. You see the jews,the centuries OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY before Augustine,Jesus also himself—they did not know of a original sin. We sin thru our own choice. Augustine used this original sin to escape the guilt he felt getting natural erections or having a sex drive (what a brilliant theologian he was !)

    He suggested ADAM in the garden of would get aroused for intercourse thru flatulence,rather than the evils of seduction,foreplay ,desire. What a wacky history we as cATHOLICS HAVE

  • “I didn’t accuse you of anything……If the shoe fits….”

    The shoe doesn’t fit.

    I am a schismatic, not a heretic.

  • Unless you’ve changed your opinion on Holy Orders recently, the shoe fits.

    It fits without regard to what you choose to call yourself.

  • Yes, we understand that if there’s a fringe commentator, you know and love him.

    Before you cover the emanations of Hans Küng with drool, as though he were the first to be able to read Koine fluently, from a purely grammatical standpoint it is impossible to interpret “eph’ho” as a reference to any word other than “thanatos”. Each time the grammatical construction of the preposition “epi” with the dative is used by Paul, it is always used as a relative pronoun which modifies a preceding noun or phrase.

    The correct interpretation of Romans 5:12, both grammatically and exegetically, is that “eph’ho”
    is understood to modify “thanatos–kai houtos eis pantas anthropous ho thanatos dielthen eph’ho (thanato) pantes hemarton”–“because of which” (death), or “on the basis of which”
    (death), or “for which (death) all have sinned.” Satan, being himself the principle of sin, through death and corruption involves all of humanity and creation in sin and death. Thus, to be under the power of death according to Paul is to be a slave to the devil and a sinner, because of the inability of the flesh to live according to the law of God, which is selfless love.

    Your fixation on Augustine is misplaced.

    But … the power of death is the result of Adam.

    We return to Adam’s original sin and the damaging of creation, Hans Küng notwithstanding.

  • Hans Kung was a chief architect of Vatican II,a highly respected and renowned theolgian and scholar. Persons like Augustine and popes throughout the ages have been on the fringe imposing absurdity beyond their competence. A reactionary superstitious polish pope doesnt make one a expert,same as that reactionary pius x. Popes get their position(apart from bribery,murder or nepotism) in times past not on qualifications but by election of a small non representative group put in there by other popes.Not on their intelligence. Again its the lunatics that run the asylum often in church history. Adam is also a collective noun for mankind,not necessarily one man. if Adam wasnt meant to die,the earth would be approaching approximately 20 billion people and counting, that is not possible,land wise,resource wise etc.Can you imagine 90 billion ,200 years from now.I dont think so.Your reasoning is fallacious. Again before augustine—-Zero knowledge or comment on original sin.He concocted it because of feeling guilty for just getting a erection.

  • In no way was Hans Küng “a chief architect of Vatican II”.

    Like Joseph Ratzinger, he was a “peritus”, and advisor, at the Council.

    When, a few years after the Council, he formally rejected the doctrine of infallibility, he was stripped of his “missio canonica”, his license to teach as a Catholic theologian, he became a professor of “ecumenical theology” at the University of Tübingen in Baden-Württemberg. He is has been engaged in reducing all religion to some vague Über religion based on what they have in common for the last couple of decades.

    Adam, in the majority of Christian faiths – including Catholic – was a specific man.

    1 Corinthians 15:21 says much the same thing as Romans 5:12, and the development of the concept of original sin is well attested in the debates of the church and its Councils.

    It also attested in the East as well as the West:


  • IN regards to Nihil Obstat before,canon law reccomends a nihil obstat or impramatur for theology books but does not require it,only books on catechis.Obviously Nihil Obstat/impramatur like the index of forbidden books is largely dead letter. Pope Francis has ALLOWED open discussion on papal infalibility when Kung wrote to him,LOOK IT UP.It is obvious that papal infallibilty is a novelty. Pope jOHN 22ND ISSUED A BULL CONDEMNING THOSE WHO CLAIM PAPAL INFALLIBILTY are promoting works FROM THE DEVIL.In a catechism in the USA before Vatican I ,it stated that the concept of papal infallibilty was a protestant invention,made up by protestants to defame catholics. Pius IX HAD NO MANDATE AND TRIED TO PUSH THRU ALL TEACHINGS OF A POPE as if they WERE INFALLIBLE BUT a significant number of church fathers fought this so we have strict conditions of what infallibilty is. THe eastern orthodox church which is no less catholic than us reject original sin.No true Ecumenical Council9 of a THAT OF THE UNITED church addressed it. So I dont blame KUng for his stand. MYself i believe it under strict conditions but if the churches ever unite again ,it might get overturned

  • McBrien’s book had the nihil obstat and imprimatur removed because (a) it was being used as a textbook and (b) contained assertions contrary to Catholic teaching.

    Yes, infallibility is open to discussion. It is, however, not open to negation if one wishes to remain Catholic.

    Yes, one version of “papal infallibility” which purportedly involves the Pope defining new doctrines out of thin air was and remains an invention of anti-Catholics, e.g.:


    You should buy a copy – much of it is already your script and it might give you some new material.

    As these urls demonstrate, Orthodoxy does believe in original sin. In general it is the same belief as the Catholic view, and these articles often present opposition to the writers’ impression of the Catholic view, which is inaccurate. For example, they often claim that “the infant is worthy of punishment in hell” in Catholic teaching, while that was only an opinion of Augustine and was never adopted by the Catholic Church.




    I am not sure what “blaming Hans Küng” means. If it means he is personally responsible for his own heterodoxy, that would appear to be unarguable.

  • As mcBrien stated in a interview “its not about the book itself,but rather me”. You see,they know what mcbrien teaches in the book is true,but as mcbrien also stated,he doesnt tow the line on issues such as contraception or women^s ordination,so they removed a nihil obstat which would of been allowed under PAUL VI. The dutch catechism of the 60s had a nihil obstat and it challenged the virgin conception—Christ is GOD INDEED BUT THE METHOD GOD CHOSE IS ANOTHER ISSUE.WHETHER IT WAS THRU AN ACT OF MARITAL LOVE WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT WORKING,DOES NOT DENY CHRISTS DIVINITY. .Its all down to politics as jpii and benedict wanted theologians to take positions that they held and only priests that agreed on issues of sexuality and gender were elected as bishops.A complete abuse of papal power. Orthodoxy believes a child is born in a state of grace and it can lose it thru COPYING OUR FIRST PARENTS. Read also the 1973 document mysterium ecclesiae that admits dogma can be inadequately expressed,be better developed and can contain changeable conceptions from a given epoch.It also stated though a determinate truth must be present in a dogma. it was a holy office document that was inspired by Kungs excellent scholarship.

    USSCB BIBLE Romans 5 :12 therefore just as one person sin entered the world and thru sin death,and this death came to all,inasmuch all have sinned”

    In the commentary section of the bible on usscb it stated without denying original sin—–and refering to another passage Romans 2:14-15—-BUT NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO SAY “ADAM MADE ME DO IT”

    WE can observe a few things here
    1) Paul was referring to a spiritual death not a physical death, it would be impossible if adam and his descendants werent meant to die because the earth would have to have room for continous billions,which it cant have

    2) ADAM WAS THE FIRST SINNER,HENCE SIN ENTERING THE FIRST TIME,but Adam was created in a state of grace. He chose to sin and had no original sin to begin with. Adam had grace but in his free will said yes to sin. Just like you or me when we reach the age of reason
    3) it is absurd and unimaginable that GOd who became man and was spat on,whipped and nailed to a cross,showing his love, now has ZERO compassion or mercy for newborn babes who die because of somebody else sin

    people(in the tradition of reception) never really believed the newborn had serious sin attached to it. As the other scripture passages I pointed to,God does not hold other peoples sins against you,your only guilty of your own sin

    Conclusion—Mcbrien and scholars are right,they dont see original sin read back into Romans

    its all about one man(augustine) having to use the myth of a original sin to cover up the shame he felt because he had erections and normal sexual desire—a attribute of the original sin he preached

  • As McBrien often stated “it’s all about me”. You see, he knew what he taught was butkus, but he also knew the American episcopate were towers of jello. So in his arrogance he just kept on truckin’.

    Catholicism believes that Christ’s words, that unless a man be born again in baptism he cannot attain eternal salvation, meant just what they said.

    It is silent on the fate of infants, who have no choices, but trust in all-loving and merciful God.

    We can observe a few things here:

    1) Paul was referring to death. Since no children were born before the Fall, speculation about having room for “continous (sic) billions” is just that, speculation.

    2) Adam had grace but in his free will said “yes” to sin, just like Satan and the other fallen angels. Unlike you or me he possessed the preternatural gifts, which made his sin even less excusable.

    3) It is absurd and unimaginable to suggest the Catholic Church teaches that God has ZERO compassion or mercy for newborn babes who die, because it does not.

    Conclusion: you should stop relying on Mcbrien, Hans Küng, and other self-style “scholars” if you intend to remain in the church itself and not some odd eccentric sect.

    It’s all about misunderstanding Augustine’s role in Catholic teaching, and your rather odd fixation that he used “the myth of a original sin to cover up the shame he felt because he had erections”, which raises some concerns about you in all honesty.

  • “I didn’t accuse you of anything……If the shoe fits….”

    “Unless you’ve changed your opinion on Holy Orders recently, the shoe fits.”

    My God, make up your mind!!!

    If you’re gonna’ accuse me of heresy, [email protected] or get off the pot.

  • There is no apostolic succession,thats why the Council of Constance fired 3 men claiming to be popes and put pope martin in place.

  • AS MCBRIEN WROTE TO ME ” few if any of the conciliar canons that end with the words anathama sit are considered infallible,that was just the style of those days,one must consider each conciliar teaching of trent or any other council and judge it by its own merits”

    Trent was not ecumenical buddy,the church was not united like nicae or chalcedon

  • Dear joe, Trent did not teach infallibly. I wrote to the late Father McBrien in 2004 and this is what he said ” few,if any of the conciliar teachings that end with the words anathama sit are considered infallible,that was just the style back in those days.One must consider each conciliar teaching whether of trent or any other council and judged it by its own merits”
    Also norm tanner in his book COUNCILS revealed that councils in the 2nd millenium up to Trent were considered general councils of the west and not ecumenical by popes and canonists because it didnt involve the eastern churches. It was after trent that bellarmine and others pushed for second millenium councils(separated from the east) as ecumenical.Yves Congar a theologian at vatican ii also wrote a book that detailed these councils as not ecumenical(the whole church was not united like at nicae or chalcedon). Trent taught that confession to a priest was established by christ and the early church but as historian jesuit father john o malley pointed(a expert on trent who also says most teahings of trent are fallible),the practise was not well established or done till the 11th /12th centuries. Distortion and ahistorical teachings often plaque the roman catholic church

  • Raymond brown,in the jersulam bible commentary referred to adam—-as a collective noun for mankind. Another nail in the coffin for original sin

  • The late Raymond Edward Brown, like the late Richard Peter McBrien and Hans Küng, was a legend in his own mind, a sower of dissent.

    Father Richard W. Gilsdorf opinded that Brown’s work was “a major
    contribution to the befogged wasteland of an ‘American Church’
    progressively alienated from its divinely constituted center.”

    Btw, you’re thinking of the New Jerome Biblical Commentary edited by Raymond Edward Brown, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, and Roland E. Murphy.

    The Catholic teaching can be found at:


    A reader has a choice between following personal opinions or his church’s teaching.

    You can do one, or you can do the other, but when they conflict you cannot do both.

  • Despite his high personal opinion of himself, the late the late Richard Peter McBrien was not an authoritative source on Catholic teaching.

  • And there is no kalbertini.

    One is not ordained to the papacy, so it is completely unrelated to either apostolic succession or holy orders.

  • If the shoe fits … and only you can make up your mind.

    I can just present definitions and facts, most of which you provided on the record.

  • Yes, Trent did teach infallibly according to Francis Sullivan, SJ, professor of ecclesiology at the Pontifical Gregorian University for many years and a former dean of the school. At the same time, as you’ve noted, the use of terminology can be historically conditioned. (If I remember, it was Sullivan who taught McBrien.) Sullivan has noted the importance of examining each of Trent’s canons to determine precisely what is considered infallible teaching and what is not. For more information, see Sullivan’s CREATIVE FIDELITY: WEIGHING AND INTERPRETING DOCUMENTS OF THE MAGISTERILUM.
    As to whether a council is considered “general” or “ecumenical”, I’ll let the “experts” quibble among themselves. I’ve no problem with the idea that if the Eastern Orthodox Churches are not represented, a council is not truly “ecumenical”. Vatican II, I think, was “ecumenical” in that it had official Orthodox observers who had opportunity to confab with Roman and Eastern Catholic bishops.
    My problem with Trent as seen today is the doctrine that Jesus, for example, established the sacrament of confession. So far as the Gospel is concerned, Jesus taught all his followers to initiate unlimited forgiveness. With respect to the sacrament of extreme unction (anointing of the sick), the scriptural reference is James 5:14, not any of Jesus’ teaching.
    As I’ve noted elsewhere, the Church of Rome unfortunately tends to rely on doctrine to arrive at some self-serving “history”. Not good.

  • At the time of Trent,the term dogma did not have the meaning that it has now.Dogma as a divinely revealed infallible teaching with strict conditions was not adopted till Vatican 1. According to mcbrien,most of the teachings at trent dont meet the conditions.The teaching on the lords presence in the eucharist does, but not most teachings do not. FAther O Malley,a historian on Trent also added most teachings are not infallible in regards to Trent,he wrote books on Trent too . Sullivan gave a opinion, like Ratzinger giving a opinion on a list of infallible teachings back in 2000.HE mentioned 12 teachings(of course he never stated all teachings that end with anatheama sit are infallible,he offered a few teachings from trent only on that list).Bishop lucker made a list of infallible teachings that were around 9,his list clashed with Ratzinger in the sense that it is different. There are no agreed upon list of dogmas.THe vatican couldnt provide Kung with one when he asked.One could argue easily that trent could be dismissed altogether because it is not ecumenical. Nicae ii, the last true ecumenical council laid down 3 characteristics for ecumenicity 1—universal particiation of 5 patriarches,universal post conciliar reception and a vertical consensus with apostolic tradition. Trent was just a regional council of the west,and touched on issues,never touched for more than a 1000 years by true ecumenical councils. One of its canons hails,anathaema sit if you claim you cant keep the commandments while another teaches anathaema sit if you claim you can keep the commandments

  • True, there is no *official* list of dogmas in the Church of Rome; theologians differ on whether some doctrines are dogmatic in nature. Whether “most” teachings from Trent were/are dogmas is a matter I’ll leave to theologians to discuss and debate, but Trent did teach infallibly on some matters that, by definition, were *doctrinal* in nature. McBrien, like Sullivan and Ratzinger, gave opinions (and I respect McBrien’s contribution to theology, especially his full support for Vatican II). Determinations as to whether specific teachings are dogmatic is the province of theologians like McBrien, Sullivan, and Ratzinger, not of historians although the latter can offer informed opinion.

    Whether Vatican II was or was not “ecumenical”may depend on the prevailing definition and application of the word, not to mention the perspective of the observer. Rev. Leo A. Walsh, S.T.D., a former Interreligious Affairs specialist at the USCCB, mentions the following: “One could argue that the Second Vatican Council could be called an ‘ecumenical council’ in that, although it was primarily concerned with matters pertaining to the Catholic Church (both Latin and Eastern Catholics), for the first time in over a thousand years there were a number of non-voting representatives from the Orthodox Churches and Protestant denominations.” I myself agree with Walsh not only because of the presence of official non-Catholic observers at the council but also because of the intra-faith, i.e., ecumenical, dialogues that have occurred since then.

  • I distinguish between history and doctrine, between faith and tradition, between revelation and non-revelation. If only church life were black and white. It is not. Your “shoe”, as I wrote earlier, does not “fit”.

  • The question from an objective standpoint is not what YOU distinguish but what the church distinguishes.

    From that objective standpoint you are in fundamental disagreement, not schism.

  • The EAstern orthodox church,who are no less catholic than us,may have sent a few observers,but there bishops and patriarchs were missing. THe same with Anglican,Lutheran,episcopalian bishops etc.The eastern church would never accept papal primacy or infallibilty,which were non existent in the first 1000 years of the united church. if you think trent is mostly infallible then these questions have to be answered
    Trent taught in apostolic succesion—–but 3 men claimed to be popes at the council of constance,the council fired all 3 and started new. Even raymond brown acknowledges theres no apostolic succesion
    TRent claimed there was no salvation outside of confession to a priest—funny,i guess everyone went to hell in the first 1000 years because priestly confession was non existant
    trent defined 7 sacraments—funny,there were 21 sacraments at some point during the first 1000 years, no true ecumenical council ever touched upon the issue
    Trent taught in transubstantiation,but had to overcome Augustines testimony that christ is symbolically present in the eucharist
    trent taught the masss as a sacrifice for sin—but early christianity held it as a meal and thanksgiving
    trent appealed to book of Hebrews—that catholic priests offer sacrifice,but the book of hebrews was not written by any apostle
    Trent taught you were condemned if you claim you cant keep the commandments in one canon but issued a condemnation for those who claim,they CAN KEEP the commandments in another
    tRent taught in the supremacy of celibacy over marriage(of course those at trent were celibates) but Jesus called married men.Paul preferred celibacy over marriage but as raymond brown noted,paul preferred celibacy because he thought the end of the world and the second coming of christ were imminent 1 cor 7 25-31,even pope francis mentions this in his Amoris Laetlitia chpt 4 vs 159. Paul also stressed it was just a opinion and has a write to bring with him a wife as the other apostles do,in their gospel travels
    According to Trent jesus established the eucharist at the last supper but only in luke we find,do this in memory of me,some early transcripts of luke dont mention this. IN the didache,the oldest church document— celebrating a thanksgiving meal is mentioned,but its not tied up to the last supper of the lord.
    The real ecumenical councils—called by emperors with all bishops,especially from the east were present participating,not as observers but as overseers and representaives of their people.Without the protestant churches and eastern churches participating,trent like florence or lateran was a general council of the west as was understood back then.
    Vatican ii reflected a lot of theolgy from those early first millenium councils,including RECEPTION
    Conclusion—–as asked by me in 2007
    Dear father Mcbrien:Was trent a infallible council ?
    Response: Trent was not a” largely infallible council”,there were teachings,for example,on the REAL PRESENCE of christ in the eucharist,that can be considered infalible but most that it taught cannot be considered infallible.
    Expert historian john o malley on Trent had said that some members of the curia wanted to torpedo some canons before the pope approved,just by the fact that there was in the vatican ,people who wanted to get rid of some canons shows you that they themselves didnt condider them infalible

  • I formally left the Church of Rome so I am in schism. My departure in writing satisfies c. 751’s definition, to wit, “refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.” I have been an unaffiliated Catholic for more than eleven years.

    What I provided earlier were examples of triumphalist verbiage and historical distortion in some of Trent’s canons. While context helps us understand Trent’s approach, triumphalism and distortion contribute nothing to statements of orthodox Christian doctrine. I remind you that our faith is Christianity and our tradition is Catholicism. It is official church teaching that “[t]he Gospels are the heart of all the Scriptures ‘because they are our principal source for the life and teaching of the Incarnate Word, our Savior'” (CCC-125). The primary theme of Vatican II was ecclesial renewal, i.e., making the Church new again. As theologian Bernard Lonergan noted, “The meaning of Vatican II was the acknowledgement of history.” There is no danger to our faith in revisiting notions taken for granted by past generations, examining how they arose in church doctrine, and questioning and even challenging their continued usefulness to Catholic belief today.

    Here are the examples I shared earlier from Trent:

    + If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law were not all instituted by Jesus Christ, our Lord…

    + If any one saith, that in the Roman church, which is the mother and mistress of all churches…

    + …which the Catholic Church, instructed by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and by His apostles…

    + He delivered (His own body and blood) to be received by His apostles, whom He then constituted priests of the New Testament; and by those words, Do this in commemoration of me, He commanded them and their successors in the priesthood, to offer (them)…

    + And the sacred Scriptures show, and the tradition of the Catholic Church has always taught, that this priesthood was instituted by the same Lord our Saviour, and that to the apostles, and their successors in the priesthood, was the power delivered of consecrating, offering, and administering His Body and Blood, as also of forgiving and of retaining sins.

    + …from the very beginning of the church, the names of the following orders, and the ministrations proper to each one of them, are known to have been in use; to wit those of subdeacon, acolyth, exorcist, lector, and door-keeper…

    + …bishops, who have succeeded to the place of the apostles…

    + If any one saith, that order, or sacred ordination, is not truly and properly a sacrament instituted by Christ the Lord…

    + If any one saith, that matrimony is not truly and properly…(a sacrament) instituted by Christ the Lord…

    Were all seven sacraments “instituted by Christ”? At best, the Gospel (CCC-125) supports the eucharist, baptism, and confirmation. Did Jesus institute matrimony as a sacrament at Cana or in his teaching about the Law? Debatable at best. Even the last rites can be traced to James 5:14, not to the Gospel. As for confession/reconciliation, Jesus instructed all his followers to initiate *unlimited* forgiveness; only one of four Gospel references mentions (prior) “repentance”. References in Mt 16:19 and 18:18 to “binding and loosing” pertaining to excommunication reflect the institutionalized narrowing of Jesus’ command to a select few. Did Jesus ordain anyone to sacred orders? There’s no Gospel evidence he did so, nor is there any other scriptural evidence that the Twelve themselves served as heads of local churches or ordained anyone to serve in this capacity.

    Is it essential to the Christian faith to *believe* that the “Roman church [is] the mother and mistress of all churches”? The eastern churches would have good historical reasons to reject this assertion. Here we see an example of historically conditioned triumphalism that has no support in the Gospel. This conciliar statement has nothing to do with revelatory truth.

    Did Jesus “instruct” the “Catholic Church”? No. Jesus died a Jew. His earliest followers were Jews and, soon enough, gentiles. Again, we see historically condition triumphalism that has absolutely nothing to do with the truths of our Christian faith.

    Did Jesus make the Twelve “priests of the New Testament”? No. Jesus sacrificed himself, and the Twelve presumably sacrificed themselves in their missionary labors. It was only many years after the Ascension that various church apologists would begin describing the Twelve as cultic priests and Jesus as a sacrificial victim on an altar. Here we are looking at the use of typology to promote the superiority of Christianity over Judaism. Typology proves nothing.

    Is it historically factual that, “from the very beginning of the church, the names of the following orders, and the ministrations proper to each one of them, are known to have been in use; to wit those of subdeacon, acolyth, exorcist, lector, and door-keeper?” No, this is pure triumphalist fabrication, and denying this invention poses no danger to one’s Christian faith.

    Have bishops “succeeded to the place of the apostles”? Did bishops witness Jesus’ ministry? No. Were bishops commissioned by Jesus? No. The Twelve exercised a unique ministry that, by definition, cannot be repeated.

    Is holy orders a “sacrament instituted by Christ the Lord”? No. Jesus commissioned the Twelve only to go forth, preach, and baptize. Ministerial ordination to the diaconate, presbyterate, and episcopate entered the scene years later.

    As I’ve mentioned before, it was Ratzinger himself who made the commonsense observation that historical facts trump “pure” church doctrines when the two sources are in conflict.

    I’ve no problem with Christianity gradually establishing ministerial ordination to the orders of deacon, presbyter, and bishop. I’ve no problem with the recognition of seven traditional sacraments (although I’ve suggested revamping the sacrament of reconciliation). I’ve no problem with belief in the real presence of Christ in the eucharist.

    I fully support Vatican II and its trajectory.

  • Contrary to your assertion, I DID NOT state that “Trent is mostly infallible.” I wrote that Trent did give some infallible teachings. I do not deny the development of church doctrine. It is up to theologians to “tease out” infallible doctrine from official papal and conciliar pronouncements.

  • So, you meet two definitions rather than one.

    Vatican II reiterated what Vatican I taught and every Council prior to it.

  • Vatican II included reactionary as well as progressive bishops. What’s interesting is that all of these bishops were products, so to speak, of pre-conciliar indoctrination and thinking. The “good news” from conciliar activity is that bishops had the opportunity outside of formal sessions to meet with historians and theologians, both Catholic and non-Catholic, who presented *history* of the Church of Christ from its very beginnings. Fortunately, most of these bishops had *open minds* to look beyond so-called “orthodox” boundaries that were defensive in nature and time-bound. It was only one year after Vatican II’s conclusion that Joseph Ratzinger acknowledged that historical fact trumps “pure” church doctrine, effectively echoing Bernard Lonergan’s observation, “The meaning of Vatican II was the acknowledgement of history.”

    In the Canon Law Society of America’s NEW COMMENTARY ON THE CODE OF CANON LAW, we are reminded, “Heresy is a denial or doubt of ‘a truth which is to be believed with divine and Catholic faith’ (cf. c. 750.1); but the crime of heresy applies only to this narrow category of truths…..these are central truths like the Incarnation and Resurrection of the Lord, and not at all like the morality of artificial contraception or the discipline of not ordaining women to the priesthood” (p. 916).

    We know from the four canonical gospels that Jesus identified himself as a “prophet”, never as any kind of “priest”. We know from the Gospel and other canonical sources that Jesus’ followers described him as a “prophet”, never as any kind of “priest”. We know from history itself that Christian apologists years later would begin using typology to proselytize, that is, to recruit Jews to Christian belief by showing the superiority of this new belief over the old. As Wikipedia states, typology is “a doctrine or theory concerning the relationship of the Old Testament to the New Testament. Events, persons, or statements in the Old Testament are seen as types pre-figuring or superseded by antitypes, events or aspects of Christ or his revelation described in the New Testament.” In theology, a doctrine is a “a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a church.”

    We know from Catholic history and theology that recognition of history does not pose a danger to the Christian faith and, in fact, can help Catholics to appreciate how their church’s theology — even those inherently non-infallible doctrines based on typology — developed. As a “doctrine or theory”, typology proves nothing in terms of the Christian faith. Even the USCCB commentary on HEBREWS, a noted work of typology (a.k.a., prefiguring, foreshadowing), states: “The author saw the addressees in danger of apostasy from their Christian faith. This danger was due not to any persecution from outsiders but to a weariness with the demands of Christian life and a growing indifference to their calling (Heb 2:1; 4:14; 6:1–12; 10:23–32). The author’s main theme, the priesthood and sacrifice of Jesus (Heb 3–10), is not developed for its own sake but as a means of restoring their lost fervor and strengthening them in their faith.” (Ironically, the commentary’s reference to “the priesthood and sacrifice of Jesus” is itself typology!)

    Vatican II demonstrated the importance of history (h/t: Lonergan and Ratzinger) in attempts to make the church “new again”. Sadly, JPII and — no surprise — Ratzinger managed to frustrate renewal. May their legacy be buried in a footnote.

  • All councils include “reactionary” as well as “progressive” bishops.

    The “good news” from the Vatican II Council was in the documents the assembled bishops agreed upon as confirmed by their Pontiff, not fuzzy-wuzzy “conciliar activity … outside of formal sessions”.

    The Canon Law Society of America’s “NEW COMMENTARY ON THE CODE OF CANON LAW” is just, an unofficial commentary, not a substitute Canon Law, or authoritative.

    The canons read:

    “Canon 750 §1. A person must believe with divine and Catholic faith all those things contained in the word of God, written or handed on, that is, in the one deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn magisterium of the Church or by its ordinary and universal magisterium which is manifested by the common adherence of the Christian faithful under the leadership of the sacred magisterium; therefore all are bound to avoid any doctrines whatsoever contrary to them.”

    “§2. Each and every thing which is proposed definitively by the magisterium of the Church concerning the doctrine of faith and morals, that is, each and every thing which is required to safeguard reverently and to expound faithfully the same deposit of faith, is also to be firm-ly embraced and retained; therefore, one who rejects those propositions which are to be held definitively is opposed to the doctrine of the Catholic Church.”

    “Canon 751 Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.”

    We already understand that the existence of and enumeration of seven sacraments, for one example, is part of the divine and Catholic faith. We also know that its highest teaching authority has declared that not ordaining women to the priesthood is not a mere discipline.

    We know from the letter to the Hebrews that Jesus is our High Priest, and that his one sacrifice is made really present (anamnesis) at each and every Mass.

    Now, one may believe otherwise, and be a material heretic rather than a formal heretic, but “Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith ….” and that’s the end of that.

  • The CLSA’s NEW COMMENTARY is an authoritative explanation of the 1983 Code of Canon Law. It is not “authoritative” in the sense that it necessarily or always parrots the interpretation of JPII and B16 hierarchs. It is “authoritative” in that it reflects the professional opinion of orthodox Catholic canonists who know at least as much as the Catholic bishops about canon law. (I’m reminded of what a VA counsel once told me, to wit, “The meaning of the law can often depend on whom one asks.”) Even Vatican judges can differ among themselves on canon law’s interpretation and application.

    As for c. 750.1, the key phrases are “contained in the word of God”, “deposit of faith”, “proposed as divinely revealed”, and “manifested by the common adherence of the Christian faithful”. I would simply add the language of CCC-125. Although denial of such teachings falls within the “primary object of infallibility”, i.e., dogmas, and incurs the label of “heresy”, the problem recognized today is that some of these doctrines not only are not historically based but also contradict the beliefs of our earliest ancestors in the Christian faith, i.e., those believers closest in time and place to Jesus and the Twelve. Ironically, Ratzinger’s observation that history trumps “pure” doctrine poses a real problem to the magisterium’s credibility, which, of course, is not helped any by its shameful response to the worldwide clerical sexual abuse crises. It’s no surprise that an authoritarian pope approved the 1983 code, and it’s no surprise that an authoritarian CDF under Ratzinger promulgated a doctrinal commentary that essentially attempts to reinforce ecclesiastical power over the laity (for example, the CDF commentary mentions the infallibility of the pope but not Vatican I’s doctrine — repeated by Vatican II — on the church’s ongoing infallibility). As I’ve contended before, the Church of Rome has a self-serving and self-promoting hierarchy that elevates the ordained and subordinates the laity — at the expense of the laity.

    As for c. 750.2, the key phrases are “proposed definitively”, “firmly embraced and retained”, and “propositions which are to be held definitively”. By definition, such doctrines fall within the “secondary object of infallibility”. Denial of such teachings is not heresy.

    As for c. 751, we must remember that it pertains, properly speaking, only to those truths essential to the Christian faith (Catholicism is a faith tradition, not a faith). The CLSA New Commentary gives as examples the truths of the Incarnation and the Resurrection.

    We agree and also disagree on various aspects of the seven sacraments. As for women’s ordination, the challenge to Rome under c. 749.3 is to demonstrate that the Church always and everywhere has taught it has no authority to ordain women to the presbyterate and episcopate. The burden is on the hierarchy, not on the laity. JPII’s stern language in his “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” does not change the fact that his pronouncement is a proposal, not an infallible pronouncement (even Ratzinger with JPII’s permission clarified that JPII’s pronouncement was not itself an infallible one).

    As for HEBREWS, you write, “We know from the letter to the Hebrews that Jesus is our High Priest…” In other words, even though HEBREWS contradicts all other canonical texts about Jesus’ self-identity, and even though HEBREWS is a typological text used in recruitment and retention of Jewish converts to Christianity, we know HEBREWS is telling the truth because — well, because — it says so! Never mind it contradicts Jesus and his followers, and never mind it was used for proselytization.

    As for sacrificial language about the mass, it, too, stems from typology including later *doctrinal change* describing the liturgical presider as a cultic priest, Jesus as the victim, and the eucharistic (read: thanksgiving) table as an altar. This understanding of Catholic worship substitutes “sacrifice” for Jesus’ own “self-sacrifice”. This was not doctrinal development. This was radical change.

  • #neveragain

    Bobosé, enough of your blathering. Get off your lazy backside and start working to make gun control happen.

    DO IT!


  • #neveragain

    Bobosé’s starting to get violent with his attempts at analogies. Make sure his guns aren’t within his reach…