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Crystal Cathedral, home to the ‘Hour of Power,’ transforms into Catholic s …

The entire Christ Cathedral campus includes 35 acres, seven buildings and 340,000 square feet of building space. RNS photo by Heather Adams

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — (RNS) For nearly 30 years, the Rev. Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral was not only a religious landmark, but an architectural wonder and an embodiment of flush times in Southern California’s Orange County.

Schuller, who began preaching to motorists at a drive-in movie theater in 1955, captured the ebullient positivity of midcentury America, and by the 1970s he was one of the country’s top televangelists, best-known for his broadcast, “Hour of Power.” The symbol of his success was Crystal Cathedral, a 128-foot-tall building designed by the cutting-edge mondernist architect Philip Johnson to be the largest glass building in the world.

From the top, you can see Disneyland. Inside seats almost 3,000. On holidays, services included live animals and acrobatic performers. It was a physical representation of the limitless hopes of the evangelical community of the time.

But the landscape began to change.

Located just a few miles from Disneyland, Christ Cathedral Parish in Southern California features bells that were donated by Walt Disney. RNS photo by Heather Adams

Around the turn of the 21st century, Schuller’s large following of white evangelicals was aging, and the population of nonwhite residents in California was increasing. Membership and donations to Crystal Cathedral began to decline. The cathedral filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

At the same time, the Roman Catholic Church started seeing an increase in Southern California. In 1976, the Diocese of Orange consisted of about 300,000 Catholics. Today, the numbers are closer to 1.6 million, supporting 62 parishes, 41 schools, three hospitals and care centers and a number of agencies serving the poor, according to The Orange County Register.


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“It’s like, ‘Where are all these people coming from?’ They keep coming and coming,” said Hank Evers, director of strategic communications for the Diocese of Orange, adding that the overall population growth of the area impacted everything from the economy to the local churches.

The Rev. Robert Schuller, founder of Crystal Cathedral. Photo courtesy of Hour of Power ministries

Fittingly, then, Crystal Cathedral is almost ready to open as a church again — this time as Christ Cathedral, seat of the Diocese of Orange.

“It’s the carrying on of a legacy that was begun before us,” said the Rev. Christopher Smith, a priest at Christ Cathedral. “And a very important sign of Christian unity.”

When Evers joined the Orange Catholic Foundation in fall 2011, his first project was a capital campaign aimed at raising at least $200 million to build a replacement for Holy Family Cathedral, an early 1960s parish church that was selected as the diocesan seat when the Diocese of Orange split off from Los Angeles in the 1970s.

It was that winter that the Crystal Cathedral campus was foreclosed and bidding for the entire campus, including 35 acres, seven buildings and 340,000 square feet of building space, opened up.

“The timing was unbelievable,” Evers said.

Unbelievable, but far from simple.

“We’re buying a used cathedral,” Evers said. “That’s never happened before.”

The Rev. Robert Schuller, top, leads a service at Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif., on Jan. 28, 1996. (AP Photo/Michael Tweed)

For one thing, the Diocese of Orange wasn’t even the highest bidder. But at Schuller’s request, the bankruptcy judge awarded the Diocese of Orange the campus for $57.5 million.

Then came the hard part. Crystal Cathedral needed major repairs and would have to be adapted to serve as a Catholic facility. The new focus of Evers’ capital campaign was raising money for its transformation. The final numbers were just too high — $25 million to $30 million over budget.

The diocese brought in Richard Heim, division CEO for Clark Construction Group and a local Catholic. By cutting back on construction costs on what Heim refers to as “back of the house” features that few worshippers would notice, the diocese was able to save millions of dollars. The total cost of acquiring and adapting the building, at a little more than $100 million, came to about half that of building a new cathedral.

“We had to strike a balance between the architectural significance, the functionality of the space, but also bring it in within the available funds,” Heim said.

Some of the changes were small, such as switching from English walnut to red oak for the pews and looking at a wider range of flooring. The rehabilitation crew also ran into a lot of unexpected challenges, finding undocumented changes to the design, for instance, and having to replace underground plumbing and gas lines. The entire glass facade and roof had to be recaulked to withstand an earthquake.

“It is not the traditional stone concrete cathedrals that you would see in Europe that would last 500 years,” Heim said. “We are restoring a glass cathedral in the middle of a seismic zone in California, which is a bit of a challenge.”

To transform the building into a place for Catholic Mass, a substantial altar area replaced Schuller’s pulpit in the middle of the predella, giving it a central place in the cathedral and a major focal point. Limestone walls have been erected to create a sense of enclosure, and 11,000 panels, called quatrefoils, hung toward the ceiling help control temperature, monitor the acoustics and create a more somber atmosphere. The Hazel Wright Organ, one of the largest church instruments in the world, named for the “Hour of Power” viewer who donated the money for it, has been moved to a side.

The interior of the Crystal Cathedral in 2005. The Roman Catholic Church bought the property and renamed it Christ Cathedral. Photo by B. Kuderer/Creative Commons

Some architecture critics have taken exception to the changes, saying they diminish the openness of the Johnson design. But the diocese feels that it has done much to preserve the beauty of the cathedral, which it considers a boon to the local community, while accommodating the diocese’s needs.

“I think we’ve done many things with both the original vision of Philip Johnson but also makes it more of a Catholic worship place,” Heim said.

Smith notes the words of Dorothy Day, who emphasized the need for beautiful spaces and encouraging the rich and the poor to come inside, listen to the music, look at the art and be inspired.

“Food is part of what we need to keep alive as humans but we also need to nourish our spirits,” Smith said. “Beauty is one of the things that does that.”

The diocese currently hosts 12 Masses in four languages every Sunday in another building on the campus. Christ Cathedral is on the path to be done with construction by spring 2019, with a dedication planned for the summer.

Smith said that’s when the staff’s work will really begin.

“It’s more than just learning how to turn on the lights — although that’ll be a project here, too,” he said with a laugh. “There’s a lot of logistics of things.”

The staff will also be reworking the Mass schedule, likely decreasing the number of Masses each Sunday. The new building will have a much bigger capacity and Smith said he wants to make sure pews are full at each Mass to create an environment of worshipping together.

“If the closest person to you is five to 10 pews behind you, it doesn’t create a very strong spirit of participating with other people,” he said.

Christ Cathedral is seen during the “Lighting of the Quatrefoils” ceremony on Oct. 13, 2018, in Garden Grove, Calif. Architect Philip Johnson created the Crystal Cathedral in 1980, known at the time as the largest glass building in the world. Its glass enclosure was designed in response to the Rev. Robert Schuller’s request that the church be open to the “sky and the surrounding world,” according to the Diocese of Orange’s website. Photo courtesy of Hank Evers 

From plans for televised services to Facebook Live, Smith said he never could’ve imagined he’d be where he is now. When he was just 6 years old he would watch “this preacher” — Schuller, who died in 2015 — with amazement.

“We thought it was so cool to have church outside,” Smith said. “Never did I imagine that all these years later, over 60 years later, I would meet this preacher.” Or, he added, transform that preacher’s Crystal Cathedral into Christ Cathedral — keeping a legacy and Christianity at the heart of the building.

“The building is going to continue its journey and its purpose of meeting the spiritual purpose of the people,” Heim said.

About the author

Heather Adams

113 Comments

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  • Nice. There’s some “conversion therapy” that might actually work: changing the glass revival “tent” into an actual place of worship. Too bad that the RCC is on the same ugly page as the former tenants with respect to LGBTQ rights.

  • It’s poetic justice that Roman Catholics in Orange, California will now be worshiping God in a space designed by a gay man who just happens to be one of America’s most prominent architects, now sadly deceased.

  • De gustibus non disputandum est.

    Conservatives always hate anything new. It usually takes about a century for them to come ’round.

  • I didn’t know one has “rights” in the church. I do know that you are able to receive sacraments according to your vocation in life; so stop on in – all are welcome.

  • “It’s the carrying on of a legacy that was begun before us,” said the Rev. Christopher Smith, a priest at Christ Cathedral. “And a very important sign of Christian unity.”

    Hoo-eee!
    The Schuller family isn’t unified!
    Roman Catholics aren’t united with their Pope!
    What the priest and evangelicals each call Christianity are not united, as seen in the bloody history of the Reformation! [The crackling of fagots …]

    Was there a scriptural or even dogmatic reason for “switching from English walnut to red oak for the pews”?

  • I’m not Catholic, but am interested in religion, history and the Bible. One of my favorite sources is of course newadvent.org, with its original Catholic Encyclopedia and variety of opinions. A wide variety, as you may know.
    One question being debated fiercely is the question of the sacraments for divorced or ‘improperly married’ Catholics. Still a question; many are unsure of what side the Pope is on.

  • Actual Roman Catholics are united with their Pope insofar as the Church’s teaching and his legitimate authority are concerned.

    Other “Catholics” found here, at National Catholic Reporter, http://www.aggiornamento.net, and so on are not united in anything.

  • The Catholic teaching is clear.

    This particular Pontiff said when elected that he was no theologian, and has worked hard to prove he was right.

  • My point is that a Roman Catholic is supposed to be one who subscribes to the doctrines expounded in his Catechism. Does that allow for one’s actions not following what the Pope orders?
    People on both sides continue to call themselves Catholics.
    And, one thing we can learn from CathEn is that this is nothing new. The miserable story of Trent alone is proof of that.

  • I’ve seen NCR. It is different.
    Take a look at newadvent’s home page [which includes NCR bloggers]. I’ve been told “the one true Church” is in there; I fail to see it.

  • Indeed. A friend of mine once lived within easy sight of it. Very impressive.
    But then, I may be too easily pleased. Another So. Cal landmark is the Pacific Design Center, aka The Blue Whale. Vilified, but I love it. 🙂

  • Since you don’t say what you’re looking for, it is hard to decipher what you fail to see: Father Chuck O’Malley at St. Dominic’s Parish in a lower-class section of New York City?

  • 1 – There is a lot more than doctrine in the Catechism.

    2 – The only obedience owed to the Holy Father is that to which he is entitled by virtue of his office. He can err, and no one has to follow his wrong opinions.

    3 – What people call themselves is more or less irrelevant. Every heretic has claimed to be Catholic.

    4 – Trent was not a particularly miserable story.

  • I want a doctrine, based on an authority [I prefer the Bible], relevant to and useful in any era.
    The RCC loses me at “A doctrine”.

    BTW when I was a child, and not a Catholic one, the Church and its adherents said it was ‘the only true church’. I admired that, because it was logical. After all, we see from Bulfinch how useless polytheism is. No more than one God, so no more than one way of worshiping.
    Not a belief widely held, these days … as we learn from newadvent.

  • The Catholic Church should not lose anyone at “a doctrine”.

    Since the Church precedes the Bible, and selected the texts which were incorporated into it, why would you prefer the Bible?

    Catholics and Orthodox view the Revelation as resting on two pillars, not one; Tradition and Scriptures.

    What you may be running into is trying to make sense out of something without doing it in a logical way.

    It’s like picking a book in a foreign language and expecting to learn to read it by just looking at it.

    That leads to all sorts of problems, for example one of the RNS writers consistently makes nonsense out of Catholicism by trying to comment on it without first learning something about it:

    https://onepeterfive(dot)com/slandering-cardinal-burke/

  • “Since the Church precedes the Bible, and selected the texts which were incorporated into it, why would you prefer the Bible?”

    Who taught you that? The Church does not precede the Bible. The Church of Jesus Christ is established in the middle of the New Testament. Or, arguably, at the start of Genesis (if you want to look at “the Word” as being the establishment of God’s church in the very beginning).

    Both “Tradition” and “Scripture” are not solitary interpretive foundations for God’s word and purpose for humanity. A burden of proof may rest on those who believe something is amiss, but that burden has been met even according to the Roman Catholic Church in some cases (this Church has adopted some of the principles established by the Reformation). Have you purchased any indulgences lately?

    The Bible does not come after the Church. It came before, it was there during, and it continued after the establishment of the Church.

    And all the things that Jesus proclaimed occurred before he laid his charge on Peter.

    Don’t you think what Christ had to say might be important for… Christianity?

  • “What people call themselves is more or less irrelevant. Every heretic has claimed to be Catholic.”

    Do you call yourself one who speaks the truth?
    Because not every heretic has claimed to be Catholic.
    And not every orthodox believer has rightly believed themselves to be outside of heresy.

    Catholic teachings have changed, including adopting some arguments of so-called heretics.

  • “Conservatives always hate anything new.”

    Don’t play the polarity game. That’s about as fruitful as saying “Liberals always hate anything old.”

  • “Do you call yourself one who speaks the truth?”

    Define “truth”.

    “Because not every heretic has claimed to be Catholic.”

    Okay – name the Christian sect which rejects the Nicene Creed and you have your candidate.

    “Catholic teachings have changed …”.

    To wit?

  • “The Church does not precede the Bible.”

    Of course it does.

    Or was Jesus reading from a script when He founded his Church?

    Not only was the Bible compiled after the last Apostle died, even today there is not complete unanimity as to its contents.

  • Well, at least it’s fresh start, a building untainted by the sex scandals., with that abuse, we are told and the stats seems to bak up the claims, that the sex crimes are behind the church.

  • Nothing new. because many gay people have decorated, built and designed churches including many Roman Catholic Churches whether the owners knew it or not.

  • “The Church does not precede the Bible.”

    The Church was founded by Jesus Christ, starting with the Apostles. The Apostles did not write anything until a number of years afterwards. And the canon of the Bible was decided several centuries after that, by the CHURCH.

    The Bible did not fall out of heaven ready made. Learn some history, for crying out loud. The Church MADE the Bible.

  • He did not have to be a theologian – theos ‘god’, logia ‘studier of’ – a studier of god. He was god.

    I hope you’re not suggesting Francis is divine.

  • A misuse of money that could, and should, have been allocated for the needs of the poorest of the flock — health care, housing, job skill training, day care, etc etc etc.

  • Ecumenism on display as Catholic takes over the evangelical and merge as the one world religion of man. The beginning of the end on display!

  • I find the comments here rather depressing. There is no knowledge or wisdom concerning anything going on at all. My people perish for lack of knowledge.

  • Sounds good in theory, but once all the money’s gone, then what? Great church buildings have been inspiring millions of people for centuries. Their worth in that sense is incalculable. Besides which, Jesus has already addressed this issue in a somewhat oblique manner in the story of his anointing at Bethany:

    While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. But some were there who said to one another in anger, ‘Why was the ointment wasted in this way? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.’ And they scolded her. But Jesus said, ‘Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.’ – Mark 14:7

  • I have to wonder if Christ and Him crucified was ever preached in that building. Do you remember the interview between Robert Schuller and Billy Graham? They both denied the Gospel.

  • JUst listened to a video on you tube, by Paul Flynn on Billy Graham. There is so much deception that it is staggering. My former pastor is aligned with JESUS Culture and Bethel now and endorsing Celebration Church, Steven Furtick!I just found out about these heretics. So many I know are being fed this garbage. Beyond depressing! I just found a new reformed church [Dutch Reformed]to go to and I really think it is good. Only been 3 times so far but it is looking excellent.

  • not sure that’s true, G.K. the majestic medieval cathedrals took, take, a great deal of maintenance to survive . our romantic vision of them overlooks that .

    else you have http://www.castlewales.com/tintern10.jpg and http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_f230i-Krnbo/TE3ti5ToSII/AAAAAAAAAkA/5A4GTRo_iiU/s1600/P1010312.JPG and https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f6/Elgin_Cathedral_-_overview.jpg/500px-Elgin_Cathedral_-_overview.jpg

    either modern or ancient you can have bare ruin choirs . its a question of will and resources for upkeep .

  • I’ll look for that on YouTube. It’s really sad; Billy Graham was such a staple in so many homes when I was growing up with his crusades and TV broadcasts all the while being aligned with the RCC and others (including Norman Vincent Peale, author of “The Power of Positive Thinking”) – so ecumenical. Nonetheless, the Lord is able to open the heart and the eyes and change the will with Truth. He shall find His sheep!!

    Steven Furtick?!?!? Oh no!! I hate to hear of those turning away from the Truth – apostasy – yet it happens. They were not of us for has they been of us no doubt they would have continued with us. We’re also warned of tares among the wheat, wolves among the sheep. Oh! we need to be like the Bereans and search the Scriptures to test all that we’re told and hold tight to that which is good!

    I’m glad you’ve found a congregation with whom to worship! I’ve no doubt you’ll try the spirits as you desire to worship Him in spirit and in truth. May our Lord continue to grow us in grace and knowledge of Him! <3 <3

  • i would imagine that many saw the rise of the (now) great gothic cathedrals as a sad movement away from the more humble churches of the early middle ages . the perhaps unsightly perceived spires arrogantly reaching toward heaven insulting god in his realm.

    you don’t seem to like this newly catholic cathedral . myself i am not sure about it . but the deciding vote will be the reaction of those who visit it, use it, and worship in it . there is no “in short” knowing the value of it . in years of time we will know if the architecture matches the liturgical needs of the church .

  • i would like it if it and the surrounding buildings were in more distinct colors rather than the soft tones that were used .

  • you started strong with your first sentence . then you dribbled away any sense with your second . you might have just declared that you disagreed with many catholics and you idenitify them with the n.c.r. and aggiornamento, and the like . that would be fair . if you are not united in faith with them, then it is also fair for them to act not in unity with you .

    though my guess would be that while you note that they aren’t where you think they should be, they just pray and work for the unity of the church in the full expression of its faith .

  • Yes…may the Lord bless our days with continued growth and His grace and mercy. I had never heard of Furtick and then I found info on him with Fighting for the Faith, Chris Rosebraugh [spelling?] and found my former pastor endorsing his church. This is so sad to see people you know, falling for such obvious false teaching. I tell so many but they are not much interested in the truth. Warned someone about Rick Warren and she was angry that I would say anything against him because she loved him. sigh!!!!!On a very good note, warned a woman about reading Jesus Calling and she was super grateful and burned the book! Nice!

  • “Like it”.
    The Whale, or the cathedral?
    I moved several years ago, but a Google view of the neighborhood shows just that. New buildings in colors.

  • I find the Gothic to be less beautiful than the Romanesque, which was itself less beautiful than the Byzantine, which was alive with beautiful iconography. Compared to these predecessors, the Crystal Cathedral looks cold, barren, and sterile.

    At least that’s my appraisal. Other’s mileage may vary.

  • Does doing a kindness to Jesus [in personal thanks] equate with putting up masonry, much of which has neen destroyed in religious wars?

  • Can a building be “tainted” that way, or are the people tainted?

    Stats? There are reports in the mainstream press about more offenses coming to light.
    Those are from the past, but the Pope’s steamrollering the Bishops’ attempt to change a flawed system does not bode as well as you expect.

  • As to your comments about scripture and Magisterium, sincerely held I’m sure, please read CCC 86 as to the official view, the one you’re obligated to believe. In my approach to God, I prefer to learn from the master, not the servant.

    Now, please note the many times in history that the Church has set aside God’s word for man’s. E.g. any of the religious wars vs. John 13:34,35; cf. Jas 1:20.

    “By their works…”. The Church’s works deny any authority to the Bible “it gave the world” as they say.

  • Reading from a script?
    Not an inaccurate way to put the matter. The Bible – the book – existed when Moses began to put it down on paper, from inspiration and oral records he had from the patriarchs. [The lives of Shem and Abraham overlapped by about 150 years.]

    The book existed in Hebrew and in the Greek, Septuagint before Jesus lived on the earth. He often quoted it.

    In particular, one of his more famous teachings came straight from the Hebrew scriptures. Compare Ps 37:11 with Mt 5:5 [5:4, NJB].

  • John 1:18, NJB.
    “No one has ever seen God; it is the only son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.”

    Please note:
    > Jesus’ pre-existence in heaven alongside his Father [John 17:5] gave him ample opportunity for study.
    > That let him make God known to us.
    > The separate mention, in the same clause, of son and Father. Certainly that alone should give us room to doubt that “He was god”, or even “god the son”.
    > many ordinary humans saw Jesus in his time on earth.

    My personal view is that I should study God because Jesus did. Paul agrees. 1Cor 2:16.

  • The story of Trent in your CathEn seems miserable to me.
    How long it dragged on; where it was variously assembled, and why; the infighting over personal precedence …
    Read it for yourself.

  • In speaking of “churches”, it’s useful to go to the mss., which are available online in copy and in translation.
    As a building, church does not occur in any mss. Its a ME word, from the old German. Cf. Scottish kirk.
    The Greek word often mistranslated as church is ecclesia, or congregation. Note the one is an inert building, the other is a group of like-minded people.
    The modern use of church to denote a religious organization is also unscriptural, and gets mixed up in the minds of many with the building. The only edifice authorized by Yahweh as a place of worship was the Tabernacle, replaced by the Temple. That was destroyed in 70 C.E. and not replaced.
    Early Christians rented rooms; only much later did they spend any money on property ownership. That in turn led to many abuses, described at length in CathEn.

  • Oh, yes, I can relate. So many are not interested in the truth and either get angry or with us or ignore us when we witness of it to them. I’ve been called many names including from many professing Christians on the so-called Christian channels on Disqus.

    You must have been quite shocked to hear your former pastor endorse Steven Furtick. I have a facebook friend who is a fan of his, too – she’s very religious and the niece of a preacher, no less. I’ve not addressed her directly about Furtick but have posted truth from Scripture fb as I’ve had points on my heart. She’s distanced herself from me. I’ve been unfriended by a few others. It’s sad and it hurts but the Lord warns us it will be this way. He is our strength and our refuge. His grace is sufficient.

  • i did a study of the origins of the words “church” and “ecclesiastical” a couple of years ago and was amused that the words sort crossed over . the origin of church was closer to assembly of people; and ecclesiastic, which suggests in english a member of the clergy, or ecclesiastical, an activity or belief or things associated with that, was in the greek meaning was closer to the structure or building . strange how usage can switch back and forth over time .

    i know that the very earliest christians simply met in their homes–likely who had the most space or a large court yard, whether permitting . and there is no real use for a church as a building theologically or scripturally .

    but there is practicality . you mentioned renting space . the early christians outgrew their home use quickly . churches–the buildings– were a matter of practical need . if you are serving the needs of those at risk, it is helpful to have a place to work out of . beyond the need for room to pray and worship .

    i mistook your original statement “except for the sad part” . i thought that you were making a comment about the architecture .

    with your immediate above comment i am again not quite sure what point you are making . that there should not be churches as they are not scriptural ? that we should never own because there may be abuses ?

  • I am suggesting that the Holy Spirit can work through Francis to accomplish God’s purposes for the Church. A PhD. in theology is not required. As for Jesus’ being God, you need to take seriously Paul’s statement, that Jesus “though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness”. That means he emptied himself of omniscience. That means he depended on the guidance of the Holy Spirit just as we his disciples do. Just as Francis does.

  • “cold, barren, and sterile” . and it may be . i doubt that i will have the chance to see it, and that makes no difference to me . i will let those who live, work and worship in it determine if it inspires or not .

    modern architecture always walks the narrow line between cold, barren, and sterile product; and clean, bold and splendid vision . i have not been a fan of philip johnson as i do find much of his work on the cold side . but that cathedral from my distance does intrigue and i await what those frequently in the pews there relate in the coming years .

  • If the Revelation is to be believed, God works through all things to accomplish his purposes.

    That would include Francis’ various faux pas and errors, which have resulted in clarification of the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, and the exposition of prelates with heretical ideas in bas-relief.

    This of course does not mean one should endorse errors.

    While Jesus was not omniscient, the notion “That means he depended on the guidance of the Holy Spirit just as we his disciples do. Just as Francis does.” is heretical.

    Jesus was inherently aware of his unique relationship to the Father and of his mission to bring salvation to the world. The Gospels provide ample evidence that Jesus knew who he was and knew what he had to do to bring about God’s reign. However, on ordinary matters, Jesus’ knowledge was gained by experience like everyone else.

    So, unlike the disciples and Francis, Jesus was born with the knowledge necessary to accomplish his mission.

  • The human and divine mix in every human endeavor, including the Church.

    That’s not “miserable”, that’s reality.

    Consider, for example, Judas.

  • The manuscripts existed in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic in various places in various compilations.

    Not everything written wound up in one of the books we call the Bible. Jesus, for example, quoted Scriptures which are no longer extant.

    The Church preexisted the compilation, preexisted the manuscripts, by experiencing and living the revelation first.

  • Amen to the Lord being our strength in these times of battle. I am going to an event this AM so I can tell some friends that I will be leaving this church altogether, very soon. We need to address the reasons why with some people. My husband wants to make sure that they know because we were never told why people left the church we were in and it was very disturbing. It is a delicate subject and one I want to treat with gentleness but remain firm and true.
    Thanks for your friendship and support!

  • For those who are following along, this is the entry to which you refer:

    “86 ‘Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith.’” quoting “Dei Verbum”, the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation.

    Again, since you’re reading what amounts to a foreign text without a dictionary, you can’t put that into perspective.

    In particular you’re rejecting Christ’s words that “who hears you, hears Me”.

    You similarly fail to distinguish acts of men who happen to be in the Church from the teaching of the Church.

    With that logic you should reject Christianity in toto based on the performance of Judas.

  • Perspective? Before I knew of CCC 86 I was following it, in its first sentence. Using God’s word to teach me about God. Isn’t that a healthy perspective? And, it applies no matter what the “teaching authority” being offered; Catholic, Baptist, Islam …

    I gave “Christian” religious wars, fought by men, in contrast with Jesus’ command at John 13, as a clear choice of servant over master, to the detriment of everyone. What do you think?

    As to the RCC origin of the Bible, Paul disagrees, at Rom 3:2, NJB: .””First of all, it was to the Jews that the message of God was entrusted

  • Since the Catholic Church is a teaching church, and has a huge body of documentation of its teaching, it does not require Thomas Aquinas to note that the management and most commenters at the National Catholic Reporter (which discontinued its comments) and aggiornamento.net oppose one or several of that Church’s teachings.

    You can’t be Catholic and reject Catholicism at the same time.

    Your argument basically consists of the notion – so common today – that we are whatever we say we are, or “feel” we are, which undercuts the very basis of human knowledge.

    It reminds of me of this passage from “The Profit”, a parody of “The Prophet” published fifty or so years ago:

    ***

    Glass is one of Earth’s miracles, like fire and water.

    It is a solid object so real yet so transparent it defies the senses.

    It is wondrous though made of the most common materials, sand and lime.

    Yet if one element is changed in quantity or substance, you have not Glass.

    If you add water, you have not Glass.

    If you subtract the lime and replace it with lemon, you have not Glass.

    If you subtracted the sand and added sugar, you would not have Glass.

    What would you have then, Master, the man asked.

    Lemonade, the Master replied.

    ***

    That the Lemonade at National Catholic Reporter and aggiornamento.net call themselves Glass does not make them Glass.

  • So, what you’re saying is that based on your a priori assumptions, you reject Catholicism outright.

    You believe yourself to be a competent interpreter of Scriptures such that you require none of the charisms Christ promised to his Church.

    That certainly seems to conclude the discussion, Pope Doug.

  • “Competent interpreters” are found at Acts 4:13. Peter and John, men whom their trained, professional ecclesiastics considered “uneducated laymen”.
    Their qualifications? First, that they spoke the truth, as recognized even by their opposers, the clergy of that day and time.
    Second, they “were associates of Jesus”. That is, what they knew, they learned from him.
    Anyone today can learn from the word of God in his own language. Applying what is learned is another story, as we saw in the Thirty Years War.

  • Thanks to you for yours as well! I am facing a somewhat similar situation here albeit alone as my husband isn’t with me. As long as we’re standing on the authority of the word of God, we’re on solid ground even when it means a split from others. Let’s have each other in prayer. <3

  • I believe you’re establishing the fact that you have zero interest in resolving your concerns about the Catholic Church, and wish to promote a script in opposition to it.

    Have at it, but that ends my interest in the discussion.

  • Okay! I will pray for us in our decisions that God gives us His discernment! I know exactly what you are saying and I have that same situation [hubby] although it is maybe coming together. God’s will be done! Going to a prayer meeting in just minutes! God bless you and keep you hid in Him!

  • If it were ecumenical, then multiple denominations could conduct services and all Christians could participate in communion not just one tribe.

  • apparently it will take a thomas aquinas to note that in the vast literature of catholic authors and catholic teachings it is not flatland . there are essentials and there are customary and pious writings that can be helpful for a time to support the faith yet are not the faith . not all of the “huge body of documentation of its teaching” is dogma .

    your concern about n.c.r. and aggiornamento mirrors mine about the national catholic register and e.w.t.n.

    while you seem to think that your understanding of the catholic faith is the only one, i would note that most heresies begin with that thought . whether you like it or not we are in this together . i do not attempt to excommunicate you . and i will ignore your attempt to do so with those you don’t agree with .

    know that the church is larger, its faith broader and deeper than you or i can fathom .

    p.s. while i enjoyed “the profit” when it came out, its usefulness begins and ends with its humorous take . gustave weigel wrote “the prophet has nothing to say though it says it beautifully” . in like manner the profit has nothing to say though it says it humorously .

  • You’ve gotten yourself into a circular argument.

    Any of “the vast literature of ‘catholic’ authors and ‘catholic’ teachings (that) is not flatland” which does not comport with the Magisterium is not Catholic, without any regard at all to what it may call itself.

    Since I have not presented my own “understanding of the catholic faith”, I can hardly have claimed it to be the only one.

    Lemonade is never Glass, period.

  • nor have you presented any of the n.c.r. nor aggiornamento and shown that it is not catholic . you only make oblique references to it and assume that everyone who would read it would agree with you that it is not catholic .

    which does not reflect catholic theology . thomas aquinas at the minimum presented the positions of others, if briefly, before presenting the evidence as he saw it and then coming to his own “but i say” .

    your use of the profit to make a point suggests that you are having difficulty distinguishing between lemonade and glass . hint put the lemonade on the inside of the glass .

  • I don’t believe you intend to engage in a serious discussion, nor are you in any substantial way acquainted with either the National Catholic Reporter or aggiornamento.net.

    NCR, for example, regularly advocates the magisterially rejected ordination of women and advocates the acceptance of same-sex “marriage”. One of the co-founders of aggiornamento.net states that she no longer attends Mass, rejects the Virgin Birth, and advocates same sex physical relations.

    Anyone who thinks those positions are “catholic” has some serious problems and if you were familiar yourself with the Church’s position on what is open for discussion, and what is not, you’d know that.

    So, this wraps up our little tête-à-tête.

  • So we seem to agree on this: a person does not need to be a professional theologian to be an effective pope. We would do well to distinguish between knowledge and faith. I may say, “I know God loves me” when I am in fact expressing my faith. The conviction of faith can be as certain as the conviction of knowledge. My conviction that God loves me (faith) is as sure as my conviction that I am alive (knowledge). There is no way to tell from the Gospels whether Jesus’ statements about his relationship with the Father were an expression of faith or an expression of knowledge.

  • So don’t show up at that church. Leave it for the people who wanna go there and worship God. I’m not even Catholic, (nor was I a Robert Schuller watcher for that matter), and I can yet see that you’ve got things wrong.

    Lotta people got (and getting) a lotta help — and that’s no joke — under Schuller’s Cathedral in the past, and now the Catholics’ Cathedral today. That’s what matters.

  • Francis seems intent on demonstrating how not to be an effective pope.

    With your last sentence you enter into opposition with the Catholic Church.

    That certainly is your right, but it ends our discussion.

  • It’s a tragedy that Roman Catholics of Orange County bought the Cathedral with their money power. Like Rome, this too will be a spiritually desolated and bankrupt place in due time. Many Roman Catholic Churches in the US, Canada, Ireland, Italy and Spain are all losing membership. Roman Catholic membership increased here only because of the Hispanic Catholics who migrated to California in search of jobs.

  • Wouldn’t it be great if multiple denominations could use the same space for worship? Think of the funds that could be saved to help the poor and sick.

  • Earlier I asked: I gave “Christian” religious wars, fought by men, in contrast with
    Jesus’ command at John 13, as a clear choice of servant over master, to
    the detriment of everyone. What do you think?

    I’ve had many religious folks balk at that one; I don’t know why. Anyway, I’m interested in what you think of another topic, a basic one. Gen 1:28, NJB: God blessed them, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth
    and subdue it. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all the living creatures that move on earth.’

    It’s basic because it’s Yahweh’s first command to his human creation, and because it deals directly with how he wanted us to live. What do you think of it? You can tell me what CCC says, or what your priest says, or you can “interpret” it, but I’m more interested in what you think.

  • That’s a nice thought, but is it from God? Many people believe that ‘all roads lead to God’; again, is that true?
    There’s evidence that Jesus himself thought otherwise. Please read Mt 7:22,23.
    He prophesies, When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?”

    Notice that he’s speaking of those who call themselves Christians, and act like followers of Jesus. But then he says, Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, all evil doers!

    Why would he treat good people with such cruelty? Isn’t he the one who offers salvation? What do you think?

  • It seems to me that Jesus was not making a literal quote of any particular scripture, but was applying an earlier idea to himself. Isa 44:3; 58:11; Zec 14:8; Ex 17:6; Num 20:8. All refer to Yahweh as being the true source of living water; that is, life itself. So we needn’t look for a direct quote to understand him, any more than his Jewish hearers would.

    The Quora author (Paul Koreen) feels the same way.
    “The big idea here is an OT allusion of the exodus and the traveling rock from which sprung forth water … Be clear that the idea of living
    water would be understood by the Jews (even in the Diaspora of the
    time). There is no intent to deceive but to interpret that bigger
    meaning to Himself.”

    Another author, on the same page (Brian S. Holmes) agrees. Please read his paragraph beginning, “Back to the first question. Here’s Jesus’s quote in John 7:38…”

    Do you have any more examples of such? In the meantime I have one for you, suggested by an atheist (!) on the same page.
    “For example, Matthew 2:23 claims Jesus’ family settled in Nazareth to fulfill a prophecy that said ‘And he shall be called a Nazarene’, but this is not found in the scriptures anywhere.”

    But, gospel writer Matthew says that Jesus’ family came to dwell in “There he settled in a town called Nazareth. In this way the words spoken through the prophets were to be fulfilled: He will be called a Nazarene.” The name Nazarene seems to be related to the Hebrew word for “sprout*,” which you can research for yourself. Evidently, Matthew was referring to Isaiah’s prophecy at 11:1 [“A shoot will spring from the stock of Jesse, a new shoot will grow from his roots] that called the Messiah a shoot or sprout out of Jesse, meaning that the Messiah would be a descendant of Jesse, father of King David. (Isaiah 11:1) Jesus was, in fact, a descendant of Jesse through David.​—Matthew 1:6, 16; Luke 3:23, 31, 32.
    Zec 3:8 similarly says, ‘So listen, High Priest Joshua, you and the colleagues over whom you preside — for they are an omen of things to come — for now I shall bring in my servant the Branch, and I shall remove this country’s guilt in a single day.
    And Jer 23:5, Look, the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when I shall raise an upright Branch for David; he will reign as king and be wise, doing what is just and upright in the country.
    All these terms are synonymous or related, and all clearly refer to the Messiah.

    * Please note that tax collector Matthew was no doubt the best educated of the Apostles. Your Jerome claims ‘he wrote his Gospel first in Hebrew’, before he or another translated it into the Greek of the day. Jerome says he saw a Hebrew copy of it (ca. 400 C.E., in Jerusalem).

  • I stand by my reply. “How long it dragged on; where it was variously assembled, and why; the infighting over personal precedence …”
    And it’s clear you didn’t do this: “Read it for yourself.”

  • “Early Christians rented rooms; only much later did they spend any money
    on property ownership. That in turn led to many abuses, described at
    length in CathEn.”
    Look up “annates”, for a start.

  • As I stated, you are interested in an argument, not a discussion, which concludes my interest in the exchange.

  • That’s odd. I’ve been quoting and discussing God’s word, the holy Bible, ‘the Bible we Catholics gave the world’, but you have “lack of interest”. You’re not one of those phony Catholics we’ve been reading about here, are you?
    🙂

  • MODERATOR: You have my earlier reply beginning “It seems to me that Jesus” labeled as spam. Can you tell me why? I do not spam, and will happily make any necessary edits.

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