July 25, 2014

Charles Colson: 1931-2012. May His Memory Be Eternal

Charles Colson

Charles Colson died today. He was 80 years old. I first met Colson at a conference at Washington, DC and was struck by his magnanimous character and intelligence. Everyone knows his story. Colson was a ruthless political operative in the Nixon administration, got caught up in the Watergate imbroglio during the Nixon administration and went to jail. I heard him explain his experience in prison during one of his talks. It was the lowest point in his life where he had lost everything and began to question purpose, decisions, and direction. He was visited by a friend (former Minnesota Governor Al Quie) who shared with him how Jesus Christ came into the world to redeem man. Colson listened, cried out to God for help and, as his life would later prove, God heard him. His repentance was deep and lasting. Prison opened his eyes not only to God, but the desperate conditions of other prisoners. He founded Prison Fellowship, an organization they helped prisoners while incarcerated, after … [Read more...]

G.K. Chesterton: It is the State which changes; it is the State which destroys…

chesterton

“It is the State which changes; it is the State which destroys; it is nearly always the State which persecutes. The Totalitarian State is now making a clean sweep of all our old notions of liberty, even more than the French Revolution made a clean sweep of all the old ideas of loyalty. It is the Church that excommunicates; but in that very word implies that a communion stands open for a restored communicant. It is the State that exterminates; it is the State that abolishes absolutely and altogether; whether it is the American State abolishing beer, or the Fascist State abolishing parties; or the Hitlerite State abolishing almost everything but itself.” G.K. Chesterton from The Shallows and the Wells. … [Read more...]

Fr. Gregory Jensen: Pursuing Our Own Good By Serving the Common Good

fr-gregory-jensen-150x150

From the essay: Does the State serve the people or the people the State? The question here is more than just matter of personal or institutional conscience. Rather we must now ask whether the State is willing to acknowledge, and more importantly to defer, to any other authority or law other than its own in the Public Square? If it doesn’t then the State claims for itself the authority to dictate to the Church, to the family and to other social institutions the content and boundaries of their own lives. The practical effect of all this is to make the Church and the family creatures of the State and so subject to the partisan calculus of American politics. Source: Koinonia | Fr. Gregory Jensen The wisest thing in the world is to cry out before you are hurt. It is no good to cry out after you are hurt; especially after you are mortally hurt. People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because … [Read more...]

Russian Church: British Authorities Adopt Double Standard on Public Symbols

external-russian-orthodox-150x150

Source: Russian Orthodox Church Department for External Affairs Moscow, March 13 – People in the Russian Orthodox Church are amazed at the loyalty that the British authorities, who have forbidden wearing crosses at work, have shown towards other religious and non-religious symbols. ‘This decision of the British authorities cannot but give rise to anxiety, especially given the existence of other tendencies aimed at liberation of human instincts in the European society today. Why then is the public demonstration of one’s involvement in the gay culture considered a norm whereas the wearing of a cross is not? Indeed, there is a diversity of symbols connected with the gay culture, but just try to sack a person who openly demonstrates his sexual orientation. Clearly he will make a row and will certainly manage to be reinstated. And what is the danger of old Christian symbols? Who are insulted by them?’ the chairman of the Synodal Information Department Vladimir Legoida stated on … [Read more...]

Church vs. Reich

hitler-thumb

What happened to Christians under the Nazi Regime? The traditionalists went to concentration camps, many fell away and adopted the Nazi neo-paganism, and some clergy actively supported the Third Reich. From the essay: [T]he persecution of the Church was camouflaged as “positive Christianity,” which claimed through the use of quotations from the Bible to be fulfilling God’s commandments: “They thus built up an enormous propaganda-machine, which resulted in a general inflation of values, because it sanctified anything it wanted to, so that finally nothing remained sacred” (p. 98). Only then did the full persecution come. Source: The Living Church | Leander S. Harding Man’s Disorder and God’s Design, published by Harper and Brothers in 1948, is a remarkable collection of essays prepared for the first assembly of the World Council of Churches at Amsterdam. The authors include some of the most respected theological voices of the 20th century: Karl Barth, H. … [Read more...]

Conscience Objections and Religious Liberty

zenit-logo

ROME, MARCH 13, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Source: ZENIT News The following is an English version of a presentation originally given in Italian, at a Feb. 29 event organized in Rome by the Tocqueville-Acton Institute, Fondazione Caelo et Terra, and Rubbettino Editore for Italian parliamentarians and the public. I would like to thank everyone who helped organize this event. This is an important subject that is beginning to manifest itself in all developed countries, from the United States to Europe, Australia to Canada. I do not want to be melodramatic but I really think we're beginning to see the emergence of a different view not only of fundamental rights, but of the relationship between citizens and government, which is fundamentally altering notions of the rights of conscience and of conscience itself. This change is not inevitable. But it requires us all to recognize the problem and to do something — even if the hour is late. I want to speak in particular, of course, about … [Read more...]

Fr. Peter-Michael Preble: Sunday of Orthodoxy Calls us to Emulate the Courage of our Fathers in the Faith

peter-preble new-thumb

Fr. Peter-Michael Preble tells us just as our Orthodox Fathers fought to preserve the sacred images (because they knew that destroying the icons of Christ would lead to a denial of the Incarnation in the end), we are called to defend the icons of "flesh and blood" -- the human person. It's a strong sermon but entirely fitting for our times. Source: Fr. Peter-Michael Preble Blog To the glory of God Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen. Glory to Jesus Christ!  Glory Forever! Today we commemorate the restoration of the Icons that took place at the 7th Ecumenical Council in 787. Prior to this Council Icons had been declared Idols and therefore were not allowed to be used or created. Many of the images from those early days had been destroyed, although some were saved by hiding them in various places. Today, on this first Sunday of the Great Lent, we remember that day and reaffirm our belief is what is Orthodox. At the close of the Liturgy we will recite the Synodal … [Read more...]

Advice Orthodox Can Heed — Abp. Timothy Dolan: A Good Time to Revive Your Faith

abp-dolan-150x150

Roman Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan offers advice that applies to Christians across the board. Some highlights: If there is not some sacrifice, hardship, and challenge to living our Catholic faith, we usually end up taking it for granted and setting it aside. Dr. Philip Jenkins, the scholar of religion at Penn State University, observes a bit of raw data: the Church grows rapidly, and the faith of her believers is deep and vibrant, in countries where there is persecution of the Church; the Church languishes and gradually loses its luster in countries where it is prosperous, and where it is privileged. The great Father of the Church, Tertullian, made the same claim 19 centuries ago as he watched the Church suffer persecution in the Roman Empire: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the faith.” Uh-oh...what’s that say about us? We live in America where there is religious freedom (even though it is under pressure!). Here we are in a country where there is no danger or … [Read more...]

Something Deadly This Way Comes

albert-mohler

- HT: OrthodoxNet.com Blog The insatiable appetite of the Culture of Death The debate over abortion comes down to one essential issue — the moral status of the unborn child. Those making the case for the legalization of abortion argue that the developing fetus lacks a moral status that would trump a woman’s desire to abort the child. Those arguing against abortion do so by making the opposite claim; that the unborn child, precisely because it is a developing human being, possesses a moral status by the very fact of its human existence that would clearly trump any rationale offered for its willful destruction. This central issue is often obscured in both public argument and private conversations about abortion, but it remains the essential question. We have laws against homicide, and if the unborn child is recognized legally and morally as a human being, abortion would be rightly seen as murder. In the main, abortion rights advocates have drawn the moral line at the moment … [Read more...]

The Church Will Become Small

Pope Benedict

Source: Catholic Education Resource Center | Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) The church will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes . . . she will lose many of her social privileges. . . As a small society, [the Church] will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members.... It will be hard-going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek . . . The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain . . . But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great … [Read more...]

Catholic Politicians Who Attack Church Should Remember God’s Judgment

catholic-news-agency

With stern words Roman Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois warned Catholic politcians last Friday that any collaboration with "assaults against the faith" would one day face the judgment of God. Orthodox bishops should take notice. The report states: When asked specifically about recent actions of Democratic Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius Kathleen Sebelius and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Bishop Jenky replied “I am utterly scandalized.” “The Lord once said ‘if you deny me at the end, I will deny you,’ this from our most merciful, good Savior. And so if it is a choice between Jesus Christ and political power or getting favorable editorials in leftist papers, well, that’s simply not a choice.” Some leaders in the Catholic Church compromised with secular politicians for many decades, just as Orthodox leaders have done. The difference is that the Catholic Church remained clear about the moral precepts protecting innocent life while in some … [Read more...]

Catholic Bishops to Obama: No Compromise, Rescind the Mandate

abp-dolan-150x150

Source: Vatican Radio Full text of the US Catholic Bishops' statement in response to President Obama's proposed changes to the HHS mandate: The Catholic bishops have long supported access to life-affirming healthcare for all, and the conscience rights of everyone involved in the complex process of providing that healthcare. That is why we raised two serious objections to the "preventive services" regulation issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in August 2011. First, we objected to the rule forcing private health plans — nationwide, by the stroke of a bureaucrat's pen—to cover sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion. All the other mandated "preventive services" prevent disease, and pregnancy is not a disease. Moreover, forcing plans to cover abortifacients violates existing federal conscience laws. Therefore, we called for the rescission of the mandate altogether. Second, we explained that the mandate … [Read more...]