July 29, 2014

“We have to stand up and make our voice heard.”

Met. Jonah of the Orthodox Church of America speaks at the 2009 March for Life. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-qzcPBaerg[/youtube] … [Read more...]

Obama’s Theology Problem

John Mark Reynolds observes in the Washington Post that President Obama's liberal Christian theology "represents a last chance for a faith that has been in decline in the West since the 1950s." Reynolds, an Orthodox Christian, blogs at The Scriptorium Daily along with other faculty from the Torrey Honors Institute, a great books program at Biola University for which he is founder and director. Reynolds: President Obama has a chance at greatness, but Tuesday demonstrated that his theology could undermine him. Bush is gone and Obama can no longer simply not be George W. Bush to succeed. He has taken the Oath of Office and now must govern. Of course, Obama could not truly fail on Tuesday. Seeing him take the Oath of Office, the mere image, was a great moment for the nation, but his speech failed to add anything to the greatness. President Obama made history by being elected, but great presidents govern. The picture of the swearing in will make every child's American history … [Read more...]

The Chain of Catastrophe

Fr. Aris Metrakos

Fr. Aris Metrakos, priest at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in San Francisco, California, delivered this address at a memorial service for the victims of abortion held at the St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral on the eve of the West Coast Walk for Life on January 23, 2009. In his talk, Fr. Aris offers reasons why abortion on demand became accepted in the culture, and what Christians must do to restore a culture of life. Listen now:    widget here … [Read more...]

Obama and Moral Imagination

Newly elected President Obama, writes John Couretas, Executive Director of AOI in his essay "Obama and the Moral Imagination" frequently makes use of the phrase "common story." This phrase "may sound strange to the ears. But it is impossible to understand the new president unless his brilliant use of narrative is first grasped," Couretas says. It's a page taken from the Reagan playbook and masterfully executed. Couretas writes: Reagan biographer Lou Cannon told the Chicago Tribune last year that Obama has "a narrative reach" and a talent for story telling that reminds him of the late president. Reagan "made other people a part of his own narrative, and that's what Obama is doing," Cannon said. "By doing it, it expands his reach because he isn't necessarily just another partisan Democrat." … [Read more...]

Culture Wars: Fr. Jacobse on Ancient Faith Radio

Kevin Allen, host of Ancient Faith Radio's Illumined Heart program, interviews AOI President Fr. Hans Jacobse for a fascinating discussion on "The Culture War and Orthodox Christianity." Fr. Hans talks about the need for Eastern Orthodox Christians to engage in the moral and social debates -- call them Culture Wars if you will -- that are being waged in American society today. In this 35 minute program, Allen also asks Fr. Hans about the recent discussion on this blog about whether "Religious Right" leaning ex-Evangelical converts are taking over the Orthodox churches in America. Allen asked Fr. Hans if he thought the Culture Wars might be a lost cause, given what we see in society today. Fr. Hans said the battles over moral issues will be difficult, with uncertain outcomes. But he reminded Allen that our faithfulness will determine the shape of tomorrow. "If it be God's will that the world be saved -- and it is -- I think there's a chance we can turn this around," Fr. Hans … [Read more...]

Fr. Neuhaus’ review of ‘The Democratic Virtues of the Christian Right’

The Wall Street Journal this week published the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus' review of "The Democratic Virtues of the Christian Right" by Jon Shields. In the review, Fr. Neuhaus gives Shields, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College, high marks for "an excruciatingly careful study, studded with the expected graphs and statistical data—but not to the point of spoiling its readability—in the service of probing the curious permutations in contemporary political alignments." The book is scheduled for release on Feb. 19. The pro-life movement is a movement for change, indeed for what some view as the radical change of eliminating the unlimited abortion license. "Meanwhile," writes Shields, "the pro-choice movement is a conservative movement defending the status quo. Pro-choicers have little to gain from engaging their opponents and from the deliberative norms that facilitate persuasion." And, of course, they have the establishment media massively on their side. The head … [Read more...]

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus — May his memory be eternal

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus

Roman Catholic priest Fr. Richard John Neuhas died yesterday after a protracted battle with cancer. Anyone familiar with Christianity in the public square will recognize Fr. Neuhaus as one of the first to sound the alarm that a public square stripped of religious values would lead to a culture stripped of benevolent morality. In his seminal work "The Naked Public Square," Fr. Neuhaus argued that "moral neutrality" was anything but neutral and would lead to a society in which moral universals would be overthrown in favor or utilitarian interests. What did he mean by this? He meant that once religion has been relegated to a private interest (you believe what you want to believe, I will believe what I want to believe, it really doesn't matter), the universals by which men govern themselves would erode, and society would becomes susceptible to, and finally shape itself around, an ethic drawn from the decisions of elites. The pressure on Christians to privatize their faith Neuhaus … [Read more...]

Paul Weyrich Dies — May His Memory be Eternal

Sad news today. Paul Weyrich passed away. Here's part of the news release: Paul M. Weyrich, 66, who helped found the Heritage Foundation and at one time was one of Washington's most visible conservatives, died this morning. At his death, he was president and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation. Heritage announced this morning: "Paul M. Weyrich, chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation and first president of The Heritage Foundation, died this morning around 1 a.m. He was 66 years old. Weyrich was a good friend to many of us at Heritage, a true leader and a man of unbending principle. He won Heritage's prestigious Clare Boothe Luce Award in 2005. Weyrich will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, including son Steve, who currently works at Heritage." Paul Weyrich was a conservative in the true sense of the word: a man who drew from the enduring principles, most of them rooted in his deep faith in God. Mr. Weyrich was a deacon in the Melkite … [Read more...]

Catholic-Orthodox: The Trent Agreed Statement on the Family

The Trent Agreed Statement on the Family of the First European Catholic-Orthodox Forum on the theme: ‘The Family: A Good for Humanity,’ Trent, Italy, on December 10-14, 2008. Preamble By the grace of the Holy Spirit, we, thirty representatives of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches in Europe, from countries stretching from the Urals to the Atlantic, have gathered together for the First European Catholic-Orthodox Forum. We express our gratitude to all who have worked for the success of this meeting, especially to the Archbishop of Trent who warmly received us and offered hospitality. The meeting has been organised by the Council of European Bishops Conferences (CCEE), in close collaboration with various Orthodox Churches and some of the dicasteries of the Holy See. We have expressed our deep sorrow at the sudden death of His Holiness, Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and All Russia, who had warmly extended his blessing upon the project of this Forum. What is the … [Read more...]

Abp. Ieronymos: Redefine our message

During a visit to Ionian island of Zakynthos yesterday, Archbishop Ieronymos, the head of the Church of Greece, warned yesterday that the Church has to redefine its message for contemporary society. If today we do not, like [island patron saint] Saint Dionysios, give witness to the ecclesiastical truth in a spirit of humility, peace and unity, then we will be tragic and outdated figures of an atavistic past with an eccentric role in our popular and meaningless religious festivals. In Kathimerini's "Face to Face with Ourselves," Nikos Konstandaras includes the Greek clergy in the long list of those culpable for the current anarchy on the streets of Athens. … [Read more...]

Thoughts from a great historian

A quote from Catholic historian Christopher Dawson (1889-1970) in "Religion and the Modern State" (1936): Religion gradually retreated into man's inner life, and left social and economic life to the State and to a civilization which grew steadily more secularized. A man's debt to religion was paid by an hour or two in church on Sundays, and the rest of the week was devoted to the real business of life -- above all, the making of money. Such a division of life into two compartments -- and very unequal ones at that -- was not the Christian solution, nor could it be permanently successful. If religion loses its hold on social life, it eventually loses its hold on life altogether. And this is what happened in the case of modern Europe. The new secularized civilization is not content to dominate the outer world and to leave man's inner life to religion; it claims the whole man. … [Read more...]

Moral Tradition and the Assault of Gay Activists

Over at OrthodoxyToday.org, Fr. Hans Jacobse looks at why gay activists in California are now attacking places of worship: So what explains the aggression of homosexual activists especially toward churches in California and elsewhere? Is it just because they lost the vote or is something else at work? The homosexual lobby argued that marriage is a fundamental right denied to homosexual couples. They overlook the fact that homosexuals already have the "right" to marry. They just can't marry a member of the same sex, just as a man can't marry multiple women, a woman multiple men, a father to a daughter, a brother to a sister, and so forth. Nothing is "denied" to them that is not denied to everyone else. "Unfair" they protested and indeed it is. But fairness to those who seek new definitions of marriage is not a concern of the moral tradition. There are compelling reasons why the convention is what it is (children need both a mother and father being one of them), and tinkering … [Read more...]