Friday, May 30, 2014

An interesting article on the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch

When one adds the role of mediation that the Ecumenical Patriarch must play over situations like the desire of the Ukranian Orthodox to be self-governing instead of remaining under the control of the Moscow Patriarchate, the question of interference looms large. But, as Chryssavgis points out, there is no emperor to call a pan-Orthodox council any more, which means that the burden of those decisions falls to the Ecumenical Patriarch. The historical circumstances of the Orthodox churches requires a greater role for the Patriarch.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

RIP Suspenders

You were a fine bar. Another part of my time in the Financial District MIA.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Why the pope is not dope

Not this pope, but popes in general. Miss Libresco explains.
Catholicism isn’t like Washington D.C., where a new administration brings in a wave of new political appointments (and unleashes a swarm of ousted job seekers). The new pope didn’t seem that relevant to my day-to-day experience of the faith because, ultimately, he wouldn’t have much to do with it.


Tips for atheists talking to Christians

Useful and should clear some things up. An example:
One of the things that becomes apparent in serious Christian literature is that almost no one uses "faith" in the sense of believing things without reasons. That might be Richard Dawkins' preferred definition—except when he was publicly asked by Oxford's Professor John Lennox whether he had "faith" in his lovely wife—but it is important to know that in theology "faith" always means personal trust in the God whose existence one accepts on other grounds. I think God is real for philosophical, historical, and experiential reasons. Only on the basis of my reasoned conviction can I then trust God—have faith in him—in the sense meant in theology.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Missing leisure time

We're losing rest days, and we think we like it, but we are probably worse off.
But Sunday, the weekend day that even Puritans blocked off for worship and rest (a Puritan poet once pondered “over whether closing a stable door that was blowing in the wind constituted an act of work which would profane the Sabbath”), is also beginning to look more and more like just another day of the work week.
Hat tip to L. for this one.

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Thursday, May 08, 2014

Don Stirling and Moral Truths

A little analysis of how the whole affair reveals that people do believe in a absolute morality.
Can our feelings be culpably out of line? Undoubtedly they can, and we can see this more clearly if we reflect for a moment on one possible line of defense that Sterling might try, but which would certainly fail. He could observe that he has usually taken care to conceal his racist feelings from the public, and has therefore behaved responsibly in protecting his fellow human beings from them. But as for the feelings themselves, he might continue, “They are what they are. I can’t control my feelings themselves, nor is there any standard by which I, or anybody else, can judge my feelings to be bad.” As Woody Allen once said, “The heart wants what it wants.” Sterling might recall that remark and remind his critics of its corollary: “The heart rejects what the heart rejects.”

Nobody, I think, would accept this argument. Everybody, instead, would stick to their original insight that the feelings are blameworthy and deserve condemnation as unreasonable and unjust.


Simplex priests

Priests that can do some sacramental things, but not preach or hear confessions. An interesting historical footnote, once common, and could be useful in the current day.
One day the bishop requests a meeting with him. “Mike, I have known you for many years. We were in high school together. Despite dark days you have been faithful in every way. Christ has always been the center of your personal life and your family life. Now we need a priest at the cathedral. Monsignor is too overburdened, and I am afraid he just has too much to do already and the situation is worsening. Would you be willing to be ordained to the priesthood? You would be responsible for celebrating a quiet daily Mass at the cathedral and for anointing the sick at two local hospitals. Effectively, you would put in three hours each day to help with our sacramental needs. You would not have to go to a seminary. You would not have to preach, and you would not hear confessions. Simplex priests go to the clergy meetings, but that is all. You would be required to make an annual retreat and to serve under the strict supervision of Monsignor who is the rector of the cathedral. I will suggest a few books for you, but probably you have already read them before I even think of what might be suggested.”

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