The “media conclave,” the Nun Pope, and other thoughts

posted at 3:31 pm on February 17, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Over the past seven days since we first heard about Pope Benedict XVI’s historic retirement (or resignation, or abdication, whatever one wants to call it), we’ve heard plenty of discussion about what direction the Catholic Church should take with its next Pope.  Some of that has been well-intentioned, if not entirely well-informed, while some has been based on ignorance of both the papal office and the Church itself.  Patheos’ Frank Weathers has called this the “media conclave,” the attempt by media outlets to push secular and worldly concerns into an election as though it were the equivalent to that of an American President, or perhaps more accurately, a parliamentary contest to replace a Prime Minister.

This begins with a misconception of the papacy itself, and one that is both mystifying and dreadfully indicative of a lack of media interest in what the Catholic Church is really all about.  Most commentators begin with the premise that Catholicism is whatever a Pope says it is, acting as a benevolent despot and rewriting Catholic doctrine at will.  Anyone familiar with the Catholic Church knows just how absurd a premise this is, and Ramesh Ponnuru explains this to Margaret Carlson as part of an on-line tête-a-tête at Bloomberg:

This is the picture you give us, Margaret, in the opening lines of your latest shot at Benedict XVI: The pope is “close to all powerful”; he can hire and fire whomever he pleases; he is “infallible when he wants to be.”

If I found this this picture of the papacy true to life, I would agree with you that Benedict’s response to the abuse scandals has been grossly and culpably inadequate. But the papacy does not operate like this. It never has.

During the Reformation, when almost all the bishops of England were in revolt, the pope did not feel himself free to excommunicate the lot of them. And popes had far more power back then. The 1995 encyclical Ut Unum Sint speaks of the bishops as the pope’s “brothers in the ministry” who must always act in communion. Add to the pope’s modest self-conception modern canon law, which as interpreted by canon lawyers creates even more obstacles to the disciplining of bishops and priests. It is true that no one but the pope can remove a bishop from office. But that doesn’t mean that he can do it whenever he pleases.

As Benedict himself said, it is “very rare” for a pope to claim to speak infallibly: That charism has clearly been exercised only twice since the doctrine of infallibility was formally proclaimed. (In both instances the pope said that beliefs about Mary that had been widely held among Christians going back to the religion’s earliest days were now doctrines of the Church.)

Popes just don’t go around smiting people, even people whom you and I agree deserve smiting. Instead they do things like offer prayers. You suggest that prayer is not a “concrete initiative.” Surely, though, you can understand that popes don’t see it quite that way.

In fact, this last part is so basic a misconception as to stand Benedict XVI’s decision on its head.  Catholics (and other Christians, of course, as well as other faiths) see humanity inhabiting two realities — the material and the spiritual. We believe that both are real and “concrete,” and that “reality” has to account for both.  When the Pope announces that he will resign to concentrate on prayer, he’s not actually “retiring” at all.  He’s merely shifting his focus from the material to the spiritual, and that is most definitely a “concrete initiative,” at least to Catholics and most other Christians.  The material world may disagree, but that’s because it’s focused on the Church’s mission in only the material world.

Other voices seem more intent on provoking debate rather than be taken seriously as suggestions for the upcoming conclave.  E.J. Dionne sparked a lot of heating rebuttals with his column on Friday proposing that the cardinals choose a nun as Pope:

In giving up the papacy, Pope Benedict XVI was brave and bold. He did the unexpected for the good of the Catholic Church. And when it selects a new pope next month, the College of Cardinals should be equally brave and bold. It is time to elect a nun as the next pontiff.

Now, I know this hope of mine is the longest of long shots. I have great faith in the Holy Spirit to move papal conclaves, but I would concede that I may be running ahead of the Spirit on this one. Women, after all, are not yet able to become priests, and it is unlikely that traditionalists in the church will suddenly upend the all-male, celibate priesthood, let alone name a woman as the bishop of Rome.

Nonetheless, handing leadership to a woman — and in particular, to a nun — would vastly strengthen Catholicism, help the church solve some of its immediate problems and inspire many who have left the church to look at it with new eyes.

Frank Weathers scoffs:

Because sending a message is what’s most important, right? Okey dokey. Interestingly, E.J. gives us no candidates whom he finds fit for the Petrine Office. Maybe he should pin his hopes on installing a female Cardinal first, eh? Fr. Dwight Longenecker could serve as color commentator in that event.

Before I get to the core argument, I want say a word about E.J.  I’ve met E.J. and talked with him a couple of times, and while I almost always disagree with him, I have no reason to doubt his sincerity or his love for the Church.  E.J. may not be popular with readers, but in person he is a gracious and decent man.  His column seems to be more a pushback against discipline against a particular order of nuns during Benedict XVI’s papacy that didn’t sit well with some Catholics.  Still, I want to address something else E.J. says in this piece:

More than any other group in the church, the sisters have been at the heart of its work on behalf of compassion and justice. Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times made this point as powerfully as anyone in a 2010 column. “In my travels around the world, I encounter two Catholic Churches,” he wrote. “One is the rigid all-male Vatican hierarchy that seems out of touch. . . . Yet there’s another Catholic Church as well, one I admire intensely. This is the grass-roots Catholic Church that does far more good in the world than it ever gets credit for. This is the church that supports extraordinary aid organizations like Catholic Relief Services and Caritas, saving lives every day, and that operates superb schools that provide needy children an escalator out of poverty.”

First, there aren’t two Catholic Churches.  The parts function as a whole.  The nuns (and the brothers, by the way, who get short shrift from E.J. and Kristof) providing aid are just as much a part of the Church as Catholic hospitals serving the poor in the US and around the world, the charities and schools, and the churches and their parishioners.  The “all-male Vatican hierarchy” serve to organize the body of the Church to accomplish all of these wonderful deeds, either directly or (mostly) indirectly.  We do this to put our faith into practice in the world, in order to create justice and freedom not just as an end unto themselves — worthy as they are — but so that all people can voluntarily choose the path of salvation based on the doctrine of the Catholic Church, which the hierarchy defends and evangelizes.

Men and women have distinct roles within the Church; that’s well known.  The point of the Church isn’t to model diversity, although we most certainly do.  It’s not to run hospitals and charities, although we pioneered both.  It’s to spread the Gospel and save as many people for the kingdom to come based on the immutable Word of God.

When one considers that mission, the concerns over whether women can be Pope fade to silliness.  So too do many of the issues being raised in the “media conclave,” which has almost unerringly managed to miss the point of the entire affair.  The change of Popes does have implications for evangelization, energizing the Church, and perhaps change in some practices and emphases in teachings — but not doctrines.  Perhaps this week, we’ll see more media attention on those issues rather than condoms and Nun Popes.  And maybe — just maybe — the focus will stay on the Word of God, although I will be pleasantly surprised if it does.

Update: Speaking of media coverage, Fr. Dwight Longenecker‘s occasional contributor and mainstream media analyst Todd Unctuous offers his take on this week’s events:

Rumors are swirling around the centuries old city state–a walled enclave that is like the Kremlin of old. Like the Kremlin, the holy huddle of old men with absolute power are worried about the threatening world outside. Rumors of a conspiracy are swirling around this tiny sect-like group. Was Pope Benedict ousted by a group of power hungry conservatives who regard his papacy as too liberal, or were the plotters a group of renegade nuns who arrived in Rome on a bus? Was he pushed out because he loves the ancient Latin ritural or because he was simply too old? Rumors are swirling around this ancient, notoriously closed walled city–the place where only thirty years ago rumors swirled about the sudden death of “the smiling Pope” John Paul I who was found hanged under Blackfriars Bridge in London after  threatening to expose the Mafia connections with the Vatican bank. There are simply too many co incidences for them to be co incidences. Only a few months ago this tiny walled city was blown wide open as the secrets of the Pope’s butler were revealed to the press.

I am not myself a religious man, but am I the only one who thinks it slightly ostentatious for the Pope to have a butler at all? The man lives in a palace and is guarded by soldiers in Renaissance costumes. He surrounds himself with the trappings of power, wealth and priviledge. This is not something you see other religious leaders doing. Good solid men like my friend Joel Osteen and Paul Crouch lead simple lives with a fair amount of remuneration. Yet the Pope of Rome wears velvet capes and red slippers from Pravda. ….

Now that a new Pope is about to be elected the time has come again for the People of God to bring about change in the centuries old Renaissance court. As Vatican Doozy calls for, the Catholic Church is rightly called the Peoples’ Republic of God. Time has come for the people to take charge of their church. Whether it is a housewife in Ghana or a female executive in New York, whether it is a hard working nun who drives a bus or a social worker in a dog collar, the time has come for them to claim the church for the people. St Francis wore a simple brown robe and expressed his poverty. The clergy of the Roman church should do the same.

Poverty is a very noble thing for religious people and it is time for the Catholics in the developing world to understand that it is God’s will for them to be poor for as Martin Luther King III said, “Blessed are the poor.”

I am not myself a religious man, but I do respect people who take their religion seriously like the pop singer Bono and his wife Cher.

Yes, this is satire … but at times, it’s difficult to distinguish it.


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Barack Benghazi Obama

VorDaj on February 17, 2013 at 3:33 PM

attempt by media outlets to push secular and worldly concerns into an election as though it were the equivalent to that of an American President, or perhaps more accurately, a parliamentary contest to replace a Prime Minister

…I don’t think most journalists see the inside of a church…except for funerals and weddings!

KOOLAID2 on February 17, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Thank God that the conclave is in secret, could you just imagine what would happen if it were open to the press. Yikes!

D-fusit on February 17, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Thank God that the conclave is in secret, could you just imagine what would happen if it were open to the press. Yikes!

D-fusit on February 17, 2013 at 3:39 PM

As it stands, the conclave is more transparent than the ObamaCare negotiations were.

steebo77 on February 17, 2013 at 3:51 PM

We will not have TRUE “Social Justice” in our Holy Church, UNTIL not only is a nun appointed Pope, but a Transgendered-Nun, in a long-term committed poly-amourous relationship involving both an adolescent teen girl and teen boy….plus, “she’ll” need a reality TV show, hopefully involving Snooki and Jwow….

THEN, the Church will be hip and modern and speak to the needs of the flock, today…and don’t get all Old Skule on me and talk about Eternal Verities and Sh!te like that…’cuz that’s just down-twinklie judgmental 1%-er talk.

JFKY on February 17, 2013 at 4:01 PM

St. Malachy is NOT impressed!!

abobo on February 17, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Ed – I’m not Catholic and I don’t believe in a lot of the doctrine of the Catholic Church but I do really admire your faith and your adherence to it.

I hope that the next Pope is the leader that you and all the HA Catholics hope him to be.

gophergirl on February 17, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Things haven’t changed much have they?

Last week Pope Benedict XVI remembered Vatican II…These are the last paragraphs of his “conversation” with Priests & Clergy of the Dioceses of Rome.

” I would now like to add yet a third point: there was the Council of the Fathers – the true Council – but there was also the Council of the media. It was almost a Council in and of itself, and the world perceived the Council through them, through the media. So the immediately efficiently Council that got thorough to the people, was that of the media, not that of the Fathers. And while the Council of the Fathers evolved within the faith, it was a Council of the faith that sought the intellectus, that sought to understand and try to understand the signs of God at that moment, that tried to meet the challenge of God in this time to find the words for today and tomorrow. So while the whole council – as I said – moved within the faith, as fides quaerens intellectum, the Council of journalists did not, naturally, take place within the world of faith but within the categories of the media of today, that is outside of the faith, with different hermeneutics. It was a hermeneutic of politics. The media saw the Council as a political struggle, a struggle for power between different currents within the Church. It was obvious that the media would take the side of whatever faction best suited their world. There were those who sought a decentralization of the Church, power for the bishops and then, through the Word for the “people of God”, the power of the people, the laity. There was this triple issue: the power of the Pope, then transferred to the power of the bishops and then the power of all … popular sovereignty. Naturally they saw this as the part to be approved, to promulgate, to help. This was the case for the liturgy: there was no interest in the liturgy as an act of faith, but as a something to be made understandable, similar to a community activity, something profane. And we know that there was a trend, which was also historically based, that said: “Sacredness is a pagan thing, possibly even from the Old Testament. In the New Testament the only important thing is that Christ died outside: that is, outside the gates, that is, in the secular world”. Sacredness ended up as profanity even in worship: worship is not worship but an act that brings people together, communal participation and thus participation as activity. And these translations, trivializing the idea of ​​the Council, were virulent in the practice of implementing the liturgical reform, born in a vision of the Council outside of its own key vision of faith. And it was so, also in the matter of Scripture: Scripture is a book, historical, to treat historically and nothing else, and so on.

And we know that this Council of the media was accessible to all. So, dominant, more efficient, this Council created many calamities, so many problems, so much misery, in reality: seminaries closed, convents closed liturgy trivialized … and the true Council has struggled to materialize, to be realized: the virtual Council was stronger than the real Council. But the real strength of the Council was present and slowly it has emerged and is becoming the real power which is also true reform, true renewal of the Church. It seems to me that 50 years after the Council, we see how this Virtual Council is breaking down, getting lost and the true Council is emerging with all its spiritual strength. And it is our task, in this Year of Faith, starting from this Year of Faith, to work so that the true Council with the power of the Holy Spirit is realized and Church is really renewed. We hope that the Lord will help us. I, retired in prayer, will always be with you, and together we will move ahead with the Lord in certainty. The Lord is victorious. Thank you…”

The entire address is at this link:

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/02/14/pope_benedict%27s_last_great_master_class:_vatican_ii,_as_i_saw_it_%5Bfull/en1-665030

workingclass artist on February 17, 2013 at 4:11 PM

The Roman Catholic Church does indeed foster many good works for the needy, and this article seems to be saying that’s an important consideration when choosing the next Pope. i.e. a Pope who understands the situation. Does that imply he’ll likely be from the Third World where physical needs are great, or another European where the Christian Chuch itself is languishing?

Fenris on February 17, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Speaking of “good Catholics”…..

The church loses much of it’s preached high ground on Morality and life when it allows people like this to promote butchering the weakest among us.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/nyregion/cuomo-bucks-tide-with-bill-to-lift-abortion-limits.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

ALBANY — Bucking a trend in which states have been seeking to restrict abortion, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is putting the finishing touches on legislation that would guarantee women in New York the right to late-term abortions when their health is in danger or the fetus is not viable.

Mr. Cuomo’s proposal, which has not yet been made public, would also clarify that licensed health care practitioners, and not only physicians, can perform abortions. It would remove abortion from the state’s penal law and regulate it through the state’s public health law.

“Pretty much all of the energy, all of the momentum, has been to restrict abortion, which makes what could potentially happen in New York so interesting,” said Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights. “There’s no other state that’s even contemplating this right now.”

Bowing at the bloody altar of Abortion like only one other (Obama) this Governor Cuomo seeks to be fully covered with the blood sacrifice of the unborn so that he may enter the temple of Progressive Power.

All hail the champion of the murder of innocents…….and yet……the Catholic church does not excommunicate him?

#fail

PappyD61 on February 17, 2013 at 4:12 PM

In giving up the papacy, Pope Benedict XVI was brave and bold. He did the unexpected for the good of the Catholic Church. And when it selects a new pope next month, the College of Cardinals should be equally brave and bold. It is time to elect a nun as the next pontiff.

….and yet, while Pope Benedict XVI gives up his leadership for the good of the church and is hailed…….Sarah Palin was deemed a “quitter” for doing the same.

Shall we then term Benedict XVI a “quitter” as well?

PappyD61 on February 17, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Shall we then term Benedict XVI a “quitter” as well?

PappyD61 on February 17, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Yeah, but only because he is. Palin has nothing to do with it.

abobo on February 17, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Patheos has many blogs and we who contribute to them bristle when we are linked with the host site instead of our local communities. Weathers writes for Why I Am Catholic, not for Patheos.

MilesLibertatis on February 17, 2013 at 4:34 PM

I actually wouldn’t mind electing a nun as pope if it weren’t for the fact that it would make liberals happy.

In any case, I’m dumbfounded by how incredibly gauche the American media is about the papacy, particularly as most of them looked steeply down upon George Bush for his representation of the United States to foreigners.

Try to get this through your heads, liberals: the Pope and the College of Cardinals do not give a —- about the provincial, backwater concerns of the pissant I-95 corridor. You love to mention (vis-a-vis SUVs and such, when a Republican is President) that the US has only 4% of the world’s population. Unlike US foreign policy, the leadership of the Catholic Church is a context in which that number actually matters.

HitNRun on February 17, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Good solid men like my friend Joel Osteen and Paul Crouch lead simple lives with a fair amount of remuneration.

but I do respect people who take their religion seriously like the pop singer Bono and his wife Cher.

Oh, please.

Cleombrotus on February 17, 2013 at 4:45 PM

and yet……the Catholic church does not excommunicate him?

PappyD61 on February 17, 2013 at 4:12 PM

I don’t believe the Church has big official events like perp walks where they trot the fallen before the masses so stones can be thrown at them.

katiejane on February 17, 2013 at 4:45 PM

thirty years ago rumors swirled about the sudden death of “the smiling Pope” John Paul I who was found hanged under Blackfriars Bridge in London after threatening to expose the Mafia connections with the Vatican bank.

Satire or not, that was tacky!

OldEnglish on February 17, 2013 at 4:51 PM

I don’t believe the Church has big official events like perp walks where they trot the fallen before the masses so stones can be thrown at them.

katiejane on February 17, 2013 at 4:45 PM

We don’t? We should…I mean for other sinners, not me, of course.

Seriously, the Church does need to excommunicate Cuomo…I realize the value of friends in powerful places, refuge for sinners and all that, HOWEVER, when you willfully, gleefully even advance a law that flies in the face of the Church’s teachings, I think you have to make an example.

JFKY on February 17, 2013 at 4:51 PM

As a Catholic, I think the best thing the can do to spread the religion at least here, where it’s mostly protestant, is elect an American one.

Flapjackmaka on February 17, 2013 at 4:55 PM

I don’t believe the Church has big official events like perp walks where they trot the fallen before the masses so stones can be thrown at them.

katiejane on February 17, 2013 at 4:45 PM

Not in 2013, anyway. It might be a different story in 1313, though.

“Yes, your eminence, the public shaming and excommunication of Gov. Cuomo is still scheduled for 2:30 pm. If he doesn’t repent? Well, we still have enough thick rope and kindling, but I had to send Fr. Flanagan down to Home Depot to get us a worthy 10-foot wooden stake.”

JimLennon on February 17, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Media Conclave. That’s pretty funny. I get a mental picture of about 500 reporters with cameras and microphones…

…Pointed at a pair of big, ornate, locked doors.

trigon on February 17, 2013 at 5:05 PM

“Yes, your eminence, the public shaming and excommunication of Gov. Cuomo is still scheduled for 2:30 pm. If he doesn’t repent? Well, we still have enough thick rope and kindling, but I had to send Fr. Flanagan down to Home Depot to get us a worthy 10-foot wooden stake.”

JimLennon on February 17, 2013 at 5:00 PM

I’d go to see that.

trigon on February 17, 2013 at 5:07 PM

“Yes, your eminence, the public shaming and excommunication of Gov. Cuomo is still scheduled for 2:30 pm. If he doesn’t repent? Well, we still have enough thick rope and kindling, but I had to send Fr. Flanagan down to Home Depot to get us a worthy 10-foot wooden stake.”

JimLennon on February 17, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Oh if only!
Good Ole Andy is really following the Obama line to persecute the Church.

Iblis on February 17, 2013 at 5:12 PM

Ed – I’m not Catholic and I don’t believe in a lot of the doctrine of the Catholic Church but I do really admire your faith and your adherence to it.

I hope that the next Pope is the leader that you and all the HA Catholics hope him to be.

gophergirl on February 17, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Thanks for the nice post to Ed. Just wanted to say it made my afternoon. (guess I’m so used to people disagreeing disagreeably, not necessarily here but on the interwebz in general, that yours was a breath of fresh air….)

inviolet on February 17, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Try to get this through your heads, liberals: the Pope and the College of Cardinals do not give a —- about the provincial, backwater concerns of the pissant I-95 corridor. You love to mention (vis-a-vis SUVs and such, when a Republican is President) that the US has only 4% of the world’s population. Unlike US foreign policy, the leadership of the Catholic Church is a context in which that number actually matters.

HitNRun on February 17, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Really?

Although I love many aspects of it and most positions of the Church, some of the characteristics are horrible:

http://churchandstate.org.uk/2012/03/the-origins-of-vatican-power-in-america/

IlikedAUH2O on February 17, 2013 at 5:34 PM

“In chapter ten, I will discuss the considerable national security implications of the Catholic Church’s vast promotion of illegal immigration.”

The book is Stephen D Mumford’s, “American Democracy and the Vatican”

The organization that crowned Napoleon and gave Teddy Kennedy practically a Saint’s funeral, understands the issues of the I 95 corridor. It is just that some other things seem to take precedence.

I got a Corvette at 13 and other miracles with Catholic (and Protestant) prayers.

Top that.

IlikedAUH2O on February 17, 2013 at 5:40 PM

You blind adherents to the Church should avoid reading history books or even thinking logically about engendering and then obstructing justice concerning child molesters.

Just showing up on blogs and calling me a schmuck is the way to handle it.

IlikedAUH2O on February 17, 2013 at 5:48 PM

So the media which spends most of its time debasing the Christian faith, bearing false witness against the church, trying to redefine the Ten Commandments, opining on how their own worldly definition of “sin” should prevail, unreasonably second-guessing faith-based reasoned decisions of the clergy and advocating for the murder of unborn children…wants a say in the election of our Pope?

Excuse me while I laugh or perhaps wretch at the mere suggestion that anyone should consider their opinion on these matters.

This is comparable to Mephistopheles seriously attempting to persuade our Cardinals as to who the next Pope should be. It should be greeted with the same unequivocal rejection.

Cast out the demons.

The media has helped destroy our culture, country and faith. They deserve more scorn than any group in our society for their bias, fallacious tomes, contra-factual impulses and attempts to take God out of our daily lives.

That sound you folks in the media hear are honest people serious about their faith, both in this world and beyond, chortling at your belief that you have any influence in this matter.

Marcus Traianus on February 17, 2013 at 5:50 PM

I’ve met E.J. and talked with him a couple of times, and while I almost always disagree with him, I have no reason to doubt his sincerity or his love for the Church. E.J. may not be popular with readers, but in person he is a gracious and decent man. His column seems to be more a pushback against discipline against a particular order of nuns during Benedict XVI’s papacy that didn’t sit well with some Catholics.

Ed, you are much more gracious that I could ever muster with Dionne’s column. Maybe if I met E. J. Dionne myself, I’d think differently. I read his column and my impression is similar to the discussion on the other thread between Mary Katharine Ham and Juan Williams, e.g., Dionne may be cordial and friendly, and he may even pass himself off as devout in private or away from the TV cameras, but once he opines in a public forum through his column at the WaPo, he of course unloads every wrong and boneheaded cliche there is — and which presumably he believes — about the process of choosing the Pope’s successor. If he’s such a great Catholic, which I have grave doubts about anyway, he’d know better than to make such patently ridiculous statements in public. But I suspect, as you and many of us already do, that he knows full well what the Church’s position is, simply does not give a damn and hides behind fake concern for the order of nuns who were rightly disciplined by Benedict. Whatever else he may be, a morally-equivalent good little Liberal is always going to be first and the Catholic part of the equation is a very, very, VERY distant second. These are the types of “Catholics” whom I wish would just leave the Church altogether. They themselves have already left in spirit.

PatriotGal2257 on February 17, 2013 at 6:00 PM

The question of authority is at the heart of the distrust of Roman Catholicism. When the Bible and Catholic teaching differ, which do you trust and follow?

Since 1545, the Catholic Church has claimed that its traditions are equal in authority with the Bible; in subsequent centuries, that “equality” has shifted toward primacy of Catholic tradition and teaching. In contrast, the writers of the New Testament, inspired by the Holy Spirit, insist that the Bible is the infallible guide to faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Acts 17:11, for example).

Placing tradition above Scripture leads to errors such as the claim that Peter was the supreme Apostle (and, in a sense, the first pope). However, the Bible records that Paul did not recognize him as such — in fact, Paul needed to rebuke Peter when Peter fell away from the doctrine of grace (Galatians 2:11). It was Paul, not Peter whom the Holy Spirit used to give us most of the epistles and essential doctrinal statements.

Another example of the kind of error that comes from placing tradition above Scripture is the mistaken doctrine that Mary dispenses God’s graces and plays an essential role in salvation. St. Hilary of Poitiers said, “No matter how sinful one may have been, if he has devotion to Mary, it is impossible that he be lost.” Such claims are found nowhere in Scripture — in fact, the final time we read about “Mary, the mother of Jesus,” she is simply a member of a group that gathers to pray (Acts 1:14).

Tradition has its place, but that place is never above the Bible’s. When the Bible differs from anything that any religion, denomination or sect teaches, I stick with the Bible.

How about you? If not, why not?

KyMouse on February 17, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Just showing up on blogs and calling me a schmuck is the way to handle it.

IlikedAUH2O on February 17, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Okay & thanks for the heads up – you’re a schmuck

katiejane on February 17, 2013 at 6:16 PM

I must say Ed, I find it absolutely remarkable how hated the Pope is. Most assassination threats of anyone on earth. I can honestly say, I simply don’t understand all the hatred. Pity their hate filled souls.

Bmore on February 17, 2013 at 6:23 PM

I was raised Catholic and still support its doctrine. Besides, the Catholic Church has to be doing something right – what other institution has survived 2000 years? Nada.

But think about this: The left/progressives/liberals/Dems have spent the last 100+ years destroying the basic tenets of freedom as defined in our Constitution. They’ve succeeded in pushing their left wing ideology into our entire education system. They’ve attacked marriage, freedom of press and speech, freedom of worship, family structure, personal responsibility and accountability.

The one institution the left has not wrecked (so far) is the Catholic Church. Yes, the church really messed up on some things but it’s still there and refocusing on what it is supposed to be and do. But the left – they can’t have that – the Catholic Church MUST BE destroyed. How destroy it? Attack its basic beliefs: Life and freedom of worship.

O is a smart marketeer – he gets “Catholic” legislators to design his undermining of the most free nation on earth: Sebelius, Pelosi, Cuomo, Kerry, etc. All of them – I won’t address excommunication here.

The left wants the Catholic Church gone. Are there lefties among the religious in the Catholic Church? Yep. But the Church is the Church: “Upon this rock (Peter) I will build my church.” Don’t argue.

Personally, Based on the decline of so many Protestant denominations’ membership since the admission of women to the ministry, I prefer a delineation of roles for men and women in the church: NO female priests, thus no female pope.

MN J on February 17, 2013 at 6:23 PM

Thank God that the conclave is in secret, could you just imagine what would happen if it were open to the press. Yikes!

D-fusit on February 17, 2013 at 3:39 PM

As it stands, the conclave is more transparent than the ObamaCare negotiations were.

steebo77 on February 17, 2013 at 3:51 PM

Don’t forget the NBA Draft Lottery (which has never been drawn in public).

Myron Falwell on February 17, 2013 at 6:35 PM

Ed – I’m not Catholic and I don’t believe in a lot of the doctrine of the Catholic Church but I do really admire your faith and your adherence to it.

I hope that the next Pope is the leader that you and all the HA Catholics hope him to be.

gophergirl on February 17, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Thanks for your kind words to Ed, GG. As another person upthread said, your comment was a breath of fresh air.

PatriotGal2257 on February 17, 2013 at 6:38 PM

It is amazing to me but it shouldn’t be how those who were not brought up in the Catholic SSDN tradition just don’t get it.

steveracer on February 17, 2013 at 6:41 PM

In both instances the pope said that beliefs about Mary that had been widely held among Christians going back to the religion’s earliest days were now doctrines of the Church.

Immaculate status & perpetual virginity?
I guess you define “the religion’s earliest days” as a few hundred years AD.
Mary was a sinner saved by God’s mercy, just like all other saints (saint simply means Christian, BTW).
And Mary remained a virgin only until after the Lord Jesus was born. She had several other kids after the Lord’s birth.

itsnotaboutme on February 17, 2013 at 6:49 PM

MN J on February 17, 2013 at 6:23 PM

This situation – in which non-Catholics and so-called “cafeteria Catholics” are trying to dictate how the next pope is chosen – really isn’t that different from all the other heretics that have tried to hijack the Church’s teachings. This doesn’t rise to that level yet, but it follows similar patterns.

The forces of Socialist ideology trying to push and corrupt the Church are but the latest in a long series of antagonists that have tried to push and corrupt the Church. From the Romans to the heretics to the Protestant Reformation to the Enlightenment (the French Revolution especially) to the Soviets to the Nazis… they all have tried, and mostly failed.

Our current crop of heretic Catholics – Pelosi, Sebellius, Cuomo, Kerry, Biden – may all think they can succeed in destroying the Church to fit their collective needs, but be it here or beyond, the gravity of their sins will play out. And justice in the other realm will not be kind in the least.

One thing that the Church did that most Protestant denominations didn’t do was attempt reforms in presentation without changing the tonality of the message. As the succeeding decades have shown, Vatican II may have been the most proactive thing the Church could ever have done.

Myron Falwell on February 17, 2013 at 6:58 PM

Although I love many aspects of it and most positions of the Church, some of the characteristics are horrible:

http://churchandstate.org.uk/2012/03/the-origins-of-vatican-power-in-america/

IlikedAUH2O on February 17, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Network for Church Monitoring is a progressive non-profit organization that seeks to bring together individuals from across the globe – no matter whether theistic, atheistic, or agnostic – who are deeply concerned with the Vatican and the Christian Right’s tireless work to insinuate their values into every aspect of public policy debate at every level of government.

N4CM Chairman Dr. Stephen Mumford shows how the Catholic Church is thwarting several social justice movements in the US, including the environmental, abortion, family planning, and illegal immigration control movements, because they are threatening the power of the Vatican. This is essential reading.

“Conscience of a Conservative” was a compelling book, but we all know how well Goldwater’s hatred and mistrust of the Religious Right worked out for him. Too bad you are not also able to discern between Goldwater’s worthy ideas and his — how shall we say — extreme prejudices.

I can see why Dr. Stephen Mumford is giving his book away free. No one would want to pay for it.

And you, you’re a good little concern troll, aren’t you?

PatriotGal2257 on February 17, 2013 at 7:01 PM

Just showing up on blogs and calling me a schmuck is the way to handle it.

IlikedAUH2O on February 17, 2013 at 5:48 PM

No problem, Concern Troll. :p

Myron Falwell on February 17, 2013 at 7:07 PM

I don’t believe the Church has big official events like perp walks where they trot the fallen before the masses so stones can be thrown at them.

[katiejane on February 17, 2013 at 4:45 PM]

Of course it wouldn’t. But it would have to be made public, since the offense is public. All members know of the offense that has incurred it, so it has to be known the excommunication has been enforced.

Dusty on February 17, 2013 at 7:09 PM

Thank God that the conclave is in secret, could you just imagine what would happen if it were open to the press. Yikes!

D-fusit on February 17, 2013 at 3:39 PM

.
As it stands, the conclave is more transparent than the ObamaCare negotiations were.

steebo77 on February 17, 2013 at 3:51 PM

.
steebo’, that one should be on the list of “Hotair’s Comments Of The Year” !

Thanks for “setting it up”, D-fusit.

listens2glenn on February 17, 2013 at 7:14 PM

There are disagreements I have with some of the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church, but I’d much prefer it to remain JUST THE WAY IT IS, than change into what the politicians and journalists want.

listens2glenn on February 17, 2013 at 7:17 PM

I don’t believe the Church has big official events like perp walks where they trot the fallen before the masses so stones can be thrown at them.

[katiejane on February 17, 2013 at 4:45 PM]

Of course it wouldn’t. But it would have to be made public, since the offense is public. All members know of the offense that has incurred it, so it has to be known the excommunication has been enforced.

Dusty on February 17, 2013 at 7:09 PM

As much as I would like to apply the Catholic Ban Hammer immediately on Cuomo, the Church kinda needs to have enough of a justifiable cause to excommunicate him. Trouble is, for decades, they have successfully hidden this agenda of subversion mostly from public view (see Ted Kennedy) and are just now starting to come out of their shells. So it will take a few years for the Church to make the move, because a punishment like that is an irrevocable move.

Cuomo chose by his own free will to commit heresy. He is in fact excommunicating himself. That cannot be denied.

Myron Falwell on February 17, 2013 at 7:21 PM

inviolet on February 17, 2013 at 5:18 PM

PatriotGal2257 on February 17, 2013 at 6:38 PM

You are most welcome :)

gophergirl on February 17, 2013 at 7:31 PM

IlikedAUH2O on February 17, 2013 at 5:34 PM

The “population movement”? Uh, as in “abortion on demand”?

Whatever the Church did to try to stop abortion, it has, to date, been insufficient.

Such is the power the Catholic Church has over even nominally Catholic politicians today — where people like Pelosi and Biden can publish letters of theology castigating Church positions on the sanctity of life, and the Church responds with reasoned discourse in return, and no sanctions on the politicians in error.

I’d rather the Church be even more proactive — and I may get my wish — given the current constituency of the College of Cardinals.

That said, the position the Church is taking today is somewhat consistent with that espoused by St. Peter Canisius, who defended the Church against Protestant attacks with what most Catholic theologians, and quite a few Protestant ones, view as some of the most brilliant theology of the 16th century. He is one reason why there are so many Catholics in Germany — the hotbed of the Reformation and many “forced conversions”.

He argued in favor of reasoned discourse and against acts like excommunication for those declaring themselves Protestant — such as John Calvin. He made it clear in his writings that free will was an essential part of “coming to Jesus” — that the Lord makes us part of our own Salvation by giving us a choice to be saved or not. This was completely counter to Luther’s teachings, which, in essence, promoted the theology of predestination — that no matter what a person did, they were predestined from birth (and, ostensibly, from the Beginning) to either heaven or hell.

That said, when the son (Maximilian) of the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (Ferdinand) espoused a desire to embrace Lutheranism, Canisius went to Ferdinand and extracted a promise that, if Maximilian embraced Protestantism, he would not be heir to the Empire. It was an interesting position — Maximilan was free to leave the Church, but he would lose his inheritance. Freedom of religious choice, but with teeth.

Maximilian, for whatever reason, chose to remain a Catholic.

One wonders, in light of how Maximilian was treated, how Pelosi and Biden should be treated. Should the Church advocate against their future candidacies? Seems so.

unclesmrgol on February 17, 2013 at 7:32 PM

Some days, against my better judgement, I miss the Church.

SnarkVader on February 17, 2013 at 7:35 PM

So it will take a few years for the Church to make the move, because a punishment like that is an irrevocable move.

Cuomo chose by his own free will to commit heresy. He is in fact excommunicating himself. That cannot be denied.

Myron Falwell on February 17, 2013 at 7:21 PM

No, it is not.

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1463 Certain particularly grave sins incur excommunication, the most severe ecclesiastical penalty, which impedes the reception of the sacraments and the exercise of certain ecclesiastical acts, and for which absolution consequently cannot be granted, according to canon law, except by the Pope, the bishop of the place or priests authorized by them. In danger of death any priest, even if deprived of faculties for hearing confessions, can absolve from every sin and excommunication.

unclesmrgol on February 17, 2013 at 7:36 PM

Immaculate status & perpetual virginity?
I guess you define “the religion’s earliest days” as a few hundred years AD. Mary was a sinner saved by God’s mercy, just like all other saints (saint simply means Christian, BTW).
And Mary remained a virgin only until after the Lord Jesus was born. She had several other kids after the Lord’s birth.

If I had more time I’d fill you in about the immaculate conception, which was not about Jesus (BTW) but Mary, born without sin…why would God allow his son to be born of someone with original sin…not likely. Yeah, yeah we Catholics know all about the communion of saints. Mary was a virgin throughout her life and was taken bodily into heaven (the Assumption) where she acts as an intercessor with her Son for those who approach her through prayer…and she gave us the Rosary to help in that process. Anything else you Protestants want to know?

ironmarshal on February 17, 2013 at 7:38 PM

gophergirl on February 17, 2013 at 7:31 PM

:)

PatriotGal2257 on February 17, 2013 at 7:40 PM

Cuomo chose by his own free will to commit heresy. He is in fact excommunicating himself. That cannot be denied.

[Myron Falwell on February 17, 2013 at 7:21 PM]

True enough. This is an a jure excommunication, meaning by law and doesn’t require a judge or jury to weigh the facts because it’s a violation of the law. And it’s a latae excommunication in that it happens at the moment of the occurrence and by reason of the act itself.

So, with respect to what you write above that, the justifiable cause is already established. Maybe you mean the public airing of it needs more justification. In that, you have a point, but it really is rather complicated most of the time. I don’t think so here because of the circumstances, which are:

1. It involves a grave sin,
2. Cuomo is a governor, and as an individual with authority he is making it and no one else has any responsibility for his acts,
3. He does it freely, and is not coerced, and
4. He has the power to make it law, by signing it.

As for the last one, he not only intitates it, he will finalize it.

I should note for those who don’t know a lot about excommunication, it is not necessarily a permanent condition. It is medicinal in character and a penalty, not a state of being, if you will, and not intended to be vindictive, but instructive.

Dusty on February 17, 2013 at 7:43 PM

I should note for those who don’t know a lot about excommunication, it is not necessarily a permanent condition. It is medicinal in character and a penalty, not a state of being, if you will, and not intended to be vindictive, but instructive.

Dusty on February 17, 2013 at 7:43 PM

Good comment and analysis. I’d add that the excommunication as a penalty is intended to focus the sinner’s mind on his or her immanent separation from the Church by those grave sins and to instill a desire in them to return to full communion with it. That is the hope, anyway. A person who has been excommunicated still has free will and can choose not to return, in which case they will have to answer for their sins before God.

PatriotGal2257 on February 17, 2013 at 8:00 PM

Tradition has its place, but that place is never above the Bible’s. When the Bible differs from anything that any religion, denomination or sect teaches, I stick with the Bible.

How about you? If not, why not?

KyMouse on February 17, 2013 at 6:06 PM

The Church has advocated Tradition since its origin. You are writing as if Christendom began 500 years ago, when it actually began 1500 years earlier.

As for how you interpret the Bible — that’s where Tradition comes in.

I recently listened to an NPR program discussing the upcoming Papal election, and the roles various regions of the world would have in it, in which one announcer of Uruguayan ancestry stated that nearly everyone in his family had “converted from Catholicism to Christianity” — the only people left as Catholics were his grandparents. He talked about his aunt, who had gotten “the Call” and had left the Church to become pastor of her own small church, and, proudly, her sermons “rocked”. What was really interesting was the response of the guest — who pointed out that Catholics have a very well defined training program for their pastors — it’s called the priesthood — and that, in evangelical Protestantism, any person can claim to have the call and become a pastor — without any training whatsoever. In one case, the teachings come from above to below, and in the other, from below to above. The guest speaker was an evangelical — not a Catholic — so this particular statement was telling.

Private interpretation of Scripture is against Tradition — for the Church is the final arbiter as to the meaning of Scripture — the rock, as it were. It is against Scripture itself:

So we have confirmation of the words of the prophets; and you will be right to pay attention to it as to a lamp for lighting a way through the dark, until the dawn comes and the morning star rises in your minds.

At the same time, we must recognize that the interpretation of scriptural prophecy is never a matter for the individual.

For no prophecy ever came from human initiative. When people spoke for God it was the Holy Spirit that moved them.

What is Peter saying here? How can we discern the intent of the Holy Spirit? How can we be sure we are not constructing our own god? A: The community of believers.

I doubt, given this passage, that discernment relies upon a private party gleaning what they can from Scripture rather than upon the teachings of that single Church Jesus founded.

unclesmrgol on February 17, 2013 at 8:01 PM

Good comment and analysis. I’d add that the excommunication as a penalty is intended to focus the sinner’s mind on his or her immanent separation from the Church by those grave sins and to instill a desire in them to return to full communion with it. That is the hope, anyway. A person who has been excommunicated still has free will and can choose not to return, in which case they will have to answer for their sins before God.

[PatriotGal2257 on February 17, 2013 at 8:00 PM]

Yes, very much so. It’s good you added that.

Dusty on February 17, 2013 at 8:10 PM

Good comment and analysis. I’d add that the excommunication as a penalty is intended to focus the sinner’s mind on his or her immanent separation from the Church by those grave sins and to instill a desire in them to return to full communion with it. That is the hope, anyway. A person who has been excommunicated still has free will and can choose not to return, in which case they will have to answer for their sins before God.

PatriotGal2257 on February 17, 2013 at 8:00 PM

Indeed. I was incorrect on a previous post in saying it was permanent.

But it’s a given that the MSM and the Dems will attack the Church when the excommunications come to pass, and will paint them as being totally vindictive and hate-filled. The low-info voters permanently brainwashed Socialists will believe them without question, and more’s the pity.

Myron Falwell on February 17, 2013 at 8:26 PM

Dusty on February 17, 2013 at 8:10 PM

As I was writing, I was thinking of a few paragraphs I read in “Mother Angelica’s Answers, Not Promises.” [Paraphrasing here:] In her book, she used the analogy of developing film (I think it was published in 1988) and she talked about one negative coming out blurry, the second sharp and clear and the third one coming out blank to illustrate the state of one’s soul in relation to God. The blurry one was a soul clouded by sin and the sharp one was a soul that had received the Sacrament of Reconciliation and had been restored to God’s grace. The third blank negative, as she said, was the most chilling, because there is always the free will a person has that may cause them to say “no,” and turn away from God deliberately and forever.

PatriotGal2257 on February 17, 2013 at 8:32 PM

KyMouse on February 17, 2013 at 6:06 PM

The Church has always held that tradition holds equal weight to scripture.

I suggest reading A Concise History of the Roman Catholic Church by Thomas Bokenkotter.
http://books.google.com/books/about/A_Concise_History_of_the_Catholic_Church.html?id=DISK1e7JXA8C

workingclass artist on February 17, 2013 at 8:36 PM

But it’s a given that the MSM and the Dems will attack the Church when the excommunications come to pass, and will paint them as being totally vindictive and hate-filled. The low-info voters permanently brainwashed Socialists will believe them without question, and more’s the pity.

Myron Falwell on February 17, 2013 at 8:26 PM

That’s an absolute certainty. The MSM and the Dems have no interest in the truth, either the Catholic Church’s Truth or the truth of why certain U.S. Catholic politicians have been excommunicated. Whereas I might be moved to pity for the low-info voters, I hold the MSM (especially) and the Dems in total contempt.

My hubby was just remarking yesterday that these next several years, or even decades, could be very difficult for those Catholics who try as best they can to live their Faith daily, no matter who is chosen to be the next Pope. The two things that are giving me hope is that as the Left continues to out itself and its real agenda, more and more people are seeing it and and rejecting it, and especially, Jesus’s promise to the Apostles and the Church: “The gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”

PatriotGal2257 on February 17, 2013 at 8:51 PM

Placing tradition above Scripture leads to errors such as the claim that Peter was the supreme Apostle (and, in a sense, the first pope). However, the Bible records that Paul did not recognize him as such — in fact, Paul needed to rebuke Peter when Peter fell away from the doctrine of grace (Galatians 2:11). It was Paul, not Peter whom the Holy Spirit used to give us most of the epistles and essential doctrinal statements.

Another example of the kind of error that comes from placing tradition above Scripture is the mistaken doctrine that Mary dispenses God’s graces and plays an essential role in salvation. St. Hilary of Poitiers said, “No matter how sinful one may have been, if he has devotion to Mary, it is impossible that he be lost.” Such claims are found nowhere in Scripture — in fact, the final time we read about “Mary, the mother of Jesus,” she is simply a member of a group that gathers to pray (Acts 1:14).

Tradition has its place, but that place is never above the Bible’s. When the Bible differs from anything that any religion, denomination or sect teaches, I stick with the Bible.

How about you? If not, why not?

KyMouse on February 17, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Mary, Mother of God is Full of Grace and the Handmaid of the Lord.

She is the Immaculate Ark to carry the Word. She is the Woman clothed in the Sun.

“And generations will call me Blessed”

We venerate the Mother of God because scripture requires it, Jesus asks it of us at the Cross when he says to his disciple John “Behold your Mother”

Mary is our greatest Saint and the first of us to be devoted to Jesus.

She intercedes for us because in scripture, she interceded with her son at Cana and he listened to his mother, performing his first miracle.

She as is her son, Christ the Savior is prophesied in the old Testament.

That is Catholic Tradition and Scripture.

Recently scientists have discovered that children leave their living cells in the brains of the mothers that bear them and these cells are present in their mothers brains for life. This would be true for Jesus and his mother Mary.

Wrap your head around that…

workingclass artist on February 17, 2013 at 8:58 PM

[PatriotGal2257 on February 17, 2013 at 8:32 PM]

That’s a nice explanation, Patriot. I don’t read much in the practical religious genre, so it’s nice to hear of these things.

Dusty on February 17, 2013 at 9:16 PM

Recently scientists have discovered that children leave their living cells in the brains of the mothers that bear them and these cells are present in their mothers brains for life. This would be true for Jesus and his mother Mary.

Wrap your head around that…

[workingclass artist on February 17, 2013 at 8:58 PM]

I’d read about that but hadn’t done the transfer to this subject. Thanks for doing so.

Dusty on February 17, 2013 at 9:32 PM

And you, you’re a good little concern troll, aren’t you?

PatriotGal2257 on February 17, 2013 at 7:01 PM

Lady Ga Ga and Patriot Ga. I don’t really get either one of you.

So the quality of a book’s message is predicated by its sales.

You answered exactly none of the points made.

Then you slam with some imbecilic thread slur.

Jesus would be so proud of you.

Well done.

IlikedAUH2O on February 18, 2013 at 12:20 AM

Okay & thanks for the heads up – you’re a schmuck

katiejane on February 17, 2013 at 6:16 PM

This is the real Christian attitude.

IlikedAUH2O on February 18, 2013 at 12:30 AM

No problem, Concern Troll. :p

Myron Falwell on February 17, 2013 at 7:07 PM

I’m impressed. You elucidate so much with blog name calling.

IlikedAUH2O on February 18, 2013 at 12:33 AM

PatriotGal2257 on February 17, 2013 at 7:01 PM

Senator Goldwater’s relationship with the religious right? And how it worked for him?

First, if I were running for anything , this is about the last place on earth I would be.

Second, he failed for so many reasons, I guess you could toss that in. We are talking about 1964, though. BTW, I don’t think the religious right was too telling in the elections of 2012, 2008, 1990, 1994…or most others since goodness knows when. But success has a thousand fathers so I guess the religious folk elected every Republican in the last fifty years.

Third, don’t look now but several Catholic writers are selling books cheap. And they have a multi-billion dollar organization doing some help with the message.

Fourth, the fact that I try to look at real issues makes me a troll. Being a cafeteria Catholic or smorgasboard statesman is the way to go, I guess. Keeps the nuts quiet.

Thank you.

IlikedAUH2O on February 18, 2013 at 12:47 AM

Ed, good job. I would add that spiritual reality you speak of also includes the domain of the “Powers and Principalities” that St Paul warned us about, and much of the pattern with our secular left in this Papal intrusion is not accidental due to ignorance, but as it is with abortion, “lust is us” conventions, envy campaigns, programmed sloth, and the attempted destruction of freedom, it is directly due to diabolical influence.
Christ didn’t warn His apostles to be as “cunning as serpents” for naught. We are in evil times and the powers and principalities are quite active, freely roaming about winning soul after soul. Good has become bad and bad has become good. It is not a time for us to be timid about the truth.

The political–is but one arena.

Don L on February 18, 2013 at 5:25 AM

So it will take a few years for the Church to make the move, because a punishment like that is an irrevocable move.

Myron Falwell on February 17, 2013 at 7:21 PM

Not at all. God’s Church always seeks first, that the soul turns back to God. True repentance and solid confession reverse that penalty in an instant. It remains one of God’s greatest gifts, though, like proper use of a well-formed conscience, seldom used by the flocks. The evidence is in the strong Catholic New England voting pattern for the poster child of abortion and infanticide. Now that’s a scandal!

Don L on February 18, 2013 at 5:33 AM

So we have confirmation of the words of the prophets; and you will be right to pay attention to it as to a lamp for lighting a way through the dark, until the dawn comes and the morning star rises in your minds.

At the same time, we must recognize that the interpretation of scriptural prophecy is never a matter for the individual.

For no prophecy ever came from human initiative. When people spoke for God it was the Holy Spirit that moved them.

What is Peter saying here?

Well, he certainly wasn’t saying that second sentence you inserted there which does not appear at all in the passage from 2 Peter you were attempting to quote. Why do you feel the need corrupt scripture by inserting made up sentences? Is it because this passage has nothing to do with the point you are trying to make? Yes it does and I will answer your question – Peter is saying that we can rely on scriptural prophecy as a trustworthy guiding light because it comes from the Holy Spirit of God not the men who wrote it down as servants of God.

tommyboy on February 18, 2013 at 7:05 AM

This is the real Christian attitude.

IlikedAUH2O on February 18, 2013 at 12:30 AM

This is why you are a troll. You require others to adhere to standards you don’t think apply to yourself. You feel free to denigrate the religious beliefs of others and then cite Jesus as your basis. At first I figured you were just one more snotty atheist but I suppose it is just as likely that you’re a Bible literalist. Either way it doesn’t matter.

katiejane on February 18, 2013 at 8:29 AM

This is why you are a troll

katiejane on February 18, 2013 at 8:29 AM

I didn’t descend to impish namecalling. You did. Must be awful to have absolutely no defense for a position, one like you now hold.

The real trolls on this subject are those who ruin discussion by sidestepping real issues. Some of those issues, like illegal immigration allegedly backed by the Catholic Church are antithetical to the rule of law and the posture of the threads here.

Lets see, someone who shows up, dodges issues, takes slick positions to protect programs damaging to our country and our traditions on a conservative blog. I think the case is much stronger that anyone in that position is a troll.

You are the troll.

And on a simple logical analysis, your comments don’t even make sense. Sad.

IlikedAUH2O on February 18, 2013 at 9:19 AM

Several posters above who use terms they don’t understand need this badly. Definition. Credit to Urban Dictionary..

“A concern troll on a progressive blog might write, “I don’t think it’s wise to say things like that because you might get in trouble with the government.” Or, “This controversy is making your side look disorganized.””

It had no applicability to anything I wrote.

IlikedAUH2O on February 18, 2013 at 9:28 AM

IlikedAUH2O on February 18, 2013 at 9:28 AM

I think you’re logical, and open minded.
I think religion suffocates these things out of people.
ouch, yeah, I said it.

bridgetown on February 18, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Ed, while you’re going on about what a great and sincere guy E.J. Dionne is, consider that he wouldn’t think twice before condemning you as an insincere evil opportunist if doing so would advance a Democrat.

Kensington on February 18, 2013 at 10:22 AM

As an apostate, now an atheist, I am shamed by the lack of understanding of not just the church but the Christian traditions upon which this county is based. I would place the majority of Americans in the class of “low information Christians” that voted for Obama. The problem is not the loss of faith because most of these people still believe, it is the loss of knowledge and perhaps intelligence. The dumbing down of America applies to religious training as well.

georgeofthedesert on February 19, 2013 at 10:31 AM