Saturday, November 22, 2008

Once Saved, Always Saved

As I prepare to enter the Catholic Church tomorrow, I am once again being questioned about the Biblical basis for Catholic teachings. My father, a wonderful Christian, and a beloved pastor to the groups he teaches, is more-or-less an Evangelical. Needless to say, we disagree on some issues. Since this has come up again, I'll probably be shifting my focus a bit from politics to apologetics.

My father says the Bible teaches that, "Once we are saved, we cannot lose our salvation." I think the Bible says the opposite (to an extent).

The Bible does clearly state in some places that Salvation is something that has already been accomplished:
Ephesians 2:8-9: "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God—not because of works, lest any man should boast."

Romans 5:1
: "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith..."
These verses, and I'm sure many more, point to the idea that salvation is an event in the past. So if we're already saved, we don't need to worry about losing salvation, especially when the scriptures also say:
Romans 8:38-39: "neither death nor life[...], neither the present nor the future[...], nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God..."
So we "have been justified" and nothing can "separate us... from God," so it seems obvious that once we are saved, we remain saved. But what if things are more complex? First, the list in Romans 8 is a list of external factors, so that seems to leave it open as to whether we can separate ourselves from God. In fact, the idea that you can indeed separate yourself from God is clearly present in the scriptures:
Galatians 5:4: You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Romans 11:22
: "Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off."
Now, what if there were other verses that suggested that we had to do something to remain in God's family?
1 Corinthians 9:27: "I pummel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."

Hebrews 10:36: "You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised."

James 1:12:
"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."

Revelation 2:5
: "Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place."

Philippians 2:11-13: "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling."
So, it seems there is strong scriptural support for the idea that we can lose our salvation. Let's also look at this verse from the story of the Prodigal Son:
Luke 15:24: "For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found."
In this story the father represents God. His son leaves his family, and is "dead" to his father. Then he returns to his father, and is once again "alive." Though the primary purpose of this parable is to show the love and forgiveness God offers, it also implies that one can be in God's family, but then leave it, and once again return.

We can see similar issues presented in our own lives. Most Christians believe that children who die before the age of reason are likely to be given the grace to go to heaven, since they have committed no personal sin. But then these same children, once they reach the age of reason, and commit sin by their own fault, have "alienated" themselves from God, unless they seek the forgiveness offered by Jesus Christ.

Further, we can find verses that point to the salvation of believers as being a future event:
Matthew 10:22: "And you will be hated of all men for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved."

Romans 13:11
: "For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed."

Romans 2:13-16
: "For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified … on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Jesus Christ."
So there is an apparent contradiction. We "have been justified," but we are waiting for the time when we "will be justified." Of course, as Christians who believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, we recognize that these must just appear contradictory. It seems that we have been saved in a certain sense, yet we continue to work out our salvation, and we also await our coming salvation. This is all consistent with Catholic theology, but is not consistent with a view that salvation is only a past event for believers.

Let's also take a brief look at what some early Church Fathers said on the matter:
Justin Martyr, Against Heresies 5:26 [A.D. 156] "Eternal fire was prepared for him who voluntarily departed from God and for all who, without repentance, persevere in apostasy."

Didache 16 [A.D. 70] "Watch for your life’s sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ready, for you know not the hour in which our Lord comes. But you shall assemble together often, seeking the things that are befitting to your souls: For the whole time of your faith will not profit you if you be not made complete in the last time."
Biblical evidence for "Once Saved, Always Saved" is not very strong, and the evidence against it seems quite a bit stronger. This is probably why even many Protestant groups disagree on the matter. And this certainly does not provide a strong case against the early Church Fathers, and the Catholic Church, which has always taught that salvation could be lost.

Some great articles on this topic:
Once Saved, Always Saved
It's Not Over 'til It's Over

And related topics:
"Assurance" isn't Assuring (by a Protestant seminarian)
The Church Fathers on Mortal Sin

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gay Mob Pursues Christians

Did anyone hear about the gay mob that chased the Christians out of a San Fransisco neighborhood? How about this question...did you hear about it from a blog, or from a news outlet (5).

The MSM didn't report it. In fact, do an Internet search right now for it, and most of what you'll find are blog posts about it, not news articles. I did a search on Yahoo! news and came up with one hit (1); Google news found 95 (2). For reference, the 11-10 Steelers-Chargers game shows up 948 times on Yahoo! (3) and 2002 on Google (4).

I won't go into the media bias, however; I'd be beating a dead horse if I pointed it out. Instead, I'll dwell on this article some more. Or, rather, on the columns, since there are so few articles.

Most have quickly pointed out the numerous demonstrations by the ''No on 8'' campaign at churches. They point out an irony: the Christians and mormons haven't chased away from the steps of their churches any demonstrators exercising their right to assemble; yet, a group of Christians, also exercising their right to assemble, is chased out of the neighborhood...followed by howls of, ''And don't ever come back!'' The irony, of course, is the answer to the question, ''Which group is more tolerant of others?''

Some pointed out that, had it been the other way around with Christians chasing out gays, it would've been front page news. Bleakly, they opined, ''Hate crimes only occur when homosexuals are attacked, not Christians.'' (6)

Blogs from the other side condemned the mob's action as counter-productive to their goals. The individuals making up the mob were simply that...individuals, and not representative of the whole.

I'd like to point out the hypocrisy of the whole situation. The gay lobby constantly is trying to convince me not to vote to limit marriage because it won't affect me. "Live and let live" they say; "you live your life and I'll live mine." The reactions to the Christians in the video, however, make me doubt the gay lobby believes at all what they're preaching. They're such steadfast adherents to "live and let live" that they'll chase out everyone who disagrees with them, all the while hootin' and hollerin'.

''Hate'' was a common theme during the campaign. In fact, the ''No on 8'' campaign's slogan was ''8 is Hate.'' Well, I definitely see hate in the video.

(1) Yahoo! search 1
(2) Google search 1
(3) Yahoo! search 2
(4) Google search 2
(5) Blog with video
(6) Bleak Blog
Random XXX Church link

Is it Possible to Teach Abstinence?

Secular and liberal groups of various sorts like to claim that high school and college students are "going to do it anyway," so we shouldn't "waste" time and money on abstinence education, when what the kids "really need" is contraceptives. They back this reasoning up with studies showing the lack of success seen in areas with abstinence education.

My reaction has always been to just groan in annoyance at such ignorance. Of course we won't see great results from the mere fact that we put money into abstinence education. It would take years of research to find effective forms of abstinence education. Psychologists have been studying depression and anxiety since psychology (and psychiatry) began. They are better at influencing unhealthy minds today, but they still don't have a simple cure. Why should we expect it to be so much easier to influence minds in other difficult but helpful directions? It should be obvious that a teacher rolling his eyes as he says, "The state requires that I tell you not to have sex until you're married," is as likely to hurt as it is to help. So it should also be obvious that the quality of the programs is as important as the existence of the programs.

And even more obvious, is that neither abstinence education nor contraception education happen in a vacuum. How can we expect adolescents to listen to their teacher who says "no" when all their friends, their favorite celebrities, their magazines, and sometimes even their parents are shouting "YES!" If we want success, we need a comprehensive form of "wait until you're married" education that would entail sweeping changes of education, media, and who knows what else.

There is clear evidence that watching sex on TV can double teen pregnancy rates. There is also evidence that college professors promoting use of contraception makes college students 10% more likely to engage in premarital sex during their last year in school. How many other factors might be contributing to this problem?

We live in a society that is overflowing with sex. We can't just protect our kids (and ourselves) from one angle; they will just absorb what comes at them from every other angle. For now it takes a multi-pronged approach from individual parents to protect their own children. For the future we need to work toward a multi-pronged approach to protect everyone's children.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Was Luther Right?

Yesterday, during Pope Benedict XVI's general audience, he said that Martin Luther was correct in saying that we are saved "'by faith alone'[...] if faith is not opposed to charity, to love." See the full story here.

I'm not quite sure how I first came to understand this idea, but at one point I realized that Catholics and Protestants are partly talking past each other when they talk about "faith and works" versus "faith alone." In reality, they are using the word "faith" in a different manner. The Catholic is using the word "faith" to mean mostly "belief in Christ." Meanwhile, the Protestant is using "faith" in a more all-consuming sense which includes works.

Faith is actually used both ways in scripture. In Ephesians we are told, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God." But in 1 Corinthians we are told, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." This second quote suggests that love (which bears the fruit of works) is more important to our salvation than faith. But faith is so often described as the thing that saves us, that it seems there can be two meanings for the word, based on context. It also seems that the reality is more complicated than any simple statement such as "faith alone," and that such a statement should not be used to attack those who have simplified the complexities in a different way.

For more information on the contrast between the common Protestant and Catholic understandings of the word "faith," I recommend Peter Kreeft & Ronald K. Tacelli's Handbook of Christian Apologetics: Hundreds of Answers to Crucial Questions.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Anti-Christ?

I wrote this post to respond to the frequent comment I've been hearing: that it is "crazy" to think that Obama might be the anti-Christ.

I could say that I feel almost certain that Obama is not the anti-Christ, if only because I'm sure there have been many leaders who have been suspected of this role. But I could not say that he is definitely not the anti-Christ. Even his supporters should be wary of such a stance, and of ridiculing those who believe it is a possibility.

The gut reaction that, "He can't be the anti-Christ!" is based on feelings more than reason. It's the same reaction we might have if the police tell us that our son was caught stealing a car: "He couldn't have stolen a car, he's a good boy." It's fine to have trust, and to try to believe the best of someone, but we need to be open to the fact that we may have misjudged someone.

Of course most people do not think he is the anti-Christ (myself included), but who will really recognize the true anti-Christ? If the true anti-Christ were widely recognized as such, he could not be very successful. Indeed, just as Satan relies on deception, so will the anti-Christ. He will be a great deceiver, and most will not recognize what he is. He would probably seem like a nice guy, but eventually take darker and darker turns.

Even this turn toward darkness would probably be disguised as "the right thing" in one way or another. He would probably use scapegoats, just as Hitler used the Jews or Nero used the Christians, to distract people from his dark purposes.

But if man always has choices, perhaps the anti-Christ must choose his role, or else his role will be given to another. So then the question wouldn't be, "Is Obama the anti-Christ?" Instead it will be, "Could Obama choose the role of the anti-Christ, and will he?"

I believe that the answer to this is no. I believe the man has enough love (even if it is misguided), that he would not be capable of making such an unloving decision.

Still, it is a remote possibility, not one I'm expecting, that he has deceived me into believing he is a loving man. Unless there are those among us who can truly see the future, or see into hearts, I do not think we can make an absolute final judgment in either direction. And along those lines, it also seems absurd to claim he is the anti-Christ, or that he probably is the anti-Christ.

Really though, I think this is a moot point. If the man promotes evil policies we must oppose them, and if he promotes good policies we should support them. Whether or not he is the anti-Christ, our duties remain the same.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gays "Bash Back"

In a little publicized story, a group of gay/anarchist activists stormed Mount Hope Church in Lansing Michigan during a service on Sunday Nov. 9.

Of course, they accused the evangelical church of “transphobia and homophobia.” Yet, somehow the "bigoted" churchgoers did not react violently. This was certainly a disappointment to the activist who were hoping to videotape violent reactions to justify themselves.

The Rev. John Elieff said (in another article) that the church is not "anti-homosexual," and though it does teach that homosexual behavior is sinful, "Mt. Hope Church struggles to follow Christ’s example of loving the sinner and not the sin."

The activists might be surprised to learn that almost all Christian churches teach something similar. Most churches that teach homosexuality is a sin understand that same-sex attraction is a difficult burden, and desire that we try to view homosexual actions as a counterpart to the kind of inappropriate sexual behaviors that heterosexuals engage in, such as promiscuity, lust, pornography, and affairs.

I really believe that true "gay-bashing" has less of a correlation to church participation than it does to beer-drinking and football watching. In other words, most churches teach people to love everyone, including unrepentant sinners, and even our enemies. It is the popular machismo found in bars and locker rooms that teaches such un-Christian ideas as "women exist for men's entertainment" or "it's manly to pick on gays."

So next time angry activists want to attack someone, they might want to pick a more appropriate target.

As a side note, it seems to violate a church's right to free speech if you disrupt their main weekly meeting like that. How can a group have free speech if the primary meetings where they share their views are disrupted? So the activists should try for more constitutional timing too.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Respecting Enemies?

Lately I've been reading articles, such as this article at InsideCatholic, which say we should show respect for President-elect Obama, even though we might be fighting him on some serious issues (pretty much the same kind of respect conservatives wish liberals had given President Bush). Without fail, someone responds with a comment like, "We can't show respect to that no-good baby-killer!"

I've heard similar back-and-forth about Bishops who are perceived by some as failing the Church.

I agree with the writers who say we should show some respect, but I personally have a hard time staying respectful when I want to try to be strong in my stand against whatever evil my opponent is promoting. So I understand, to an extent, both sides of the argument. What I think I need is an exercise in how this respectful opposition would play out in specific circumstances.

1. Let's say we ran into Mr. Obama, and he asked us, "What do you think we can do to make America better." What should we say?
A) "You should just keep telling everyone to have hope."
B) "We need to recognize that women are truly helped by offering them loving support when they face an unplanned pregnancy, rather than lying to them about the nature of their unborn child, and convincing them to kill it. Which means that the government should support crisis pregnancy centers instead of supporting Planned Parenthood."
C) "We could kick you out of office, you baby-killing slime ball."

Oh... I think I'm already able to detect a trend. The long, well thought out answers are the best ones.

2. We prepare to send a letter to our Bishop, because we believe he is being too resistant to the Pope's call for more traditional Latin Masses. What should we write?
A) "Dear Bishop, I respect you too much to complain. Keep up the good work!"
B) "Dear Bishop, I truly love the old Mass. I feel so much more connected to God during that form of the Mass than I do in the modern form. I like the respectfulness, the music, and even the Latin. When I heard that Pope Benedict was trying to make this Mass more widely available, I was overjoyed. I hope you will work to make it available soon in my area. I can't think of any better way to connect with the Saints who have gone before us."
C) "You old heretic! Why do you hate the Pope? People who think the Latin Mass isn't any good don't think the Church is any good, so why don't you just leave? You'd do a much better job as manager for a rock band."

Anyway, I hope you get my point. I think I'm starting to get it, but we'll see.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Department of Propaganda

As the election drew near, and now, after its close, there has been a proliferation of political news. Often getting my news from the Yahoo! homepage, there's something I've noticed. Some of the stories are traditional Associated Press news, with its mild left-leaning bias (calling pro-lifers "abortion opponents" etc.), but many of the stories are flat-out commentary. Now, Yahoo! may have never claimed that its featured stories were news stories, but I feel much better when opinion pieces are clearly relegated to opinion pages, and not mixed in with the traditional news. I also might be less disturbed if I had read a single column from the conservative perspective during this period.

Take, for example, these quotes from a featured story by John Cloud on Yahoo:

"And then there was California. Gay strategists working for marriage equality in this election cycle had focused most of their attention on that state. Losing there dims hopes that shimmered brightly just a few weeks ago - hopes that in an Obama America, straight people would be willing to let gay people have the basic right to equality in their personal relationships. It appears not."

"In Florida, where the law requires constitutional amendments to win by 60%, a marriage amendment passed with disturbing ease, 62.1% to 37.9%."
Apparently it is "disturbing" that people would vote to deny homosexuals a "basic right to equality." The problem here is that equality presumes that things are equal. But there is little equivalence between recognizing same-sex marriage, and recognizing traditional marriage. One is based on fairy tale romanticism, the other is based on both tradition and on practical concerns.

In fact, I don't even believe that I have a "basic right" to have my marriage recognized. And that's really the key. The government doesn't recognize my marriage because it's my right, the government recognizes my marriage because pretty much every American thinks my marriage is valid (more or less). So then, that's the major problem with recognizing same-sex marriage. Most people don't really view the unions as valid, so if the government recognizes them, then the government imposes this view on the people, which is akin to establishment of religion.

See the difference there? The government imposes nothing (or very little) when it recognizes traditional marriage, because most Americans already recognize such marriages, but the government imposes a great deal when it legally recognizes marriages that are not recognized by most Americans.

If the government stopped recognizing marriage as an institution altogether I might be upset, and I might want to change it, but I don't think I could argue that it was my "basic right."

But you won't find that argument in the mainstream media. Yahoo! isn't going to slide that kind of opinion piece in with the regular news, so they shouldn't be throwing in the liberal propaganda they do run. Of course we can't expect much from these companies. Google and Apple did contribute money to fight Prop 8.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Dangers of Obama

I've been a bit easy on Obama. Maybe I've just decided to be hopeful, since I only started writing about him here after he won the election. I suppose that now we need to move forward, hoping things will turn around, and remembering that it's what we do as individuals and as a church that will advance the culture of life more than any laws or any political candidate. See Fr. Frank Pavone discuss this here.

But we still have to be wary of our new President. Canadian author, Michael O'Brien wrote in his Nov 1st newsletter:

What are we to make of a man who has appeared out of semi-obscurity and become, nearly overnight, so very much an idol of the popular imagination? That he intends to become the most effective advocate of murder of the unborn ever seen in America should give us pause. Murder and lies are as old as the lands east of Eden, of course, but when they are charmingly packaged, proposed as reasonable and just policies (with a smile, a resonant voice, and an appealing flash of the eyes), one begins to wonder just what is afoot in the modern age. It brings to mind a passage from the first Act of Shakespeare's Hamlet:

"That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain..."
Click here for the full text of O'Brien's newsletter.

For a more hopeful look at the upcoming Presidency of Obama, and a reminder about the power of our democracy, try this story by Tom Hoopes at the National Catholic Register.

We Win Some, We Lose Some... Heads

So, looks like we've done poorly on life issues this election. The highly pro-abortion candidate, Obama, won the presidency, along with his party winning several seats in the Senate and the House. Prop 4 in California failed to pass, meaning kids can still get abortions without parental permission (even if they can't bring aspirin to school without a note). And Initiative 1000 passed in Washington state, legalizing euthanasia.

Happily, we did manage to pass Prop 8 in California, and similar measures in other states (like 102 in AZ), preventing activist judges from redefining marriage. This should preserve our freedom to disagree on the issue of homosexuality for a little longer. As I've said before, the biggest danger of legally recognized same-sex marriage is that the government will then begin to enforce the positions of gay-rights activists, interfering with freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

For me, Obama's win wasn't a surprise. I was, however, pleasantly surprised that Prop 8 passed. As for Prop 4, I was a bit shocked that people still think parents shouldn't be informed when their child is going to be given serious and destructive surgery.

Lastly, let me just say I'm glad I don't live in Washington. I really don't know why the risk of legalized euthanasia is worth it to people. If I was able to completely trust everyone, and especially every doctor, then it might not be so scary, even though it would still be wrong. But as it is, doctors can be incompetent and sometimes even malicious. Why should we give them the kind of power over life and death that legalized euthanasia gives them? Also, do we really want the government making decisions about which innocent people it's okay to kill?

Our First Black President

I don't know if I'm just oblivious, but I'm surprised at how much attention is being given to the fact that Obama is our first African American president. I was really focused on the positions of the candidates and didn't really give the matter much thought. I suppose we haven't all moved as far past race as I'd have hoped.

Being that race does still seem to be an issue, I hope that Obama manages to be a good role model for his fellow African Americans. Whatever we think of his political positions, Obama does have a strong American story; the story of a lower class minority working hard to reach the highest office in the country. I hope that this helps those who feel oppressed or have an overactive victim complex to move out of the past. Perhaps if this allows some people to abandon their suspicion of whites the races might become less divided.

Sadly, the racism on the white side might only be strengthened (at least in the short term). I hope that this group can at least show some respect to the president of our country (even if liberals were unable to do so for Bush).

Despite the fact that I do not want a president with such a liberal agenda, my great fear is that Obama might be assassinated by white supremacists. Not only would this be an evil action which would devastate Obama's family, but it would be an offense against democracy. Further it would ruin the progress that might be made toward uniting the races in our country, likely sparking destructive riots. And perhaps most dangerous for conservatives, this would give liberals a powerful martyr, and could possibly usher in a new era of restrictions on freedom. "Hate crime" laws will gain more momentum, threatening freedom of speech. Guns will be taken away. Everywhere, freedom will be traded for security.

So let's pray for the safety of our president-elect. And let's hope that the next time Americans face a decision like this, voters, both black and white, will vote based on the candidate's positions instead of the candidate's race.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Strange Dress

As much as I don't plan on making fashion something I address with any regularity, I can't help but point out how strange Michelle Obama's dress was tonight.

First, the red is in a kind of hourglass shape. On a black background this looks like a black widow's markings to me. But then they probably don't have many black widow spiders up there in Chicago.

Second, the red resembles a stylized spray of blood originating from her belly. Does this somehow reflect the unborn lives that will be lost during the Obama administration?

Of course I don't really think this dress says anything about Mrs. Obama. I doubt she meant her dress to express anything, and I wouldn't hold her fashion sense against her... Especially since she's married to the (soon-to-be) most powerful man in the world.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Same-Sex Sympathy

Before talking any more about my opposition to same-sex marriage, I must let it be known that I have a great deal of sympathy for those with same-sex attraction, especially those who are "in love" with someone. I'm sure their feelings of "love" are just as real as the feelings that heterosexual couples feel when they first meet someone new and exciting. Of course, even for heterosexuals these feelings can be misleading, causing them to enter harmful relationships.

I myself used to believe we should just let them marry. I believed it would make them happy, and cut down on homosexual promiscuity.

But, after studying the matter further, I changed my mind. While it is possible that some individuals might be happier if they had legally recognized marriages, the general trend for society, for people with same-sex attraction, and especially for children, will be toward unhappiness.

Further, it is apparent that redefining marriage so that it has nothing to do with tradition or children will just lead to other people asking for their own ideas of marriage to be recognized (as it, in fact, already is).

Most important, same-sex marriage will not guarantee free speech and religious freedom as its supporters claim. It will, in fact, undermine the free speech and religious freedom of everyone who doesn't "get with the program." Gay rights activists are already emboldened, asking for the Bible to be considered hate speech, trying to force independent citizens to accept their relationships, and teaching kindergartners that homosexual behavior is normal.

Homosexuals already have the right to live in committed relationships. What they don't have is the right to force everyone else to accept those relationships as healthy and equal to traditional marriages.

Intolerance and Same-Sex Marriage

According to Jenifer DeLemont, in the October 26 East Valley Tribune:
Discrimination should be judged[...] by rewriting the statement with a different group's name. [A statement by supporters of Proposition 102] says; “Marriage is between one man and one woman. To allow marriages to be confused by allowing a man and a man to wed will destroy the meaning of marriage.”

But let’s try that same statement with a slight change: “Marriage is between one Christian and one Christian. To allow marriages to be confused by allowing a Christian to wed a Jew will destroy the meaning of marriage.” If that’s not bad enough for you, then try it with race. “Marriage is between one white person and one white person. To allow marriage to be confused by allowing a white person to marry a black person will destroy the meaning of marriage.”

So you see, discrimination all depends on the group we are talking about.
I found this argument quite humorous. If only she wasn't serious. The problem is that she arbitrarily decides what would be a "slight change." Apparently she thinks that a person's sex is roughly as important as their skin color. I may have missed whatever biology class she took, but I'm pretty sure a black man's body functions pretty much the same as a white man's body, even being able to produce children with a white woman. While I don't recall the lesson where two men could make a child.

In fact, using her formula, I'm sure we can find all kinds of intolerance. We'll just take a statement she would agree with, "Not allowing a man to marry a man is intolerant." then see if we can make it sound bad by using a different group's name: "Not allowing a 9-year old to marry a 49-year old is intolerant." Ooh let's do that again: "Not allowing a live man to marry a dead man is intolerant." Hmm... weird how different groups of people evoke different feelings. If that's not bad enough for you, let's take it a step further, "Not allowing a man to marry a herd of wildebeests is intolerant."

What's a Catholic Cataclysm?

Let me take a moment to explain our name: "Catholic Cataclysm." First, it is a play on words, sounding like "Catholic Catechism." Of course saying as much ruins some of the fun, but it's a useful tidbit for those who didn't get it.

One could interpret the name to mean that we think the Catholic Church is a source of destruction, that we want a massive upheaval within the Church, or that we want to destroy the world somehow. None of those interpretations would be correct. We are, in fact, using the term rather loosely.

What we do then mean by our name is that we think the world needs a sort of "Catholic Cataclysm," a destruction, not of people or objects, but of harmful ideas. Not that we want thought police monitoring ideas or anything. We just want culture to change in a healthy direction, toward faith, life, and true love. This move toward the beautiful teachings of the Catholic Church would make a better world for everyone, but would give infinitely more to those individuals who truly entered a relationship with Christ and the Church.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

All Saints Day

Happy All Saints Day!

On All Saints Day I like to remember the Saint whose name I took at confirmation: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. A widow who converted to Catholicism, she raised her five children, started a parish school and an orphanage, and founded a religious order.

On the topic of Saints, here's a nifty website:

This website has a Saint or Blessed listed for each day of the month. When you click on the link, it gives you a brief glimpse into their life.