The Numbers Don't Lie

Actually, they may. But Rod Dreher uses them to introduce some other observations that will continue to miss the brain matter of the Roman Catholic interlocutors who hand around Old Life.

First, Rod tracks Leah Libresco’s further dissecting of Pew’s numbers on Christianity in the U.S.:

If conversions went on as they do today and all other factors were held steady, America would wind up with the religious demographics of the stable distribution.

Unaffiliateds would wind up modestly gaining ground (from 23 percent at present to 29 percent).1 And Christian denominations would drop a little (from 69 percent at present to 62 percent at equilibrium).2

But there would be substantial redistribution among Christian groups, with evangelical Protestants gaining (26 percent at present to 32 percent) and Catholics losing more than half their current share of the population (21 percent to 8 percent).

Why do evangelicals wind up ahead of other Christian sects in this model? They’re better at holding on to the people born into their tradition (65 percent retention compared to 59 percent for Catholics and 45 percent for Mainline Protestants), and they’re a stronger attractor for people leaving other faiths. According to Pew’s data on conversion rates, 10 percent of people raised Catholic wind up as evangelicals. Just 2 percent of people born as evangelicals wind up Catholic. The flow between mainline and evangelical Protestants is also tilted in evangelicals’ favor. Twelve percent of those raised evangelical wind up in mainline congregations, but 19 percent of mainline Protestants wind up becoming evangelical.

Oh, great. A country of pious Republicans and atheistic Democrats. Let the search for Aaron Sorkin’s America continue.

That demographic reality prompts Rod to ask what Roman Catholics are doing wrong. First, he notes parish life:

In Catholicism, the ethos at the parish level is, in general, more like a sacrament factory. The worship experience is a lot like Mainline Protestantism, actually, and if you’re going to do Protestantism, the Evangelicals are much, much better at it. Some intellectual Catholics of an orthodox orientation, conceding the flaws in worship, liturgical and otherwise, stand firm on the intellectual arguments for Catholicism. Despite its problems, they will say, the Roman church remains the church that Christ founded, and unlike all other churches (except the Orthodox, who are negligible in an Americn context) it has the Real Presence of the Eucharist at its center. I spoke to a frustrated but faithful Catholic recently who said that despite all the problems at the local level, he keeps going to mass because he believes that is the only place to truly experience Jesus in the Eucharist.

As an ex-Catholic turned Orthodox, I obviously don’t agree with that analysis, but it does make sense. The problem with it is that it does not make sense to most dissatisfied Catholics, as the dramatic Pew numbers show.

Hello (vd,t, Susan, Mrs. W.)!! But it does make sense of the Roman Catholic apologetic strategy. Point to the logic, the history, the paradigm, the writers like Flannery O’Connor and Evelyn Waugh. But whatever you do, don’t look at life on the ground in this incarnated world.

And then Rod reflects on the conundrum that updating the church presented to post-Vatican II bishops:

The leadership class of the Catholic Church — bishops, theologians, and so forth — “gave themselves up to modernity just as the real avant-garde was beginning to critique it. They came out of their bunkers with their hands in the air as the enemy was departing for a new battlefield. The Catholic elite of this generation was left to look effete and irrelevant.” In an effort to be relevant to modernity, they surrendered the Catholic distinctives that stood in contradiction to the currents of modernity. Thus while Catholic theology remains intact, the transmission of that theology in the lived experience of the parish — both in worship and in catechetics — has badly broken down. Paradoxically, in many parishes, a worshiper in this most sacramentally-oriented of the major American Christian churches may find himself having to hold on to the truths of his faith by exercising his will and his imagination to an extraordinary degree, because what he sees happening around him does not convey what the Church proclaims to be true.

So? Protestants are divided. All’s well.

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86 thoughts on “The Numbers Don't Lie

  1. Money quote from Rod:

    In Catholicism, the ethos at the parish level is, in general, more like a sacrament factory.

    Thus the absurdity of the CTC project. The parish faithful don’t care about RC dogma. RC is not a religion centered around dogma. It’s all about the sacramental treadmill. Believe what you want, just make sure you get baptized and take the Eucharist. It explains how one can be a faithful RC and either pro-choice or pro-life, pro-gay marriage or anti-gay marriage.

    The church’s moral and theological teachings don’t matter one bit. All that matters is the mass.

    Like

  2. Robert, ding. My pastor calls rome like a gas station, you come on sunday morning on empty? Here, take the spigot, fill’er up please, you leave, and then do that, rinse repeat, next week (do the penance thing, confession, eucarist, whatever it takes, like oil changes, tire rotation, and new wiper blades).

    The reformed view? Well, it’s 2015, baby. Where we’re going, we don’t need…roads. (sorry, couldn’t resist).

    Mrs.W/Suz/Tvd getting some publicity, I await their recation to this post. Good stuff, thx.

    Next.

    Like

  3. Robert:

    The church’s moral and theological teachings don’t matter one bit. All that matters is the mass.

    Not even sure if that’s true any more. If that were true, then the Rad Trads wouldn’t be moaning about Papa Frank talkin’ ’bout “love” more than he is about the Mass and “Big T” Tradition. And besides, thanks to V2, we’re all going to heaven anyway, and so are a bunch of folks who have never heard of Jesus.

    It’s interesting: the Triumphalists often talk about Papal Infallibility, Apostolic Succession, the Roman polity, and “Big T” Tradition as being advantages in this here denominational game. Unfortunately for them, those “advantages” are what brought them V2 and made them entrenched. Papal Infallibility makes it pretty hard to get rid of V2’s liturgical abuses. Apostolic Succession doesn’t seem to matter much when you’ve got ecumenical priests communing everyone and their mother (thanks again to V2 permissiveness). And, again, their Roman polity (the Best in the World!) hasn’t stopped some pretty hideous things from happening (and going unpunished). Tradition doesn’t seem to have a high going rate these days – please see Halloween Masses and Liturgical Dance. It’s not Jerusalem the Golden. It’s the Wild West!

    So, I guess I’m wondering: Where are all those Roman Catholic advantages I keep hearing about?

    Or maybe I should just feel the love?

    Like

  4. Actually, they may. But Rod Dreher uses them to introduce some other observations that will continue to miss the brain matter of the Roman Catholic interlocutors who hand around Old Life.

    What eludes the brain matter of the author of the blog is that if we use polls and demographics to rate theological truth, his own church and theology do not even register.

    Hanged on his own gallows.

    Like

  5. vd, t: What does that make you? A tiny lone voice crying in a comparably larger desert, saying “Prepare the way of ME”?

    If I’ve learned anything from your comments, it’s that there’s no one smaller than you. The mouse that roared. Very impressive!

    Like

  6. Tom,

    Don’t worry about the OPC and her numbers. Like my SF Giants are discounted every year and not expected to make the playoffs, their dynasty speaks for itself.

    So keep counting us out. Tell us we are small and marginal and inconsequential. Keep going, we love every word of it!!

    Imagine how much fun DGH, MG, and I are having as you flail around to try to make sense of a church with only 30,000 members that stands up to the most wealthy institutions on the planet. Of course, what Luther did was more gutsy – one man against 1500 years and the only western christian church at the time, and now over 800 million christians look to that man as a spiritual father of some kind. Imagine that..

    Enjoy these blogs and posting your avatar everywhere you can. Don’t worry, DGH mops up your silliness and that avatar as well. We’ll be here, when you feel the need to led it all out, you can count on us. After all, we’re here to serve.

    Yo.

    Your yankees can suck it, friend 😈

    who’s next?

    Like

  7. Seth
    Posted May 20, 2015 at 7:33 pm | Permalink
    vd, t: What does that make you? A tiny lone voice crying in a comparably larger desert, saying “Prepare the way of ME”?

    If I’ve learned anything from your comments, it’s that there’s no one smaller than you. The mouse that roared. Very impressive!

    What’s with Old Life’s inability to discuss ideas and park the personal spit at the door? Every personal attack is clearly a defensive effort to change the subject.

    As for the 30,000-member Orthodox Presbyterian Church–using Darryl’s own method of attacking by polls and math–comparing the OPC to even the lowliest major league team, say the Mormons, is off by a factor of 100.

    Like

  8. vd, t, “if we use polls and demographics”

    Well, you’ve never talked about 1.2 billion large, or 33,000 denominations, or a microscopic OPC. You have the high road to yourself.

    Like

  9. vd, t,

    While you were busy preening, I think you missed a spot. I would suggest a mirror, but D. Hart seems to have already provided you one.

    Hanged on your own gallows? Or hoisted by your own petard?

    Winner’s pick.

    Like

  10. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 20, 2015 at 9:25 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, “if we use polls and demographics”

    Well, you’ve never talked about 1.2 billion large, or 33,000 denominations, or a microscopic OPC. You have the high road to yourself.

    Just the other day I told your minions that I credit your microscopic OPC with being more faithful to the Reformed faith than whatever’s left of “Presbyterianism.” [PCUSA, Church of Scotland, and I see you don’t like the PCA types like Tim Keller very much either.]

    That’s a higher road than you’ll get from many or most of your own co-religionists.

    But enough of answering your personal attacks, which are really just attempts to change the subject. Back to the subject:

    Your own OPC church fails using your own standards, tthe method you just attacked Catholicism with, Dr. Hart. You can’t play the numbers game both ways.

    Well, you can and you do, but you can’t expect nobody to notice that you are.

    Like

  11. vd, t, and just the other day I said Phil Lawler, Ross Douthat, and Michael Sean Winters were more honest about the Roman Catholic church than you.

    Can I get some love here?

    Like

  12. vd, t: Minions? Yikes, all these personal attacks.

    You see, you can’t play the moral high-ground game both ways.

    Well, you can and you do, but you can’t expect nobody to notice that you are.

    Like

  13. As for the numbers not lying, it appears the OLTS web traffic hasn’t moved to CtC, rather, it’s just swapped over to RSC’s blog. I wonder what’s up with that. American Creation blog, however, continues its downward spiral, TVD would be wise to write blog posts over there instead of trying to contribute here, if he knew what was good for him. But as long as he wants to post here, we’ll take it. It’s fun!

    Who’s next?

    Like

  14. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 20, 2015 at 9:53 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, and just the other day I said Phil Lawler, Ross Douthat, and Michael Sean Winters were more honest about the Roman Catholic church than you.

    Can I get some love here?

    The only question is whether they’re more honest about Catholicism than you. You’re kind of tied with Garry Wills, whom you cite approvingly.

    Not good.

    As for the life of the Christian faith, Luther wanted to alter the Church and he ended up dividing it. Calvin wanted to purify the Church and he bequeathed to the Western world a view of grace as a stingy thing, dispenses only to the predestined. Does Wills think those alterations were good?

    I hope Mr. Wills rediscovers his faith and his hope but until he does, he should stop posing as a Christian commentator.

    http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/garry-wills-please-go-away

    You’re golden, man. Golden. Antinomian gold.

    Like

  15. And since numbers don’t lie (they are numbers after all, not moral agents capable of breaking the moral law), I’ll keep a running tally on comments and blog posts related to are the CTCers paying attention? tagged blog posts, we’re over 19k, I could buy a pretty nice car for 19k, I digress..

    Next.

    Like

  16. It is hard to believe that some think precision at Mass will fix the numbers, but they do:

    According to a 2013 study performed for Georgetown’s Center for Applied Research on the Apostolate, only 63 percent of Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Nearly 1 in 5 believers in the Real Presence apparently hold to the belief without an awareness that it is taught by the Church. And of course well-over a third of Catholics do not believe at all in the Real Presence (and yet our bishops were eager to catechize those who kneel down before the Real Presence of the Lord!).

    It is not here necessary to rehash other statistical information on the decline of American Catholicism following the Council and the changes to the Mass, such as the sharp drops in Mass attendance and vocations. While the experience of the last 50 years has not been uniformly negative, the tendency of the hierarchy to trumpet the “springtime of renewal” is a sad joke.

    Furthermore, as the digital pages of this publication and so many other highlight daily, the American Church is increasingly isolated in a culture that is under constant, and effective, assault from an aggressive secularist, modernist ideology. Many American bishops have courageously and articulately proclaimed and defended the Church’s teachings on life, marriage and religious liberty, and yet, especially with marriage, there is a sense that the Church is rapidly losing ground and is, essentially, ignored.

    In sum, we are not properly catechizing ad intra or ad extra Eccelsiam. The reasons for the problem are many, but at the core, the problem stems from our diminished liturgy, the diminishment of which is highlighted by the manner in which the Faithful receive Corpus Christi. Since, as the Council proclaimed in Sacrosanctum Concilium, the liturgy is the “summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed” and is also “the font from which her power flows,” we must first graft the spiritual life of the Faithful wholly onto the liturgy before we can hope to broadly evangelize inside and outside the Church. And reverence before the Eucharist is the heart of liturgical spirituality.

    Like

  17. I liked ^^^ it ^^^ here’s the spoiler (read: ending)

    Second, this trend should motivate us to intentionally seek out friendships with people who are not like us, who live and work in our spheres of influence. We are the ones God is sending to declare to them the good news of the gospel. There are no others. And if we take this commission seriously, we’ll intentionally die to ourselves and live for others by developing long-term relationships. We nurture friendships with people who are not like us, not in a way that sees people as projects to be crossed off a list, but as people created in the image of God. We embed ourselves in our communities in a way that helps communities flourish by our presence. These acts not only fulfill our creation mandate and demonstrate what the kingdom will look like in full, but they also place us as ambassadors of reconciliation in the lives of the people God plans to save.

    Our day is not a time for hand-wringing or false nostalgia about by-gone days. Instead, like every generation of the church, we embrace our mission with joy, knowing that God has not called us to minister to the culture we want, but the culture that is.

    Like

  18. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 6:08 am | Permalink
    vd, t cites Winters approvingly yet again. Who’s next? Sean Hannity?

    Not at all. You’re the one who cites liberal Catholic Michael Sean Winters all the time as a weapon against the Catholic Church. I just hanged you with your own rope, is all.

    As for the life of the Christian faith, Luther wanted to alter the Church and he ended up dividing it. Calvin wanted to purify the Church and he bequeathed to the Western world a view of grace as a stingy thing, dispenses only to the predestined. Does Wills think those alterations were good?

    Like

  19. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 10:48 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, I understand. You are like the pope.

    You’re the only one around here who gets his ring kissed, Butch.

    Like

  20. #theyareouttogetus (inside the Roman Catholic apologist‘s mind):

    Here’s how the church prevails against hell:

    The Protestant Reformation -Hey, they got Joel Osteen and we got Pope John Paul II. Catholic Church Win.

    The Cult of the Supreme Being -The attempted dechristianization of France, beginning with the French Revolution in 1789, was a horror show upon Catholics with no less an aim than the erasure of the religion itself from France. The French attempt to destroy the Church included confiscation of Church lands, destruction of statues and crosses, as well as making all priests and all those who hid them liable to death. And boy did they kill them some Catholics. They really wanted the Church gone.

    But Robespierre, concerned that people needed something different in which to vent their religiosity introduced in 1794 the Cult of the Supreme Being, which he believed would act as a new state religion. While anti-Catholic, he was wary of atheism in that it offered no reason to people to act morally. He hoped the Cult of the Supreme Being’s acknowledgement of some form of deity would encourage moral behavior. You see, Robespierre wanted virtue from the people but not from the government. He actually said, “virtue be the spring of a popular government in times of peace, the spring of that government during a revolution is virtue combined with terror: virtue, without which terror is destructive; terror, without which virtue is impotent.”

    Yikes.

    Robespierre established the Festival of the Supreme Being in June of 1794 as an event of great spectacle, especially in Paris where Robespierre spoke to the crowds after reportedly descending down from a mountain like Moses. One of his colleagues, Jacques-Alexis Thuriot, was reportedly heard to say, “Look at the bugger; it’s not enough for him to be master, he has to be God”.

    Unfortunately for Robespierre he turned out to not be God and was guillotined in 1794. The Cult of the Supreme Being was not guillotined but suffered the same fate after losing its head.
    The Catholic Church lived on.

    Like

  21. ” Calvin wanted to purify the Church and he bequeathed to the Western world a view of grace
    as a stingy thing, dispenses only to the predestined ”

    Ah well, Jacob the Protestant, I have loved, while Esau the ” catholic ” I hated !

    Like

  22. Boniface weighs in on the numbers in Ireland’s referendum:

    Yes, a disappointment to all Catholics, especially those who love the Catholic heritage of Ireland. Yet it is hard to tell what is more disappointing, the referendum results, or the lame excuses offered by the Irish Church’s prelates. Rorate Caeli has documented how the bishops of Dublin and Derry offered the most mediocre, ambiguous, limp-wristed resistance to the vote, basically telling Irish Catholics that it was better to vote ‘Yes’ than to vote ‘No’ for the “wrong reasons.”

    After the vote, Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin placed the blame squarely on the Church, conveniently omitting any mention of the degenerate morals of his flock.

    “I think really that the church needs to do a reality check, a reality check right across the board, to look at the things it’s doing well, to look at the areas where we really have to start and say, ‘Look, have we drifted away completely from young people?’ ”

    This reveals immediately the error in his thinking. If a reality check is needed, it is not because the Church has “drifted away” from young people – indeed, the Church doesn’t drift away from people, people drift away from the Church – rather, the reality check needed is that this wishy-washy affirming dialogue centered nonsense that passes for Catholicism in most of the West is incapable of attracting young people. They’re bored to tears with it. It means nothing to them. It’s a fundamental failure of “modern” Catholicism.

    But does the Archbishop recognize this? Nooooo. Of course not. The problem isn’t that the Church has reformed; it’s that she hasn’t reformed far enough! More dialogue! More new language! More reaching out!

    “It’s very clear that if this referendum is an affirmation of the views of young people, then the church has a huge task in front of it to find the language to be able to talk to and to get its message across to young people, not just on this issue, but in general.”

    Somebody tell the Archbishop that the “language” needed to address this issue does not need to be “found.” It has always been here in the Church’s traditional moral theology, which has always taught that homosexual acts are acts of grave depravity and that even the homosexual tendency is intrinsically disordered.

    Yet, for Archbishop Martin, the problem is not the immorality of homosexual acts but rather hand-wringing concerns that the Catholic Church is becoming a “safe space for the like-minded.” He dislikes the clear moral teaching proposed by the Catholic Tradition. Instead he prefers to lounge about in Satan’s favorite area, the grayscale:

    “We need to find…a new language which is fundamentally ours, that speaks to, is understood and becomes appreciated by others. We tend to think in black and white but most of us live in the area of grey, and if the church has a harsh teaching, it seems to be condemning those who are not in line with it. But all of us live in the grey area. All of us fail. All of us are intolerant. All of us make mistakes. All of us sin and all of us pick ourselves up again with the help of that institution which should be there to do that.”

    Gray area indeed. This sounds like the realm of the lukewarm, and we know what Christ said about that. Is it not obvious that this is the voice of Satan speaking through this man?

    He wraps up his interview with this gem:

    “The church’s teaching, if it isn’t expressed in terms of love – then it’s got it wrong.”

    Of course, truth must always be spoken in love. The problem with these days however is that the truth isn’t spoken at all. The Archbishop made the most equivocating, minimal resistance to the homosexual marriage referendum; and then, when it unsurprisingly passed, blamed the Church for “getting it wrong” and “drifting away” from the young and now calls for “a new language” to rectify the problem he helped create.

    When vd, t, Susan, and Mermaid can articulate such candor, we’ll know climate change has reached the gates of hell.

    Like

  23. Olts=hotel California.

    You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.

    Case in point , Katniss can’t stop thinking about us.

    Hi KW, we know you are reading.

    A word to the wise: MW, TVD, and Suzie, buckle up. We’re in your heads. Just like TVD is still trolling out here, we expect to only hear more from you know that you found us.

    Kenneth Winsmann May 24, 2015 at 8:13 AM
    PS,

    If you ever go visit Daryls blog at old life you can read as protestants pound and pound and pound away at the “nothing to see here, everything is fine, Vatican 2 is great” attitude so many RCs exhibit. Daryl is wrong for thinking that these are good reasons to not join the Church, but he is correct in pointing out that all is certainly NOT business as usual.

    N
    E
    X
    T
    .

    Like

  24. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 24, 2015 at 8:23 am | Permalink
    Boniface weighs in on the numbers in Ireland’s referendum:

    Yes, a disappointment to all Catholics, especially those who love the Catholic heritage of Ireland. Yet it is hard to tell what is more disappointing, the referendum results, or the lame excuses offered by the Irish Church’s prelates. Rorate Caeli has documented how the bishops of Dublin and Derry offered the most mediocre, ambiguous, limp-wristed resistance to the vote, basically telling Irish Catholics that it was better to vote ‘Yes’ than to vote ‘No’ for the “wrong reasons.”

    After the vote, Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin placed the blame squarely on the Church, conveniently omitting any mention of the degenerate morals of his flock.

    “I think really that the church needs to do a reality check, a reality check right across the board, to look at the things it’s doing well, to look at the areas where we really have to start and say, ‘Look, have we drifted away completely from young people?’ ”

    This reveals immediately the error in his thinking. If a reality check is needed, it is not because the Church has “drifted away” from young people – indeed, the Church doesn’t drift away from people, people drift away from the Church – rather, the reality check needed is that this wishy-washy affirming dialogue centered nonsense that passes for Catholicism in most of the West is incapable of attracting young people. They’re bored to tears with it. It means nothing to them. It’s a fundamental failure of “modern” Catholicism.

    But does the Archbishop recognize this? Nooooo. Of course not. The problem isn’t that the Church has reformed; it’s that she hasn’t reformed far enough! More dialogue! More new language! More reaching out!

    “It’s very clear that if this referendum is an affirmation of the views of young people, then the church has a huge task in front of it to find the language to be able to talk to and to get its message across to young people, not just on this issue, but in general.”

    Somebody tell the Archbishop that the “language” needed to address this issue does not need to be “found.” It has always been here in the Church’s traditional moral theology, which has always taught that homosexual acts are acts of grave depravity and that even the homosexual tendency is intrinsically disordered.

    Yet, for Archbishop Martin, the problem is not the immorality of homosexual acts but rather hand-wringing concerns that the Catholic Church is becoming a “safe space for the like-minded.” He dislikes the clear moral teaching proposed by the Catholic Tradition. Instead he prefers to lounge about in Satan’s favorite area, the grayscale:

    “We need to find…a new language which is fundamentally ours, that speaks to, is understood and becomes appreciated by others. We tend to think in black and white but most of us live in the area of grey, and if the church has a harsh teaching, it seems to be condemning those who are not in line with it. But all of us live in the grey area. All of us fail. All of us are intolerant. All of us make mistakes. All of us sin and all of us pick ourselves up again with the help of that institution which should be there to do that.”

    Gray area indeed. This sounds like the realm of the lukewarm, and we know what Christ said about that. Is it not obvious that this is the voice of Satan speaking through this man?

    He wraps up his interview with this gem:

    “The church’s teaching, if it isn’t expressed in terms of love – then it’s got it wrong.”

    Of course, truth must always be spoken in love. The problem with these days however is that the truth isn’t spoken at all. The Archbishop made the most equivocating, minimal resistance to the homosexual marriage referendum; and then, when it unsurprisingly passed, blamed the Church for “getting it wrong” and “drifting away” from the young and now calls for “a new language” to rectify the problem he helped create.

    When vd, t, Susan, and Mermaid can articulate such candor, we’ll know climate change has reached the gates of hell.

    Do you have a point, Dr. Hart?

    Like

  25. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 24, 2015 at 3:47 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, so I’m responsible for the PCUSA? Will you own up to Ireland?

    Do you have a point, Dr. Hart?

    PCUSA is the Presbyterian Church, or what’s left of it. Ireland is a country. You’re not making sense.

    Like

  26. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 24, 2015 at 3:47 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, so I’m responsible for the PCUSA? Will you own up to Ireland?

    TVD:
    Do you have a point, Dr. Hart?

    PCUSA is the Presbyterian Church, or what’s left of it. Ireland is a country. You’re not making sense.>>>>

    I kinda’ missed the point, too. Europe is a mess because it has abandoned its faith. Too bad that many in Ireland have gone that direction as well.

    When the US goes all gay marriage on us, will it be the fault of the Presbyterians? Well, the Presbyterians are on the cutting edge of societal evolution, so they haven’t helped much, either.

    People like to sin. You can’t stop them.

    Yes, I know that groups like the OPC have tried to hold the line, and that’s good. Still, you are at this point in time a remnant of what Presbyterianism once was.

    You’re the ones with the doctrine of total depravity, and you are surprised that even people who claim to be Christians sin? In fact, I’ll bet you sin plenty, and that you are an idolator. How do I know? Your religion teaches that the human heart is an idol factory. You have a human heart. So, you must be full of idols. Your religion teaches that all human beings have the same problems you have.

    You can tell a sinner what he or she must do to be saved – like Paul and Silas did, – but you can’t save them yourself. They have to want to be saved.

    Like

  27. @Tom

    The charge leveled against protestants by many RC apologists is that the belief in Sola Scriptura has led to the proliferation of denominations. Luther, Calvin, and Henry went their own ways and people never stopped emulating them. In contrast, Catholicism rejected Sola Scriptura and maintained a monarchial ecclesiology which has kept it unified. This is a fine story, but it only holds if you read the data selectively and maintain an unjustified distinction.

    Contra the story that the RCC remains unified, she is shedding members…faster than the mainline in the US, dropped a third of her members in Latin America in a generation, and seen Ireland go from solidly Catholic to 75% voting in open opposition to a pretty fundamental RC doctrine. As the CtC’ers have told us, dissenters are not a sign of disunity because by their dissent they aren’t in communion anymore. The unity is one marked by fidelity to all that the church teaches. Thus pointing out that the overwhelming majority of RCs reject RC dogma (on birth control, co-habitation, ssm, divorce, abortion, etc…) indicates that the RC church has splintered as well.

    There is a difference of course. As protestant churches have fractured, historically it has been in chunks that led to new denominations. As catholic churches have fractured, it has been in shards where the members have either entered protestant churches (Latin America) or left the Christian faith altogether (Ireland, Italy, Spain, Western Europe, United States, etc…). Early, you claimed that since RCs leaving the church for denominations of one (spiritual but not religious), these aren’t really denominations so they don’t count. That is an unjustified distinction. Remember that the claim by CtC is that denominationalism of prots points to the superiority of the catholic paradigm. This would suggest that hemorrhaging members to unbelief is better than losing members to other Christian denominations. This is unthinkable.

    Like

  28. Your religion teaches that all human beings have the same problems you have.

    No. Peace to you in your journey.

    Question and Answer
    Are all sins equal in God’s eyes?

    Question:

    Are all sins equal in God’s eyes?

    Answer:

    This question is addressed by our Shorter Catechism. (You can find the Westminster Shorter Catechism, with Scripture proofs, here.)

    Q. 83: Are all transgression of the law equally heinous?
    A. 83: Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

    That is, there are some sins which are worse, in and of themselves, and others which are made worse by who is committing them, or the circumstances under which they are committed. In Ezekiel 8, we read of increasingly greater abominations, sins which are worse than those which came before. In Matthew 11:20-24, Jesus says cities of Israel will be judged more harshly than heathen cities of old because they ignored his teaching. We also read in John 19:11, “Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” Judas the betrayer bore greater guilt than the soldiers who arrested Jesus.

    But then there’s this:

    Q. 84: What doth every sin deserve?
    A. 84: Every sin deserveth God’s wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come.
    “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” (Jas. 2:10) Even the most mild and slight of sins condemns us to eternal death in hell.

    Q. 85: What doth God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us for sin?
    A. 85: To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption.
    Q. 86: What is faith in Jesus Christ?
    A. 86: Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.
    Q. 87: What is repentance unto life?
    A. 87: Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavour after, new obedience.

    Thank God for the cross of Christ! As the Spirit has granted us the grace of faith and repentance, we can turn from our sins, however heinous in the eyes of God, and be forgiven them because Jesus Christ offered himself as a sacrifice in our place. Whatever your own sins may be, I pray this faith is also yours.

    Next question please.

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  29. The Ireland turn is simply amazing. I can barely believe it. The American RC is now starting to get an influx of African priests. It used to be every time there was a change in a parish priest it was another Irishman fresh off the boat. But my parents parish just got a Congolese priest. You just never saw this before and we’re in Hispanic RC country, the vocations there have been drying up for 40 years. Ireland, Poland, Spain and Mexico were the clerical backbone.

    Like

  30. sdb
    Posted May 25, 2015 at 7:28 am | Permalink
    @Tom

    The charge leveled against protestants by many RC apologists is that the belief in Sola Scriptura has led to the proliferation of denominations. Luther, Calvin, and Henry went their own ways and people never stopped emulating them. In contrast, Catholicism rejected Sola Scriptura and maintained a monarchial ecclesiology which has kept it unified. This is a fine story, but it only holds if you read the data selectively and maintain an unjustified distinction.

    Not at all. Sola scriptura tosses out tradition and magisterium, meaning the Bible is open for reinterpretation every day the sun comes up. An attempt at “catholicity” is made by stuff like the confessions, but as we see, there is no semblance of universality. The “Presbyterian Church” doesn’t even exist in a coherent form.

    Contra the story that the RCC remains unified

    Straw man. Nobody says that.

    she is shedding members

    She is shedding members in Europe, as is all of Christianity. Overall Catholicism is growing. Pardon my Wiki:

    Church membership in 2011 was 1.214 billion (17.5% of the world population),[1] an increase from 437 million in 1950[65] and 654 million in 1970.[66] Since 2010, the rate of increase was 1.5% with a 2.3% increase in Africa and a 0.3% increase in the Americas and Europe. 48.8% of Catholics live in the Americas, 23.5% in Europe, 16.0% in Africa, 10.9% in Asia and 0.8% in Oceania.[1] Catholics represent about half of all Christians.[67]

    Basically your attack on the Catholic Church is false, and further, even if it were true, it doesn’t justify Protestantism creating a new religion out of Christianity after 1500 years.

    Again, “Protestantism” is meaningful only as “not-Catholic,” defining itself by a few theologies Martin Luther invented [the solas, shedding the Eucharist, keeping a few traditions such as the Trinity, but otherwise it’s a theological free-for-all.

    Even if Catholicism is false, that doesn’t make “Protestantism” true. You can’t build a religion on polemics.

    …faster than the mainline in the US, dropped a third of her members in Latin America in a generation, and seen Ireland go from solidly Catholic to 75% voting in open opposition to a pretty fundamental RC doctrine. As the CtC’ers have told us, dissenters are not a sign of disunity because by their dissent they aren’t in communion anymore. The unity is one marked by fidelity to all that the church teaches. Thus pointing out that the overwhelming majority of RCs reject RC dogma (on birth control, co-habitation, ssm, divorce, abortion, etc…) indicates that the RC church has splintered as well.

    The current generation will die. The Catholic Church will keep going, as it has for 2000 years.

    There is a difference of course. As protestant churches have fractured, historically it has been in chunks that led to new denominations. As catholic churches have fractured, it has been in shards where the members have either entered protestant churches (Latin America) or left the Christian faith altogether (Ireland, Italy, Spain, Western Europe, United States, etc…). Early, you claimed that since RCs leaving the church for denominations of one (spiritual but not religious), these aren’t really denominations so they don’t count. That is an unjustified distinction. Remember that the claim by CtC is that denominationalism of prots points to the superiority of the catholic paradigm. This would suggest that hemorrhaging members to unbelief is better than losing members to other Christian denominations. This is unthinkable.

    CtC is correct: The Protestant paradigm makes “one” “catholic” church impossible.

    The Old Life argument is incoherent: It plays the numbers game on polls of popular attitudes to discredit Catholicism, but dismisses the undeniable numerical fact that despite uncounted fractures in Christianity, the Catholic Church still has half of Christians worldwide, while the other half is an unsortable mess.

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  31. How’s that for coherence? Your mess is worse than our infallible mess (even though your mess gave us political freedom which I don’t point out when I’m pointing out your mess).

    Like

  32. D. G. Hart
    Posted May 26, 2015 at 6:47 pm | Permalink
    How’s that for coherence? Your mess is worse than our infallible mess (even though your mess gave us political freedom which I don’t point out when I’m pointing out your mess).

    That’s incoherent, Butch.

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  33. Tom, you are just like every other roman catholic apologist here. Your faith appears to be built upon the ability to tear down protestant view points

    The current generation will die. The Catholic Church will keep going, as it has for 2000 years.

    and call people names.

    If you are a christian, then you aren’t acting like one.

    You certainly arent exhibiting any class, no matter what you believe. You should be ashamed of yourself. Que your personal attack on me, let’s go.

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  34. Not Jason and the Bryans but some are aware of how deep the problem is:

    when you program a system to do a horrible job of actually teaching the Faith in any real or deep sense but to do an adequate–if barely–job of stamping people’s papers and certificates and lining them up for one sacrament after another because they’ve fulfilled all the “requirements,” then this is exactly the kind of Catholic you will get. You will get a Catholic who doesn’t have much knowledge of what the Church teaches on anything, who can’t explain basic concepts or teachings of Catholicism, whose only grasp of Church history comes from Internet atheists, whose relationship with Jesus is based on a sort of warm, fuzzy feeling that Jesus became Man in order to approve of everything we personally want to do in our lives, who has little or no idea of sin and repentance, who thinks the Precepts of the Church is another name for the Church Fathers–but who can produce, in tidy folders, every certificate from every recorded sacrament, and who thinks those bits of paper are the “important” thing about being Catholic, a kind of “Catholic transcript,” if you will, that is all God will need when they arrive at the Pearly Gates.

    We can’t fix this overnight. We can’t fix it by our usual liturgical squabbles or devotional sniping. We can’t fix it by leaving it up to the Bishops, but we can’t fix it without their help, either. If I told you I knew exactly what to do and how to do it I’d be lying; I don’t know. This is the first time I think I’ve understood the full magnitude of the problem. But I also know we’d better think of something, and soon.

    But Jimmy thinks it’s just a matter of interpreting Pope Francis.

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  35. Tom
    the magisterial reformation did not toss tradition and magisterium, it reformed them and required that they be subservient to scripture.

    The purported red herring is explicitly claimed by ctc

    Your wiki numbers are not reliable. RCs count by baptism. Pew polls by adherence and finds about a third of South/latin americans are no longer rc (down from ~90%in 1970). The point is not and never has been therefore prots are right. My point is that RCs faithful to their magisterium do not do better at stopping loss now than prots faithful to theirs. Thus the causal factor is not ecclesiology or theory of authority. It is a narrow point responding to the claim of the superiority of the RCC paradigm. It is not an apologetic for protestism. Maybe some day I will get a blog anddo that, but for now I am content to respond in comments here.

    The incoherence you impute to the oldlife argument is due to the fact you continue to insist our goal is to discredit RCism. that is not the goal here. It is merely to respond to triumphalist claims of ctc. As i have noted numerous times i have much respect for rcc even if i find their claims ultimately unconvincing.

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  36. Such a big catechism, so little education. Or, how bishops fall short:

    How is it that the Irish, like others who have left the Catholic Church, have not, in large numbers, become atheists – which is to say outright non-believers – but in their spirituality and religiosity have turned to something other than classic Christianity? And where did many get the idea that they’re Christian, and even that their “openness” and “tolerance” are more Christian than Catholicism? (Look carefully at all those faces in the photos.)

    Here’s part of an answer. Over the past few years, I’ve been tangentially involved through the Catholic Distance University (an orthodox, online institution) with setting up a formation program for catechists in Ireland. Nota bene, this is not an effort to teach the Irish directly, but to form teachers who would have to convey the faith to them.

    Why was such a program necessary – and why is it that it took an American woman, living in Ireland, to come up with the idea and promote it to various dioceses? Simply put, in the past few decades there was no longer anything reliably Catholic in education programs on the Emerald Isle. It was easier to bring something from outside, from the fabled shores of America.

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  37. Back in the day, dissent could get you in trouble:

    Galileo was put under house arrest for the rest of his life after he continued to publish work showing the Earth orbiting the sun, despite warnings from the pope and the Inquisition. But it was more than a theological issue, said Heilbron and University of Wisconsin science historian Ron Numbers.

    It was partially a personality conflict between Galileo and Pope Urban VIII, former friends. The pontiff felt betrayed personally by the astronomer because Galileo had promised to include in a postscript the pope’s philosophy that contradicted Galileo’s work, Heilbron said. Galileo didn’t. And it was also about geopolitics, because the Church was trying to fight back against the Protestant Reformation and felt the need to show that it would not permit dissent, he said.

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  38. Can Laudato Si fix this?

    A March 6 Commonweal essay by CARA’s Mary Gautier reports that since 2000, just 15 years ago, the number of parishes nationally has declined 7.1% to 17,800 while the number of Catholics has risen 17% to 66.6 million. There are today fewer than 26,265 diocesan priests in the US, of whom only 17,900 are in “active ministry.” That means on average 1.006 priests per parish serving 3,741 people per parish and 3,720 people per diocesan priest. The other 8,365 of today’s diocesan priests are formally retired. Happily many of them continue to serve in some way, but it’s about to get much worse: “half of all priests currently in active ministry also expect to retire by 2019” according to an NCR front page story, using CARA statistics. Half in the next four years! That’s crippling.

    Gautier reports that the decline in the number of priests has been in process since the late 1960s, but the problem is becoming ever more severe. “Only about a third of the number needed to replace priests who are retiring, dying, or leaving” each year are being ordained. “More priests die each year than are ordained.” That means we face a 67% decline in priests available in the coming decades. Meanwhile, the number of Catholics keeps growing.

    Can Bryan and the Jasons?

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  39. Their answer is going to be that the number of deacons has increased. They can be married and serve part time.

    Our model is not that different. Covenant Reformed in Pella had 1 minister (Edouard, now Barnes) for 500 people (roughly), plus 15 or so lay elders. Is a pastor getting to know 500 any easier than 3000? Even in a URCNA of 60 we didn’t hang with the pastor that much. Likewise in an evangelical megachurch. How many home visits are Keller & Osteen doing?

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  40. Humans are always going to face constraints in ministry because they are finite (and sinful). Hopefully word & sacrament are not.

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  41. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 8:20 am | Permalink
    Can Laudato Si fix this?

    Can you bake a cake with a monkey wrench? You’re even more incoherent than usual, Darryl.

    D. G. Hart
    Posted May 31, 2015 at 7:51 am | Permalink
    Back in the day, dissent could get you in trouble:

    Galileo was put under house arrest for the rest of his life after he continued to publish work showing the Earth orbiting the sun, despite warnings from the pope and the Inquisition.

    And this differs from your own church’s trial of Dr. Terry Gray over evolution how? You’re really wack today, man.

    Ibid.:

    The Catholic Church “has got an uneven and not always congenial relationship with science,” said science historian John Heilbron, who wrote a biography of Galileo. But after ticking off some of the advances in science that the church sponsored, the retired University of California-Berkeley professor emeritus added, “probably on balance, the Catholic Church’s exchange with what we call science is pretty good.”

    The Catholic Church teaches that science and faith are not contradictory and even work well together. After lukewarm opposition to the theory of evolution in the late 19th century, the church has embraced that field of science that other faiths do not. There are remaining clashes about the ethics of scientific and medical practices — such as abortion and using stems cells from embryos — but that’s more about morality than reality of science.

    “The big bang, which nowadays is posited as the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine act of creating, but rather requires it,” Pope Francis said last October, echoing comments made by his predecessors. “The evolution of nature does not contrast with the notion of creation, as evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve.”

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  42. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 5:29 pm | Permalink
    #ithoughtiwasbutch

    Only when you insult me with “VD.”

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  43. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 9:24 pm | Permalink
    vd, c doesn’t object. I guess that’s what happens when you go to church.

    Or when you don’t use your real name.

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  44. Galileo was a lousy scientist. A scientist has professional ethics and doesn’t claim to have proven what he hasn’t, then ridicule those who won’t accept his unproven theory. He:
    -Was a demagogue, breaker of oaths, and coward (denied his own theories during the trial, to the annoyance of his high-ranking defenders);
    -Aggressively advanced a large number of theories which were dead wrong (rather than tentatively suggesting them), and recognized as such at the time by numerous intelligent contemporaries (e.g., by Tycho Brahe);
    -Was a third-rate astronomer (fought intractably for circular orbits against Kepler’s clear demonstration of spherical orbits);
    -Did not care that his unproven theories raised ridicule on Scripture;
    -Experienced significant retinal damage from staring at the sun through a telescope, and then ridiculed those who wouldn’t do the same (and was rewarded with blindness in his old age);
    -Did not either invent or prove heliocentrism, and indeed failed to resolve the same fundamental issues which kept the theory from being decisive when it was advanced by Copernicus (who humbly declined to popularize it as insufficiently proven, despite the papal-bull-in-a-china-shop Pope Paul III’s permission for Copernicus to dedicate the heliocentric work to him as a way to indicate his support of such studies).

    On the positive side. He:
    -Prayed the psalms and read scripture every day periodically throughout the day (the divine office);
    -Was a handy telescope maker (i.e., a gifted tinkerer or innovator);
    -Was possessed of basic skills of observation- noticing that Jupiter has satellites, the Moon mountains, and Venus phases (things anyone with a decent telescope can see);
    -Made valuable contributions to mechanics;
    -Benefited over the course of years from close correspondence with the best scientists of the day (Jesuits);
    -During the course of the trial, ‘against all precedent, he was housed with a personal valet in a luxurious apartment overlooking the Vatican gardens;’
    -Had a retirement better than any of us are likely to – Retiring half-blind at age 70 post-trial to his villa in the suburbs of Florence (which actually has a nickname – Villa Il Gioiello, “The Jewel”) to enjoy rich food, wine, conversation, the company of friends, distinguished visitors (the Medicis, John Milton), with servants at hand – which was fortunate since he was completely blind just a few years later (“house arrest”);
    -Finally had time to focus on additional scientific work again after years as a demagogue in his retirement at “the Jewel Villa of Florence,” and was indeed encouraged by the Pope to do so – unfortunately, he spent much of this time sniping at and parodying those who had benefited him.

    —Galileo flagrantly denied a “literal” reading of scripture
    -Why was he condemned? The findings of the (dare its name be uttered) Roman Inquisition were: ‘The idea that the Sun is stationary is “foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture.”‘

    “[Galileo’s] opponents pointed to Bible passages with statements like, “And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed . . .” (Josh. 10:13). This is not an isolated occurrence. Psalms 93 and 104 and Ecclesiastes 1:5 also speak of celestial motion and terrestrial stability. A literalistic reading of these passages would have to be abandoned if the heliocentric theory were adopted.”

    I have heard it said (and it may resonate with your own middle or high school intuitions) that you must adopt a point of reference when measuring or calculating motion, and that this point can be the sun, or the earth, or some hypothetical central ‘neutral gravity’ point in the universe. It doesn’t matter what point you choose as long as you consistently adjust for the perspective you have chosen. Therefore, astronomy and particle physics work fine if the Earth is adopted as the reference point, i.e., center of the universe. I don’t know Sungenis’s work, but have heard he considers it important for Christians to look at the world in this manner, as scripture seems to indicate we should.

    —Quotes from Galileo –
    -‘The earth’s regular motion sloshes around the water in the oceans and explains the tides.’ (Is that how the tides work?);
    -“Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so” (rationalist);
    -“Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe” (so if it isn’t mathematically demonstrable, it isn’t God’s work? or perhaps if we think we understand something of God’s work but it doesn’t involve mathematical analysis, we’re incorrect?);
    -“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” (poetic? or anticipating the still-to-be-proven unity of the strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force, electromagnetism, and gravity? Or maybe in his pendulum experiments he was actually proving string theory?).

    Ironic humor in preaching at its best, ascribed to a contemporary Dominican priest: “It is said, though it is not verifiable, that Caccini also used the passage from Acts 1:11, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?”.

    The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy notes:
    “…It seems that each year we learn more about what actually happened. There is also controversy over the legitimacy of the charges against Galileo, both in terms of their content and judicial procedure. The summary judgment about this latter point is that the Church most probably acted within its authority and on ‘good’ grounds.” Strong words from a notoriously atheist profession (academic philosophy).

    The ‘verdict of history’ is not static when it has been built on falsehood.

    http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/common-misconceptions/the-galileo-affair.html

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  45. Kevin: Was a third-rate astronomer (fought intractably for circular orbits against Kepler’s clear demonstration of spherical orbits);

    Kepler demonstrated elliptical orbits. The story is that he used beer barrels for demonstration.

    One word in defense of Gallileo. He demonstrated very cleverly that gravity’s effect on position is quadratic (in Newtonian terms, the acceleration due to gravity is constant) as follows.

    He created a wooden plank with “clickers” – strips that made a sound when a ball rolled over them.
    He then tilted the board and rolled a ball down it so that it successively clicked as it went down. So far, nothing exciting. If the clickers were evenly spaced, he would hear the clicks coming faster and faster as the ball rolled down.

    But Galileo had a background in music from his father, who played and composed. He used his training to adjust the position of the clickers so that the clicks kept a constant tempo on the way down. Naturally, this required spacing the lower clickers further apart.

    Galileo discovered that the clicker spacing followed a quadratic law.

    He likewise showed that period of a pendulum is a function of length only, and not of weight or initial position.

    So without disputing anything you’ve written, Kevin, I do give G some props for being a legitimate early physicist.

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  46. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 21, 2015 at 10:18 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, that’s okay. He roots for the Yankees.

    So saith the Camden Rivershark. Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven. 😉

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  47. Jeff – Thanks for the correction. I hate to admit it, but it took me a minute to recall the difference between a sphere and an ellipse.

    Your very memorable description of Galileo’s experiment has increased my knowledge of physics immeasurably (which alas isn’t saying much, but I’ll remember how to do the experiment if not what it signifies). Galileo was indeed a bright one (& his father’s theoretical / aesthetic work should be more influential – lots of good talk about the importance of getting the words of a piece of music across, without what some might call ‘vain repetition’).

    In my college physics class (Physics-for-Maintaining-The-Facade-Our-Students-Are-Well-Rounded) the professor had a very mixed opinion on Galileo. Thought Maxwell was a great genius.

    Basics physics question (In case you’re qualified to advise):
    -Not in doubt: When there is no resistance (e.g., air), a feather and a brick dropped at the same time land at the same time – but with resistance, this is no longer the case.
    -Question: So in the ‘real world’, will a brick and an identically sized book land at precisely the same time if dropped off a tallish building? A volleyball and a marble? Let’s assume a windless day, and that they don’t hit birds on the way down. I think the textbook answer is yes (when ‘everything irrelevant’ is excluded), but are there any additional factors which realistically can’t be excluded? Is surface area the only relevant distinction between these objects, density irrelevant?

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  48. Kevin in Newark
    Posted June 22, 2015 at 2:38 am | Permalink
    TVD –

    And Georges Lemaître, author of the Big Bang theory, was a Belgian priest.

    The ancients conceived of an eternal universe; the Bible is turning out to be right.

    Sort of when my rabbinical Judaism scholar-blogbrother found..well read for yrself. Click the links, follow the trail of breadcrumbs. When it comes banging on the Torah, modern Christians should proceed with care if not humility.

    http://reformclub.blogspot.com/2008/02/homnick-on-darwin-and-genesis.html

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  49. Jeff Cagle, our Renaissance Man — knows Greek, motives of credibility, and elliptical orbits. The last time we saw a performance this varied was Bruce Jenner. Watch out, Jeff.

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  50. TVD – Moses’s five-part bestseller absolutely, Talmud no thanks, but I’d read the article. The link referenced in the blog post is broken; I did a search for author and title on Google, no immediately obvious results – having read it, perhaps you can find it more quickly?

    CVD – Listening now. I was thinking during the first 15 seconds that the presenter looked like a very, very calm version of Thomas Woods. He’s downright genial.

    “One encouraging thing about the fact about we live in a world in which students don’t read is that they won’t be reading the propaganda either, and so it will be easier for me to de-brainwash them… they’ll actually finally get the chance to hear the truth for a change.”

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  51. CVD, thanks a lot, now I’m going to have to watch that entire 13 part series. Woods is my favorite Romanist.

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  52. Kevin in Newark
    Posted June 22, 2015 at 9:31 pm | Permalink
    TVD – Moses’s five-part bestseller absolutely, Talmud no thanks, but I’d read the article. The link referenced in the blog post is broken; I did a search for author and title on Google, no immediately obvious results – having read it, perhaps you can find it more quickly?

    Oh phooey, the link is indeed dead. My erstwhile blogbrother Jay and I discussed his thesis on the phone–I recall his delight that although written 3000 years ago for pre-scientific minds, Genesis 2:7

    Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

    was wonderfully compatible with modern evolutionary science, that man came from the base elements. And iirc, that God “breathes” a soul into man is a rather common Judeo-Christian concept. Indeed, Thomist philosopher Ed Feser closes that metaphysical circle by maintaining that human “consciousness” is what makes a mere hominid a human being

    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2014/12/knowing-ape-from-adam.html

    and that consciousness is synonymous with a soul, for it’s what lives after man after he dies. So we could have hominid ancestors, but still there could be a literal Adam and Eve, the First Humans. “Consciousness” remains something that science can’t explain, and as much as it tries to reduce us to the sum of our synapses, something it never will explain.

    To be able to conceive of God, of something greater than can me conceived, is itself beyond mere animal or machine. If Anselm’s argument doesn’t “prove” God, it certainly proves something unique about human consciousness.

    I find it all delightful, that the millenia-old Bible could metaphysically true, and sometimes even literally true!

    [The great medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides] wrote that if Aristotle were proven right, he’d accept the Greek view that the universe was eternal, always had been and always will be. Seemed reasonable, but in the meantime, he’d hold onto an idea, the idea, of Creation as set forth in his scriptures.

    And then, 750 years later, we find evidence for a Big Bang.

    I do share your trepidation about the Talmud, but OTOH, I’m much more afraid of people thumbing through the KJV and reinventing Christianity from scratch under the guise of “the Bible alone.”

    Thx for asking, and especially for trying to click the link. That’s gratifying. Often taking the trouble of providing them is doing the unnecessary for the ungrateful so I say the hell with it. 😉

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  53. Those called may have a bumpyan even bumpier communion soon:

    1. Catholic millennials take a strong stand against discrimination.
    A large majority believe it should be illegal for Catholic institutions — such as churches, schools, hospitals, or social service agencies — to fire or refuse to hire a person who is:

    Openly gay or lesbian (71%)
    Supports abortion rights (75%)
    Uses birth control (79%)
    Undergoes artificial insemination in order to have a baby (80%)
    Is in a couple, living together but unmarried (78%)
    And 79% of Catholic millennials do not think that businesses should be able to refuse to serve LGBT individuals because of the business owner’s religious views.

    2. They don’t support the bishops’ battles against contraception.
    Regarding the bishops’ fight against contraception coverage in the Affordable Care Act, 78% of young Catholics think that health insurance companies should be required to include birth control in their insurance coverage.

    In particular, they showed disbelief over the Hobby Lobby decision. “From a legal standpoint, the Hobby Lobby decision gives corporations certain rights that are generally reserved for individuals,” said a 28-year-old male participant. “A corporation should not be able to claim freedom of religion. A corporation is a business.”

    3. They don’t want the bishops to follow Catholics into the ballot box.
    More than three-quarters (80%) do not feel they have to vote the way the bishops tell them to. “If you wanted to disagree with the bishops on something political … you should have that right,” said a 22-year-old male participating in the focus group.

    4. They embrace our diverse society — and wish the Church did the same.
    A 2014 Pew survey found that millennials are America’s most racially diverse generation. A deep respect for others’ experiences and points of view came up a number of times in the focus groups in terms of women’s rights in society and in the Church, as well as separation of church and state. According to our poll, 82% of Catholic millennials believe abortion should be legal in at least some circumstances. Seventy-five percent of Catholic millennials want women to serve an equal role as men in the Catholic Church.

    5. They affirm their Catholic identity, but think for themselves.
    The millennials in our focus groups pointed to core Catholic values like social justice, compassion, and community when they criticized the Catholic hierarchy for not living up to these same ideals. “Part of being Catholic is helping others. It shouldn’t be just picking and choosing who you want to help,” said a 25-year-old female participant.

    Sounds like vd, t is a millennial.

    Mermaid will deny and fin-slap the messenger.

    Susan will go over to Heavy for the Vintage.

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  54. D. G. Hart
    Posted July 23, 2015 at 2:14 pm | Permalink
    Those called may have a bumpyan even bumpier communion soon:

    1. Catholic millennials take a strong stand against discrimination.
    A large majority believe it should be illegal for Catholic institutions — such as churches, schools, hospitals, or social service agencies — to fire or refuse to hire a person who is:

    Openly gay or lesbian (71%)
    Supports abortion rights (75%)
    Uses birth control (79%)
    Undergoes artificial insemination in order to have a baby (80%)
    Is in a couple, living together but unmarried (78%)
    And 79% of Catholic millennials do not think that businesses should be able to refuse to serve LGBT individuals because of the business owner’s religious views.

    2. They don’t support the bishops’ battles against contraception.
    Regarding the bishops’ fight against contraception coverage in the Affordable Care Act, 78% of young Catholics think that health insurance companies should be required to include birth control in their insurance coverage.

    In particular, they showed disbelief over the Hobby Lobby decision. “From a legal standpoint, the Hobby Lobby decision gives corporations certain rights that are generally reserved for individuals,” said a 28-year-old male participant. “A corporation should not be able to claim freedom of religion. A corporation is a business.”

    3. They don’t want the bishops to follow Catholics into the ballot box.
    More than three-quarters (80%) do not feel they have to vote the way the bishops tell them to. “If you wanted to disagree with the bishops on something political … you should have that right,” said a 22-year-old male participating in the focus group.

    4. They embrace our diverse society — and wish the Church did the same.
    A 2014 Pew survey found that millennials are America’s most racially diverse generation. A deep respect for others’ experiences and points of view came up a number of times in the focus groups in terms of women’s rights in society and in the Church, as well as separation of church and state. According to our poll, 82% of Catholic millennials believe abortion should be legal in at least some circumstances. Seventy-five percent of Catholic millennials want women to serve an equal role as men in the Catholic Church.

    5. They affirm their Catholic identity, but think for themselves.
    The millennials in our focus groups pointed to core Catholic values like social justice, compassion, and community when they criticized the Catholic hierarchy for not living up to these same ideals. “Part of being Catholic is helping others. It shouldn’t be just picking and choosing who you want to help,” said a 25-year-old female participant.

    Sounds like vd, t is a millennial.

    Mermaid will deny and fin-slap the messenger.

    Susan will go over to Heavy for the Vintage.

    Yes, our children have been corrupted by the secular left’s death grip the media and our schools. Meanwhile, you smugly tilt at Sarah Palin. Moral imbecility.

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  55. So here’s what we do with “bad” Roman Catholics:

    So? What do we do with bad Catholics?

    First of all, we don’t be bad Catholics. Those of us who are in it for reals: act like it.

    Second, we catechize the hell out of the Catholics in our parishes. We liven things up; teach people what it really means to be a Catholic and get them excited about it, damn it.
    And, finally, we march on. We’re the Church Militant after all. We keep on keeping on.

    A small Church sounds good. A devout and intentional group of believers, witnessing to the faith, hope, and love that comes to those in relationship with Jesus Christ. A Catholic Church that looks like Jesus, through and through.

    And what will happen then?

    Pope Benedict says this,

    Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.

    Our small, beautiful, and holy group of Christians, our Church, will radiate a love that will begin—as if in the very beginning—to inexplicably attract our fellow man to live a life that conquers death.

    Ever consider raising questions about the bishops who don’t oversee and correct bad Roman Catholics? All that authority, all the charism, and just shrug your shoulders. Not exactly what the bishops are doing when it comes to politics.

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  56. More returns from Germany:

    Ninety percent of Germans would like to see second marriages recognized and blessed. The picture differs slightly in other countries, but 75 percent of all those who filled in the questionnaire thought that permanently excluding remarried divorcees from the Eucharist was disproportional. One deacon from Salvador, Brazil, said it was completely incomprehensible that murderers could receive communion again after going to confession, but remarried divorcees remained excluded for life. Many German Catholics consider the present practice unmerciful and want remarried divorcees to be allowed to receive the Eucharist — although “possibly only after examining each case individually.”

    The picture differs considerably in other countries, however, the report said. “Even if on the whole Catholics in these other countries tend to want remarried divorcees to be allowed to receive the Eucharist, the bar in these other countries is raised far higher with some saying only the ‘clearly innocent parties of a divorce’ should be allowed to receive communion again.” The big exception is Poland, where 50% said they were in favor of adhering to present church law and excluding all remarried divorcees from the Eucharist.

    While 70 percent of German Catholics would like to see homosexual partnerships recognized and blessed, “no clear picture emerges as far as allowing same-sex partners to marry in church is concerned,” the report said. “A frequent explanation given in many interviews is that according to Catholic church teaching the significance of sacramental church marriage is that it is open to having children by the man and woman concerned. Participants see this as so important that same-sex partners are per se excluded from marriage.”

    The majority of Catholics in Poland, southern Europe and Brazil, however, clearly reject recognizing and blessing same-sex partnerships and same-sex church marriages.

    Opinions on whether or not priestly celibacy should be made voluntary differed widely. While 75-85% of Catholics in the German-speaking countries — that is in Germany, Austria and Switzerland — are in favor along with the majority of Catholics in France, North America and Brazil, this is not so in southern Europe and Poland.

    Eighty-seven percent of German Catholics are in favor of introducing the diaconate for women. Assessing the situation in other countries proved impossible at the outset during the field-work stage, however. “Due to the difficulty of translating the term ‘diaconate,’ it proved impossible to draw a valid intercultural comparison” the report said.

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  57. Connecting the numbers to Vatican 2, Ross Douthat explains:

    I have made this point before, but if you treat everything that’s happened in the American Catholic Church since the 1960s as the template for what’s likely to happen here, the spread of a “come one come all” approach would seem like by far the most likely outcome if Rome officially blesses pastoral exceptions to the church’s ancient rule. That’s how things have played in almost every case where the post-Vatican II church made exceptions or loosened disciplines: The exception has tended to become an expectation, and eventually a default. That’s why, for instance, most American Catholics now receive communion in the hand (permission for which was originally granted as an “indult,” an exception), it’s why meatless Fridays are so little observed, it’s why transforming the old Catholic rule against cremation into a mere “preference” for burial ensured that Catholic cremation rates would go up and up and up.

    And there are good reasons for this pattern, Catholic reasons, besides the pressure on overburdened pastors and the modern/Western/American preference for a certain laxity in religious requirements. The Roman Catholic Church, after all, presents itself as a church universal, the undivided heart of Christendom, with the same mass and the same doctrines and the same authority the world over. For an institution that makes such sweeping claims, leaving important matters to individuals to decide, so that rulings and practices vary from parish to parish and priest to priest and parishioner to parishioner, is effectively a statement that the matters in question aren’t actually that important — because if they were a church that makes Catholicism’s claims would have to ensure a certain consistency about them, wouldn’t it?

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