Saving the World

One light show at a time.

In case you missed it, the Vatican celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (yesterday) with a light show:

A mixture of fascination, curiosity and consternation is greeting a light show to be projected onto St. Peter’s basilica tomorrow — the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the opening day of the Jubilee of Mercy.

A coalition of non-Catholic humanitarian, philanthropic and conservation groups along with the World Bank are staging the event. It will be the first time ever that images will be projected onto the 17th century basilica’s façade and Michelangelo’s cupola.

The organizers say the three hour event, called “Fiat Lux, Illuminating Our Common Home”, will tell the “visual story of the interdependency of humans and life on earth with the planet, in order to educate and inspire change around the climate crisis across generations, cultures, languages, religions and class.”

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, called the event “unique” and said the illumination show “will present images inspired of Mercy, of humanity, of the natural world, and of climate changes.”

He added that the light show, whose images have been shown on various landmarks around the world, is meant to link Pope Francis’ environment encyclical Laudato Si’ with the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) currently underway in Paris until Friday.

“It is our hope that this beautiful and contemporary work of public art will inspire citizens of the world to join together in a moment of compassion and to activate a global movement to protect humankind, our common home and precious endangered species,” said Carole Tomko, vice president of Vulcan, Inc., one of the groups sponsoring the event and which promotes initiatives to “change and improve the way people live, learn, do business and experience the world.”

Some conservative Roman Catholics have taken a page from Protestant iconoclasm and regard such a use of holy buildings as sacrilege:

The sense that St. Peter’s Basilica has been profaned is strong. The symbolic significance of the event is a Church immersed in darkness, but illuminated by the world, by the new climatist-religion-ideology (all financed by the World Bank Group which will now have to explain to us what politics compatible with the teaching of the Church it is promoting..)

The holy place par excellence, the heart of Christianity transformed on a maxi-screen for the show of the New World Power Ideology …and the Nativity Crib was left in darkness.

It does make you wonder what salvation means. If improving the environment can save the world, then what happened to the cross of Christ and the sacraments? Could it be that hell is empty (and will remain so) and so the church can now devote itself to more humanitarian and less heavenly causes? Did Balthasar really win at Vatican 2 as Commonweal suggests? Before Vatican 2, Rome was pretty clear where unbelievers went at death:

Any sin, for Augustine, is an unspeakable offense against God; particularly offensive was the sin of the first man who was singularly graced with an intimate “enjoyment of God” and who stood as the progenitor of the human race. His impiety in abandoning God was so great that it “merited eternal evil” in consequence of which “the whole of mankind is a ‘condemned mass’ [massa damnata]; for he who committed the first sin was punished, and along with him all the stock which had its roots in him.” According to Augustine, no one has the right to criticize that retribution as unjust, and the fact that some are released from it through the free bounty of God is ground for heartfelt thanksgiving.

The same severe doctrine of hell has been affirmed time and again in official church documents. The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 declared that, at the end of time, “all will receive according to their deeds, good or evil, the former to their everlasting glory with Christ, the latter to perpetual punishment with the devil.” In his constitution of 1336, Benedictus Deus, Benedict XII solemnly defined that “the souls of those who die in actual mortal sin go down immediately after death into hell and suffer the pain of hell.” The Council of Florence in 1442 maintained that “not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics and schismatics” are precluded from salvation for they “will enter into eternal fire” unless they embrace the Catholic Church before their death. Similar declarations on hell and salvation were issued by the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century. Vatican I reinforced them in the nineteenth century. Vatican II did not revisit the solemn definitions of hell by earlier councils, but it did at least affirm that, yes, atheists can be saved.

But that changed when Balthasar and Kung met Barth:

Like Barth and Balthasar, Hans Küng too comes close to proposing universal salvation. And like them, he enlists the virtue of hope to support the idea. In his book Eternal Life, Küng’s critical discussion of hell begins with Jesus’s own words about hell, which, according to Küng, were figurative rather than literal: terms in the New Testament pertaining to final judgment—words like “hell,” “eternal,” ‘fire”—are to be taken as metaphors warning sinners of the delicate edge they’re dancing on. They are “meant to bring vividly before us here and now the absolute seriousness of God’s claim and the urgency of conversion in the present life,” Küng writes. No one should dismiss his or her responsibility to meet the demands of conversion, but how each of us meets them “remains a matter for God as merciful judge” in his “all-embracing final act of grace.” Like Balthasar, Küng maintains that judgment of the individual is in God’s hands; it would be “presumptuous for a person to seek to anticipate the judgement of this absolutely final authority. Neither in the one way nor in the other can we tie God’s hands or dispose of him. There is nothing to be known here, but everything to be hoped.”

Barth, Balthasar, and Küng all agonize over the question of universal salvation, which they treat not just as a theological puzzle but as a genuine mystery. Because we cannot answer the question with absolute certainty, it finally has to be left—in humility and hope—to the judgment of a loving God. This is as much of an affirmation as they dare to make.

What these three theologians show us, however, is that hope is a powerful virtue and not just a matter of wishful thinking. Hope always has its reasons, even earthly hopes. In the everyday sense of the word, a doctor’s skill is reason for his patient to hope for a cure, a worker’s good job performance a reason for her to hope for a promotion—though such hopes, subject to human limitations, can be disappointed. In the economy of salvation, however, the reason for hope is nothing less than the divine will—profoundly declared in the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus: “For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17). The clarity of this scriptural passage on God’s will reassures not only Christians but all mankind that our hope for salvation will be fulfilled—without exceptions.

But if U.S. parochial schools can reconsider their mission, maybe the Vatican can find it’s pre-Vatican 2 self:

“We don’t open Catholic schools to get kids into college,” Guernsey said. “We open Catholic schools to get them into heaven.”

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33 thoughts on “Saving the World

  1. As long as it’s not a conspiracy:

    I haven’t seen the show, but from what I’ve read it seems to me that the worst thing about it is that it was a missed opportunity. By all means let’s have a cool light show at St Peter’s, but let’s have it be Catholic for goodness sake!

    If you can shrug like this, you can shrug Protestant goofiness.

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  2. Darryl, We have a church movie night scheduled for January and was wondering if you could make any recommendations. Only films with pristine content please. Just kidding. But seriously, if you have any suggestions that would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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  3. Save the of Jews: check.

    The Church is therefore obliged to view evangelisation to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views. In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews. While there is a principled rejection of an institutional Jewish mission, Christians are nonetheless called to bear witness to their faith in Jesus Christ also to Jews, although they should do so in a humble and sensitive manner, acknowledging that Jews are bearers of God’s Word, and particularly in view of the great tragedy of the Shoah

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  4. Darryl & Ken – I was thinking Pale Rider. Clint was a preacher after all. And had some good advice for the vow of poverty folks over at St. Peters: “You can’t serve God and mammon. Mammon being money.”

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  5. Shrug:

    The charges against the show range from “sacrilege” to “profanation.” This sacred space, they argue, should not have been used to show images drawn from nature even though, obviously, the same God whom we worship inside the basilica is the Creator of all the images that were displayed in the show. Nor do I recall the critics raising any objection to what is, arguably, a true profanation of the façade of St. Peter’s, the name Borghese inscribed in large letters, a tribute to Pope Paul V who oversaw the construction of the façade. (The construction of the façade itself was a different kind of profanation, an architectural one, destroying Michelangelo’s original plan and obscuring the view of the dome from the square.)

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  6. So the Vatican,

    1. Says Jews aren’t saved one way and Christians another, but
    2. Nevertheless said there should be no institutional outreach to preach Christ to the Jews, and
    3. Both Jews and Christians will be saved but how nobody knows.

    Now I appreciate the attempt to repent for anti-Semitism on Rome’s part but this would seem to be a massive undercutting of it’s own theology of the church and of the words of Christ. We Protestants are evil schismatics for not being in union with the pope but at least the Jews can be saved while formally rejecting papal authority?

    Why does the “principled means” of the Vatican often look no different than liberal Protestantism?

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  7. It isn’t easy being the one true, apostolic church and universalist at the same time. No wonder the Roman apologists have to tie, untie, and retie their rhetorical knots.

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  8. Blame it on Vatican 2:

    Fifty years ago, when the Second Vatican Council ended, the dominant theme of that historical season appeared: a distinct “cult of man”, implied in Jacques Maritain’s formula “integral humanism”. The French philosopher’s book with this title, is of 1936, but it had above all, its greatest influence when one of its most enthusiastic readers, Giovanni Battista Montini, subsequently Pope Paul VI, wanted to use it as a compass for his pontificate. On December 7th 1965, in his Mass homily, Paul VI recalled that in Vatican II the encounter was produced between “The religion of the God who became man” and the “religion (for such it is) of man who makes himself God.”

    Fifty years later, we are witnessing the passage of integral humanism to integral environmentalism, from the Chart of the rights of man to that of the rights of Nature. In the XVI century, humanism had rejected Medieval Christian Civilization in the name of anthropocentrism. The attempt to construct the City of Man on the ruins of the City of God tragically failed in the 20th century and the attempts to Christianize anthropocentrism under the name of integral humanism have come to nothing,

    The religion of man is substituted for the religion of the Earth: Anthropocentrism criticized for its “deviations” is substituted for a new eco-centered vision. The theory of Gender, which dissolves all identity and all essence, is inserted into this pantheistic and egalitarian prospective.

    This is a radically evolutionist notion, which coincides largely with Teilhard de Chardin’s. God is the “self-conscience” of the universe, which in its evolving, becomes conscience of its own evolution. The Teilhard quotation in paragraph 83 of Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato si is not casual, and philosophers like Enrico Maria Radaelli and Arnaldo Xavier da Silveira have highlighted the points in dissonance with Catholic Tradition. Further, the Fiat Lux show was presented as an “environmentalist manifesto” which wanted to translate the encyclical Laudato si in images.

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  9. For those who think accusing the church of anti-semitism is a cheap shot, consider that the magisterium also thinks this. Boniface explains:

    We Remember references John Paul II. The reference in questions is from John Paul II’s 1997 Address to the Symposium on the Roots of Anti-Judaism, in which the pope specifically says that alleged Christian indifference to the Holocaust proceeded directly from the pre-modern Christian hostility towards the Jews:

    “In fact, in the Christian world — I do not say on the part of the Church as such — erroneous and unjust interpretations of the New Testament regarding the Jewish people and their alleged culpability have circulated for too long, engendering feelings of hostility towards this people. They contributed to the lulling of consciences, so that when the wave of persecutions inspired by a pagan anti-Semitism, which in essence is equivalent to an anti-Christianity, swept across Europe, alongside Christians who did everything to save the persecuted even at the risk of their lives, the spiritual resistance of many was not what humanity rightfully expected from the disciples of Christ.”

    Among the “erroneous and unjust interpretations of the New Testament” that John Paul II references is presumably the belief that the Church has replaced the Jews as the true Israel, as well as the perennially held Christian assertion that the Old Covenant, on its own, is no longer salvific. He does not suggest this explicitly, but it is easily inferred by the fact that the pope cites Romans 11:29 (“the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable”) in the conclusion of his address, a verse consistently but erroneously invoked by those who argue that the Jews have “their own covenant” with God outside of Jesus Christ.

    It is baffling how John Paul II could say these teachings were never taught “on the part of the Church as such”, since the Council of Florence Cantate Domino specifically and unambiguously taught the very thing John Paul II seems to consider “erroneous and unjust”:

    “[The Holy Roman Church] firmly believes, professes and teaches that the legal prescriptions of the Old Testament or the Mosaic law, which are divided into ceremonies, holy sacrifices and sacraments, because they were instituted to signify something in the future, although they were adequate for the divine cult of that age, once our Lord Jesus Christ who was signified by them had come, came to an end and the sacraments of the new Testament had their beginning. Whoever, after the Passion, places his hope in the legal prescriptions and submits himself to them as necessary for salvation and as if faith in Christ without them could not save, sins mortally. It does not deny that from Christ’s passion until the promulgation of the Gospel they could have been retained, provided they were in no way believed to be necessary for salvation. But it asserts that after the promulgation of the gospel they cannot be observed without loss of eternal salvation.”

    Thus, John Paul II seemed to think that the traditional ecclesiology of the Church vis-a-vis the Jews was in fact responsible for a deadening of feeling and an indifference among Christians that helped facilitate the Holocaust.

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  10. And now Pope Jimmy makes sense of it all:

    No, and one would not expect it to. The Church acknowledges that salvation is possible for people who, through no fault of their own, do not embrace the Christian faith in this life. Thus Vatican II stated:

    Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience (Lumen Gentium 16).

    In such cases, because Christ is the Savior of all men, it is still through Jesus that these people are saved. They simply do not realize that in this life.
    Consequently, it is not a surprise when the new document states:

    From the Christian confession that there can be only one path to salvation, however, it does not in any way follow that the Jews are excluded from God’s salvation because they do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah of Israel and the Son of God (GCGI 36).

    What is a bit surprising is that, instead of pointing to the Church’s established teaching that people who do not embrace the Christian faith through no fault of their own can be saved, the document points to elements in St. Paul’s thought in an attempt to show that he would have recognized the possibility of salvation for non-Christian Jews.

    This part of the document is not repeating existing Church teaching, and so it is open to question. Personally, I need to think through the argument they make to see how well it works.
    It also says:

    That the Jews are participants in God’s salvation is theologically unquestionable, but how that can be possible without confessing Christ explicitly, is and remains an unfathomable divine mystery.

    The first part of that is true, but I am not sure what they mean by reference to it being an unfathomable mystery, unless they have in mind the mysterious way in which God applies his grace extra-sacramentally to all non-Christians who are saved.

    Sounds to me like he still has some ‘splaining ahead.

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  11. What is a bit surprising is that, instead of pointing to the Church’s established teaching that people who do not embrace the Christian faith through no fault of their own can be saved, the document points to elements in St. Paul’s thought in an attempt to show that he would have recognized the possibility of salvation for non-Christian Jews.

    Rome, twisting the Bible to make it say what it plainly doesn’t say? Shocking!

    This idea that Paul thought non-Christian Jews could be saved apart from profession of faith makes a mockery of his life and his final martyrdom.

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  12. Funny, Rome used to irreformably teach that

    Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly….

    Now, evidently, the church irreformably teaches that,

    the Church’s established teaching that people who do not embrace the Christian faith through no fault of their own can be saved…

    Curious…

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  13. Is evangelizing Jews a micro or macroaggression?

    The latest Vatican document appears to be another step toward easing those tensions, and it comes just a week after a group of Orthodox rabbis issued a groundbreaking statement calling Christianity part of a divine plan in which God would have Jews and Christians work together to redeem the world.

    Similarly, the new Vatican document, which follows decades of mainly positive relations between the two religions, referred to the continued importance of “joint engagement throughout the world for justice, peace, conservation of creation, and reconciliation.”

    But the Catholic statement also honed in on the situation of Christians in Israel as a “litmus test” for how religious minorities are treated: “In Jewish-Christian dialogue the situation of Christian communities in the state of Israel is of great relevance, since there — as nowhere else in the world — a Christian minority faces a Jewish majority.

    “Peace in the Holy Land—lacking and constantly prayed for—plays a major role in dialogue between Jews and Christian,” it said.

    Vatican-Israeli ties were strained earlier this year when the Holy See signed a historic agreement recognizing the state of Palestine. “This hasty step damages the prospects for advancing a peace agreement, and harms the international effort to convince the PA (Palestinian Authority) to return to direct negotiations with Israel,” Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said at the time.

    While the new document touched upon Christian minorities, it also called on Jews and Catholics to jointly tackle anti-Semitism.

    “History teaches us where even the slightest perceptible forms of anti-Semitism can lead: the human tragedy of the Shoah in which two-thirds of European Jewry were annihilated,” the document said, adding: “Pope Francis has repeatedly stressed that a Christian can never be an anti-Semite, especially because of the Jewish roots of Christianity.”

    Speaking at the Vatican presentation of the document, Rabbi David Rosen, the American Jewish Committee’s international director of interreligious affairs, praised the text for advancing the recommendations made by Nostra Aetate.

    “To appreciate and respect Jewish self-understanding; but also a deepening recognition of the place of Torah in the life of the Jewish people; and … an acknowledgment of the integrity of Jewish reading of the Bible that is different from the Christian one,” he said.

    The document describes the Torah as “the instruction for a successful life in right relationship with God.”

    Rosen, however, criticized the authors of the document for failing to “appreciate the centrality that the land of Israel plays in the historic and contemporary religious life of the Jewish people.”

    Catholic-Jewish relations are expected to be further strengthened early next year, when Francis visits Rome’s Great Synagogue on January 17.

    He will be the third pontiff to visit the site, after John Paul II and Benedict XVI, in what has been described by the Vatican as a personal encounter between the pontiff and the Jewish community.

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  14. Publius
    Posted December 10, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink
    Darryl & Ken – I was thinking Pale Rider. Clint was a preacher after all. And had some good advice for the vow of poverty folks over at St. Peters: “You can’t serve God and mammon. Mammon being money.”

    Here, smart guy. Learn something.

    First:
    Contrary to reports, the Vatican is not rich. It’s annual budget is less than $300 million (Harvard’s annual budget is $3.7 billion). It has an endowment of about $1 billion (Harvard has a whopping $30.7 billion endowment).

    Second:
    Treaty obligations prevent the Vatican from selling any artwork. Article 18 of the 1929 Lateran Concordat with Italy which created the modern Vatican State says:

    “The artistic and scientific treasures existing within the Vatican City and the Lateran Palace shall remain open to scholars and visitors, although the Holy See shall be free to regulate the admission of the public thereto”

    If it sold its property or artwork (each valued at 1 Euro), it would lose its sovereignty. Italy would be within its rights to take it all back.

    Third:

    But the above two reasons are silly secular reasons. The real reason the Catholic Church cannot sell the artwork is simple: God is Truth, Goodness and Beauty.

    The artwork is a necessary tool to evangelize people to understand God. Asking the Catholic Church to sell the artwork is very much like asking the Catholic Church to burn every copy of Scripture in the world and never mention Jesus Christ again. The request substantially asks the Church to hand over its witness to God to the highest bidder. It requests that the Church henceforth refuse to effectively witness to God.

    It cannot be done.

    Any person who even entertains the idea of selling of Vatican art, by the very fact that he proposes it, demonstrates that he knows absolutely nothing about the Gospel or the Catholic Faith.

    According to even secular sources like The Economist, the Catholic Church is the single largest charitable organization in the world. We are charitable because we know Christ. If we lost the art, it would be harder to know Him, harder to remember our purpose. In charity, the Church must keep her image of God always before Her, and that image is BEAUTY.

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  15. D. G. Hart
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 8:16 pm | Permalink
    vd,t, but you haven’t seen a poor church until you’ve looked at the OPC’s books. Can’t boast about 1.2 billion and not have it boomerang. Duck!

    Sorry you are not a church just because it says so on the door. You are a provisional fragment of a fragment of a fragment of a breakaway theology, a Bible debating society. No offense, but your premise is wrong.

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  16. Saving the world but not Jews — the Vatican view:

    In this sense, Christians affirm that Jesus Christ can be considered as ‘the living Torah of God’. Torah and Christ are the Word of God, his revelation for us human beings as testimony of his boundless love. For Christians, the pre-existence of Christ as the Word and Son of the Father is a fundamental doctrine, and according to rabbinical tradition the Torah and the name of the Messiah exist already before creation (cf. Genesis Rabbah 1,1). Further, according to Jewish understanding God himself interprets the Torah in the Eschaton, while in Christian understanding everything is recapitulated in Christ in the end (cf. Eph 1:10; Col 1:20). In the gospel of Matthew Christ is seen as it were as the ‘new Moses’. Matthew 5:17-19 presents Jesus as the authoritative and authentic interpreter of the Torah (cf. Lk 24:27, 45-47). In the rabbinical literature, however, we find the identification of the Torah with Moses. Against this background, Christ as the ‘new Moses’ can be connected with the Torah. Torah and Christ are the locus of the presence of God in the world as this presence is experienced in the respective worship communities. The Hebrew dabar means word and event at the same time – and thus one may reach the conclusion that the word of the Torah may be open for the Christ event.

    A person who can read (a Lutheran) interprets:

    That is one twisted theological pretzel. I don’t think the hairs its trying to split even exist. I’m trying to sum this part up fairly, and in all honesty, the best I can come up with is: 1) God wants everyone to be saved. 2) Christ is connected to the Torah. 3) Abracadabra. 4) Believing in the Torah is basically like believing in Christ as far as salvation is concerned. It’s almost a kind of modalism where Torah and Christ are different masks that God wears when interacting with different people.

    Could you take all this in the sense that the Old Testament is all about Christ, so Christ can be found there by Jews? After all, Jesus told the other Jews of his day, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me…” The thing is, Jesus immediately continues, “…yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life,” which is what Judaism also continues to do today. Well, then what about a Jew reading the Old Testament and coming to Christ as a result? Well, that would typically be called conversion, and the Vatican document explicitly excludes that as a proper understanding God’s mission in this respect.

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  17. Convert’s remorse:

    I am 74-years-old. I converted to the Roman Catholic Church at the age of 17 in the last year of the pontificate of Pope Pius XII. I did so because I was under the conviction that I had to accept and have faith that Jesus Christ was my savior, and I believed it. And I believed that I had to be a baptized member of his Church to have a chance of salvation. So I converted and was baptized in the Catholic Church, and then I was confirmed.

    Over the years I have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to both Peters’ Pence (the pope’s own treasury about which you of course must be very familiar), and my local parish and diocese.

    During that time I attended thousands of Masses, hundreds of holy hours and novenas, said thousands of rosaries, and made hundreds of trips to the Confessional.

    Now in 2015 and 2016 I have read your words and those of your “Pontifical Commission.” You now teach that because I am a racial Jew, God’s covenant with me was never broken, and cannot be broken. You don’t qualify that teaching by specifying anything I might do that would threaten the Covenant, which you say God has with me because I am a Jew. You teach that it’s an unbreakable Covenant. You don’t even say that it depends on me being a good person. Logically speaking, if God’s Covenant with me is unbreakable, then a racial Jew such as I am can do anything he wants and God will still maintain a Covenant with me and I will go to heaven.

    Your Pontifical Commission wrote last December, “The Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews…it does not in any way follow that the Jews are excluded from God’s salvation because they do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah of Israel and the Son of God.”

    You are the Pontiff. I believe what your Commission teaches under your banner and in your name, and what you declared during your visit to the synagogue in January. As a result, I no longer see any point in getting up every Sunday morning to go to Mass, say rosaries, or attend the Rite of Reconciliation on Saturday afternoon. All of those acts are superfluous for me. Predicated on your teaching, I now know that due to my special racial superiority in God’s eyes, I don’t need any of it.

    I don’t see any reason now as to why I was baptized in 1958. There was no need for me to be baptized. I no longer see why there was a need for Jesus to come to earth either, or preach to the Jewish children of Abraham of his day. As you state, they were already saved as a result of their racial descent from the Biblical patriarchs. What would they need him for?

    In light of what you and your Pontifical Commission have taught me, it appears that the New Testament is a fraud, at least as it applies to Jews. All of those preachings and disputations to the Jews were for no purpose. Jesus had to know this, yet he persisted in causing a lot of trouble for the Jews by insisting they had to be born again, they had to believe he was their Messiah, they had to stop following their traditions of men, and that they couldn’t get to heaven unless they believed that he was the Son of God.

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  18. How to blur papal encyclicals and the Bible, the nature and grace, creation and redemption:

    We have to actually, when we’re reading it and we come to this thing from Bartholomew [sins against creation], we need to put the boots down to the floor and say none of us believes that, how are we going to do that here in this community? How am I going to get close to the oak tree? How am I going to know that? How am I going to know what the insects are doing in my community? How am I going to know the birds — there are 9,000 species of birds, 3,000 of them are on the red list, are they here in my community? Is there anything we’re doing? Add it to the theology that needs to be done and the prayers and the spirituality.

    It’s a totally exciting, totally open world into the future. And I think it’s a great time to be a Christian. I say of Laudato Si’, everyone says, well, it’s about climate change; well that’s not it, it’s 10 other things. It’s a good ecological document. It’s a good social [document], he’s really good on the impact of the destruction of the earth on the poor, he’s very good on that. But it really is an evangelical document. If someone asked me, ‘Look could you give me a book, how to be a Christian in the 21st century?’ I’d say, take this book, and you can have the Bible, as well.

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  19. Do you turn the lights off to reduce consumption or to send a message?

    Heeding the pope’s call to care for the environment, the governorate also announced the inauguration of an “ecological island,” a recycling center for the separate disposal of waste and compost.

    The cupola of St. Peter’s Basilica and Bernini’s famed colonnade will also go dark Saturday for one hour in an effort to promote climate change awareness.

    The Vatican announced it will join countries around the world in turning off non-essential lights for “Earth Hour 2016,” an event promoted by the World Wildlife Fund International. The initiative, according to the fund’s website, is meant as “a symbol of their commitment to the planet.”

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  20. perhaps you are just being ‘uncharitable’? Sure, he talks every once in a while about these not-so-bad-ideas, but, surely, mostly, almost always (?), he talks and ‘issues’ warning ‘statements’ about true ‘earth destroyers’ – unbelievers -embracers of all the worlds systems/values opposed to God- Jesus rejecters- and His judgment and destruction of them.

    And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth. Rev 11:18

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  21. Ali, you mean Pope Francis doesn’t pray with Hindus and Muslims? Have you not seen his prayer videos?

    Don’t tell me that you, a Bible thumper if there ever was one, are soft on Rome.

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  22. DG: a Bible thumper if there ever was one

    wow, didn’t figure you were one for a compliment so, thanks; but haven’t you heard the proposal : http://www.patheos.com/blogs/blackwhiteandgray/2015/04/it-is-time-to-retire-the-term-bible-thumper/

    DG: soft on Rome

    I was saying that hoping I wasn’t being facetious because you could confirm from your Catholic-airwave-scouring that indeed the message heard by the world from the pope in the media is unequivocably, overwhelmingly … Come all who are thirsty to Jesus -for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.

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  23. Ali, as usual you’re as clear as mud. Are you saying the overwhelming message of Rome is ” Come all who are thirsty to Jesus -for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved”?

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  24. Then again, Francis prayer videos are having effects:

    On May 12, the Church is also planning to stage a special ceremony in collaboration with other faiths represented in Ujjain to honor the Hindu holy men and religious sages who come to the city to participate in the festival, Vadakel said.

    Vadakel said the Church is mobilizing to help the Hindu pilgrims in the spirit of the special jubilee Year of Mercy called for by Pope Francis.

    “In this Year of Mercy, the local church in Ujjain is joining the whole Church in sharing the love of Jesus with everyone around, especially those who come seeking an experience of God,” Vadakel said.

    “These small acts of love and mercy are rendered for the Glory of God and the love of our neighbour,” he said.

    Sometimes doctrines develop and then — wait for it — they break.

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  25. DG reference quote…In this Year of Mercy,

    Checked this post to see if, by some chance, JESUS was mentioned….nope.

    ‘Give us a selfie, Papa!’: Crowds armed with camera phones – including the police – beg the Pope for a picture as he holds special audience for the Jubilee of Mercy
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3567123/Give-selfie-Papa-Crowds-armed-camera-phones-beg-Pope-picture-holds-special-audience-Jubilee-Mercy.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

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