sábado, 30 de enero de 2016

Eleven Lutherans Rediscover their Catholic Roots: what prompted these individuals to convert?

Breaking With Luther, Returning to Rome

by Wayne A. Holst

There We Stood, Here We Stand: Eleven Lutherans Rediscover their Catholic Roots by Timothy Drake First Books, 2001 

"Why become Catholic? To become more fully who I was as a Lutheran,” writes Father Richard John Neuhaus, once a Lutheran pastor, now a Catholic priest, in the foreword to this collection of conversion testimonies.

Register features correspondent Tim Drake says he decided to compile this volume because Catholic apologetics books featuring conversion stories abound — but none he knew of specifically focus on the testimonies of Lutherans — those whose “journey home” began, figuratively speaking, in Wittenberg.

Making the transition can be a lonely, difficult journey, adds Drake. He hopes this book will serve as a resource for Lutherans contemplating a shift to Rome while also aiding Catholics whose faith might be strengthened through the passages of people who take Church teachings seriously. Indeed, pastors, priests, seminarians, RCIA leaders and their students could all benefit from exposure to these sometimes painful, always fruitful narratives. Every convert has a singular story to tell.

Struggle and doubt infuse many of these testimonies, but bitterness or resentment are not to be found here. All contributors are grateful for what they received in the Lutheran communion, yet each was intuitively led to find something more. Father Neuhaus, editor in chief of the monthly journal First Things , writes: “I am immeasurably grateful for all the grace of God I knew and I shared as a Lutheran. Like them, I hope that my witness will contribute to a greater Christian unity by concentrating on the truth of Christ and his Church. Like them, by becoming a Catholic, I am more fully, and yet very differently, who I was as a Lutheran.”

What prompted these individuals to convert?

For some it was the Catholic liturgical or theological tradition; a common theme is respect for the Church's teaching on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. For others, the appeal was ecclesiology and the sacraments, or the piety and holiness of the faithful. Some wrestled with the need to be “in the right place” and longed for a greater sense of “authenticity.” Others were dispirited about Lutheran ethical decisions regarding such issues as contraception or abortion. Several women who were Lutheran pastors had to make a decision that cost them their Lutheran ordination. For many, it was an acknowledgment of the need for a strong, central system of authority, or magisterium, that influenced their choice.

This is a gentle, reverent and honest book, pointing to fullness, beauty, goodness and truth.

What does this reviewer — a former Lutheran pastor who's now a member of another Protestant body — think of this book?

I applaud the depth of spirit and sincerity of quest reflected in each testimony; however, from my vantage point, there is an unevenness of experience here.

Some of the converts have been involved with their conversion process for several decades while others converted only recently. Some ex-Lutherans come from a much more conservative background than I. My Lutheranism was never so “confessional” or “culture-bound,” so their Lutheran assurances and challenges were never mine. I could not possibly know the trials faced by the women whose stories I found particularly poignant.

Perhaps one sentence from Pastor Jim Cope (formerly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) sums up my thought as I assess this book even though I am not in his place. “My struggle,” he writes, “has been to find a way to [explain my conversion] that is gentle, reverent and kind, but at the same time honest and bearing witness to the fullness, beauty, goodness and truth which I have found in the Catholic Church.”

In the end, this is a gentle, reverent and honest book, pointing to fullness, beauty, goodness and truth.

Wayne Holst teaches religion and culture at the University of Calgary .


Amazon Review:

Nearly 500 years after Martin Luther nailed his 95-theses to the church door at Wittenberg, the Lutheran Church has split again and again. What went wrong? These thought-provoking testimonies by eleven former Lutherans reveal how far the Lutheran Church has strayed from Luther. They include moving stories from four former female pastors, three former pastors, and others. Their intensely personal stories address the differences between Lutheranism and Catholicism - differences so profound that they have led many into the Catholic Church. Whether you are Lutheran or Catholic you'll come away from this book with a new, and perhaps life-changing perspective.

Lutheran-Catholic Commemoration: commemoration, not celebration - the tone of these commemorations should be sober and appropriate rather than celebratory

After Five Centuries of Division, Catholics and Lutherans Consider Their Common Heritage 

A new joint document has been released in advance of the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation.

Download document .pdf here:

Although Martin Luther likely simply sent his Ninety-Five Theses — his harsh critique of contemporary Catholicism — to the local archbishop instead of dramatically nailing them to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, the event is commonly regarded as marking the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

A new document, “From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017,” has been released to pave the way for joint observances of Luther’s action by both Lutherans and Catholics, a development that certainly could not have been foreseen in previous centuries.

Signed by Catholic Bishop Karlheinz Diez, auxiliary bishop of Fulda, Germany, acting on behalf of the Catholic co-chairman of the International Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity, and Lutheran co-chairman Bishop Eero Huovinen, the bishop emeritus of Helsinki, Finland, “From Conflict to Communion” is the latest fruit of the dialogue between Lutheran and Catholic scholars that has been taking place since shortly after the Second Vatican Council, which put a new emphasis on ecumenism. The report was released in June.

Since the report was signed, Bishop William Kenney, auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Birmingham, England, has been appointed to lead the Catholic side of the International Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity. The commission is meeting this month in Japan to take up the matter of “baptism and growing church communion.”

“From Conflict to Communion” does not gloss over the tragic nature of the 16th-century division of Christianity. “The fact that the struggle for this truth in the 16th century led to the loss of unity in Western Christendom belongs to the dark pages of church history,” it states. “In 2017, we must confess openly that we have been guilty before Christ of damaging the unity of the church.”

The document takes note of new scholarship and presents Martin Luther as a man whose “struggle with God drove and defined his whole life. The question, ‘How can I find a gracious God?’ plagued him constantly.”

The document notes that this will be the first observance of the anniversary of the Reformation in the ecumenical age and also the first in the age of globalization. Thus, the authors of the document state, commemorations must take into consideration the concerns of Christians from all over the world.

Commemoration, Not Celebration

“From Conflict to Communion” makes it clear that the tone of these commemorations should be sober and appropriate rather than celebratory.

“You’ll note that it never uses the word 'celebrate.' That’s intentional. We can engage in repentance and give thanks in certain ways and commemorate together, but the text avoids the word 'celebrate.' And that’s intentional,” said Michael Root, a professor at The Catholic University of America, who specializes in ecumenical theology and eschatology.

Root has a compelling perspective on Catholic-Lutheran dialogue: In 2009, he was appointed a Lutheran scholar on the international commission that produced “From Conflict to Communion,” but, in 2010, he became a Catholic. He is now a Catholic scholar on the national-level dialogue conducted under the auspices of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Root hailed “From Conflict to Communion” as “an important step that shows the commitment of both the Lutheran Church and the Catholic Church at the international level to making the 500th anniversary of the Reformation an ecumenically positive event.”

Catholic-Lutheran commemorations of the Reformation would have been unthinkable in earlier times. “We can now tell the story of the Reformation in a way both sides will recognize as accurate,” Root said. “If you look at the celebrations in 1917, 1817 and 1717, they were anti-ecumenical events, with Lutherans often celebrating it as light after darkness.”

Root noted that the inscription on the famous Reformation monument in Geneva, a hub of for Protestant theologians, is “Post Tenebras Lux” (Light After Darkness).

“This is an attempt to make the 500th anniversary of the Reformation a positive event. And the beginning of that is that we tell the story in a way that both sides recognize as true. That is why most of the text is taken up with telling the story.”

Lutheran Perspective

Rev. Lowell Almen, a former secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, who has also participated in the USCCB Lutheran-Catholic dialogue, struck a similarly sober tone.

“In regard to the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation of the 16th century,” Almen said, “I have some folks speak of ‘celebrating’ that anniversary. That is the wrong verb. Division in the church should never be seen as cause for celebration.”

“We may observe that anniversary and commemorate the insights that emerged from the historic development. Under the guidance of God’s Spirit in the life of the whole church, we can pray that we may learn from the insights of that period but also hope for healing of memories of division and hostility,” said Almen.

“Crucial for understanding the current state of dialogue in the U.S. and internationally,” Almen continued, “is the historic official reception into the lives of our churches of the 'Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.' That document was signed by representatives of the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation on Oct. 31, 1999. It represents the official reception in the lives of our churches of the fruit of dialogue on that particular contended doctrine in the 16th century and beyond.”

Almen emphasized, “I hope that pastors and other leaders throughout the congregations and parishes of our churches will discover the document, ‘From Conflict to Communion.’ I also hope that they will use it for study and discussion ecumenically as we look toward constructive reflection leading to various observances in 2017.”

Msgr. Swetland

Msgr. Stuart Swetland, vice president for Catholic identity at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., also praised “From Conflict to Communion.”

“It’s an amazing document — perhaps 'amazing' is too sensational a term, but it’s a substantial document that deserves close study and reflection,” said Msgr. Swetland, who grew up in a Lutheran family and became a Catholic while studying as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford in England. “This idea that we are going to do a common commemoration of the Reformation is, I think, a huge step towards Christian unity.”

“I find the document to be both historically accurate in trying to explain what happened, but also very positive in the areas where we can move forward and very honest about the areas where we have a lot more work to do,” said Msgr. Swetland. “There is a sobriety to this document and a humility to this document, but there’s also a recognition of the progress we’ve made and a deepening understanding of the mysteries of faith over the years.”

Among the theological issues that remain most difficult for Lutherans and Catholics in dialogue, according to scholars interviewed for this story, are the nature of the church and leadership and authority in the church. The 1999 “Joint Declaration on Justification” is regarded as a landmark in ecumenical dialogue. Justification — or salvation — is generally seen as being at the heart of the dispute between Rome and Luther, but the "Declaration" identified some common ground in this contentious and contested theological point.

Contemporary Problems

While Catholic and Lutheran scholars are talking together about the 16th-century questions that split Christianity, it appears that new 21st-century matters are making things more difficult.

“We’ve had people put sand in the spokes in the bicycle” is how Jesuit Father Jared Wicks, prominent in the USCCB’s Lutheran-Catholic dialogue, puts it. Father Wicks was referring to issues of sexual morality, including homosexuality.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is a dialogue partner in USCCB ecumenical discussions and belongs to the Lutheran World Federation, which represents the Lutheran side in international dialogue with the Catholic Church. The ELCA in 2009 voted to open its ministry to homosexuals in monogamous relationships.

“It is going to be harder and harder for the Roman Catholic Church to find appropriate Lutheran dialogue partners,” said Lutheran scholar Robert Benne, Jordan Trexler professor emeritus and research associate at Roanoke College in Salem, Va. Benne belongs to the more traditional North American Lutheran Church (NALC), which was established in 2010.

Msgr. Swetland said that these issues have not yet been part of the dialogue.

“As a moral theologian,” he said, “I’d say that the document is not talking that much about morality. It deals with systematic theology, both doctrinal and sacramental.” But he suggested that, when these issues are finally addressed, the discussions will “flow” from systemic theology.

Would Luther Approve?

An interesting question might be whether Martin Luther, the Augustinian monk who started the Reformation, would approve of “From Contention to Communion.”

That would depend, said Michael Root, on when it was shown to Luther. The Luther of 1517 might have seen it as proof that his work had led to reform of the Catholic Church, but the later Luther, who was excommunicated in 1521 and embittered by events, might have seen it in a quite different light.

“I think Luther would be delighted by ‘From Conflict to Communion,’” Root said. “If at a crucial early moment Luther could have been shown this text, then the Reformation might have taken a different direction, one that might not have divided Western Christendom. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since 1517, and new issues have been arisen, but that we have come this far is an encouragement to keep the discussion going.”

Read more here:

Nothing prevents one from being a person of both faith and science

God Created Science

by Father C. John McCloskey

Divine Science
Finding Reason at the Heart of Faith

By Michael Dennin
Franciscan media, 2015
To order:

First, a short introduction to the author: He is a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California-Irvine. He held a post-doctoral position at UCLA, is well-known for popularizing science for the public and has taught many online courses on the nature of science. Perhaps most impressive and startling, he has appeared on a number of television programs, including The Walking Dead, Spiderman Tech, Batman Tech, Star Wars Tech and Ancient Aliens.

Besides all that, he is a faithful Roman Catholic.
Divine Science is written for people of faith and people of science, who often view one another with suspicion and even disdain.

However, what Michael Dennin clearly and persuasively explains is that science does not deny the existence of God and that science and faith can actually enhance one another. In short, nothing prevents one from being a person of both faith and science.

For non-experts such as Dennin’s intended audience, he felt the need to “find a more common language, while still communicating the original complexity and the depth of these ideas.”

From time to time, when certain technical terms seemed to be crying out to be used for their precision and usefulness, Dennin did so, while providing in-text definitions for non-expert readers.

Among the many topics Dennin deals with are the classic questions that surface in any discussion of faith and science. He has a chapter that deals with “God in a box,” addressing the limits of the controlling image.

Another chapter discusses creation from both a scriptural and scientific perspective.

He also explores evolutionary science and Scripture; the scientific law of probabilities and the miraculous; and closes with a chapter entitled, “God’s Dice,” which discusses free will and determinism.

All of this may seem complex, but Dennin actually communicates quite easily and helpfully what every educated Catholic should know about the relationship between science and faith: that there’s nothing in the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church that in any way contradicts good science.

After all, there would not be any science if there was not a God who created the universe and mankind.

I highly recommend this book both for adults and for high school and college students, all of whom, through this book, can experience the joy of seeing the beauty of science, while also being able to explain to others the natural law that we find laid out for us in the universe by a living and loving God.

Opus Dei Father, C.J. McCloskey is a research fellow of the Faith and Reason Institute in Washington.

Read more:

Lutero: el olor que su figura rebelde exhalaría

¡Lutero se considera divino!

por Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

“Folha de S. Paulo”, 10 de enero de 1984

No comprendo cómo ciertos eclesiásticos contemporáneos, incluso de los más cultos, doctos e ilustres, pueden hacer de Lutero, el heresiarca, una figura mítica, con el empeño de favorecer una aproximación ecuménica. Esta aproximación sería en primer término con el protestantismo e indirectamente con todas las religiones, escuelas filosóficas, etc. Discernirán estos hombres el peligro que a todos nos acecha al final de ese camino? Me refiero a la formación a escala mundial de un siniestro supermercado de religiones, filosofias y sistemas de todo tipo, en el que la verdad y el error se presentarán fraccionados, mezclados y puestos en bullicio. Sólo quedaría ausente del mundo —si es que se pudiera llegar hasta allá— la verdad total; o sea, la fe católica, apostólica, romana, pura y sin mancha.

A propósito de Lutero —a quien le correspondería bajo cierto aspecto el papel de punto de partida en esta marcha hacia el desorden total— publico hoy algunos tópicos más que muestran bien el olor que su figura rebelde exhalaría en ese supermercado o, mejor, en esa necrópoles de religiones, de filosofias y del mismo pensamiento humano.

Tal como lo prometiera en el artículo anterior, los obtengo de la magnífica obra del reverendo padre Leonel Franca, S. J. (1), “La Iglesia, la reforma y la civilización” (Editora Civilização Brasileira, Río de Ja­neiro, 3.a ed., 1934, 558 págs.).

La doctrina de la justificación indepen­diente de las obras es un elemento carac­terístico de la enseñanza de Lutero. En términos llanos quiere decir que los méri­tos superabundantes de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo aseguran al hombre por sí so­los la salvación eterna. De manera que se puede llevar en esta tierra una vida de pecado sin remordimiento de conciencia ni temor de la justicia de Dios.

¡Para él la conciencia no era la voz de la gracia, sino la del demonio!

1. Por eso le escribió a un amigo que el hombre vejado por el demonio de cuando en cuando “debe beber con más abundancia, jugar, divertirse y aun come­ter algún pecado por odio y para molestar al demonio, para no darle pie a que per­turbe la conciencia con niñerías. (...) Todo el decálogo (de la ley de Dios) se debe borrar de nuestros ojos y nuestra alma, de nosotros, tan perseguidos y molestados por el diablo” (M. Luther, “Briefe, Sendschreiben und Bedenken”, ed. De Wet­te, Berlín, 1825-1828; cfr. op. cit., págs. 199-200).

2. En este sentido también escribió Lutero: “Dios sólo te obliga a creer y a confesar. En todas las otras cosas te deja libre y dueño de hacer lo que quieres, sin peligro alguno de conciencia; más bien es cierto que a El no le importa incluso que dejes a tu mujer, huyas de tu señor y no seas fiel a ningún vínculo. ¿Y qué más le da (a Dios) que hagas o dejes de hacer semejantes cosas?” (“Werke”, ed. de Wei­mar, XII, págs. 131 y sigs.; cfr. op. cit., pág. 446).

3. Tal vez más tajante es esta incita­ción al pecado en carta a Melanchton del 1 de agosto de 1521: “Sé pecador y peca de veras (“esto peccátor et peca fórtier”), pero con aún mayor firmeza cree y alégra­te en Cristo, vencedor del pecado, de la muerte y del mundo. Durante la vida pre­sente debemos pecar. Basta que por la misericordia de Dios conozcamos al Cordero que quita los pecados del mundo. De él no nos ha de separar el pecado aunque cometamos mil homicidos y mil adulterios por día” (“Briefe, Sendschreiben und Bedenken”, ed. De Wette, II, pág. 27; cfr. op. cit., pág. 439).

4. Esta doctrina es tan descabellada que el propio Lutero a duras penas conse­guía creer en ella: “No hay ninguna reli­gión en toda la tierra que enserïe esta doctrina de la justificación; yo mismo, aunque la enseñe públicamente, creo en ella con gran dificultad” (“Werke”, ed. de Weimar, XXV, pág. 330; cfr. op. cit., pág. 158).

5. Pero el mismo Lutero reconocía los efectos de su predicación confesada­mente insincera: “El Evangelio encuentra hoy en día adherentes que se persuaden de que ésta no es sino una doctrina que sirve para llenar el vientre y dar rienda suelta a todos los caprichos” (“Werke”, ed. de Weimar, XXXIII, pág. 2; cfr. op. cit., pág. 212).

Y acerca de sus secuaces evangélicos Lutero agregaba que “son siete veces peores que antes. Después de la predica­ción de nuestra doctrina los hombres se entregaron al robo, a la mentira, a la impostura, a la crápula, a la embriaguez y a toda especie de vicios. Expulsamos un demonio (el Papado) y vinieron siete peo­res” (“Werke”, ed. de Weimar, XXVIII, pág. 763; cfr. op. cit., pág. 440).

“Después que comprendimos que las buenas obras no son necesarias para la justificación, quedamos mucho más remi­sos y fríos en la práctica del bien. (...) Y si hoy se pudiese volver a la antigua situa­ción, si de nuevo reviviese la doctrina que afirma la necesidad del recto proceder para ser santo, otro sería nuestro entu­siasmo y disposición en el ejercicio del bien” (“Werke”, ed. de Weimar, XXVII, pág. 443; cfr. op. cit., pág. 441).

6. Todos esos desvaríos explican que Lutero haya llegado al frenesi del orgullo satánico, diciendo de sí mismo: “¿No os parece este Lutero un hombre extravagante? Para mí lo tengo como Dios. Si no, cómo podrían tener sus es­critos y su nombre la potencia de trans­formar mendigos en señores, asnos en doctores, falsificadores en santos, lodo en perlas?” (ed. de Wittenberg, 1551, tomo IV, pág. 378; cfr. op. cit., pág. 190).

7. Otras veces la opinión que Lutero tenía de sí mismo era mucho más objeti­va: “Soy un hombre expuesto y compro­metido en la sociedad, en la crápula, en los impulsos carnales, en la negligencia y otras molestias, a las que se vienen a juntar las de mi propio oficio” (“Briefe, Sendschreiben und Bedenken”, ed. De Wette, I, pág. 232; cfr. op. cit., pág. 198). Excomulgado en Worms en 1521, Lutero se entregó al ocio y a la indolencia. Y el 13 de julio escribió a Melanchton, otro prócer protestante: “Yo aquí me hallo, insensato y endurecido, establecido en el ocio; ¡oh, dolor!, rezando poco y dejando de gemir por la Iglesia de Dios, porque mi carne indómita arde en grandes llamas. En suma, yo, que debo tener fervor de espíritu, tengo el fervor de la carne, de la lascivia, de la pereza, del ocio y de la somnolencia” (“Briefe, Sendschreiben und Bedenken”, ed. De Wette, II, pág. 22; cfr. op. cit. pág. 198).

En un sermón predicado en 1532: “En cuanto a mí, confieso, y muchos otros pueden sin duda hacer igual confesión, que soy descuidado tanto en la disciplina cuanto en el celo. Soy mucho más negli­gente ahora que bajo el Papado; ahora nadie tiene por el Evangelio el ardor que se vela otrora” (“Saemtiliche Werke”, ed. de Plochman-Irmischer, XVIII, 2, pág. 353; cfr. op. cit., pág. 441).

Así todo, ¿qué puede encontrarse en común entre esta moral y la de la Santa Iglesia Católica, Apostólica y Romana?

Nota: El presente artículo es continuación de Lutero: ¡no y no! del 27-12-1983.


(1) Leonel Edgard da Silveira Franca (São Gabriel, 6 de janeiro de 1893Rio de Janeiro, 3 de setembro de 1948) foi um sacerdote católico e professor brasileiro.

Entrou para a Companhia de Jesus em 1908, ordenando-se sacerdote em 1923. Foi então para Roma, onde doutorou-se em teologia efilosofia na Universidade Gregoriana. De volta ao Brasil, foi professor do Colégio Santo Inácio (Rio de Janeiro). Lecionou história da filosofia, psicologia experimental e química no Colégio Anchieta, em Nova Friburgo.

Foi membro do Conselho Nacional de Educação em 1931 e vice-reitor do Colégio Santo Inácio (Rio de Janeiro). Teve papel destacado na fundação da Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro e foi, também, seu primeiro reitor. Em 1947 recebeu o Prêmio Machado de Assis.

Algumas de suas obras são:
  • Noções de história da filosofia, de 1918;
  • Apontamentos de química geral, de 1919;
  • A Igreja, a Reforma e a Civilização, de 1922;
  • Pensamentos espirituais, publicada postumamente em 1949.

Modern society's rejection of literature - pre-Socratics - the historian must be a pragmatist

Recommended Essays

This week: 
  • Russell Kirk considers how modern society's rejection of literature is leading to the ruin of culture
  • Eva Brann asks whether pre-Socratics were not in fact the first of the Western philosophers
  • Lenore Ealy and Steve Klugewicz look at the legacy of historian Forrest McDonald, who passed away last week.
by Russell Kirk

The decay of literature results from a rejection of the ancient human endeavor to apprehend a transcendent order in the universe and to live in harmony with that order. Religious assumptions about the human condition having been abandoned by men of letters, the moral imagination starves...

by Eva Brann

The Pre-Socratics may be thought of as deficient, lacking something, primitive in the derogatory sense. But there is also the opposite perspective: These men were not primitive, without sophistication, but primeval, deeper, more receptive to origins... 

[Click here to read the full essay]

History on Proper Principles: The Legacy of Forrest McDonald

by Lenore Ealy and Stephen Klugewicz

Forrest McDonald demonstrated that the historian above all must be a pragmatist who looks at the reality of the past as it was, who gets his hands dirty by putting in long hours of research, who makes sense of vast quantities of data, and who then communicates what he has found in an understandable and interesting way to the general reader... 

Luther thought he made a great discovery, justification by faith, in St. Paul's Epistles to Galatians and Romans

Luther Writes Obituary of His Own Church

Download here full text Luther

"If this article stands, the church stands; if it collapses, the church collapses." Luther said that in his Exposition of Psalm 130, 4. He was talking about justification by faith.

He thought he made a great discovery, justification by faith, in St. Paul's Epistles to Galatians and Romans. To Luther it meant everything personally as well as being the article on which his church would stand or fall. This happened because of his fears. An important statement, made in 1985, by a joint commission of Lutheran and Catholic theologians admitted (in Justification by Faith, Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue VII, ed. H. G. Anderson, T. A. Murphy, J. A. Burgess, Augsburg Publ. House, 1985, ## 24, 29): 

"In their situation [that of Luther and associates] the major function of justification by faith was rather to console anxious consciences, terrified by the inability to do enough to earn or merit salvation.... The starting point for Luther was his inability to find peace with God.... terrified in his own conscience."

Any experienced confessor will recognize from what the poor man suffered: he was scrupulous. A scrupulous man has a generalized anxiety, which expresses itself by latching onto first one thing, then onto another. The person fears he is constantly in mortal sin.

Luther hoped to solve this problem for himself by his "discovery" of justification by faith, which for him meant that it made no difference if he did sin mortally all the time. If he would just take Christ as his personal Savior, then the merits of Christ would be thrown over him like a white cloak, and he could not be lost, he was infallibly saved, saved no matter how much he might sin. So he wrote to his great associate, Melanchthon (Epistle501): "Pecca fortiter, sed crede fortius" -- which means: "Sin greatly, but believe still more greatly." In another letter to the same Melanchthon of August 1, 1521 (American Edition, Luther's Works 48. 282): "Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly... No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day." As a certain bumper sticker puts it: "Christians are not perfect, just forgiven." In other words, Christians can sin as much as they want -- they will get away with it. Others, for the same sins, go to hell.

However, it was not as easy as Luther had hoped. Hartmann Grisar, in his exhaustive classic study, Luther (B. Herder, 1916. vol. V, pp. 322-56) gives us a detailed chronicle, with extensive and numerous quotes from Luther himself, of Luther's fear that he was in error, and fears over his own salvation. These reached a climax in the period 1527-28, then subsided somewhat. Here are some examples (p. 322 from Dec. 14, 153l):  "... if its all wrong you have to answer for all the many souls which it brings down to hell.... Now the devil troubles me with other thoughts, for he accuses me thus: O what a vast multitude have you led astray by your teaching." Typically, in this passage, and elsewhere, he blames his fears on the devil. And again , in his Exposition of Psalm xlv he says the devil tells him: "Lo, you stand all alone and are seeking to overthrow the good order [of the church] established with so much wisdom. For even though the Papacy be not without its sins and errors, what about you. Are you infallible? Are you without sin? Why raise the standard of revolt against the house of the Lord, when you yourself can only teach them what you yourself are full of, viz., error and sin."

Similarly (p. 323): "What astonishes me is that I cannot learn this doctrine [that faith makes all kinds of sins all right], and yet all my pupils believe they have it at their finger tips." Or p. 324:" When a man is tempted, or is with those who are tempted, let him slay Moses [ignore the Law] and throw every stone at him on which he can lay hands." His great lieutenant, Melanchthon reports on an occasion on which(p. 316):Luther was in 'such sore terror that he almost lost consciousness " and sighed much as he wrestled with a text of Paul on unbelief and grace [Romans 11:32]. In the dedication to his work,De abroganda missa privata of 1521 (Grisar, p. 531) the very year in which he wrote that letter cited above saying even 1000 fornications and murders a day would not separate a man from Christ, we read: "Are you alone wise and all others mistaken? Is it likely that so many centuries were all in the wrong? Suppose, on the contrary, you were in the wrong and were leading so many others with you into error and to eternal perdition?"

We comment: How right! If the promises of Christ were so empty that He permitted the Church to teach the wrong way to salvation for most of 15 centuries, then Christ Himself would be a faker.

In his Exposition on Psalm 130 cited above, Luther was surely right in saying that his church would stand or fall with his idea of justification by faith. So we ask: Is it standing or falling? It has fallen, for a double reason, according to his own calculations.

There are two key words in the expression "justification by faith."

First, justification: Luther thought that a sinner who is forgiven is still totally corrupt, unable to get away from sinning constantly. Did St. Paul mean that? Not really. He spoke of Christians as a "new creation" (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15). They are made over from scratch - not at all the same as the same old total corruption! And he says more than once that we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in us as in a temple (1 Cor 3:17; 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16). Can we imagine the Holy Spirit living in a temple that is total corruption?

Even more telling, if possible, is the idea St. Paul has of faith. Luther did not even make a good try at finding out what St. Paul meant by that word. He just assumed what appealed to his scrupulous fears and said faith meant confidence the merits of Christ apply to me. But there is an obvious way to find out what St. Paul really meant by faith -- read every place where Paul uses the word faith, and related words -- we can use a Concordance to locate them - keep notes, and add them up. If we do that here is what we get: "If God speaks a truth, faith requires that we believe it in our minds (cf. 1 Ths 2:13; 2 Cor 5:7). If God makes a promise, faith requires that we be confident He will keep it (cf. Gal 5:5; Rom 5:1). If God tells us to do something, we must obey (cf. Rom 1:5; 6:16). All this is to be done in love (Gal 5:6). (Obeying does not earn salvation, but we must be members of Christ and like Him, obedient unto death: Rom 5:19).

How does that compare with just being confident the merits of Christ apply to you? Quite a difference. So, by his own standard, Luther's church has fallen. What he thought was a great discovery was just a great mistake. And yet his whole system stands or falls on his error, as he himself said.

There is a large standard Protestant reference work, Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible. It first appeared in four very large volumes, with alphabetical articles on everything pertaining to the Bible. In 1976 there appeared a Supplement volume, which contained some new articles, and some older articles revised. This latest volume does have a new article on faith, on p. 333. We look for the subsection on St. Paul -- for St. James uses the word faith very differently. What do we find? Precisely the same as what we explained above. Faith is a complex of belief, confidence, obedience, love. The article even explains Paul's words in Romans 1:5: "the obedience of faith" to mean, "the obedience which faith is." Luther thought we do not have to obey any commandment at all if we have faith - but he did not see that faith itself includes obedience to God's commands!

How sadly wrong could he be? By his own standard, the article on which his church would rise or fall has fallen.

We could add: another pillar of his church was "Scripture alone." But that left him with a problem he could not solve: Which books are inspired and so are part of Scripture? For in the first centuries there were in circulation many books that were called Gospels, with the names of Apostles on them. How could he know which ones were inspired? He thought that if a book preaches justification by faith strongly, it is inspired - otherwise not. But Luther never proved that that was the test. And it could not be: he or I could write a book to preach justification by faith, and it would not be inspired.

At a national Baptist convention in 1910, Professor Gerald Birney Smith gave a paper on this very problem (It was published in the next year in The Biblical World 37, pp. 19-29). The Professor reviewed every way he could think of to determine which books are part of the Bible. He found all attempts insufficient. He said there was only one way that could work - if we had a divinely protected teaching authority to assure us. Smith believed we had no such thing. Therefore, he was, sadly, left with no way to know which books are part of the Bible! Really, to be logical, he should stop quoting the Bible, because he did not know what works were part of the Bible. Professor Smith examined and rejected Luther's attempt, among others.

What a tragic fall - both columns have fallen on which Luther depended - justification by faith (with his mistaken notion of the two key words in that phrase), and Scripture alone. So Luther had no right to quote Scripture at all. And even if he had had such a right, Scripture shows he was seriously wrong as to what St. Paul means by faith.

Infallible salvation? Imagine a ledger for me, credit and debit pages. According to Luther, if one once takes Christ as His Savior, he enters infinity on the credit page - then no matter how much he has sinned, is sinning, will sin, the infinity of Christ outweighs it. So he is infallibly saved. Some add: He cannot lose that security. [Compare Protestant charges that indulgences are a permission to sin!. Here it is, in the big time!]

St. Paul himself did not think he had infallible salvation. In 1 Cor 9:24-27, Paul compares Christian life to the great games at Corinth. Anyone who hoped for the prize had to go into athletic training, and so deny himself a lot. Only one could get the prize. But Christians can all get it, and their prize is eternal life, not just a crown of leaves. Some Protestants say Paul is just urging them to gain something extra. But no, in context, Paul has been urging them for some time to avoid scandalizing another by eating meat offered to idols which the other thinks is forbidden. In 1 Cor 8:11-13 Paul pleads that "the weak one will perish [eternally] because of your knowledge, a brother because of whom Christ died."

Paul himself, even with his heroic work for Christ, does not think he has infallible salvation. Rather, in 1 Cor 9:26-27 he says [literal version]: "I hit my body under the eyes and lead it around like a slave, so that after preaching to others, I may not be disqualified [in the race]." He alludes to Greek boxing - no padded gloves - a blow under the eyes would usually knock a man out. The victor put a rope around the neck of the loser, and led him around the stadium like a slave. Not sportsmanlike!. But we get the point.

Again, right after this, in chapter 10, Paul gives many instances of the first People of God. They did not have it infallibly made. Rather, many were struck dead by God. So in 10:12: "He who thinks he is standing, let him watch out so he does not fall." No infallible salvation in sight here!

Born again: This means taking Christ as your Savior, and making a profession of faith, with an emotional experience. Only those who do this are Christians, so all others are damned even if they never had a chance to hear of Christ. But this is to make God a monster. Such a God could not exist at all. Further, this process is merely a small embellishment on taking Christ as your Savior in faith. It adds emotion and a profession of faith. Scripture has not one word on such emotion, though it does want a profession of faith (Rom 10:9 - where "saved" means enter the Church by such a profession), nor did Luther know what faith was in the basic sense anyway.

About that emotional experience, some object by appealing to Romans 8:16 (NRSV): "When we cry 'Abba, Father' it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God." Reply: Whatever we may take as the meaning of the text, it should be clear at the outset that we must not suppose that Baptism by itself is insufficient to make us sons of God: Rom 6:3ff; Mt 28:19; Acts 2:38; 1 Cor 6:11; To really get the sense, we look at the context: In the verse before it said "we did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear." Instead, as Rom 5:2 says, we have, "this grace in which we stand, and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God." We do this because Christ has given us divine adoption, so, we need no longer be in mortal fear of God. He does that through Baptism. In other words, by Baptism itself we are moved from a state in which we had reason to fear God, into one in which we have confidence, being His children, taught by Jesus Himself to call God 'Father." We get this confidence based on this Sacrament itself, and on the teaching of Christ Himself that God is our Father, not on an emotional feeling. If we say the Sacrament is not enough, and that the feeling must be added, otherwise someone is not even a Christian, we deny Baptism its real power, and are weak in faith. "Whenever anyone baptizes, it is Christ Himself who baptizes" wrote St. Augustine (On John 6. 1. 7). The reason is that the power comes from Him, not from the human agent. Now a baptism could not be insufficient if it is Christ Himself who baptizes. Further this whole notion builds on top of justification by faith - we have seen that Luther did not know what St. Paul meant by faith. And it would wind up in complete subjectivism, searching for feelings. Also, the text does not say that the Spirit testifies to our spirit, but that it testifies along with our spirit. There is place for twofold testimony because of Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15 which prescribes that everything to be proved needs two or three witnesses.

Appendix I

Ecclesiastes (Qoheleth) 5. 4-5: "When you make a vow to God, do not delay fulfilling it; for he has no pleasure in fools. Fulfill what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not fulfill it." Luther broke all his vows.

Appendix II

In 64:5 Isaiah wrote: "All our good deeds are like filthy rags."

Lutherans use this to prove all our good deeds are sinful, for they say we are totally corrupt. (Luther thought original justice, i.e., sanctifying grace, was a part of human nature. So the loss of it would mean a total corruption of human nature: cf. his major work The Bondage of the Will).

But they forget: 1) verse 6 says: "There is no one who calls upon your name." But many did. So, Semitic exaggeration. 2) Isa 40:2: "She has received double for all her sins." But that would be unjust--more exaggeration. 3) Compare Is 13:9-10 on fall of Babylon, and 34:4 on Edom, and Ezek 32:7-8 on Egypt. - Same language as Mt 24 on sun darkened etc.


The Father William Most Collection

Fr. William G. Most
The searchable theological works of the late Fr. William G. Most(bio), an internationally-acclaimed theologian and Scripture scholar.

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The late Fr. William G. Most was one of the most distinguished Catholic teachers, theologians and Scripture scholars of our time. His long teaching career, extending well over 50 years, was marked by unswerving fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church, theological brilliance, and an ability to communicate clearly to layman and professional alike.

Universidad Austral, Programa de Formación Política

Programa de Formación Política

Pensamiento Político Clásico y Contemporáneo - 2016
- 1° ciclo: Pensamiento Político Clásico (antiguo y moderno). 

El ciclo se abrirá el miércoles 20 de abril de 2016 y finalizará el miércoles 13 de julio de 2016.

- 2° ciclo: Pensamiento Político Contemporáneo. 

El ciclo se abrirá el miércoles 10 de agosto de 2016 y finalizará el miércoles 9 de noviembre de 2016.



Fernando D. Álvarez Álvarez

Consejo Académico

Enrique Aguilar 
Francisco Bertelloni
Martín D’Alessandro
Jorge Dotti
Joaquín Migliore
Alfonso Santiago (h)

Detalles administrativos

Comienzo: 20 de abril de 2016
Horario: Miércoles de 19:00 a 20:30
Finalización: 9 de noviembre de 2016

Facultad de Derecho
Universidad Austral

Cerrito 1250 – C1010AZZ – Buenos Aires
Teléfono: (+ 54 11) 5239-8000 int. 8125, 8127 y 8227

How intellectuals in New York interpreted and wrote about the Cuban experience: Waldo Frank, Carleton Beals, C. Wright Mills, Allen Ginsberg, Susan Sontag, Norman Mailer, Eldridge Cleaver, Stokely Carmichael, and Jose Yglesias.

Forgetting Castro’s Crimes

by  Joseph Bottum 

Review: Rafael Rojas, 'Fighting Over Fidel: The New York Intellectuals and the Cuban Revolution'

Between the Old Left and the New Left, between the radicalism of the 1930s and the radicalism of the 1970s, there comes the curious figure of Fidel Castro. A celebrated revolutionary thinker. The absolute ruler of Cuba—and, for a time, the man believed to have finally solved the Communist dilemma: finding a way of being Marxist without becoming Stalinist, creating a fully socialist state that would not harden into totalitarianism.

He didn’t, of course. Soon after it seized power in 1959, Castro’s revolutionary government became a socialist dictatorship, barely distinguishable from all the other Communist states of its time. But the surprising lesson of Rafael Rojas’s new book, Fighting Over Fidel, is how brief was the time, how narrow the window, that serious leftists actually believed in Castro’s exceptionalism.

Oh, as late as the 1980s, the Soviets were still insisting that Cuba was a socialist paradise, impoverished only because the United States had isolated the island with economic boycotts and military threats. And that Russian propaganda would have a lingering effect on American leftism, leaving Cuba a convenient symbol around which to unite pro-Communist radicals and anti-anti-Communist liberals. From Lyndon Johnson to Bill Clinton, Democratic presidents all toyed with the notion of regularizing Cuban relations, although they were thwarted by congressional opposition. In 2015, President Obama simply ignored Congress and unilaterally reestablished diplomacy and trade with the island nation—the culmination of a decades-long rejection of the idea that Cuba was a threat and Communism a disease.

But the intellectual class of American leftism (which was, in many ways, the dominant intellectual class of the nation) had doubts from surprisingly early on. Castro had been a young attorney with what he believed was a rising political career—a career derailed when former president Fulgencio Batista seized control of the government and cancelled the 1952 parliamentary elections. The thwarted Castro quickly raised a small force of impoverished Cubans, and he rose to national attention when, on July 26, 1953, he led an attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba.


Read more:

Here is a list of 31 fundraising events that have been put on or will be put on for the Clinton campaign by the financial industry

Here’s a List of All the Hillary Clinton Wall Street Fundraisers

by Brent Scher

It's been a busy year of hobnobbing with Wall Street for Hillary Clinton

Aside from the $1.74 Martin O’Malley made playing his guitar, Hillary Clinton is the only Democratic candidate for president who is getting money from Wall Street—and for her, it has come in droves.

Bernie Sanders has said that while he will stay true to his pledge not to directly attack Clinton, he will continue to point out her ties to the financial industry.

“I am surprised that Hillary Clinton does not understand why so many people have strong concerns about her receiving many, many hundreds of thousands of dollars from Goldman Sachs and from many other financial,” Sanders said .

Clinton’s long relationship with the financial sector has given Sanders a lot to point out, and she continues to give him new ammunition. Just this week, she was criticized for spending her time raising money at an investment bank rather than spending it talking to voters in Iowa.

Attending fundraisers hosted by finance executives has become standard practice for Clinton, who had already raised $5.9 million from the securities and investment industry leading into the most recent fundraising quarter.



viernes, 29 de enero de 2016

"I nostri fratelli versano il sangue, soltanto perché sono Cristiani". Papa Francesco Angelus 15 marzo 2015

Spot Aiuto alla Chiesa che Soffre

Aiuto alla Chiesa che Soffre è la fondazione pontificia che in tutto il mondo sostiene i Cristiani perseguitati. -

Tutti a Roma per gridare un “no” netto e senza distinguo al disegno di legge Cirinnà.

"No" secco alle unioni civili

di Riccardo Cascioli

Non c’è dubbio che la piazza del 30 gennaio faccia molta paura, e lo si può capire. È la prima volta che in Italia c’è una mobilitazione del genere che parte totalmente dal basso. In passato piazze sono state riempite soprattutto dai sindacati, ma con convocazioni partite dall’alto e con notevole dispendio economico per i sindacati che pagavano i viaggi.

Qui invece se dall’alto ci sono stati interventi è stato solo per cercare di impedire, di frenare o condizionare. E centinaia di migliaia di famiglie decidono di attraversare l’Italia facendo conto solo sui propri magri bilanci familiari. Uno sforzo enorme e lieto allo stesso tempo, consapevoli che qui si gioca il futuro dell’Italia insieme a quello della famiglia. Tutti a Roma perché con la pretesa di legittimare le unioni civili si porta un attacco mortale alla famiglia, principale risorsa di questo paese eppur bistrattata.

Tutti a Roma per gridare un “no” netto e senza distinguo al disegno di legge Cirinnà. Non vogliono qualche soldo in più o mantenere per sé privilegi, vogliono solo che questo paese abbia un futuro, vogliono la libertà di educare i propri figli, la libertà di affermare che la famiglia è solo quella fondata sul matrimonio tra un uomo e una donna e aperta alla generazione della vita. Alla fine sono i soli che difendono veramente la Costituzione, a cominciare da quell’articolo 29 che “riconosce” la famiglia come società naturale. Lo Stato “riconosce” la famiglia, non la definisce; la riconosce perché viene prima e a definirla è la natura.

E di nuovo questa folla chiede che lo Stato riconosca la famiglia per quello che è, per questo fa paura: non è al servizio di un’ideologia o di un partito, è guidata da persone che sono “nate” da questa mobilitazione.

Così i palazzi del potere sono in allarme. In questi mesi, e ancor più in queste settimane, si sono moltiplicate le pressioni sugli organizzatori, bastone e carota: trattati come omofobi e razzisti, negatori di diritti. Ma anche blanditi, “consigliati” dai grandi media – Corriere della Sera in testa - di non alzare muri, di limitarsi a una bella festa della famiglia ma senza essere contro qualcuno, troppo pericoloso. Ovviamente sono gli stessi media - cioè gli stessi poteri - che hanno amplificato la bufala di un milione di sostenitori della Cirinnà in piazza in cento città italiane lo scorso sabato, quando erano poche decine di migliaia. Ma il padrone del vapore ha bisogno di contrapporre al Family Day una grande piazza pro-unioni gay per giustificare l’ostinazione con cui il governo vuole portare a casa questa legge, contro ogni buon senso e saltando le regole parlamentari.

Il potere ha paura di questa piazza e tenta di coprirla in tutti i modi: ieri sera se ne è avuta l’ennesima riprova con la puntata di Porta a Porta (Rai Uno) dedicata alle adozioni gay. A rappresentare il popolo del Family Day, Bruno Vespa ha chiamato Gianluigi De Palo, il presidente del Forum delle Famiglie finito nelle settimane scorse al centro di dure polemiche per essersi schierato contro le manifestazioni di piazza e aver definito il Family Day del 2007 un «grande fallimento». Solo nelle ultime ore De Palo ha annunciato la sua partecipazione ma non è certo tra gli organizzatori. Eppure era lui a Rai Uno ad arrogarsi la rappresentanza del popola della famiglia. La redazione di Porta a Porta si è giustificata dicendo che il “suggerimento” veniva dalla CEI. Evidentemente il desiderio di normalizzare questa piazza è trasversale a tutti i palazzi.

Non è facile il compito degli organizzatori, vista la forza di queste pressioni, e ne è una riprova che a due giorni dall’incontro la scaletta degli interventi sul palco non è ancora stata annunciata. Si sa che ci saranno almeno tre ospiti stranieri, un americano e due europei, che racconteranno di come l’attacco alla famiglia sia un problema mondiale, come del resto già più di venti anni fa urlava con forza Giovanni Paolo II; e ancora, ci saranno testimonianze, e forse qualche approfondimento giuridico. Per il resto è tutto top secret.

Ma le famiglie che si stanno preparando per la grande giornata al Circo Massimo vogliono soprattutto sentire dagli organizzatori sul palco la conferma del “no” forte e deciso al ddl Cirinnà. Pressioni o non pressioni, non si attraversa l’Italia e si va in piazza per meno di questo.

Leggi tutto:

La misericordia non è appena un secondo nome del perdono, ma naviga in un mare più ampio.

Quanta strada dovrà fare la misericordia?

di Angelo Busetto

L’etimologia popolare del termine misericordia rimbalza dal suono della parola stessa: "miseris cor dare", dare il (proprio) cuore ai miseri. La misericordia non è appena un secondo nome del perdono, ma naviga in un mare più ampio. Il perdono è già cosa grande: tu non metti più nel conto il male che l’altro ti ha fatto e anzi gli condoni tutti i debiti. Inoltre, compi forse qualche gesto di reciprocità, come dare il saluto, magari a denti stretti, e arrivi svuotare il cuore da ogni forma di rancore e di odio. Il che ti pare già tanto, e anche troppo.

La misericordia imbocca una strada più lunga e laboriosa, più lieta eariosa. Misericordia significa “avere a cuore”, prendersi cura, come Gesù si prende cura di noi per sempre. Sull’esempio della multiforme azione di misericordia del Signore Gesù e sul rilancio della sua Grazia, si percorrono i quattordici sentieri delle “opere di misericordia”. In un quadro di Caravaggio le sette opere di misericordia corporale sono riunite in una sola raffigurazione, mossa e complessa. In una composizione serrata il dipinto concentra insieme diversi personaggi di un tipico vicolo popolare di Napoli. 

Le Opere di Misericordia del Caravaggio

Sulla parte superiore, a supervisionare la scena, la Madonna col Bambino e la cornice di due angeli. Sulla destra, seppellire i morti: si scorgono i piedi di un cadavere, con un diacono e un portatore che compiono il “pietoso ufficio”. 

"Visitare i carcerati" e "Dar da mangiare agli affamati" sono concentrati in un singolo intenso episodio: il condannato a morte per fame in carcere, viene nutrito dal seno della figlia. "Vestire gli ignudi" appare concentrato in una figura di giovane cavaliere che dona il mantello ad un uomo, avendo accanto uno storpio e realizzando così anche l’opera del "Curare gli infermi". Un uomo beve da una mascella d'asino: "Dar da bere agli assetati". Per "Ospitare i pellegrini" vengono rappresentate due figure, un uomo rivolto verso l’esterno e uno con la conchiglia del pellegrino.

Oltre il quadro drammatico e geniale del grande pittore, è la vita stessa a provocare l’adempimento delle opere di misericordia, non solo materiali. Poveri e bisognosi di tutte le fogge insistono alle porte delle chiese e vi entrano, e assai più se ne incontrano nei contatti con persone e famiglie. Ma, con modalità per niente schematiche, ci inseguono le opere di misericordia spirituale. In particolare, cosa vuol dire oggi Consigliare i dubbiosi, Insegnare agli ignoranti, Ammonire i peccatori, Consolare gli afflitti? Viviamo in un contesto di persone confuse, tristi, smarrite, incerte, dentro una mentalità corrosiva che contesta tutto, toglie ogni certezza morale e dissesta le persone. Quando viene tarpato il legame con l’origine; quando si perde il nome del padre e persino della madre; quando svanisce la coscienza di essere maschio o femmina, allora, che ne è dell’identità e del destino personale? Come non sentirsi provocati a sostenere il senso stesso della vita e dell’identità degli essere umani?

La Chiesa ospedale da campo agognata da papa Francesco, non punzecchia gli offesi né innalzabarriere, ma apre braccia, mani, cuore, e aguzza l’intelligenza per consigliare senza prevaricare, insegnare senza soverchiare, ammonire senza offendere, consolare senza sfasature sentimentali. Mostra il nostro Dio che è Padre, Gesù Cristo Maestro e Salvatore, e lo Spirito Consolatore. Quanta strada le opere di misericordia dovranno percorrere per raggiungere questa nostra povera umanità…



Una exhortación apostólica a los hombres católicos, mis hijos espirituales en la Diócesis de Phoenix

+Thomas J. Olmsted
Obispo de Phoenix

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Un llamado a la batalla

El Obispo Thomas J. Olmsted es el obispo de la Diócesis de Phoenix. Fue instalado como el cuarto obispo de Phoenix el 20 de diciembre, 2003, y es el lider espiritual de los Católicos de la diócesis.

Empiezo está carta con un llamado fuerte y claro para ustedes, mis hijos y hermanos en Cristo: hombres católicos, no duden al entrar en la batalla que se pelea alrededor de ustedes, la batalla que está hiriendo a nuestros niños y familias, la batalla que está distorsionando la dignidad tanto de hombres como mujeres. Esta batalla de seguido esta oculta, pero es muy real. Esta batalla es primordialmente espiritual pero está matando progresivamente lo que queda del carácter cristiano de nuestra sociedad y cultura, e incluso en nuestros propios hogares.

El mundo está bajo el ataque de Satanás, como lo predijo el Señor (1 Pedro 5:8-14). Esta batalla sucede en la misma Iglesia; y la devastación es demasiado evidente. Desde el año 2000, 14 millones de católicos han dejado la fe, la educación religiosa para niños en las parroquias ha bajado un 24%, la asistencia en las escuelas católicas ha bajado un 19%, el bautizo de niños ha bajado un 28%, el bautizo de adultos ha bajado un 31%, y los matrimonios sacramentales católicos han bajado un 41%.[1] Esta es una brecha muy grave, un hoyo en laslíneas de combate de Cristo. Aunque la Diócesis de Phoenix está mucho mejor que las estadísticas nacionales, las pérdidas son asombrosas.

Una de las razones claves por las que la Iglesia está vacilando bajo los ataques de Satanás es que muchos hombres católicos no han estado dispuestos a “mantenerse firmes sobre la brecha” –llenando ese espacio abierto y vulnerable al ataque. Un tercio ha dejado la fe y muchos de los que todavía son “católicos” practican la fe con timidez y un compromiso mínimo de transmitirles la fe a sus hijos.[2] Nuevas investigaciones revelan que en grandes números los hombres jóvenes católicos están dejando la fe para convertirse en “Ningunos”, hombres que no tienen afiliación religiosa. Las crecientes pérdidas de hombres católicos jóvenes tendrán un impacto devastador en la Iglesia en EE.UU. en las siguientes décadas, a medida que los hombres ancianos mueran y los hombres jóvenes no permanezcan ni se casen en la Iglesia, acelerando así las pérdidas que ya han ocurrido.

Estos datos son devastadores; porque a medida que nuestros padres, hermanos, tíos, hijos y amigos se alejan de la Iglesia, caen más profundamente en el pecado, lo cual rompe nuestros lazos con Dios y hace a los hombres vulnerables a los fuegos del infierno. Aunque sabemos que Cristo le da la bienvenida a todo pecador arrepentido, sucede que cantidades enormes de hombres católicos están fracasando en el cumplimiento de las promesas que hicieron en el bautismo de sus hijos niños de llevarlos a Cristo y criarlos en la fe de la Iglesia.

Esta crisis se hace evidente en el desaliento y la desconexión de hombres católicos como ustedes y yo; de hecho, es precisamente por eso que considero necesaria esta exhortación, e incluso la razón de mi esperanza. Porque Dios constantemente supera el mal con el bien; la alegría del Evangelio es más fuerte que la tristeza traída por el pecado. Una cultura del descarte no puede resistir la luz y vida nueva que constantemente irradia de Cristo. ¡Por eso, los llamo a que abran sus mentes y corazones a Él, el Salvador que los fortalece para permanecer firmes en la brecha!

El propósito de esta exhortación

Ofrezco esta exhortación como un aliento, un reto, y un llamado a la misión para cada hombre dispuesto en la Diócesis de Phoenix: sacerdotes y diáconos, padres e hijos, abuelos y viudos, hombres jóvenes en preparación para su vocación –a cada hombre. Con esta Exhortación, quiero dejar clara para ustedes la naturaleza de esta misión de Cristo con la guía clara de las Sagradas Escrituras, el Magisterio de la Iglesia, y el ejemplo de los santos.

Tres preguntas primordiales que quiero contestar:
  1. ¿Qué significa ser un hombre católico?
  2. ¿Cómo ama un hombre católico?
  3. ¿Por qué la paternidad, adecuadamente entendida, es tan crucial para cada hombre?

Antes de atender estas preguntas, es importante entender en el contexto preciso tres puntos cruciales.