Things That Make Me Go Ummmm by Miz Pink

I’m probably gonna get in a whole heap load’a trouble posting this so close to Independence Day but thinking of the U.S. of A. and its history makes my brain go all sorts of crazy places.

Now I gotta say that I love this country and think its done some great things and I think it can still do greater things and I don’t hate on my nation at all but I also don’t shrink away from its warts…and telling Uncle Sam that he really should go get them removed by a dermatology expert or somethin.

Anyhoo I got a point here just bear with me. You see I understand why lotsa folks in lotsa places all over the durned world want to become U.S. citizens. It makes sense. There’s a a lot to love and a lot of opportunity here even in the doldrums of the world economic disintigration.

Europeans and Asians and Latinos and Arabs and all of them…totally understand.

But I have to ask myself when an African is working hard to become an American……well…..

….isn’t that kinda like seeking a romantic relationship with the guy who raped your grandmother when she was a child?

Okay let the hate comments flow I guess but I had to get that offa my bosom.


34 Responses to “Things That Make Me Go Ummmm by Miz Pink”

  1. 1 Deacon Blue
    July 4, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Rarely do people lash out at you, Pink…so I suspect you’ll be fine.

    Of course, now that I’ve opened my big mouth… 😉

  2. July 4, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    gee, maybe i should just go back to poland/russia since america refused admittance to some of my cousins [ship of fools] sending them to certain death. that would certainly make helen thomas happy.

  3. 3 Inda Pink
    July 5, 2010 at 11:12 am

    I wasn’t saying folks should go back but what I was thinking was that people who are already here and have been mistreated historically and now too (Blacks, Native Americans, Mexicans) or had land swiped from them feel a reason to be here. People from lots of other spots might want to come here as immigrants even if their homelands had bad juju with the U.S. at some point.

    But blacks were snatched from Africa and dragged by the tens ‘o thousands to the U.S. and bred like cattle and denied any rights and blacks are still treated crappily overall. It’s that really nasty history and the crap that continues to happen that makes me wonder why any AFRICAN would want to come live here. I mean I understand WHY but it seems kinda dysfunctional to me ya know? Twisted kinda…

  4. July 6, 2010 at 11:14 am

    because despite it all, HERE is still better than THERE? yeah, i wonder why any jew would settle in germany or austria or even france.
    having spent some time recently traveling in the deep south, it was an eye-opener. it is still rebel yell in many places, don’t see anything except lily-white, no african-americans, no hispanics. i wondered why people kept checking my head, figured they were looking at my grey roots, then realized they were looking for horns, that i was the first, real live jew they’d met. i was real glad to get back to central florida, which i think is a suburb of new york…

  5. 5 Deacon Blue
    July 6, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Yee-Haaaaaaa, robyn!

    Son of Blue got a nice rebel yell from a local here in New England of all places. Only thing that kept a throwdown from happening was my wife stepping up and saying, “I am his mother.”

    Dude was ready to fight a 16-year-old 6-foot biracial guy but wasn’t prepared to go toe-to-toe with the 5-foot-5-inch black woman with locs.

    (I wasn’t there, btw, so no comments from the peanut gallery about why didn’t I step up) 😉

    As for the Jews’ horns, I was always taught in my CCD classes that they were retractable. (j/k…for all the Catholic Church’s faults, anti-Semitism doesn’t seem to have been high on their priority list in my lifetime)

  6. July 9, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    LOL-my oldest daught is in ohio at this moment. whenshe noticed her BF’s grandfather staring at the top of her head, she said: they only come out when i need them!

  7. 7 Deacon Blue
    July 9, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Now there’s a fine retort 🙂

  8. July 12, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    I like your boldness Mizz Pink! Speak a word! That’s a good damn question!

  9. 9 Inda Pink
    July 13, 2010 at 12:15 am

    Awww…thanks Anna. Of course the odds are with me that if I ramble enough I’m bound to ask a good question eventually 😉

  10. 10 David
    October 13, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Miss Pink, yeah,it has to be because this is the best place on earth, by comparison, to live. With all it’s faults, and all it’s past wrongs. You just have to understand, you too, Blue (are you a Catholic deacon??) despite the wrongs of the Catholic Church, even though the wrongs aren’t as bad as most people think they were (another subject), that nobody’s perfect, we’re all human and do weird stuff to each other at times. And we’re all suspicious of someone who’s ‘different from us’, even if we find out later that they’re pretty cool. I personally don’t think I have anything in common with that LA Ink lady, and I’m sure I’d get caught staring at all her body art, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I want to kill her, either.

  11. October 13, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    @ David:

    I was raised Catholic, but it never really “took” 😉

    My dad is reasonably devout, though he reads his Bible fairly regularly, which isn’t something I found to be very common among most Catholics, nor did I find many priests/pastors encouraging people to read the Bible. I really couldn’t get into the ceremony and ritual of it all, and even less so as an adult when I realized how much of that was extra-biblical and simply tacked on and…in some cases…pretty counter to biblical principles (confession to a priest, for example). I was pretty much agnostic for a long while. Started going to church again when I was dating the future Mrs. Blue (her father’s small non-denominational Protestant church…somewhat in Baptist mold) and that’s when I had my born-again experience and truly felt the holy spirit.

    Possibly more info than you needed, but a simple yes/no in this case didn’t seem to suffice.

  12. 12 David
    October 14, 2010 at 11:56 am

    When it comes to explaining faith, seldom is yes/no a sufficient response. On the ‘Catholics reading the Bible’ thing, I’d wager that at mass, we actually hear more of the Bible than Protestants, with the possible exception of Anglicans, Episcopalians and Lutherans. By the looks of you, and with what’s been coming out in the news, I believe that the Church in America was more concerned with putting butts in pews during your time as a Catholic, and trying the soft-sell approach (which I absolutely abhor, BTW-I looked for a long time to find a priest to challenge me in my faith, many Catholics don’t seem to want to be challenged, yet we all are by our very baptism). Also, your idea that the ritual of the Church is extra-biblical and tacked on, or counter to the Bible is absolutely wrong. You may not understand it, but the Bible supports, or at the least does not speak about, any Catholic practice you might want to talk about. The Catholic Church does nothing to contradict the Bible.
    I’m not going to try and convert you, but if you’d like me to clear up some of your misconceptions, I’d be very willing. I come from much the same place as you, in reverse. I went to Evangelical, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist churches growing up, and felt that all of these couldn’t be right, so let’s ignore the whole bunch and I’ll just be a believer. That just meant I was lazy. I married a Catholic, and spent 17 years as a tolerant husband. Finally, without God, our marriage was on the rocks, and I found I needed God in my life every day, and explored which way I could approach this. I chose Catholicism based on the historical basis for this faith, and see it as the Church Jesus instituted on Pentecost, 50 days after His resurrection. By the way, my marriage is strong now. We have weak moments, but if God is with us, who can be against us??? I think you can find my blog through my Gravatar, if you want to carry this to a different venue (not to hijack your blog).

  13. October 14, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Oh, geez…it won’t be the first time my blog has gotten hijacked and won’t be the last *chuckle*

    To be honest, as long as it doesn’t get out of hand or wildly off topic for an extended period, I welcome to occasional shift in subject in the comments area.

    I’ll try to remember to check out your blog soon when I’m past some deadline hurdles (as well as probably add you to my list of other blogs).

    I’m not against the Catholic Church per se, but I do think it’s become an institution that’s far too bureaucratized and far too enamored of being the final word on Christianity’s precepts (papal infallibility is a concept that chafes my hide something fierce). Many of the rituals and sacraments are biblical in origin, I admit, although perhaps more formalized and ritualized than need be. But the sacrament of reconciliation is one that I will never accept (the notion of needing an intermediary between the sinner and Jesus to arrange for forgiveness…and the notion of having Mary “intercede”)…and Lord, don’t get me started on the idea that Mary was a perpetual virgin. That’s a conceit of the Catholic Church that makes zero sense to me.

    My attitude has always been that a person can come to Christ as easily in Catholicism as he or she can in any other denomination, but I really do feel that the Vatican puts up a lot of roadblocks.

    Your point about more scripture during Mass as opposed to Protestant services is probably generally true, but still, I don’t see a lot of Catholics opening Bibles in my life outside of church compared to Protestants. And frankly, I’ll take a single Bible reading and a meaty sermon over two or three Bible passage readings and a very short homily (the latter pretty much describing every Mass I’ve ever attended) any day.

    But as with so many things in life, personal preferences are important, and that’s largely why we need so many different churches. It took more than 6 years after Mrs. Blue and I moved out to New England from Chicago to find a church home in which we felt truly welcomed and comfortable.

  14. 14 David
    October 14, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Ok,3 2 1 go! I didn’t think you were against the Church, I just think you have misconceptions, or misperceptions, and that’s partly Catholicism’s fault. Much of it is also because today, we live in a sound-bite world. I’m not trying to trap with these questions, but Protestants and Catholics often use the same words for different things, and I want to be sure we’re not talking past each other. So when you can, could you tell me what you think ‘papal infallibility’ is?
    Regarding the sacrament of reconciliation, that is strictly Biblical. Confession to a priest goes back to our understanding of Jesus’ words to the apostles in John 20:21-23 also the teaching of Paul that Christ has given MEN the ministry and word of reconciliation in 2 Cor 5:18-20. Confession of sins by itself is clearly taught in James 5:14-16 and 1 John 1:7-9.
    Regarding intercessory prayer, you might ask me or a friend to pray for you while you’re going through some trial. Asking MAry’s intercession is the same thing. Of course you realize that the saints and Mary are all alive, right?
    How is the belief that Mary is a perpetual virgin ‘conceit of the Catholic Church’? It’s honor to her. How is this so ridiculous to you?
    Roadblocks? When I converted, I basically went to faith formation for 8 months, one night a week, and to mass every Sunday. I was then accepted. Pretty much the same for everyone. In fact, I believe the process should be two years…but that’s me.
    What ‘many Catholics’ do versus what the Church promotes are two different things. Granted, most Catholics don’t pick up the Bible. But they are encouraged to do so. Regarding the readings and homily, the reason for a shorter homily is unknown to me, but I do believe that you don’t have to be wordy to get a point across. A homily is meant to explain the readings in the context of our time. I know, many homilies leave something to be desired. But this brings us to ‘What’s the point of Mass?’ Mass is where we worship God by listening to His word, and by doing what He asked us to do (John 6 and 1 Cor 11) in receiving his body and blood.
    Regarding needing so many churches, I wonder if you can explain why? Jesus only instituted one Church…
    Take your time…we’re all busy these days…

  15. October 14, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Let’s work backward.

    Very true that Jesus established one church…one body of faith, as it were.

    But as is clear from Paul’s epistles, different communities and home-based churches…congregations, if you will…had different styles and characters. Denominations are no different. On a smaller level, a small-C church itself, the people who gather at them bring different vibes, as do the people who work in the church.

    Your experience may be different than mine, but I went to many different Catholic churches in my life…the only place that reading the Bible was ever encouraged was in CCD classes, and then according to a lesson plan. In contrast, every Protestant church I have attended has involved encouragement to read more beyond the sermon, and to read more than the stuff covered that Sunday. In fact, I daresay the Protestant Reformation was driven in large part by the Vatican’s insistence on keeping the Bible in the hands of priest and out of the hand of worshippers. Obviously, it’s not like that today, but I think the “tradition” of feeding the faithful the Word and not encouraging them to explore it and find personal meaning (and personal interpretation in it) endures.

    And the intrepretation part brings me to papal infallibility, which to my mind (and from everything I’ve been taught) says that the pope’s word is God’s word. There is no acceptance that I’ve seen that the pope is, in the end, a man with his own foibles, prejudices and agendas, both conscious and unconscious. One pope suggests that birth control might not be so bad, and another will come along and say that using a condom is a sin against God. And yet both are said to be speaking for God, even though one got overruled by another.

    Confessing one’s sins to a brother in Christ is a way of opening up about one’s failings and getting support. But the forgiveness comes from a person asking Christ (and God) to forgive. All that I’ve been taught is that you need to go to the priest to get that forgivness, and he doles out some “fine” in essence (a task or some Hail Marys) for you to clean the slate. A priest can be a helper, a counselor and a guide, but human intercession between a sinner and God is not biblical. Jesus’ sacrifice was to establish that link between sinner and God…not to establish a link for sinner to go to priest to go to God for him/her.

    As for Mary being a perpetual virgin…why? If God is so possessive of that womb, why have her be married to Joseph at all? In a time when having a male heir is so important to Jews, why would God deny Joseph the chance to sire one or more heirs, since God knows Jesus is going to have a different path and die early? Why would Mary fail to be a wife in all ways? God could have skipped marriage entirely for her and kept her to Himself. But God isn’t a husband, David. He was Jesus’ father, and Mary was Jesus’ mother. There is no logical reason for her to remain a virgin once Jesus is born. After he is born, her task is to raise him and to be a member of her family and her community. Being married includes things like sex and having kids in those days even more than in today’s age.

  16. 16 David
    October 15, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    One body of faith, correct. But most Protestant denominations disagree on fundamentals, so how can you say it’s one body of faith? Even as you describe the churches St. Paul established, they were all established by St. Paul, and he taught the same way in each of them, so that they all had the one cohesive faith. Protestants can’t agree on what baptism means, or how to do it, or to what degree is the bread and wine (grape juice) representative of Christ, and much more. St. Paul confesses all of these things. Catholicism does nothing to deny styles of worship, as long as they held to the basic tenents. Even now, there are 22 rites aside from the Latin rite, all have different customs. But all look to Rome for guidance (this is a simple statement, but encompasses a whole lot more).
    Regarding reading the Bible, while I know that most people don’t, that’s not to say that the church doesn’t encourage it. And to say that the Catholic Church wanted to keep the Bible in the hands of priests is plain wrong. Keep in mind when the printing press first came into existence, how expensive printing books was in those days, and the literacy of the general population. The cost of books was prohibitive for general people to own a book (in fact, the library at Cambridge at the time had less than 100, more like less than 20 if memory serves. Education in that time seldom included teaching people to read.
    Regarding Papal Infallibility, your concept is incorrect. In fact, the charism of papla infallibility has only been used a few times in 2000 years. The pope is only infallible when he is teaching the whole church, and only in matters of faith and morals. Regarding that, you also have to understand the hierarchy, that all bishops have apostolic succession, that Jesus promised his apostles the Holy Spirit to ensure that the deposit of faith never gets polluted or off-track, and that the Pope and the bishops today have received that gift as well. But if the pope was inerrant (which is what I think you’re substituting for infallible) he could predict the stock market, and make a killing in the NFL. He’s not inerrant, he’s not impeccable (which mean perfectly clean), and he is human. I’d like you to tell me what pope said that contraception might not be so bad, please. I don’t believe any pope ever said any such thing.
    Regarding the interpretation of scripture, we take our interpretation from those who learned from the apostles themselves, who learned from Jesus Himself. Any interpretation that goes against what the early Church Fathers held is usually not held to be THE interpretation, though it might be said that it could be AN interpretation. For example, I’ve heard it said that, at the Sermon on the Mount, the feeding of the 5000, the REAL miracle was that people shared their food with each other, so Jesus didn’t actually multiply the loaves and the fishes. But we look back to the ancient documents and sermons of Iranaeus or Polycarp, or Ignatius, all of which would never hold such a thing. Jesus multiplied the loaves and the fishes. This is also how we know what John 6 means…
    Regarding confession, it is only God that can forgive sins, the priest actually says “I absolve you…”, but he is speaking in the person of Christ, a gift from the Holy Spirit bestowed at his ordination.
    Regarding Mary’s perpetual virginity, the early Fathers said that Mary was a consecrated virgin. When you’re consecrated, you’re set apart. Permanently. We get this from the apocryphal work The Protoevangelium of James. Also Mary is said to be the type of the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark held the Commandments, manna from heaven, and the staff of Aaron, signifying the Word of God, the Bread of Life and the Royal Priesthood. Mary was the fulfillment of that type. There is much more to it than that, if you want to know, but I don’t want to go too far into it. Truly, if you don’t accept this, you won’t accept anything I say. But it is all relevant to the time and the sacredness of Jesus.

  17. October 15, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Well, David, I know you’re not trying to convert me and even if you were, it wouldn’t happen. Nor am I trying to convert you.

    But I do believe you are buying into the story the Vatican wants told, which consolidates its authority. For one thing, your view of the centuries ago Catholic church is a bit rosy. They were all about enforcing a certain view, and that view was often highly self-serving in terms of power, not uplifting people’s spirits. To be honest, much of the Roman Catholic Church’s history is abyssmal and a poor reflection of what Jesus would have wanted.

    Interpretation is part and parcel of dealing with the Bible, and you can’t fall back to a “what the early apostles said” defense because with the multiple translations and the passage of time, there are two big problems. One, the language and original subtleties of language have been corrupted such that it isn’t always all that clear what was meant. Two, times change and it becomes a challenge with many things to “know” how it would have been perceived by Jesus or the apostles.

    I must also point out that the apostles themselves had differences of opinion on how to do things…sometimes very fundamental rules. So human foibles came into play early on, even after Jesus’ teachings and between the resurrection and ascension.

    The Catholic Church itself has internal fragmentations, as evidenced by the fact the American Catholics often disagree vehemently with Rome. Protestant differentation is simply more striking because there are more denominations. Also, even when there is fundamental agreements, different denominations or non-denominational churches will focus on different aspects of the faith.

  18. October 15, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Oh, and I’m just going to leave the Mary issue alone. That’s one of the reasons I cannot take the Vatican seriously and I see no biblical support for the idea that she is perpetually virginal…nor any reason to suppose why her value and purity could only be maintained by her shunning the marriage bed with her husband.

  19. 19 David
    October 15, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Actually, my ‘conception’ of the Church in the 1500’s is realistic. I know there have always been men on earth running the church, and that men make mistakes. And I am not trying to sweep the church’s mistakes under any rug. I do think much of what is criticized about the Church is misunderstanding or overstatement. (Examples please? That’s a broad topic!) But while you may think that I’m looking through rose colored glasses, I think much of the world looks at the Church’s history through polarized lenses.

    Christ created his church. One church, not to be fragmented-that’s what he said. And regardless of man’s interpretation of what Christ said, what we know is what Christ promised. He promised one Church, with Peter as the head of his church, sinful man though he was. He also told his apostles that the gates of hell would not prevail against his church and he promised to send the Holy Spirit to protect the church from teaching error. The Catholic Church is holy because our founder, Jesus, is holy, not because of Peter or any human. The splits away from mother Church happened because men decided to follow what they thought as opposed to what Christ taught. You say the apostles had differences, but they didn’t have differences in what the faith is. Having disagreements is human, but the problem with humanity has always been that we want to do it our way, rather than God’s way. The point is, what the Catholic Church teaches is and always has been consistent. How people practice what the Catholic Church teaches cannot be seen that way. That’s exactly where Martin Luther went wrong, along with the other reformers.
    Can you do me a favor? If you’re going to say that the apostles had disagreements about some very fundamental rules, some examples might be helpful.

  20. 20 thewordofme
    October 15, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Hello Deacon and David,

    Well Deacon you have bit off a really big piece of it I see…good luck.

    To David: I posit to you that the Catholic Church is pure evil. There have been pedophile priests in service all over the world and down through time. The criminal priests are sanctioned and moved to a new diocese, while women who merely try to be priests are ex-communicated. The church has no concept of how much their dogma hurts people and the planet we live on. The church has no concept of real right and wrong and is mostly immoral.

    Just a passing thought.


  21. October 16, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Don’t get me wrong, David…I’m not saying that the apostles were all screwed up and totally confused. My point in part is that nothing about the early church suggests that they all “knew” the answers, despite having the Holy Spirit and the direct teachings of Christ. Also, nothing about the early church suggests that Jesus wanted a “pope.”

    Look, the apostles couldn’t agree on whether the followers of Christ were supposed to follow Jewish laws and holidays, for crying out loud. Paul ended up marching to Jerusalem at one point to chastise Peter on the direction he was going with things. And there, again, a big problem. Peter is seen as the first “pope” and it is now assumed that all popes who have followed are in his tradition. Yet we get the bulk of our church doctrine in an institutional sense from Paul, not Peter.

    Face it: The papacy as it stands now began with the institutionalization of the church under Constantine and was solidified thereafter. The Vatican does not, to me, resemble in any way what the apostles and early church stood for. Not at all. That is not to say that there haven’t been some very positive things to come out of the Catholic Church. But even leaving aside TWOM’s very valid point about active and intentional elevation of reputation and authority over the lives of abused parishioners, there are many abuses as well. We’re not talking mere human failings…but outright abuses of power. And these are people we’re supposed to trust on matters of faith and doctrine? They who sit in a gilded bloated castle in Rome? That is so un-Christlike it’s not even funny. It eclipses even the Protestants mega-churches…and I have plenty bad to say about them as well.

    I have other points of yours that I need to address from your comments, and I will…but I needed to get that off my chest initially.

  22. October 18, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Now, back to some of those other issues I let sit while I went into weekend mode and deadline recovery mode, David. 🙂

    First, my apologies. My memory with historical events isn’t always the best. I was confusing the issues of Vatican II, having thought for some reason that there was earlier papal support of some reversal of contraceptive policies that got derailed in that process. However, in reeducating myself, I found equally disturbing information, which was that the pope convened a council to investigate and study that issue, and the clear majority opinion was that contraception could, at least some types of it, be easily reconciled and justified within the faith. The pope ignored that to make the minority opinion the moral law of the church. Considering that papal infallability is supposed to be in line with the various councils of the church, from what I’ve read, that is further erosion of the value of papal infallability. He simply wanted a certain outcome, and ignored all the hard work and studies of those he appointed to the task to (supposedly) find truth.

    And, frankly, while I can understand arguments against some forms of birth control, making the condom out to be against God is ridiculous. The arguments don’t wash. The condom is not all that different from the rhythm method or coitus interruptis, both of which are also designed to prevent sperm and egg from meeting in the first place, and which have limited value because of the ease with which human error can muck up the process. And with HIV/AIDS being such a scourge, the church’s stance against condom usage is not only illogical but also morally repugnant.

    As for examples of the Vatican’s evils? Many of them are overstated?

    Five crusades? At least one inquisition? A pope who died of a heart attack while engaging in sexual intercourse with a male page. The existence for a long time of a Vatican military…which was used violently to help secure more land to increase the church’s influence and wealth? The east-west schism, during which we had two popes who excommunicated each other (granted, that wasn’t evil…just more proof that the popes are not divinely sanctioned in any way). In modern times, the suppression of sexual abuses so that priests wouldn’t have to face the rightful judgment of civil authorities, to whom Jesus told us to be obedient.

    Need I go on? I can go do some digging and find way more, I’m sure.

    The Vatican is NOT part of Jesus’ plan. Since the Vatican controls the Catholic Church, this fundamentally flawed and human-created monstrosity of grasping and controlling bureaucracy and the worst kind of ivory tower thinking corrupts much of what the church should stand for, and stains the entire faith.

    Catholicism isn’t evil, but the power structure that runs the church is very self-serving and so devoted to ritual and pomp that it can’t get its collective head out of its ass long enough to properly do the kind of work Jesus called us to do.

  23. 23 David
    October 19, 2010 at 11:54 am

    To “thewordofme”, the Catholic Church is holy because of Jesus, not because of what men on earth do. Jesus invited a traitor into his inner circle, Peter denied Jesus, James and John competed for the title of ‘best apostle’. This shows that men are, by nature, sinful, yes, including priests, bishops and popes. That does not make the whole institution that Jesus created evil, sorry.

  24. 24 David
    October 19, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Deacon Blue, to your 8:38 post,
    In spite of having the Holy Spirit (the spirit of God who is truth) indwelling them, you don’t think they received the truth or were told what Christ meant by what he said? OK, then don’t.
    Jesus bestowed the office of pope, if not the name, on Peter in Matthew 16:18-20, and in that passage foretold a single church that the gates of hell would not prevail against. I think if you examine all the times in the Bible where God changed someone’s name, it was for a purpose. Peter’s purpose was told to him by Jesus.

    Granted that many issues needed to be hammered out, but that doesn’t change the basic facts of the faith. Paul went to Jerusalem to meet Peter for the first time (read Galatians), he didn’t know what was going on in Jerusalem, he was out in the Syrian desert and in Tarsus. But when there was a fundamental disagreement, all the apostles met (seems Paul wasn’t part of the apostles yet), came to an agreement, and Peter ratified it, then it became Church law. This was the first church council. And this is the model for all 22 councils since then.

    Finally, you said “The Vatican does not, to me, resemble in any way what the apostles and early church stood for. ” Neither does an oak tree resemble an acorn. Granted the Church has grown over the centuries, but we still base our beliefs on a deeper understanding of what the Apostles believed and wrote.

    As I said to TWOM, Jesus recruited sinners to be his followers, and one betrayed him, two tried to make themselves more powerful, and Peter denied he knew Jesus. Does that change one iota of the faith that Jesus handed down? It’s because of Jesus that the Church is holy, not because of the pope, or the bishops or the priests. But a pope has never taught error in matters of faith and morals, the body of bishops in concert with the pope has never taught error in matters of faith and morals. This is the gift of the Holy Spirit. What a relative few priests and bishops did in the child abuse scandal is like a cancer that needs to be removed, to be sure, but that doesn’t make the institution or what she practices in her faith any less valid.
    Regarding the legalization of Catholicism (don’t forget the earliest Christians were persecuted, and outlaws) by Constantine has little to do with the institution of the papacy. We have letters from other bishops which name the line of popes before that. Constantine gave us a blessing and a curse-we could practice our faith without having to remain secret, but at the same time, he and his successors wanted a quid pro quo, they wanted something from the Church, which varied from person to person.

  25. 25 David
    October 19, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Regarding contraception, which council and pope was that? Please? I appreciate that you’re studying these things, but I want to see what you’re taliking about.
    The Church also, fulfilling the role given it by Christ as the identifier and interpreter of apostolic Scripture and apostolic tradition, has constantly condemned contraception as gravely sinful.

    In Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI stated, “[W]e must once again declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun, and, above all, directly willed and procured abortion, even if for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as licit means of regulating birth. Equally to be excluded, as the teaching authority of the Church has frequently declared, is direct sterilization, whether perpetual or temporary, whether of the man or of the woman. Similarly excluded is every action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” (Humanae Vitae 14).

    This was reiterated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil” (CCC 2370). “Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means . . . for example, direct sterilization or contraception” (CCC 2399).

    The Church also has affirmed that the illicitness of contraception is an infallible doctrine: “The Church has always taught the intrinsic evil of contraception, that is, of every marital act intentionally rendered unfruitful. This teaching is to be held as definitive and irreformable. Contraception is gravely opposed to marital chastity, it is contrary to the good of the transmission of life (the procreative aspect of matrimony), and to the reciprocal self-giving of the spouses (the unitive aspect of matrimony); it harms true love and denies the sovereign role of God in the transmission of human life” (Vademecum for Confessors 2:4, Feb. 12, 1997).
    Regarding the crusades, their intent, that of the pope, was not evil. What happened certainly had impact which was not sanctioned by the church. The initial purpose was to protect Christians visiting the Holy Land, which had been invaded by the Muslims. What actually happened, at the hands of the armies which were led by secular rulers, was different.
    Regarding the inquisiton, what is wrong with holding a judicial court? What does “inquisition” mean? What is an “inquiry” in today’s judicial system? That is exactly waht was being done in all the inquisitons. Were there abuses? Yes, just as there are in today’s judicial system. But you must understand, the purpose of the inquisitions were primarily to weed out people who converted to Christianity insincerely. If you really look at what the inquisitors did, you will find that seldom were people killed or tortured, they were mostly imprisoned or released for lack of evidence. You’d also be surprised to know that some people proclaimed heresy when the secular authorities were hunting them down for secular crimes. Why? Because the Church was more lenient than the secular authorities…
    Regarding this pope, while he committed sin in many ways, he never taught error in faith and morals (there have been popes who did bad things, but a pope has never taught error, that’s the only way he’s protected by the Holy Spirit). In the east-west schism, there were not two popes, there was one pope and a patriarch of Constantinople, and that they excommunicated each other is false. I believe they excommunicated the messengers.
    The claim that the Church is the Church Christ founded has nothing to do with the actions of men. It’s the teachings of men, in obedience to the teaching of Christ that makes the Church what it is.
    How can you say that the Vatican is not what Jesus wanted? Did He tell you? He wanted the Church to go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News, which is exactly what the mission of the Church is. I can agree with you that some of the men who come to serve the church are self-serving-that is a human trait. Regardless of what we promise, we are nearly always going to fail. Again, the Catholic Church is holy because of Jesus, not because of men. Even the Holy Father, the Pope, goes to confession every week. Why? Because the Church must be in the world to serve the world, and the world is corrupted.

  26. October 19, 2010 at 4:39 pm


    After this last post, I’m going to simply drop the debate and agree to disagree, since I’m pretty sure you won’t agree in any way.

    First, Vatican II/Humanae Vitae:
    In 1963, Pope John XXIII convened a papal commission to working on a new statement on marriage as part of the Second Vatican Council and update the teachings of the Catholic church. After Pope John XXIII died, the commission was continued by his successor, Pope Paul VI, who also expanded its membership.

    The commission studied the history of Catholic teachings on contraception and found that many of the scientific and theological underpinnings of the prohibition on contraception were faulty or outdated, and the commission voted overwhelmingly to recommend that the church rescind its ban on artificial contraception. Clearly not happy with that, the pope changed things up, and for the last meeting of the commission in 1965, the Vatican demoted the commission members to “experts” and brought in 15 bishops to make the final report instead.

    Even the bishops, in looking at the research, testimony, and evidence, voted nine to three to change the teaching, with three bishops abstaining. The official report of the commission said the teaching on birth control was not infallible; that the traditional basis for the prohibition on contraception–the biblical story of Onan and his spilled seed–had been interpreted incorrectly in the past; that the regulation of fertility was necessary for responsible parenthood and could properly be accomplished by intervening with natural processes; and, finally, that the morality of marriage was not based on “the direct fecundity of each and every particular act,” but on mutual love within the totality of marriage.

    Pope Paul completely ignored the work and recommendations of his own commission, despite a vote by 30 of the 35 commission’s lay members, 15 of the 19 theologians and nine of 12 bishops that the teaching be changed. Instead, he went with the minority report and said that because the positive finding on contraceptives disagreed with previous teaching–the teaching could not be changed without unanimous approval…despite the fact that no such requirement had ever been in place for any of the other issues discussed by the Vatican Council.

    Now, if that doesn’t sway your thinking about papal infallibility, I don’t know what will.

    Final words from me:

    That you can say Jesus’ establishment of Peter as his “rock” translates into Jesus wanting a succession of popes acting like they were all divinely ordained (when it fact it’s political the manner in which they are chosen)…plus the fact that you can gloss over FIVE crusades, the Vatican’s use of armed force to secure land/wealth, AND the inquisition periods at all (much less the Spanish Inquisition, which is what I was really referring to) with such faith in the Vatican’s good intentions is proof that you have no room in your heart to question the leadership of the Catholic Church.

    Clearly you believe they are totally guided by the Holy Spirit and that Catholicism is the one true path and the one Jesus intended.

    I do not agree with this position, I cannot ignore the clear evidence of human desires overriding Jesus’ teachings in the church leadership (and that’s not just Catholicism, mind your, where I witness and abhor that), and I cannot continue to beat my head against a wall.

    I acknowledge that the Catholic Church has done much good, but you seem willing to ignore the vast evil that has been done, and much of it with the sanction of (or at the behest of) the Vatican. If you can ignore all that and write it off as all being the will of God and minor human weaknesses, then there is no room for us to debate.

    My spiritual journey has been one that has taught me over and over to return to Jesus first, and to question the doctrine that has been institutionalized and sometimes perverted. You seem willing to put your faith in the Vatican as the people to tell YOU what Jesus meant.

    Jesus’ words are already there for us to follow. I will let no pastor, preacher, priest or otherwise dictate to me…provide their insights, yes. Guide me, yes. Uplift me, yes. Tell me to do what they say because they say they are the divine heirs of Peter’s legacy.

    No. Never.

  27. October 19, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    BTW, there’s something else I should say, now that I’ve just gotten done with my final rebuttal to David’s thoughts (and no, that doesn’t mean he can’t comment more or that no one else can…it just means that my post above will be the last word to have to David on this particular matter. I’ve gotten pretty good at knowing when a discussion has turned into some kind of circular madness on the part of both parties, and want to stop myself before I cause that to occur)

    Anyway, I wanted to address TWOM’s “pure evil” comment. I am not willing to say that the Vatican is pure evil, much less the entire Catholic Church (and there IS a distinction) based on sexual abuse by priests. What it points to is an institutional and insulated mindset that allows evil decisions to be made. To say it’s evidence of pure evil is like saying that financial abuses over the past decade or so that nearly tanked the world’s economy make the entire banking industry “pure evil.”

    There are plenty of reasons to criticize the Vatican without turning it into a teeming nest of demons. Likewise, we cannot demonize all of Islam based on the teachings of certain Islamic sects (Shia vs. Sunni, for example, are QUITE different) and even less so by the actions of terrorists who account for a tiny fraction of Muslims.

  28. 28 David
    October 19, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Actual history: In 1963, Pope John XXIII established a commission of six European non-theologians to study questions of birth control and population. After John’s death in 1963, Pope Paul VI added theologians to the commission and over three years expanded it to 72 members from five continents (including 16 theologians, 13 physicians and five women without medical credentials, with an executive committee of 16 bishops, including seven cardinals. The commission was an advisory commission, not a decision-making commission. They were to ensure that the Pope had a full knowledge of the problem and to help him express the Church teaching. Pope Paul VI looked at the report of the commission and declared it defective. How could he do otherwise? The ordinary universal magisterium has always condemned artificial contraception. And more importantly, pre-Christian Judaism also condemned artificial contraception as immoral. The Catholic Church has never relaxed a moral teaching that it received from Judaism (in the case of divorce, the Church tightened the moral teaching of Judaism, and went back to what God originally intended for men and women). It is inconceivable that the Catholic Church will ever profess anything but the highest and most sublime moral standards, because the Church exists to bring humans to perfection, not compromise.

    Pope Paul VI formally addressed the whole church in Humanae Vitae, and in that encyclical he spoke these words: “Therefore, having attentively sifted the documentation laid before us, after mature reflection and assiduous prayers, we now intend, by virtue of the mandate entrusted to us by Christ, to give our reply to these grave questions … “.
    Paul VI was right, and that’s one reason why I know papal infallibility is right. Contraception is morally wrong. It takes away one or both of the reasons why God gave us sex.

    Regarding Peter, the rock and first Pope, if that was the only evidence, I might not believe it either. But there’s plenty: There is ample evidence in the New Testament that Peter was first in authority among the apostles. Whenever they were named, Peter headed the list (Matt. 10:1-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16, Acts 1:13); sometimes the apostles were referred to as “Peter and those who were with him” (Luke 9:32). Peter was the one who generally spoke for the apostles (Matt. 18:21, Mark 8:29, Luke 12:41, John 6:68-69), and he figured in many of the most dramatic scenes (Matt. 14:28-32, Matt. 17:24-27, Mark 10:23-28). On Pentecost it was Peter who first preached to the crowds (Acts 2:14-40), and he worked the first healing in the Church age (Acts 3:6-7). It is Peter’s faith that will strengthen his brethren (Luke 22:32) and Peter is given Christ’s flock to shepherd (John 21:17). An angel was sent to announce the resurrection to Peter (Mark 16:7), and the risen Christ first appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34). He headed the meeting that elected Matthias to replace Judas (Acts 1:13-26), and he received the first converts (Acts 2:41). He inflicted the first punishment (Acts 5:1-11), and excommunicated the first heretic (Acts 8:18-23). He led the first council in Jerusalem (Acts 15), and announced the first dogmatic decision (Acts 15:7-11). It was to Peter that the revelation came that Gentiles were to be baptized and accepted as Christians (Acts 10:46-48).
    At their first meeting, Christ told Simon that his name would thereafter be Peter, which translates as “Rock” (John 1:42). The startling thing was that—aside from the single time that Abraham is called a “rock” (Hebrew: Tsur; Aramaic: Kepha) in Isaiah 51:1-2—in the Old Testament only God was called a rock. The word rock was not used as a proper name in the ancient world.
    When he first saw Simon, “Jesus looked at him, and said, ‘So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas (which means Peter)’” (John 1:42). The word Cephas is merely the transliteration of the Aramaic Kepha into Greek. Later, after Peter and the other disciples had been with Christ for some time, they went to Caesarea Philippi, where Peter made his profession of faith: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). Jesus told him that this truth was specially revealed to him, and then he solemnly reiterated: “And I tell you, you are Peter” (Matt. 16:18). To this was added the promise that the Church would be founded, in some way, on Peter (Matt. 16:18).

    Then two important things were told the apostle. “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:19). Here Peter was singled out for the authority that provides for the forgiveness of sins and the making of disciplinary rules. Later the apostles as a whole would be given similar power [Matt.18:18], but here Peter received it in a special sense.

    Peter alone was promised something else also: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 16:19). In ancient times, keys were the hallmark of authority. A walled city might have one great gate; and that gate had one great lock, worked by one great key. To be given the key to the city—an honor that exists even today, though its import is lost—meant to be given free access to and authority over the city. The city to which Peter was given the keys was the heavenly city itself. This symbolism for authority is used elsewhere in the Bible (Is. 22:22, Rev. 1:18).

    But go ahead, ignore the truth. I believe Jesus, he told us that the Holy Spirit would guide his ONE church. Jesus did not say that we would all be zombies and blindly obey, we still have free will, even priests, bishops and cardinals. The fact that they are ordained does not take away their humanity or their failings. But there has never been a pope who taught error in faith and morals. There have been liars, adulterers, cheats, and so on in the papal offices, but never has one pope taught error.
    I didn’t gloss over any of the sour eras we’ve had in the Catholic Church. By the way, there have been 12 crusades, best as I can see. Certainly, people have done bad things in the name of Jesus. Does Jim Bakker ring a bell or how about Jimmy Swaggart? Yes, the Pope inspired armies to overrun the holy land to protect the Christians that were living there and visiting on pilgrimage, and yes, the soldiers that went there did horrendous acts in the name of Christianity. That doesn’t change the fact that the purpose of the Crusades was good. What, you want to say that all war is bad? Then pooh on the Muslims as they overran all of Northern Africa and Spain, into France for 700 years. Pooh on the Bible itself, which speaks of wars between the Jews and the Philistines, to name one, and the holy war in Revelation. And shame on the Church for having a judicial system. SHAME! And shame on the Church for owning land and trying to hold on to it!
    I never said the Church was sinless. I never made that claim. Most people who mention the Inquisition seem to think the Catholic Church killed hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. Most people think the Crusades was a land grab by the Church. It’s just not true. In fact, most people lump all modern priests together when they think of the pedophile priest scandal. I’m only saying it’s not what ‘everyone thinks it is’, and in regard to what’s reported about the Catholic Church, it seldom is.
    I’m not here to try and convert you. I’m here to help you educate yourself. Try to see both sides. What was the reason for the Crusades? Why did the Pope gather an army to go to the Holy Land? What really transpired? Certainly, an army that commits a wholesale slaughter is not doing the will of God, nor is it doing the will of the Church. I acknowledge my Church’s mistakes, and cheer her successes. You say that you will ‘let no pastor, preacher, priest or otherwise dictate to you…” What church has the power to do such a thing? Let me ask you this…do you tithe? If you do, that’s a dictate from your church. Do you go to church on Sunday? That is a dictate from your church. Our priests, bishops and the pope are our servants, as Jesus said, the last shall be first, and the first shall be last. The Church does give us rules to live by, known as the 10 commandments. And the Church tells us that, if we purposefully disobey one of those rules, it could be hell for us. The Church also shows God’s mercy by giving us a way to come back to communion with God. Our priests and hierarchy are there to challenge us to always be a better person, to respect every human life. They tell us what we should do, (which is really what we must do to attain heaven), but they know we are free to choose our own way.
    You can end this here, if you want, you chose to allow it, you’re free. Just don’t believe everything you hear about the Catholic Church. The Church is what Christ taught, not how some carry it out.

  29. 29 David
    October 19, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Also, just to be clear, I didn’t ever say that Protestants were not part of what Christ founded-his Church. What I am saying is that the Catholic Church has the fullness of the truth. Protestants also have some of the truth, maybe even most of the truth. But Jesus said “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, you have no life in you.” Only Catholics eat that flesh…

  30. October 19, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    The reason that I want to stop participating in the discussion is not because I don’t appreciate debate or education. I want you to know that.

    But it is clear that no matter what I bring to the table, you are going to dig in deeper and defend the Vatican all the more forcefully. You position is one of inflexibility. You trust the Vatican and believe it is the defender of Jesus’ truths and teachings and that whatever comes out of it in terms of edict has virtually come from Jesus’ lips. From a position like that, there can be no discussion, because you will give no ground.

    The basis of my spiritual growth and the manner in which I have come closer to Jesus’ teachings and centering on HIM is precisely because I have allowed myself not to give full faith and trust to institutions or leaders who tell people what Jesus REALLY meant…whether Catholic, Protestant, or otherwise.

    If your position of faith in the Vatican gives you strength and allows you to best serve Christ, so be it. But there’s no more place for discussion and debate on this, because we are not going to see this from a common-enough perspective for meaningful dialogue to ensue.

    There may be many other topics we can discuss…but the Vatican and the role of the Catholic Church are clearly not among them. You see the Catholic church as THE body and soul of the faith. I see it as a part of the body that is the church of Christ.


  31. October 19, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    On, and as for the Crusades, I believe there were nine officially, not five as I noted or 12 as you did. I tend, however, to think of the last several as one crusade because of the rather tight timeframe. As I said, history (particularly ancient history) is not my forte.

  32. 32 thewordofme
    October 19, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Hello David, I hope you are well.

    Deacon writes to you”
    “The Vatican is NOT part of Jesus’ plan. Since the Vatican controls the Catholic Church, this fundamentally flawed and human-created monstrosity of grasping and controlling bureaucracy and the worst kind of ivory tower thinking corrupts much of what the church should stand for, and stains the entire faith.”
    I might add…”stains the entire earth”

    Can we get a BIG Amen to the above statement by Deacon!! 🙂
    And Deacon we cannot forget the Catholic Church killed a million or two “witches” in the middle ages after they had tolerated them for centuries.

    And they committed genocide against many religious groups of the early times. Consider the following excerpt from http://www.halexandria.org/dward220.htm

    “Unlike those crusades whereupon Christians had descended upon infidels, however, the Albigensian Crusade of 1209 consisted of some thirty thousand knights and foot soldiers from northern Europe descending like a whirlwind on the Languedoc — the mountainous northeastern foothills of the Pyrenees in what is now southern France. And incidentally, wherein lies the town of Rennes-le-Chateau (which keeps cropping up in this history).

    The extermination of populations, cities and crops occasioned by the Albigensian Crusade was extensive enough so as to constitute what might be called the first “genocide” in modern European history. In one town, for example, fifteen thousand men, women, and children were slaughtered wholesale — many of them in the sanctuary of the church. When an officer inquired of the Pope’s representative how he might distinguish heretics from true believers, the reply was, “Kill them all. God will recognize his own.”

    The crusade, or war, lasted for nearly forty years. Having been called by the Pope himself, its participants wore a cross on their tunics, like crusaders in Palestine, and their rewards were imminently spiritual, i.e. remission of all sins, an expiation of penances, an assured place in Heaven, and all the booty one could plunder. At least, they had their priorities.

    What did the people of the Languedoc do to deserve such a crusade? The Languedoc practiced a civilized, easy-going religious tolerance, much like Byzantium. In contrast to the fanatical zeal that characterized other parts of Europe, the Languedoc was a place where learning and philosophy flourished, poetry and courtly love were extolled, and Greek, Arabic and Hebrew were enthusiastically studied.”

    Then there was the “Hundred Year War”

    I don’t think the Catholic religion was ever guided by a real God. It has been (one might argue…still is) one of the most corrupt and deadly institutions the earth has ever seen. They say they have all these “truths” and literature behind them, but one mustn’t forget the Catholics had sole possession of all New Testament writings for a thousand years.
    I just can’t imagine Jesus abiding in the Catholic Church all these two thousand or so years; Can you? Imagine Him watching the Popes screw around with their whores and young boys and plot all the deaths and destruction they caused, and all the many many pedophiles do their nasty stuff in the churches. I see no real religion or spirituality there.

    I believe it’s time for the Catholic Church to be shut down.


  33. 33 David
    October 20, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Deacon, I don’t at all defend the actions that people took in the name of Jesus, whether they were priests, soldiers, bishops, popes or whatever. What I am saying is that, if you dive into the subject a little deeper, you begin to see details that aren’t apparent from superficial study. Just as many details of our planet are not very apparent from the moon. Certainly, men have been doing things in the name of God forever, when it was really in the name of men. What I have been saying constantly is that the Catholic Church is holy because of her founder, Jesus, not because of the pope or any human being. Even our holiest saints are sinners. We just accept that you can be a sinner, submit yourself to God’s mercy, and be embraced by Him. The number of crusades is up for debate because some melted into others, as you say. At any rate, you’re right, I believe the teachings of our Popes comes from God Himself, the Holy Spirit. Only the teachings on faith and morals. That’s where the Pope has any authority. And you’re right. God is immutable. Unchanging. He cannot change because he is all truth, all powerful, Creator. Jesus is God as well, so he has the same characteristics, as is the Holy Spirit. The Catholic Church has not changed anything that Jesus taught his apostles. Only Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, etc. and their followers have done that. In fact, had Luther been patient, the reforms the Catholic Church had put into place when he split from the Catholic Church would have satisfied his demands. But they thought he knew better than God.

  34. 34 David
    October 20, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    twom, Jesus established the Catholic Church and said that the Catholic Church would stand against whatever the devil threw at her. He said it, I believe it. But Jesus also chose humans to be his followers. And we all know that all men are flawed. Deacon is right that the Church is flawed because of the humanity running the Church, but wrong that it was human created; he’s also wrong about grasping and controlling bureacracy. Certainly the Church urges humanity to control themselves, and explains how that should be done. But there is no control, even as evidenced by the lack of control the Church has over her priests. When people do what they want, that’s what happens. When people do what God wants, we get closer to perfection. Oh, yeah, and I’ve read the fiction Holy Blood, Holy Grail, so now I know you’re a follower of Dan Brown, so I know you study religious fiction. Also the author of the website, while he may have a PHD in Physics, doesn’t hold much in the way of religion or theology.
    Regarding the Albigensian Crusade, what was requested by the Church, Pope Innocent III, and what was delivered by secular parties, are two different things. The pope requested moderation and conversion, what Simon de Montfort actually gave was invasion and conquest. Viewed in the context of the times, with the Muslims invading all of Spain, all of North Africa, and so on, it’s somewhat understandable. But the Church did not sanction or approve the actions.
    And if you think the Hundred Years War was caused by the Church, I think you actually believe Dan Brown, too.
    You can imagine what you want about Jesus, or not. But you underestimate God’s power, but that’s your perrogative.

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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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