Theology


We do not believe God has accommodated himself and his word to (as evangelical feminists see it) sinful patriarchalism, so that the “truth” of God’s word must be separated from the “sin” of patriarchy. According to this view, the biblical message is no longer sufficient but has been corrupted by a fallen aspect of the ancient biblical language and culture…

Because the Bible is God’s own chosen self-revelation, we must take seriously the language God chose to use to communicate to us what he is like. This revelation, by God’s choice, includes all the masculine God-language of the Bible, and therefore it cannot be dismissed as merely the by-product of a patriarchal cultural. To dismiss the masculine language for God in the Bible is to dismiss how God has spoken of himself, and this is a serious matter…

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… Trust me on this — you really do not need to read through those academic research papers. Here is a summary: The ‘scholarly consensus’ is that children and parental happiness just do not go together. According to the data, parents are less happy than non-parents, parents of infants and toddlers are especially not happy, single parents are less happy than married parents, and mothers are less happy than fathers. Except, that is, when it comes to single fathers, who are the most unhappy of all…

Christians must see children as gifts from God, not as projects. We should see marriage and parenthood as a stewardship and privilege, not as a mere lifestyle choice. We must resist the cultural seductions and raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and understand family life as a crucible for holiness, not an experiment in happiness…

And when it comes to happiness, we must aim for something higher. Christians are called to joy and satisfaction in Christ, and to find joy in the duties and privileges of this earthly life. Every parent will know moments of honest unhappiness, but the Christian parent settles for nothing less than joy…

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The digitization of 80,000 manuscripts of the Vatican Library, it should be realized, is not a light-hearted project. Even with only a rough calculation one can foresee the need to reproduce 40 million pages with a mountain of computer data, to the order of 45 petabytes (that is, 45 million billion bytes). This obviously means pages variously written and illustrated or annotated, to be photographed with the highest definition, to include the greatest amount of data and avoid having to repeat the immense undertaking in the future.

And these are delicate manuscripts, to be treated with care, without causing them damage of any kind. A great undertaking for the benefit of culture and in particular for the preservation and conservation of the patrimony entrusted to the Apostolic Library, in the tradition of a cultural service that the Holy See continues to express and develop through the centuries, adapting its commitment and energy to the possibilities offered by new technologies.

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On December 25, Christians around the world will gather to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Joyful carols, special liturgies, brightly wrapped gifts, festive foods—these all characterize the feast today, at least in the northern hemisphere. But just how did the Christmas festival originate? How did December 25 come to be associated with Jesus’ birthday?

The Bible offers few clues: Celebrations of Jesus’ Nativity are not mentioned in the Gospels or Acts; the date is not given, not even the time of year. The biblical reference to shepherds tending their flocks at night when they hear the news of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:8) might suggest the spring lambing season; in the cold month of December, on the other hand, sheep might well have been corralled. Yet most scholars would urge caution about extracting such a precise but incidental detail from a narrative whose focus is theological rather than calendrical.

The extrabiblical evidence from the first and second century is equally spare: There is no mention of birth celebrations in the writings of early Christian writers such as Irenaeus (c. 130–200) or Tertullian (c. 160–225). Origen of Alexandria (c. 165–264) goes so far as to mock Roman celebrations of birth anniversaries, dismissing them as “pagan” practices—a strong indication that Jesus’ birth was not marked with similar festivities at that place and time. As far as we can tell, Christmas was not celebrated at all at this point…

There are two theories today: one extremely popular, the other less often heard outside scholarly circles (though far more ancient)…

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A couple of reports that may be of interest:

“What helps us the most to thrive, as individuals and as a society?  Money or marriage?  Assets or relationships?

Here’s what we know:  A large body of research suggests that the status of our marriages influences our well-being at least as much as the status of our finances.

But consider this puzzle. Why do we so carefully measure and widely publicize our leading economic indicators, and do everything we can to improve them, while rarely bothering to measure our leading marriage indicators, or try to do anything as a society to improve them?”…

The US Marriage Index Report

The UK Marriage Index Report

Another case of “gender identity” being pushed as more protected than religion:

EDMONTON, Alberta, October 16, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Alberta Human Rights Commission has accepted a complaint brought against an Edmonton-area Catholic school board by a substitute teacher who was let go after she announced she was ‘becoming’ a man.

Janet Buterman, 39, had been employed by the Greater St. Albert Catholic School Board for about four months when, in June 2008, she informed deputy superintendent Steve Bayus that she was undergoing a ‘sex change’ and now wished to be treated as a man.

The following October, Mr. Bayus responded with a letter indicating that Buterman had been removed from the substitute teacher list because the procedures she was undergoing were in conflict with the Catholic teaching upheld by the school board.

“In discussions with the Archbishop of the Edmonton Diocese, the teaching of the Catholic Church is that persons cannot change their gender,” he wrote.  “One’s gender is considered what God created us to be.”…

Buterman maintains that she has a legitimate medical condition – gender identity disorder – and that the board has discriminated against her because of it…

The Alberta Catholic school board is not the only one coming under fire for upholding its Catholic faith.  An Ontario board was the subject of a human rights complaint last month because of its decision not to hire a non-Catholic.  In that case, the school board is asserting its right to hire teachers that espouse the Catholic values they are aiming to instill in their students.

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By the way, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms specifically protects against discrimination based on “sex”, not on “gender”. The word “sex” is properly used to identify a person’s biological category (male or female), the word “gender” is used to refer to societal roles and identities relative to a person’s sex (see WHO’s definition). It seems that the complainant is trying to argue around this by considering a sex change operation as a necessary “treatment” for a mental disorder.

For those interested you may want to read the articles from the CBMW on “How the Gospel Ministers to the Transgendered”: (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4).

James White recently mentioned this article on his blog, and I thought it was interesting, so here’s how it starts:

One of the most important ancient manuscripts has just gone on-line. The manuscript, Codex Sinaiticus, was penned in Greek in the mid-fourth century and originally contained the whole Bible as well as some writings of the apostolic fathers. The manuscript is currently in four locations: St. Catherine’s Monastery, Mt. Sinai, Egypt; British Library, London; National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg; and Leipzig University, Germany. The British Library has the largest portion (about 350 leaves), Leipzig University has 43 leaves, St. Catherine’s has something like 18 complete or fragmentary leaves, and St. Petersburg has just a few leaves. This week marked the first time that all these leaves could be seen since the manuscript was dissembled 150 years ago.

I’ve written about the story of its discovery in previous blogs, noting that the well-known tale of Tischendorf stopping the monks from using leaves of this codex as kindling for the ovens needed significant revision in light of discoveries made at St. Catherine’s in 1975. But I’ll not go into that now. The significance of the manuscript can hardly be overestimated. Some highlights are as follows:

  • Sinaiticus contains the oldest complete New Testament in the world; the next oldest is half a millennium younger.
  • In the opinion of most New Testament scholars, Sinaiticus is one of two or three of the most important manuscripts for establishing the wording of the autographic text of the NT.
  • Like the other fourth-century majuscule manuscript, Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus lacks the story of the woman caught in adultery and Mark 16.9–20.

The manuscript has been in the news of late because of going on-line. Unfortunately, the media tend to get a lot of facts mixed up. A perusal of a few newspapers, magazines, and on-line sites revealed the following incorrect statements about the manuscript…

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