I really liked Calvary because, I think, it’s the only movie I have seen (although I don’t watch many movies, and I certainly don’t watch religious movies) that understood the transcendent character of the faith. Perhaps Calvary's God is too transcendent, but I was struck by how good Fr. James Lavelle is, as a priest, and how his form of pastoral care and ministry is profoundly different in both quality and character from the feel-good self-help Protestantism I’ve seen in some churches of this city. He is imperfect, he is human, but a running theme of the movie is integrity and he represents an integrity that is tethered to something far greater than himself.

I think this is a decent review of the movie that taps its complex relationship with secularization.

I’m going to put a spoiler for the end of the movie behind this cut:

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Carpathian Wooden Churches is the name of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that consists of nine wooden religious  buildings  constructed  between  the  16th  and  18th  centuries  in  eight  different  locations  in Slovakia.They include two Roman Catholic, three Protestant and three Greek Catholic churches plus one belfry. In addition to these, there are about 50 more wooden churches in the territory of present-day Slovakia, mainly in the northern and eastern part of the Prešov Region.

From the photographer’s note.

mysteriumkeeper said:

How is the Roman Catholic Church going to be co-commemorating the 2017 500th anniversary of the Reformation with the Lutherans?

Hello keeper:

I’m going to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Revolt (mistakenly called a Reformation) with Masses, in black requiem vestments, begging God’s forgiveness for the countless souls lost in the Revolt and for the scandal of perpetual Christian division which it introduced.

Now, if the Pope wants to send a representative to go play nice and be politely friendly to Lutherans, he can do whatever he wants. I would be unamused but, oh well.

But Martin Luther was a heresiarch, and an apostate priest who deflowered a nun and went on to encourage the slaughter of rebelling German peasants. That I don’t understand. Luther himself was a rebel against papal authority, but when the peasants in Germany followed his example of revolt, he told the German princes to turn their muskets on them and slay them.

Luther was also a brilliant theologian, a wannabe saint and scripture scholar who was enraged at the corruption and idiocy of large swaths of the Catholic clergy, so we can understand how he become a powder keg that just finally blew up.

But I find nothing to commemorate, or rejoice at, as we approach the 500th October 31st of Luther’s Revolt. How appropriate that the day falls on Halloween, because the result for Christianity, from the so-called Reformation, is something of a costume party.

Now, every Christian doesn’t ask first how to stay loyal to the Church, for life. Now, every Christian asks which masks of Christianity he or she feels like wearing according to their personal tastes and diversions. God bless and take care! Fr. Angel


May 27th 1564: Calvin dies

On this day in 1564, the French theologian John Calvin died in Geneva aged 54. Calvin, born in France in 1509, is best known for his formulation of the Protestant doctrine known as Calvinism. Calvinism advocates the view of predestination - that God chooses who will be saved and who will be damned even before their birth; there is thus nothing one can do in this life to alter their fate in the next. Whilst there is nothing one can do to alter their fate, Calvinists hold that those who live a godly life show evidence of being one of God’s elect, and so there is a point to living righteously. The elect had to prove their status by giving a narrative of their conversion before the church (which at this point meant the congregation of the elect). It was these views that provided the foundation of Puritan belief in Britain and colonial America. Calvin’s views made him a controversial figure in his lifetime, and he was an early supporter of Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation. In the last years of his life, Calvin was the ruler of Geneva where he relentlessly promoted Protestantism, even resorting to executing and exiling religious dissenters.

"We call predestination God’s eternal decree, by which He determined what He willed to become of each man. For all are not created in equal condition; rather, eternal life is ordained for some, eternal damnation for others.”
- John Calvin


October 31st 1517: Luther posts his 95 theses

On this day in 1517, the Augustinian monk Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of a Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This event is generally considered the start of the Protestant Reformation. The theses expressed Luther’s dissatisfaction with the corruption and materialism of the Catholic Church, especially the sale of indulgences (essentially selling a ticket to heaven). He instead believed that eternal salvation can only be guaranteed by God. On the same day as supposedly posting the 95 theses on the church door, he sent his writings to bishops. The writings were gradually translated and spread throughout Europe, accelerated by the use of the printing press, and his ideas transformed Europe. The Reformation led to the establishment of Protestantism.

Christian doctrine is not a battle over the Scriptures. Sola Scriptura has not worked and never did. Such an approach simply leads to endless argument and confusion. Others may claim to use the “plain sense” of Scripture or some other 18th century rationalist construct. Such constructs are no more effective than other failed efforts of Sola Scriptura. Either we embrace the faith of the Apostles, once and for all delivered to the saints, or else we exile ourselves to confusion or, worse yet, to the false guidance of those who never sat in the seat of the Apostles.

The edict of Fontainebleau, revocation of the edict of Nantes, 1685.


By the Edict of Fontainebleau, Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes and ordered the destruction of Huguenot churches, as well as the closing of Protestant schools. This policy made official the persecution already enforced since the dragonnades created in 1681 by the king in order to intimidate Huguenots into converting to Catholicism. As a result of the officially sanctioned persecution by the dragoons who were billeted upon prominent Huguenots, a large number of Protestants — estimates range from 210,000 to 900,000 — left France over the next two decades. They sought asylum in England, the United Provinces, Sweden, Switzerland, Brandenburg-Prussia, Denmark, the Habsburg's Holy Roman Empire, South Africa and North America. They left without money, but took with them many skills. In the host nations they established small businesses and their new ideas revitalised indigenous industries.


We ARE the prolife generation!

STAND UP for life. STAND UP against this Culture of Death. STAND UP for humanity.

KONY 2012


Watch the Video | Pledge | Pray | Donate | Make him (in)famous

Just a thought

Preface: this post is not an attack or meant to be an attack or any antagonism whatsoever against those of you who have joined or are in the process of joining the Eastern Orthodox Church in one of its many manifestations. This is merely an observation. If you have found your home in the Eastern Orthodox Church, I couldn’t be happier for you and don’t want you anywhere else but there. I’m not trying to get anyone to leave the Eastern Orthodox Church or to think ill of it or those who are members of it.

So I’ve noticed kind of a trend. Whenever there is an individual who is contemplating, or is in the process, or has already joined the Eastern Orthodox Church, and they are Protestant (formerly or currently), there are usually some very similar reasons for wanting to join the Eastern Orthodox Church. For the most part, there is an affection towards the Early Church; the desire is to have and practice Christianity as close to that practiced by the earliest Christians. There is nothing wrong with this, and I totally understand it. There isn’t much in modern Christianity that really closely resembles Christianity as was known earlier and history. What’s interesting to me though, is that those having these feelings and urges to be like the earliest Church are Protestants.

A brief history lesson: one of the driving factors of the Protestant Reformation, both liturgically and theologically, was a desire to go back to the ways that Christians had done things before. For the sake of brevity will call this desire primitivism. Essentially a lot of the Protestant reformers believed that the Roman Catholic Church had made additions to Christianity, theologically and liturgically, and wanted to strip away those additions and get back to the beginnings of Christianity. Did the Protestant reformers do a very great job of returning back to a more “original” form of Christianity? I wouldn’t say so. Were they correct in suggesting that the Roman Catholic Church had made significant additions to Christian theology and practice? Once again, I don’t think so. Keep in mind here that you don’t have to necessarily agree with me on my conclusions, we’re all historians here, but you have to agree that the driving force behind a significant portion of the Protestant Reformation was this desire which we can refer to as primitivism.

Now, this desire for primitivism doesn’t ever really go away in Protestantism. You have much later Protestant groups that pop up that are still trying to “do things like the early church” (some non-denom “bible churches,” some Baptists, and some Church of Christ folks come to mind).

Now, history has shown that the Reformers (as well as modern Protestants who share their inclinations) weren’t great at their history and that the thing they were rejecting (Catholicism and Orthodoxy by association) was actually closer to the “older Christianity” than what they ended up with. But the Christian primitivist inclination doesn’t go away, and I would contest is the is a core presupposition (though probably subconsciously) for a lot of Protestants.

Enter the internet age where the history of the Church is readily available 24/7, literally at our fingertips. We have access to historical realities and facts that our Protestant forebears couldn’t dream of. So if you take the Protestant inclination towards a kind of Christian Primitivism, add in a better understanding of Church history and early Church source material, and also add the latent anti-Catholicism in a lot of Protestantism (thus removing it as an option), and you find a logical end to the Protestant experiment as it has been conceived of thus far: conversion to Eastern orthodoxy.

Now, I’m not saying that this thought process is representative of all Protestants. You actually don’t see this kind of thing happening to those who find themselves within more high-church or mainline Protestant circles. Those who do usually follow this line of thought, more often than not come out of more low-church Protestant backgrounds, and upon rejecting the story of Christianity as it has been given to them (usually because of a correctly perceived mis-teaching of Church history), find solace in the arms of the “true” older Christianity, which just so happens to be Eastern Orthodoxy.

Now to restate, I have no problem with people taking this path, I’m just trying to analyze it from the perspective of competing sociological realities. What is interesting to me though is how, when you begin to examine the factors involved, the popularity of shifting from Protestantism to Orthodoxy makes a lot of sense. It is, in some ways, the most Protestant thing one can do. Therein lies my issue more than anything else.

An attentive and close reading of Scripture and Church history (an attempted, though not necessarily successful, enterprise of the Protestant Reformers) can indeed lead one to the Eastern Church. There is no denying this. But where is the line between “studying and being captivated by the beauty and truth of the Orthodox Church” and “following very Protestant presuppositions (even subconsciously) one after the other until arriving at Orthodoxy, all for Protestant reasons”?

I’m not being critical of those who have made their way out of Protestantism; I myself am on that journey. But I know that for myself, I don’t want to cease being Protestant, leaving Protestantism, because of Protestant reasons.

That’s my take. As usual, comments, concerns, criticism, and alternative points of view are welcome. I don’t take much on Tumblr personally, but please, if you feel the need to respond/reblog (and feel free to do so!), be kind to one another.