Photographs from the funeral of Lee Harvey Oswald, who shot and killed president John F. Kennedy. The only people in attendance were his mother, his brother, his widow and his children. The weren’t enough mourners present to carry his coffin, so instead it was carried by the reporters who attended the event. Not even the minister went to the funeral, instead the executive secretary of the Fort Worth Council of Churches conducted the ceremony.
It was reported that Jackie Kennedy wrote a note to Marina Oswald, following the murder of her husband Lee Harvey Oswald, saying she was sorry for her loss.
Biblical evidence for St. Peter being the first pope.
+Among the Twelve Apostles, Peter’s name is mentioned the most, being 195 times in New Testament, while the next one, St. John, is mentioned 29 times.
+Whenever the apostles are all listed by name as a group, Peter’s name is always mentioned first, while Judas, the Lord’s betrayer, is always mentioned last.
+There are times when the apostles aren’t called by names but instead we see phrases like “Peter and the others,” which indicates that Simon Peter represented the college of apostles.
+Matthew 16: 18-19
+Jesus called Peter to come out of the boat and walk on water (Matt. 14: 25-33)
+Jesus Christ preached to the crowds from Simon Peter’s fishing boat.
+St. John waited for St. Peter to enter the empty tomb of Christ (John 20:6)
+St. Peter preaches the first post-Pentecost sermon
+St. Peter performed the first miracle (Acts 3:1-10)
+God delivers revelation to Peter that Gentiles could now enter the Church without the need to observe Jewish Kosher food laws, and this teaching Peter made binding on the whole Church at the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15.
+St. Paul checked in with St. Peter before starting his public ministry.
“Star War The Third Gathers: Backstroke of the West” is Star Wars Episode III translated from English to Chinese and then back to English. If you want to watch the entire thing on youtube (which you totally should because it’s awesome), then here is a small translation guide:
Anakin Skywalker = “Allah gold”
Obi-Wan Kenobi = “Section ratio”
Sheev Palpatine = “Mr. Speaker” or “the D”
Padmé Amidala = “Plum”
General Grievous = “General space”
Mace Windu = “Text big teacher”
C-3P0 = “Blow the skin”
Qui-Gon Jinn = *silence*
Lord Vader = “south host”
Jedi = “Hopeless Situation”
Jedi Council = “Presbyterian Church”
Sith = “West”
I don't know if this is more of an headcanon or AU, but what Hogwarts house do you think each Son would be?
Firstly, thank you for this request. I love Harry Potter, and I am here for this. Second, going off the Hogwarts house traits, I feel like some of the characters fall under two houses, so I’ve listed them as such. Thank you for this request!
Jax - Slytherclaw While Jax had all the information in JT’s diaries, and all the ideas and creativity to get the job done, his personal affairs and feelings overshadowed his goals for the club and he uses the club for his own ambitious gain. He is resourceful, but fails to use in a manner that benefits the club. He lets his emotions overtake his rationale and without a moral compass, we see how power can be dangerous in the hands of a leader.
Juice - Slytherpuff Juice was smart with a computer and gadgets, but deep down I feel he was a Hufflepuff with a touch of Slytherin. Juice worked hard in the club, giving everything he had for his brothers, with the ambition to have a family that would love him back. His love and dedication for the club saw him use any and all resources he could, and while in the end it caused his demise, everything he did was because he loved his club, and craved the same love in return.
Chibs - Gryffinpuff Chibs is the perfect balance of Gryffindor and Hufflepuff. He will go to great lengths for his club, willing to do what needs to be done and obedient to his leader. He is dedicated, chivalrous and loyal to the cause. A fatherly figure with a heart of gold, Chibs is generally level-headed and a source of advice and care to his brothers. He’s the Dumbledore of Charming.
Tig - Gryffindor Tig is a Gryffindor through and through. When I think of Tig, I feel like he’s the “do first, think later type”. Something needs to be done for the club, he jumps at it, full of daring and nerve. He’s made his mistakes, as they all have, but he loves the club and his brothers and is willing to do what needs to be done, not always considering the consequences. A big heart (and the mane) of a lion.
Happy - All houses This might be a cop-out, but Happy is the ultimate Son. He encompasses what a perfect member is. He is deeply loyal, dedicated, has the daring and nerve to carry out any task he is asked to do. He’s resourceful, intelligent, and above all else; he’s got mad respect for his mumma.
Clay - Slytherin This dude. If anyone is going to be a Slytherin, it’s Clay Morrow. Not because all Slytherins are bad, they’re certainly not. But this guy possess all the qualities of a Slytherin and uses them for his own gain. He is cunning, using anyone he needs to carry out his dirty business, he’s manipulative, using his status and resources to get what he wants. He has ambitions that aren’t generally for the good of the club but for himself, and he causes so many issues throughout the club. I could list all the things but we’ve all seen the show for the most part and no one has that much time for an essay on Clay Morrow lmao.
Piney - Slytherclaw Unlike Jax, Piney’s got that wise, old man feel about him. He knows how the club needs to be run, he knows what needs to be done and offers council at church meetings. Very traditional, and set in his ways like Slytherin pureblood can be, Piney sometimes struggles to see what new ideas can bring to the club.
Opie - Gryffinclaw Much like his old man, Opie has the right ideas and know-how to run the club. He’s been around and in the club long enough to know what is best for SAMCRO and his loyalty runs deep. He is a great VP for Jax, as Jax tends to act on his emotions and Opie is more the rational thinking type. While he did struggle coming out of jail and adapting back to home and club life, proved his loyalty by refusing to rat on the club not once, but twice. He is brave and fierce, a big heart and he’s built like a Whomping Willow.
Bobby - Ravenpuff Bobby is the perfect mixture of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. He’s intelligent, a constant source of rational thinking and handling of the club’s treasury. Able to see what is best for the club, putting aside personal feelings and using logic to make decisions and offering suggestions. He is hardworking, loyal and dedicated to SAMCRO, and his baking is quality. While cooking good food isn’t necessarily a trait, Hufflepuffs were located close to the Hogwarts kitchens, and you just know that Hufflepuffs are gunna be baking things for their friends, like we see Bobby do.
Half Sack - Hufflepuff A true Hufflepuff. Kip encompasses everything that a Hufflepuff is, through the house values and the stereotypical “nice” attitude. Kip is hardworking, doing anything and everything the club asks of him. A little bit of Gryffindor bravery shines through, taking on tasks that he’s scared to do, but he is dedicated, ready to prove his loyalty and value to the club.
What is your opinion of the Society of St. Pius X and Catholic Traditionalism as a whole?
I have a love-hate relationship with Catholic Traditionalism. What are some of the things I love? First, traditional Catholicism (TC for short) encourages, holds up, and defends the marriage of a man and a woman and their call to be fruitful and multiply.
The traditional Catholic married couples I know love each other, and they love children. They unapologetically have large families. I grew up in a family of six kids, and many TC families are larger. TC parents tend to see their kids as the greatest blessing God could have sent, as if each child is an angel that came down from heaven. They work hard to look after their families in many respects.
The TC movement also has strongly encouraged love for the priesthood and religious life. Because they have larger families, they not only do not discourage a religious vocation among their children, but pray for this. They consider themselves singularly blessed when a son goes off to the seminary, or a daughter to the convent.
They encourage their kids to serve the Church with piety, obedience, reverence, and loyalty. The result is that many holy priests and nuns have come from traditional Catholic families, where they were schooled well in prayer, confession, penance, works of charity, and carrying the Cross/sacrificing for God and country.
Traditional Catholicism is unique in its fierce defense of the prerogatives of the Catholic Church to spread the reign of Christ the King, in society and in their communities. Unlike most modern Catholics, they do not yell “separation of Church and State” whenever a public law is being debated which will encourage looser morals or the living out of the public vices.
They believe that the Church must actively enter the public square and make Christ the King respected and looked up to in His evangelical teachings of justice for all. They will staunchly condemn and resist any political party platforms which promote abortion choice, unnatural marriage, divorce, blasphemy in media and art, and unjust war.
Economically, they encourage our laws to promote hard work and personal initiative, with as little dependence on others as needed. Their outlook toward public tranquility is the defense of the widow, the orphan, the vulnerable, and the strong rule of law to subdue criminality and heinous crime.
Some people call traditional Catholics “Catholic rednecks.” I just believe they are following what they believe to be old-fashioned Catholic values regarding public decency and virtue.
Now, what I hate about traditional Catholicism is a tendency toward self-righteousness and Pharisaical wrangling over the letter of the law. In the case of the Society of St. Pius X, I find that there seems to be a return to Jansenism, condemned in the 17th century as a severe outlook and pessimism regarding human nature and God’s grace.
This Jansenism sees God as severe. His grace is very restrictive—only for the chosen few. His wrath and justice toward those who have failed to join the true Catholic Church, and strictly live by her laws, will be manifest by sending most people to hell.
As a result of the shades of this renewed Jansenism, non-Christians are seen in the SSPX as being in danger of going to hell, no matter how good they are or sincere in their faith. The Jewish people are seen as either Christ-killers or the accursed children of a Covenant that God has completely rejected and repented of. Protestants are loathed also, because among many SSPX, they are seen as aware of Catholic truth and have yet still refused to embrace it—thus, sealing their fate to most likely burn in hell.
The SSPX has no respect for the Catholic sense of confronting modernity. Throughout history, the Catholic Church could be called the inventor of the Marine Corps motto of “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome.” But TC as espoused by the SSPX seems more comfortable to sound the retreat, to gather in small chapels with prayers in hushed Latin, and to have little mixing with the great numbers of the damned and unwashed who are outside of the confines of the Church.
When Vatican II Council convened in 1962, it was with a view to adaptation of the Church’s methods of conversion, or with a view to incorporating new knowledge of the sciences and of the philosophies of contemporary thinkers. While the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages, and Renaissance, both in philosophy and theology, was allowed to undergo various transformations and growths based on advancing knowledge, the SSPX felt that Vatican II should have merely repeated the past formulas of the Councils of Trent and Vatican I.
The improvisations of the Church after Vatican II are thus seen as a laughable and disgusting experiment in compromise by the SSPX. They consider the worship in vernacular, the movement to reach out to and have dialogue with non-Catholics, and the encouragement of shared power among the clergy and laity as an overthrow of Catholic Order.
There are numerous doctrinal disputes between Rome and the Society. But even more fundamental than resolving those disputes is overcoming a certain fear, and trembling, and loathing, in the Society, of all things that originate in the world and in modern thinking. Rome knows that countless errors were committed in the last 50 years, in the latest attempt to improvise, adapt, and overcome.
But there is, in the post-Vatican II era of the Church, among faithful and stalwart Catholics, especially with Pope Francis, an indomitable and unconquered spirit of “let’s go back to the drawing board, and try, and try again.” We cannot run away from the world and pretend that the world will return to the 16th century, when we waged wars against Protestantism with the help of Christian kings and princes who ruled with divine right and coerced dissidents and strays back into the fold of the True Catholic Church.
Our modern world has freedoms and a sense of personal rights that is, what it is. Insofar as the SSPX fail to, and refuse to, understand and deal with the modern world as it is, it will always be a Catholicism of the remnant who may be holy and faithful in their tiny chapels, but who make little difference for the great majority of people who are still searching to find God and the pearls of the wisdom of Catholicism. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel
I’ve seen so many posts today like: “The church/conservatives force women to keep their fetuses, then treat the women like crap if they do!!!!!”
Within 20 miles of my home, there are THREE homes for teen moms, and TWO homes/support centers for women/single mothers, all of which provide care and council. ALL OF WHICH ARE OPERATED BY LOCAL CHURCHES, AND DONATIONS OF CHURCH AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS.
And what have local pro-choicers/liberal “women’s rights” activists done to support these women? Nothing to support them, that’s for sure. If anything, they use these women as abortion propaganda. They point and say “See this teenage girl who isn’t going to college because she’s raising a child?IF ONLY SHE’D HAD AN ABORTION.” Instead of supporting her choice to give birth, and supporting her as a woman.
Hello Fr. Can you tell me why sola scriptura is wrong? I have a family member who doesn’t like the Catholic Church, she’s a member of the Church of Christ. When we talk about religion, she says “I don’t see where it says that in the bible” or “where does it say to do that in the bible?”. Please help. Thank you. — weplayagamecalledlife
Well, if people are happy to individually study the Bible and seek answers under their own personal inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it would not be wrong for them. We know there are always Christians who are very content to study the Bible on their own and not have any church or any religious authority tell them how to interpret it or how to live.
So, a family member who does not like the Catholic Church, or any religious authority telling them what to do, would naturally say, “Show me where it says that in the Bible?”
You see, that person does not believe, and does not want to believe, that Jesus left any religious authority in the Church. From this non-Catholic point of view, Jesus established a faith where “everyone is equal” and everyone just makes up their own mind as to what the Bible tells them about Christianity. For that family member, the Pope or bishops would be an unnecessary “go between” who just interferes in your relationship with Jesus.
From the Catholic point of view, the problem with “sola scriptura” or “the Bible alone” theory is that, no where in the Bible, does it say we have to follow the Bible. The Bible talks about the importance of Scripture, and obeying the Word of God, but nowhere does it specifically say, “Follow the Bible” or even tell us which books are supposed to be part of the Bible.
Which leads to the interesting question–IF the Bible does not tell us what books are supposed to be listed in the Bible, WHERE did we get the list or canon of books that are in the Bible? WHERE did “the Bible” come from or how was it collected and composed? The answer, historically, is that the Church convened councils and synods in order to arrive at the decision of what is “canonical” Scripture.
That means that “sola scriptura” is cancelled or invalidated by the very fact that God used “Church authority” in deciding on what was the Bible to begin with. And if Church authority or Church Councils arrived at the canon of Scripture, it only goes to follow that in the history of the Church, Christians have ALSO RELIED on Church Councils to arrive at the proper INTERPRETATION of Bible or Scripture teaching.
The Council of Jerusalem described in the Acts of the Apostles, which allowed for non-Jewish members to enter the Church, is one such example of Christians turning to an authority, besides the Scriptures themselves, for an answer to Church problems. And this is the bottom line–church problems come down to this. Without an authority to interpret Scripture and present doctrine to Christians, each Christian will think his or her interpretation is the final say so.
If each Christian is having the final say so, and there is no authority, there is no possibility for the Church to overcome division and disagreement in the interpretation of God’s Word. In fact, the Bible even says there are teachings or deeds of Jesus which are not written down in the Bible:
Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written (John 21:25).
In other words, if the Bible itself points to acts of Jesus which are not passed down in the Bible, then it must be that such teachings are passed down in the Church through other means, such as oral traditions and preaching not found in the Bible. And it is up to the Church to be the final arbiter or authority in matter of disputes, as Jesus said:
If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector (Matthew 18:17).
If one studies carefully the Acts of the Apostles, they will see that the discipline and order of preaching, ministry, and conduct was regulated by the authority of the Apostles and of the Church, not by “the Bible.” Here is this passage:
But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus.
And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.
The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch..(Acts 11:20-22).
Barnabas goes to inspect what is happening, and to report back to the Church. It was up to Apostolic authority in the Church to validate or sanction this preaching, not up to the individual believer to decide on their own. This leads us to believe that Scripture is inspired by God as a gift for the entire community of the Church to use.
Scripture can be read and studied by the individual Christian, but Scripture belongs first to the entire community of the Church, and according to Scripture the individual Christian is accountable to the community and the authority of the Church. It is this authority, succeeding to the chair of the Apostles, which has the final say so on Biblical interpretation, so that unity of Christians is preserved, as it is so beautifully preserved in the holy Catholic Church.
There are three main types of disturbed personalities: Psychopaths, sociopaths, and the mostly harmless emotional vampires.
Psychopaths: The more controlled version of a sociopath, often commits crimes of premeditiation as opposed to crimes of passion
Superficial charm and glibness.
Inflated sense of self-worth.
Constant need for stimulation.
Conning others; being manipulative.
Lack of remorse or guilt.
Callousness; lack of empathy.
Excels at mimicking emotions
Don’t assume that because a person is friendly, or popular, that they aren’t psychopathic. Disturbed personalities don’t usually show in violent murders, more often its throwing a coworker who they were friends with under the bus to get a promotion, or cheating a family member out of money. They appear to the unsuspecting eye to be no different from anyone else, and may even be respected. The BTK killer, Dennis Rader was appointed president of the church council, shortly before his arrest in 2005 after having killed 10 people over the course of 30 years.
Sociopaths: There are two different kinds of these, principled sociopaths and sociopaths. They only difference really, is that principled sociopaths have things like honor and dignity.
Superficial charm and good “intelligence”
Absence of delusions and other signs of irrational thinking
Absence of “nervousness” or psychoneurotic manifestations
Untruthfulness and insincerity
Lack of remorse or shame
Inadequately motivated antisocial behavior
Poor judgment and failure to learn by experience
Pathologic egocentricity and incapacity for love
General poverty in major affective reactions
Specific loss of insight
Unresponsiveness in general interpersonal relations
Emotional Vampires (for lack of a better term): Unlike sociopaths and psychopaths, these are powered by attention, whether good or bad, and may even resort to self-harm as a attention source.
Lack of empathy
It can be viewed as the mild form of psychopathy, they are more likely to do things such as spread rumors, falsely accuse, and create situations with high levels of drama.
They look at her differently in the hazmat suit. She has long believed in the robe. She is the shepherd, and her flock will know her by the collar or the cowl – in a manner of speaking. And when she kneels by the pallet of each patient, there is no recognition in their eyes. They cannot feel the warmth of her skin through the gloves, though she holds each hand that she can. She cannot feel the weight of the cross she wears around the neck of the suit.
It hurts, they tell her.
I know, she says. She strokes a hand. She wipes bloody sores from faces and changes filthy bedding. God is with you. I am with you.
I’m scared, they tell her.
There were once flowers on the altar, beautiful arrangements sent in perpetuity by the church council. She’d rather liked the flowers with petal spines like stars bursting. In the churchyard she finds clovers for the patients. Red and white and little asters on stalks.
Some of the stronger ones are able to keep down their coffee and tea. The reserves in her office are dwindling. She used to save them for private consultations, once. Now her flock is many and she serves them in liters at a time.
Deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom. Tell me your name, she bids them. Hallowed be Thy name.
When the volunteers from the university hospital arrive, they bring with them cartons of glass jars, needles and bottles, tablets and serums.
There is a small, but vocal,
movement among Christians who wish to “restore” Christianity as a sect of
Judaism. They primarily rely on Jewish converts to Christianity to bolster
their claims to legitimacy, however, large numbers of people who claim to be
Jewish in Messianic communities are not Jewish at all. Messianic Judaism is in
fact a misnomer as their central beliefs and authoritative scriptures are
Christian, not Jewish. A more accurate, and older, name would be Hebrew
Christianity. As I will demonstrate, the Messianic movement is riddled with
inconsistencies, contradictions, deceitful or incorrect terminology, and
theological confusion. Messianic Judaism has the unique distinction of so thoroughly
misunderstanding Christianity and Judaism that it is considered a heresy by
both. While my criticisms will not likely sway a committed Christian in this
movement to abandon their mistaken, anti-Semitic sect, I do hope that it will
help to prevent anyone who may wish to join them from doing so. In this essay,
I will bring forth arguments against Messianic Judaism, this will include
criticism of Christianity itself. However, I do not wish this to be seen as an
attack on Christianity. I respect committed, honest Christians and their right
to practice their faith. My criticism of Christianity will only be for the sake
of demonstrating why Judaism and Christianity cannot be joined in a syncretic
religion and how Messianic Judaism disrespects both Judaism and Christianity.
Before going further, we must define
what we mean by Messianic Judaism. Primarily, it must be kept in mind that this
sect is not a sect of Judaism at all. All of its central beliefs, which can be
found at mjaa.org, are Christian in nature. Their statement of faith is
primarily concerned with the Christian Trinity and salvation from sin through
faith in Jesus, who they identify as the Jewish messiah (a claim that will be
examined later). They also accept the Christian New Testament as authoritative
scripture which will prove problematic to their claims of practicing Judaism in
any sense of the term. Another important aspect of their purpose in existing is
a desire to not assimilate into the larger church and to “share this way, this
truth, and this life with their Jewish brothers and sisters.” They simultaneously
wish to remain separate from the goyische churches and convert other Jews to
Christianity. Both of these goals will be analyzed below.
The fundamental problem with
Messianic Judaism is their insistence on calling their religion Judaism.
Despite their claims to be practicing a “complete” form of Judaism, they negate
the entirety of Judaism. As the late Orthodox Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan wrote, “Christianity
negates the fundamentals of Jewish faith, and one who accepts it rejects the
very essence of Judaism. Even if he continues to keep all of the rituals, it is
the same as if he abandoned Judaism completely.” Although Messianic Jews retain
some Jewish rituals, their Christian beliefs, and the Christian New Testament
itself, subvert and destroy the essentials of Jewish faith and practice.
The Christian New Testament
explicitly claims that the Law (i.e. the Torah) is obsolete and believers in Jesus
are free from both the Law and sin (Romans 7:6; Galatians 3: 23-29; Hebrews
8:13). In fact, Paul makes an explicit connection between sin and following the
law, claiming, “Sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, deceived me and
through it put me to death” (Romans 7:11). Considering that all Jewish
religious rituals are grounded on the commandments of the Torah or Talmud, the
Messianic insistence on holding to any of them places them in direct contradiction
with their own scriptures that declare such rituals null and void. A perfect
example would be the laws of kashrut, which are directly overturned in the book
of Acts by one of the first church councils (Acts 15). Kashrut is an important
part of traditional Jewish religious observance based on the Torah and Talmud;
yet the Christian scriptures explicitly reject this Jewish practice and the
argument made by some in the council to have gentile converts to Christianity “observe
the Mosaic law” (Acts 15:5). And the rejection of Jewish law was not limited to
gentile converts, but was practiced by Jewish Christians as well, as depicted
in Acts 10. Throughout the Christian New Testament, Jewish law is rejected, the
Torah is denigrated, and the essentials of the Jewish faith are subverted.
The rejection of Jewish law and practice in the Christian
scriptures becomes important in later church history and church councils which
explicitly forbade the “Judaizing” of Christianity as heresy (known as the
Ebionite heresy). It was argued, based on the teaching of Paul, that “if
justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing” (Galatians
2:21). The practices of the Jews were further tarred by the antisemitism of the
gospels, which portray the Jews as obstinate children of the devil and the
killers of Jesus (John 8:44; Matthew 27: 22-25). Jewish practice was even
further tarred by the portrayal of the Pharisees in the gospels and their
position in Judaism as the rabbis who established the Talmud as the authoritative
interpretation of the Torah. The authority of the rabbis was rejected by Jesus
himself, most explicitly in Mark 7:13, claiming that the Pharisees/rabbis “nullify
the word of God in favor of tradition.” Because Jewish rituals are largely
based on the interpretations of Jewish law given in the Talmud, and Jesus
himself rejected the authority of the rabbis, the church also rejected Jewish
rituals, traditions, practices, and interpretations. Messianic Judaism neglects
this anti-Jewish aspect of Christian history, teaching, and scripture for
ideological reasons, i.e. the conversion of Jews to Christianity and the desire
for a Jewish aesthetic in their worship services.
Furthermore, the Messianic
insistence on keeping themselves apart from the larger goyische church violates
the teachings of the Christian New Testament. In Galatians 3:23-29, Paul states
that there is “neither Jew nor Greek” and that all Christians are children of
God and through Jesus they are all descendants of Abraham. Paul is essentially
arguing that goyim have been grafted into the people of Israel through faith in
Jesus. Ephesians 4:1-5 calls all Christians to live together in unity as “one
body and one spirit […] one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of
all.” Paul further teaches in 1 Corinthians 12:13 that “in one spirit we were
all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons.” He
gives this exhortation after lambasting the Corinthian church for having
divisions and factions (1 Corinthians 11:18-19). The insistence on maintaining
Jewish traditions not only doesn’t fit the theology of Christianity, it creates
factions and divisions in the community which is also explicitly forbidden by
Moving away from the problems
implicit in trying to make Christianity more Jewish, there is the problem of
theology in Messianic Judaism. Theologically, they are Christian, not Jewish. In
fact, their beliefs about the Trinity and Incarnation are remarkably orthodox
for Christianity. They believe that there is one God in three persons: the
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They believe that Jesus is the son of God and God
incarnate who died for the forgiveness of sins, and that the Holy Spirit dwells
in the church and in the hearts of believers. These beliefs are adhered to by
all mainstream Protestant, Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox churches. However,
this creates problems for the sect in claiming to be an expression of Judaism
because Judaism denies all of these beliefs. Furthermore, the entire religious paradigm
of Judaism is different from that of Christianity. Judaism is not primarily
concerned with salvation from sin, but in living according to the will of God
as expressed through the Torah.
First and foremost, the divide
between Judaism and Christianity has to do with the role of Jesus, not simply if
he was the messiah, but whether or not he was a god. Judaism explicitly rejects
Jesus as the messiah because of his failure to fulfill the requirements of the
role. Judaism also rejects the idea that a human being can be God and on
principle will not worship other gods. The Christian deification of Jesus
violates both the concept of monotheism and the rejection of a human
incarnation of God. Both principles can be found in the Bible. Furthermore, the
Torah explicitly warns against false prophets, which by any rational standard
Jesus (and the apostles) would fall into, even if we accepted the idea that he
(they) performed miracles.
The Jewish commitment to monotheism
can be found throughout the Bible. The first and second commandments state, “I
the Lord am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of
bondage: You shall have no other gods besides Me. You shall not make for
yourself a sculptured image […] You shall not bow down to them or serve them” (Exodus
20:2-5). The central statement of Jewish faith can be found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5,
“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord
your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”
And finally, God declares his utter singularity in Isaiah 45:5, “I am the Lord
and there is none else; beside Me there is no god.” These verses reveal the
absolute unity of God in Jewish theology. God identifies himself as the savior
of the Jews from Egyptian slavery, and declares that the Jews will worship no
other gods, in fact that there are no gods beside (with) him. Jewish
interpretations of these verses have led them to completely reject the
Christian doctrine of the Trinity as having no basis in the Bible. Moses
Maimonides, one the greatest and most authoritative Jewish legal scholars in
history, included in his 13 principles of faith belief in the absolute unity of
God. Divisions like those of the Trinity are rejected.
Maimonides also included a rejection
of divine incarnation as one of his principles of Jewish faith, which he
grounded in the Bible. The Jewish faith rejects the idea that God would have a
physical body. The prophet Hosea quotes God as saying, “I am God and not a man”
(Hosea 11:9). In the Torah, the idea that God could be a human being is
explicitly rejected, “God is not a man to be capricious, or mortal to change
his mind. Would he speak and not act, promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers
23:19). Moving away from the Bible there is also the logical inconsistency of
the idea of an infinite, eternal God truly becoming a finite, contingent human
being. The concept of God is inherently mutually exclusive from that of
humanity. One cannot truly become the other without totally leaving behind the
nature of the former being. I.e. if God were to truly become a human being, he
would cease to be God. The Incarnation not only violates the fundamental teaching
of Jewish theology, but also flies in the face of logic.
Moving away from these irreconcilable
theological differences between Judaism and Christianity, there is the issue of
the messiah. Christians, including Messianic Jews, believe that Jesus was the
messiah, while Jews, in keeping with the teachings of halakha and the Bible,
reject this claim. The reason for the rejection of the claim that Jesus was the
messiah has to do with the standards which Jews have for the messiah. Primarily,
the messiah will reestablish the Davidic line of kings, gather the Jewish
exiles to Israel, and establish a world rule marked by world peace and mass
recognition of the Jewish understanding of God as the correct one (Daniel
7:13-14; Isaiah 2:2-4;
Micah 4:1-4; Ezekiel 39:9; Ezekiel 36:24; Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Zechariah 8:23, 14:9,16).
There are other, less dramatic requirements which I will not list here. None of
these things have happened. Furthermore, Jesus failed to be properly descended
from King David. The gospels state that Jesus was born of a virgin and did not
have a human father. This in itself bars him from being the messiah if it is
true because royal succession is passed through the father, not the mother. Assuming
the validity of Jesus genealogy in the gospels, we must also take into account
that he was not descended through the proper royal line. Luke shows Jesus as
descended from Nathan, not Solomon, but the messiah must be descended from
David through Solomon (Luke 3:31; II Samuel 7:12-17; I Chronicles 22:9-10). Because
Jesus failed to have the proper pedigree and failed to fulfill the role of the
messiah, Jews reject his claim to be the messiah.
There is one other problem with the
Christian understanding of the messiah, i.e. that the messiah must suffer and
die for the sins of humanity. This idea is completely foreign to Judaism which
explicitly rejects human sacrifice. It is, however, completely at home in pagan
understandings of a dying and rising savior god, like Osiris, Horus, or Mithra.
The Bible repeatedly and consistently states that human sacrifice is abhorrent
to God (Deuteronomy 12:30-31; Jeremiah 19:4-6; Psalm 106:37-38; Ezekiel 16:20).
Nor does Judaism, or the Bible, teach that a blood sacrifice must be made for
the forgiveness of sin (Leviticus 5:11-13; Jonah 3:10; Jeremiah 7:22-23; 2
Chronicles 7:14; Psalm 51:16-17; etc. etc.). Judaism is consistent in teaching
that repentance is what God looks for to forgive sins, not sacrifice. Furthermore,
Judaism does not teach that someone can atone for the sins of another, each
person must atone for their own sins (Deuteronomy 24:16; Ezekiel 18:1-4, 20-24,
26-27; Jeremiah 31:29-30). For all these reasons the death of Jesus, a human
sacrifice, has no place in Jewish theology, nor would the God of Judaism accept
such a sacrifice.
And finally, there is the issue of
false prophets. Deuteronomy 13:2-6 states in part, “If there appears a prophet
or dream diviner and he gives you a sign or portent, saying, ‘let us follow and
worship another god’ […] even if the sign […] comes true, do not heed the words
of that prophet […] the Lord is testing you.” Jesus claimed to be the son of
God (perhaps even God himself) in John 8, and Paul taught throughout the
epistles that “Jesus is Lord.” Considering the Jewish adherence to strict
monotheism, these proclamations amount to Jesus, Paul, and any other Jewish
Christian falling under the label of a false prophet, someone claiming to speak
for God while violating the Torah, specifically the commands to worship God
alone and obey his commandments. When a Jewish Christian proselytizes another
Jew and exhorts him or her to worship Jesus, they are explicitly violating the
dictates of the Torah as laid out above, not “fulfilling” or “completing” their
The Torah teaches that the Torah is
binding on all Jews for all time (Deuteronomy 29:9-14). There is no escape clause
in the Torah. Judaism also views the Torah as a blessing, not a curse. It is
through observing the teachings of the Torah that Jews are able to obey and
draw close to God and live a good life (Deuteronomy 30:11-20). Therefore, the Messianic/Christian
claim that the Torah leads to sin and death and has been discarded or superseded
by the “new covenant” established by a false messiah is fundamentally incompatible
with Judaism. If the Messianic movement accepts the teachings of the Christian
New Testament, then they are fundamentally opposed to the essential teachings
of Judaism, and therefore, the religion that they practice is not Judaism at
all. It is Christianity deceitfully calling itself Judaism and appropriated
Jewish rituals for the sake of converting Jews to Christianity. Christianity
and Judaism are not compatible religions to be syncretized. Each has its own
internal rationale and belief system. While there may be Jewish Christians
(people born Jewish who converted to Christianity), there is no such thing as
Christian Judaism. It is a contradiction of terms.
I got to educate some people in a church council today abt helping individuals with mental illness
Nothing felt better than saying very loudly
“First and foremost people with disorders are just that: people.
Don’t treat them like they were given this disorder by god to reward them.
Don’t treat them like they were given this disorder my god to curse them.
Don’t treat them like god went out of their way to give this person a disability.
Disabilities are just a thing that happens for a variety of reasons, not because of divine intervention.
Our focus should be to help these people when they need help, and let them be themselves when they don’t need help.
You need to open your mind and accept these individuals as people, and learn your place in helping them when necessary”
Also lemme just say fuck this guy that’s talking and vilifying addicts and insulting his “”“closet homosexual”“” brother and saying that disabled people were valiant in heaven before coming to earth, so they’re “”“blessed by god to be as innocent as a child”“”
Father, I am a Protestant convert and an SSPX Catholic but I'm moving ever closer to Sedevacantism especially with the way the current Pope is behaving. Do you have any advice for me to get back on track or to possibly understand the Pope's motives?
The concept of sedevacantism, that God would purposely and willfully desire that the Church be without a supreme authority for any lengthy amount of time, is profoundly unbiblical and without theological merit.
God provided the ancient Israelites with the patriarchs. He provided the Chosen People with Moses in the time of their deliverance. After Moses was the era of the Judges. Finally, Saul was anointed king and even after the fall of the kingdom, God raised up prophets with divine authority to provide guidance and correction.
The coming Messiah was God’s ultimate promise of an authority, and a shepherd, for His People.
When in biblical times, and in the history of the Catholic Church, people are angry and grumbling, they easily fall to the temptation of denying their divinely appointed authority. Both in biblical history and in the history of the Church, people clamor to “throw the bums out.” But what does God do?
He reminds His people that divinely appointed authority is not a democracy. God calls and anoints. God is prepared to conserve His People, even when His leaders fail.
God doesn’t call perfect men to lead his Church, or even men who are always of surpassing virtue. This was the great error of the so-called “Reformation.” Martin Luther propagated the thinking that if there were just holy and truthful leaders, or popes, the Church’s faith would stay valid and vibrant.
And yet, the holiness and orthodoxy of the Church always endures by the protection of the Holy Spirit. We are, sad to say, living in an age when the trust in the Holy Spirit, is non-existent. Everyone has self-appointed themselves to do the job the Holy Spirit is more than capable of doing–keeping the Church indefectible in her faith.
The great King, David, murdered one of his best friends in order to run away with the guy’s wife, after he impregnated her. How low down and dirty is that? And yet God received his repentance and confirmed a covenant with David.
The examples of Scripture, and of history, of God’s protective faithfulness to the Church are too numerous to cite. And God is able to accomplish this even when unworthy men occupy the supreme leadership of the Church. No human being can get in God’s way. No human being, no pope, can unravel God’s plan and His will for the Church.
The danger of sedevacantism is, first of all, the pride and haughtiness of self-appointing oneself the theological expert of the pope’s doctrine. This is in effect making oneself a Grand Inquisitor. People can spout off dogmas and Church Council decrees. However, that does not make them orthodox or wise, anymore than the devil quoting the Bible to Jesus, made the devil a wise Bible scholar.
Another danger of sedevacantism is the idea that a pope can “unpope” or disqualify himself as supreme visible leader (Jesus is always supreme invisible leader) by “teaching heresy.” The ideas that people have of what a dogma is, or what a heresy is, is often based on the letter of the words. People think that certain definitions of doctrine are only to be understood in one, single way.
This idea of “unpoping” or “losing your pope-ness” over heresy is mentally and emotionally unsound because it is based on the most narrow theological concepts. It shows a mind which is puny, rigid, brittle, and thinks only inside of a certain box. The sedevacantists I know are not able to define correctly what a dogma is. They cannot define correctly even what a heresy is.
And yet, they are making judgments and condemnations of the pope based on their faulty theology and faulty understanding of the proper language and concepts of dogmas, and heresies.
What I think is unusual is that past popes who were publicly involved in fraud, sex scandals, and murders, like Pope Alexander VI (of the Borgias), are accepted by sedevacantists as “real popes.” And yet a pope who strives to give example of Christian virtue, and chastity, like Pope Francis is an invalid heretic?
For people who also have a tendency to claim they are the holy Remnant of the Church, this is weird, if you ask me. Valid popes, real popes, can assassinate people, and have sex with mistresses and name their kids to be cardinals in public. They are safe in orthodoxy because, at least, they were not “modernists.” And yet popes who give to the poor, are chaste and celibate, who show Christ’s love to Catholics and non-Catholics–such as John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul II–are unfit to be considered popes and so their chair is empty, “sede vacante.”
I don’t know how such judgments can be seen as anything put very elitist and exclusive. A Catholic is supposed to live their faith with joy, with hospitality, with compassion for the suffering of all peoples, and to welcome the stranger in their midst, even the heretic and sexual sinner. But one does not find this spirit among the sedevacantists. They seem to relish deciding who is outside the True Church, who must be cast into the outer darkness, who is unwashed, impure, and defiled in heresy.
This is no different than the Protestant fights over “sola scripture.” When your faith is based on the “literal Bible words alone”, who is to say who is being literal, and who is making a false interpretation? What the sedevacantists do is have similar brawls and fights over the past teachings of popes and Council documents.
They are not adherents of “sola scriptura” but “sola traditio.” The thinking of “sola traditio” is that “I” will take the words of holy Tradition and give them “my” interpretation. If my special and unique interpretation of the words of Tradition are different than your interpretation, then you are a heretic.
Instead of quoting a Bible verse and condemning and attacking, a sedevacantist quotes a Tradition verse and then starts to condemn and attack. That attack could easily be resolved with what? What? A Magisterium! What a novel idea! To resolve fights about Tradition with an authority who, ALONE, has the authority to give interpretation to the documents of Tradition.
But no. Sola Traditio folks say, “The documents of Tradition need no translator or interpreter. They are plain and obvious, unless being twisted by modernists. But who gets to judge who is a “modernist”, or a heretic? Who gets to judge who is interpreting the words of Tradition according to orthodox Tradition, or according to “modernism”? It is not the Magisterium, that is for sure.
When a skilled and well researched theologian begins to apply historical contexts, language nuances, and proper intention of the author, the sedevacantists interpretations of heresy fall like a deck of cards. It is just like when heretics misinterpret the Bible. To show them wrong, the Catholic Magisterium informs them of the proper contexts of that particular Bible verse, the language nuances, and the real intention of the sacred author.
In the same way that sola scriptura adherents simply will not be corrected about Bible verses, so the adherents of sola Traditio will not be corrected on any verse of the teachings of Tradition. In this sense, they are actually both Protestants. Except that Protestants who are Protestant adhere to “Bible only” arguments, whereas Catholics who are Protestants adhere only to Tradition arguments.
Neither group wants to have anything to do with popes. Sola scriptura people simply deny any need for a pope. Sola Traditio folks say there is a need for a pope, but there isn’t one to be found–how convenient. Either way, you get rid of a living Magisterium of flesh and blood men, and turn yourself into your own Magisterium.
Chrom: He…for a moment he feels nothing. His grin is still on his face, he’s too in shock for it to slip away like it should. His sister is about to shake him to see if he’s alright when he recovers.
“My name?” Chrom asks, his desperation painfully evident in his voice. “Come now, you must remember my name.” He cups your cheeks and his eyes beseech you for the clue he’s praying for. “Please. You knew my name before we even met. You had remembered my name before your own, when we’d first met and you’d been stripped of every memory but my name, and yours. Y-you have to know it now.” His eyes focus on your parted lips, as he uses every modicum of his being to pray that you know that much…that there is some hope that you’ll remember him and that it’ll be back to before. Candlelit nights with the two of you poring over boring paperwork. Jokes that only the two of you understand…Your wonderful peals of laughter wherever you are, whether it’s in church, at the war council, or in bed….
There are so many urban legends that circulate in the Catholic blogosphere, and I don’t have the time to write the book it would take to rebut them. But concerning Vatican Council II and the “New Mass” (Ordinary Form), let me just make a few historical notes for the benefit of the Catholic Tumblr community. These are taken from conversations I had with my seminary liturgy professor.
My professor was actually at Vatican II. These are some things he pointed out.
–The Catholic bishops met between 1962 and 1965.
–They did not meet every day for the whole year. Each session of Vatican II took place at St. Peter’s in Rome, in the months of October, November, and the beginning of December.
–Before flying to Rome, and after leaving Rome in December, each bishop received packages in the mail with huge stacks of documents to be studied and discussed later at the council.
–The bishops gathered in St. Peter’s basilica, which had an excellent sound system set up with microphones so that bishops could make interventions and comments during the council presentations and talks.
–The seating was like a stadium, with sections. There was a section for Protestant observers. They had no microphones and were not allowed to speak, at all, to the gathered bishops–only listen.
–Bishops could visit with, an interact with, the Protestants, before or after the working day of speeches and presentations. But during Vatican II, no Protestant ever spoke, even once, to the Catholic bishops, or voted, even once, on anything published at Vatican II.
–Besides the Protestant “auditores” (observers) there was another section for the Catholic nuns who were invited to be “auditrices” (female observers). These were women from the major religious orders.
–It never occurred to the Catholic bishops to ever allow the Sisters to speak or give input. Like the Protestants, they had no microphones.
–We find it bizarre, but in those days people took it for granted that a Church Council was for Catholic bishops to give input at, and everyone else was to be quiet, to be seen and not heard, even Catholic Sisters who did at least 50% or more of all the Catholic apostleship.
–My professor knew impeccable Latin and French. So, as the council bishops spoke in Latin, he would be facing the Protestant observers, who had earphones on their heads and would have everything translated to them in French. He had help from other translators who worked during Vatican II.
–A few Catholic bishops were stubborn and refused to speak in Latin, but spoke in French instead, which was considered something of an international language at the time.
–There were lots of nice dinners and parties throughout Rome during the Council. The bishops liked to have nice social dinners LOL. Many of the bishops interacted with the Protestant observers, who were all scholars and very educated theologians in their own churches.
–Fr. Hans Kung was making a lot of money from his liberal books and articles. He bought an expensive sports car and drove around Rome showing it off, along with his flashy new suits. So much for liberal priests always being into poverty and social justice.
–Concerning the Mass, my professor said it was only the Tridentine Mass recently edited by St. John XXIII in 1962.
–My professor would laugh when people would speak of the “liberal Mass of Vatican II” since they did not realize that the only Mass at Vatican II was the Latin, Tridentine Mass.
–Everything at Vatican II, prayers, ceremonies, speeches, were conducted in Latin, except for the few times a bishop would insist on speaking in French. One bishop who spoke only in French was Armenian Cardinal, Greg Agagianian.
–After the 1962 session, the bishops called for a “thorough reform” of the rites. All of these bishops had grown up only with Latin and the rituals from the Council of Trent. But they believed that the Mass and sacraments needed an updating by 1962.
–A “Consilium” was set up during Vatican II. It was a liturgical commission for studying the Mass and Sacraments with a view to reforming them.
Now, this is where it gets tricky. In the traditionalist Catholic blogosphere, people speak of Protestants observing, and then giving input. That’s where you get that famous black and white photo of Pope Paul VI allegedly meeting with Protestants who “helped put together the Novus Ordo.”
What is lost is this. First of all, the “Novus Ordo” is not from Vatican II. The Novus Ordo did not go into effect until November of 1969, four years after Vatican II had already disbanded.
We must make a distinction between the COUNCIL, and the CONSILIUM. Yes, there were Protestants at the Vatican Council. NO, there were no Protestants on the Consilium.
The Consilium, or commission for drafting new liturgical texts, was composed of bishops and priest scholars who had been writing about the liturgy for decades. It only met a few times a year in Rome.
The members all had full time jobs and did not have time to be in Rome having meetings all the time. Mostly, each guy worked from his home location. They were all priests. No lay people. No nuns. And absolutely NO PROTESTANTS.
Again, Vatican II had Protestant “observers.” The Consilium’s members were only Catholic bishops and priests. Clear? Capisce?
The rest of the year, documents circulated among members and were then sent with revisions to Rome, where priests working in the Vatican began writing or putting together new rituals based on the Consilium suggestions and the suggestions of bishops/Cardinals who were not on the Consilium, but were still consultors.
The Consilium members had all studied the Missals and Sacramentaries of the Ancient Church and early Medieval Catholicism. While keeping many of the Tridentine prayers from the Traditional Latin Mass, they also incorporated texts from the Ambrosian, Gelasian, Leonine, and other ancient texts of the liturgy.
So, it is not historically true that the Novus Ordo was made up, on the spot, and out of thin air. Even the rumors that some prayers were made up in the cafes of Rome would not be accurate, because the Consilium carefully documented the sources for the prayers of the Missal.
For instance, Eucharistic Prayer III which was supposedly invented out of thin air was composed by Fr. Cipriano Vagaggini in the 1940′s, and was circulated and discussed by bishops even before Vatican II. Eucharistic Prayer II which was supposedly composed at a cafe in Rome can easily be seen as originating from the prayers of St. Hippolytus in the 2nd and 3rd century of Rome. Let us repeat again that in the Ordinary Form, there are still many, many prayers lifted out of the Missal of Pius V.
Besides the debates between scholars regarding the Ordinary Form, we have a record of numerous cardinals and bishops who wrote in after they received the huge draft copies in the mail. The bishop of my diocese, Aloysius Willinger, used to speak of comments and input he gave back in the mid-60′s when he would get draft copies from the Consilium.
The canard about the Roman Missal of Paul VI being used by Protestants is simply laughable and preposterous. There was not one, single Protestant denomination that adopted the New Mass. The language of “offertory” and the Latin “offerimus” found throughout the Novus Ordo in Latin was found to be extremely objectionable.
For all the talk that the Novus Ordo has “no sense of sacrifice” the Protestant theologian Max Thurian made very clear that in Protestantism, nothing is “offered” to God. That, he said, is Catholic theology of the Mass as propitiatory sacrificed “offered to God.”
Protestant theology insists that the only offering given to God was given by Jesus at the Cross. Therefore, even the supposedly watered down language of the Novus Ordo presupposes with “offering” that we are making a sacrifice to God.
Such language contradicts clearly the teaching of the Protestant Reformers, who said that at worship we can praise God, thank Him through Jesus, and repent of sin. But in no way can Protestant liturgy accept the idea that at worship, we “offer” anything for we are nothing and Christ is alone the One who offers sacrifice to His Father.
Hopefully, this gives the Tumblr Catholic community a sense of how to see the traditionalist accusations of Paul VI. I hate to say it, but it is now a given that anything quoted from Paul VI or Consilium head, Annibale Bugnini, has to be taken with a grain of salt and vetted to see if there is any accuracy to the quote. Quite a few juicy traditionalists quotes are practically made up out of thin air, if not a complete distortion of the words of Paul VI and Bugnini.
If you are unaware, I have moved back to Utah for the summer! Sean is still in NYC until May 24th finishing his awesome job at the Public Theatre downtown.
But all that is not what this blog is about!
Last week I – this is Taylor BTW– got a call from my family’s bishop asking for my attendance at a disciplinary council hearing in regards to my potential disfellowshipment and excommunication from the Church. The disciplinary council hearing is tomorrow at 1PM. I sent this letter to my bishop in my absence. My hope is that it touches at least one young adult or teen that feels alone or rejected.
WARNING: STOP READING NOW IF YOU ARE OVERLY SENSITIVE. I do not wish to demean or devalue any of my friends or their personal belief’s. Please feel free to contact me personally if you have any questions comments or concerns regarding me, my husband or our life choices.
To the Bishopric,
I have been fighting to find the words to adequately express my feelings about my potential disfellowshipment or excommunication from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and I must admit that it has been extremely difficult and heart-wrenching.
Because I feel that members of the Bishopric do not know me whatsoever–and have not taken the time to do so in my years spent within the boundaries of your ward–I will take a moment to explain to you who I am.
My name is Taylor Nathan Dakota Knuth, son of Jennifer and Nathan Knuth. I have lived in Utah all of my life, but currently live in New York City. I graduated in the top 2% of my class from High School in 2011, and Summa Cum Laude from Weber State University in 2014.
I am extremely passionate about the world of theatre. I love to create theatre in many ways through acting, singing, dancing, producing, and managing. I have three sisters, all of whom are incredibly successful in their own personal and professional endeavors. I have a nephew who lights up my world.
In August of 2011, I began my journey at Weber State University for a degree in Musical Theatre. This was also the time that I met Sean Bishop, who is now my lawfully-wedded husband. I find it necessary to explain our relationship to the disciplinary council because, after all, that is why we are having this discussion.
Sean became a quick friend for me. We attended classes together, sat on the board of the university’s theatrical production company, performed in shows, and worked together.
In January of 2012, we decided together to pursue a relationship that was more than friendship. We casually dated for a month,and in March of 2012 I introduced Sean to my family and close friends as my boyfriend. With time, my family and friends welcomed Sean into their lives as a friend, brother, son and even grandson.
On January 28th of 2013, Sean Bishop proposed to me in front of my dearest friends and family. I said yes.
On January 26th of 2014, I lawfully married Sean Bishop in Los Angeles, California–along with 32 other couples on the Grammy Awards.
On September 14th of 2014, Sean Bishop and I held a small ceremony and reception for close friends and family in Ogden, Utah. Our ceremony was a spiritually-binding ceremony in which Sean and I promised to love one another for time and all eternity.
We currently reside in New York, New York, where we lease an apartment together. We share finances, mutual living spaces and yes–even a bed. I share with Sean my greatest successes along with my downfalls, hardships, and my most interpersonal trials.
Sean Edward Bishop is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.
On Sunday, April 26, 2015, I received a phone call from Bishop Roberts asking for my attendance at a disciplinary council hearing in regards to my status within the Church.
On the telephone Bishop Roberts repeatedly used the word “Choice” to describe his reason in calling the disciplinary council hearing, and that this choice could potentially lead to my disfellowshipment or excommunication from the Church. I have CHOSEN to marry Sean Bishop. It was my CHOICE to live the lifestyle I live. That was among the vocabulary used to describe my situation.
On Tuesday, April 28, 2015, I received a formal letter signed by Bishop Roberts stating; “[I] have participated in conduct unbecoming a member of the Church.”
While I no longer actively participate in the teachings of the Mormon faith, I still greatly value my foundational teachings of love, charity, kindness, hope, and faith–among others.
I do call into question this decision on the part of the Bishopric. I question the decision because I do not believe that I have “participated in conduct unbecoming a member of the Church.”
Do I love and value my husband? Yes. Do I participate in a monogamous relationship? Yes. Do I respect Sean? Yes. Do I have a spiritual connection with my husband? Yes. Do I responsibly share finances with my husband? Yes. Do I practice love, charity, kindness, hope, and faith in my day-to-day life? Yes. Do I love? Yes.
Does my relationship with Sean Bishop actively demean or devalue your way of life? The answer is No.
I am not afraid of who I am or who I love in the eyes of God as I see them, nor will I deny that love. To me, Jesus preached love and acceptance–not exclusivity, perfection, judgement, or fear-mongering.
The Mormon faith has been wrong on countless occasions throughout their rocky history, both in revelations and prophecies through leadership of the church and within their own doctrine. An occasion very similar to my own would be the decision to allow people of African decent the priesthood in 1978 and allowing inter-racial marriage within the temple. Something that before that time, was unheard of- even sinful. The Doctrine shifted through revelation, and I sincerely believe that the current interpretation of this issue is misguided. There are real dangers in this mindset of exclusion. I hold to hope and faith that revelation will provide another change in hearts and minds. Since it has happened before, then isn’t it possible that The Doctrine will shift again?
I firmly believe that this Church has come to a crossroads in regards to homosexuality.
I, along with my entire family and close friends, have CHOSEN to stand on the side of love, equality, acceptance and celebration.
I do not believe that the members of the Bishopric (who are making this decision to single me out of a crowd of people in your congregation) is enlightened, educated or even Christlike. I also know with utmost conviction that anyone reading this would only need to look to his or her own immediate family to find at least one who identifies as something other than heterosexual in orientation. This has become an issue of family for each and every one of us.
I fully understand that the purpose of the excommunication process is one of repentance and forgiveness. Let me be perfectly clear in stating openly that I do NOT see anything in regards to my relationship with Sean Bishop that I deem necessary for the repentance process.
Am I perfect? No. Is my relationship with Sean perfect? No. We are merely two human beings who wish to create a life with each other, and yes, eventually bring life into this world to create an eternal family no different from yours. Can you honestly believe–when Sean and I die–that a loving and caring God, as we see them, would take our children from us?
Our marriage is not “Counterfeit,” our love for each other is not “Counterfeit,” and our life most definitely NOT “Counterfeit.”
In closing I would like to ask the members of the Bishopric to take a moment to reflect on their actions (whether intentional or otherwise) surrounding the road to this disciplinary hearing, as well as any with a similar conflict.
I would like you to take into perspective the following statistics for a moment:
1- The number one cause of death in teens and young adults in Utah is suicide. 2- Utah leads the nation in teen and young adult suicides. 3- A teen or young adult is four times more likely to attempt or commit suicide if their family, friends, or religious institution rejects or devalues them.
I was blessed in regards to my “coming out” story. I had family and friends who stood by my side, accepted, understood, and even celebrated my identification of sexual orientation. My state of being.
I do, and always have, had a strong sense of self. Having a family who did not reject me, and having Sean by my side throughout my “coming out” process are the only reasons I am still on this Earth. Too many are not as fortunate as I am in this regard, and TOO MANY choose to take their own lives because of men like you and processes like this disciplinary council. TOO MANY feel excluded, rejected and devalued because of comments made in passing in General Conference, from their own family, and from men like you. TOO MANY take a blade to their wrists, bullet to their brains, and pills down their throats to end their suffering because of something that they CANNOT control: a desire to live a happy lifestyle with someone of their own gender or sex.
I hope and pray to God as I see them, that anybody reading this letter can ask themselves the following: “What would Jesus do?”
Would Jesus devalue someone because they are living in a happy, monogamous relationship filled with trust, compassion, and honesty?
Would Jesus prefer that I marry a woman, have kids with said woman, and then leave said woman years later because of a lack of physical attraction?
Would Jesus prefer that I engage in unsafe sexual conduct with multiple partners?
The answer to all of the above is: absolutely not.
A truly “counterfeit” lifestyle would be to engage in a life that does not align with the being I was created to be. My true self.
Shame on you.
Shame on you for calling into question a relationship that is the cornerstone of my life–that I hold above all others. Shame on you for telling me that my “behavior” is “unbecoming of a member the Church.” Shame on you for not honoring the promises that you made to your congregations to love, value, and respect each member. Shame on you for being so far away from the true lessons of Christ. And finally, shame on you for attacking me for engaging in a relationship that does you and the members of your congregation no harm whatsoever.
If you do not agree with Same Sex Marriage, then don’t have one.
From Father Angel: Following is part of a concern written to me by a person who has questions about the Catholic Church and gay marriage. And at the heart of the concern is wondering whether or not the Catholic Church is just too stubborn? Is it possible that Catholic teaching about gay marriage should just move on, evolve, and change with the times? And if it does not change, will the Church lose those members who are gay and are not feeling affirmed by the Church?
Anon: I do believe
I have a vocation. I also long to get married and have a family (with a gay
partner). However, I don’t want to (become a Catholic priest and) rush to seal
away my fate being single forever you know ? I do believe firmly that I’m VERY
blessed to live in an age that, finally, after well over two thousand years, we
have finally accepted homosexuality and gay relationships.
Fr. Angel responds: There have always been gay relationships, as in
gay friends. And in the Catholic community through the years, there has been
knowledge of these relationships. They were accepted up to a point where they
were not explicitly labeled “homosexual” but were called “spiritual friendships”
or “chaste friendships” because they focused on love, not sex.
But what you are talking about, what you actually mean is when gay people get
together and have sex, either anal, oral, or using some other way to masturbate
each other. Okay, that is fine, but let’s just call it what it is—an acceptance
of gay sex. Of course, in modern
society, there is an overall insistence on the person’s right to “choice,” or “reproductive
freedom” or “responsible, safe sex” without any regard to whether it is moral
or ethical conduct.
So, what you are asking of the Catholic Church community is
not merely to accept gay friendships that are close, chaste, and committed, but
to accept it when gay people get together and have sex. You are asking the
Church to accept mores and conduct, approved from a purely secular viewpoint of
individual rights, and absorb that into a Christian theology of the body. That is
a very tall order.
By the way, just to be clear, although you euphemistically
used the term “gay relationships”, we should clarify that this is not the same
thing as gay love. There are plenty of gay
people who have very deep relationships of love, but without having sex with
each other. On the other hand, there are gay people who have lots of sex
with multiple partners, or casual partners, and are happy with that, but are
not doing it out of “love” in the sense of a long term commitment of sacrifice
Coming from the New Testament theology of Jesus, who only
spoke of marriage as being between a man and a woman, and coming from a
Catholic interpretation of St. Paul, who insists on the purity of the body as a
temple of the Holy Spirit, I can see no reconciliation between what you are
asking, and what is the Apostolic Tradition of the Church. It is not just
because the Catholic Church respects Natural Law philosophy, as a framework for
asking whether something is authentic human nature and therefore whether it is
healthy and good for us. It is because the canon of Scripture as formulated in
Church Councils does not allow for this new thinking about gay sex, without a
huge evolution in nouveau exegesis.
Catholic exegetes do at times go through Greek this and
Greek that, through convoluted cultural situations in 1st century
Palestine and the Roman Empire, to come up with new interpretations which see
the Bible as neutral on the question of gay sex. However, the vast majority of respected
Catholic scholars, exegetes and theologians don’t buy it. And when they look at
the view of gay sex, as developed in the primitive Christian communities, they
see no acceptance of gay sex. Then, when they look at the writings of ancient
Fathers, they see even more explicit and clear condemnation of gay sex with the
use of “abomination” language to boot.
Bottom line, I don’t see how Catholicism could accept gay
sex, and gay marriage, without totally alienating those in the Catholic Church
who stand by the classic interpretations of Scripture and Tradition on this
question. Even more so, in an age when Catholicism is trying to dialogue more
intensely with the hundreds of millions of Christians of the ancient churches
of Eastern Orthodoxy, the reversal or turnabout of two millennia of faith and
Tradition would doom forever any hope of reunion with the ancient churches of
don’t want to throw the possibility of me having a relationship, marriage and
family away, because what if that ends up being my vocation? In short, I don’t
think I should have to choose and I don’t think while these inclinations are
naturally objectively dis-ordered, that they are sinful when performed out of
love like a regular straight couple.
“Out of love like a regular straight couple” is another
phrase which is used often in the Catholic gay community. But let’s clarify
that the vast majority of gay couples do not want to abide by the same moral
teachings as a “regular straight couple” in the Catholic community.
This is the difficulty of using phrases like “performed out
of love.” It sounds nice. Actually, it sounds great. In our regular marriage
preparation, we tell straight couples that it is not enough to perform out of
love, but that the Church opposes divorce, contraception, and the unions
entered into by people who have not grown sufficiently in maturity and responsibility.
And yet, my impression in these debates is that many Catholic gay couples believe that they
should have a special category, or special rules to follow, when it comes to
their way of performing out of love.
The vast majority of gay couples do not want to be married.
Even the vast majority of Catholic gay couples do not want to be married. If
they do get married, they do not want to be told that they have to remain with
that partner for life. Even though straight couples have high rates of divorce,
there are even much higher rates of split up among gay couples. Furthermore,
most gay couples do not wish to have children, nor do they see children as
having an essential connection to marriage. For most of them, marriage is a
bond of love, period. They don’t necessarily have to be faithful to that bond.
They don’t necessarily have to be committed to that bond. And that bond, for
the vast majority of gay couples, does not have to bring children along.
So, in the Catholic Church, there is, and there always has
been, a belief that a certain theology about sex has to be preached, if the
Church is going to be the Church and be faithful to the Church core identity as
Jesus established it. That means that yes, there is a firm belief in the
sinfulness of sex acts which are broken off from life time commitment, from
stable, mature commitments, and from the openness to life, is not a matter
preached for straight couples, while gay couples get a pass.
Thus, I don’t know how a Christian tries to reconcile gay
sex, or heterosexual sex outside of marriage, with the convictions of the New
Testament and with the convictions of the early Church.
In fact, people in the early Church grew up in a Greek and
Roman world where there were plenty of orgies and unrestricted sex between
couples who had no intention to be together for life, to be faithful to each
other, or to have children. The testimony of the early Christians, when they
talk about sex, is that such behavior or mores are what they left behind when
they became Christian—not what they wanted to embrace in their new life after
To say that a person has a “vocation” or a calling to gay marriage, or to have gay
sex, goes against the Church’s conviction that God is not pleased with gay sex
or with having gay sex within gay marriage. Yes, I have heard from people that
Catholic theologians can now see a possibility of accepting gay sex when it is
a case of a gay couple who are committed for life and open to fruitfulness, by
way of adoption or artificial means of conception and impregnation. The
thinking is that while the Church should see wanton hookups as wrong, there is
a place for welcoming loving same sex couples who strive to have a Christian
That would require Catholicism to completely invent itself
into a new religion. It would require a completely new moral theology which
simply dismisses or ignores the fact that only a miniscule number of gay couples
want to get married and have a family to begin with (and therefore, why are we
inventing a new theology of marriage when it does nothing to serve most of the
gay community anyway?). It would also require the Church to dismiss and erase
the confession of millions of Catholics, among them the great saints, who
adhered to the traditional Faith and the traditional teaching about the
sinfulness of sex outside of heterosexual marriage.
There are Christian communities who have reinvented
themselves and invented a whole new theology to go along with their acceptance
of gay sex. But my challenge, and my question is, why would I belong to a
church that can say that the truth of yesterday is a falsehood today? Why would
I join a church or religion where the teachings are not connected to the
revelation and truth of God, which is unchanging, in order to cater to me,
pander to me, and give me the name “Christian” with little of the
responsibility that goes with that name? What else will that new religion say
to please people? Tomorrow maybe they will be pro-abortion. The day after,
maybe they will side with the government to eliminate conscience protection. Or
maybe people will see through the moral relativism of such a church, and it
will just eventually die off and not be an effective force for building the
Kingdom of God?