Monday, April 16, 2007

Jesus Tomb pushers backtrack

Hopefully this will be the final post on this subject. I previously posted stories on the Jesus Tomb Hoax (here and here).

Now the protagonists themselves are backpedaling (surprise, surprise).

The story is "Jesus tomb film scholars backtrack" in the Jerusalem Post.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

He is Risen!

Seven Stanzas at Easter

By John Updike

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells' dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His Flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that — pierced — died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck's quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

Telephone Poles and Other Poems © 1961 by John Updike.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Ontological Argument for the Existence of God

Over at The Council of Trent I've posted some brief comments on an argument for the existence of God first given by Saint Augustine, but later more fully developed by Saint Anselm and now a favorite among philosophers. It's a very non-technical presentation of the most technical argument for the existence of God, so you might find it helpful.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Equality of Women in the Catholic Church

I'm cross-posting this from this post at The Counsel of Trent since I cross-posted the orginal post here as well. It concerns the charge that the Catholic Church does not respect the equality of women in virtue of the fact that ordination is restricted to men.
I do think the charge falls flat, but sometimes you do have to address such a question to be polite and because some people have become persuaded that it is so or just absorbed it due to repetition in our culture. Here are a few quick tips:

First, as a dialectical point always ask people what their evidence is for their assertions or by what reasoning they get from the alleged evidence to the conclusion. What is it, for instance, that logically gets you from women not being able to be ordained to women being treated unequally? It's not at all obvious that there's any reasonable connection here. Also, ask them to define their terms. What do they mean by inequality here? Or do they think than inequality is always unfair? Is it unfair that the handicapped get closer parking places? It's certainly unequal in a very clear sense, but it doesn't seem unfair. So inequality is not necessarily unfair. But then even IF this is a case of inequality why should we think it is a case of the unfair kind of inequality?

People who make claims need to be willing to back them up. In most cases like this people are parroting what they keep hearing.

But apart from the dialectical points here are some other brief points.

The problem here *can't* concern authority. Consider the following proposition:

(A) If X has authority over Y then X and Y are unequal.

Every Catholic is dogmatically bound to deny (A). The reason is that in the Holy Trinity the Father has authority over the Son and the Son has authority over the Spirit, but all are perfectly co-equal.

Here is something always to point out: Who is the most exalted non-divine human in all of existence? Mary. God asked her permission to be born and she has been made the Queen of Heaven. There are also lots of female Saints and Doctors of the Church who are of much greater authority, ultimately, than Priests and even Bishops at any given time.

This leads to a question you should always ask in such circumstances. Say "You know who Mother Theresa is, right?" They'll say "Of course," of course. Now ask them if they know who her parish Priest was, or who her Bishop or arch-Bishop was. The fact is, that in the Catholic Church your status is ultimately determined not by who has authority over whom, but who leads the most Christ-like life.