Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pope Francis: "violence and war are never the way to peace"

From Rev'd Dr Peter Mullen:

Your Grace,

I hear that the Bishop of Rome hath declared: “War is always a failure for humanity.”

This is an interesting judgement but there is nothing Christian or, even Roman Catholic, about it. God’s Holy Word doth allow that men shall defend the nation in the which it hath pleased him to set us. As it saith in the opening words of Psalm 68 Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered; let them also that hate him flee before him. In the 13th century, as thou knowest, St Thomas taught the doctrine of the just war: that war is permissible, saving it must be fought for a cause which is right, that it should have clear aims, that it should be proportionate and that the civilian population should not be targeted. Appended to Your Grace’s Book of Common Prayer stand the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion of the which Article XXXVII saith,
It is lawful for Christian men, at the commandment of the Magistrate, to wear weapons, and serve in the wars.
I perceive that this Pope of Rome hath departed so far from true doctrine as to stand in the following of Renaissance Humanism and that moreover he hath fallen in with the Pelagian or Manichæan thing which saith that acts be morally right or wrong in themselves without reference to the intention applied thereof. One might as well say, Your Grace, that the very stones are capable of palpable evil without there be any man which chucketh them.

Wherefrom cometh this worldly doctrine except it be a following after the fashion of the secular sort, of the unilateralism of them which do cloke their self-righteousness under the veil of pacifism and peacenickery? By the which the widow and the orphan go all unprotected and the innocent are preyed upon by the malice of our enemies.

As thou knowest also, and for which we daily thank Our Father in heaven, The Pope of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England. 

Rev'd Dr Peter Mullen is an author and former rector of St Michael's, Cornhill in the City of London.


Blogger Corrigan said...

Snidey Protestantism aside, war IS a failure of humanity. It doesn't follow from this that they should never be fought.

10 September 2013 at 09:09  
Blogger David Hussell said...

An interesting post Rev'd Doctor Peter Mullen, and thank you for it.

I agree, Corrigan, that to have to resort to war to secure justice or freedom, is always a failure of humanity. But sometimes, not often, this is necessary.
National self defense is of course entirely justified, and we must maintain strong forces at all times, to protect ourselves against the unknown.
However, we need to be extremely cautious about becoming embroiled in wars involving cultures and areas that we do not fully understand. The information is often so dark and murky that we can not be sufficiently , robustly sure that an intervention would be constitute a "just war".

10 September 2013 at 10:10  
Blogger Gregory Morris said...

The scripture plainly saith

NOT by might, NOR by power but by my Spirit saith the Lord of Hosts. Zec 4:6

Even to those of little faith, the Lord says: ye shall not need to fight this battle. Set yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord with you.

It is easy to confuse people by labelling any who conscientiously refuse to kill their fellow men as pacifists. In reality, our battle is not with flesh and blood but is against spiritual powers. "not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds."

There is no excuse for standing idly by: we cannot be morally neutral to evil around us and we can resist it peacefully: if that is pacifism, I confess to being a pacifist.

Consider the citizens of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon who openly defied orders to hand over the Jews but hid them and led them to safety led by those remarkable spiritual warriors André and Magda Trocmé.

The story is recounted by Pierre Sauvage, a self- confessed unbeliever who was one of those rescued by the bravery of these people, and related by Hallie, Philip P in "Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed: The Story of Le Chambon and How Goodness Happened There", 1979 New York: Harper & Row, ISBN 0-06-011701-X.

10 September 2013 at 10:14  
Blogger gentlemind said...

Acts cannot be morally right or wrong in themselves and, to the best of my (limited) knowledge, the Catholic Church does not teach that they can be. Nor can acts be morally right simply on account of our good intention.

Instead, the morality of the act is first dependent on the nature of that which we are acting in relation to - in this case, War. So, what is the nature of (violence and) War?

The Pope is right. Why on earth wouldn't he be?

10 September 2013 at 10:31  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

I always thought the Papacy endorsed war, or at least 'holy war' at any rate, e/g the Crusades? (of which Corrigan and others here have said were perfectly justified).

10 September 2013 at 10:44  
Blogger David B said...

I see Corrigan has accurately and concisely made the point I opened up the comments thread to make myself.


10 September 2013 at 11:03  
Blogger LEN said...

There `aint enough space here to list ALL the wars the Catholics have either initiated or been involved in.

Perhaps the Papacy has had a change of heart...about time?.

10 September 2013 at 11:04  
Blogger Johnnyrvf said...

My understanding of the New Testament is that Christs commandments supercede those of the Old Testament, what ever happened to his commandment of 'Love one another' and how does this relate to indulging in war, however 'just' it is perceived to be?

10 September 2013 at 11:25  
Blogger Corrigan said...

The Crusades were aimed against Muslims, Hannah; it was my understanding that Zionists were all in favour of that.

On a related point, whenever I hear anyone raising the Crusades as a stick to beat the Church, I know I'm dealing with a dilettante. There is nothing written in stone that says this or that land is Muslim or Christian, and in General, those areas which we think of as the heartland of Islam were usually Christian first. They fell to Islam at the point of a sword and the Crusades were merely a counter-attack. Studying them in isolation from the history in which they are embedded is like studying D-Day without reference to the growth of Nazism and the Second World War. If you were to do that, you would see a continent at peace and in order being attack my the massive and overwhelming might of an aggressor.

10 September 2013 at 11:50  
Blogger Corrigan said...

By the way, Len, are you a member of Mullen's congregation? I ask because the "never let a day go by" habit of taking a swipe at the Church seems oddly familiar.

10 September 2013 at 11:52  
Blogger The Explorer said...

johnny @ 11:25

If the war were to end slavery, say, or stop a genocide, would that be an exmaple of loving one another?

What if the alternative of doing nothing were the continuation of slavery, or the extermination of a particular group?

10 September 2013 at 11:53  
Blogger bluedog said...

Well said, Corrigan @ 11.50. It has become fashionable to demonise the Crusaders as culturally insensitive to the needs of Islam and as invaders of Islamic lands.

Ask the apologists about the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on October 18th 1009 by order of the Fatimid caliph and they would not merely feign ignorance, it would be genuine. And yet the Dome of the Rock, despite being consecrated as a church for some time, remains intact in Muslim observance and has never been destroyed.

By contrast, the Hagia Sophia, the finest and oldest Christian cathedral still standing is currently a museum. One reads that the Turks are planning to return the Hagia Sophia to use as a mosque, a fate that befell the church on the loss of Constantinople in 1453.

The religion of peace shows no mercy, even to this day.

10 September 2013 at 12:25  
Blogger IanCad said...

Johnnyrvf @ 11:25 wrote:

"--My understanding of the New Testament is that Christs commandments supercede those of the Old Testament.--"

Oh No! Not at all. Christ's commandments are the Ten Commandments.

Now, the ceremonial laws are done away with. They pointed towards a future redeemer who was fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus Christ.

The Decalogue is as binding as ever.

In Christ's own words:

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill" (Matt. 5:17).

10 September 2013 at 12:33  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Re: "The Crusades were aimed against Muslims"

Heh. Yes, those Albigensians were certainly Muslims, weren't they. Did the Pope typically offer the Crusaders indulgences before the fact for any sins they might commit during the Crusade, or was that a unique feature of the Cathar Crusade?


10 September 2013 at 12:46  
Blogger David Hussell said...


Whilst I agree with your paragraph two of your 11.50 comment, I thought that many of the crusades were internal, within Christendom, to repress "heresy", as then defined by the Catholic Church, say against the Albigensians of Albi and Carcassone, south-western France, in the 13th century. Innocent the Third was the Pope who ordered it , if I remember correctly.

10 September 2013 at 12:52  
Blogger The Explorer said...

carl @ 12:45

Sure there was the Albigensian Crusade. And there was the Sack of Constantinople (partly, I believe, because some high-up Byzantine had blinded some visiting high-up Venetian in the course of diplomacy, and the Venetians wanted to get their own back.) And what was the Children's Crusade about? (Some think it the source of the Pied Piper legend.)

But the main Crusading focus, surely, was as Corrigan says?

10 September 2013 at 13:03  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Hannah was not referring to the "internal" Crusades, and it was to her post that I was addressing my reply.

10 September 2013 at 13:24  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


The RCC saw itself as a temporal power with divine right to rule over kings. It was never just a church. That is the critical point. Rome had its Empire torn from its grasping fingers.


10 September 2013 at 13:25  
Blogger non mouse said...

Bravo, Dr. Mullen! Bravissimo, even.

Does not the papaseeto follow the Pharisees and Sadducees rather than the True Lord? For the Lord did things like turning tables on moneychangers. He recommended turning the cheek to make self-righteous abusers defile and reveal themselves. He resisted Roman colonisation and hegemony by telling Jews to render unto Caesar that which was Caesar's (i.e. Caesar's own image--whatever that may have been...). And He publicly gathered hordes of followers to His cause.

Why, He even raised the Dead in the face of Nick (both old and modern). Furthermore, He harrowed Hell.

Though we have not His divinity and power, we can follow the fighting spirit of His example and that of His human forefather. After all, He was of the line of David - a king who (for all his human failings) was God's Own Warrior.

And Poet. For David also used the fighting power of the Word through words. As writer of the Psalms, he provided those apotropaic words which served generations of Christian warriors through the monasteries. And those earlier Christians knew also what Matthew recorded for us as Christ's dictum:
For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven

Perhaps there is more than one reason why King Alfred the Great is so dubbed. He was a great warrior and, while redeeming the Realm of England, he followed David and Christ in preserving the Word and Laws of God.

We have some wonderful models to follow.


PS: Well posited, The Explorer @ 11:53.

10 September 2013 at 13:34  
Blogger LEN said...

Corrigan , be quite a trip for me to be a member of Dr Peter Mullens congregation (600 mile round trip)

So like most of your other assumptions.... totally incorrect.

10 September 2013 at 13:38  
Blogger Roy said...

Carl Jacobs reminded us of the Crusades against the Albigensians. People often forget that the Danes, Swedes and the Teutonic knights of Germany also carried out crusades against the pagans in what are now the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The Baltic Crusade by Ruth Williamson

Northern Crusades

10 September 2013 at 13:42  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Corrigan (&everyone else),

My initial comment was a reflect on this post & was meant more of a theological discussion:

The Pope Francis has been recently arguing against intervention in Syria, which presumably Dr Mullen is referring to. Now as far as I am concerned, it is of course quite right that a head of state and a spiritual head of a religion should have a view on this issue.

However, we are always being told here by the zealot Catholics that the Church of Rome (the only Church) NEVER changes and has been consistent ever since Jesus appointed Peter as his Rock/Pope.

Now, I don't see how this theological opinion can be true. The Crusades happened 800 years ago and were a form of religious warfare or holy war, declared by the Pope Urban. Now we have his successor decrying war etc, which seems to me to be a ditching of this Crusade/religious holy war idea....(especially as been said on this blog before Christians in the middle east are not exactly being treated very kindly).

10 September 2013 at 14:13  
Blogger richardhj said...

Does Rev Mullen thank God that "The Pope in Rome hath no jurisdiction in England" and that instead David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband are those in charge?

10 September 2013 at 14:14  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Corrigan,

'The Crusades were against Muslims'.

So what about the Jews and Eastern Orthodox (heretical) Christians who got slaughtered by Catholic Christian 'Crusaders' in the name of the one true Church and religion?

I always thought that Islam conquered 'the holy land' from the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire. That the Emperor of the Byzantines wanted help from western Europe for the sake of Christendom. Except that after the first Crusades the Holy Land was divided into various Kingdoms controlled by those from western Catholic Europe- the territories were not returned to the Byzantine Empire.

So much for ecumenical Christian unity. It was more of a geo-political power play with religion as the main excuses for land grabs and war, both by the Papacy and the western feudal kings and lords.

10 September 2013 at 14:21  
Blogger Corrigan said...

The Eastern Othodox are not heretical - Catholics may receive their sacraments in certain circumstances. They are considered schismatic, ie, they have a problem with the authority of the Pope, but are otherwise (if you'll pardon the expression) Kohsher. As to those of them (and the Jews) who died at the hands of the Crusaders, they are what we would today call "collateral damage". Kind of like all those Palestinians in Gaza.

10 September 2013 at 14:29  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Corrigan,

'"collateral damage". Kind of like all those Palestinians in Gaza'.

And you say you think you are discussing this with a'dilettante', but make cheap shots, right...

But if that statement is taken at face value, not all Jews were in the 'zone of war' during the various Crusades. There was violent persecution of Jews throughout Western Christendom as well.

If you are trying to do a compare and contrast exercise, I will help you join the dots here and contrast that with Israel an 'apartheid state' and as to how Israeli Arabs have equal rights, their own religious courts, the right to vote and note that when Churches or Mosques are attacked, the full force of Israel law comes down on the perpetrators.

However in respect of the position of Jews in the Holy Land and them being collateral damage, it is at least good of you to finally acknowledge that there were Jews around there 800 years ago. Kinda shows your idea of Israel as a 'colonial implant' to be the tosh it actually is.

10 September 2013 at 14:46  
Blogger LEN said...

The Church of Rome does not change (indeed it cannot!)if one makes claims to be 'infallible' it is very difficult to say one was wrong!.
The only thing that will change with the Roman Church is the means of obtaining its objectives.

10 September 2013 at 14:58  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Carl @ 13:25

I take the point about the Pope; although the French king was arguably the prime mover in the Albigensian venture.

But Corrigan's point, surely, is about the Crusades narrative fed to modern Westerners: a brutal and unprovoked assault by barbarians on a peaceful and peace-loving region.

Corrigan's comparison with the D-Day invasion - you have to look at what happened before - seems to me spot on.

10 September 2013 at 15:01  
Blogger Albert said...

Obviously, this is a wind up. But I think I'll bite anyway!

One of the criteria for a Just War is that it be a last resort. From which war learn that even a Just War represents a failure to have found a peaceful solution. This is also evident in the intention of a Just War:

war is waged in order that peace may be obtained

So says Augustine (quoted with approval by Aquinas), obviously war shows human beings have failed at the primary motive: peace. Will Dr Mullen now accuse Augustine of Manichaeism?

So having corrected Dr Mullen's grasp of Catholic and Christian teaching, may I now correct his Anglicanism:

The Pope of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England.

I think you'll find it is the Bishop of Rome, whose authority is (falsely) denied. And why would you thank God for that? It was not denied in order to give men freedom, but in order that there be no appeal against the totalitarian claims of the state - not even in matters of faith, not even when imposing foreign (German and French) doctrines. And in any case, given that the authority of the monarch was taken from him and given into the hands of a foreigner, after 1688, the quotation is worthless anyway.

And while we are on the subject of human traditions, fond things, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God, how about this:

I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.

10 September 2013 at 15:08  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Explorer/Albert,

As you are more reasonable commentators here, is there a theology regarding Crusades, in the same way that Islam has 'Jihad' then or is that part of the 'just war' theology?

Btw- Judaism has the ideas of Milḥemet Mitzvah (war by commandment 'of the Torah') and milkhemet reshut ('discretionary war').

Today, Milhemet Mitzvah is seem as pertaining to 'defensive war or war of self defence' and in the absence of a universal Sanhedrin, Jewish law considers Mikhemet Reshut cannot be undertaken, but the IDF is seem (in most Rabbinical eyes) as undertaking wars of self-defence.

That seems more simple than the worry over whether a war is or is not 'just' (given how one can interpret whatever that means).

10 September 2013 at 15:58  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hi Hannah:

I don't know anything about 'Crusades' in general; only THE Crusades as an historical phenomenon.

Original motive: reaction to persecution of pilgrims, recovery of Holy Land from Muslim expansion. Less elevated later: land grab (Albigensian), revenge (Constantinople). Children's Crusade: who knows?

Problems of transport, communications, inter-nation rivalry (imprisonment of Richard I in Austria), indiscipline.

Ill treatment of Jews en route and at destination. Massacre of inhabitants of captured towns. All sides did it, including Muslims: impossibility of feeding captives, and danger of releasing them.

Two points though.

1. Aggression only in response to prior aggression.

2. Land grab not a primary motive. Godfrey de Bouillon sold estates to fund his contribution, but retained others: his intention was to return to France once he had done his service.

Not sure if that helps, but hope so.

10 September 2013 at 16:30  
Blogger Albert said...


Not really my field, I'm afraid. As I understand it, though, the Crusades were intended as a form of self-defence. The problems in Syria and Egypt are reminding us that the lands in the Middle East were Christian long before Muslims appeared. The Christians in Eastern Europe were threatened by Muslims too.

The other Crusades against heretics, I think began because the heretics started killing bishops. So again it was about restoration of defence and proper order.

That we don't see them that way reminds us (pertinently, given the state of the M.East) that wars often start out for one reason (often not unreasonable) but continue for others...

10 September 2013 at 16:58  
Blogger LEN said...

The Pope has no authority over anyone unless they choose to submit to him.
Authority can be stolen or surrendered by force or by deception(As Adam did when he submitted to Satan)

Jesus stripped Satan of his[Satan`s stolen]authority at Calvary we should not surrender our Liberty gained at such a cost to any deceiver or those who would take it by force.

Of course if you are not a born again believer you are already in Satan`s camp and under his authority and your only hope of escape is solely through the atonement of Jesus Christ at Calvary.

10 September 2013 at 17:01  
Blogger LEN said...

'The Crusades ' and all that followed were a natural progression of Catholic teaching.
A Church which pretends to be 'infallible' will always seek the destruction of those who dissent from it.
History bears this out.

10 September 2013 at 17:10  
Blogger The Explorer said...


It is indisputable that the dross element among the Crusaders completely lost the plot and committed atrocities against the Jews in their progress through Germany. It is not an edifying story.

In mitigation it must be said that Arnold of Cologne gave the Jews a fortified castle, and Archbishop Henry of Mainz, Bishop Hermann and Bishop Allebranches all risked their lives in giving protection.

10 September 2013 at 17:29  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Explorer/Albert,

Thanks for your replies. I'll try and respond to each of you, later on. But I think I need to be a glossary of Christian religious terms, for above I noted that I thought Eastern Orthodox were 'Heretics' to Catholics; to me that simply meant non-Catholic, as presumably anyone who isn't a Catholic is in some form of error- hence 'heretic', but apparently they are not and there is a different term.

Likewise, my post addressed to you both, wasn't a specific one about the historical series of 'Crusades', but a question regarding whether or not there is an actual belief/dogma/theory/theology in respect of 'crusades' or for want of a better word 'holy wars'. I noted that Islam has this concept -Jihad (I'm not saying I agree with it btw). I just wondered if there was any Christian theology for a holy war or a war to protect the christian faith.

I think Albert mentioned the theology of a 'just war', but I think pinning that down to a precise definition is very difficult- I guess that is the intent, so it can be reasonably flexible.

For example Roman Catholic Germans fighting for Germany might have thought WWI was just, in the same way as Roman Catholic Italy (on the allied side)?

In respect of the actual historical crusades, I'll read the posts and get back later on.

10 September 2013 at 17:29  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10 September 2013 at 17:37  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Explorer,

In respect of my comments on 'land grabbing', I was just intrigued on that because the Byzantine Empire controlled the region. Then Islam chucks them out. Then the Crusaders arrive, do lots of fighting and eventually formed various kingdoms and lordships out of that territory (And I think in one Crusade, some of the Crusaders had one of their own, the King of England kidnapped and ransomed). That's all I was thinking of.

As for the treatment of Jews, I find it baffling as to why Jews were targeted. We had nothing to do with conquering the holy land nor were we muslims. Strange.

And my comments were primarily in response to Corrigan's quip about 'collateral damage' and modern day conflicts. Except for Corrigan's quip to have any merit, it would mean Israelis were killing Muslims in (say) Ireland and the UK as a result of whipping up religious hysteria....

10 September 2013 at 17:40  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Albert,

OK, it is not your field, so I'll let you go... (:

10 September 2013 at 17:41  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hi Hannah

When you compare how Christianity was originally spread in Egypt, Turkey, Syria or Lebanon with how Islam was spread in the same regions then no, Chrisitianity has no equivalent of Jihad.

10 September 2013 at 17:58  
Blogger Peter D said...

You do make some valid points.

The position that war is always bad is pure pacifism and against Catholic teaching. It encourages evil and there are times when evil has to be crushed. Defense of the State in itself is not an intrinsic evil.

There will not be peace in the region until Muslim fundamentalists are defeated. A peaceful attitude attitude is Christian. Pacifism is not - history tells us its the mother of holocausts, world wars and communist dictatorships.

Pope Francis' comments were made at a four-hour Syria peace vigil late Saturday. 100,000 took part in the Rome event. During his homily he issued a heartfelt plea for peace, denouncing those who are “captivated by the idols of dominion and power” and destroy God’s creation through war.

“This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: Violence and war are never the way to peace!”.

Well, he's mistaken. Ask Chamberlain. War is necessary and sometimes it is an actual duty.

However, I do agree with the following sentiments:

“May the noise of weapons cease!” he said. “War always marks the failure of peace, it is always a defeat for humanity.” And this is surely true and has been since the time of Cain and Abel?

Then the Pope went 'political', lashing out at what he termed “commercial war to sell arms”. He called for his followers to “say no to violence in all its forms, to the proliferation of weapons and their illegal trade.”

“I invite you to continue to pray for the violence and devastation to stop! Let us work with a renewed commitment for a just solution to the internecine conflict,”.

Just solution? And heartfelt prayer to God for peace is never wasted.

10 September 2013 at 17:59  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Always been a “Lord, allow me to smite thine enemies” man personally. Of course, the reward for not fighting for your survival is to be confined under guard and to await your call to be beheaded with a scimitar. So we’ll leave that fate to the pacifists then – their inheritance for their noble position…

Besides, what does it matter to God ? We’re all going to end up as dust anyway. Not as if divine immortal creations are wilfully destroying themselves, for whatever reason, even just ones. One has long suspected we are here to entertain, and entertain in the most bloody way we certainly do…

10 September 2013 at 18:09  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Len. Of course if you are not a born again believer you are already in Satan`s camp

On occasion, you get so wound up you start frothing at the mouth. What sport it is to watch…

10 September 2013 at 18:15  
Blogger Albert said...


I think pinning that down to a precise definition is very difficult

Probably, though easier for Catholicism than for most. However, it takes time (and often painful experience) to work out what needs to be said, and even then, there will be prudential judgements over how to apply the principles.

10 September 2013 at 18:23  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

I'd say that there is another Crusade being fought, for the past 10 years. And it wasn't Christians or Jews who started it. In fact it was started 11 years ago, by a group of terrorists of a particular theological-religious worldview.

I'll stick my neck out here- whatever the rights and wrongs of 'the crusades' of history, I'd say that Jewish-Christian dialogue can in 2013, take place in an entirely different landscape and we can all be confident that, despite our defined differences, neither of us are going to shoot each other for genuine disagreement.

I trust that we can go on the journey of reconciliation towards each other and that does not mean we are all going to agree with each other, but appreciate each other's faith more deeply.

That is at least my hope and prayer.

10 September 2013 at 18:23  
Blogger Albert said...


A Church which pretends to be 'infallible' will always seek the destruction of those who dissent from it.
History bears this out.

Of course the Catholic Church does not pretend to be infallible. That must be why the Church is manifestly not always seeking the destruction of those who dissent from it. For example, the present post is complaining that the Pope is not enough into destruction, and doubtless, there will other Protestants along soon, to teach how wicked it is to follow the teaching "Do not resist an evil person."

10 September 2013 at 18:26  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Len,

'Of course if you are not a born again believer you are already in Satan`s camp and under his authority'

That is one of the most stupid comments I've read here, but if I may say one of the reasons why I didn't become a Christian in the end!

I'm sorry, but I am NOT a 'born again believer', but I don't see myself being 'under the authority' of the Christian type devil! That is 'a supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind.'

By your logic everyone who is not a Christian- actually narrow it down to 'born again believer'- has been serving the devil, that is a 'personification of evil'.

That just does not stack up. There have been many moral and good non 'born again believers' in the same way as there has been many atrocious 'Christians'...

But then your logic is so warped, that you did say a while back Jews worships 'baal' because of your -incorrect -view of translation of Hebrew and of out belief in not writing down G-d's name...

10 September 2013 at 19:24  
Blogger David B said...

Interesting to see how this thread has developed into squabbling between Catholics and Protestants about the rights and wrongs of the Crusades.

I would have thought a better way for it to develop would have been the argument regarding absolute morality, and war being absolutely wrong or not, being sometimes the lesser of evils.

Since I am not a moral absolutist I have no difficulties being in the latter camp, but I would have thought the absolute morality position has problems.

Interestingly it is Catholics defending the Pope's view by accepting that war is sometimes necessary who tend to be moral absolutists.

Why, then, do they have such difficulty in seeing divorce as sometimes the lesser of evils? Or, for that matter, abortion?


10 September 2013 at 19:32  
Blogger IanCad said...

david kavanagh @ 18:23,

Great Post!

Yes, we can dialogue with respect and vigour.
However, unless an unswerving commitment to the principles of religious liberty is maintained then all bets are off.
The separation of Chuch and State is essential toward this end. (The CofE is exempted!)
As also is the acceptance of some folks who we just don't understand.
Enjoy it while it lasts.

10 September 2013 at 19:48  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

Unfortunately war brings with it all the things that we most abhor and most regard as evil, namely maiming, horrendous physical suffering, the killing of men, women and children, many of them young, many who have barely tasted life let alone married and had children, rape, pillage, VD, marital unfaithfulness, adultery, lies aplenty, misuse of funds and resources leading to poverty and the consistent and constant repeat breaking of every one of the ten commandments.

It is rather the territory of the Evil One than the territory of God. No wonder the Church was largely virtually pacifist for the first three decades, when many died for their faith, but the same people did not kill for their faith. And the Church not only survived but grew.

Meanwhile I read that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost every American household $75,000. Just think what the world economy and the American debt clock would look like had they managed another better way.

10 September 2013 at 20:11  
Blogger Albert said...

David B,

Why, then, do they have such difficulty in seeing divorce as sometimes the lesser of evils? Or, for that matter, abortion?

Because in going to war, we are not committing the lesser of two evils. You cannot do evil that good may come of it. That means you cannot remarry after divorce, it means you cannot have an abortion and you cannot go to war to do some kind of good. You can however, go to war to stop an evil (i.e. in self-defence, or in defence of an ally). But defending the innocent is not doing evil, it is doing good. Hence, there is no contradiction in the Catholic position.

BTW I don't think the thread has developed into squabbling between Catholics and Protestants - perhaps I haven't read all the comments. All that happened I think is that Len popped up with a few points and was roundly answered.

10 September 2013 at 20:11  
Blogger Albert said...

Just to clarify: my first sentence is only speaking of just wars. Unjust wars are just wrong - like abortions.

10 September 2013 at 20:13  
Blogger David B said...

Sorry Albert, I just cannot see how going to war which leads to killing people, and leads to people on your side getting killed or maimed, as anything other than a bad thing.

Sometimes, though, I concede, not going to war might be worse.

Saying it is good because it protects the innocent is just the same as saying it is the lesser of evils, and your rationale looks to me like a jesuitical way of trying to make mendacity not look mendacious - rather like that infamous mental reservation thing that was used to cover up child abuse.

Was, by the way, protecting the guilty because they were child abusing priests doing good, do you think?


10 September 2013 at 20:19  
Blogger David B said...

Ian Cad

"...unless an unswerving commitment to the principles of religious liberty..."

Should this commitment, do you think, be so unswerving that it should allow killing witches, imposing OT punishents, letting kids painfully die because people prefer prayer to medicine?

I don't! Even though I see religious liberty as a moral desideratum, again I don't see it as absolute.


10 September 2013 at 20:22  
Blogger Albert said...

David B,

I just cannot see how going to war which leads to killing people, and leads to people on your side getting killed or maimed, as anything other than a bad thing.

You have to distinguish between the act (and therefore the intention) and the outcome. Unless you can show that the act and its outcome are the same thing - so that the act is reducible to its outcome, you have no objection to make. Of course, you may feel they are the same, in your moral outlook, they may even be the same, but I don't share your moral outlook, and you have to show there is no conceptual space for mine.

Take an alternative position: a doctor performs a life-saving operation by cutting a person open. Now is that a good act or a bad one? Surely it is a good act, even though harm is done.

your rationale looks to me like a jesuitical way of trying to make mendacity not look mendacious - rather like that infamous mental reservation thing that was used to cover up child abuse. Was, by the way, protecting the guilty because they were child abusing priests doing good, do you think?

Can you give actual examples of that, please? Actually though, it looks to me like an example of what you are arguing for: doing evil that good may come of it. Your only objection to it can be that the proportions were wrong - too much suffering of the child for too little good gained. But even to admit that much, is, to me, to be far, far too close to defending protecting the guilty at the expense of innocent and suffering children.

10 September 2013 at 20:25  
Blogger Albert said...

David B,

Even though I see religious liberty as a moral desideratum, again I don't see it as absolute.

I agree, but what do you use to trump it with?

10 September 2013 at 20:27  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hannah @ 17:40

Your second paragraph: re non-involvement.

In 'Barnaby Rudge', the Gordon Riots start out as anti-Catholic - "No Popery!:" and end up anti-capitalist: "No property!"

People completely innocent of the original grievance thus get caught up in the confusions of some of the participants.

Similar situation, I think.

10 September 2013 at 20:33  
Blogger Peter D said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10 September 2013 at 20:34  
Blogger IanCad said...

David B,

Burning witches is not a result of religious liberty but the lack of it.

New England was then under a theocracy.

It is the unfortunate tendency of any predominant religion to become thus.

10 September 2013 at 20:36  
Blogger Peter D said...

Clearly ardenjm's efforts are not having limited impact.

Try this prayer to the Archangel Michael (written by Aloysius Gonzaga).

O Victorious Prince, most humble guardian of the Church of God and of the faithful souls, who with such charity and zeal took part in so many conflicts and gained such great victories over the enemy for the conservation and protection of the honour and glory we all owe to God, as well as for the promotion of man's salvation; come, I pray thee, to the assistance of my soul, which continually is besieged with such great peril by its enemies, the flesh, the world, and the devil.

And as thou wast a leader for the people of Israel through the desert, so also be my faithful leader and companion through the desert of this world, until thou conduct me safely into the happy land of the living, in that blessed fatherland from which we all are exiles.

To put your mind at rest, this isn't a Catholic 'charm' as Michael is mentioned in Daniel 12:1:

"At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people - everyone whose name is found written in the book - will be delivered."

Can't do any harm can it?

10 September 2013 at 20:36  
Blogger Peter D said...

David B
There's a significant difference between murder - an intrinsic evil - and killing - sometimes a duty and morally justifiable in certain circumstances.

Would you stand by and let your wife and children be murdered? Or yourself?

10 September 2013 at 20:39  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Peter D

“This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: Violence and war are never the way to peace!”.

Well, he's mistaken. Ask Chamberlain. War is necessary and sometimes it is an actual duty.

I don't think he's mistaken. I think he's heartbroken. There's a difference.

The end result of war is peace, sometimes when there is nothing left to call a victory. I hear Papa Francis crying out for another solution (and like a lot of Catholics I was fasting and praying on Saturday as the Pope requested, that somehow we could find a better solution than yet another war. Did it do any good? Only the Holy Spirit knows).

War is the ultimate failure of mankind. It doesn't mean it isn't necessary under some circumstances. There may even be no option. It may be utterly morally justified. It's still a failure.

10 September 2013 at 20:39  
Blogger Albert said...


And how many "witches" were burnt anyway? One is obviously too many, but it's hardly worth comparing with the kind of violence of the secularists.

10 September 2013 at 20:40  
Blogger IanCad said...


For sure, if you are thinking of Mao, Lenin or Stalin you have a point.

10 September 2013 at 21:03  
Blogger The Explorer said...

The idea that 'witches' everywhere were burned has become ineradicable. Actually in Britain and America, 'witches' were hanged. Nineteen Salem witches were hanged, and one male witch was pressed to death under stones.

Burning was reserved for heresy or, in the case of women for 'low treason': murder of husband or employer. On the Continent, admittedly, the picture was far more varied and DID involve burning

Sensationalists like Dan Brown put the numbers of condemned witches in the millions. The reality appears to have been a few thousand. (Still bad enough!)

Matthew Hopkin, witchfinder general, seems to have been employed mostly by local authorities. The main opposition to him seems to have come from clergymen.

10 September 2013 at 21:18  
Blogger IanCad said...

Peter D

Could it be Gonzaga understood that Michael was Christ?

10 September 2013 at 21:25  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

War – It is of course applied Christianity as opposed to pure.

What !

10 September 2013 at 21:29  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

“Pressed to death under stones...”


Len, come over here will you...

10 September 2013 at 21:33  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Explorer,

Thank you for that explanation. It shall be mulled over.

10 September 2013 at 21:36  
Blogger Albert said...


And I believe the average witch was a man and not a woman, as well, and that they usually weren't punished. Compare with the nice gentlemen IanCad mentions, and you see the difference.

10 September 2013 at 21:40  
Blogger Peter D said...

Sister Tiberia

Good points - the empathy of women, eh?

Still, there are times when I wish Francis would show greater attention to his leadership role as Pope and chose his words more carefully.

IanCad said...
"Could it be Gonzaga understood that Michael was Christ?"

Did Daniel?

Not at all. Read about Gonzaga's short, humble life of service. He experienced a vision of Michael the Archangel. Catholics view Michael as the greatest Angel in the Heavenly war against Satan.

Your post @ 18:09. Oh dear. Now you're expressing Greco-Roman pagan views!

10 September 2013 at 21:55  
Blogger Albert said...

Sr T,

like a lot of Catholics I was fasting and praying on Saturday as the Pope requested, that somehow we could find a better solution than yet another war. Did it do any good?

The last 36 hours have been fascinating in that regard!

10 September 2013 at 21:58  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peter D. Well yes, 18:09 is philosophising, but have you ever wondered what our creation brought to God.

And no, this is nothing to do with being in the lap of the gods...

10 September 2013 at 22:08  
Blogger ardenjm said...

Dr Mullen's piece is really disappointing.
Normally he doesn't express himself with such Cranmeresque pomposity and I didn't know he shared the same intellectual-emotional blind spot as the Communion-pilfering anti-Catholic Cranmer. However, judging by this post they share that deep-rooted spiritually schizophrenic conflict about the Catholic Church - What I called elsewhere a "Je t'aime, moi non plus" complex.

But there.
They are what they are.
They should be pitied, really, as they carry on persuading themselves that somehow the Golem that is the Anglican Communion is the Living Body of Christ that is His Church....
(And, YES, I do believe that individual Anglicans can have a profound life of the theological virutes that would shame most Catholics, myself included.)
Nevertheless, the Frankenstein's Monster that Henry VIII, Elizabeth, Cranmer and Co stitched together in the 16th century is fundamentally animated by one thing and one thing only: caesero-papism. The state takes over. Albert covered this admirably in one of his repudiations of the original post.
And so it lumbers on until it becomes expedient for the State to abandon it.
And that day is fast approaching.
And when the British Royal Family sees that choosing between establishment of the Anglican Church and their own dynastic future - they will do what every British monarch has done since Henry VIII: they'll choose the dynasty over the Faith.

And that will be that.

The Golem will come to a juddering halt - as an institution.

So - to hear Dr Mullen rehash these tired old anti-Roman tropes is pretty disappointing because they are so intellectually lazy and beside the point.
As if the Pope saying: this war could have been avoided, should be avoided is to be understood as a power-grab by Rome.
What the hell?
2 million displaced people and 100,000 dead and an Anglican cleric is whittering on about Old Blighty being happily rid of Papal influence?

Good grief.

It's beyond parody.

10 September 2013 at 22:09  
Blogger ardenjm said...

But the moral theological question was raised earlier:
Are there any acts that are intrinsically evil regardless of the intention with which they are performed?

Gentlemind even claimed the opposite of Catholic teaching as Catholic teaching
And no-one thought to bring up Veritatis Splendor that answers this very question!

Albert - I'm surprised you didn't ! ; )

And lastly: The Albigensians where NOT nice people strumming Kum Ba Ya in the sunshine and putting flowers in their hair.
Their suppression was violent and bloody.
As was their own behaviour.

We are so quick to get on our high horses to condemn the way these situations were dealt with.
If we are on our high horses as a means to examine our own conscience and increase our present-day vigilance I'd be more convinced. But we're not. We cite them to Catholic-bash. At that's just rank hypocrisy, frankly.
How many times do I have to mention what went on to Ireland until some of the people here get it that NONE OF US have the moral high ground over this.
And for any Quakers out there who think they do - remember the Quaker plantations in the US and put a sock in it....

The Albigensian minority was BIG in South West France - not half of the population - but certainly over a quarter.
Fast forward a few centuries and answer me this:
How do you integrate a sizeable minority that is claiming that the majority is corrupt, evil and needs to be opposed? This is not a minority requesting tolerance and a live and let live attitude. This was a militant minority that fomented social discord and division.
Anyone who saw what went on in France a few years back when les Banlieus exploded should say to themselves: this is what happens when a minority becomes militant....
How would you have dealt with it?

This isn't a justification for the Albigensian Crusade. It's just asking us not to persist with a cartoon version of it.

Just my two bits.

As for the Crusades in the Holy Land.
5 centuries too late and a badly managed reaction to 500 years of constant provocation, war, invasion, pillaging and enslaving. The only episodes that really give me pause are the pillaging of Constantinople and the treatment of the Jews.

I'm still glad that the Pope marshalled forces to save Europe, however, at Lepanto.
The Protestants did bugger all for that.
But they reaped all the benefits.
Anyway, I've rehearsed those arguments elsewhere.

10 September 2013 at 22:25  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Verily, your finest post yet ardenjm. You are a giant amongst bloggers, Sir.

We must not forget ‘enthusiastic’ Protestants have a daily need to justify their separation from Rome, do we not ?

Otherwise, we’d never hear from them, what !

10 September 2013 at 22:35  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

I'm with Gregory Morris on this one (10:14) leaving the supernatural out of Christianity is almost worse than leaving it out of Judaism, and the responses to horrific evil noted by Philip Hallie are worth reading.

Often Christians repeat facile caricatures of only two options - those Christians who fight like Tancred and those who collapse on the ground and allow evil to prosper while making daisy chains. The example of Le Chambon ought to be of interest as Philip Hallie noted the effect of a non violence that was active, not passive. Not to say it replaces government, but it applies grace.

Thanks for the ISBN Mr Morris - I've only had a pdf extract so far.

Can't resist a point for our Mullen called Peter - it was that other Peter who was told -"put up your sword in its place, for all those who take the sword shall perish by the sword." Now what cause could be more just than the defence of God incarnate?

Application can't be swerved, although the state bearing the sword for justice is a non-contradictory principle. One day peace will come after someone makes war with the sword of his mouth - I'll leave that to Him.

10 September 2013 at 22:56  
Blogger Peter D said...

This made me laugh out loud: "the Communion-pilfering anti-Catholic Cranmer."

And this summed up the my initial reaction to the post:

"2 million displaced people and 100,000 dead and an Anglican cleric is whittering on about Old Blighty being happily rid of Papal influence?"

Good point too about Catholic moral theology. I believe it separates us from all other faiths and denominations.

The Church has always taught that certain acts are intrinsically evil - they are always wrong, and that there are never circumstances in which they may be permitted if done knowingly and intentionally. In other words: "the ends never justify the means." Certain acts are so destructive to the human person that there are no extenuating circumstances that would allow them.

Contraception; abortion; euthanasia; and homosexual acts, are all examples.

A 'Just War' is not evil as it is permissible, seven necessary, to tolerate a lesser evil to prevent a greater one, or to promote a greater good. However, it is never permissible, even in the gravest of circumstances, to intentionally commit an evil act so that good may come of it. It is never permissible to intend directly something which contradicts a moral order through intrinsically evil acts.

10 September 2013 at 23:24  
Blogger Peter D said...

" ... put up your sword in its place, for all those who take the sword shall perish by the sword." Now what cause could be more just than the defence of God incarnate?"

Jesus was surely teaching that the legitimacy and authority of the Jewish Temple and its guards had to be respected? That it is wrong to take up arms against God's representatives.

10 September 2013 at 23:30  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Humanism and secularism are never pretty things. The Christians of this country have been at the receiving end of a war by those who hate God and the Christians have done almost nothing.
It is time that we take up 'arms' (prayer and preaching) against God's enemies and show no mercy.
Has the Pope forgotten that Jesus ask his disciples how many swords they had before they went to Gethsemane.
If His Holiness was referring to Syria, then that is not a just war for the west to get involved in.
We can't judge who it is just to support. The US and UK have been too quick in the past to let their fire power be felt without due consideration.

10 September 2013 at 23:30  
Blogger David B said...

Mr Integrity

" The Christians of this country have been at the receiving end of a war by those who hate God and the Christians have done almost nothing."

Yeah, Yeah

That is why there are loads of people in the House of Lords selected purely on the grounds of being high profile atheists, why there are loads of massive tax free buildings on almost every street corner devoted to atheism, with atheist slogans displayed prominently outside, why there is a daily slot on radio 4 called 'atheist propaganda of the day', why there are atheists up in arms because some councils want to charge them for parking when they go to atheist meetings.....I could go on for ages.

Are you a fool or a liar, remembering that the two are not mutually exclusive?


11 September 2013 at 00:07  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

David B

I disagree that this thread devolved into a squabble between Catholics and Protestants over the Crusades. I think it has mostly consisted of RCs seeking to justify the history of the RCC.


11 September 2013 at 00:33  
Blogger Peter D said...

Unlike you to lack objectivity (cough). Funny how attacking Catholicism unites protestants. One of the few things you agree on. You and Len make very strange bedfellows.

Just imagine a world where Calvin had had temporal power. Based on his antics, far worse than Cromwell, I'd say.

11 September 2013 at 01:03  
Blogger ardenjm said...


Come now, you'll forgive us for not having the pure uncontaminated air that Your Loftiness evidently inhales up there on your moral high ground - we have to justify the history of a Church that is made up of 2000 years of history and is packed to the gills with sinners who have done wicked things.

That doesn't stop for one second the truthfulness of the Church's teaching. It does mean, alas, that many of her members are hypocrites, to say the very least.

But surely, carl, the Catholic brand is definitively beyond its sell by date, no? Surely it would be magnanimous of you to allow us antiquated relics to worship according to our conscience? Or do you still consider us so malevolent a force in the world that our freedom needs to be tramelled and curtailed for fear of our evil influence?

Your call.

11 September 2013 at 01:06  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Peter D

I have hardly participated in this thread at all, and by design. I have limited by comments to a sparse few incontrovertible facts.

1. Rome did launch crusades against non-Muslims.

2. The Pope did offer indulgences before the fact to induce men to join the Albigensian Crusade.

3. Rome did assert temporal authority over kings.

4. Rome did have its temporal authority taken away against its will.

Now, I don't know, maybe I am just unusual but I wonder why a church should be doing any of those things. Why should the Pope ever raise and lead an Army? Ot seems to the proper response is "Yes, the RCC did those things and it shouldn't have.". Full stop. A Protestant doesn't have trouble saying things like that. We don't have the baggage of the 'infallible' Magisterium to constantly carry around.

The velocity and force of the RC response on this thread is revealing. It displays consciousness of a vulnerability that must be covered over as fast and as efficiently as possible.


11 September 2013 at 02:09  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


What are you talking about? When did I ever say anything about trammeling upon or curtailing RCs? Anywhere. At all. Understand that I ask the question already knowing that the answer is "I haven't."

And what has that to do with the subject of this thread? If you think RCC history is full of wicked hypocrites on this matter then demonstrate your commitment. Condemn Unam Sanctam. Ah, but there is that issue of infallibility to consider.

Exactly so.


11 September 2013 at 02:36  
Blogger ukFred said...

Reading this it almost appears to be that Dr Mullen has joined the Thornlie Boys in singing this tuen.


@Hannah Kavanagh The Jews were more than 'collateral damage' in the Crusades because for hundreds of years since John Chrysotum Christians had been teaching that Jews murdered Jesus.

The influence of Calvin can be seen in Scotland, where even in the 1950's, cocks were housed separately from hens on Saturday nights and not let among the hens again until Monday to prevent them doing any work.

I cannot remember who suggested that the end of war is peace but it is not peace but rather an absence of conflict. Peace will only come when there is justice. Only by making plain to everyone in the world what had been done in the name of the Third Reich were the allies able to ensure that people, including Germans saw the trials, verdicts and sentences of the Nazi leaders as just.

Perhaps the staunch catholics can tell me why Keith O'Brien, who moved paedophile priests so that they could escape justice from the civil authorities and who used his position to more or less blackmail seminarians into taking part in homosexual activities with him has not been defrocked and is still entitled to use the title 'cardinal'. Has nobody in the RCC hierarchy seen the damage that this is doing to the catholic message. I could have retired years ago had I had a pound for every time I have heard the comment to the effect that, "He was doing God's work. That is what put him above the laws that you and I have to comply with. He was doing God's work, letting little boys be buggered!"

11 September 2013 at 03:49  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Except the Allies didn't make plain any such thing. There on the bench sat Soviet judges imposing punishment on the vanquished when their own nation was likewise guilty of every single charge. The Allies made something plain alright. 'Don't lose.' But in the process they legitimized the notion that some supranational organization should sit above the nations and bind them with 'law.' All things considered, it would have been better (and more honest) to have simply stood the Nazi against a wall and had them shot.

There is no peace in this world. It is a fool's hope to seek after it because the nature of man is as it is. There is only the interval until the next war. If you want relative security then you must insure you are strong enough to win that next war. Then your potential aggressor might fear you enough to leave you alone. This side of the Second Coming, that is the best we can achieve.


11 September 2013 at 04:38  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Peter D (23:30)
No - I don't think so - because the Lord gave the reason later that night "my kingdom is not of this world, if it were, then would my servants fight" The heavenly dimension disappeared when the church became so earthly as to be of no heavenly use.

Have a read of that book by Philip Hallie - there's a version on the interweb somewhere

11 September 2013 at 07:56  
Blogger The Explorer said...

ukFred @ 03:49

I've never understood the rationale for the "Christ-killer" charge.

1. It seems immensely unfair to be blamed for what your ancestors did. I don't consider myself accountable for whatever my grandparents got up to.

2. At worst, it was those Jews present at the crucifixion. That's like saying: "You're British; you must have supported the Iraq War." In reality some Brits a) voted against Blair in the previous elections, b) didn't vote at all, c) voted for Blair, but opposed him on this particular issue.

3. As a nation subject to Roman authority, the Jews were forbidden to exercise capital punishmnet. Techincally, the Romans killed Christ.

4. Christians believe that the death of Christ was necessary for our salvation. So whoever killed him did us a favour.

Re the Crusaders in their passage through Germany, what began as anti-Muslim became blurred in the minds of the camp followers with general anti-Infidel. Presumably they'd have done for Hindus and Buddhists as well, had any been available.

It was the most ambitious Western campaign ever attempted, and that made control of the wilder element extremely difficult.

11 September 2013 at 08:13  
Blogger Alison Judith Bailey said...

This misses the point about Peter carrying a sword and being told to put it away. What was prophecied about Jesus MUST be fulfilled i.e. Jesus HAD to become the "once for all time sacrifice" for the evils of war, crimes against humanity, regular secular rebellion against God and all self-centred living. If not, the elect would be lost eternally. The disciples were habitually carrying swords for self-defence. They had not been told not to carry them by Jesus. Jesus also said "there will be wars" and that He did not come "to bring peace". Yahweh "fights" too: He does not make daisy chains. This is because a just God battles on the side of His innocent people. Clearly, proactive, unjustified aggression is prohibited, not self-defence.

11 September 2013 at 08:16  
Blogger Alison Judith Bailey said...

This misses the point about Peter carrying a sword and being told to put it away. What was prophecied about Jesus MUST be fulfilled i.e. Jesus HAD to become the "once for all time sacrifice" for the evils of war, crimes against humanity, regular secular rebellion against God and all self-centred living. If not, the elect would be lost eternally. The disciples were habitually carrying swords for self-defence. They had not been told not to carry them by Jesus. Jesus also said "there will be wars" and that He did not come "to bring peace". Yahweh "fights" too: He does not make daisy chains. This is because a just God battles on the side of His innocent people. Clearly, proactive, unjustified aggression is prohibited, not self-defence.

11 September 2013 at 08:16  
Blogger David B said...

"This is because a just God battles on the side of His innocent people"

He seems to me to be conspicuous by his absence.

I don't see much evidence of divine intervention regarding the kids, even the unborn ones, who are collateral damage in most if not every war.

If he does battle, then it appears that he is singularly ineffective in battle. Perhaps it is to do with modern armies having vehicles of iron, as mentioned in Judges 1:19?

If so, it is a pretty poor demonstration of omnipotence.

More seriously, then are we not once again back to the Epicurean Paradox?

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?"


11 September 2013 at 08:56  
Blogger The Explorer said...

David B @ 08:56

As I've said before, David, read Boyd's 'God at War'. It offers a way out of the Epicurean paradox.

11 September 2013 at 09:20  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Dear Alison

I'm not saying there's no place for the use of swords in the world after Christ - Romans 13 clearly gives one example. I'm just saying that Christ gave a principle that Paul repeated. - The weapons if our warfare are not carnal, but spiritually effective. The church did hold this through Roman persecutions but eventually discarded on being mixed with civil power.

Jesus said "They shall deliver you up and kill you, but don't worry, you can fight back if it's self defence." It's not there, is it?

My point is that people only have the two caricatures to side with if the spiritual is removed or neglected. Israel, an earthly people, weren't to do that - how much more those who have been raised up and seated in heavenly places?

Yes God fights. Yes if I see someone breaking the law of the land it is my duty to physically restrain him from doing that if possible. But Christian weapons are not made of metal. If they are not effective, that is revealing.

11 September 2013 at 09:21  
Blogger David B said...

Explorer, I've had a look at some of the reviews of Boyd, and from them it looks to me as if he presupposes the existence of both God and an Adversary,

Is this so, and, if so, is it wise?


11 September 2013 at 09:31  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...


"Sr T,

like a lot of Catholics I was fasting and praying on Saturday as the Pope requested, that somehow we could find a better solution than yet another war. Did it do any good?

The last 36 hours have been fascinating in that regard!"

Maybe it just did do something at that...


Obama calls off the Congress vote, vowing to pursue diplomacy to remove the regime's chemical weapons.

Deo Gratias

11 September 2013 at 09:48  
Blogger David B said...

Further, I find a quote from Boyd's conclusion.

""In direct contrast to all this, the ultimate hope that the New Testament offers is eschatological. As sure as the Lord came the first time to defeat his cosmic enemy and our oppressor in principle, just as certainly he shall return again to defeat him in fact. Because sickness, disease, war, death, sorrow and tears are not God's will, and because God is ultimately sovereign, we can have a confident assurance that someday, when his foes are ultimately vanquished, God will end all sorrow, and will wipe away every tear from our eyes (Rev 20:4). Precisely because our present suffering is not God's will - however much he can now use it for our ultimate good - we can have an assurance that it shall not always be this way."

So it is not pie in the sky when we die, it is pie in the sky a long time after we are dead?

"As sure as the Lord came the first time to defeat his cosmic enemy..."

How sure is that? And why?

From where I sit it is as sure as that the Angel Moroni showed some guy golden plates that he conveniently was not allowed to show to anybody else. As sure as that we are all inhabited by Body Thetans, that we can remove by expensive auditing, as sure as the Pope is infallible in matters of doctrine....need I go on?


11 September 2013 at 09:51  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi UK Fred,

I didn't use that term, in fact Corrigan used it, when I asked him about the slaughtering of Jews in the crusades. That was his answer, not mine. I am fully well aware of the idea of anti-semitic Jewish deicide and us Jews as 'Christ killers'- this has been discussed here quite a few times.

11 September 2013 at 10:02  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Explorer,

The idea of Jews as 'god killers', however illogical and anti-semitic it is, comes from Matthew 27: 24-25. The bit when Pilate washes his hands and 'The Jews' say 'let his blood be on our hands and our children's' (or words to that effect). To me that shows the dangers of taking scripture too literally. Or you'd end up thinking anyone who isn't a Christian is a servant of the personification of evil.

11 September 2013 at 10:02  
Blogger The Explorer said...


I'm not saying you have to agree with Boyd (I do only selectively); I'm saying he offers a way out of the Epicurean paradox: which he does.

A this-world only perspective leads you to certain conclusions. A God-only deistic-type view leads you to others.

Bring in Satan, a fallen world, the Second Coming, Judgement and an after life and the perspective is very different again.

Is it wise to believe in Satan? For a materialist, as unwise as to believe in God. Allow the spiritual realm, and what's the problem with spiritual evil? (Allowing the spiritual realm in the first place, as opposed to mere matter, is a much more difficult leap.

"How sure is that?" The existence of Christ is not seriously disputed nowadays. Did he defeat Satan? Only if you believe in the Resurrection. I do: I think the historical evidence is good. We're post D-day, but not yet V-day

As Paul says, no Resurrection, be an Epicurean.

11 September 2013 at 10:10  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Hannah @ 10:02

You're right re 'Matthew' and it seems to me a ridiculous conclusion to draw about a race because of some people caught up in the frenzy of an event. LIke the Blair/Iraq analogy I mentioned.

11 September 2013 at 10:23  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Explorer,

I'm glad I'm half right. A bit like a broken clock perhaps. LOL! (:

Anyways, I still do find the issue of non-Christians being servants of the devil bit, to be eyebrow raising. OK I do understand that because of the belief in 'original sin' everyone is automatically 'bad' before god. But how does that translate into a non-born again believer/non-Christian serving the devil of christian belief? And in quotes 'the wrong hands' wouldn't that belief lead to some quite horrible consequences?

I think witch trials were mentioned before. The funny logic being if you drowned as a witch you were 'innocent', but 'guilty' if you survived a dunking...

Do yo believe that? Or is it just Len going off on one?

Answers on a postcard please!

11 September 2013 at 10:46  
Blogger LEN said...

Hannah ' Len going off on one?.'
Seems that the Catholics are doing that ...collectively!.

Let me explain about the predicament man is in and the solution...not my solution but God`s!.
Man was created(not evolved from some pond slime)'perfect' but neutral spiritually, man had the ability to choose from where he would derive his life source.This is portrayed as 'the Tree of Life'(in which he derived his life source from God )OR The 'Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.'This 'latter tree' was deriving 'knowledge' apart from God.God knows evil by evil being all apart from God .Man was to know evil by direct experience and to become imprisoned by evil.Once bound by evil man was unable to escape by his own efforts.This is the predicament of modern[fallen] man spiritually cut off from God knowing what is 'good' but unable to escape the power of sin.The is why we cannot save ourselves because we are 'the problem' prisoners captured by the power of sin and why the only person able to save us was God Himself.Adam was' the father of Humanity 'and we are all born IN Adam and we are ALL born in sin of the will of our parents.
IF we become re united to the Spirit of God [that word hated by Catholics ]'born again' we are born from the Spirit of God re -connected to God and what His Spirit has experienced [Calvary] we share in and God accepts this as the ONLY way we can be redeemed{bought back]

Of course most religions tell us that we have to save ourselves by 'being good' , doing 'good works' and by doing so 'buy a ticket to Heaven 'but this is exactly the sort of 'religion' that man would have created to impress God but God`s Way to reverse the Fall of Man caused by seeking 'wisdom' apart from God is through the 'Foolishness of The Cross '.

11 September 2013 at 12:47  
Blogger LEN said...

Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, JW, Buddhist whatever means nothing to me and far less to God.
What IS important that you understand God plan for salvation which is centered totally on Jesus Christ.

11 September 2013 at 12:51  
Blogger LEN said...

As soon as a Biblical Truth appears all the Catholics jump upon it and attempt to smother it.Atheists ridicule the Word, Evolutionists deny the Word, BUT the Word of God is Living and cannot be chained, imprisoned or silenced. The Gospel, the good news of God’s love for us in Christ Jesus--the gospel is really the most powerful force on earth. Emperors cannot stop it. Chains cannot bind it. The gospel of salvation in Christ is moving forward, marching forward, liberating captives along the way, setting them free from their prisons of sin and death, unchaining the captives long held under Satan’s power. We have been redeemed, set free by the blood of Christ, as the life-giving gospel declares. The word of God is not bound, and indeed it sets free all those who are bound, and gives them life and courage and freedom, the strength even to suffer death for the cause of Christ.

11 September 2013 at 13:12  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

David B @ 00:07
That is why there are loads of people in the House of Lords selected purely on the grounds of being high profile atheists
Let’s not be so facetious. The enemies of God are subtle like a serpent and do their works discretely in the darkest of places.

11 September 2013 at 13:58  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11 September 2013 at 14:02  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Len,

Your reply does not really answer my question. I fully well understand the christian belief that anyone who is not a christian is destined for hell, that being a place of torture and fire- that has been explained here by various commentators as being a key doctrine of the christian faith (which is why you guys also have to convert people from other religions).

I also understand that you would narrow this down to anyone who isn't a 'born again believer', which is apparently an evangelical term, so I guess you'd also include Roman Catholics there.

So far so good and so understood by me and I think it is fair to say my summary is in effect what you have said above.

My question was slightly more specific. It was to do with your view on non-Christians (let us say non born again believers) being (as yo said yesterday) servants of satan. Looking for a quick definition satan (in christian terms) is also called the devil, a fallen angel who is pure evil or the personification of evil. That is what I am questioning. Where does it say that in the New Testament?

And if it does say that in the New Testament, you still cannot explain why an atheist, Roman Catholic or a Jew or even a Muslim could lead a decent life and do 'good', but in doing this they are really serving the opposite of 'good'. That doesn't seem logical to me.

I can understand the view of 'salvation and grace' verses 'salvation and works'. But that isn't the same thing I was trying to ask here, in other words I was NOT discussing the potential criteria for entry into heaven or hell. But asking why, here on this earth, people who do good are really followers of something evil.

I was also thinking of the story of the good Samaritan. If Jesus actually thought anyone who wasn't a christian or a 'non born again believer' was a servant of the devil, why did he use this as an example of a good person who wasn't a christian doing, well, good to someone else?

11 September 2013 at 14:03  
Blogger Albert said...


I'm surprised you didn't ! ; )

To be honest, I didn't read much of the thread higher up. I wonder if what Gentlemind meant was that a moral act is not reducible simply to the physical event. That would be a rather JPII kind of point.

11 September 2013 at 14:14  
Blogger Albert said...

David B,

the Epicurean Paradox

Hasn't this been shown already not to apply to the God of classical theism? As Augustine and Aquinas say:

"Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works, unless His omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil." This is part of the infinite goodness of God, that He should allow evil to exist, and out of it produce good.

So according to Aquinas, the permission of evil is actually part of the infinite goodness of God. Therefore, to say that evil stands opposed to the goodness of the God of classical theism, would be paradoxical.

11 September 2013 at 14:34  
Blogger Albert said...

Sr T,

Maybe it just did do something at that...

Here's hoping and praying!

11 September 2013 at 14:35  
Blogger LEN said...

Hannah, The ability to do 'good' in the unbeliever is linked to the ability to do' bad 'as well, two sides of the same coin so to speak.The two sides are bound together.

The Apostle Paul speaks of this dilemma "We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

God``s remedy for the' fallen nature 'of man is not to try and reform him make him 'be good 'because God knows this is pointless) but to give the man a 'new nature'.At Calvary God finished with the old [Adamic] Creation and started a New Creation IN Christ Jesus of which Christ is the head.

So God either views everyone in Adam or In Christ.

There are people in the old creation who can do 'good things' but they have the propensity to do 'bad things as well.

The sin nature has bound itself to us much as a cancer around vital organs we cannot remove it without killing the patient.So Christ died for us [as us] and God resurrected Him and us with Him.

God does not try to reform the sinner He has a far more radical method God kills the sinner (In Christ )and then gives him a new life a new identity.

For many people this is a far too radical idea and because of pride and fear they cannot accept the new life God can give them.

11 September 2013 at 15:50  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

One suspects God is more than a little amused by what you want from him Len...

11 September 2013 at 17:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

I say Archbishop, can’t you do something about Len ?

A fellow presumes to suggest you issue one of your fearful warnings. The fellow is parasiting your good work to beat everybody about the head with his curly stick called ‘God’. There’s no end to it ! He’s even after your Jewish following now...

Besides, his criticisms are incongruous as they equally apply to Anglicanism, as well you know, but the blighter doesn’t go there. A somewhat crafty devil, don’t you agree ?

One’s on his knee’s here, you know...

11 September 2013 at 17:59  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

On war, the Catholic poet Hillaire Belloc wrote a couplet called 'The Pacifist'

'Pale Ebenezer thought it wrong to fight
But Roaring Bill (who killed him) thought it right.'

11 September 2013 at 21:49  
Blogger Rambling Steve Appleseed said...

PS Hannah

The idea of Jews as 'god killers', however illogical and anti-semitic it is, comes from Matthew 27: 24-25. The bit when Pilate washes his hands and 'The Jews' say 'let his blood be on our hands and our children's' (or words to that effect). To me that shows the dangers of taking scripture too literally.<<

I'd like to correct you slightly on the dangers of taking scripture too literally, because Scripture clearly condemns anti Semitism.

The idea of Jews as 'Christ killers' is entirely incorrect from a biblical perspective. I'm too tired to look up all the references tonight but

1) Jesus prayed from the cross 'forgive them for they know not what they do'. His killers were therefore forgiven as the prayers of Jesus would have been granted (I write from an Evangelical Christian perspective). Whom Jesus has forgiven let no man persecute.

2) Jesus said 'no-one takes my life from me, I lay it down of my own accord'.

3) as Graham Kendrick sang (OK, I know its not scripture, but it is consistent) in his song 'When the World said no' all sinners including those yet to be born were responsible for the sin for which Christ died. 'Did you join in when they started to sing, crucify, crucify Him? I know it was you, for I was there too, when the world said no.'

4) as ultra biblophile John Piper preaches, based on Isaiah 53, God himself predetermined that Christ would die for the sins of the world. Its all in Isaiah.

'Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement for our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed....The LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all'

Isaiah 53 is for me the most profound statement of the Christian belief in substitutionary atonement, the heart of our faith. And the prophecy pre dates the crucifixion by several centuries.

Therefore any supposed Christian who goes anywhere near suggesting that Jews ought to be spoken or acted against in any way because of their ancestors allegedly causing the death of Jesus is embarrassingly ignorant of Scripture to put it mildly. Very bad manners too.

Thought I'd get that off my chest after listening to a very angry Simon Schama on TV last Sunday and seeing Fiddler on the Roof at the Southampton Mayflower theatre on Monday. It is a hateful thought to me that Jews have been ill treated by Christians in the past and today, but anyone responsible for this knows too little Scripture, not too much.

PS yes I know Luther was anti Semitic. Shame on him for that.

Kind regards

11 September 2013 at 22:12  
Blogger Peter D said...

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing."

Whilst Jesus' death was God's plan of salvation, the means by which it came about was evil. The Bible is clear Jesus was sent as the long awaited Messiah to God's Chosen People. He was rejected by His own, tried and condemned as a false prophet and blasphemer and, under Jewish law, death was the penalty and He would be consigned to 'Gehinnom' for all eternity. Again, according to Scripture, He was delivered to Pilate on trumped up charges, the crowd manipulated and pressure applied on Rome to execute Him.

Do you deny the above?

Now, of course we should not hate the Jews! Jesus Himself, just before dying for us all, and we are all responsible for His death, cried:
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

Let's keep to Biblical Truth. However, i entirely agree the persecution of Jews as "God killers" is unchristian and, in fact, has been against Church teaching since the early centuries. It is indefensible.

Luther's venom came from his impatience - he saw their lack of conversion to Christianity as delaying Christ's return. Too keen to take it upon himself to predict the "end times", just as many are doing today.

Mixing truth with lies is a tactic as old as time. You are very adept at it. Worrying that. Have you tried the prayer to Michael the Archangel yet?

11 September 2013 at 23:35  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

What a read. Gosh. What was the topic again, someone remind me? Takes ages to scroll up on my phone.

12 September 2013 at 00:12  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Um, with all due respect and without getting into interfaith disputations and dialogues, does anyone know of any serious, non-flaky, Christian sect, movement or denomination that theologically accepts the validity of other religious aoproaches as Judaism does? Or is this Hell for unbelievers thingie an immutable fundamental feature of Islam and Christianity?

12 September 2013 at 00:23  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Jesus said 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except by me.' And again 'If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.' The exclusive truth of Christianity is fundamental. If it were otherwise, then men could come to God by some way other than the Cross. That would render the Cross unnecessary. In fact, a willingness to accept the legitimacy of other religions is the principle marker of liberal Christianity. Some Dispensationalists carve off the Jewish people into a special case, but they will basically assert a mass conversion during the end times.

To be a Christian is to assert that faith in Christ is both necessary and sufficient. It means you deny any basic goodness in man and abandon any hope that your good works will earn you favor with God. It means you understand that God's standard is perfection and you cannot meet that standard. You (and I and everyone else) are guilty before God and worthy of eternal punishment. The Christian clings naked to the Cross for forgiveness. The man who rejects such forgiveness will receive a harsh punishment indeed. A punishment that has no end.


12 September 2013 at 00:44  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Thank you, Carl. It's what I suspected. Summarized in the street vernacular, f----d anyway one cuts it and the nice guys either think they'll grab you in the end or are too goofy and don't count for much. Dare I remark, you folks have drifted off from us a long way, baby. I'd be committing a slew of deadly sins if I were to accept or even entertain any of that, but you're safe and loved by our Creator as long as you're a decent guy. Being Chosen is vastly overrated.

12 September 2013 at 01:09  
Blogger Peter D said...

Don't be too despondent. You never know, you might just be "born again" or converted on your death bed. There's always hope. Then again, you do come from a people known for being stubborn and, er, "stiff necked".

Still, we Catholics carry on praying for the conversion of the Jew because .... well .... not to put too fine a point on it .... you are rather things holding up by not cooperating.

Besides, Catholic theologians allow room for God's mercy, taking into account one's background and how this might affect one's receptivity to God's truth. He'll surely take into account the atrocious anti-Semitism suffered by generations of your people. This mercy applies to heretics such as Carl, who's ignorance may not be intentional. As for Len, well, to be honest, I'm not too sure. Even the Inspector may grasp the truth in the end.

As for me, I'm a sinner like everyone else and carry on doing my best, trust in God and hope and pray for salvation, and lean on Christ through His Church - with the assistance of His Mother and a few other selected Saints.

12 September 2013 at 01:38  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Don't be too despondent. I'll manage as always.

You never know, you might just be "born again"... Done that already in a way; was a militant atheist, the obnoxious preachy kind, and became ba'al teshuvah, a "repentant." I'm much more tolerant and pleasant now, as you can see.

....or converted on your death bed. God forbid! You don't mean the rack again, I hope.

There's always hope. Good thing hope's cheap, hmmm? ;)

12 September 2013 at 03:49  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Oh, and Still, we Catholics carry on praying for the conversion of the Jew because .... well .... not to put too fine a point on it .... you are rather things holding up by not cooperating.

Well, ya know, to be honest, Pete, it's a nagging worry, that "holding things up" bit. Happens again and again in history; all's hunky-dorey with a lot of sweet talk and chumminess for a while and when we still dont buy the...uh, narrative...a bee gets under your bonnets and it's no more Mister nice guy. I'd be an idiot to assume it won't happen ever again, but I hope not in my children's life times at least. But hope's cheap as someone quipped.

12 September 2013 at 04:10  
Blogger OldJim said...

I am quite amused to see the Crusade in the East so carefully separated by all parties from that against the Albigensians: it is surely not the difference between an "external" religion and an "internal" heresy!

Islam and Catharism are both heresies in the sense that they derive much of their source material from Christianity and profess a place within their cosmology for the person of Jesus Christ.

They are both "foreign" religions in the sense that they both distort the Gospel in such a way as to render it quite seriously inefficacious in a way that a Catholic simply couldn't see mainline Protestantism doing, nor most fair-minded Protestants Catholicism, I don't think. Islam rejects the divinity of Christ and the sacrifice of the Cross. Catharism rejected the divinity of Christ and all of the sacraments, including baptism, in favour of the confected "consolamentum".

We can talk about the relative violence of the two regions, if you like, how they were "converted" and what proportion remained orthodox Christians, but I confess that wherever I see "external" and "internal" applied to religions I cannot help as seeing as equally heretical and equally "foreign", I cannot help but think: what you really mean is that the albigensians were often WHITE, or "in Europe" right?

Or perhaps it's just that there are no more practicing cathars.

In any case, I don't see that the Cathars had something like workable Christianity, nor do I see that Islam is much more than a resilient and extreme Christian heresy, so I don't see for what reason any such division of cases should be made on those grounds.

12 September 2013 at 04:32  
Blogger OldJim said...

Avi - thought that I might pitch in my two cents.

I don't consider myself a liberal Catholic; quite conservative, in fact. I've no great patience, naturally, for the "all religions are different paths to the same place" schools of thought.

But there are some places that I would want to supplement or slightly modify what Carl and Peter D have said were I speaking for my own understanding.

First things first - rather than say "your good works cannot earn you favour with God" or "God requires perfection and none of us deliver it" I think it is more helpful to start with "good acts cannot balance out or atone for evil ones" - to show what I mean, I think it's clear to most people that if I give to charity and care for strangers for the next thirty years I will not buy points on a cosmic ledger which will entitle me to murder in cold blood and yet "stay in the black". People only ever think about this one in reverse - if I've killed a man, then radically changing my life and giving to charity and living selflessly might be a good start. In which case, I think that what they are doing isn't really saying "they've done a lot of good, they've PAID for the bad," which would surely equally work in reverse, but rather "they're doing a lot of good, that must bespeak real repentance" - which is quite different.

If we get there, then we get to the point where we can say "we all of us do wrong, we cannot balance it out with good in a cosmic ledger, so the best we can do is repent of it and change our life in recognition of this repentance"

The question then becomes: to whom is this repentance addressed, in what way is forgiveness, if forgiveness is possible, applied, in what manner can this change of life be accomplished, if we are creatures of habit, and frequently each of us creatures of habitual vice, at that?

And that's where Jesus being the way, the truth and the life comes in. And yes, an orthodox Christian should regard the application of the graces of Christ as absolutely necessary in that process.

So here's what gets me: I don't expect this to be a history test. I don't see that it can be a matter of knowing what year Jesus was born, what present day country He lived in, the manner of His execution or the names of the Gospels. I would be shocked, of course, if a Christian did not know some of the more elementary of those things. But I would be more shocked if "faith" were measured by the recollection of certain bare facts. Likewise, as a Catholic, I expect Christians to be validly baptized and in regular reception of valid sacraments, and think it best for them to be in such a circumstance. But I know, because my Church teaches me, that baptism of water, the first possible sacrament, is not invariably and absolutely, but only ordinarily, necessary.

12 September 2013 at 04:53  
Blogger OldJim said...

So whilst I assent to the proposition that Christ is the way, the truth and the life, I do not know that I can define "Christian" in such a way as to exclude all people who are not redeemed and include all people who are. It's rather like an infallible doctor has told me that if I take some pills my cancer will go into remission, because a chemical in them is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for the tumor to recede. I know that I'll be taking the pills and that I have a duty to recommend the pills to others with cancer, but I'm damned if I can say that the pills are definitely and exhaustively the only way to get the chemical into one's body. I only confess that the Chemical really is necessary to beat the cancer, that the pills contain the chemical and that the pills have been recommended to me and to all cancer sufferers by the very doctor who revealed the cancer-chemical link. I don't even fully understand the mechanics, and I won't pretend to. But again, that doesn't mean that I can rest and imagine that everyone not on the pills will therefore be alright. It means that there's hope of some kind even when they refuse, not that I'm not bound to press them to the point of refusal.

Of course, the hope is different in accordance with the religion. A committed polytheist or Buddhist is at a great theological remove from the contents of the New Testament. I can't pretend to imagine that their "path" is of equal validity or even on balance helpful; my knowledge of these systems of thought leads me to believe that on several key questions of life they are tragically, soul-jepoardisingly misleading. I depend there upon last minute grace, some shock or surprise or readjustment or sudden divine revelation.

The case is different with Islam, which is a monotheism with a God to whom repentance can be expressed and a moral law. It looks like a perfect place for Christianity, all that's wrong for a Christian is the Jesus-shaped hole. The problem is that Islam follows Christianity, and so involves an explicit rejection of the Christian claims on behalf of Christ.

12 September 2013 at 04:54  
Blogger OldJim said...

And that's where Judaism enters in, and Judaism is interesting because it is the only religion that a Christian acknowledges as being also true, or rather perhaps as having been true (noting in passing that there are differences in Christian viewpoint on the extent of change in Jewish belief and practice since 33AD)

Whilst being a Jew today might involve an implicit denial of the Christian claims of behalf of Jesus of Nazareth, believing the contents of Judaism doesn't mean explicitly confessing anything of the sort, at least in my eyes. Yes, I know the Oneness of God. But we're not tritheists. We plead not in breach.

So the question of how this one pans out isn't quite clear.

Is Jesus the Way, the Truth, the Life? Yes.

Is "being a Christian" in the sense of: "being a recipient of the promises of Christ" something that one can exhaustively define? Probably not.

Will Tom, Dick and Sally who never spared a thought for sin once in their lives go to heaven? It would be presumptuous to bet on it.

Will Max the Satanist surely go to Hell? Satanists will go to Hell. We'll see about Max.

When does Judaism become Christianity? It's not clear.

Should Jews become Christians? Yes.

Is there a way of life and belief that is "definitely Christianity"? Yes.

Is there any other way of having assurance of being the recipient of Christ's promises than by signing up to all of this way of life and belief? No.

12 September 2013 at 04:54  
Blogger OldJim said...

Is Judaism true? Yes. But it is not the whole story.

Did God choose the Jewish people? he did.

If one were not a Christian, what would it be best to be? Definitely Jewish.

How much does that count for? No idea.

Isn't that vagueness about all non-Christians really annoying for you? Sure. But Jesus is pretty excellent and well worth trusting to be Just. And all people are given sufficient opportunity to be forgiven and redeemed, whatever that redemption and forgiveness looks like. It's vague enough that one should be selling Christianity, but Christ is clearly Just enough that it's not worth anxiety and clearly worth Hope.

12 September 2013 at 05:03  
Blogger Ian Hills said...

Some Jesuit the new pope turned out to be. Not one rack-stretching so far - instead we get the champagne socialism of a C of E archbishop. I don't know which is worse.

No offence to proper Anglicans like Peter Mullen.

12 September 2013 at 06:49  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Len,

At least we have established now that non-Christians are not automatically a servant of the devil (:

In respect of the rest of your post, I'd agree people have the ability to do good and evil (that is a Jewish concept), although where we would differ is in the idea of 'original sin' or sin inherited from Adam and Eve to the present or indeed the requirement to have a 'broker' between us and god, but that's why you are a Christian and I'm a Jew....

But one thing I fail to understand is this-

If you are a 'born again believer', Jesus cuts out this original sin and presumably your inclination to sin or do bad & thus makes you near perfect? That doesn't explain, though, all the wrong things that born again believers do after conversion though (which is why I understood Anglicans and Catholics 'confess' sin in their services)?

12 September 2013 at 09:19  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Wow! 132 comments! My computer was frozen at the point of 110 comments. Must scroll up and read them...

12 September 2013 at 09:19  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Steve,

Thank you for that post there, that is pretty similar to how my Uncle Hashy would respond. I know quite a few Christians who are not anti-semitic and enjoy or at least like to learn about Jewish culture and philosophy.

As for Professor Schama, I have to admit I've never seen him so angry. And I think he had a right to be, when one looks into the history there. But as my brother David said above,we try and move on from old histories.

But that is where we all come from when we discuss things like the banning of Kosher meat or male circumcision, but a fear that these issues are Europe reverting to a Spain of 1492...

It is not about having a 'victim hood complex' or being 'hysterical berks' (as others have said to us here).

12 September 2013 at 09:35  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Peter D,

We are holding things up? Awful us eh!

12 September 2013 at 09:36  
Blogger LEN said...

Can born again Christians sin?....unfortunately the answer is yes.

When we are 'born again' our spirit is totally transformed it is as it will be for eternity but there are other factors involved.

Our make up is Body[obvious] Soul[mind will and emotions) and spirit.In the born again believer the spirit has been awakened and is receptive to God.In the non believer the spirit still exists but is shut off from God but open to the influence of 'other spirits'.

Our renewed spirit has to operate through our Soul IF the soul is in accord with the spirit the spirit can flow through the soul.
However the soul does not relinquish control easily and can oppose the spirit.

So the born again believer still has free will and can follow the dictates of his soul or can follow the leading`s of the spirit.

When the soul comes into total accord with the spirit then sin loses all power to attract.

So with the born again believer it is somewhat of 'a journey' one undertakes much like Bunyan`s 'Pilgrims Progress' a series of ups and downs but the human spirit filled with Gods Spirit keeps drawing us forward if we let Him.
2 Corinthians 4:8-11
"We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the Life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the Life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh."

12 September 2013 at 11:58  
Blogger Peter D said...

Old Jim
What an excellent series of posts - most heartening to read and, despite what some may say, traditional, orthodox Catholicism.

I know. I do wish you'd all get a move on convert as a people. Most frustrating to some of the evangelicals and dispensationalists.

As for Catholics, we wait on God.

What's your beef with the doctrines in Unam Sanctam?

At the time the political system entailed the Divine Right of Kings ruling the temporal order according to Christian principles. The role of the Church was to teach Christ's message and advise Kings. Of course, if they breached the Commandments, and were excommunicated, then their right was forfeited.

Your morality for world affairs is non-existent from your repeated statements on here. It is all about 'might' and protecting one's 'interests'. You apply no Christian template to decisions. This is the way of the world at present, agreed. All world leaders care little for the world's greater good - only their own place in it.

There is only One Church and outside of the Church there is no salvation (subject to how this is actually theologically understood - see Old Jim above).

The Popes in the past were human; human nature is flawed. Mistakes, big and small, were made. Some were great sinners too. None of this undermines Church indefectibility in dogma and doctrine, or in the status of the Bishop of Rome.

12 September 2013 at 12:35  
Blogger LEN said...

The Catholic Church is a testimony to all that Jesus Opposed and its history proves that fact.

12 September 2013 at 12:59  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Greetings and thank you, Old Jim, for your "two cents," as you put it. I hope you have copied and saved them. You, and in fact all of you here addressing these issues have been remarkably straight forward and at least you and Carl have, thankfully, avoided preaching.

There is nothing more I'd love to do now than pen my comments in reply, but being on a different time zone, it's morning for me, and I face a full day's schedule. Please check later.

12 September 2013 at 13:11  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Peter D

Your morality for world affairs is non-existent

If you think fighting foreign wars in foreign lands for the benefit of foreign citizens is such a great idea in the service of justice, then why don't you get your own government to do it? Spend the money. Build the capability. Deploy the troops. Absorb the losses. But first tell me how many British dead per 1000 foreign dead would be an acceptable figure? One? Ten? One hundred? 500? 2000?

The leader of a country has a responsibility to the soldiers under his authority to not spend their lives like cheap coin. It is a responsibility that he does not owe to foreigners. The fact that you see some service to justice in a war does not mean that leadership should automatically send others to die in the service of that cause. Other people's husbands. Other people's sons. Other people's brothers. Those are the lives for which he bears first responsibility. If he is going to spend them, he had better have a damn good reason. The fact that people are dying somewhere just isn't a very good reason.


12 September 2013 at 19:01  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Avi, make way old chap, give room for one more on your side…

One views rather despairingly the thoughts of’ ‘good’ Christians on this thread. Apparently, our vicious creator likes nothing better than to send us sprawling into this world with all our weaknesses and ignorance, and then drums his fingers for a while, knowing that on our deaths he’s going to give us the hiding of our lives for having the temerity for existing in the first place.

That we suffer on this earth and do our best by our fellows counts for not even jack. That we strive to support ourselves and our family, and do so without depriving other men of their possessions, livelihoods, even their life – not even worth a mention.

Perhaps if those who think that way were to extract themselves from the mire about them from which they view the human creation, rise above it and look down on it and us all, they might just get an idea how our God views it all…

12 September 2013 at 19:10  
Blogger Peter D said...

You've missed my point by focussing on individual and particular responsibility and interests. As ou well know, I was responding to your side swipe at 'Unam Sanctam' and the duties of the Church and Christian leaders.

If there was a united Christendom, with temporal leaders guided by a united Church, each respecting the other's role, serious consideration would be given to a 'Crusade' to protect both Christians and Jews in the middle east.

I'll go further and say the threat from militant Islamists would not have arisen in the first place and would have been crushed. So too the rise of Nazism and Communism and the unrestrained excesses of free market capitalism. You might have even seen the Jews invited back to Israel by such a universal power, in more accord with their orthodox teachings on the 'Three Oaths' and orthodox Christian teaching on the direction of history and the part to be played by the Jews.

Idle speculation, you'll say. Or counter with Rome would have enslaved the world. No doubt Len et al will bang on about the anti-Christ and the beast etc., seeing the reformation as a necessary restraint on Rome.

Me, I turn to Matthew 16:18 and wonder in awe at God's Wisdom and His ultimate purposes and know, one way or another, they will be fulfilled.

12 September 2013 at 19:37  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Carl,

I agree with that post of 19.01. I am surprised that Peter D doesn't, because one of his sons is in our Royal Navy...

12 September 2013 at 20:00  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Hi Peter D,

Alas if history is anything to go by, I really doubt another 'crusade' -however much it would unify Christianity-would be positive for anyone who wasn't a Roman Catholic. I could elaborate -'witter' as you say- but suffice to say just ask 'General' Corrigan there....

12 September 2013 at 20:04  
Blogger Peter D said...

I'm talking Christian principles and service in the cause of Christ as understood by a coalition of Christian states under the guidance of the Church.

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends."

And surely fellow brothers and sisters in Christ qualify as "friends" who need defending in the face of evil? So too Jews in Israel - as brothers and sisters through the Old Testament.

I'd have no issue with such an approach. I would most certainly question (privately) the legitimacy of sending my son to war and death to prop up one dictator against another because of economic and regional strategic issues.

Carl bangs on about the individual interests of states and the absence of any legitimate international law. He relies on force to secure these interests. There is an international law - its in the Bible and in the teachings of the Church.

12 September 2013 at 21:06  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Speak to hand, 'cause the face ain't listnin' !

12 September 2013 at 21:44  
Blogger Peter D said...

Rev Mullen stated ...
"As thou knowest also, and for which we daily thank Our Father in heaven, The Pope of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England."

The Bishop of Rome never claimed temporal authority - just legitimate spiritual jurisdiction. To think, he excommunicated a King, there by Divine Right, who was a serial adulterer and married his mistress secretly. How dare he?

Come to that, the Queen nor the Archbishop of Canterbury carry much "jurisdiction". Indeed, the influence of Christianity wanes by the day as the *leaders* of the established church navel gaze it into extinction over gender and homosexuality *issues*. Before that it sold out over contraception, abortion and divorce.

And you pray to God every day to thank him for this?

12 September 2013 at 21:49  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Ian Cad,


I see that spirit has taken hold on this thread... but of course our Roman Catholic friends are naturally 'correct' as usual... wouldn't have it any other way. At least there isn't any thumb screws around... hmm, although methinks you'd be equally as heretical as a seventh day advert, as I am? Would you like the Iron Maiden or the rack? I'm easygoing so will let you have the first choice, btw...

12 September 2013 at 22:19  
Blogger Peter D said...

And so an adult discussion descends into a childish squabble.

And all because .....

12 September 2013 at 22:35  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Peter D,

Oh come now!

I was being ironical, self-deprectory * full of humour. And very Jewish too!

12 September 2013 at 22:39  
Blogger Peter D said...

None of that comment was "self deprecatory". It was also made without reading what Old Jim had said. Why seek out the 'bad' Catholic?

I suspect its not in your nature to laugh at yourself too much - way too intense. You should try it sometime.

12 September 2013 at 22:55  
Blogger OldJim said...

Mr Kavanagh,

I can only speak for myself, and I do not know what I can say. I am sorry for any offense caused.

I cannot apologise for genuinely believing my religious beliefs; I am at a loss as to what else precisely I would do with them.

They of course involve the belief that everyone, but everyone, does things that are wrong - this is a belief that I consider open to the widest possible degree of confirmation.

I am also of the belief that doing wrong is unacceptable, and as a monotheist I understand that God therefore has to do something about that, or rather, what appears from our earthly and limited perspective to be two things: Justice, and Mercy.

Where I think we first lose something that could otherwise be fairly common ground is where I go next: that the life and death of an itinerant Jewish preacher Who I believe was also the Messiah and Incarnate God is the chosen conduit for the process of redemption, forgiveness and salvation.

That being the case, I can only hope and wish that all men were in some kind of relationship with Him. It would be quite unforgivable of me not to, which I hope you can appreciate.

That doesn't mean I would want all cultures, manners of life, languages, ethnic identities, sources of consolation extirpated. I think that most of these things are valuable to human beings because in some way, however obscure, they reflect something true. It is a matter of finding that truth.

Neither does it mean that I would wish to seek to impose uniform belief in the "essentials" by force: I think that this is deeply contrary to the contents of the Gospels, that it wouldn't lead to true belief in those so imposed upon, that the level of power needed to maintain such an imposition would be utterly abused, that it would set a dangerous precedent for rival and rather more ugly creeds, and in any case I have some level of healthy suspicion in the ability of fallible human beings to determine what is "essential" and what is rightly culturally pluriform. I think that tyrannies start by believing in imposing a belief in Jesus or Democracy or Communism and end by imposing the obviously superior English Language, or the eating of legumes, or the wearing of Rhinoceros hides.

All I can do and wish to do in the absence of a wholly Christian society willingly submitting itself to specifically Christian legislation is to debate and discuss with my fellows, both to construct a secular framework in which to sensibly argue in favour of the moral law as I see it, and to broadcast the Christian message to the best of my ability.

I think it is important to realise that it is not the case that the medieval world was a senseless chaotic world of Catholic tyranny until the dawning of the reformation and the Enlightenment.

That is not to say that the medieval world was not without widespread abuses and machinations and unacceptable intolerances at times.

12 September 2013 at 23:19  
Blogger OldJim said...

It is rather to say both that I believe that those were quite separable from the nobler content of the ideology of the times; and that both the Protestant and Enlightenment worlds since have been equally beset by such abuses, and in the case of the Enlightenment world in particular, these too often arose directly as a consequence and not an accident of the creed confessed.

Please remember that in the declaration of indulgence of James II and the foundation of the colony of Maryland, Catholics played certainly a large, and it could even be argued a leading role in the development of modern religious liberty.

Again, retreating from the world of law and back to the world of private belief, I do not think I have been flippant or bigoted. I was keen to emphasise that whilst I believe Jesus Christ to be the sole conduit of Salvation, I take care not to be incautious in defining how one might come into relationship with Him. It might well be explicit, I know that explicit belief and reception into the Christian Church, and specifically the Catholic Church, is the only sure and certain way that I know of, as it is the way taught in the New Testament; but I recognise that my Church insists that all men are given access to sufficient grace for Salvation, and that even men not actually baptised are capable in some circumstances of being saved. I also take note of the many thousands of men who have died without, to our knowledge, being told of the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth. Before these things, I am aware of beholding a mystery, the details of which I should not yet pretend to know, and so I take care before saying that there is even one element of "Christianity" on my checklist that a man must certainly have, else he be damned. I cannot see how I can be more circumspect and careful than that without wholly betraying my religious beliefs

12 September 2013 at 23:19  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12 September 2013 at 23:30  
Blogger david kavanagh said...

Old Jim,

Thank you for your generous posts. They are much appreciated and they should set the tone for future discussions.

I would reply that I am not asking or even suggesting that you deny your beliefs- that is an idea that is 100% against my own religious and political philosophy!

Nor do I believe any of your posts are offensive, but an articulation of what you belief in a clear and precise academic manner.

So, as far as I am concerned you have nothing to apologise for!!

Unfortunately, Peter D does not have a sense of humour and thinks I was being serious. Despite my later post telling him I was being ironic. Which is why he wants to put me on the rack (sorry! Slap myself in the face David!).

As for the details of your posts, you must forgive me, but it is late. I shall read what I can and hopefully reply before Yom Kippur.

Take care!

12 September 2013 at 23:41  
Blogger Peter D said...

David K
" ... but of course our Roman Catholic friends are naturally 'correct' as usual..."

Well we cannot both be correct, now can we?

So tell me about the Jewish law concerning "kofer ba-ikkar" and its application to Jesus who Christians regard as God Incarnate?

And the words of the "Birkat haMinim"?

Will you deny their authenticity? Will you defend them?

13 September 2013 at 00:23  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

13 September 2013 at 00:32  
Blogger LEN said...

Precious little to be humorous about in Catholicism.
After all those hail Marys, bowing and scraping,fingering ones rosary beads, lighting candles, praying to idols(sorry 'saints')confessing to priests...etc little time left for humour.

And all it really takes is faith.

13 September 2013 at 11:34  
Blogger Peter D said...

Never watched Father Ted?

Anyways you always bring a smile to my face with your absurdities! Sometimes your comments make me laugh out loud too.

Keep it up.

David K
No answers to@ 00:23?

13 September 2013 at 14:36  
Blogger LEN said...

IF I can bring a little ray of sunshine into you life ..Peter.. then it has all been worth while......

13 September 2013 at 16:55  
Blogger Peter D said...

You most certainly do that ....

13 September 2013 at 18:05  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Old Jim:

If anything were to persuade me to become a Catholic it would be your posts on this Blog. Wonderful, all of them!

13 September 2013 at 20:14  
Blogger LEN said...

Poor old Pope he seems totally confused lost even?

16 September 2013 at 10:40  

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