Saturday, February 6, 2010

Msgr. Pope comments on the Protestant Solas

Check it out here.  The basic premise of his essay is found in the following introduction:

There are a lot of “Solos” sung by our Protestant brethren: Sola Fide (saved by faith alone); Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone is the rule of faith); sola gratia(grace works alone). (See the Protestant Logo to the right). Generally one ought to be suspicious and careful of claims that things work alone. It is our usual experience that things work together in harmony with other things and are interrelated. Very seldom is anyone or anything alone.

The problem of the “solos” emerges, it seems to me, in our minds where it is possible to separate things out. But the fact is, just because we can separate out something in our mind does not mean that we can separate it in reality. Consider a candle flame for a moment. In my mind I can separate the heat of the flame from the Light of the flame. But in reality I could never take  a knife and put the heat over to one side and the light off to the other. In reality the heat and light are inseparable, so together as to be one.

I would like to respectfully argue that it is the same withthings like faith and works, grace and transformation, Scripture and the Church. We can separate all these things out in our mind but in reality they are one. Attempts to separate them from what they belong to lead to grave distortions and to the thing in question no longer being what it is claimed to be. Rather it turns into an abstraction that exists only on a blackboard or in the mind of a (geeky) theologian.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Natural Family Planning...on your iPhone

This is the best iPhone app I've seen yet!

Natural Family Planning, referred to by many Christians simply as NFP, is a beautiful gift that allows Christians to follow the Biblical, historical, orthodox prohibition against artificial contraception, and indeed the whole contraceptive mentality that has so poisoned modern culture.

The story in the article is not an unusual one.  Many couples facing infertility have used NFP to conceive, just as many other couples have used NFP to space children while respecting the nature of the marriage act that God created.

Until 1930, every Christian denomination taught in one accord the Biblical prohibition against artificial contraception.  As we work to reestablish full Christian unity, it goes without saying that many Christians will have to adjust their understanding of the Christian moral code.  Giving up birth control may not be an easy pill for some to swallow.  Thankfully, the Holy Spirit remains at work drawing God's children to see the wisdom of His plan for human sexuality.

Here are four great examples, the first two written by Protestant Christians:

1.  Open Embrace (by Sam and Bethany Torode)

2.  The Bible and Birth Control (by Charles Provan)  (See also the customer comments)

3.  Sex and the Marriage Covenant (by John Kippley)

4.  Humanae Vitae (by Pope Paul VI)

Also, check out this link to the Couple to Couple League, which offers support to NFP couples and trains NFP teachers:

5.  The Couple to Couple League

Monday, February 1, 2010

Reject Easy Annulments, says the Pope

Check out this beautiful and timely message on marriage and annulments from our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.

I found one line particularly interesting in regard to this blog's primary topic, apologetics: 
“Without truth charity slides into sentimentalism,” the Pope told officials of the Roman Rota, at the opening of its judicial term. “Love becomes an empty shell to be filled arbitrarily. This is the fatal risk of love in a culture without truth.”
Here, Pope Benedict eloquently gets at the relationship between truth and love.  For many non-Catholics with whom I speak, it often seems that truth takes a back seat to charity, such that issues of truth can be swept under the rug of love.  Rather, love and truth are interdependent.  Both are necessary, and both support one another.  To share the truth is to love someone, so long as the truth is shared in love.  Even when the truth hurts, we must share it with those whom we love (and we are called to love everyone!), though let us be vessels of the Holy Spirit so that the pain of loss people experience when learning the truth of Christ (they must let go of the false conceptions, etc. with which they previously identified) can be softened by the gentleness spirit of the evangelist and the sure certainty of their newly-found faith.  Let us boldly and lovingly proclaim the ancient, yet ever-new, orthodox faith with all of our brothers and sisters.

Let us pray for an increase in truth as well as an increase in love such that all Christians may become one like Jesus and the Father.  So, come, Holy Spirit!