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Archive for December 7th, 2009

If the Great Schism ended, what would the Church look like?

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Photo: Pope Benedict XVI and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I greet the faithful as they stand on the balcony of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul in 2006 (AP Photo/Kai Pfaffenbach, Pool)

What would full visible unity between Catholics and Orthodox believers look like? Eric Sammons has a go at describing it.


Written by Luke Coppen

December 7, 2009 at 5:46 pm

Pope Benedict XVI says Gospel is not a myth

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During his Angelus address yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on the Gospel reading of the Sunday Sunday of Advent. He said two things stood out in Luke 3:1-6:

The first is the abundance of references to all the political and religious authorities of Palestine in 27-28 AD. Evidently the evangelist wants to point out to the reader or listener that the Gospel is not a myth, but the account of a true story, that Jesus of Nazareth is a historical personage inserted in that precise context.

Looking ahead to Tuesday’s celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Benedict said that, while Mary is immaculate, the Church is always in need of purification.

In the Church there is always a struggle taking place between the desert and the garden, between the sin that parches the earth and the grace that waters it so that it produces abundant fruits of holiness. Let us therefore pray to the Mother of the Lord that she will help us, in this Advent season, to ‘straighten’ our ways, letting ourselves be guided by the word of God.

He also called for “restrained and responsible lifestyles” as world leaders meet to respond to the challenge of environmental devastation at UN climate conference in Copenhagen.

Written by Luke Coppen

December 7, 2009 at 4:30 pm

New Atheists ‘abet fundamentalists and reactionaries’, says author

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Robert Wright, author of The Evolution of God, declares that New Atheism has failed.

He writes:

It isn’t that the citadels of faith are rolling back the tide of unbelief. Among intellectuals – a target audience of the New Atheists – professing traditional faith is no more common than it was three years ago, and may even be less common.

But the New Atheists’ main short-term goal wasn’t to turn believers into atheists, it was to turn atheists into New Atheists – fellow fire-breathing preachers of the anti-Gospel. The point was to make it not just uncool to believe, but cool to ridicule believers.

And this year doubts about that mission have taken root among the New Atheists’ key demographic: intellectuals who aren’t religious and aren’t conservative. Even on the secular Left, the alarming implications of the ‘crusade against religion’ are becoming apparent: though the New Atheists claim to be a progressive force, they often abet fundamentalists and reactionaries, from the heartland of America to the Middle East.

Written by Luke Coppen

December 7, 2009 at 4:08 pm