Perhaps it may seem a bit premature, but here goes: Benedict XVI should be declared a Doctor of the Church.
There are, if I count correctly, 33 such esteemed Doctors, the most recent being St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who died in 1897, and the most recently declared being St. Hildegard of Bingen, who died in 1179 but was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict in October of 2012. Benedict XVI would be number 34 (assuming no others are named beforehand).
Read the rest at National Catholic Register
In his newest book, Mind & Cosmos, atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel dares to criticize neo-Darwinism. According to Nagel, the materialist view “that the appearance of life from dead matter and its evolution through accidental mutation and natural selection to its present forms has involved nothing but the operation of physical law…is an assumption governing the scientific project rather than a well-confirmed hypothesis.”
For Nagel, it is an assumption ripe for abandonment.
Needful to say, neo-Darwinians have not taken kindly to Nagel’s criticisms. They’ve taken to roasting him alive…with words, for the time being.For the rest of the article go to tothesource
According to the Catechism, “The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God,” an obvious reference to Genesis 1:26-27. Moreover, “The divine image is present in every man” (CCC, 1700-1702). Human reason is able to grasp this truth insofar as it affirms that we are endowed with a “spiritual and immortal soul,” which is the source of man’s capacity to reason. “By his reason, he is capable of understanding the order of things established by the Creator. By free will, he is capable of directing himself toward his true good.”
So it is that “[b]y virtue of his soul and his spiritual powers of intellect and will, man is endowed with freedom, an ‘outstanding manifestation of the divine image’” (CCC, 1702-1705). That’s where we ultimately get our freedom.
In sum, the Church’s assertion of the right to religious freedom is rooted in, has its foundation in, the dignity of the human person. This dignity is itself defined in terms of a very specific anthropology: one which assumes that human beings are distinct creatures endowed with immaterial, immortal souls who, by virtue of their souls, are capable of reason and free will.
But radical secularism has its own anthropology, one rooted in reductionist materialism that denies the existence God, the immaterial soul, and all too often the power of reason and the existence of free will.
That raises the obvious but generally overlooked question. Does the right to religious liberty include the freedom to believe in a worldview (religious, quasi-religious, or otherwise) that undermines the dignity of the person, upon which the right to religious freedom rests?
For the rest of the article go to Catholic World Report
We are now—like it or not—immersed in a real debate about the nature of Islam. The background of deceased Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev is forcing us into it. There is no doubt Tamerlan, the elder brother of the two perpetrators, was transformed by his relatively recent embrace of radical Islam.
And so, we have the very difficult question facing us in regard to Islam: Is the propensity to terror and jihad radical in the deepest sense of word’s origin in Latin, radix, “root”? Is there something at the root of the Quran itself and the essential history of Islam that all too frequently creates the Tsarnaev brothers, Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Mohamed Atta, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas, or is there some other source, quiet accidental to Islam?
That question must be taken seriously, very seriously.
I am not going to answer that question, but rather pose another: Why do liberals have so much difficulty even allowing that very serious question to be raised?Read the full story at Human Events
If you’ve been reading about the so-called Common Core State Standards Initiative, you know that conservatives have already pegged this proposed national curriculum as yet another attempt to define the education of our children in terms of the doctrines of liberalism.
Conservatives are right. But they are, perhaps, wrong about liberals’ motives which are, if understood in a larger historical context, less sinister than they are made out to be (although no less wrongheaded, for all that).
I offer a seemingly liberal explanation—they can’t help it. Liberals think being educated means becoming liberal, moving from darkness to light, and so whenever they undertake education reform, it means redefining education by the lights of liberalism.
How this occurred is rather complicated, but if conservatives want to push back against liberals in regard to education, they’d better know the full story.
For the full story, click here to go to The Blaze.
Before Pope Benedict stepped down, he made sure that his flock of a billion-plus understood that the 21st century will be a time of evangelization.
That’s an order, although not a new one, but simply a restatement of Christ’s own missionary command to the disciples, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you” (Matthew 28:19–20).
That’s all nations, including those that were previously Christianized and have been de-Christianized by the modern apostles of secularization.
Both Emeritus Pope Benedict and Pope Francis understand all too well the difficulties that aggressive modern secularism poses for the mission of the Church. The secular state wants (at best) the Church to “shut up and sing” in private or (at worst) the Church to be driven entirely into extinction. In either case, evangelization is not welcome.
So, in our current situation, it is not the church and the state, but the secular state against the Church. As I’ve argued in Worshipping the State, the Church’s situation today is frighteningly similar to its situation in ancient pagan Rome, with an aggressive state desiring its removal.
Read the rest at the National Catholic Register
Ryan Rotela and his fellow Intercultural Communications classmates at Florida Atlantic University were given a lovely opportunity to “pursue knowledge and engage in open discourse” recently. Dr. Deandre Poole ordered them each to write “JESUS” on a piece of paper, throw it on the floor, and stomp on it. Ryan Rotela, alone among his classmates, refused. He was suspended.
So…what's next week's assignment? Dr. Poole is going to have some stompin’ on the names of Martin Luther King, Mohammed, President Obama, and perhaps even Dr. Poole himself? Not going to happen.
What does this sordid little exercise of Dr. Poole reveal? A lot more than you think. To Christians, it should look familiar. In the pagan Roman state into which Christianity was born, Christians soon found themselves quite unwelcome. They refused to worship the pagan emperor, and they refused to bend the knee before the pagan state. The Romans considered the Christian response to be treasonous. In Rome, the state and religion were fused: the emperor was a god incarnate; the glory of the state rested on the entire pantheon of Roman gods. To refuse to sacrifice to the emperor and the Roman state was an act of the deepest rebellion. So, the emperor and his minions gave the early Christians an option: throw your Scriptures on the fire, curse the name of Jesus, and offer sacrifice to the divine imperial person. Or else.
The “or else” meant be flayed alive, burned alive, thrown to wide beasts, torn in two, and so on. A bit more severe than, say, “You’ll get an ‘F’ in the course,” or “You’ll get suspended from the class.” But it’s the exact same kind of threat. Curse the name of Jesus--or else. Stomp on the name of Jesus--or else.
The more firmly liberalism is established as the state-sanctioned worldview, the more Christians will find their situation all too reminiscent of ancient Rome. That's why Christians need to fight for the disestablishment of liberalism--before it's too late.Read the rest on The Blaze.
You can be sure that one of the first issues that Pope Francis will face is contention against the Church’s position on homosexuality and more particularly, “gay marriage.” Again, Argentina already legalized it; the U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing the (allegedly) landmark case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, the last week of March.
If we look worldwide — and that’s where Pope Francis must now raise his vision — we find a very predictable pattern. Wherever secular liberalism has gained political and cultural hold, same-sex “marriage” has been legally affirmed, beginning with the Netherlands in 2001, and then not long after, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina and, most recently, Denmark. The same pattern fits our own state-by-state legalization: Wherever the secular-minded gain political control, “gay marriage” is imposed.
That is why Pope Benedict so presciently defined the real conflict facing the New Evangelization as the battle with aggressive secularism. It is a battle that will be waged between the Church and the increasingly secular state. Same-sex “marriage” is only one part of it, but a significant part.Read the rest at the National Catholic Register
As the Supreme Court hears arguments for and against gay marriage we might stand back from the whole judicial fracas and ask ourselves a larger and hopefully more startling question: “What is the government doing deciding what marriage is?”
This is really two questions in one. First, how did it come to be that we, as a culture, are in a position where something seemingly so natural, something that existed long before any governments were around, is now up for debate? Second, why is it that we would look to a branch of the government to settle that debate?Read the rest at Human Events
The History Channel has a big hit on its hands, the epic series, The Bible, running right up to Easter. The Bible has enjoyed record audience numbers. Hollywood couple, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, the producers, wrote a column before the airing entitled “Why Public Schools Should Teach the Bible.” In it, they argue that “It's time to encourage, perhaps even mandate, the teaching of the Bible in public schools as a primary document of Western civilization.”
Unfortunately, they then sell the Bible short, and concentrate only on its “literary” value. They should be—all Christians should be—much bolder.
In my Worshipping the State, I offer a much better reason, one that strikes right at the heart of the argument made by secularists that teaching the Bible violates the separation of church and state.
The separation of church and state has its historic roots in the Bible. Without the Bible there would be no separation of church and state.
Historically, the distinction between church and state, between religious and political power, didn’t arise among the pagan Greeks or Romans, in Islam, in China or India with Taoism, Confucianism, Hinduism or Buddhism, in regard to Japanese Shintoism, or even among pagan Norsemen.
The reason is simple: the usual arrangement of things in the world is the fusion of sacred and political power. In Egypt, Pharaoh was simultaneously king and god. In Rome, Caesar was a divine emperor. Or today, look at North Korea.
Christianity changed all that. Like so many other things—the invention of the university, the rise of science, the ultimate rejection of slavery, the institution of monogamous and exclusive heterosexual marriage, opposition to abortion, infanticide, and suicide—the distinction of church and state is Christian in origin. It was invented by the church in the early Middle Ages, but it was based on the authority of the Bible. The Bible broke apart the ancient pagan fusion of religious and political power.Read the rest at tothesource