What Ever Happened To Ecumenism?

In my early church-going life, ecumenism was a big topic.  The noble goal was respecting other branches of the Christian faith and trying to take on projects together.

Today we see a lot of splintering.  Why aren’t there some core agreements that are stronger than differences?

The link, written by a Lutheran who is active in ecumensim, says there is a core belief shared by all Christianity of man being born a sinner and saved from sin by the death of the figure, Jesus.  It may well be this is a belief held by the majority of branches of the faith, but it seems obvious it’s not a very important bit of doctrine to many in the pews.

More important to many in the pews is identifying who are the biggest sinners and calling them out.  Thus, we see homosexualtiy splitting up denominations.

There always has been some merging of denominations and well as splitting.  Currently, the economics hard times for churches is generating some more conversation about mergers.  But, this seems a little different than the idealistic overview that all Christian denominations join hands in common efforts.

There are three other things complicating Protestant ecumenism.  One is the proliferation of denominations.  The second is the growth of multiple campus’ of individual mega churches with crowd-pleasing preachers.

A third trend working against ecumenism is the declining number of young people staying with any denomination.  The older the average age, I would guess the less interest in over arching perspectives.


80 Responses

  1. entech

    Throughout church history, Christians have come up with many ingenious ways of explaining why the one church can be divided into many factions. The easiest, of course, is to say that everyone outside of a particular circle is not actually part of the church. That was how the church father Cyprian dealt with it: By definition the church is one, indivisible; so if there appear to be “divisions,” the reality is simply the true church versus a wicked pretender. And outside the church, there is no salvation.

    Great piece, I especially like the words of Cyprian about 200 CE, the thing is that each individual church, practically each individual in the church, considers itself to be “The True Church” and everyone else wicked pretenders.
    The problem really goes back to day one (or should that be day three) when the discovery of the missing corpse and the beginning of resurrection theory had different versions to work with. it took hundreds of years for the first United Universal Church to be formalised, over a few years that divided into eastern and western variants, wasn’t the great schism all over one word?
    The problem became real and earnest with the war of words between Erasmus and Luther, and rapidly turned into hundreds of years of open and savage warfare, a war to decide who loved his neighbor more nearly killed all the neighbors 🙂

    A nice dream but the divisions are quite a long way too far apart, read the others about the JWs, some evangelicals about the Catholics, some Catholics about everyone else, unity or trinity, works or faith and so it goes.
    to be my usual boring self – they can’t all be true …

    1. Wanna B Sure

      Last paragraph- – – Triunity- –

      -Re. “works (OR, my emphasis), faith”; Conveniently too shallow to be of value.

      Certainly not works alone. This you find in non-Christian traditions.

      Rather; “Faith producing works.” Not to be confused with “works assist Grace”, in the RCC, which is a separate matter entirely.

      Re. your; “usual boring”; Again, by not separating ecclesiology, culture, tradition (small t), from the mix, you make the divisions larger than what they are. (divide and defeat). Get on a bus with Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, Pentecostals, Methodists, Presbyterians, and a mix of non-denominationals, and shout through a bull-horn that Jesus was a fraud, and his death and resurrection was just a scheme, they would all agree to tie you up, and stuff a rag in your mouth until the next stop, at which time you would promptly be escorted out of the bus.

      1. Wanna B Sure

        To clarify ; “Faith producing works”. That is to say; ” faith which produces works”, or “works is/ are the result/ fruit of faith”. (“By their fruits you shall know them”.)

    2. Fr. James

      Remember CT is only giving you the Protestant take. In fact the Catholic Church existed from the 1st century. As St. Ignatius said in 107 AD, “Where the Catholic Church is there is Jesus Christ.” And St. Ireneaus said in 180 AD, ” Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.”And Cyprian, “[After quoting Matthew 16:18f; John 21:15ff]…On him [Peter] He builds the Church, and to him He gives the command to feed the sheep; and although He assigned a like power to all the Apostles, yet he founded a single Chair, and He established by His own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was; but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one Chair. So too, all are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the Apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?”

  2. Michael Ross

    Jeremiah 46:16:
    “They will stumble repeatedly; they will fall over each other. They will say, ‘Get up, let us go back to our own people and our native lands, away from the sword of the oppressor.”

    Decentralization is the trend. Ecclesiastical, societal, and, thankfully, governmental. Authority will come back to the most local level. In fact Christ’ delegated authority to His Church is a man’s authority in his own home. All other authority is to support and affirm the family.

    1. Henry

      Whatever you need to grab on to for justification, go for it. As I read a number of your posts, many seem to have a need to involve proof of disbelief, however disconnected that proof may be. Enjoy.

      1. entech

        Disbelief never needs a proof, you make the claim I or Adam or so many more say I don’t believe what you say, the end. Now you could ask for, expect or demand some justification for not accepting what you say is true. Of course this leads to the danger of meaningful discussion, which is all we ask for and what you all deny.

          1. Henry

            Adam, your 7:47 clearly was acknowledging making the case (which requires proof). Now you deny the need to make the case? You are all over the place. I can’t follow your reason and logic.

          2. Adam Heckathorn

            Actually I’m willing to make the case as best I can although I have to go to work now. Recently I posted the Teapot argument which I believe points out reasonably it is the Religious Who should feel compelled to make The Case.

          3. entech

            Disbelief never needs a proof, you make the claim I or Adam or so many more say I don’t believe what you say, the end. Now you could ask for, expect or demand some justification for not accepting what you say is true.
            Or Dear Henry, we could could say justification could be called making a a case. You would be quite justified in asking Adam or I to make a case defending our rejection of what you say, but that is quite a different matter from proving you wrong which is what you seem to want. In a court of law both prosecution and defense, proof may may or may not com out of it – reasonable doubt, it is more than reasonable to doubt most of what you say (speaking of religion that is you are quite likely very honest and forthcoming in your normal life – had to say that wouldn’t want to give you the excuse to twist the words in a totally new direction. You tell me about something starting with a real and actual Adam and Eve, I say I don’t believe you. You say it is in the Bible, I say I don’t believe the Bible is accurate. If you want to continue something more than going round in circles and Quoting Scripture to prove Scripture is needed. I have nothing to prove I just don’t accept that your stories are true.

            We have discussed this before, or I have tried to, you say lack of belief is belief, if it suited your case (that word) you would say black was white and pink was not a colour at all. All that is needed is a meaningful discussion.

          4. Henry

            Entech, the original proposition was, “The article makes a good case for disbelief.”

            What you are arguing about is not current, muddying up the water.

          5. Henry

            No substance? Only personal attack? That methodology doesn’t fit the notions that aspiring atheist Adam has of logic and reason for your profession. I am sure he will correct you on this. He embraces logic and reason.

          6. entech

            3:58 and 4:10
            The earthly kingdom is the only one I know, don’t need to prove anything or make a case, just walk out the door and there it is. You can see and feel and smell, it is just there. It is the natural world.
            If you want to suggest that there is something more, something over and above this natural world, something supernatural then we have reached a point where a proof of some kind is required. A proof that it is your job to provide, a proof can require a rebuttal or be disproved, a statement only requires acceptance or rejection. While we are still in the domain of opinion, “I am not convinced” is all the case required.
            But you know all this, you are just being contrary because there really is no case for belief and no case for disbelief, which is why I say that the things you say are reason enough to be suspicious, sceptical and , in fact, make a good and sufficient case for disbelief. Not actually a personal attack just a statement of the obvious, but I do concede that it could be construed that way, if you wanted a conclusion without conceding you were wrong, again.

            I think Adam has been quite clear that he is an atheist, why do you belittle his statement by saying aspiring. Is your arrogance in assuming that your beliefs are the only true ones greater than I previously thought, it seems as if you think they are the only possible ones.

            You frequently chatter on about logic and reason, how about a reasoned argument for the existence of God (make it simple to start, sons and holy ghosts can come later). Preferably using a syllogistic logic with valid propositions leading to a conclusion, induction has its own problems of probability and ifs and buts so If the propositions can reasoned and true then the conclusion must be true.

            The form:
            God wrote the Bible
            assumption, not meaning physically or personally but in the sense of dictating or inspiring
            Everything in the Bible is true
            assumption, God would not lie, therefore the Bible is true

            etc, : etc.
            Therefore: God exists.

            This has more than a few problems, question begging, circularity, encompassing these and being a major problem in itself is you can’t start the argument with first assuming God exist and that a valid description is accepted.

            If you want to be more general, cosmological or ontological or whatever you have still got to demonstrate that it is in fact “God” in your terms rather than a creator that could fulfill many creation stories.

          7. Henry

            entech:“It is the natural world. If you want to suggest that there is something more, something over and above this natural world, something supernatural then we have reached a point where a proof of some kind is required.”

            Talk to atheist Wolf. He talks about aliens and timewarps.

            entech:“I think Adam has been quite clear that he is an atheist, why do you belittle his statement by saying aspiring.”

            No belittlement, only acknowledgement he is a relatively fresh convert to his new beliefs when considering his first posts in which he was a little circumspect, not freely calling himself an atheist.

            Another reminder, Adam provided the original proposition in his 7:47, yet you carry on how I need to prove. Please continue to argue your case by providing another lengthy rebuttal to muddle the facts.

          8. entech

            Poor Henry, getting a bit stuck at 11:56; you should have just kept quiet, as usual in this situation.

            Wolfy, would deny strenuously being called an atheist. You know as well as anyone that the supernatural is the concept of something over and above the natural world Gods and angels etc. The concept of aliens, timewarps, wormholes and etc. etc. is speculation about events and possibilities in the universe, in the same cosmos in which we all live and die, the natural world.

            When Adam made his first couple of posts he was talking about JW, when I queried something he immediately came back saying quite categorically that he was an atheist and that it was his military experiences that fuelled his departure from the Christianity of his youth, the joining with the JW was because of their pacifism, the leaving because of atheism and finding that they were just as bad as any other denomination. (I am sure he will correct me if I am wrong, or perhaps you will drag something from your meticulous archives)

            Adam at 7:47 stated that the story in the article mad a good case for disbelief. Quite true all the attempts to reconcile contradictions, and inimical ideas, the only thing the denominations have in common is being saved by death and resurrection, death is certain resurrection has more than one initial telling so the difference is there from the beginning. Ecumenism falls short because of the irreconcilable differences with different denominations, this failure to agree is “a good case for disbelief”.
            However, that is not the way this developed at 12:16 you introduced the talk of proof of disbelief, I have never seen this in any of Adams posts, or any atheists posts it has always been that the one making the claim is the one that is required to provide the proof.
            Realising this was an error on your part you have been muddle the facts, as you accuse me of doing, while all I am doing is trying to clarify things. The reason the rebuttal tend to be lengthy is trying to cover any escape routes you may find. The length is often futile as you have tendency to ignore everything except what you like and carry on.
            As Adam said trying to have a meaningful discussion with you is like trying to pull teeth, it often seems like being on the fringe of a monologue, you just let people talk and then carry on as you want with little if any attention to what has been said.
            I would expand on the tooth pulling jibe, an Australian expression, perhaps American too, is, recognizing the futility of the action and relating it to the toothless state of birds beaks, “like trying to draw hen’s teeth”.

      2. Adam Heckathorn

        In accepting the truth about Gods nonexistence I see no personal advantage to Myself outside of maintaining personal integrity. I do see great advantages to Society as a whole including perhaps avoiding eventual extinction of the species I.E. through Global warming and a Myriad of other possible threats that many People of faith won’t take seriously. Do You really think I got up one day and said to Myself I no longer want to believe in the sure hope of seeing My beloved brain Injured Wife back to perfect health where we’ll live in a paradise on earth for all of eternity with My friends and relatives. When I was in about second grade living in South Lake Tahoe I went to take the garbage out (not a pleasant task in the days of paper sacks). On the way back coming through the Garage I spotted some paper sacks on a shelf and being a curious Lad I took a look and what did I find but wonderful presents surely in store for Me and My three sisters and since those presents were gender specific I knew which ones I could expect and took careful note. I remember thinking “Time We add on Santa’s presents this is going to be quite a bountiful Christmas Season for Me personally!” Well I’m sure You all can see where this is going and I’m sure You even feel the deep disappointment of The Little Boy Who didn’t get the big Haul He thought He was going to get although I certainly did very well that Year. As I unwrapped Santa’s presents it didn’t take long to see the truth since those presents had been sitting on the shelf. I kept My new discoveries to Myself so as not to ruin the illusion for My sisters. I’m an adult now and although I’m more than a little disappointed to discover the truth about God It’s not quite as hard on Me as Losing Santa was.

        1. Wolfy32

          Well, I agree with most of the Athiests here, because quite simply the Christians on here for the most part are Christians I’ve dealt with all my life. Everything’s black and white, it’s all fixed and decided. Some are going to hell, that sucks for them, but I’m not Yaay for me! Not saying all christians on here are like that… a few are… lol.

          The thing for me, though, is I believe there’s true factual evidence to support that there’s something much bigger than us out there… Just yesterday a story was released on how some scientists may have scientific mathematical proof that gravity distortions in the universe are causing distortions in space and time. Further proving that Einstiens theory of relativity may be completely true. More testing needs to be done, but, it’s possible that time is relative and not a constant throughout the universe.

          Time is something that we thought and for all intents and purposes still believe is black and white. a second is a second, a minute a minute, and so on. It’s always moving forward, that’s final.

          Well, if time can swirl and eddy like water in the universe then, what else don’t we know? The other part of the story may offer additional factual proof that other universes exist and that our universe may have started from a single microscopic electron.

          I don’t know about you, but, if there are other universes out there, which as science progress and finds more evidence of their existence, I have no reason to disbelieve these findings. Other than to remain skeptical of the implications. If there are other universes with trillions of planets, anomalies, etc… Who’s to say that outside all of the universes, there’s not something or someone, or a being of some type or set of beings. that have all the universes mapped out on a little pedestal like the little solar system toys we have for kids that shows all the planets orbital paths.

          We have no comprehensible evidence of something. Who’s to say there isn’t something beyond our understanding? How many of us can relate to an Ant’s life? Maybe that being is incapable of relating to our lives?

          To say there is no God or being out there, is pretty selfish and arrogant. However, to say there is one, is also terrifying and equally disturbing. I’m not talking about biblical stuff. I’m talking about what if something is real? Not a set of rules or not a set of descriptions that relate directly to the human condition.

          I can’t prove there is something other than what the studies are showing. The studies are beginning to show the real possibility there’s other universes out there. Studies are starting to further show time is possibly very relative. These two variables in our understanding of our existence could have many implications way beyond religion.

          1. Fr. James

            Spoken like a relativist. If there is no black or white objective truth then you cannot say anything is really true. For example if you claim rape is always evil…well how can you without being black or white about it? And once you do say it is always evil regardless of what anyone says…well now you have to explain how you can believe in a universal moral law without a universal moral lawgiver. Good luck wit that.

          2. Wolfy32

            I think it’s quite simple. We have established a governing order over ourselves. Humans have survived a long time without having to have God give us a set of rules.

            I am born with a compelling instinct to care about others. It may be a combination of environment and natural genetics, who knows. But, my desire to do no harm to others or myself compells me to not rape people because I know that would hurt someone. Why does anything have to be judged good or evil?

            and this thing about reletavistic morals is for the birds. Human society has deemed what is acceptable and is not acceptable to itself. Those decisions are based on the current societal conditions that rarely change.

            Take for example our processed food. We could judge processed food evil. (And diet soda). Because of all the major ill health effects. The food industry is killing us. We should classify them as evil because they are forcing us to eat unhealthy food that will most likely kill us or give us very terrible diseases over time!!

            Yet, they are perfectly acceptable. Why hasn’t the church drawn lines on food, on the food industry? Everything from the enriched foods we eat as adults to the artificial formulas we give babies.

            Why do we need God to tell us that non consexual sex is bad for our society?? We can’t figure that out for ourselves?? Well, evidently many can’t, but, still, we know that hurting ourselves hurts our entire society. Whether it’s the food we eat, or the pain we cause another.

            Why do we need God to tell us not to hurt others? Are you saying we’re incapable of caring about anyone else without God? So, we’d just all be rapists, murderers, thieves, and so on without a God to tell us doing those things is bad for us?

            Lastly, if he’s telling us not to do those things, then why are so many people doing those things? Evidently, the instructions / programming given to us didn’t work, becuase well, despite the black and white programming, people still hurt people.

            I choose not to hurt people because I genuinely care about others. My motivation is not to be loved by a God more, or have God see what I do, or anything remotely like that. My motivation is quite simply, I know what it’s like to be hurt, I don’t want to see others be hurt, especially by me, in fact, I love seeing others be built up and succeed despite life.

            I think it’s a huge cop out, to think that, because one doesn’t believe in the Christian God, those people think they can do whatever they want and it doesn’t matter. The consequences of bad decisions are still bad consequences. I don’t need God to tell me that…

          3. Fr. James

            Wolfy, actually we did have a set of rules and still do from God. When we make our own the results are not good. How would you argue against say the North Korean model of society? It eschews God completely. They would heartily agree with you that we make our own rules and they are good just because we make them. There is no problem then with gulags for political prisoners. And who can say that rape is wrong? That’s just your opinion and if the majority doesn’t agree then rape will become “good.”

            People don’t always do what is right, but that doesn’t make it wrong. Do no harm doesn’t mean to do “good” for others. It is more indifferent. I think you should consider the life of Mother Teresa. I don’t see atheists doing what she did.

          4. entech

            Wolfy there you are you speak like a relativist, you have been told at 7:23, by some one who speaks like a Jesuit.
            But I am guessing without the training.

            An we come to the ultimate argument about which everything the argument is supposed to rest – we need an absolute moral framework, a n absolute moral framework needs someone to make it, therefore God. Silly old Anselm made a better case.

          5. Fr. James

            entech, I am not a member of the Jesuits. Odd how fundamentalists, be they Christian or atheist, tend to use them as a punching bag. I do have a fondness of Aquinas though.

          6. entech

            Did I say you were a Jesuit. I said you speak like one. It is true that it is a jibe sometimes used, and used quite falsely, I have great admiration for many Jesuits in science and have recommended quite a few videos that are available on line, anything by Guy Consolmango or George Coyne is highly recommended.

            Interpretations of the fundamentalist movement have changed over time. Fundamentalism is a movement manifested in various denominations with various theologies, rather than a single denomination or systematic theology. It became active in the 1910s after the release of the Fundamentals, a twelve-volume set of essays, apologetic and polemic written by conservative Protestant theologians to defend what they saw as Protestant orthodoxy. I wonder what part atheists play in this theology 🙂

          7. Fr. James

            entech, then you meant it as a compliment? It didn’t sound like that. Atheist fundamentalism is very similar. It has its “givens” that one cannot dare question. For example Jon’s “Hitler was a Catholic” post. Very common and of course false, but that doesn’t matter. It is like the fundamentalists who say the Pope is the anti-Christ. When you make these comments you show yourself to be the atheist version of fundamentalist.

    2. Adam Heckathorn

      Here’s a sample from the article that I think illustrates good reason for disbelief; If there’s any doctrine that must take real, lived history into account in order to be meaningful, it’s ecclesiology, the doctrine of the church. But both approaches ignore inconvenient historical realities. Defining a specific church as the church ignores the Holy Spirit’s capacity to move beyond boundaries and structures created by humans. But defining the church as authentically Christian individuals, wherever they are, reduces structural divisions to matters of indifference, when in reality they foster hostility among those who should be calling each other brother and sister. The protracted religious wars in 16th- and 17th-century Europe were proof enough that the notion of an “invisible church” couldn’t stop Christians from killing each other.

      Embarrassingly enough, Chris­tians did not theologically confront their internal violence until outsiders called them out on it. It was the experience of competing on the mission field that exposed the hypocrisy (dare we say heresy?) of competing factions, all claiming to be the supreme bearers of the truth and love of Christ. Potential converts were not impressed, and the missionaries knew it.

      1. Henry

        “Potential converts were not impressed, and the missionaries knew it.”

        That defies reality. Try a mission church in Africa. People walk for miles to pack into a small steel shed to attend church with hundreds of others.

          1. Henry

            So after all this, are you trying to make the case for disbelief, or do you believe making the case for disbelief is not necessary? You haven’t yet clarified which one is correct.

  3. Fr. James

    Divisions are not just a matter of economics. I wish that Jon would take seriously doctrine and its role in faith. It is not just an issue of people in the pews that are influenced by cultural propaganda on homosexuality. It is that some Churches are immune to that sort of coercion or change. It is a matter of objective truth that is not subject to alteration.

    Why should a Church split or change over a tiny number of people who demand that said Church renounce part of its belief? Why don’t they simply leave and join or form a church that reflects what they want? Why are they not “tolerant” and respectful of a denomination that does not/cannot change?

    Ecumenism must be based on truth or it is false ecumenism. Once we replace God with the self as the arbiter of truth then a denomination has little to offer in the sense of a common faith.

    1. Fr. James 7:20 “I wish Jon would take seriously doctrine and its role in faith…It is that some churches are immune to that sort of coercion or change.”

      You are correct that I don’t take doctrine seriously. If it doesn’t matter to people in the pews, it doesn’t matter. If the people in the pews have changed, it doesn’t matter that the guy in a robe has not.

      Are you telling me that the Catholic Church’s opposition to birth control is some important relevant issue? I dare say it is not. The folks in the pews ignore it.

      1. Fr. James

        Whether you or they take it seriously it does matter. If a cop stops you for speeding and you tell him you don’t take the speed limit seriously he won’t care. It does matter. Truth does matter. It is true regardless of what anyone thinks. If you ignore the truth then you pay for it that makes it relevant.

        By disregarding the truth on contraception Paul VI said, ” It is also to be feared that the man, growing used to the employment of anti-conceptive practices, may finally lose respect for the woman and, no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion.

        Let it be considered also that a dangerous weapon would thus be placed in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies. Who could blame a government for applying to the solution of the problems of the community those means acknowledged to be licit for married couples in the solution of a family problem? Who will stop rulers from favoring, from even imposing upon their peoples, if they were to consider it necessary, the method of contraception which they judge to be most efficacious?”

        He was exactly right. Truth is not determined by the folks in the pews or even the voting booth. Ignoring a truth doesn’t make it false.

        1. Fr. James 9:32 “Truth is not determined by the folks in the pews or even in the voting booth.”

          The people in the pews provide the funds for the person behind the pulpit. They also fund the professor in the seminary. If they don’t like what they hear, they go to another church and pay that preacher. Or, they may not go to chruch.

          The messages that get funds in the collection plate can keep proclaiming their “truth”. The other “truths” are silenced because there is no money to keep their message in play–they die out. In this way, the people in the pews write the sermon of the preacher. There is no escape from this.

          Many religions have come and gone. Pentacostalism is slowly replacing Catholicism in Central/South America. Time marches on and the “truth” changes.

        2. entech

          FJ love the bit about respect for women, must be a new definition of hypocracy.

          Truth is not determined by the folks in the pews or even the voting booth. Ignoring a truth doesn’t make it false. To take that point further, constantly repeating a falsehood does not make it true.

          Your posts on this topic serve to demonstrate the problem with the idea of ecumenism – it can only work if everyone accepts that the Catholic Church is the one true church. Unfortunately we have people with different ways of saying the same thing; only replacing Catholic with their own, Lutheran, Methodist, Mormon, Jehova’s Witness the list is almost as long as number of Christians.

          1. Fr. James

            Not at all. Baptized Protestants are our separated brethren. We respect women far more then the culture does.

        3. Fr. James 9:32 “Paul VI said, ‘It is also to be feared that the man, growing used to the employment of anti conceptive practices, may finally lose respect the woman and, nor longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, no longer as his respected and beloved companion.’….He was exactly right.”

          In all due repect, and I’m glad to have you posting here, I have to ask, have you been on some other planet for the last 40 years???

          Women have achieved a level of equality with men by earning a larger share of household incomes. Men can no longer treat women as the lesser because women have achieved to high a level of parity in relationships. Why have they been able to do this? Because they can plan their pregnancies to interface with their careers.

          Before Paul VI chose do commentary on relationships, it would have served him well to have had one.

          1. Fr. James

            I have been right here on earth. You don’t think men treat women as lesser? Have you watched TV or the media? Where women are objectified and portrayed in vile ways? And as you admit, children are now a hobby for when one can “interface” them with a career. How is that working out with our children?

            Pope Paul had relationships. Most humans do. But I do find it interesting that you so easily bandy about politically correct, and false, insults. Of course it is in your interest to do so. After all as mayor you did only what got you money and votes. You didn’t actually believe anything, right? It was all about campaign finances and elections and power. Isn’t that what you, a politician, say about us? Not insulting at all eh?

          2. Fr. James 4:42 “Have you watched TV…Where women are objectified and portrayed in vile ways?”

            And, the cause of that is womens’ use of birth control? I have to insist you do not seem isolated from real time people, their experices and the field of social sciences.

          3. Fr. James

            Jon, it is one of the causes. Men support birth control because it means they can use women sexually without consequences. That dehumanizes women and makes them objects rather then subjects.

            I work with people all the time. It’s part of what I do. Often when they are in trouble or distress. Of course you seem divorced from common people, like so many politicians. You live in a cloud. I am sure that is not insulting to say that.

          4. Fr. James. “I work with people all the time.”

            I’m sure you do, and, I’m sure you serve them well. The sociological changes in our society have changed so women are in a stronger position with men today. Abortion was illegal when men ruled the roost. Women will not allow that situation again. Women ignore your church’s teaching on birth control because for some reason they think they know better what is in their best interests than the men who run your branch of Christianity.

          5. Fr. James

            Jon, men won’t allow abortion to end. It serves them too well. People ignore teachings that are difficult or that they don’t understand. It is not always easy to do the right thing. Take away a child’s video game and tell them to play outside. You will find they consider that to be harsh.

          6. Fr. James 5:13 “Jon, men won’t allow abortion to end. It serves the too well.”

            I does serve men well. Couples who need two incomes to keep them afloat need to plan the timing of their children. The family’s economy affects men in exactly the same way it affects women.

        4. Fr. James

          Jon, I have never altered my preaching based on money. This is an insult to clergy. Of course we know that Dawkins for example is just in it for the money right? He doesn’t care about atheism does he? The Catholic Church cannot change dogmas based on money flow. It doesn’t do that. If they leave then that is their right, but we won’t change to get them to stay. If you were right then the truths that you don’t like would not be heard and yet they are. 2000 years and Catholicism continues with 1.3 billion members.

          entech, so you want to defend our societies view of women? LOL, go ahead. Start with the rampant pornography industry that you must be so proud of. It is you who repeat falsehoods. Or is your statement an absolute truth? I believe the Catholic Church is the fulness of Christianity, but I also believe that Protestants are fellow Christians in imperfect communion with us. I pray that communion will be complete someday.

          1. Fr. James 4:20 “Jon, I have never altered by preaching based on money. This is an insult to clergy.”

            As with your other comments, you don’t seem to grasp concepts of social and economic systems. It is not that clergy adjust their sermons for money (although I’ve read some say they choose one topic over another because of opposition of their flock), it is that there is an economic system in place in religion. At the risk of talking down to you, I will explain it.

            Money from those in the pews supports what is said from the pulpit. If the money from the pews stops, there will be no one at the pulpit. If there is no one at the pulpit, the message is not delivered. If the message is not delivered, it disappears.

            This has happened to countless other religions since the beginning of the human experience. The are indications it is happening now to Christianity–though I don’t want to say I know what will happen in the future.

            That it can’t happen is absurd. Christianity, itself, replaced paganism by a series of historical accidents. There will be random events that will determine human kind’s religious views in the future.

          2. Fr. James

            Jon, I grasp your comment, but it is simply false. The Catholic Church has not changed its teachings on life because of money. We didn’t change on marriage despite the threats of Henry VIII. I can’t answer for other religions, but for my own what you say simply isn’t true.

            Rodney Stark has written on why Christianity triumphed over paganism. It wasn’t an accident or random. For example he points out that Christians had more children, took better care of them, and didn’t abort them. His book Rise of Christianity is very solid.

          3. Fr. James 9:11 I guess this is my last attempt. You claim you “grasp” what I said but you still do not: I did not say you or the Catholic church changed its views for money.

            Please do not keep saying I said things which I did not. Thank you.

          4. entech

            There are as many men as women in the pornography industry. Henry probably has record but there were some posts recently about the high number of porn addicts in the so called bible belt.
            To make a joke about something that is really no joking matter, “deeming to women, what do you mean, she is the one with the whip” From a television program.

          5. entech

            Henry, FATHER JAMES introduced the subject –
            entech, so you want to defend our societies view of women? LOL, go ahead. Start with the rampant pornography industry that you must be so proud of. It is you who repeat falsehoods.

            I am not concerned or even interested in who watches or who produces this stuff, I just remember vaguely that it was a surprisingly large number of fundamentalists and evangelicals.

            As the good Father told me to LOL I told my little joke.
            Do you ever get anything right, just leave something as it stands with an honest meaning sometimes, you don’t have to give yourself brainstrain trying to distort everything into an attack.

          6. entech

            Wanna 4:26 pm. I doubt the self proclaimed Father would have the knowledge to last more than a few sentences with you. Although I disagree with most of what you say I must concede you know your subject.

            Before you accuse me of stirring the pot and trying to start a cat fight I have a confession to make, guilty as charged.

          7. Henry

            Father James denounced the porn industry. You indicated your interest in the records of the porn industry. You have a dirty mind.

          8. Wanna B Sure

            Entech; It should be obvious I was referring only to the last three sentences of the priest’s 4:20. Down kitty.

          9. entech

            Wanna, of course, just that so many of your compatriots deliberately misread I thought I would give it a try. 🙂

          10. entech

            Once again you are letting your mistaken idea that atheists are forever and always wrong, it is not my having a dirty mind (or not) that should bother you, but that so many of yours do should be the real worry, although I suppose confession will clean them up until the next time.

          11. entech

            If you want a bit of relief I could teach to get the symbolic smiley face etc. into your posts.
            So 🙁 2B 😡

          12. Wanna B Sure

            My dear techie; I know how to do the faces feces. sorry to ruin your day- – – naw, not really. Smirking face.

          13. Fr. James

            Jon, but that is in effect what you are saying. It is false and insulting…so stop. If I say that you simply did as mayor what gave you money and power with no thought of doing the right thing you would be insulted. So don’t do it to us.

          14. Fr. James 5:14 “Jon, but that is in effect what you are saying. It is false and insulting..so stop.”

            In all due respect, your understanding of the real world is a challenge for me. It is “false” so say the Church is supported by donations of people in the pews? That is not false, it is true.

            But, I will admit, it is an inconvenient truth. It is inconvenient to realize your own funding comes results from whether or not the people in the pews like, or dislike, what is uttered from behind the pulpit.

            Now, I AM NOT SAYING the priest changes what he says, I’m saying people can vote with their feet if the don’t like what he says. I AM NOT SAYING a church changes it position. I am saying that if a new church emerges, or the nonchurch life, that takes away all the members of the first church, the first church will have no funds, no priests, no popes, no cathedrals, etc. I am saying that is how it has been since the beginning of time and how it always will be.

    2. Wolfy32

      Well, I’m curious to know. If I was brand new to christianity, and I had a represenative in front of me from every christian denomination on the planet, which one would I need to believe fully and completely to get to heaven?

      What if the one out of a several thousand I pick is wrong? What if all the pentecostals are all actually worshipping a demon that represents itself as the holy spirit when they speak in toungues and most pentecostals are in reality going to hell because they’ve been duped? Or what if I chose baptist but because I wasn’t baptised in a catholic church, I am going to hell? How does one choose the “right one”. The bible says the path is narro and there are few that find it… Well that to me could mean that 10 people found the right religion/ belief system in the whole world. The rest are all trying to find it..

      1. Fr. James

        Our choices mean something. I suggest you take the search seriously. I invite you to take a careful and objective look at Catholicism.

        1. Wolfy32

          I take it very seriously. You’ve offerred me no proof that your path is any more right than anyone elses. Prove to me without a doubt, in a way that is repeatable, that your path is the only right one?

          1. Fr. James

            Prove to me beyond doubt in a way that is repeatable that there is no God. If you can’t then you believe it on faith. Start there. Then pick up our catechism to see what we really believe. I also recommend Answering Atheism by Trent Horn. Start reading.

          2. entech

            I don’t think Wolfy actually ever said that there is no god. Very few non-believers say categorically that there is no god. There is a book by Victor Stenger called the Failed Hypothesis that claims to set out a case for non existence. There are so many different interpretations of what atheist actually means, what do you think? I prefer the ignogstic idea, until we can reach a mutually acceptable definition the existence question has no meaning, what is it that is supposed to exist.

            As always you avoid the point that you are making the claim and need to verify it, that I and most designated as atheist don’t accept that as a valid idea does not require proof. You can go around in circles all you like about non belief actually belief and lack of faith is really faith and so on, these are dishonest arguments, but I don’t mind you are only lying to yourself.

            There may or may not be a creator, to claim there is a creator with a fetish for creating little replicas of himself, beings in his own image is something which cannot be denied of hand. We are surrounded by such a creation and the creatures (us), this only gives you a foot in the door, the job to develop this into fish on Friday is, to my mind, insurmountable, unless you believe it before you start which is what we are so often told,”open your mind and all will be revealed”.

            When you have an open ended set of explanations there is no way that your hypothesis can be denied, look up Sagan’s dragon in the garage, religious proofs are similar. If you can explain everything, even contradictions, then eventually you explain nothing.

          3. Fr. James

            entech, atheists usually try to dodge responsibility to prove their faith. It is up to you to prove your assertions true. Billions of people do find evidence for God sufficient for them to believe. Often that is in creation. Usually this devolves into arguments over who has the burden of proof. Amusing since the appeal is based on justice or fairness, which atheism denies exists.

            I would suggest to you that while we teach that one can know God exists, the nature of that God is only accessible by revelation. We are a bit more nuanced then you seem to understand.

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