Saturday, May 28, 2016

Pope Francis: "I'm Okay, You're Okay"

Seeds of Revolution

In olden days, to be Christian was to be Catholic. (Except for the Orthodox, who were in the special case of schism.) So it made sense to say things like "outside of the Church there is no salvation."

As the centuries rolled by, this certitude showed a dark side. The Church tolerated no deviance from its teachings and hundreds of thousands of so-called heretics, supposed witches, and also Jews and Muslims, were killed in military campaigns and in the flames of the infamous Inquisition.

Martin Luther
In addition to this very un-Christlike cruelty, abuses grew unchecked. One abuse in particular turned out to be the seed of the Reformation. In those days, the Church fostered a strong belief in Purgatory, a hellish state of punishment that must be endured by the faithful who had been judged fit for Heaven. Since the Pope held "the keys of Peter," the Church had the power to reduce or even eliminate the length of time the dead had to spend in this torture chamber of the afterlife. The mechanism was the "indulgence."

You  have no doubt seen St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, or at least pictures. It is one of the most imposing buildings in the world. It cost a lot to build. The Church, especially in Germany, raised money by selling indulgences to Catholics.  "As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory (also attested as 'into heaven') springs," was the Church's marketing slogan.

Martin Luther -- an Augustinian monk -- was appalled. Luther had other issues with the Church, as well, and began the Reformation by famously nailing his 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door on October 31, 1517.

What began as a reasonable challenge to abuses by the Church escalated into full-blown revolution. Familiar Protestant doctrines like justification by grace alone, and relying upon the Bible alone for teachings sprang into existence, as well as abandonment of most sacraments.

Closing a Sad Chapter In Christian History

What followed was a dark time for Christianity, with much cruelty on both sides. But fast-forward to 1999. The Catholic Church and most Lutheran bodies agreed on The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine Justification. Now the churches "share a common understanding of our justification by God's grace through faith in Christ." Patient ecumenism bore fruit: it resolved 500 years of antagonism over mutual misunderstanding surrounding what each side believed on what had been seen as a fundamental obstacle to mutual respect.

On October 31, Pope Francis will fly to Sweden to celebrate the blessings of the Reformation. A sad chapter in Christianity's history will be closed, even as Pope Francis is turning over a new ecumenical leaf that promises even more understanding and cooperation.

Vatican II and Ecumenism

Vatican II in the 60s altered the Church's perception of itself in relation to other Christians, and other faiths. The document Lumen Gentium recognized for the first time a "Church of Christ" that existed beyond the "visible confines" of the Catholic Church, where "many elements of sanctification and truth" may be found. The Church was not made less important; if anything it was made more important. It was as if someone living in a grand mansion one day found a large wing they had never suspected existed! And in this wing they found lost lost sisters and brothers living!

In Paragraph 15 of Lumen Gentium, we find this prophetic language: "Likewise we can say that in some real way they are joined with us in the Holy Spirit, for to them too He gives His gifts and graces whereby He is operative among them with His sanctifying power. Some indeed He has strengthened to the extent of the shedding of their blood."

I'm Okay, You're Okay

Pope Francis has often spoken of the "ecumenism of martyrs." It is difficult to see how a Christian non-Catholic who sheds his blood for Our Lord should be cast into Hell for his courageous belief just because he's not "our sort." But you can argue that one with Jesus if you get the chance.

Ecumenism (and interfaith) are a mainstay of the modern Catholic Church. Pope Francis has reached out to evangelicals, both in person, and by video. Pope Francis does not look at people and see a denomination, or a faith. He sees a person, in the image of God.

In conclusion, there is a book from the 70s that was very popular. It is called "I'm Okay, You're Okay." It speaks about the roles we play as Adult, Parent and Child. For perhaps the first time in history, we are blessed with a pope who says, "I'm okay, you're okay." and treats people as one adult to another. Contrast that with the triumphalism of the past: "I'm okay, you're not okay," and "I'm the parent, you're the child." Thankfully, those days are over, at least for a shining season.

Reporting from the Meadow, the Bunny Rabbit

42 comments:

  1. I trust this is satire because it is SO far off the mark it's scary. The "bunny" is not my cup of tea.

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    1. Don't worry. There are old rabbits and bold rabbits but no old, bold rabbits.

      He can enjoy this "shining season" of months with no "R", but come September it's open season, and that will be the end of the rabbit.

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    2. Fr. Longenecker and Fr. Rosica are right. Traditionalist blogs are a cesspool of hatred, angry, broken, people who have pitifully meaningless existences and have to live out a fantasy online. Bunny Rabbit will pray for you sorry specimens.

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    3. It's all true. Name one thing that's not true. Church of Christ bigger than Catholic Church, check. Selling indulgences, check. Joint Declaration, check. Pope Francis celebrating the Reformation, check. I am very thorough in my research and agree with all the best people.

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    4. The Catholic Church *is* the Church of Christ. The rest are decedents from the heresy of Luther. Now their current members may not fit the definition of "heretics" based upon their founding realities of ignorance. But that consideration requires patience and love born out of fraternal correction of the individuals - but never full acceptance of their wayward theologies.

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    5. Speak English Mr. Lazarus! I cannot understand your big words. Lumen Gentium says there exist elements of SANCTIFICATION outside the Church. That means holy-making. And that is preparation for Heaven. It is true that it also says anyone who is 100% certain that the Church is the ordinary means of salvation must join it or remain in it. However, people are committed to their family's denomination and do not have the ability to fairly consider Catholicism. That's okay. Pope Francis shows them the Church's mercy, not judgment. Stay Fluffy -- Bunny Rabbit

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  2. I'm thinking that if the Bear is hungry when they finally let him out of his cage, it's going to end badly for this bunny.

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    1. I pity you, still dreaming of Captain Blowhard's return. The bear is never coming back. They they have seen to that. BR

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  3. "Reporting from the Meadow, the Bunny Rabbit "

    Silly Rabbit. There is no salvation outside the woodland.

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    1. The woodlands' days are numbered without the bear. So sad, all the woodland creatures stuck in 1563 while the rest of of the Church moves into a bright future for women and gays and the Planet, arm-in-arm with our Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and, of course, Protestant friends. BR

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    2. Owl has seen the future for high a top his pine. It is indeed very bright, very bright indeed. And when the day comes, Owl will finally be able to sleep.

      Rabbit, paradoxically, too shall sleep and be underground, when the bright day finally comes.

      This Owl has seen from atop his pine.

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    3. Flea, is it? Yes, no salvation outside the woodlands is half-clever, but illustrates your regressive theology. No normal Catholic would even know about that old hoax. Stay fluffy -- Bunny Rabbit.

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    4. There is no salvation outside of the Woodlands, but the Woodlands encompass all of the world. There are none outside of it! That is the great mystery of the Woodlands! Salvation is to be a part of the Woodlands a not to think that one it outside of it. The great awakening of the 20th century is that the world woke up and realized that was all the Woodlands and that old modes of thinking of "inside or outside" now no longer made any sense. We are all in it together, we are all accompanying each other together, just some of us are more aware of the oneness that is all.

      Brahman is all and all is Brahman. The Woodlands is all and all is the Woodlands.

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  4. Bunny rabbit... oh, bunny rabbit... see the nice salmon... see the nice pot of honey... who are you really, bunny rabbit?... wake up, bunny rabbit... I have a nice pony for you...

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  5. Searching for my old shotgun. She´s quite ecumenical and believes in the martyrdom of blood for rabbits.

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    1. I could have you arrested for saying that -- BR

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    2. Pointless to do so.
      The Bear will score an acquittal for Wunderbar.

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    3. Well...I may give you half of that rabbit. Think about it.

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    4. Making threats over the internet is a federal offense. I am going to call the FBI if you don't stop. And it's a hate crime because you are singling me out on account of my species. And the bear wishes he could get himself out of where he is. He won't be available. Your friend -- Bunny Rabbit.

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  6. Personally, I'm not OK (which is why I go to confession).

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    1. Oh, but your are. That's one of the Church's problems. Guilt. Pope Francis wants you to see God's Mercy instead of some implacable Justice = Anger. -- Bunny Rabbit

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    2. The great sin is to reject Mercy and instead strive after an ideal. The more we strive, the more we reject, the more we sin, the more we are trapped To accept THE MERCY, we must abandon the striving and know the accompaniment of fellow sinners. This is what Father Luther has taught us. Have we not heard the same from the Vatican of late? Saint Luther Saint Luther 2016!!!

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    3. Elizabeth, you actually volunteer to spend time in the Torture Chamber?

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  7. Im OK with this. The more rabbits, the fatter the Owl.

    It is very important to see that ecumenism must be about people not about institutions. The Lutheran institutions are not the institution that Luther invented. They have moved on, splinted, fractures, combined, and have become new things. I believe that most Lutheran institutions do not agree with the peace Joint that was passed back and forth. ((OK unfair, but as a former Protestant, ecumenism often comes across as less about Christ and more about trying to put humpty-dumpty back together again)).

    However, such endeavors, as much as they are rejected by Catholics and Lutherans alike continue a bullheaded spirit to address new realities, rather than sweeping old differences under the rug. The old "Im ok you are not ok" has given rise to "I am something new and you are something new and perhaps this newness is ok together."

    Gone is the need for confessions and creeds as that which marks the boundaries of faith communities. Here now is the encounter between persons and that encounter itself is the confession and creed. The Church exists wherever two or more encounter each other in Christ. This encountering promotes accompaniment and allows us to journey closer together and together towards God as a pilgrim people who sojourn in this world. And in this journey, we will walk hand in hand, dancing, welcoming all, and being gathered into the community that belongs to us ourselves.

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    1. 35 of 134 Lutheran World Federation voted no. -- BR

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    2. 124 members of the LWF. 28.23% voted no. 99 voted Yes. That is only the LWF. There are other Lutheran umbrella groups and other Lutheran institutions that are non-affiliated and besides, not all Lutheran institutions are "ecclesiastical communities". I haven't done a full poll, don't care to, but the Joint isn't something that should be said to be something that Lutherans, in general agree to. The LWF agrees but not beyond that and they don't speak for Lutheranism as a whole. No one can. That is part of the point of not having a theology of the Papacy.

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    3. To your first, exactly! That was lyrically beautiful. My eyes literally misted over. Thank you. Stay Fluffy -- Bunny Rabbit (see, I have a tagline now, and it's a lot better than that ridiculous and gruesome thing the bear used to say).

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  8. Bear--Your new, very much with it, 'rabbit' conceit is brilliant, the perfect foil to your obstreperous self. I can see it now, a blog world spectacular: The Bunny and The Bear have it out on the meaning of Pope Francis and the modern Church. This is a great theater and an audience widening idea, Bear. Most creative!

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    1. There is no bear. There is only Bunny Rabbit. Fluffy. Adorable. Everyone loves Bunny Rabbit.

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  9. OK Bunny, whatever you say. I see what you are up to: your have become a Friend of Francis. Good luck with that.

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    1. He is our Pope. We owe him a duty to obedience and love. And you will not see me criticizing him!

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  10. Brilliant.

    absolutely.....Brilliant.

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  11. Hmm.....all this because of two priests (Longnecker and Rosica) who are about as charitable as a Bear with a sore paw? I'd hate to hear them if they had a beef with the 'Holy Father'. They'd put shame to traditional bloggers in their 'complaints' about Rome.

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  12. Surprised that you haven't reported this? Prof. Dollinger is actually a Priest -

    http://www.onepeterfive.com/cardinal-ratzinger-not-published-whole-third-secret-fatima/

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    1. Yeah, but these days that's no recommendation. The lies are piled so high that it's fortunate good priests like Prof. Dollinger are standing on the shoulders of thousands of good priests who came before him. A tower that cannot fall.

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  13. One of the great things about the Joint Deceleration is that it was adopted by the World Methodist Council in 2006. This shows the power of the document and the "new way" approach. We must not let man-made historical definitions divide us. Over the centuries, we have come to deeper understandings of the realities behind our linguistic frameworks and it is possible now to shed those frameworks and find union in a new linguistic event.

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    1. Exactly. Bravo! I knew you'd all come around once you saw the sweet light of reason in the meadow, far from those dark and musty woodlands.

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    2. Oh Rabbit, I have always been around. We have always come to support those who know the way.

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  14. Or, outside the Church where all are saved, all are saved.

    Thanks, Bunny Rabbit. I am no longer held back. I am now free to discover my Meaning and Purpose. I'll get right on that...

    Do you have any suggestions? Or is it all there in Laudato Si? Will take a look. Or read a review. Crux? America?

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    1. I am really happy that some of you are finally showing some sense. See? It was as if you were under the bear's evil spell. Patheos, and yes Crux, are reliable, and of course the National Catholic Reporter. And everything Pope Francis says. He is very generous with his teachings!

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    2. Rabbit is wise and correct. These are all good sources. It is also good to find a Jesuit, though often another religious order will do.

      Let me also suggest, among many on my shelf

      The Critical Meaning of the Bible by Raymond Brown

      Jesus the Holy Fool by Elizabeth-Anne Stewart.

      Indeed the only sin against the spirit is to think that some are not saved. The spirit saves all but it can only enter into those that accept it.

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