I am currently reading Dr. Jerry Walls’ book on purgatory (for Protestants!) entitled Purgatory: The Logic of Total Transformation, and one important question he addresses is, “Is purgatory for the purpose of satisfaction or sanctification?”
Satisfaction, meaning paying for one’s sins, is rejected by Protestants since we see Christ’s work as full and final on that account. But what about sanctification? Walls is proposing that, among other things, Purgatory would answer the question as to how God intends to complete our sanctification before we come into his presence.
Now, I’m not sold on his solution, but he offers it in response to this important question, which I want to address in two parts – “Does God require complete sanctification before we can enter into His full presence, and how does he accomplish it?”
Walls answers seem to be “Yes” and “Purgatory” for the repentant (he also believes in post-mortem repentance, but that’s an entirely other subject).
My thesis regarding santification, however, is different:
MY THESIS: Full Practical Sanctification (FPS) is composed of two parts – moral purity, and moral maturity. The former is fully attained at the resurrection, when we receive our new bodies, having left the old corrupted bodies behind. The latter is achieved throughout eternity.
Let’s explore, shall we?
The Council on Foreign Relations recently had a great three part symposium, and I wanted to summarize some of the great material from the transcripts. It covers such things as the economic progress brought by Protestantism as compared to Catholicism and other religions, as well as how literacy spread, not by the invention or availability of the printing press, but primarily by Protestant Missionaries who used it. And more. In this part, I’ll cover the comments of Lawrence Hamilton, Director, Cultural Change Institute and Lecturer, the Fletcher School, Tufts University.
Catholic Priest, writer, and founder of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty Robert Sirico, recently gave a nice lecture entitled The Rise (And Eventual Downfall) of the New Religious Left (audio). In it, he listed the seven characteristic errors of the religious left, as well as some interesting discussion of the historic origins of the ‘left’ and ‘right’ labels. You can also read his writing on this subject from a 2002 article in First Things. He is, however, often a critic of the religious right as well.
Sirico has also been a long time critic of the Vatican and its alignment with liberal politics (except abortion, see How Partisan Are the Bishops?), i.e. the same errors he lists above. I’ve summarized his seven points below, but his discussion is really interesting. Also decent is his discussion of the same subject matter in a radio interview with Kresta in the Afternoon.
One of my favorite pastimes is to regularly cull through the latest ultra bargains at Christian Book Distributors and order a bunch of books for an average price of $2 each. About 50% of them are usually gems, and one particular gem I picked up for $1 (regularly $7) was John Cobb’s Christian Faith and Religious Diversity.
Although Cobb is a Christian Progressive (not my camp, as you know ;), his book was filled with insights which I found illuminating and helpful in my own desire to learn from and appreciate other faith traditions, without having to be a syncretist.
National Review Online contributor, Rod Dreher, left the Catholic Church for the Orthodox Church. He wrote a lengthy explanation of the change and what drove him to leave the church he had always known.
He investigated the sex-abuse scandal in the church, which put him face to face with lies, cover-ups and conspiracies. This left his faith damaged and depleted.
As I said, it is a very lengthy article, but it is interesting to see someone come out with a more vibrant faith after enduring trials.
“To truly know Jesus requires discovering him personally, Pope Benedict XVI said at his weekly general audience. While hearing about Christ through the Bible or through other people can introduce a person to Christian belief, ‘it must then be ourselves (who) become personally involved in an intimate and deep relationship with Jesus’ in order to know he is truly the savior of the world, the pope said.”
- Pope Benedict XVI seems to be very evangelical, going into “born again” territory.
So the insane Muslims reacted with violence and threats to the Pope’s recitation of a quote that called Islam violent and coercive. I’d say they proved his point. Quoting a 14th Century Byzantine emperor, he said
Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.
OK, well, even if this is accurate (and I think it is), he probably should not have repeated it. However, other Catholics are now joining in.
The AP is reporting that someone defaced what has become known as the Chicago Virgin Mary.
Victor Gonzalez of Chicago has been charged with criminal damage to state supported property. According to police, witnesses saw him painting "Big Lie" over the stain under an expressway that thousands have come to see believing it to be an image of Mary.
The site of the stain has seen thousands from the faithful Catholics bringing candles and flowers to the curious to see what all the fuss was about.
I don’t agree with what Gonzalez did, but this has long been one of my biggests questions about Catholicism – why the insistence on seeing Mary in everything?
One of the amusing aspects of Pope Benedict XVI’s installation as Pope this week has been the outrage expressed among secular liberals is that the Pope is, well, Catholic. As Philip Lawler notes in his column today for OpinionJournal.com:
Yes, the pope is a Catholic. Yet that unsurprising result has clearly shaken many secular liberals–and more than a few liberal Catholics–who feel that they have been somehow cheated of an opportunity. Their vindictive snarls have been prominently featured in the coverage of the new pope’s election. Benedict XVI has been characterized not merely as a "conservative" but as an "ultraconservative." Words such as "rigid" and "stern" are ubiquitous. Profiles of the new pontiff rarely fail to mention that as a teenager he was briefly a member of a Hitler Youth group (in which he was enrolled against his will) and the German army (which he deserted). When a London tabloid identified the new pope in a banner headline as "God’s Rottweiler," dozens of more respectable journalists gleefully seized on the nickname.
Although many tributes have been written about the Pope and his legacy, this one from Charles Colson is one of the best that I have read. Pope John Paul II should be remembered as the man who stood up for freedom in many places both before and after he became Pope. He will be greatly missed.