In the past half-century, relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church have been growing ever closer and oriented ever more toward possible reunion. Perhaps the greatest hope of the late Holy Father John Paul II, of happy memory, was the reunion of these two oldest Churches of Christendom. In his many efforts to bridge the doctrinal and cultural divides which separate the Churches, he was successful in fostering much greater mutual respect, if not any actual reunification. Understandably, the steps taken by the Holy Father’s predecessor have excited much hope for reunion. However, it is my belief that the steps taken, on each side, toward the noble goal of rebuilding the single pre-schism Church, truly amount to little more than window-dressing, with no substantial gains made.
Not to be a party-pooper, but there is a huge list of very important things that need to be cleared up before reunion can be effected.
In compiling this list, I have provided a brief summary of each point. In order to shorten this article to a readable length, I have eliminated source citations. If you would like a citation on a particular point, please let me know in the comments section or via e-mail.
"We visited a Brethren Gospel Hall on the Lord’s Day and we enjoyed the sermon. There was however, a weird moment, at the Lord’s Table. The problem was with one of the elements. It was the bread. They distributed a loaf of bread; a loaf of leavened bread that you would find at any bakery."
"Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, ‘With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.’" (NIV)
"Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, ‘I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD.’" (NASB)
"Adam slept with Eve his wife. She conceived and had Cain. She said, ‘I’ve gotten a man, with GOD’s help!’" (The Message)
"The man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have produced a man with the help of the LORD.’" (NAB)
"Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.’" (ESV)
Why have I listed five versions of the same verse? I believe they demonstrate differing viewpoints on translational accuracy in the Bible. The first three more clearly convey in modern language what Adam and Eve did. On the other hand, the last one maintains more of the meanings found in the Hebrew. (I do not mean this as an apologia for the ESV. I’m well aware of the many faults that are not apparent in this particular verse. ) "To know" is idiomatic and obviously denotes sexual intercourse. It means more than that, though. It connotes intimacy and the notion of becoming "one flesh". "Cain" sounds like the Hebrew for "gotten". Strangley, more of the translations maintain this parallel. But I digress; it is "to know" that interests me today.
Tonight begins another semester of bible studies at the Ryan
Catholic Newman Center (The Oratory). This semester we’re discussing Scripture’s
relationship to Liturgy. We’ll discover how they’re made for each other. Texts (aside
from the Bible, of course) will include the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The
Lamb’s Supper” by Scott Hahn, “On Being Catholic” by Thomas Howard,
“Why Do Catholics Do That” by Kevin Johnson, and “Teaching Truth
by Signs and Ceremonies” by Rev. James Meagher.
The bible study group for graduates and young professionals will be held on Tuesdays
at 6PM, starting tonight. Our first two discussions will focus on paragraphs 1066
to 1209 of the Catholic Catechism (“The Paschal Mystery in the Age of the Church”
and “The Sacramental Celebration”) . If you’re in the Pittsburgh area,
please consider joining us. 🙂
[The following a revised version of a previously published post. – Funky]
Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I get so excited that I start listening to my Christmas music at the beginning of November, much to the surprise and chagrin of some of my loved ones. Last year, I asked myself what I’ve been getting excited about. Is it the celebration of Christ’s birth? I wish I could say so, but the truth is that I’ve been enamored with the secular trappings of the season. Decorating the Christmas tree, baking cookies, singing catchy tunes, visiting relatives, watching classic movies, giving and receiving gifts (sadly, mostly the latter), playing in the snow (in those few lucky winters), and other generally faith-free activities have been Christmas’ raison d’etre for me.