Category Archives: Uncategorized

February 21, 2018 – Jonah, the Unhappy Evangelist

Jonah, John, Jesus, and we the 21st century Catholics

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. – Ezekiel 36:26

Well, lets say first of all that Jonah didn’t have much good news to proclaim. Nothing like the proclamations of Jesus, Peter, Paul, and the other early Apostles and the Church today explaining about the Love of God and the Resurrection of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit with gifts. All Jonah had to say was, “Forty days more and Nineveh will be destroyed!” I guess the people realized that it was a call for repentance (changing their ways) and they did so, maybe out of fear and guilt, and the city was not destroyed. It was probably a temporary thing since they didn’t get “new hearts” and “new spirits.”

John the Baptist had pretty much the same message as Jonah, Repent!, except that he also explained that better things were on the way in the person of Jesus Christ in whom all those misunderstood promises of the OT, including “new hearts” and “new spirits,” would be fulfilled. The Messiah was coming, but not exactly as expected. Then John looked up, and there was Jesus.

The New Evangelization

Here is what the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Website has to say about The New Evangelization:

Yes, it’s complicated. It makes me wonder what would happen if the Catholic Churches the city joined in a year-long RCIA course inviting all who are interested to come under no obligation and at no cost. That would truly be a proclamation of the Gospel as understood by the Catholic Church. What if 200 or 300 people signed up? Would we be up to the task? Would we welcome all or would we deem some not really worthy or not truly interested? What if, as a result, fifty new people wanted to be received into St. Peter’s Catholic Church? Would we welcome them with open arms or with suspicion? How would we handle the Easter Vigil?

Well, I’m just thinking out loud and, as a result, wrote up a little advertisement. I doubt we would have many faithful Presbyterians or Baptists or Lutherans or Methodists showing up. I doubt we would have many community leaders or successful business people. But we might have a few of those showing up along with lots of down and out and discouraged folks looking for something. Is the Catholic Faith too complicated for such persons.

OK, I know it is out-of-the-box thinking (but maybe worthy of consideration.) What great fun and value there would be in putting together the course which could be the very best RCIA course taught in the US Catholic Church.

 

 

January 14th, 2018 – Ash Wednesday, Lent, and Penitential Psalms

After the discussion about Lent, I figured I would come home and learn all I need to know about it from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. What a surprise to find that the word only shows up three times in that 688 page book. Be careful about clicking on the underlined words in the Catechism excerpts. They are all hot links to the Vatican Catechism! Well, maybe try one just to see what happens.

  1. It appears in Paragraph 540 about the Mysteries of Christ’s Life with particular reference to His Temptation.

540 – Jesus‘ temptation reveals the way in which the Son of God is Messiahcontrary to the way Satan proposes to him and the way men wish to attribute to him.244 This is why Christ vanquished the Tempter for us: “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning.”245 By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert.

  1. Then it appears in Paragraph 1095 in a section about The Liturgy – Work of the Holy Trinity

1095 – For this reason the Churchespecially during Advent and Lent and above all at the Easter Vigil, re-reads and re-lives the great events of salvation history in the “today” of her liturgy. But this also demands that catechesis help the faithful to open themselves to this spiritual understanding of the economy of salvation as the Church‘s liturgy reveals it and enables us to live it.

  1. And finally in Paragraph 1438 in a section on The Many Forms of Penance in Christian Life.

1438 – The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church‘s penitential practice.36 These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercisespenitential liturgiespilgrimages assigns of penancevoluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).

The first and third clearly associate Lent with periods of special penance while the second associates Lent with our remembrance of Salvation History but says nothing in particular about Lenten practices. And there was one other occasion of “lent” showing up but it was not capitalized and had to do with our treatment of goods “lent” to someone.

To learn more about the origin and evolution of Lenten practices, I turned to that giant catalog in the sky.

Here is the Catholic View from The Catholic Education Resource Center.

And here is the view from Wikipedia  I don’t see any serious conflict between the two and found both interesting places to look and see what I have forgotten.

Research on the Biblical use of 40 to describe length of time, years, months, or days, indicates that some scholars see that not as literal but as meaning either a long time or long enough.

Here is a Link to a separate post I did on the Seven Penitential Psalms.

The Seven Penitential Psalms

Of the 150 Psalms, seven have been identified traditionally as Penitential in tone and vocabulary. None of the seven is routinely used in our Wednesday Morning Prayer Liturgy.

Here is a helpful link to a page in the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Website about the seven penitential psalms. Below is a screen shot (without hot links) of the table you will find at the USCCB site. The table at the website is complete with hot links to the seven Psalms, both written and spoken, and a short Reflection on each. Just for convenience and quick reading I have included the text of the Psalms below, but I plan on using the USCCB site at some point(s) during Lent. Some of these, attributed to David, may make us think of his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah.

Psalm 6 For the leader; with stringed instruments, “upon the eighth.” A psalm of David.

2 Do not reprove me in your anger, LORD, nor punish me in your wrath.

3 Have pity on me, LORD, for I am weak; heal me, LORD, for my bones are trembling.

4 In utter terror is my soul– and you, LORD, how long…?

5 Turn, LORD, save my life; in your mercy rescue me.

6 For who among the dead remembers you? Who praises you in Sheol?

7 I am wearied with sighing; all night long tears drench my bed; my couch is soaked with weeping.

8 My eyes are dimmed with sorrow, worn out because of all my foes.

9 Away from me, all who do evil! The LORD has heard my weeping.

10 The LORD has heard my prayer; the LORD takes up my plea.

11 My foes will be terrified and disgraced; all will fall back in sudden shame.

 

Psalm 32  Of David. A maskil.

1 Happy the sinner whose fault is removed, whose sin is forgiven.

2 Happy those to whom the LORD imputes no guilt, in whose spirit is no deceit.

3 As long as I kept silent, my bones wasted away; I groaned all the day.

4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength withered as in dry summer heat. Selah

5 Then I declared my sin to you; my guilt I did not hide. I said, “I confess my faults to the LORD,” and you took away the guilt of my sin. Selah

6 Thus should all your faithful pray in time of distress. Though flood waters threaten, they will never reach them.

7 You are my shelter; from distress you keep me; with safety you ring me round. Selah

8 I will instruct you and show you the way you should walk, give you counsel and watch over you.

9 Do not be senseless like horses or mules; with bit and bridle their temper is curbed, else they will not come to you.

10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but love surrounds those who trust in the LORD.

11 Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you just; exult, all you upright of heart.

 

Psalm 38 A psalm of David. For remembrance.

2 LORD, punish me no more in your anger; in your wrath do not chastise me!

3 Your arrows have sunk deep in me; your hand has come down upon me.

4 My flesh is afflicted because of your anger; my frame aches because of my sin.

5 My iniquities overwhelm me, a burden beyond my strength.

6 Foul and festering are my sores because of my folly.

7 I am stooped and deeply bowed; all day I go about mourning.

8 My loins burn with fever; my flesh is afflicted.

9 I am numb and utterly crushed; I wail with anguish of heart.

10 My Lord, my deepest yearning is before you; my groaning is not hidden from you.

11 My heart shudders, my strength forsakes me; the very light of my eyes has failed.

12 Friends and companions shun my pain; my neighbors stand far off.

13 Those who seek my life lay snares for me; they seek my misfortune, they speak of ruin; they plot treachery all  the day.

14 But I am like the deaf, hearing nothing, like the dumb, saying nothing,

15 Like someone who does not hear, who has no answer ready.

16 LORD, I wait for you; O Lord, my God, answer me.

17 For I fear they will gloat, exult over me if I stumble.

18 I am very near to falling; my pain is with me always.

19 I acknowledge my guilt and grieve over my sin.

20 But many are my foes without cause, a multitude of enemies without reason,

21 Repaying me evil for good, harassing me for pursuing good.

22 Forsake me not, O LORD; my God, be not far from me!

23 Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my salvation!

 

Psalm 51 For the leader. A psalm of David,

2 when Nathan the prophet came to him after his affair with Bathsheba.

3 Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your abundant compassion blot out my offense.

4 Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me.

5 For I know my offense; my sin is always before me.

6 Against you alone have I sinned; I have done such evil in your sight That you are just in your sentence, blameless when you condemn.

7 True, I was born guilty, a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.

8 Still, you insist on sincerity of heart; in my inmost being teach me wisdom.

9 Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, make me whiter than snow.

10 Let me hear sounds of joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

11 Turn away your face from my sins; blot out all my guilt.

12 A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit.

13 Do not drive me from your presence, nor take from me your holy spirit.

14 Restore my joy in your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit.

15 I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you.

16 Rescue me from death, God, my saving God, that my tongue may praise your healing power.

17 Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim your praise.

18 For you do not desire sacrifice; a burnt offering you would not accept.

19 My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart. III

20 Make Zion prosper in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

21 Then you will be pleased with proper sacrifice, burnt offerings and holocausts; then bullocks will be offered on your altar.

 

Psalm 102 The prayer of one afflicted and wasting away whose anguish is poured out before the LORD.

2 LORD, hear my prayer; let my cry come to you.

3 Do not hide your face from me now that I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly.

4 For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn away as in a furnace.

5 I am withered, dried up like grass, too wasted to eat my food.

6 From my loud groaning I become just skin and bones.

7 I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins.

8 I lie awake and moan, like a lone sparrow on the roof.

9 All day long my enemies taunt me; in their rage, they make my name a curse.

10 I eat ashes like bread, mingle my drink with tears.

11 Because of your furious wrath, you lifted me up just to cast me down.

12 My days are like a lengthening shadow; I wither like the grass.

13 But you, LORD, are enthroned forever; your renown is for all generations.

14 You will again show mercy to Zion; now is the time for pity; the appointed time has come.

15 Its stones are dear to your servants; its dust moves them to pity.

16 The nations shall revere your name, LORD, all the kings of the earth, your glory,

17 Once the LORD has rebuilt Zion and appeared in glory,

18 Heeding the plea of the lowly, not scorning their prayer.

19 Let this be written for the next generation, for a people not yet born, that they may praise the LORD:

20 “The LORD looked down from the holy heights, viewed the earth from heaven,

21 To attend to the groaning of the prisoners, to release those doomed to die.”

22 Then the LORD’S name will be declared on Zion, the praise of God in Jerusalem,

23 When all peoples and kingdoms gather to worship the LORD.

24 God has shattered my strength in mid-course, has cut short my days.

25 I plead, O my God, do not take me in the midst of my days. Your years last through all generations.

26 Of old you laid the earth’s foundations; the heavens are the work of your hands.

27 They perish, but you remain; they all wear out like a garment; Like clothing you change them and they are changed,

28 but you are the same, your years have no end.

29 May the children of your servants live on; may their descendants live in your presence.

 

Psalm 130 A song of ascents.

1 Out of the depths I call to you, LORD;

2 Lord, hear my cry! May your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.

3 If you, LORD, mark our sins, Lord, who can stand?

4 But with you is forgiveness and so you are revered.

5 I wait with longing for the LORD, my soul waits for his word.

6 My soul looks for the Lord more than sentinels for daybreak. More than sentinels for daybreak,

7 let Israel look for the LORD, For with the LORD is kindness, with him is full redemption,

8 And God will redeem Israel from all their sins.

 

Psalm 143 A psalm of David.

1 LORD, hear my prayer; in your faithfulness listen to my pleading; answer me in your justice.

2 Do not enter into judgment with your servant; before you no living being can be just.

3 The enemy has pursued me; they have crushed my life to the ground. They have left me in darkness like those long dead.

4 My spirit is faint within me; my heart is dismayed.

5 I remember the days of old; I ponder all your deeds; the works of your hands I recall.

6 I stretch out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land. Selah

7 Hasten to answer me, LORD; for my spirit fails me. Do not hide your face from me, lest I become like those descending to the pit.

8 At dawn let me hear of your kindness, for in you I trust. Show me the path I should walk, for to you I entrust my life.

9 Rescue me, LORD, from my foes, for in you I hope.

10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your kind spirit guide me on ground that is level.

11 For your name’s sake, LORD, give me life; in your justice lead me out of distress.

12 In your kindness put an end to my foes; destroy all who attack me, for I am your servant. Psalm

February 7, 2018 – Chinese Bishops and Israeli Kings

The Catholic Church in China

With respect to the recent China decision by Pope Francis, there are two primary issues raised in the context of Christian history:

  1. On what does the efficacy of the Sacraments depend? (A key part of the Donatist controversy of the 4th century)

The Donatist controversy, which arose after Emperor Constantine had put an end to official persecution of the Church, had to do with the less faithful, Priests, Bishops, and lay persons who, during persecution, had in some way denied or been unfaithful to the Church. Some of the more faithful welcomed them with forgiveness and open arms, and some refused to welcome them into the church.

But the bigger issue and one that had to be resolved by the Church was whether the sacraments administered by priests and bishops who had been among the less faithful were valid. St. Augustine helped resolve this issue by advocating the position that, “The validity of any rite of the Church does not depend on the moral virtue of the person administering it. If it were so, Christians would live in constant doubt as to the validity of their baptism. No matter how unworthy the celebrant, the rite is still valid.” (Justo Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity: Vol 1, Page 213.)

So, the recent decision by Pope Francis perhaps assures lay Catholics in China that the sacraments administered by state-approved Priests and Bishops of the Catholic Church in China are considered valid for the recipients of those sacraments. That must be a big positive for them.

Validity of sacraments is not an issue at all for Protestant churches in China (or for Chinese leaders of course) since they don’t generally recognize the Sacraments as the Catholic Church does.

  1. Who has the authority to choose bishops and priests and to whom do they owe obedience? (The Investiture Controversy of the 11th century)
pope and king

King Henry Bows Before Pope Gregory

In early church history, during so-called Christendom (union of church and state), it was common for emperors and other rulers to choose and appoint not only Bishops but Popes as well. Can we imagine the POTUS calling Pope Francis and announcing, or perhaps just tweeting, that he has a guy picked out to replace Cardinal Dolan in New York City when he retires? We maybe we can imagine that, but I don’t believe it would fly.

The 11th century issue came to a head when St. Pope Gregory VII found himself in direct conflict with Emperor Henry IV who had deposed a bishop and appointed another one. Pope Gregory ordered him to appear in Rome under threat of being deposed and condemned to hell if he did not obey. Henry  refused to go and declared Gregory deposed and a “false monk.” Gregory issued this sentence:

“In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, by the power and authority of St. Peter, and for the defense and honor of the church, I place king Henry…under interdict, forbidding him to rule in any of the kingdoms of Germany or Italy. I also free from their oaths any who have sworn or would swear loyalty to him. And I forbid that he be obeyed as king.”  – Gonzalez Volume 1 Page 287

Henry showed up finally at Gregory’s residence and was humiliated by having to wait outside three days in cold snowy weather for admission. Gregory finally pardoned him and withdrew the sentence. That was just one interesting chapter in a long controversy, but it causes us to wonder who will be choosing and appointing Bishops in China in the future. At least King Henry, whether a follower of Jesus or not, was a man who feared God and the threat of excommunication and condemnation. Art above is at this LINK.

King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba

I am at a loss for words on this issue. I think we know for sure that Solomon was Israel’s king, had a reputation for wisdom, built a temple, failed in the end to be faithful to God and the people, and left a kingdom soon to be divided and fighting civil wars. From that, a thousand tales have been spun. Essentially all that was mentioned in the discussion is covered in the Wikipedia article on King Solomon.

If you would like to read his whole story in the Bible, the chart below gives the key passages along with key passages about Saul and David and Samuel who was perhaps the wisest of all in warning the people about all the problems that would go along with having a king (because everybody else has one). It is in the text on the lower left side (1 Samuel 8:4-20).

January 31, 2018 – Haiti Trip Report

Neglia ShowBill Neglia and John Gandolfo reported on their recent mission trip to Haiti building cinder block homes and ministering to the local people. The organization sponsoring and organizing the trips is Christian Flights International. John has been five times and plans to lead a trip next year and challenged us to think and pray about joining him.

Below are a table of interesting information about Haiti’s history and some comparisons with South Carolina.

And here are links to information about CFI and the Mission Trips.

http://christianflights.org/cgi/wp/
http://christianflights.faithweb.com/about.htm
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaNf-nv2TeuMLcK-D4UdwNA

historyhaiti and sc

The Psalms We Pray

Prayer and Worship Book of the Ancient Jews

Just as Worship and Gather are the prayer and worship books for St. Peter’s Church, the Book of Psalms was the prayer and worship book for the Jews, the Israelites, the Children of Israel (Jacob), even at the time of Jesus. The authorship and times of writing are uncertain, but they were probably compiled around 2,500 years ago.

OT History Psalms

 

Who Were These People?

Who wrote, compiled, and used the Psalms? (Exhibit from 6th Grade RE Class – We read Stephen’s testimony in Acts 7 as a quick review of the OT history.)

Who were these people

Concerns of the People

The concerns of the people are reflected in Psalms of praise, confession, thanksgiving, and requests for help.  In particular, they worried about:

  • The promises of military victory and land
  • Obedience of the laws in the Torah (Books of Moses),
  • Remembering and giving thanks for their delivery from slavery in Egypt
  • Thanking God for the earth and heavens and crops and all creation
  • Praising God
  • Moaning, groaning, and complaining (Why me Lord?)
  • Promises of a Messiah King

In our Wednesday Morning Prayers, there are eight Psalms we use. Here are key verses and  brief comments on them from the Catholic Study Bible. The verses may not look familiar since the Bible versions are different. Our Wednesday Christian Prayer uses an English Translation Prepared by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, the Universalis App uses The Jerusalem Bible, and the Catholic Study Bible quoted below is the New American Bible Revised Edition. Translation of ancient Hebrew to modern English is sometimes a leap of faith.

Week I

Psalm 36 – “A Psalm with elements of wisdom (verses 2-5), the hymn (verses 6-10), and the lament (verses 11-13). The rule of sin over the wicked (verses 2-5) is contrasted with the rule of divine love and mercy over God’s friends (verses 6-10). The Psalm ends with a prayer that God’s guidance never cease (verses 11-12).” – Footnote in the Catholic Study Bible

Psalm 36:6-7 LORD, your love reaches to heaven; your fidelity, to the clouds.  7 Your justice is like the highest mountains; your judgments, like the mighty deep; all living creatures you sustain, LORD.

Psalm 47 – A hymn calling on the nations to acknowledge the universal rule of Israel’s God (verses 2-5) who is enthroned as king over Israel and the nations (verses 6-9). – Footnote in the Catholic Study Bible

Psalm 47:2-4 All you peoples, clap your hands; shout to God with joyful cries.  3 For the LORD, the Most High, inspires awe, the great king overall the earth, 4 Who made people subject to us, brought nations under our feet,

Week II

Psalm 77 – A community lament in which the speaker (“I”) describes the anguish of Israel at God’s silence when its very existence is at stake (verses 2-11). In response the speaker recites the story of how God brought the people into existence (verses 12-20). The question is thus posed to God: Will you allow the people you created to be destroyed? – Footnote in the Catholic Study Bible

Psalm 77:12-13 I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, your wonders of old I will remember.  13 I will recite all your works; your exploits I will tell.

Psalm 97 – The hymn begins with God appearing in a storm, a traditional picture of some ancient Near Eastern gods (verses 1-6) Israel rejoices in the overthrowing of idol worshipers and their gods (verses 7-9) and the rewarding of the faithful righteous (verses 10-12). – Footnote in the Catholic Study Bible

Psalm 97:1  The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice; let the many islands be glad.

Week III

Psalm 86An individual lament. The psalmist, poor and oppressed (verse 1), devoted (verse 2), your servant (verses 2, 4, 16), rescued from the depths of Sheol (verse 13), attacked by the ruthless (verse 14), desires only God’s protection (verses 1-7, 11-17). – Footnote in the Catholic Study Bible

Psalm 86:5-7 Lord, you are kind and forgiving, most loving to all who call on you. LORD, hear my prayer; listen to my cry for help. In this time of trouble I call, for you will answer me.

Psalm 98 – A hymn, similar to Psalm 96, extolling God for Israel’s victory (verses 1-3). All nations (verses 4-6) and even inanimate nature (verses 7-8) are summoned to welcome God’s coming to rule over the world (verse 9). – Footnote in the Catholic Study Bible

Psalm 98:8-9 Let the rivers clap their hands, the mountains shout with them for joy, Before the LORD who comes, who comes to govern the earth, To govern the world with justice and the peoples with fairness.

Week IV

Psalm 108A prayer compiled from two other Psalms: 108:2-6 are essentially the same as 57:8-12 and 108:7-14 are the same as 60:7-14. An old promise of salvation (verses 8-10) is combined with a confident assurance (verses 2-6, 13) and petition (verses 7, 12-13). – Footnote in the Catholic Study Bible

Psalm 108:12-14 Was it not you who rejected us, God? Do you no longer march with our armies? Give us aid against the foe; worthless is human help. We will triumph with the help of God, who will trample down our foes.

Psalm 146 – A hymn of someone who has learned there is no other source of strength except the merciful God. Only God, not mortal human beings (verses 3-4) can help vulnerable and oppressed people (verses 5-9). The first of the five hymns that conclude the Psalter. – Footnote in the Catholic Study Bible

Psalm 146:3-4 Put no trust in princes, in mere mortals powerless to save. When they breathe their last, they return to the earth; that day all their planning comes to nothing.

Key Points about the Psalms from “The Jewish Study Bible”

Well, they are descendants of the writers, compilers, and users so we should at least be interested in their opinions.

  • Collection or collection of collections of poetic prayers
  • Likely used liturgically in ancient Israeltehilim
  • Hebrew name pronounced Tehilim means Songs of Praise
  • There are 150 Psalms subdivided into five “books” probably paralleling the five books of Torah
  • Authorship unknown but attributed traditionally to David
  • Dating of the Psalms is difficult and uncertain.
  • Most Psalms are hymns of praise, complaints or pleas for help, or thanksgiving psalms.

The Psalms envision a world in which everyone and everything will praise God.
If there is one underlying assumption of the book of Psalms, it is the potential efficacy of prayer.” – The Jewish Study Bible

January 24th, 2018 – Reformation and St. Francis de Sales

Reformation

Father Linsky led a brief discussion about the so-called Protestant Reformation and the “Counter” or Catholic Reformation and the difficulty we have understanding their context, 15th century life, church, politics, and government. We tend to see everything that happened then through our 21st (or perhaps for some of us still 20th) century perspectives.

One significant difference between then and now is that the church and state were joined at the hip and shared temporal power including the power of life and death over the people. Then as now, political struggles within and between those two institutions were common, and one peculiarity was that whoever was the ruler of a particular region could establish the official religion of that area and demand that everybody convert or depart. Well, that is one way to get converts.

Death of Feudalism

Feudalism, the economic and governing system of the Middle Ages (description here), was dying and many bright and energetic folks were figuring out how to move from the farms into the towns and cities and start businesses. The printing press had revolutionized communication though literacy rates were low and printed stuff usually had to be read to people who of course felt challenged to learn to read and write. And, only a few decades before Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses, the Black Plague had wiped out half the population of Europe.

A History Text Excerpt

I recommend The Story of Christianity  by Justo L. Gonzalez as fairly light reading about the history of Christianity including the sad and violent Reformation years. It seems “fair and balanced” and is the book that was used at the Lutheran Seminary when I was there. Here is a two page sample from the introduction to the Reformation. According to this description, our current POTUS and Luther share, if not the faith, some personality traits.

Gonzales 1

gonzalez 2

We can be thankful to be living 500 years after all that turmoil, though it certainly seems that a good part of the world is still stuck in the Middle Ages. I hope Mr. Gonzalez won’t think I am violating his copyright since my objective is to encourage folks to buy and read his books. I think everything on these two pages is consistent with what Father Linsky said and, if not, I apologize. It is not my objective to challenge but to affirm or support what he has said.

Calvin vs. Luther

John Calvin, lawyer, Swiss reformer, and theologian, and Martin Luther, Catholic Priest and tempestuous trail blazer, were not friends. Luther revered St. Mary, retained belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist, and famously said that he would rather partake of the Body and Blood of Christ with the Pope than sip mere wine with Calvin.

reformation wall

Reformation Wall – No Luther

Calvin’s domain was Geneva, Switzerland, site of the famous Reformation Wall,  a 100 foot long memorial to ten key Reformation figures. Luther is not found there. Roger Williams,  best known as the originator of separation of church and state in the USA is among the top ten. Thank you, Roger. I hope most American Catholics can appreciate that contribution.

St. Francis de Sales

And there was key figure St. Francis de Sales, Catholic Bishop of Geneva, the heart of Calvinism. St. Francis was born three years after the death of Calvin so, though he was able to persuade many Calvinists to return to Catholicism, he never had the chance to try to persuade Calvin. St. Francis is famous for his calm demeanor and calming quotes, ten of which are included below.

A short bio of St. Francis is here.

Famous Quotes from St. Francis de Sales

Here, from the Brainy Quotes website, are the top ten quotes of St. Francis, most shared by Fr. Linsky this morning.

Make friends with the angels, who though invisible are always with you. Often invoke them, constantly praise them, and make good use of their help and assistance in all your temporal and spiritual affairs.

When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time.

The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them.

Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.

Through devotion, your family cares become more peaceful, mutual love between husband and wife becomes more sincere, the service we owe to the prince more faithful, and our work, no matter what it is, becomes more pleasant and agreeable.

A quarrel between friends, when made up, adds a new tie to friendship.

Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.

Have patience with all things, But, first of all with yourself.

Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.

Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset

And finally, for some excellent historical fiction that can help understanding of the context of these reformations, check out Ken Follett’s trilogy covering the 1400’s through the 1600’s.

follett