Monday, July 16, 2007

Pope Benedict Issues a New Statement: What is The Meaning?

I just heard -- via CBN -- that Pope Benedict has issued a new statement to the effect that the Catholic Church is the "one true church" and that other religions (i.e., protestants) are "not guaranteed salvation" -- according to CBN reporter.

If this is , in fact, true: I have to say, I am greatly disappointed! At a time when religions around the world should be working together to find common ground and peace, in a chaotic and often violent world, to have the leader of the Catholic Church issue such a statement seems prime to cause further division and serves no useful purpose.

I know for a fact that there are many, many Catholics who do not feel, or believe, this way. And in fact, Benedict was an author of the current "Catholic Catechism", in which it states that there are many religions and many paths to God and salvation. So why is Benedict changing his view now that he is Pope? Were the statements in question misinterpreted?

Any insights? Am I missing something?

Okay, here is the link to the official Vatican website. You will have to cut and paste it into your browser window -- as the Vatican website does not allow links from blog pages:

I am going to read this for myself and see if this alleged statement by the Pope is, in fact, true and being interpreted properly. See what you think.

7/17/07 I have now read the statement which was authored by another individual and "authorized for publication" by the Pope.

It seems as if the document, set up as a series of questions and answers, is stating that the Catholic Church is the "one" true, or original, church as created by Jesus before his death -- when He made Peter "the rock" upon which His church would be built and His apostles the first priest of the church.

The document allows that other religions -- particularly those that celebrate the mystery of the Holy Eucharist -- are "sister" churches that can share in the salvation promised by Jesus. But it seems as if there is a hope that all disperse religions, will at some point in the future, reunite as "one" and in doing so work more fully toward salvation for all.

I personally don't think that Jesus would want various religions fighting over which religion is the "one" true religion. What a distraction and waste of our time and energy, when together we could unite and pray and work for peace and an end to violence. But there are many written works that speak of the "end times", and in these there are numerous prophecies of "all world religions uniting as one". What a force to be reckoned with: if total unity of Christian -- and other religions of the one true God -- could actually become a reality.

The Pope is said to be inspired by God himself, and so perhaps Pope Benedict is acting on the will of God. Perhaps this statement is supposed to begin to get people thinking about: 1) the unification of religions and 2) the enormous power that we would represent to make God's will done "here on earth as is in heaven" as "one" unified church. The logistics to that end may be a bit more complicated. But perhaps, we can pray and reflect on this statement and its true intent before taking offense. Then in prayer, perhaps God will open our hearts to His will and plan for us here on earth.

I will also pray that Pope Benedict may improve his skills of empathy, compassion, and diplomacy. Perhaps he can revisit some of the works of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, for guidance and insight.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Fishing Anyone?

We tried to take our girls fishing this past weekend. They were all excited. They went with Dad to buy their very own rods and tackle (did you know that they make a "Barbie" and "Dora the Explorer" fishing rod? My how times have changed : ). We did not have a boat available to us this time, so we tried to fish from the shore at a local state park. The girls were very patient and they even gave putting their own worms on the hook a try -- I was proud of them for this effort.

We tried fishing for 2 1/2 hours and didn't catch anything. There were others fishing nearby and out of 15 poles only one little boy caught anything -- one 7" bass. Guess it wasn't a great day or a great spot? Neither my husband nor I are fishing pros. My husband fished a bit as young boy and teen, but he hasn't been in over 15 years. The girls are game to try again. Any suggestions or tips? Your input would be greatly appreciated.

Happy Summer!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Happy 231rst Birthday!

Time to brush up on our History. This 4th of July, did your kids ask you: "Mommy (or Daddy) what are we celebrating on the 4th of July?"

Well the standard response is "the Birthday of our Nation"or "the fact that we are a blessed nation with so many wonderful freedoms and brave men and women who were and are willing to sacrifice their lives for our right to freedom" and these are absolutely correct. But what if your kid wants more details?

I don't know about you but, for me, as we age and get further away from our primary education days, the actual historical details surrounding the 4th of July tend to get a bit fuzzy. So here is a brief refresher:

1) the Declaration of Independence was actually signed on July 4, 1776.And that is the actual date that they go back to when counting the age of our nation.

2) The colonies had officially been at war with England already for nearly a year by July 1776. The first battle of the American war for Independence from England was the Battle of Lexington, fought on April 19, 1775 -- and George Washington had already been appointed General of the Continental Army by 2nd the Continental Congress, which met May 10, 1775.

3) Even though the colonies had been at war with England for over a year by July 1776, it was the actual signing of the Declaration of Independence that made the focus, and desired outcome, of the war for the colonies of America "official." The colonists weren't just fighting over taxation and other grievances: the overwhelming consensus for independence from British rule -- which those pushing for outright revolution didn't have at the initial outbreak of war -- was consolidated by July of 1776.  This is when our foundling nation finally came together in order to tell the British to "take a hike" --the reason given by a friend (and father of 3 young children himself) as to what we celebrate on Independence day (Go Rhett! =).

4) While Articles of Confederation debate and the actual signing of the Constitution took place took place near July time-frame. The Birthday of our nation is counted from the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, on July 4th, 1776.

5) Other Dates of Interest:
o Articles of Confederation finally ratified March 1, 1781.
o War ended officially on October19, 1781 at the Battle of Yorktown.
o Constitutional Convention Meets (begins) May 25, 1787.
o Constitution of the United States of America was not signed until Sept. 17, 1787.

So now, you know  -- if you didn't already -- so you can dazzle your own kids with your profound knowledge of American history.

Sorry this wasn't up before the actual 4th, but better late than never. Hope you all had a happy 4th of July celebration!

God Bless America and Happy Birthday! Birthday number 231 if I can still do math correctly?

P.S. The Bonus question is: How many signed? How many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence can you name -- without using Google?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Family Frog Reunion?

Why is it family will say things they would never, EVER, dream of saying to friends and casual acquaintances when they find themselves among family members?

You see, it seems whenever my family gets together they most closely resemble a bunch of frogs, sitting on their lily pads, just waiting for the opportune moment to ZING another hurtful verbal lashing out there.  This word-lashing is almost like an actual sport in our family. You'd think that their was an actual trophy or cash prize at stake based upon the frequency and tenacity of the unfurling of these word-zingers.  And sadly enough, the surrounding audience also seems to derive a rather twisted pleasure from witnessing any given "zing" at the expense of the poor "zingee."  I guess, it bothers me the most when my parents are the ones who wind up being the zingee.  It just seems so disrespectful from where I'm sitting.

I'm curious, though:  I wonder does just my family engage in this narcissistic sport or are there other families out there who seem to enjoy this word-zinging too?  Further, I have to wonder does my family have an actual "zing gene" which enables them to whip out cleverly disguised criticisms and tear-downs left and right? Or perhaps they've succumbed to some terrible virus and their word-lashings are a lingering, permanent side-effect?  I wonder the latter because those who marry into our clan appear to rather readily acquire the gift of "zing" for themselves, exhibiting little hesitation before joining in on the game during family get-togethers.

I am a sensitive person, I know, but even outsiders who I happen to bring to our family gatherings have commented on my family's (extended) gift for "zing". And IT/ZING really bothers me! It makes me cringe at the thought of family get-togethers. And if I say anything to address the cruelty of a given comment after  it's been unleashed then: "I am being over sensitive" and  "People shouldn't have to walk on egg shells around me ", etc., etc.  Sadly, even my children have commented on the word-zapping at our family get-togethers: "Mommy, why does Aunt XXX or Uncle XXX say such mean things?" they wonder.

I just wish the people in my family would stop and think before they open their mouths to speak, before letting random mean and degrading things fly-out. We tell our kids "If you don't have any thing nice to say: don't say anything at all." Doesn't this apply to adults too?

P.S. This 4th wasn't too bad with the exception of one sister who is under a lot of stress lately with a little one up all night. Is that an excuse? Guess so?