Joy to the world

Recently, in an exam in her catholic religious education class, my daughter had to answer the question under which circumstances Jesus would be born today.

I assumed that a birth in a refugee camp was suggested with eventually a successful appearance as advocate for the disenfranchised and disinherited. Like other students, who attend mass more or less regularly, my daughter lacked the imagination for an elaborate answer. The grade was bad and I didn’t know any better either. Maybe I should have just asked the teacher what he meant. Either way, I couldn’t get the issue off my mind. Later the story of Jesus’ appearance before the high inquisitor came to mind, as told by Dostojewski: Jesus surprisingly comes to 15th century Seville during the time of the inquisition. He is identified and the high inquisitor detains him. During a long speech he explains to Jesus why his renewed coming disturbs the operations of the Church. fls

Cave canem – Careful, it might bite!

Vital vigilance in the face of the enemy, which in the Catholic Church is consistently directed inwards as well, sometimes hits the righteous wrongfully and sometimes the wrong ones righteously. John Henry Newman, who was canonized October 13, 2019, was regarded as highly dangerous by well-meaning servants of the catholic cause.

Monsignore Talbot, Pope Pius XI.’s secretary, warned Cardinal Manning, the Archbishop of Westminster, in a letter: “Dr. Newman is the most dangerous man in England.” Maybe Talbot sensed an even bigger threat than Newman’s intellectual independence. The current canonization has rehabilitated Newman somewhat, but the papal secretary’s assessment of him ennobles him to this day. If you take Newman seriously you understand the secretary’s fear when Newman says, for example, that faith is “not the cause of order, as it happens to be now, but the cause of disorder, as it was when Christ came and his Apostles preached“. ses

485 years after Brexit

It is a macro-historical sensation that after barely half a millennium of separation of England from the Roman Church a successor to the throne from this royal family, Prince Charles, honors the Catholic canonization of his fellow countryman in Rome: John Henry Newman.

After all, Newman is England’s first saint who has not also suffered martyrdom since half a millennium. And over the centuries the English Crown has made no insignificant contribution to the martyrdom of Catholic saints.

With regard to the island’s rapprochement to the continent, Church history is a bit of a half century ahead of the political history, as it was in the history of separation. ses

Euthanasia

Once again the sweet poison of the Nazi ideology of a life unworthy of living is pervading ethical discourses. And it does not spare pious circles either. As long as they think of Christianity as being about the personal eternal wellness of the soul, life must be a feel-good bath.

How convenient is the old pagan idea instilled into our minds that you can pull the plug at any time before you start to feel chilly. The Netherlands, our liberal neighbor, bluntly mirrors the culture of a good death as a matter of course. The Deutsches Ärzteblatt reports that the parliament of the Netherlands was worried about a slight decrease of euthanasia numbers in 2018. The numbers of the governmental “Regionalen Toetsingscommissies Euthanasie” had shown that in 2018, for the first time since 2006, a drop to merely 6.126 killed people had been recorded. Even so, that is 17 a day. Dutch media suspects that doctors apparently are refusing requests of people with a wish to die more often ever since a doctor was prosecuted for it for the first time. But the chairman of the state commission reassures: He sees no danger for a change of heart amongst Dutch doctors. After all, in the first quarter of 2019 the number of cases has already risen 9% over that of 2018’s first quarter. That is why his impression is that assisted suicide is “implemented correctly”. Apparently, neither was nor is anyone disconcerted about the fact that already in the year 2015, according to official statistics, many hundred people suffering from dementia, namely exactly 431, were killed without an express wish to die.We have the exact numbers thanks to the Netherland’s open way of dealing with the topic. Here in Germany the estimated number of unknown cases is likely higher, considering how widespread the well-meaning ideology of a life no longer worth living is. anm, ses

Climax of the impossible

Do you believe in paradise?

Yes.

Why?

Because I want to believe in it.

The new controversial film “Climax” by the outrageous Argentinian director Gaspar Noé, where a group of young people, to whom dancing means everything in life, play the main part, begins with interview excerpts showing similar world views. After their last rehearsal together, when they are dancing and celebrating together boisterously, each one by themselves, surrounded by the others in turns, a phenomenon is expressed that the director has observed in societal development since the introduction of the pill: “How people are encouraged to feel lust and not depend on others anymore. But also how people are becoming ever more lonely. They are no longer part of a group, but compete with the rest of the world.” Completely unrestrained the celebration of the dancers, whose drinks were spiked with LSD by an unknown person, ends in chaos. Every form of fear and insecurity of the individual is exponentiated many times over leading to reciprocal brutality. The film closes with the words in capital letters: “Life is a collective impossibility.” Thinking the unthinkable, what would life be as a collective possibility? heg

Synapses of history

Between: “Behold, I make all things new” and “You do not support the root, the root supports you” lies the revolutionary potential of thought in the tradition of scripture.

A dovecote of the mind, where the best thinkers and thoughts always collected; and in their silent conversation through the centuries, at the moment of realization, the usually so relevant questions suddenly disappeared: who was orthodox, who a communist, who a deconstructivist, who an artist, scientist, rabbi, philosopher, theologian or even just a journalist.

It is not even such a bad thing that we are intellectual dwarfs, if we realize on what giants’ shoulders we can stand. ses

Wake-up calls from 1983/84

A “migrating people of God?” – yes, a people emigrating from the Church.

 

Our concordat gives freedom to both sides: the state the freedom to harness the Church, and the Church the freedom to unharness from the gospel.

 

One day the Churches will con-fuse out of weakness. The only hope for ecumenism.

 

At the prompt “Let us offer each other the sign of peace”, we politely shake each other off.

 

The Sunday homily is a free adventure holiday: How he steers through the torrent of the gospel without hurting anyone or himself!

 

Nowadays there are two miracles from the Acts of the Apostles missing in the Church: We are not in unison, nor do we speak boldly. However a new miracle has occurred: And yet she has survived.

 

The name of the god of our time is raef. He twists everything. That is why his name is spelt backwards.

 

If you do nothing, you also do something wrong: everything.

 

The aphorisms are one-sided, exaggerated, and skip over the good in Christianity? Exactly, what else should they be, but annoying wake-up calls?

luw

Shortage of time enough and to spare

In an evolutionary ridiculously short, but highly dynamic, time span of not even ten generations, we have been able to almost duplicate our life span and have pushed our working time down by much more than a quarter.

In spite of that, the amount of time-pressed contemporaries is ever growing. Maybe this is due to the fact that in the service of time efficiency we have split our time into multiple fragments in every direction, with the highest expectations for each, into time for the family, time for friends, for education, for health, culture, sports and much more. From a clearly much too busy person I heard that his coach had given him an ingenious tip and he is doing much better, now that he has been “sticking to it really consistently: every seventh day I take a break!” ses

Somewhere …

a Church assembly is in session. It opens, not with a party manifesto, but appropriately, with a mass. Surprising, but it is still like this:

There are people who put their hope in the Church. She has always been a free initiative, right from the beginning. And for the people on the inside to let themselves be infected by this hope – people also come together on the outside and demand: New Light in the Church. And to emphasize the demand on those on the inside, they turn on their flashlights. In any case, this discrepancy between hope and actual implementation can only be bridged by us. After all, it is said: You are the light of the world”. At least, that is what is written in the bible. pez

So where is …

the usually nicely fashioned box, the tabernacle, with the red light that always makes the churches seem a little alive? This I ask myself as I walk into a church in Southern Bavaria.

In a displayed description I read curiously: “Whoever enters this church for the first time and looks for the tabernacle might need some time before they discover it. And sometimes they might need people to point it out to them: the tabernacle is held by a dove hanging above the altar.” “This search”, so it continues, “might also be a symbol: Where is ‘the innermost part’ within ourselves, where we find strength and support? This is not easy to find either. And for this, too, we need time and sometimes people, who support us in the search.”

The way I look for the box in the church, so I should search for “strength and support” deep within myself. I ask my inner self: How do we find comparisons that get to the heart of the matter, a language that conveys the rationality of the Jewish-Christian faith? pez

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