21 April, 2010

A deacon's proposal for public penance -- UPDATED - The Deacon's Bench

GREAT IDEA!!!


A deacon's proposal for public penance -- UPDATED - The Deacon's Bench

28 comments:

  1. Do you really think this is a good idea, Tim? Why?

    It's "for show." And it will still mean nothing to the victims.

    If you're really serious about fixing the whole mess -- and I think you are serious -- don't you think it would be much better if the actual offenders -- those who abused the children and those who covered it up -- were turned over to the proper legal authroities in the countries where they were at the time their crimes were committed? Regardless of age and current health, they need to pay for their activities as individuals! No more hiding in the middle of a group, most of whom had nothing to do with it!

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  2. "It means," said Aslan, "that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know: Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards. And now -"
    C.S. Lewis "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe"

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  3. The Apostle Paul wrote his epistle to the Colossian christians warning them against asceticism. Ascetiscism down through the ages has been mistaken for godliness. "having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof"

    "While they have a semblance of wisdom in rigor of devotion and self-abasement and severity to the body, they are of no value against gratification of the flesh." Colossians ch2 vs 23.

    Paul is here telling the Colossians asceticism and severity to the body is of no value and does not compensate for inordinate or worldly gratification of the flesh. One cannot atone for his own sins by flagellation or public displays of penance. What Jesus wants are those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth, not trying to win favour by "public prostration or public penance". He wants those who will listen to His apostles and prophets who have written God's Word.

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  4. Lady Janus: The author of the article is making the point that such public displays have historically been a part of our Catholic tradition. We believe that our being is both spiritual and physical - thus using the body to express a spiritual reality is indeed a powerful way to prayer, and to express a reality of our belief.
    I think that it would be a great idea! If the Bishop, priests and deacons of the diocese would all participate together in the same act, before God and the faithful, it would in fact be a powerful symbol of our commitment to actually put 'our money where are mouth is'.

    Fr. Tim

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  5. Lady Janus: Further, if someone comes to you and expresses a particular powerful emotion (love, pardon, anger etc), is the message not all the stronger if the voice and body (communication and meta-communication) are both saying the same thing? Someone expressing love from bended knee for example is just one example.

    Fr. Tim

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  6. There is no essential difference between what this deacon suggests and the alter call practiced in some churches. Neither one is an attempt to appease God but is a sign of repentance.

    Redemptive suffering is only efficacious if the victim is entirely innocent and willing. There has only been one such... Jesus. Having said that, there is value in joining the sufferings life offers you to those of Jesus. There is no value in practicing self mortification apart from him.

    Moreover, I would go so far as to say that anyone who practices self mortification on their own has a fool for a spiritual director.

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  7. I think there is a biblical passage somewhere which talks about mortifying the deeds of the flesh. Obviously this refers to resisting self-gratification or an abuse of one's body through sin of one kind or another. Christians please God when they resist sin but when they give in they grieve the Holy Spirit. Choosing self mortification (penance), lying prostrate, beating oneself in self flagellation is all contrary to the teaching of the Bible. This is not mortifying the deeds of the flesh. God is not asking for this. Please read your New Testament and understand what God's will is for your life. The monks who beat their backs with some object or wear tortuous clothing are not doing something that pleases God. This is asceticism and punishing one's self physically which is not what God expects. Please look into this. God wants a change of heart as necessary to hate sin (repentance, not penance) and resist it. But we cannot do that through our own strength. We must be sure we are born again by the Holy Spirit. The old man is crucified and the new man, Christ in us, is put on and should be in control. See Romans. Walk in the Spirit and ye will not fulfil the lusts of the flesh.

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  8. Tim, I do understand about the Tradition of it, and I have no quarrel with that part. I have my own traditions, as well. But if that's all they're going to do, it's not gonna be enough.

    As I teach, it's not enough to talk the talk; I gotta walk the walk. I am accountable to my students to present them with absolute honesty and integrity in all I teach. I would lose all credibility if I didn't follow my own instructions.

    And I think I get what you're saying about meta-communication, but only in a theoretical sense, I'm afraid. I'm one of those people who think that such physical expressions are a little too over-the-top for belief. We're called (among other things, and by those who don't understand us) cynics.

    For me, if you do something for which you are truly sorry, a verbal apology is a start, but folded hands and bended knee in pleading forgiveness does nothing. If you truly are sorry, you must fix it. Or replace it. Or otherwise compensate for it. Personally. Getting a group of your friends together in chorus does nothing.

    Am I explaining it clearly enough?

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  9. Lady Janus: Yes, you are explaining yourself (as per usual) quite clearly.

    All that I am saying in suggesting that this is a good idea is not that it be the complete response. CLEARLY the Church needs to ensure that the lovely words it is offering in the wake of these scandals is set into stone as regards their implementation.

    Catholics believe in the power of sign and symbol. It for this reason that our liturgies have moments of standing, sitting, kneeling etc. It's a visible manifestation of the spiritual action that is occurring at any given moment of a liturgy. So, as a SIGN that the Bishops, priests and deacons (the 3 clerical states) are sincere in their commitment to put into action their words, it would be customary in RC circles to make use of the SYMBOLIC ACT of prostration.

    It's simply using a Catholic belief to express a concrete reality.

    Hope this helps to make clear why I like the idea!

    Fr. Tim

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  10. "Catholics believe in the power of sign and symbol."

    Ah. Interestingly, that is so close to High Magick (aka Ceremonial Magick) as to be nearly indistinguishable from it. The differences will probably be only in the context (and everyone who just gasped for breath: relax...Ceremonial Magick is no more Satanic than you are). And yeah, I understand it better, now. Thank you.

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  11. High Magick??? Sounds devilish indeed. I am so thankful for God's Word that is able to make one wise unto salvation. And warn one to stay away from the dark things of the devil. Those who claim to have supernatural power may not be telling the truth. The apostles had supernatural power and could perform signs and wonders, but after they passed away, it ceased to exist. But the devil does have power. Real christians want nothing to do with the workings of the devil. Those who are trusting in "high magick" and manmade religion, are truly walking in dangerous areas. May God have mercy on them and provide grace that they come to a knowledge of Christ and His salvation as taught in His infallible Word.

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  12. Tim,

    "Catholics believe in the power of sign and symbol."

    Unfortunately sign and symbol do not prove there is any power to it. This is one area I think that Rome has split with the Protestant churches in the Reformation. No time to delve into it here. The sign of baptism or actual baptism for instance, RC claims makes a person a christian. But we believe this is not taught in the Bible. Baptism is a complex issue in the Protestant world too because there are Baptists who have a specific view, and Reformed to Presbyterian who have a slightly different view. But I think they are all in agreement that baptism does not save a person or the words pronounced do not make an infant a christian. I will leave it at that now, because as I said it is a long discussion.

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  13. You are right Wayne.

    It is a long discussion. Here is the Catholic teaching on Baptism from only a biblical perspective.

    http://www.scripturecatholic.com/baptism.html

    The problem with the Reformation, as it is called, is that there was nothing to RE-FORM. You cannot re-form Christ's Church, unless you are, of course, Christ, and He was not a part of the Reformation.

    New denominations created every time a group disagrees with the last group they were part of is not good evidence of success. It is also not biblical.

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  14. "Those who claim to have supernatural power may not be telling the truth."

    Let's get it straight, shall we? Those who only claim to have such power are lying. Those who actually have such power are telling the truth. But how do you define "supernatural?"

    And I told you (but you don't pay attention), High Magick is not of satan or demons or devils or whatever it is you think hides under your bed and in your closet. It is strictly structured and exquisitely detailed ritualistic ceremony.

    "Unfortunately sign and symbol do not prove there is any power to it."

    Doesn't prove there isn't, either.

    If it's not your flava, Wayne, why not simply ignore it and leave people alone about it?

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  15. MBrandon & Lady Janus,

    I would like to reply to your comments asap, but I am on a trip in Vancouver at the moment and just stopped in a coffee shop to use the wireless and I must run now. Michael and Lady Janus, you raise some interesting comments that deserve a response. I will do so this week Lord willing.
    Wayne

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  16. If you're in town, be careful you don't get run over by wild Canucks fans -- we just went to the next level!

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  17. MBrandon,

    "The problem with the Reformation, as it is called, is that there was nothing to RE-FORM. You cannot re-form Christ's Church, unless you are, of course, Christ, and He was not a part of the Reformation.

    New denominations created every time a group disagrees with the last group they were part of is not good evidence of success. It is also not biblical."

    Michael, I must beg to differ with you on several points.

    The Reformation took place in a number of western european countries. In Germany it was led my Martin Luther. There were a number of key doctrines in which the Reformers found that the RCC had departed from the Bible. At the time Luther nailed his 95 thesis to the door of the RCC church at Wittenburg, Luther was an RC priest and theologian. His intention was not to cause a division in the RCC, but he only wanted to reform it. An RC official, named Tetzel, had been going around Europe selling indulgences and claiming that when the people contributed money to the RCC via his sale of indulgences, a soul was freed from Purgatory. Martin Luther had been struggling greatly with the contradiction between what he had found in the Bible, especially Romans, and what was happening in the RCC. Perhaps his biggest struggle was with the RC teachings concerning salvation and assurance of salvation.

    Finally one day God revealed to Luther the correct interpretation in Paul's epistle to Romans. Luther had visited Rome and had spent time climbing the steps (perhaps of St. Peter's church) on his knees. He had seen the decadence in Rome. He sought peace with God within the RCC but could not find it. But God opened his eyes to the biblical truth that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. One verse that struck Luther was "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 5:1

    Now as I said, Luther was not intending to split the RCC, but the RCC called Luther to account a council at the Diet of Worms. Luther made his famous statement to the effect he stood upon what the Scriptures said and could do none other. He would not recant as demanded by church officials. The RCC was in no mood to reform itself of it's serious errors. A split inevitably took place based upon the interpretation of the Bible on these fundamental issues.

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  18. Lady Janus,

    "And I told you (but you don't pay attention), High Magick is not of satan or demons or devils or whatever it is you think hides under your bed and in your closet. It is strictly structured and exquisitely detailed ritualistic ceremony."

    I don't believe it. "Hereby know ye the Sprit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world." 1 John 4:2,3

    Any supernatural power that is not of God, is against God (antichristian) and demonic. Things which would fall into that category would include the occult or "high magick".

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  19. MBrandon,

    "New denominations created every time a group disagrees with the last group they were part of is not good evidence of success. It is also not biblical."

    Michael, The reasons why the Reformation was necessary were extremely important and vital for the defense of biblical christianity. The Reformation was a return to the faith of the apostles. God's Word in fact commands christians to defend "the faith once delivered to the saints".

    Quote Jude:1:3: Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Unquote

    Even in the days of the apostles, there were false teachers. The apostles warned believers to contend for the true faith. This assumes there are also false gospels that must be rejected.

    "2Co:6:14: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
    2Co:6:15: And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
    2Co:6:16: And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
    2Co:6:17: Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
    2Co:6:18: And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."

    The apostle Paul here warned believers to come out of fellowship (churches?) which were false and ungodly associations.

    The true church is a body of believers who worship God in spirit and in truth. It is not necessarily an earthly corporation run by top-down control. The head of the true church is Christ, not a man on earth, and the christian's teacher is the Holy Spirit.

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  20. Lady Janus,

    You probably don't understand what I am talking about. The occult or "high magick" is not something anyone should have any part of parcel with. The universe is under the control of the Creator, the God of the Bible and he has prescribed how his people are to worship him. He considers worshipping any other beside himself as idolatry. He has said in the Bible there is no God beside Himself.

    The fallen angels (who became that way when they rebelled against God and followed Lucifer / Satan) are now the demons. They have certain powers which God in his eternal purposes allows for a period of time. In God's revelation to man (the Bible) he has stated in the ten commandments (Exodus chap.20) we are to worship God and God alone. Worshipping any other is considered worshipping an idol or false god and God considers it a very serious issue. There is no good future in it, but only sorrow and heartache. It cannot bring true peace or happiness because the true God is the only source of true happiness and peace, and love.

    "The benefits Christ bestows,
    are not like the scanty possessions of the world, causing
    jealousies in others; but the joy and happiness of communion
    with God is all-sufficient, so that any number may partake of
    it; " From Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary on part of 1 John.

    True happiness, blessedness, and eternal life are only to be had through the worship of the true God, Jesus Christ. Anything else will lead to sorrow.

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  21. STG: I agree entirely with your concluding sentence:

    "True happiness, blessedness, and eternal life are only to be had through the worship of the true God, Jesus Christ. Anything else will lead to sorrow."

    What you need to add is that the happiness and joy will be meted out after death and the parousia. People also possess the absolute freedom from the God to choose which ever path we will walk.

    If Lady Janus chooses the follow the path of Wicca, then she is free to do so as she will carry the responsibility for decisions in life.

    Pascal's famous syllogism about faith works for all sides in such decisions.

    The logical conclusion of this understanding of the relationship between freedom and faith demands only that God's will be made known - it is not to be enforced. Or, as Pope John Paul I & II wrote, the Church must be free to propose, but never impose its values and creed.

    Just thought you'd appreciate knowing.

    Fr. Tim

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  22. "Any supernatural power that is not of God, is against God (antichristian) and demonic. Things which would fall into that category would include the occult or 'high magick'."

    That's High Magick. No need for quotes, it's not a euphemism for anything. And it's not "against God."

    But you're defeating yourself. If, as you say, your god made everything, he also made High Magick and everything occult (which does not mean what you seem to think it means), and therefore, they are not demonic.

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  23. "You probably don't understand what I am talking about."

    I understand exactly what you're talking about. I pushed the reject button on that when I was still pre-teen, because I know different. I knew it then and I know it now. You're free to live whichever way you choose. But you must leave others to live the way they choose, as well. Anything in the direction of interference is an invitation to war.

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  24. "Just thought you'd appreciate knowing."

    Don't bet your life savings on that, Tim; I'd be more willing to bet that the only thing he'd "appreciate" is total capitulation and compliance to his way of thinking... ;D

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  25. Lady Janus,

    "I understand exactly what you're talking about. I pushed the reject button on that when I was still pre-teen, because I know different. I knew it then and I know it now. You're free to live whichever way you choose. But you must leave others to live the way they choose, as well. Anything in the direction of interference is an invitation to war."

    You're free to accept or reject whatever you want. From your comments, I believe you are an amicable person and are open to reasonable points of view.

    "Don't bet your life savings on that, Tim; I'd be more willing to bet that the only thing he'd "appreciate" is total capitulation and compliance to his way of thinking... ;D
    28 April, 2010"

    Not really. I do not believe God is looking for robots or anyone to comply with my way of thinking. My way of thinking I admit is not always correct and may be faulty in some ways. I am not claiming superiority or infallibility in any way, shape, or form.

    I prefer rational discussion to open warfare or hostile comments.

    Tim,

    I am a fond believer in the Westminster Confession interpretation of the Bible which says in chap. 3:
    "1. God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeable ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor it he liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established."

    The biblical truth that God has predetermined everything might come as a suprise to some. But if we consider that God created the universe and all of the physical laws that govern how it operates, it seems reasonable to me that God also perdetermined everything that comes to pass, even the eternal destiny of each individual. While this is predetermined, God also has not destroyed personal freedom. That is, God does not force men to do what they do not want to do. What is amazing is that man's individual freedom fits in perfectly with God's predetermined plan for everything.

    Conversely, if one were to believe that everything happens by "chance", then how would that fit in with a omnipotent God who created everything and controls the universe?
    Arminians believe that individuals choose themselves whether they are going to heaven or hell. Reformed (and many Presbyterians)believe God chooses through His irresistable grace. Salvation is of the Lord. Some are chosen for eternal life (see Ephesians ch1). Others are passed by and left in their sin. Remembering that all are fallen and deserving of eternal damnation and it is only by the mercy and grace of a sovereign God that some are saved (pulled from the fire).

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  26. Tim,

    "STG: I agree entirely with your concluding sentence:

    "True happiness, blessedness, and eternal life are only to be had through the worship of the true God, Jesus Christ. Anything else will lead to sorrow."

    What you need to add is that the happiness and joy will be meted out after death and the parousia.
    But, my dear friend, this happiness and joy can also be felt to varying degrees in this life based on the promises of God.People also possess the absolute freedom from the God to choose which ever path we will walk."


    This happeness comes through a knowledge that one belongs to Jesus Christ and will never lose his salvation. Anything less would not be cause for joy or happiness in this life.

    For example, Paul said "Let your conversation (way of life) be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Hebrews ch13:5

    Again Jesus said "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And i give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." John ch10 vs 27-29

    In these passages there is good reason for great joy and happiness in this life. One need not wait until the next to "find out" what happens. The promises of God are infallible. God has given us His Word. I am sure you will agree, as the Scripture says somewhere God cannot lie; it is not within his character to lie. So no matter how bad things get in this life, speaking in the physical sense, one may still have that assurance of where one's eternity will be.

    "People also possess the absolute freedom from the God to choose which ever path we will walk."

    I agree people do have the freedom of choose, but the problem is because of the fall (original sin), man does not have the ability to choose God unless God intervenes by His grace (favour). Without the intervention of God, man will always choose to oppose God.

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  27. Tim,

    "What you need to add is that the happiness and joy will be meted out after death and the parousia."

    I thought I would mention a passage I came across this evening when perousing through a chapter in Isaiah.

    "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah chap.40 vs 28-31.

    This seems to me to be cause for great joy and happiness in the knowledge of what God will do for his people in this life, in the here and now. Many of God's people suffer in various ways in this life. This passage tells me in spite of great suffering, failures, discouragements of all kinds with the things of this world, there is the great blessings which God may bestow on those who trust in Him. This is not the winning of a lottery or the gain of great treasures of this world; but it is something priceless that only can come from God. Even something such as the knowledge that one's sins are completely forgiven and eternal life is already received can stir in one a feeling of thankful gratitude to our Saviour. This is a priceless gift which God has promised in His Word for His children. Can anything greater be possibly received from God?

    Back to Isaiah ch40. Matthew Henry's commentary describes this passage this way:
    "#27-31 The people of God are reproved for their unbelief and distrust of God. Let them remember they took the names Jacob and Israel, from one who found God faithful to him in all his straits. And they bore these names as a people in covenant with Him. Many foolish frets, and foolish fears, would vanish before
    inquiry into the causes. It is bad to have evil thoughts rise in our minds, but worse to turn them into evil words. What they had known, and had heard, was sufficient to silence all these fears and distrusts. Where God had begun the work of grace, he will perfect it. He will help those who, in humble dependence on him, help themselves. As the day, so shall the strength be. In the strength of Divine grace their souls shall ascend above the world. They shall run the way of God's commandments cheerfully.
    Let us watch against unbelief, pride, and self-confidence. If we go forth in our own strength, we shall faint, and utterly fall; but having our hearts and our hopes in heaven, we shall be
    carried above all difficulties, and be enabled to lay hold of the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus."

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  28. Lady Janus,

    Near the beginning of the Bible, in Exodus, is described how Moses encountered Pharoah. God gave Moses a stick which when he threw it down on the floor in front of Pharoah, it turned into a snake. Pharoah's magicians also could do the same thing. But Pharoah and his magicians were not worshippers of the true God of the Bible who was leading God's people Israel out of the slavery of the Eygyptians under Pharoah. So when the magicians sticks turned into snakes and Moses' stick turned into a snake, Moses' snake swallowed up the magicians' snakes. This was because God was working for Moses and although these magicians had some supernatural power (ordained by God), God did not allow it to overrule the power Moses was given in his stick. God gave Moses' stick more power. God's power eventually forced Pharoah to let the people of Israel go free and then destroyed Pharoah and his army in the Red Sea when they tried to pursue the children of Israel through the parting of the waters.

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