The Gospel for today proclaims the classic division between Church and State, Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God. In this vein, Pope Benedict XVI entitled his first encyclical “Deus Caritas Est,” already written up in these Personal Notes. Apparently, the Pope is trying to keep the Church from meddling in affairs of state. Abortion seems to be the moral issue for the State in this Presidential election as it was in the last Presidential election.
Father Charles E. Curran makes significant comments.
… the universal and unchangeable moral norm on abortion found in Evangelium vitae . The pope [John Paul II], in a very solemn way, reasserts the teaching of the church condemning direct abortion (62.3). Notice that the condemnation does not include all abortion but only direct abortion. The pope thus invokes the philosophical distinction between direct and indirect to distinguish right from wrong with regard to abortion. This distinction is obviously based on a particular philosophical view and is far removed both from the core of faith and from more general ethical norms, such as the respect due to all life including nascent life. One cannot claim the same certitude on this level as one can regarding the more general ethical principles of respecting life or doing good.
I submit that the civil issue is not whether or not people will have abortions. They always have and it seems reasonable to assume that they always will, as long as they have unwanted pregnancies. The charitable problem arises, first in accepting a credible way of birth control to present those unwanted pregnancies and, second, in allowing medical care for those suffering through abortions. Once the abortion is complete, then what?
Abortion and birth control, for that matter, was not an issue with the Church until the Nineteenth Century. For almost two millennium abortion and birth control were a given, about which the Church did not get involved beyond her own confines.
Rather than marching on abortion clinics, why not, in charity, encourage medical science to develop a way for ending unwanted pregnancies “naturally.” Why not free moral theologians to explore the problem, rather than to assume there are no alternatives, thereby closing discussion.
The distinction between an abortion that is “procured” and one that is not “procured” is moot. Some abortions do occur “naturally.” Science says that about nine of ten conceptions flush down the toilet, without the mother ever knowing about the abortion.
Courage to accept uncertainty as an aspect of love is a theme of these Notes for the past six years. The Magisterium would profit from accepting the uncertainty associated with the possibility it has erred in the matter of artificial means of birth control as well as procured abortions. At least the Magisterium has admitted erring in the case of Galileo, after the gross injustice for close to five hundred years. This does not mean that the Holy Spirit has erred. It does mean that the Magisterium accept the possibility of making a human error in order to render a credible human judgment of right and wrong. Presently, because of the sexual cover-up scandal, the Magisterium has already erred in a most grievous manner.
Material above the double line draws from material below the double line. Those uninterested in scholarly and tangential details should stop reading here. If they do, however, they may miss some interesting scholarly details.
Richard Clifford, S.J., and Khaled Anatolois, "Christian Salvation: Biblical and Theological Perspectives"
First Isaiah, the human instrument of judgment was Assyria (`Ah Assyria, the
rod of my anger,’ Isaiah 10:5), for Jeremiah,
Paul Lawrence, The IVP Atlas of Bible History
Psalm 96:1, 3, 4-5, 7-8, 9-10
There is a difference between the translation the Bishops use in their Lectionary and their Catechism. In their Lectionary, the Bishops write of courts, the plural, but in the Catechism, it is court, the singular. The Bishops use this verse to in support of Chapter 27, “Third Commandment: Love the Lord’s Day.” The Sinaitic Codex available on the internet does not have Psalm 96.
Aelred Cody, O.S.B., "`Little Historical Creed’ or `Little Historical Anamnesis’"?
Cody identifies The LORD is king, as a statement of belief, from which a full creed might develop.
P. Brown, review of Theodore Mascarenhas, The Missionary Function of
does not convince Brown that
Margaret Barker, The Great High Priest: The
Interestingly, Barker writes,
There had been at one time a version of Psalm 96:10 which
read `The LORD reigns from the tree.’ Justin
quotes this line in his debate with Trypho (Trypho
71), as an example of words which Jews had removed from the Scriptures by
the middle of the second century CE, because they were significant for
Christians. The first century CE Letter of Barnabas hints at the idea:
`The royal realm of Jesus is founded on a tree’ (Barn. 8). These additional words in Psalm 96 were known to several
early Christian writers, but are not in any known Hebrew (although this verse
has not been found at
1 Thessalonians 1:1-5b
manuscripts contain part or all of 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5b: #48 dating from
about 200, at the
1 Thess 1:3
John Clabeaux, review of Colin R. Nicholl, From Hope to Despair in Thessalonica: Situating 1 and 2 Thessalonians
This verse in 1 Thessalonians offers reassurance that God will come again.
1 Thess 1:5
In contrast to what they write in their Lectionary, here the Bishops write, “`Our Gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and (with) much conviction” (1 Thes [sic]).” In the Lectionary, the Bishops cite the same verse as 5a-b. In their Catechism, the Bishops omit mention of verse 5c in both places.
In their Lectionary, the Bishops write “For our Gospel,” rather than “Our Gospel.” In their Lectionary, the Bishops omit the parentheses they use in their Catechism. The Greek does have brackets around [with], meaning that that word is omitted. I regard what is in the Catechism as pseudo scholarship.
The Bishops cite 1 Thess 1:5 in Part I. The Creed: The Faith Professed, Chapter 4, Bring About the Obedience of Faith.” The Bishops assert Faith believes with conviction in a message. I do not think Faith believes anything. It is the Faithful who believe; Faith is what they believe with. Faith is the means to belief, especially within a context of uncertainty. Sloppy grammatical scholarship, however, is a major problem when accepting the arguments of the Magisterium at face value.
Philippians 2:15d, 16a
The National Library in
In Matthew 22:16, the Greek for saying is difficult, whether a participle, as in the Lectionary or as a verb in the vocative case.
Lectionary (1998) saying
The Vulgate (circa 410) dicentes
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610) saying
King James (1611) saying
Catholic RSV (1969) saying
New American (
New Jerusalem (1985) to say
I wonder whether to say reflects the vocative case. Daniel B. Wallace does not cite Matthew 22:16.
Terence J. Keegan, O.P., “Introductory Formulae for Matthean Discourses”
This Gospel is part of a series of discourses in which Jesus reveals who he is.
M. Murphy, “Charity, Not Justice, As Constitutive of the Church’s
This article is about the inaugural encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI, “Deus Caritas Est.” Murphy writes, “It is the lay faithful, as citizens in a personal capacity, who `have the direct duty to work for a just ordering of society.’” With the entire hullabaloo by Raymond Arroyo on EWTN about abortion, I wonder about the relationship to Deus Caritas Est. It seems to me that what Arroyo and his ilk are trying to do is deny medical attention to women suffering through abortions. That looks like one more example of patriarchal sexism and lack of charity.
The Bishops use this verse to assert, “Catholics have the duty to vote, to participate in the political arena, and to help shape society in light of Catholic teaching.” If they mean it, the Bishops are voiding an easy pray, pay, and obey mentality.
 Theological Studies, Vol. 66, No. 4 (December 2005) 745.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 1 (January 2006) 5.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 3 (July 2006) 518.
 London: T & T Clark International: A Continuum imprint, 2003, 243, also see 119, 295, 332, fn. 43.
 Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism, 2nd ed., Erroll F. Rhodes, tr. (Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989) 99, 100.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 1 (July 2008) 165.
 Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism, 2nd ed., Erroll F. Rhodes, tr. (Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989) 123.
 Daniel B. Wallace, With Scripture, Subject, and Greek Word Indexes: Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Michigan: Zondervan, 1996) 802.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 3 (July 1982) 422.
 Theological Studies, Vol. 68, No. 2 (June 2007) 279.