Posts Tagged ‘St. Paul’

Basillica of St. Paul

In 13 History on 2015/12/18 at 12:00 AM

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(Rome reports.com) TheBasilica of Saint Paul is one of Rome’s four major Churches. It was founded by emperor Constantine over the tomb of apostle Paul, which centuries ago, stood far from Rome’s walls. That’s why it is also known as Saint Paul Outside the Walls.

For the first time, the Vatican has announced the discovery of several archeological sites that were associated with the Basilica’s daily life in the Middle Ages. Even though the route through the site is still provisional, visitors can already tour the area and read about the history of the site.

Vatican Museums 
“In order to build a modern welcome center for pilgrims, we discovered a facility that was built 1500 years ago, by our predecessors, for the same reason. The Popes, who wanted to provide St. Paul’s with facilities that could accommodate all the pilgrims that would flock to the tomb of the Apostle of the Gentiles.” 
During its 1500 year-long history, the Basilica’s architecture has changed immensely, even though the original shrine containing St. Paul’s remains still lies under the high altar. Around the year 1000 AD the basilica and its lands were entrusted to Benedictine monks, who still reside there to this day.
Among the discoveries are the ancient ‘garden of the monks’ and medieval pilgrim facilities, which were unveiled in an official conference attended by the archeologists.
The archeological finds in the area, include courtyards, a well and porches, which were all meant host the pilgrims that would visit St. Paul’s from all over the world. In a way, the structures show that the deep devotion St. Paul, never ceased through the ages.
Vatican Museums 
“Today, for us, these are extremely precious finds, because they must also be considered in the spiritual value that this discovery holds. They are traces of the uninterrupted devotion to the Apostle Paul.” 
As part of the tour, drawings and reconstructions are available, to show how the area looked in ancient times.

Rome Reports TV News Agency

Post-Comfortable Christianity and the Election of 2012

In 07 Observations on 2012/08/04 at 11:11 AM


Shortly before he died in Oxford in 1988, the Jesuit retreat master and raconteur, Bernard Bassett, in good spirits after a double leg amputation, told me that the great lights of his theological formation had been Ignatius Loyola and John Henry Newman, but if he “had to do it all over,” he’d only read Paul. “Everything is there.” There is a temptation to think that God gave us the Apostle to the Gentiles in order to have second readings at Sunday Mass, usually unrelated to the first reading and the Gospel. But everything truly is there. Paul was one of the most important figures in human history, and a great character to boot. That is, a character in the happiest sense of the word. “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain” (1 Cor 15:10).
Tragedy and comedy intertwine, ultimately issuing in glory, whenever he is on trial. He longs to live and t0 die in the same breath: ”For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:210). Whenever he is on trial for his life, he invokes a forensic brilliance to save the very life he is willing to sacrifice. Just as Jesus who had come into the world to die, slipped through the mob in Nazareth because his hour had not yet come, so does Paul become his own defense when on trial, ready to die by God’s calendar and not man’s. In Caesarea, he confounds Antonius Felix, the Roman governor of Judaea and Samaria, and a little later he does the same to the successor of Felix, Procius Festus. The best court scene is Paul before Marcus Annaeus Novatus, who had taken the name of his adoptive father Junius Gallio, the rhetorician and friend of his father Seneca Sr. whose son Seneca, Jr. was the noble Stoic. Nero forced Seneca’s suicide, but before that, in Achaia where Gallio was proconsul, Paul was bit of a Rumpole of the Bailey, in how he played the jury like a piano to the frustration of the judge. The point is this: Paul, both innocent and shrewd, was willing to suffer and did so regularly, as he was not loathe to recount at length, and he was also ready to die, but as death comes but once, he wanted it to be at the right moment.
There is in Paul a model for Catholics at the start of the Third Millennium which began with fireworks and Ferris wheels but is now entering a sinister stage. Like Paul, it is not possible to be a Christian without living for Christ by suffering for him, nor is it possible to be a Christian without willing to die for him when he wants. The Christian veneer of American culture has cracked and underneath is the inverse of the blithe Christianity that took shape in the various enthusiasms of the nineteenth century and ended when voters were under the impression that they finally had a Catholic president.
This new period is not “Post-Christian” because nothing comes after Christ. We can, however, call it “Post-Comfortable Christian.” Niebuhr, looking out from New York’s Neo-Athens on Morningside Heights with its Modernist Christian seminaries and highly endowed preaching palaces and office towers of denominational bureaucracies, caricatured the Messiah of mainline religiosity: ”A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.” The virtual collapse of those institutions on Morningside Heights, is mute testimony to the truth of his irony.
The bishops of the United States have asked the faithful to pray for religious liberty, now facing unprecedented assault. The national election in November, 2012 will either give Christians one last chance to rally, or it will be the last free election in our nation. This can only sound like hyperbole to those who are unaware of what happened to the Slavic lands after World War I and to Western Europe in the 1930’s. St. Paul was writing to us when he wrote to the Galatians and Corinthians and Washingtonians – or rather, Romans – in his lifetime.
Unless there is a dramatic reversal in the present course of our nation, those who measured their Catholicism by the Catholic schools they attended, will soon find most of those institutions officially pinching incense to the ephemeral genius of their secular leaders, and universities once called Catholic will be no more Catholic than Brown is Baptist or Princeton is Presbyterian. The surrender will not come by a sudden loss of faith in Transubstantiation or doubts about Papal Infallibility. It will happen smoothly and quietly, as the raptures of the Netherworld always hum victims into somnolence, by the cost factor of buying out of government health insurance. Catholic businessmen with more than fifty employees will be in the same bind. Catholic institutions and small businesses owned by those with religious and moral reservations about government-imposed policies, will wither within a very short time, unable to bear the burden of confiscatory tax penalties. As analysts have figured, an employer offering a health plan that does not comply with the preventive services package and other requirements under the federal health plan could be subject to a confiscatory penalty. The fine, imposed through a civil penalty or excise tax on a non-exempted religious employer could be as much as $100 a day for each employee insured under a plan at variance with federal law. The burden would amount then to $36,500 for each employee.
Add to that the approaching discrimination against Catholics seeking positions in commerce and public life. Catholics will not be suitable for public charities, medicine, education, journalism, or in the legal profession, especially judgeships and law enforcement. As the bishops, by the acknowledgement of many of their own number, failed to articulate the cogency of doctrines on contraception and other moral issues, so will they now, despite the best intentions, not be able to stem the radical attrition among native Catholics whose eyes are on mammon, and among recent immigrants whose privileges are guaranteed only if they vote for opponents of the Church. The general election of 2012 may rally the fraction of conscientious Catholics among the sixty million or so sympathetic Catholics. If their influence is not decisive, and the present course of federal legislation accelerates, encouraged by a self-destructive appetite for welfare statism on the part of ecclesiastical bureaucrats, the majority of Catholics with tenuous commitments to the Faith will evaporate, as did the lapsed baptized in North Africa during the oppression of the emperor Diocletian.
Should the present direction of the federal government be endorsed by a reiterative vote in the November elections, more blatant threats to the Church will begin, culminating in a punitive suspension of tax exemptions on church properties, once the Church’s moral precepts are coded as offenses against civil rights. The test case in this instance will be what is known in Orwellian diction as “same sex marriage.” In the Supreme Court case, McCulloch v. Maryland, argued in 1819, the same year that Daniel Webster reduced Chief Justice Marshall to tears in the Dartmouth College case which vouchsafed private charters, Webster said: “An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy.” Chief Justice Marshall, an antecedent of Chief Justice Roberts, said “That the power of taxing (the bank) by the States may be exercised so as to destroy it, is too obvious to be denied, and that the power to tax involves the power to destroy (is) not to be denied.”
St. Paul would have understood this. After all, he lived through its precedents. His self-defense in the secular courts showed his disdain for bravado and theatrical martyrdom. He enjoyed common sense, reason, and native intelligence in outwitting evil, for he knew as did St. John Vianney, who was not as bright as the student of Gamaliel but whose heart was at least as large, that “the Devil is stupid.” Because of that, the Devil can only get his way with the help of stupid Catholics.
This year offers the best and possibly last chance to see how many actually obey Christ’s pastoral instruction in a conflicted world: “Behold, I am sending you out as a sheep among wolves, so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matt. 10:16).
Re-printed with permission from Crisis Magazine http://www.crisismagazine.com/author/rutler


Rev. George W. Rutler

The Rev. George W. Rutler is the pastor of the Church of Our Saviour in New York City. His latest book, Cloud of Witnesses, is available from Scepter Publishing.

Articles by Rev. George W. Rutler

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New Order

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2011/04/23 at 3:41 PM

Something new happened at Calvary.  The sufferings of the pure and sinless son of God transformed sinful man by love.  God himself was the point where reconciliation took place in the person of his Son who atoned for the sins of mankind.

A new order began with the Crucifixion.  Man’s disconnect was rectified; the relationship between God and man, which sin had severed, was now restored.  St. Paul explains to the Gentiles: “We beg you on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:19-20).

What makes man unique is his God-given gift of free will.  God wills all men to be saved, but he respects man’s free will and his free will choice.

Scripture Defiled

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2011/04/11 at 5:56 PM

St. Paul,  as recorded in Acts 20: 29-30, warns the believers to be on guard against “fierce wolves who will invade” and “even from your own ranks there will be men coming forward with a travesty of the truth on their lips to induce the disciples to follow them.”  There have been problems in each age but  the Catholic Church has always taught, what Christ taught.  Jesus Christ commanded His apostles to “Go teach whatsoever I have commanded you.”

The Early Church Fathers, following the Apostles, did just that: when heresies arose, they countered them with the Truth.  Councils were called to deal with them definitively.  Essentially, all the problems were the result of misinterpretations of Scripture. The most damaging was Luther’s introduction of “personal interpretation of the Bible” which led to more misinterpretations.  Luther  discarded  the books of the Canon of the Bible that he did not agree with because they did not suit his interpretation.

The so-called Protestant Reformation did not give the world a new and better version of Christianity. ” It gave the world a new false religion. It has not been guided by the Holy Spirit as proven by its negative effects and  its evolution in 30,000 denominations (1000 plus Baptists groups alone!)

Protestantism is not an alternative to the Church as many who have left the Church tell themselves. It is an empty organization based on the bad judgment of Luther.  Every denomination has split into divisions and factions to the point that their founders would not even recognize them.The  Catholic Church, in all its Rites, is by the divine decree, the only Church Christ founded, whether you believe it or not, whether you accept it or not, or whether you like it or not.

If you look at the 2000 year history of the Roman Catholic Church, only divine protection and guidance can explain why it is still around with the original teaching Christ gave it. Of all the religious founders in history: Mohammed, Buddha, Luther, Mormonism’s Joseph Smith….only Jesus Christ claimed to be divine and proved it by fulfilling the over 600 prophecies in the Old Testament and the miracles he performed while on earth. Jesus Christ set up a Church to last to the end of time. He promised to be with it to the end of time. He promised that the gates of hell would not prevail. However, He did not say it would be problem free (as we have seen); on the contrary, He warned us to beware of false teachers.

Hilare Belloc, in his book: THE GREAT HERESIES demonstrates how the “The spiritual basis of Protestantism went to pieces through the breakdown of the Bible as a supreme authority. ” This breakdown was the result of that very spirit of skeptical inquiry  upon which Protestantism had always been based. It had begun by saying: “I deny the authority of the Church: every man must examine the credibility of every doctrine for himself.” “In modern times, the Protestant culture has gone from having worshipped the very text of the Bible as something immutable and the clear voice of God to doubting almost everything the Bible contains. We can say that all the seeds sown are now in full bloom: Rationalism, Modernism, Secularism, Relativism, New Age, and list goes on. The ultimate victim has been Truth.

So what began with the idea of subjective evaluation and personal judgment, as opposed to objective/realistic evaluation and judgment, has resulted in that, today, except in the physical sphere, there is no truth; it’s all just opinion – no one religion is better than another.

Today, as Protestant theologians study the Fathers of the Early Church, they are finding the truth of Blessed John Henry Newman’s conclusion: “You cannot study the Fathers and remain a Protestant.” Today in Protestant Churches  the membership is at least one third or more former Catholics. You may be in contact with some of them. The point is, they are in the wrong church: whether they know it or not, whether they want it or not, whether they believe it or not. The Apostolic Fathers died for the Truth of Christ, the Doctors of the Church defended the Truth of Christ, the Popes preserved the Truth of Christ, and the Founders of Religious Orders enabled the Truth of Christ to be spread throughout the world.

We too are commissioned by our Baptism and Confirmation.   We must be confessors of the Faith upholding the Truth of Christ with fortitude and confidence,  without compromising of belief, and not conforming with anything that goes against faith or moral. We should pray that Jesus Christ will make us be faithful to Him so that we be among those of whom the Book of Wisdom says: “God, You manifest Yourself to those who do not disbelieve You, and truly trust in You and do Your will.”