Monday, May 30, 2005


A Memorial Day Remembrance

Every serviceman who gave their life, every serviceman that has been wounded, and every family who has suffered along with them is a testimony to the fact that freedom is not only not free, it is not CHEAP either.

Blessed are the peacemakers:







Tuesday, May 24, 2005


The Meaning of True Peace

In recent history, the issue of world peace is one that has been considered to be of paramount importance among those in the international community. There have been more peace treaties
signed in the thirty years than in the hundred or so years prior.

Given this fact, I believe it is important that we have a sound fundamental understanding of what peace on earth really is. In his 1963 encyclical letter "Pacem in Terris" addressing this very issue Pope John XXIII gave what I think is the most succinct definition of peace one could
give. He says:

“ Peace on earth, which all men of every era have most eagerly yearned for, can be firmly established only if the order laid down by God be dutifully observed.”

This statement points out that real peace has more to do with objective truth than it does a superficial sense of emotional tranquility.

In Matt. 10:34-36, Jesus expresses this in paradoxical language when he says

"Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for
my sake will find it. “

Now, of course, this stands in stark contrast to the “ Can’t we all just get along? “ mentality that characterizes most popular ideas concerning peace. Such a mentality, because doesn’t have the stomach to face conflict and usually has little or no regard for right order, sacrifices true peace for a seemingly painless caricature of it.

Now, it must be understood that the pursuit of peace requires patience, the respect of others, and the need to take the implications of individual situations into account. But peace does not fear conflict, nor does it shrink in the face tyranny. To the contrary, it engages this conflict and conquers tyranny.

The relevance of this felt with tremendous force today, particularly in the wake of 9/11 and the subsequent terrorist threat. The gravity of these attacks on our way of life, our freedom, our peace demand a full engagement of what the President called “the war between freedom and fear”. In his address to the joint

session of Congress, shortly after 9/11, President Bush said : “Freedom
and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know
that God is not neutral between them.”

And that is our consolation and our peace.

Monday, May 16, 2005


Rathergate Part Duex

Newsweek Retracts Koran Desecration Story

When will they ever learn?

Saturday, May 14, 2005


The Rock of Matthew 16: Peter or his Confession? …Actually Both

One of the most common arguments put forth by Protestant apologists against
the primacy of Peter, and by extension the papacy, is that it is Peter’s confession
of faith, not Peter himself, that is the rock that Jesus refers to in Matthew 16:18. To support their case, they often refer to statements from Early Church Fathers
such as St. John Chyrsostom:

And I say unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church;” that is, on the faith of his confession (Homily on Matthew#54 Roberts, Alexander and Donaldson, James, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series: Volume X, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997.)

The Catholic Church’s answer to this question is expressed in terms of “both
and” as opposed to “either or”. While insisting upon Peter being the rock, she
has no problem with the idea of Peter’s confession also being the rock upon
which the Church is built. Paragraph #424 of the Catechism of the Catholic
Church says as much:

Moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit and drawn by the Father, we believe in Jesus and confess: 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' On the rock of this faith confessed by St. Peter,
Christ built his Church.

What those who get their horns caught up in the thicket of this “Peter vs. his confession” dichotomy fail to grasp is the nature of Peter’s confession. Peter’s confession “thou art the Christ, Son of the living God, “ because it is prompted by a revelation from the Father (Matt. 16:17) is authoritative, not merely that of personal conviction.

St. John Chrysostom (in the very same Homily #54 cited above as the Protestant prooftext) , in contrasting Peter’s confession with that of Nathanael in

John 1:49, states:

And Nathanael too said, “Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God, Thou art the King of Israel;” and so far from being blessed, he is even reproved by Him, as having said what was far short of the truth. He replied at least, “Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.”Why then is this man [Peter] blessed? Because he acknowledged Him very Son. Wherefore you see, that while in those former instances He had said no such thing, in this case He also signifies who had revealed it. That is, lest his words might seem to the many (because he was an earnest lover of Christ) to be words of friendship and flattery, and of a disposition to show favor to Him, he brings forward the person who had made them ring in his soul; to inform thee that Peter indeed spake, but the Father suggested, and that thou mightest believe the saying to be no longer a human opinion, but a divine doctrine. (Homily on Matthew #54 Roberts, Alexander and Donaldson, James, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series: Volume X, Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.1997.Emphasis added)

It is only in the light of understanding the authoritative nature of Peter’s confession can we begin to understand Jesus’ response, which, within the
context of the Jewish religious culture of that day, has unmistakable overtones of
the conferral of authority.

The first is the name change that occurs in verse 18. Whenever God changes someone’s name in the Old Testament, his role becomes one of primal authority. In Gen. 17:5, Abram’s name is changed to Abraham and in Gen. 32:28, Jacob’s name is changed to Israel. Jesus brings this Old Testament conferral of authority, signified by a name change, to its fulfillment in the New Testament establishment of the Petrine office.

Then Peter is given the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. This is a direct
reference to Isaiah 22:20-25 where the key of the house of David is being passed
on from Shebna to Eliakim. The clear meaning of the text, as well as most
scholarly commentary on it, indicates that this key symbolizes the delegation of
authority, like that which a king would delegate to a prime minister. Jesus, who is
the Son of God, the son of David, and Eternal King, in the giving of these keys
delegates to Peter and his successors the primal authority to teach and rule the
Church in his name. (While the issue of succession is outside of the scope of
this article, suffice it to say that the handing on of Apostolic authority is clearly
affirmed in Scripture, i.e. Paul’s pastoral Epistles to Timothy. From this it would
stand to reason that the Supreme Apostolic office of Peter would be handed on
as well.)

Jesus further expresses this authority to teach and rule by stating “whatever you
bind on earth is bound in heaven whatever you loose on earth is loosed in
heaven.” These terms “bind” and “loose” are rabbinical terms used to describe
the manner in which authority was exercised. Scholar David Stern, a Messianic
Jew, explains:

“’In this sense Jesus, when appointing his disciples to be his successors, used the familiar formula (Matt.16:18, 18:18). By these words [bind and loose] he virtually invested them with the same authority as that which he found belonging to the Pharisees who “bind heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but will move them with their fingers”’; that is, “loose them” as they have the power to do (Matthew 23:2-4), David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications, 1992 56-57 Quoted on pg. 63 Jesus, Peter, & the Keys Butler, Dahlgren, & Hess Queenship Publishing 1996 )

There are even many Protestant scholars on who concede on this issue.
Although they do not acknowledge any connection with successors i.e. popes, they do concede Peter’s prominence among the Apostles. Some, such as 19th century evangelical Presbyterian theologian Albert Barnes, not only recognize Peter as the rock, but also show its intimate connection with his confession:

The meaning of this phrase may be expressed: “ Thou, in saying that I am the Son of God, hast called me by a name expressive of my true character, I, also, have given to thee a name expressive of your character. I have called you Peter, a rock, denoting firmness solidity, stability, and your confession has shown that the name is appropriate. I see that you are worthy of the name and will be a distinguished support my religion. (Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament, Robert Frew, ed, Grand Rapids, MI. Baker 1973 See Jesus, Peter & The Keys Butler, Dahlgren, & Hess Queenship Publishing 1996 pg. 33)

What colors this and many other objections to the papacy on the part of
Protestants is that they see it as an obstacle to a personal relationship with Christ
and a challenge to Jesus’ authority. Far from being an obstacle to a personal
relationship with Christ or an obfuscation of his sovereignty, papal authority is a
certain witness to it that ensures a sound personal relationship. Every
authoritative papal pronouncement on matters of faith and morals is simply an
echo of that first papal pronouncement “ thou art the Christ the Son of the living God,”—the rock upon which the Church and the faith of Christians are built.

Monday, May 09, 2005


Pope Benedict XVI On "How Many Ways Are There to God"

Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) was once asked the question

"How many ways are there to God?"

Here is his answer:

As many as there are people. For even within the same faith each man's way is an entirely personal one. We have Christ's word: I am the way. In that respect, there is ultimately one way, and everyone who is on the way to God is therefore in some sense on the way to Jesus Christ. But this does not mean that all ways are identical in terms of consciousness ans will, but, on the contrary, the one way is so big that it becomes a personal way for each man. (Salt of the Earth Ignatis Press 1997 pg 32)

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Michelle Malkin On the White House Correspondents Dinner Fiasco


The only thing I can say in response is that she's right.

Monday, May 02, 2005


War and Peace: Strange Bedfellows, But Bedfellows Nonetheless

[This is the transcript of a I gave to a local Toastmasters group a few years back. GAM]

When we look at the concepts of war and peace in the abstract, it
becomes clear that they can in no way be reconcilable. In the
concrete, however, they are often times not only reconcilable, but

This paradox is easily understood once we have considered the following two facts:

1.) It is the duty of those who govern to protect the peace of their respective nations or locales from all threats, foreign and domestic. 2.) As the testimony of human experience reveals, this often requires force.

On the domestic front, we have federal agencies such as the FBI,
Border Patrol, and the BTAF, and others who are entrusted with securing our borders and enforcing federal laws. Similarly, on the local level, we have city police departments, county sheriff departments, and state police that protect the peace of local communities.

While it is true that these officers are trained to diffuse dangerous situations without resorting to force, but it is unrealistic to expect someone who is in a violent, psychotic, or drug induced rage to sit in a “time out” chair, if you know what I mean. After all, law enforcement personnel don’t carry guns to make fashion statements. Force is required in these situations to protect communities.

This is even more true in regards to foreign threats. Veteran’s Day,
which we celebrate every year, is an indication that this fact is well
recognized. Why else would we set aside a day to honor those who have placed themselves at the service of war or its possibility? Since we live in a world that is, to varying degrees, hostile, a nation that is not protected militarily cannot be peaceful.

Again, recourse to arms should be a last resort, but the refusal
to use force when all diplomatic means to resolve the crisis have
been exhausted or shown to be impractical has never resulted in
peace, but has mutated into greater conflict. History is more
than generous in providing examples of this. I would like, with your
indulgence, to discuss one such example.

The year was 1938. A dispute between Nazi Germany and
Czechoslovakia had arisen involving German territorial claims to the
Sudetenland, which, according to the Treaty of Versailles, drawn up
after the end of the WWI, was part of Czechoslovakia. This crisis not only posed a threat to Czechoslovakia, but had ramifications for the whole of Europe. The European Allies, led by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, in their unwillingness to use force to come to the aid of Czechoslovakia, ceded to Hitler’s demands in a diplomatic
deal struck at Munich, Germany.

To be sure, Mr. Chamberlain’s intentions were to preserve peace, but
His act of appeasement unleashed the Hitlerian terror on Europe and
threatened the peace of all civilization, which took the second world war to finally repel.

In his book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, which is considered by many to be the definitive history of the Nazi period, author William Shirer affirms this view :

“ It was this writer’s impression in Berlin from that moment until the end that had Chamberlain frankly told Hitler that Britain would do what it ultimately did in the face of nazi aggression, the Fuehrer would never have embarked upon the adventures that brought on the Second World War—an impression which ahs been strengthened by the study of secret German documents. This was the well-meaning Prime Minister’s fatal mistake.”

Is this merely the fruit of historical hindsight or speculation? Not quite! October 5, 1938, just days after the Munich deal was finalized, Winston Churchill, who succeeded Chamberlain as Prime Minister a few years later, said the following in a speech to the House of Commons regarding the Munich agreement:

“We have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat. We are in the
midst of a disaster of the first magnitude. The road down the
Danube...the road to the Black Sea has been opened ...All the
countries of Mittel Europa and the Danube valley, one after another,
will be drawn into the vast system of Nazi politics ....radiating from
Berlin...And do not suppose that this is the end. It is only the

And so it was only the beginning, the beginning of the
horrors of WWII.

With this in mind, let us fast forward sixty-seven years to the
present day. Our present age, with its advances in technological and
cultural development, not to mention the greater benefit of historical
hindsight, has unearthed new ways of diplomacy and dialogue that enable us to solve disputes without recourse to arms in ways that have been previously unknown. At the same time,
however, as we have seen, particularly in light of 9/11 and
subsequent events, the threats to peace that necessitate the use of
force to repel, have become more sophisticated.

True peace is not a fleeting superficial cessation of hostilities
achieved by way of appeasing evil dictators. “That would be’” as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says, “like feeding an alligator hoping he will eat you last.” No, true peace is a safe, stable, and orderly freedom that is worth protecting, even if it means enduring the of horrors of war.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?