Saturday, February 18, 2006

Calling All Roman Catholic Vulcans

Our friends at the Continuing Anglican Churchman are featuring photos of a Roman Catholic church of the thrice-sorrowful variety. He's correct that the pictures look very much like something out of "Star Trek":

"The Mother Ship"

Jesus keeping station over the garrisoned baptismal font?

All the beauty of a megachurch

Given that untold numbers of young Roman Catholics grow up amidst church splendor and solemnity such as this, is it any wonder so many grow up to join Saddleback or the local charismatic "Christian Family Worship Center"? This is, thankfully, not a problem for Western Rite Orthodox.

See all the photos (if you dare) here.

(Hat tip: Continuing Anglican Churchman.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

When Byzantine Catholic Priests Attack!

(Hat tip: Ian, from the comments of Sarisburium.)


The Saints Hear Our Prayers

Half-remembered thoughts can be dangerous. In reading Cheryl's post on the saints a few days ago, I made a mental note that somewhere I read her ask whether anyone knew of a specific verse proving the saints in Heaven can hear our petitions. Perhaps she had encountered this common objection from her discussion with Lutheran friends, as I had. An LCMS pastor once told me, "We have no way of knowing whether they [the saints] are even aware of what's happening on earth." I wanted to share with her the verse that first caught my attention that the saints in Heaven are not only aware of the cries of the Church Militant but intercede to God based on them:

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (Rev. 6:7-11.)

In re-reading her original post while getting ready to write this, I see she already covered this base, and she wanted to know of a verse where someone specifically called upon the prayers of the saints. The practice, of course, is most ancient, dating from literally the earliest days of the Church. However, we should not be surprised to see this was a later development. During the Old Testament, the saints were held in Sheol; the famous icon of the Resurrection depicts Christ liberating souls from Sheol. The Apostles Creed confesses, "He descended into Hell." (Read an Orthodox commentary on the descent.)

Since the Old Testament saints were not in Heaven, they were asked for no intercession. However, in the New Covenant, the saints are in Heaven, where they may be called upon for intercession, as the Fathers did. The closest reference is Revelation 5:8, which indicates the saints offer our prayers before God's Throne. Since the New Testament was written during the early days of the Church, the Book of Revelation latest of all, the implications of this heavenly reality were not worked out as part of the canon. However, her posts on the subject (referenced here) provide a solid theological basis for the practice, a basis the early Church may or may not have been aware of when they began invoking their righteous departed in the Ante-Nicene era.

Thanks to Cheryl for the thought-provoking posts. I posted the verse that inspired this blog anyway, just in case that LCMS pastor happens to be lurking around here. Now, I'm going to start sleeping a full five hours a night.... :)


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Darth Vader: Presbyterian

I'd heard "Heaven is for Presbyterians," but now the Jedi Council, too? Religious dimensions of the Star Wars saga ye knew not!
Not long ago, several Westerners living in China had come across the DVD for Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Obviously, this was a bootleg copy since the official DVD for the film was released last month (November, 2005). The DVD, a camera recording of the theatrical release, was dubbed into Mandarin Chinese and included a feature for English subtitles. The subtitles however, were translated from the Chinese characters and not from the original English track. As such, the words and phrases in the film were mangled beyond belief. The title went from being called "The Revenge of the Sith" to "The Backstroke of the West."

Among all the faulty mistranslations is one of particular interest to us. The Jedi Council was rendered back into the English as "the Presbyterian Church." How on earth did this come about?! Sit back my friends, pour yourselves a cup of tea, and permit me to explain.
Read the rest.... (Fair warning: this is a Syrian Orthodox/"Jacobite" publication.)

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The Sign of Four (Meme)

With acknowledgements to Fr. Matthew Thurman and Fr. John Fenton who tagged me....

Four jobs you have had in your life
* I am a conservative, and therefore,
* have never worked
* an honest day
* in my life.

Four movies you could watch over and over
* I Am Sam.
* A River Runs Through It.
* Kramer v. Kramer.
* Almost anything written by Neil Simon. (Particularly I Ought to be in Pictures, Max Dugan Returns, and Seems Like Old Times. I hated Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues.)

Four places you have lived
* The place where I was born.
* A dorm room.
* Another house.
* This house.

Four TV shows you love to watch
* Whatever's on Fox News (esp. Hannity & Colmes, The O'Reilly Factor, and Brit Hume).
* Scarborough Country and "The Situation, with Tucker Carlson."
* Reruns of "The Simpsons."
* I really don't watch TV.

Four places you have been on vacation
* Home.
* At work.
* In a hotel.
* In traffic.

Four websites you visit daily
* The York Forum.
* Fr. Matthew Thurman.
* Fr. John Fenton.
* Drudge Report.

Four of your favorite foods
* Prime rib.
* General Tso's Chicken.
* Kung Pao Calamari. (It's even better than it sounds.)
* Pizza.

Four places you'd rather be right now
* Heaven.
* The next best place: in a Western Rite church at Mass or any other church service (except a funeral).
* Fr. Alexander Turner or Dom Denis Chambault's canonization.
* Anywhere other than on this computer.

Four bloggers you are tagging
* I don't want to pressure anyone to do this; if you read this and want to do it, link to me.
* I won't send out chain letters. Stop the insanity!
* I also don't have any friends, neighbors, or acquaintances.
* I wouldn't hang out with myself if I didn't have to.

Additional Latin Mass Videos added

I added a few links to this post for other Latin Mass videos:

St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary (the semianry of the SSPX) has produced numerous videos of traditionalist Masses, including those of Holy Week, Vespers, and Ordinations. Also available: the Divine Office of the Roman Breviary on cassette tape or CD. (Listen to audio samples here.)

A two-volume set on the life of the late Pope John Paul II. Volume One is apparently the made-for-TV film starring Albert Finney as the late pontiff. Volume Two is actually the Latin Mass celebrated at a mission in San Fernando, CA. I am not sure if this is available on DVD at this time. Also, MAETA (sedevacantist) is offering a video of the traditional Mass celebrated by Fr. Patrick Perez.

I haven't seen any of these videos. If you have, please comment.