Half of marriages aren’t valid?

Roman Catholics don’t believe in divorce.  But they do allow for annulments.   These involve ecclesiastical tribunals that rule that a valid marriage never existed in the first place.  If it was determined that a couple was too young and didn’t know what they were doing or that they didn’t understand the Catholic theology of marriage, their marriage could be declared invalid.  Despite receiving the sacrament of marriage in their wedding, despite living together for decades, despite having children and raising them to adulthood, they weren’t really married, thus ratifying their civil divorce and allowing them to marry someone else.

Catholics who do get a divorce and remarry without an annulment (which is a very expensive and time-consuming process) incur automatic excommunication, meaning that they are not allowed to receive Holy Communion.  This affects lots of people, as you can imagine, and cuts seriously into church attendance.  So the church is reconsidering its practice, trying to find a way to allow remarried people to take Communion.

A leader of that effort is the retired German archbishop Cardinal Walter Kasper, who, in the course of an interview in Commonweal Magazine, dropped this bombshell that, strangely, has drawn little attention: “I’ve spoken to the pope himself about this, and he said he believes that 50 percent of marriages are not valid.” [Read more...]

Fact-checking sermons

An urban legend is one of those fascinating and sometimes inspiring anecdotes that are presented as true, except they aren’t.  One of the ways they are often spread is by sermons.  Christian Journalist Bob Smietana had to promise his daughter to stop fact-checking the sermon on his cell-phone during church, but he wrote an amusing and instructive blog post on the subject. [Read more...]

Nonliturgical liturgy

All Christians, including “non-liturgical” Christians, worship with a liturgy, in the sense of a predictable order of worship that reflects their theology.  The key question is what the liturgy is and what it means.  A new book is out on this subject by Yale worship scholar Melanie Ross, Evangelical versus Liturgical?: Defying a Dichotomy.
[Read more...]

Lutherans in exile

Carl Trueman argues that Christianity is going into a kind of cultural exile, and he tries to make the case that the church tradition best equipped to endure what awaits us is Reformed theology.  Rod Dreher counters by making the case for why his own Eastern Orthodoxy is best equipped to carry Christianity through the exile.  Roman Catholics are arguing that Roman Catholicism is.

But Mr. Dreher also called for people of other persuasions to make the case for their theological tradition.  So, naturally, we Lutherans need to step up.

What about Lutheranism makes it best equipped to preserve historic Christianity through a time of cultural exile?  After the jump, Mr. Dreher’s rules for the conversation, and my first stab at it. [Read more...]

We are all Nazarenes

The Nazis painted a yellow Star of David on the homes of Jews to mark them for persecution.  Today the Islamic State in Iraq is painting an Arabic “n”–for Nazarene–on the homes of Christians for the same reason.  In a show of solidarity, Christians all across the world are adapting that letter, using it as a social media avatar or a logo.  Here is a popular version:

 

But read what Russell Moore says on this subject, after the jump, how all Christians, being in Christ, share His earthly home and are all Nazarenes. [Read more...]

Meriam Ishag is safe

The Sudanese woman who had been sentenced to death for refusing to recant her Christianity was released last week after another detention.  She made her way to Italy with her family, where she had an audience with the Pope.  She is reportedly headed to the United States. [Read more...]


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