September 7, 2018

How could Catholic priests, leaders of a church with some of the highest standards of sexual morality, sexually abuse minors?  They must not have believed what they were teaching, including that doing such things would bring down upon them the punishment of God.  So what did they believe? John O’Sullivan speculates about this question in the course of an article he wrote on the scandal for National Review.  He sees three possibilities:  (1)  these priests had lost their faith completely;… Read more

September 6, 2018

I came across this interesting piece in Touchstone from a couple of years ago.  It’s by software designer Harry Biltz, who argues that “modern science has rendered atheism irrational.” From Harry Biltz, Naked Truth, Touchstone  (July/August 2016): Modern science now has very well corroborated evidence that the natural universe (time, space, matter, and energy) had a beginning. Since that fact makes it irrational to take the very unscientific position that things popped into existence uncaused, from true nothingness (nothingness in terms of the absence… Read more

September 6, 2018

Just what is going on in the White House?  It sounds like the administration and White House staff are in full revolt against the president who appointed them. That’s the message of a new book by Watergate journalist Bob Woodward, and it’s the message of an extraordinary op-ed piece in the New York Times by an anonymous  “a senior official in the Trump administration.” That official says that he and other administration officials and White House staff are so alarmed by… Read more

September 5, 2018

Defenders of abortion tend to call themselves “pro-choice.”  They believe that whether a woman chooses to have the baby or whether she decides to “terminate the pregnancy” should be her choice and no one else’s. Well, what about women who really want to have their baby, but their husbands or boyfriends pressure them into getting an abortion?  Where is the “choice” in those cases?  Do “pro-choicers” support abortion in those circumstances? I stumbled across a study from a couple of… Read more

September 4, 2018

Where there is guilt, in the absence of repentance, there is self-justification.  I predict that we will soon be reading tear-jerking testimonials from priests being accused in the sex-abuse scandal and from apologists in the LGBT movement. They will go like this: “I was a teenager.  I knew I was different.  The only one who understood me was my priest, Father Bill.  He helped me realize that I was gay and taught me how to get in touch with my… Read more

September 3, 2018

Happy Labor Day, a secular holiday which we here at the Cranach Institute are trying to co-opt as a Christian holiday to celebrate the doctrine of Vocation!  (Did any of you hear that connection made at church yesterday?) And what better way to celebrate this holiday than to hear from Martin Luther, the great theologian of Vocation.  Here he underscores how we are not saved by our works and yet how good works are part of the Christian life after… Read more

August 31, 2018

Luther’s theology of culture, his doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, is often associated with or even identified with St. Augustine’s notion of the Two Cities.  But, actually, it would be closer to the truth to see them as opposites. In his magisterial treatise The City of God, Augustine defines the City of Man and the City of God in terms of two loves:  the love of self and the love of God.  The City of Man, dominated by self-love, is… Read more

August 30, 2018

The Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) is debating the ordination of women to the pastoral office.  Three times the proposal has been voted down, but it’s up again at the upcoming convention in October. I have here links to two documents that set forth the case for each side.  Which one do you think makes the best case? The pro-women’s ordination position is given here:  The Draft Doctrinal Statement (DDS) on A Theological Basis for the Ordination of Women and… Read more

August 29, 2018

Our Pastor (and son-in-law), Rev. Ned Moerbe, preached a sermon that taught me some things I never realized about the Nicene Creed.  In particular, how the Creed sets forth the two natures of Christ and discloses their significance. First, consider the Second Article of the Creed, divided into its three points, as the sermon describes: And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all words, God of God, Light of Light,… Read more

August 28, 2018

Perhaps the highest ranking sexual abuser among Catholic clergy is Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, whose improper relationships with seminarians was reportedly well-known at the time and whose abuse of minors took place over decades.  As a result of recent publicity, he was removed from office and ordered to spend the rest of his life in prayer. But now a well-respected Catholic insider, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who was apostolic nuncio–that is, ambassador from the Vatican–in Washington, D.C., while McCarrick was archbishop… Read more

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