Archives For June 2013

Apostólicam Ecclésiam

June 29, 2013 — 1 Comment

On the Feast Day of Saints Peter and Paul (June 29)

“You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 16:18-19).

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The Gospel of Matthew is filled with verses about authority. Jesus comes to the earth overflowing with power: he is an authoritative teacher, he is a worker of miracles, he is a king of the house of David, and he is the messiah who was to come. In the sixteenth chapter of Matthew, though, the biblical reader notices an astounding change. Jesus transfers some of his authority to the spokesman of the disciples–St. Peter. The Lord says that he will give Peter the keys to the kingdom. Additionally, Peter is to be the rock upon which the Church is built. How are we to interpret these shocking verses?

Matthew 16 has been a source of Protestant-Catholic controversy for centuries. Catholics claim that the verses of Matthew 16 demonstrate a compelling case for papal authority. Here Jesus gives Peter real power in the Church. He is to be the foundation of the ecclesiastical body. He is the keeper of the keys that open the gates of heaven. He earned these privileges by accepting in faith what God the Father had revealed to him–namely, that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior. Protestants, on the other hand, dismiss the Catholic argument by asserting that Jesus is the only foundation upon which the Church can be built. As for the question of the keys, Protestants often state that Peter was given the keys for his personal salvation, not the keys for the salvation of all. I’ll let the reader decide which version to accept.

Either way, it is true that Peter was an important figure in early Christianity. In conjunction with St. Paul, he led the Church during its tumultuous first years  At times Peter and Paul may have butted heads, but in the end they both worked tirelessly to spread the gospel to Jews and to Gentiles. On this Feast Day of St. Peter and St. Paul, let’s work in our lives to mirror these apostles’ passion for Christ and for the Church. Peter and Paul were essential to the growth of the body of believers, and so are we!

May the Lord provide us with strength and determination that parallel the strength and determination of Peter and Paul. May Jesus unite us with them in heaven in accordance with his will.

Vivos et mórtuos

June 29, 2013 — Leave a comment

“The Church cannot accept even the appearance of siding with discrimination or with the persecution of any children of God. The resulting wounds are not primarily political defeats; they are real injuries to the Body of Christ.” –The Jesuit Post (http://thejesuitpost.org/site/2013/06/doma-and-the-cost-of-denunciation/) Are you with us or are you against us? Although this question is almost never stated explicitly in conversation, many times it is implied. Very rarely do we find news articles today that do not exhibit large degrees of slant or bias. Consider, for example, the website http://thinkprogress.org/ , which feeds its devotees with a narrow, liberal point of view. Also consider the blog http://theinformedconservative.weebly.com/ , which puts forth an equally one-sided perspective. I admit that for years I only watched one news station and only followed one politically-oriented website. The result of such a singled-minded approach is radicalization. I believe that the Church finds herself in the same situation. Catholics are rarely treated indifferently. When speaking about the Catholic faith, people are often on the offensive or on the defensive. Either one thinks that the Church stands for everything good and true and holy, or one thinks that the Church represents one of the most significant obstacles to “progress.” Neither of these mentalities is absolutely true. While the people of God are and always shall be the people of God, it is true that the people of God make mistakes and often times do not live up to their highest potential. Sometimes we judge when we shouldn’t judge. Sometimes we speak when we should remain silent. Sometimes we remain silent when we should speak. On the other hand, the Church embodies a certain type of progress that is overlooked in the modern world. Have we so soon forgotten the Church’s patronage of the arts, the sciences, and social justice? Have we so soon overlooked the Church’s involvement in medicine? The Church is the mystical body of Christ, but she is also a pilgrim on this planet. She has a goal that she’s yet to reach. Today let’s try to make a single, secure step towards that goal. Today let’s reflect on Jesus’ vision for the Church and attempt to fulfill that vision with the help of the Holy Spirit!

“You young people are the first: Go against the tide and have the daring to move precisely against the current. Forward, be brave and go against the tide! And be proud of doing so.” –Pope Francis

This afternoon I was looking through the Vatican’s website and stumbled across this quote by Pope Francis. I wonder what he meant when he encouraged young people to “move against the current.” In which direction is the current currently moving? Why is it moving in that direction? What particular aspects of that current do young people need to question? At first, a few typical controversial issues came to mind: abortion, homosexual marriage, secularization, gender and sex, and the commodity culture. Upon more consideration, though, I think that there is a different current against which we need to fight–the current of ignorance. How many people on both sides of the pro-life/pro-choice divide have read a few books from the other’s point of view? How many people on both sides of the religious/non-religious divide have explored the other’s perspective? There are certainly a few, and they are admirable. However, I daresay that most of us–including myself–are not educated enough to formulate complex opinions on these topics. Let’s aim to understand each other before we judge each other. I’ll end with the following quote from Matthew’s gospel: “You, hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’seye,” (Matthew 7:5).

Two videos to consider:

1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrk1R-3X9Hc

2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aijl-fEw8Y

Incarnátus

June 27, 2013 — Leave a comment

Welcome to “Credo: Reflections on Life and Faith”! My name is David Inczauskis, and I am a fourth year student at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. My goal with this blog is to write as often as possible about life in Christ. The posts will be geared towards particular thoughts, ideas, quotes, or situations that strike me as particularly relevant for discussion or debate. I am under the impression–though perhaps this impression is false–that we are living in a world of soundbites. The ideas expressed in many news articles and on Facebook posts and on Twitter feeds don’t do justice to our world’s complexities or to the dignity of the human person. I believe we need to open spaces for a more detailed analysis of the issues confronting our time. My intention is for this blog to be one of those spaces. Of course, I will make frequent reference to Christian sources, but I hope that non-Christians will be able to find substance worthy of analysis, too. Thank you for reading! May the Lord bless you, your friends, your families, and your enemies!