First docudrama in Hebrew and English about the Archangel Michael based on the Babylonian Talmud, the Torah (Yahwist / Elohist / Priestly Sources), the Midrashim, the Septuagint, the Summa Theologica, and Catholic / Orthodox tradition.
There is a strong tendency these days in popular culture, especially American culture, to call people evil – evil this, evil that – and this is occurring even within Church circles (a related phenomenon is the ‘demonization of the other’). Such parlance, however, is not only harmful and linguistically wrong. It is ontologically incorrect. In other words a lie.
No human person can be validly called evil as no one is evil. There is no such thing as an “evil human being” or an “evil person,” despite the ever-increasing proliferation of this kind of language, at times unwittingly by those who should know better, but deliberately and malevolently by pharasaical demagogues within the Church itself. No one is evil. Not even those, in many people’s minds, who might be considered the worst persons ever to walk this earth are evil (e.g., serial murderers, pedophiles, and so on). This because the image of the Triune God resides untarnished in every single human person.
It is the likeness that gets fractured by human actions and sin, not the image. Never, the image. Thus, to call a person or a group of people “evil” is to manifest wild ignorance about both the ontological reality of humankind (and one’s own ontology) and to extend that very definition to God Himself.
There is no other way to know God than by the vision of the Light which comes from Him (Symeon the New Theologian).
Deification – the restoration of the likeness (not the image) – is the true aim of humankind, not just salvation, because deification is the invocation of the great God and Father, the symbol of the authentic and real adoption, according to the gift and grace of the Holy Spirit, thanks to the bestowal of which the saints become and will remain the sons of God (Palamas, Ad Thalas 61, PG 90, 636C; Scholia 6, ibid. 644C). It is deification that allows this name God [to be] communicable, not in its whole signification, but in some part of it by way of similitude so that those are called gods who share in divinity by likeness, according to the text I have said, ‘You are gods (Ps 82:6)’ (Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Response to I.13,9).
The Mystical Body of Christ – the Church
A lot of questions, contentions and assertions, often contradictory, have arisen lately about the matter of who is, or is not, part of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. Some have been correct. However, by far, the larger part of the contentions and assertions have all been either just partially correct or flat-out wrong. Some have been fueled by inadequate knowledge; others have been fueled by partisan denominational agendas. Misunderstandings and misrepresentations abound. Let us look, therefore, at who and what constitutes the Church.
The Church is made up of three parts: the (1) Church Triumphant, which consists of all those persons who are now in Heaven, enjoying the Divine Family in a direct manner. The (2) Church Suffering, which consists of all those souls who are still being purified in Purgatory, but who have now attained the assurance of reaching Heaven once their purification has ended. And (3) the Church Militant, the visible Church that consists of all those people on earth who are part of the Body of Christ.
How does one become part of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church?
Entrance into the Body of Christ is through baptism of which there are three kinds: (1) the baptism of water, (2) the baptism of blood, and (3) the baptism of desire. Any person who receives any one of the above kinds of baptism is Christian, hence part of the Mystical Body of Christ (Paul VI, 1964. Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church). This is the official teaching of the universal Church, the fullness of which resides in the Catholic Church. (more…)
The question was asked, “What it God’s will for only Satan and demons to be in Hell?” The answer is, it was never God’s will that anyone be in Hell (angel or human) or that Hell even be made to exist in the very first instance. Hell resulted from the fall of the most beautiful angel to ever have been created, Lucifer, and the cohort of angels that decided to rebel together with him.
The statement was made that “Hell is for demons” – a statement that, at its most basic, is incorrect. Hell is not just for demons, but also for all those who die with at least one single mortal sin on their soul and of which they have not genuinely repented. That is the stark reality.
Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia (as released by the Vatican Press Office).
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you” (2 Cor 13:13).
1. By God the Father’s will, from which all gifts come, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit Consolator, we, Pope Francis and Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, have met today in Havana. We give thanks to God, glorified in the Trinity, for this meeting, the first in history.
It is with joy that we have met like brothers in the Christian faith who encounter one another “to speak face to face” (2 Jn 12), from heart to heart, to discuss the mutual relations between the Churches, the crucial problems of our faithful, and the outlook for the progress of human civilization.
2. Our fraternal meeting has taken place in Cuba, at the crossroads of North and South, East and West. It is from this island, the symbol of the hopes of the “New World” and the dramatic events of the history of the twentieth century, that we address our words to all the peoples of Latin America and of the other continents.
It is a source of joy that the Christian faith is growing here in a dynamic way. The powerful religious potential of Latin America, its centuries–old Christian tradition, grounded in the personal experience of millions of people, are the pledge of a great future for this region.
3. By meeting far from the longstanding disputes of the “Old World”, we experience with a particular sense of urgency the need for the shared labour of Catholics and Orthodox, who are called, with gentleness and respect, to give an explanation to the world of the hope in us (cf. 1 Pet 3:15).
4. We thank God for the gifts received from the coming into the world of His only Son. We share the same spiritual Tradition of the first millennium of Christianity. The witnesses of this Tradition are the Most Holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, and the saints we venerate. Among them are innumerable martyrs who have given witness to their faithfulness to Christ and have become the “seed of Christians”.
5. Notwithstanding this shared Tradition of the first ten centuries, for nearly one thousand years Catholics and Orthodox have been deprived of communion in the Eucharist. We have been divided by wounds caused by old and recent conflicts, by differences inherited from our ancestors, in the understanding and expression of our faith in God, one in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are pained by the loss of unity, the outcome of human weakness and of sin, which has occurred despite the priestly prayer of Christ the Saviour: “So that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you … so that they may be one, as we are one” (Jn 17:21). (more…)
The question was asked, “Are the Orthodox part of the Roman Catholics in the Book of Revelation?” In brief, the answer is a resounding “yes, of course!” I was surprised when I found the above question because the Book of Revelation does not pertain to a single denomination, no matter how much various denominations of one stripe or another may desire to hijack this part of Scripture – indeed, any part of Scripture, if we come to that – to accomodate their self-serving, self-righteous agendas. It is also not non-denominational as the term is currently understood, to be crystal clear.
What is presently happening in our world is a sifting – of those who truly desire the Triune (more…)