Friday, 9 November 2007

Today's Readings

Some more of today's readings (Fri 9 Nov) below:

John 2: 13-22 (Cleansing the Temple)
Now the Jewish feast of Passover was near, so Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple courts those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers sitting at tables. So he made a whip of cords and drove them all out of the temple courts, with the sheep and the oxen. He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold the doves he said, “Take these things away from here! Do not make my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will devour me.”
So then the Jewish leaders responded, “What sign can you show us, since you are doing these things?” Jesus replied, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.” Then the Jewish leaders said to him, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and are you going to raise it up in three days?” But Jesus was speaking about the temple of his body. So after he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the saying that Jesus had spoken.

1 Corinthians 3: 9-11, 16-17
We are coworkers belonging to God. You are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master-builder I laid a foundation, but someone else builds on it. And each one must be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than what is being laid, which is Jesus Christ. ...Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If someone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, which is what you are.

Ezekiel 47
Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple. I noticed that water was flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from under the right side of the temple, from south of the altar. He led me out by way of the north gate and brought me around the outside of the outer gate that faces toward the east; I noticed that the water was trickling out from the south side. ...He said to me, “These waters go out toward the eastern region and flow down into the Arabah; when they enter the Dead Sea, where the sea is stagnant, the waters become fresh. Every living creature which swarms where the river flows will live; there will be many fish, for these waters flow there. It will become fresh and everything will live where the river flows. ...On both sides of the river’s banks, every kind of tree will grow for food. Their leaves will not wither nor will their fruit fail, but they will bear fruit every month, because their water source flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.”

How the Catholic Church view non-Catholic denominations and non-Christian faiths

Dominus Iesus (taken from )
Dominus Iesus was published internally on 06/08/2000 by Cardinal Ratzinger who was at the time the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It was released to the public on 05/09/2000. The document had been ratified and confirmed by the Pope John Paul II on 16/06/2000 "with sure knowledge and by his apostolic authority."

Cardinal Ratzinger quotes a variety of documents to reemphasize that:
- "The full revelation of divine truth is given" in the "mystery of Jesus Christ."
- The Church does not expect any additional, future, public revelation.
- Nothing needs to be taken from other religions and added to Jesus' message in order to make it complete.
- Only the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments are inspired by the Holy Spirit and are without error.
- It is the Holy Spirit who has sown the "seeds of the word" in diverse customs, cultures and religions around the world, preparing them for future "full maturity in Christ."
- Jesus is the only savior of mankind.

He divides Christian denominations into three groups:
- The Roman Catholic Church, the only faith group established by Jesus Christ: "he himself is in the Church and the Church is in him...."
- Eastern Orthodox Churches which are united with the RCC by the:
- "Apostolic succession..." (Christ's disciples consecrated the first bishops of the Church, who subsequently consecrated other bishops down to the present day), and
- "a valid Eucharist" (a valid celebration of the Mass).
(These are "true particular Churches." The Church of Christ is "present and operative" in these churches even though they do not, at this time, accept the primacy of the pope.)
- The remaining Christian denominations which have not preserved the Apostolic succession. (They are not "churches in the proper sense." However, their members are "incorporated in Christ and thus are in a certain communion, albeit imperfect, with the Church." Members of the RCC are told to not look upon Christianity as a collection of Christian denominations. The Church of Christ does exist today in the form of the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Churches. It is not to be considered a some type of future goal to which all denominations "must strive to reach.")

Cardinal Ratzinger describes the status of non-Christian religions:
- The Church of Christ is the instrument by which all humans are saved.
- Salvation is accessible to some people who are not members of the "Church" i.e. not Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox Christians. It comes through grace which originates with Christ and "enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation."
- The prayers and rituals of other religions may help or hinder their believers. Some practices may prepare their membership to absorb the Gospel. However, those rituals which "depend on superstitions or other errors... constitute an obstacle to salvation."
- Members of other religions are "gravely deficient" relative to members of the Church of Christ who already have "the fullness of the means of salvation."

He discusses inter-religious dialog:
- Dialog with other branches of Christianity and with other religions is part of the RCC's mission of evangelizing the world.
- Dialog implies the equality of the dignity of the individuals taking part -- not the equality of their various beliefs and practices.

What is modesty?

Traditionally, adults in our society sought to protect young women from male sexual exploitation in two ways. First, they made rules: Decent boys treat girls like ladies; college students live in single-sex dorms. Second, they respected and encouraged girls' natural modesty. In their view, modesty -- the quality which leads human beings to avoid sexual displays -- acts as a kind of armor to protect girls' sexual vulnerability. Modesty provides a crucial counterweight to girls' desire to please boys, and their tendency to place great importance on personal relationships. Far from oppressing girls, modesty puts them on equal footing with boys, by prompting them to avoid casual sex while they search for a suitable lifelong partner.

Let me elaborate further on this. Most girls yearn to find a man who will respect and love them forever, while most boys just want to have fun (sexual fun, that is) so long as they can find a willing partner. Thus a difference between boys and girls is that, the day after sex, the girls wait for the boys to call. The boys have got what they wanted, and to get more may not be as much fun as moving on to other girls.

This is not to say that boys are incapable of commitment and true, long-lasting love. Just don't look for these things in boys chock-filled with testosterone. Also this doesn't mean girls are not as capable of fun-searching and betrayal. In some cases it's even worse. Some girls may use sex to fulfil their emotional needs alone or to gain power over men. But I digress.

Though modesty may not stop boys from sexually desiring a girl, immodesty will definitely increase the chances and frequency. Girls being who they are (they laugh at naked men. Can you find me a man who laughs at naked girls?) cannot imagine the power of a fine female body on the eyes, mind, heart and penis of a staright man. If they do, they would be more tolerant of oogling. They would dress modestly so they wouldn't cause the poor fella they come across to entertain lustful thoughts. They wouldn't go for men who are attracted solely by their female form and then complain when those men prove untrustworthy.

(Some of the above content is taken from )