Unpracticed Faith is Functional Atheism

Unpracticed Faith is Functional Atheismby Regis Nicoll –
Unpracticed faith—that is, faith without works—St. James writes, is dead. It has no transformative or sanctifying power; it is intellectual assent that descends into paralyzing doubt (or worse), which is no faith at all. That’s because faith is revealed, confirmed, and made perfect by our actions not affirmations (for by their fruits you will know them).

Consider a child, standing nervously at the edge of the pool, coaxed by his father to dive into the water. He has a choice: plunge headlong into the pool where the able arms of dad are ready to receive him, or remain at water’s edge frozen in fear, dithering in doubt. He may sincerely believe that his father won’t let harm come to him, but until he jumps, fear holds him captive in functional unbelief, revealing that his faith is in a danger that his father cannot save him from.

When the “rubber” of belief meets the “road” of decision, a choice has to be made. There is no middle road other than doubt, which defaults to unbelief and tosses us to and fro on the agnostic waves of uncertainty. [Read more…]

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Christian Pastors Must Stand for Truth, Righteousness, and Morality in the Public Arena

Fr. Josiah Trenham Christian Pastors Must Stand for Truth, Righteousness, and Morality in the Public Arenaby Fr. Josiah Trenham –
You’d be right to ask, I think, what’s a pastor doing at this conservative political conference. I certainly know some of my clerical colleagues are asking what I’m doing here. Some of my own parishioners are probably asking—if they even know—are asking what I’m doing here. The IRS is certainly asking what I’m doing here. That unbiased and non-partisan government agency has been telling lies to clergy for 50 years to keep our mouths shut and to steal freedom of speech in the pulpit.

So let me answer that question, what’s a pastor doing here at this conservative political conference. It is perfectly natural for me to be here. Absolutely natural. Pastors and politics are intimately connected and have always been intimately connected in God’s design, from the beginning, in the old and the new covenant, from Israel right through two millennia of Christian history. Where you have politics, you have pastors. It’s only the Johnny-come-lately secularists who would like us to think and act differently. [Read more…]

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Orthodox Truth in an Age of Relativism

Orthodox Truth in an Age of Relativism by Gabe Martini –
It is not loving to affirm a person in their sin.

It is not loving to affirm a person in their rebellion against both God and His created, natural order—not “supernatural,” or “unnatural,” but the way nature was always intended to be, revealed most perfectly in Jesus Christ and the Mother of God and all the Saints.

It is not loving to affirm a person in their beliefs or perspectives that run contrary to the blessings offered us in both Christ and His one, holy Church.

It is not compassionate to ignore truth in order to affirm a person in lies.

It is not compassionate to let people live a life contrary to the author of Life.

It is not compassionate to revise, ignore, or trample under foot the essential truths of our Church in order to curry favor with public opinion, the winds and waves of doctrine, cultural trends, the fools—for the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God—of the Academy, and those with the largest checkbooks. [Read more…]

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The Weeping Baby Elephant and The Silent Scream

Weeping Baby Elephant by Fr. Ben Johnson –
For a few hours on Thursday, the all-seeing eyes of the world’s media were fixed on the eyes of a pachyderm.

In a story that tugged at heartstrings around the globe, the media reported that a baby elephant named Zhuangzhuang, born in a Chinese zoo on August 30, cried for five hours after being rejected by his mother.

When zoo trainers saw her trying to stomp the newborn to death in her cage, they thought it was an accident. But after the mother tried to kill her child a second time, personnel had to remove the calf for his own safety.

By nature’s design, a child loves his parent, even a murderous one, and the tears began to flow until his eyes turned red. “He couldn’t bear to be parted from his mother and it was his mother who was trying to kill him,” a spokesman from the Shendiaoshan Wild Animal Natural Reserve Area said. [Read more…]

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Abortion and the Mother’s Life and Safety

Abortion and the Mother's Life and Safetyby Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon –
Inasmuch as abortion is the willful taking of the life of the unborn, we are not permitted to do it even to save the life of the mother. Indeed, we are never permitted to commit any sin, for whatever praiseworthy motive. In addition, it is hard to imagine any case in which the death of an unborn child, considered in itself, would save the life of the mother.

A few years ago I was shocked to read in an Orthodox publication that the Orthodox Church condemns abortion “in all cases, except to save the life of the mother.” It was the sort of theological slipup anyone might have made, I suppose, but it was nonetheless a seriously defective statement of the teaching of the Orthodox Church.

A friend just sent me a statement from a rather famous conservative Episcopalian, a man of considerable learning and culture, who began by remarking on “the unholy alliance of abortion-on-demand and the feminization of God,” but continued in the very next sentence to announce that “No one, except fanatics and mechanists, would argue that abortion is in every case and without exception evil.” [Read more…]

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We Applaud the Republican Platform: No ‘Abortion Rights’, Only a Right to Life

GOP Republicans Pro-Lifeby Deacon Keith Fournier –
To the consternation of those who oppose the Right to Life the Republican Party passed a Pro-Life Plank in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, August 21, 2012. The platform will come before the delegates next Monday for a vote. The platform committee is chaired by the Pro-Life Governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell.

The language of the Republican Platform is refreshingly clear: “Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

Sadly, the opponents of the fundamental Human Right to Life of our youngest neighbors in the first home of the human race control much of the media. [Read more…]

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Believing Christians are the True Progressives of this Age

Deacon Keith Fournier
Deacon Keith Fournier

by Deacon Keith Fournier –
The agenda calling itself progressive is not progressive – it is regressive.
What is happening in our Nation and the West constitutes a clash of worldviews, personal and corporate, which involve competing definitions of human freedom, human flourishing and human progress. The positions being espoused and lifestyles being affirmed as “progressive” by those currently using the term as a political label are anything but. They turn the clock back on true human progress.

We are not even at the beginning of the fall 2012 Presidential campaign and commercials are everywhere. The Obama reelection campaign has chosen the word “Forward” as their theme. They claim the President will move us toward a future of “progress”. Mitt Romney, though not yet the official nominee of his Party, seeks a similar slogan or word to characterize his claim that he will lead us toward a better future. [Read more…]

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Declaring War on Newborns

Declaring War on Newborns The Weekly Standard by Andrew Ferguson –
The disgrace of medical ethics.
On the list of the world’s most unnecessary occupations—aromatherapist, golf pro, journalism professor, vice president of the United States​—​that of medical ethicist ranks very high. They are happily employed by pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and other outposts of the vast medical-industrial combine, where their job is to advise the boss to go ahead and do what he was going to do anyway (“Put it on the market!” “Pull the plug on the geezer!”). They also attend conferences where they take turns sitting on panels talking with one another and then sitting in the audience watching panels of other medical ethicists talking with one another. Their professional specialty is the “thought experiment,” which is the best kind of experiment because you don’t have to buy test tubes or leave the office. And sometimes they get jobs at universities, teaching other people to become ethicists. It is a cozy, happy world they live in.

But it was painfully roiled last month, when a pair of medical ethicists took to their profession’s bible, the Journal of Medical Ethics, and published an essay with a misleadingly inconclusive title: “After-birth Abortion: Why should the baby live?” It was a misleading title because the authors believe the answer to the question is: “Beats me.” [Read more…]

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The New Scar on My Soul

human life is precious abortion is murderby anonymous –
Abortion is not an excision of a featureless bunch of cells; it is infanticide. It is not painless for the child, and anyone who says otherwise is a liar. We have revived the practice of child sacrifice to the new deities of casual sex and convenience. We rationalize the reality of murder by altering our perspective of the nascent life through euphemisms like “fetus” or descriptions of “a clump of cells”…just like the Nazis convinced themselves that the people screaming as they were shot or gassed were “Untermenchen,” subhuman, and therefore guiltlessly exterminated. …

My soul carries a new scar. The pain is fresh and keen, and I know that while time might see the pain fade, I will never fully recover from what I’ve seen, and done. For I have failed, intentionally and knowingly, in the first duty of a parent: protecting the lives of two of my children.

My wife and I wanted children; alas, we needed IVF treatment to realize this dream. Several cycles and multiple embryo implantations later, we welcomed our blessing from G-d, who is the light of our lives. [Read more…]

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Obama “Compromise”: Force Insurance Companies to Pay for Abortions

Obama Abortion HHS mandate by Kathleen Gilbert –
The White House announced today that, instead of forcing religious employers to pay for birth control, it will force insurance companies to offer the drugs free of charge to all women, no matter where they work.

The plan, touted as a concession to freedom of religion and conscience, was immediately denounced by pro-life Rep. Chris Smith. “The so-called new policy is the discredited old policy, dressed up to look like something else, said Smith. It remains a serious violation of religious freedom. Only the most naive or gullible would accept this as a change in policy.”

“The White House Fact Sheet is riddled with doublespeak and contradiction,” Smith continued. “It states, for example, that religious employers ‘will not’ have to pay for abortion pills, sterilization and contraception, but their ‘insurance companies’ will. Who pays for the insurance policy? The religious employer.” [Read more…]

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Evangelical Leader: Jail Over Obamacare Mandate

Orthodox Bishops against Abortion Mandate by Ben Johnson –
One of the most influential evangelical leaders in the United States says Christians should go to jail rather than comply with the Obama administration’s mandate to provide all contraception, including abortion-inducing drugs, in their health care plans.

Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), told LifeSiteNews.com “we will not comply” with the Dept. of Health and Human Services’ mandate requiring religious institutions to cover abortifacient products such as Plan B, Ella, and the IUD.

“We want the law changed, or else we’re going to write our letters from the Nashville jail, just like Dr. King wrote his from the Birmingham jail,” Dr. Land said. [Read more…]

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65 Orthodox Church Bishops Call on Obama to ‘Rescind’ the ‘Unjust’ Contraception Mandate

Orthodox Bishops against Abortion Mandate by Ben Johnson –
The 65 canonical bishops of the Orthodox Church have asked President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to repeal the mandate that religious institutions provide birth control, sterilization, and Plan B abortion drugs in their health care coverage.

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America – which represents 12 Orthodox jurisdictions and three million Orthodox Christians in the United States – issued a press release last Thursday calling the HHS ruling a violation of religious conscience. [Read more…]

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Orthodox Bishops Protest Government Healthcare Mandate

Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops –
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, which is comprised of the 65 canonical Orthodox bishops in the United States, Canada and Mexico, join their voices with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and all those who adamantly protest the recent decision by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and call upon all the Orthodox Christian faithful to contact their elected representatives today to voice their concern in the face of this threat to the sanctity of the Church’s conscience. [Read more…]

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Obama to Catholics: ‘To Hell With You!’

Bishop David Zubik
Bishop David Zubik
by Kathleen Gilbert –
Saying it’s “really hard to believe that it happened,” the bishop of Pittsburgh has taken aim at the Obama administration’s birth control mandate.

“It comes like a slap in the face. The Obama administration has just told the Catholics of the United States, ‘To Hell with you!’” wrote Bishop David Zubik in a hard-hitting column appearing on the diocese’s website. “There is no other way to put it.”

Catholic bishops have been up in arms ever since the administration indicated it would force virtually all employers to cover all birth control, including drugs that can cause early abortions, like Plan B and ella. Last week, Catholic Church leaders were aghast to hear that, upon further consideration, the administration had refused to back down, instead simply giving outraged faith-based groups another year to comply with the mandate. [Read more…]

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Metropolitan Jonah’s Prayer on March for Life 2012

Metropolitan Jonah and Archbishop Timothy Dolan
Metropolitan Jonah and Archbishop Timothy Dolan
Metropolitan Jonah –
As reported earlier on oca.org, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah offered the opening prayer during the program that preceded the March for Life here on Monday, January 23, 2012.

“Roman Catholic Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who is in charge of pro-life activities, invited the Orthodox bishops to stand together with the Roman Bishops, as we are of one mind in regards to Life, and for us to begin to alternate giving the opening prayer for the March,” Metropolitan Jonah said, reflecting on the March. “This year, they gave the honor to me to bless the opening of the March for Life on their behalf, as well as on behalf of the Orthodox. With me at that podium, at my request, was Cardinal-elect Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York.

“This is a significant ecumenical event, a strong gesture of unity, and a great symbol of the respect of the Roman Catholic Church for the Orthodox Church in America,” Metropolitan Jonah continued. “We are of one mind in opposition to abortion as a fundamental doctrinal and moral position, in accordance with the ancient Tradition of the undivided orthodox catholic Church.” [Read more…]

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