There was an old brain teaser that went something like "What you think I said is not what I meant." Sometimes these misunderstandings can come about by our 'listening to the headlines'. For example, the Church teaching "Outside the Church there is no salvation", on the surface, seems elitist and exclusionary. Yet, if one reads past the title, they see how the Church has always deemed those who follow God as they were taught about Him, as members of the Church. But we also have the problem of hedging on words, making them fit what we want. A child may say that he won't play with matches. But when caught with matches say that he wasn't playing, but was trying to light the candle. Language is a tool we use to convey our thoughts and feelings. But as any con man knows, language can also be used to confuse, mislead and distort.
A recent study said that boys in school are ten times more likely to receive special attention than girls. However, what the study failed to mention was that the boys were ten times more likely to be disruptive and THAT was the cause of the special attention. Not an anti-female bias.
This confusion in language seems to be more prevalent today than ever before and all sorts of things are affected by it, even Church teaching and the Scriptures. For example, St. John writes "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). Yet, in the Jehovah Witness scriptures we read it as "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." A simple word, yet the difference is from night and day. That Christ is not God, but rather 'A' god.
Even well intentioned translations can cause great changes and errors. Martin Luther believed in the Immaculate Conception, writing in 1527, "The infusion of Mary's soul was effected without original sin…From the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin." (Sermon "On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God.") Yet, he felt that the angelic greeting to Mary was better translated as "highly favored" rather than, '"full of grace". Yet, from his translation came the error that Mary was 'only' highly favored and not full of grace. That she was made sinless at the moment of the angel's greeting or was never sinless.
And then there is the normal word changes that are used to confuse. In the King James version, the commission added 'firkins' to John 2:6. Today, one would be hard pressed to know a firkin was an English unit of measure, about a quart or a barrel. It may have clarified things to the British in the 17th century, but we'd have no idea what they meant.
In the Douay-Rheims Bible St. Paul is quoted as saying "Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor exhortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6: 9-10).
Today it reads: "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God."
Many will use the fact that the term homosexual was not used until the 1800's as an excuse that St. Paul never condemned homosexual activity. Though words may change, it doesn't take a lot of work to see what is meant.
But today, we seem to be seeing language that is so vague and ambigious as to be left open to all sorts of interpretaions. For example, in the Mass, at the offertory, we say, "May the Lord accept the sacrifice from your hands, for the praise and glory of His name. For our welfare and that of His church." But we once said, "May the Lord receive this sacrifice at Thy hands, to the praise and glory of His name, to our own benefit, and to that of all His holy Church." Is the implication that the Church is no longer holy? We know that the people IN the Church may not be holy, but the Church is. What change in teaching can this be used to promote? That the Catholic Church is NOT the Church founded by Christ? That there is no difference between the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations or other religions? Coupled with definition of the word catholic to imply that ALL things are universally accepted, does imply the Church must accept all things, beliefs, etc?
"We are Church" is another. Is it, "We are A Church", "We are THE Church", or what? Does it mean that the people are the teaching authority of the Church (the slant of the "We Are Church" campaign of Call To Action)? All sorts of things can be inferred from this phrase.
Many may also hear this before a Mass. "Today's Presider is Fr…………" Presider? According to the dictionary a presider is one who acts as a chairman of a meeting, who directs or controls a meeting. Is that what the priest is at the Mass? Is he presiding over a meeting of the community? A prayer meeting? Sure, Protestant pastors and ministers can be called presiders, but not Catholic priests. Since they 'celebrate' the sacrifice of the Mass, they are more Celebrant than Presider. Even the dictionary acknowledges this. "One who celebrates, esp. the officiating priest in the celebration of the Eucharist." Does one have to be a priest to 'preside' at a meeting of the faithful? Any one can 'preside' but only a priest can 'celebrate' the Mass.
More and more, one may hear this in the Mass. "Lamb of God, who takes away the SIN of the world….." Sin? Singular? Which sin specifically did He take away? I've heard it said that SIN can be used as a singular as well as plural. I can't find any justification of that view. But it seems odd that such a broad sweep would seem to be acceptable when, at the same time, we have to be specific in view of gender.
We can't say we are brethren (denoting a spiritual brotherhood, among men and women), no, we have to specify sisters and brothers. We can't say Christ came to redeem all mankind, but all humankind. We can't say God the Father, but we must couch it in vague generalities, such as Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier, etc.
Many of these may not be 'wrong', but without a solid understanding, they can, and will, lead off into error, just as Luther's "highly favored" led many to deny Mary's Immaculate Conception and her unique position in THE Church.
From the reaction of some reviewers, it would seem there is. True, most movie critics agree that the drama, in the words of L.A. Times film critic, Kenneth Turan, is "ponderous and plodding" compared to the original trilogy, while others, let's call them 'Christian critics,' have focused on some of the more specifically spiritual elements that to them are cause for concern for Christian viewers.
Although the original Star Wars series was complete with religious-sounding karmas like "The force be with you!" and the Franciscan-looking warrior monk Obi-Wan Kenobi, some seem to think that, in this latest of the series, creator-writer-director and resident mythologist, George Lucas, is pushing the envelope a little too far with new elements of the Star Wars myth that comes conspicuously close to mocking Christian scriptures and beliefs.
In an internet movie review, complete with stills from the main scenes of the new release, David Bruce and John Vitti remark that "there are lots of parallels to the Bible. Anakin has no father, 'virgin born' like Christ. He is a slave (living in a desert) hoping some day to set his people free, like Moses. Jedi Knight Qii-Gon Jinn believes that Anakin is the Promised One (Christ) of prophecy who will bring harmony to the universe and proclaims his belief as John the Baptist did of Christ. Anakin has a unique connection to the Force, as Jesus did to the Holy Spirit."
In one scene, Anakin stands before the Jedi council, "as Jesus did before the temple priests" and hears words -- they maintain -- that are very similar to the Gospel passage of Matthew 11:3, "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" (http://hollywoodjesus.com/phantom_menace.htm)
Even Queen Amidala, the young matriarch of the besieged universe, in her elaborate costumes and headdresses, often seems to come complete with an artificial, or should we say, computer-generated, halo.
Of course, Lucas has been quick to play down the religious- mythological aspects of the plot to emphasize that it's really just an action movie made for 13 year-olds. At a New York news conference last week, Lucas told reporters: "It's only a movie." And referring to those who try to read too much into his script, he added, "People should get a life."
In the May 22 edition of World Magazine, R. Albert Mohler points out that, thanks in part to Lucas' original Star Wars trilogy, "in the years since 1977, Americans have become primary consumers of Eastern philosophies and ancient mythologies -- dumbed down for popular consumption and dressed up for a media age."
"The mythology of Star Wars," Mohler continues, "is perfectly adapted to the spiritual confusion of postmodern America. 'Go with the Force' is about all many citizens can muster as spirituality. When Christianity ceases to be the dominant worldview of a culture, paganism is quick to fill the void."
Whatever the spiritual or mythical undertones of the new "Star Wars, Episode I - The Phantom Menace," it's sure to be a box-office buster that will set new cultural standards, as high or low as that may be, at least until the next sequel to the prequel is released. So brace yourself for the barrage of Pepsi promotions and new double-bladed laser toys that are about to invade the everyday lives of our children today and their fantasies tomorrow. And ... May the force be with you! Whatever that means. ZE99052121
The Countess of Salisbury, the last living member of the Catholic Plantagenet Dynasty that ruled England from 1154 to 1485, is beheaded by order of the rebellious King Henry VIII as persecutions of Catholics intensified throughout England.
O! If only my children would open their hearts to my pleadings! How eagerly would I obtain for them great oceans of graces to assist them. An open heart is a gentle, loving heart. An open heart does not remain angry. It is not filled with bitterness. In its sorrow an open heart weeps, but the tears wash clean the soul because it is united as one with my Divine Son's Sacred Passion.
I need all of my little ones to become as little chicks who, when the threat of danger is near, will be willing to seek the protection of my Immaculate Mantle and will let me usher them into the Refuge of my Son's Sacred Heart.
You still have not understood my words. That is why you find prayer difficult. You do not pray from and with your heart. You begin, but soon you become discouraged and you cease in your efforts.
I, your Mother, the Mother of God, do solemnly tell you that you must daily renew your resolve to pray with the heart. You must learn to be steadfast and persevering, for in this way you will become as a little child, filled with total trust in God.
Again, I repeat to you. Read the message given to you on July 25th. Ponder these words in your heart and let the Holy Spirit enlighten you.
Pray much, my children, for all I have spoken is being fulfilled now and you are ill-prepared.
I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!
Tell all my children that my Immaculate Heart is glad at the honor given to God by honoring the Father's right to assume my body and soul into Heaven.
This is a very special feast day, my children, and if you are truly beneath my mantle, you will strive in every possible way to attend Mass and receive my Divine Son worthily. O! Rejoice, my children, for on this day I intercede for you and place all your petitions before the throne of God.
I am your Mother, and I share all of your sorrows. O! Dear children, be always humble little children. Be steadfast in your faith, remain obedient in all things to my beloved Pope John Paul II. Please pray for my Divine Son's Vicar as he is greatly persecuted and has yet much work to accomplish.
Dear little children, do not grow lukewarm for I solemnly tell you that as each day passes all I have foretold is being fulfilled. You do not recognize the fulfillment because you have not discerned my words with the Holy Spirit.
Again I call you to deep prayer from the heart. I call you to be living prayers whose trust in God is without limit. When you are like this God can work in you and through you to fulfill His plan of salvation.
Rejoice with me on this day, for the moment is coming which shall be for all the nations a sign of God's Mercy and Love, but also of His Justice.
Therefore, wait and watch in faith, hope and love.
I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!