|Catholic News Watch|
|March 15, 2006|
|REMNANT COLUMNIST, New York|
Protestant Churches Celebrate “Evolution Sunday”
On Sunday, February 12, 2006, nearly 450 Protestant churches in the United States celebrated “Evolution Sunday,” according to a report from Ekklesia (Feb. 13, 2006). These churches proclaim that Darwin`s theory of biological evolution is compatible with faith and that Christians have no need to choose between religion and science.
The event was organized by Michael Zimmerman, dean of the College of Letters and Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, who hoped to demonstrate that Christian leaders and members of the clergy do not have to choose between Biblical creation accounts and the theory of evolution. "Those very shrill, shrieking voices of the Christian fundamentalists we hear so often are not speaking for all Christians," said Zimmerman.
A variety of denominational and non-denominational churches, including Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Unitarian, Congregationalist, United Church of Christ, Baptist and a host of community churches participated in the event, which grew out of Zimmerman`s “Clergy Letter Project,” another effort to dispel the perception among many Christians that faith and evolution are mutually exclusive.
For the Clergy Letter Project, Zimmerman got more than 10,000 Christian ministers to sign a letter urging school boards across the country to "preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge." As part of Evolution Sunday, many churches held adult education and Sunday school classes on evolution, and ministers preached that followers of Christ do not have to choose between biblical stories of creation and evolution. Some churches even sang praises for "tall boiling test tubes" and "classrooms and labs."
Comment: The recent flirtations with the theory of evolution on the part of some members of the Catholic hierarchy have rightly disgusted those remaining Catholics who can still tell the difference between Susan Hayward and Cheetah. Therefore, a true Catholic “blast from the past” is in order right about now. As an antidote to the omnipresent and nauseating deification of “St. Darwin,” I would like to share with you an obituary of Charles Darwin which was published on May 4, 1882 in Der Nordstern, a German-language Catholic newspaper published in Saint Cloud, Minnesota from 1874 to 1936. The title of this obituary is “The Greatest Ape Goes Home,” and it would make a nice little sermon for a future “Evolution Sunday”:
On Thursday the 20th of April, there died in London after an illness of several days, Charles Darwin, the great ape of the 19th century. Although Atheists and Materialists believe in Darwinism, that Mankind is descended from Apes, since the time that Darwin's work "The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex" was published, and they greeted it with great jubilation, nevertheless the triumph that they anticipated perished after a short time. Shortly thereafter the Darwinian teaching came under the purview of the most illustrious of nature experts without taking into consideration its religious or ethical aspects, and they became categorically opposed.
Already a long time has passed since one has heard of the teachings of Charles Darwin. His supporters disseminate material and are not deterred from spreading his teachings, so the death of the originator of these inept ape theories, the teaching of the descent of man from apes, will result in their interment also. Darwin will also be found to have become apish in his Zoological studies and observations which have made an ape of him. Indeed, not from apes do we descend, but rather from a man, with a body and a soul.
Evolution Sunday was hatched in order to coincide with the 197th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth. With more and more modern scientists forsaking Darwin’s grotesque fantasies, this on-the-money obituary would make a handy little sermon for the next “Evolution Sunday” (if there is one).
Ancient Heresy Resurfaces as Marian Movement
The Catholic Sentinel Blog reports (Feb. 10, 2006) that Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal of Cebu, Philippines sent his resignation letter to the Vatican amidst speculations that this move may be related to the “Mary-Is-God Catholic Movement” operating in his archdiocese.
The Mary-Is-God Catholic Movement (MIGCM) describes itself as consisting of “faithful Catholics devoting our lives to the proclamation of the True Message of Our Lady of Fatima and the preservation of our True Faith.” It was founded on September 16, 2005 by Dominic Sanchez Falar, who alleges that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him in August of 1994 and thereafter revealed to him the Sacred Mysteries of the Catholic Faith, mysteries concerning the Church, the Papacy, the Antichrist and the end times. Of the revelations supposedly imparted by the Mother of God to Dominic, three are paramount. The first of these is the Final Dogma of the Catholic Church which states that Mary is God, that Mary is the Soul of the Holy Spirit. The second of these the visionary has confided to only a few Priests. And the third is what he must reveal at an appropriate time to expose the True Antichrist.
MIGCM founder Dominic Sanchez Falar believes that he has revealed the true Message of Fatima. On January 10, 2006, he explained why he waited until Fatima visionary Sister Lucia dos Santos was dead before revealing what he knew. “If only my true intention was to prove that I knew something about the Third Secret of Our Blessed Mother,” said Falar, “right there and then I would have revealed to the world Her True Message at Fatima. But this message is not mine but rather of God. And so I waited until The Most Holy Spirit, in His Infinite Mercy, gave me the sign to reveal His Will.”
Falar claims that Pope John Paul II lied about the message of Our Lady of Fatima, allowing the concoction of a fake third secret designed to deceive the faithful into believing that all is already well and that the Third Secret of Fatima concerns no Dogma of Faith. He also accuses Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Ratzinger, of masterminding the false third secret revealed in 2000 by the Vatican. Falar claims that the Dogma Mary-Is-God will, in the end, identify the faithful members of “the Most Holy Spirit’s Church, as totally and absolutely His own and consequently prepare us for the Second Coming of Our Lord and God Jesus Christ.”
Archbishop Vidal was ordained on March 17, 1956 and was elected bishop in 1971. He has led the Cebu archdiocese since September 1982.
While The Catholic Sentinel Blog reports that Vidal’s resignation came after various requests for an official statement on the Mary-Is-God Catholic Movement, another Catholic website, www.catholic-hierarchy.org, states that the resignation was submitted on the occasion of Vidal’s 75th birthday and quotes him as saying that, “If the Holy Father will allow me to stay and if the Cebuanos would want me to stay, I will stay (as Archbishop of Cebu).” The site also claims that a source inside the Archbishop’s Palace revealed that there is a big possibility that the Pope will not accept Vidal's retirement “because he is still very strong and able.” As of this writing, no official statement has been issued on the matter by the Vatican.
Comment: In The Book of Ecclesiastes we read, “Nothing under the sun is new.” This is especially true regarding heresy. All the lies and doctrinal distortions that plagued the early Church resurface every now and then under new names and with new vocabularies, but the poison is the same.
Self-styled Marian visionary, Dominic Sanchez Falar, peppers his writing with the things loyal Catholics love to hear. He decries false ecumenism and the assaults against the Catholic Faith (and the Fatima Message) perpetrated by the shepherds in charge of defending it. But his “Mary-Is-God Catholic Movement” is nothing more that the resurgence of a heresy that afflicted the Catholic Faith from the mid-fourth to the mid-fifth centuries.
These ancient heretics were called Kollyridians. Consisting mainly of women and led by priestesses, the members of this sect offered Divine worship to the Virgin Mary. Combining pagan and Catholic ritual into a new goddess-liturgy, the Kollyridians offered small cakes or special breads to Mary. These cakes or breads were called kollyra, hence the name of the sect. St. Epiphanius of Salamis (+403), Father of the Church, described these heretics thus: “Certain women there in Arabia have introduced this absurd teaching from Thracia – how they offer up a sacrifice of bread rolls in the Name of the ever-Virgin Mary, and all partake of this bread."
St. Epiphanius was an enthusiastic opponent of the Kollyridians. He addressed their errors in his work, Panarion (“Medicine Basket”), also known as Adversus Haereses (“Against the Heresies”):
Yes, Mary’s body was holy, but it was not God. Yes, the Virgin was surely a virgin and worthy of honor; however, she was not given us for us to adore her. She herself adored Him Who was born of her flesh, having descended from heaven and from the bosom of the Father. Honor Mary, but let the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost be worshiped, but let no one worship Mary....even though Mary is most beautiful and holy and venerable, yet she is not to be worshipped.
One need only look at Our Lady’s own Magnificat to see that she never claimed to possess a Divine nature. Quite the contrary, for she sang “My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior .... Because He that is mighty, hath done great things to me, and holy is His name.” If MIGCM founder Dominic Sanchez Falar saw an apparition which claimed to be both Mary and God, the best thing he could have done was turn and run for his life!
And speaking of there being nothing new under the sun, don’t those ancient Kollyridian gals remind you way too much of today’s New Age, Gaia-worshipping, ordination-happy, feminist “nuns?”
Update on Italian Crucifix Case
The Italian news agency, ANSA, reports (Feb. 15, 2006) that “Italy's highest administrative court ruled on Wednesday that crucifixes should remain in the country's classrooms as a symbol of key Italian values.”
In what could turn into a landmark decision, the Council of State threw out a case brought by a Finnish woman who had asked for the removal of crucifixes in the Padua school attended by her children. The judges issued a 19-page statement explaining that, as well as being a religious symbol, the crucifix was also a symbol of "the values which underlie and inspire our constitution, our way of living together peacefully." They said principles such as tolerance, respect and the rights of individuals, which were now pillars of Italy's secular state, had their origins in Christianity. "In this sense the crucifix can have a highly educational symbolic function, regardless of the religion of the pupils," they added .
The judges also argued that the concept of the secular state, in which the temporal and spiritual dimensions were kept separate, was interpreted and applied in different ways according to a country's history.
Despite its strong Catholic tradition, Catholicism is no longer Italy's state religion, and the separation of Church and State is set down by the postwar Constitution. But crucifixes are still customary in Italy's public buildings. In the case of schools, it is usually councils of teachers and parents who tend to decide whether they want crosses in the classroom. Similar arrangements are in place in other public buildings.
In the past few years, the presence of crucifixes in public buildings has begun to spark controversy. Recently, Italian judge Luigi Tosti, who refused to have crosses in his court room, was suspended by the judiciary's self-governing body. He was also convicted by a criminal court of refusing to perform his duties and given a seven-month suspended sentence .
Meanwhile, the militant Union of Italian Muslims (UMI) has been in the public spotlight for some time thanks to a campaign to have crosses removed from schools and hospitals. In 2003, UMI leader Adel Smith won a court order for the removal of crosses at the school his children attended. The order was later reversed after a nationwide protest.
C of E Launches New “Gay” Group
According to Ekklesia (Feb. 28, 2006), “a bishop is giving his support to lesbian and gay equality in the Church of England, by helping to launch a new gay Christian group in his diocese.” The Rt. Rev. Richard Lewis, Bishop of the St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese, will launch the group when he is the keynote speaker at a new branch of Changing Attitude, a worldwide group that works for gay and lesbian affirmation within the Anglican communion. Lewis is one of the organization's 13 episcopal patrons.
The goal of Changing Attitude is to create a church which "fully accepts, welcomes and offers equality of opportunity to lesbian, gay and bisexual people." A spokesman for the bishop told The East Anglican Daily: “This is a subject that is close to his heart. Lesbian and gay Christians have made, and will continue to make, an important contribution to the work of the Church. As patron of the Changing Attitude group he is delighted that Suffolk is launching its own branch, adding to the 22 already in existence.”
One of the meeting's organizers is the Rev. Andrew Dotchin, vicar of Whitton church, Ipswich, who said: “Many Christians are unhappy about the way lesbian and gay people are treated by society and some parts of the Church. The aim of our group is to provide support and comfort for lesbian and gay people and their family and friends. We also offer resources to help people explore the relationship between the scriptures, the Church and people of varied sexual orientations. Just getting this far and organizing a first meeting has already helped so many people realize they are not alone and that they have friends and supporters within the Church.”
Comment: According to the Miriam-Webster Dictionary, a disconnect is “a lack of or break in connection, consistency, or agreement.” The original Protestant revolution was just that, a disconnect from the Truths imparted by Jesus Christ to His Church – truths concerning the Real Presence, the Papacy, the Sacraments, the Church, etc. And, even today, the problems besetting the Catholic Church stem from a disconnect between our ecclesial hierarchy and the pure doctrinal faith of their forefathers (whether this disconnect is the result of malice or ignorance).
Rev. Dotchin speaks about exploring “the relationship between the scriptures, the Church and people of varied sexual orientations.” The Scriptures have one thing, and one thing only, to say regarding “varied sexual orientations.” But why should this matter to C of E bishops?
This pandering to the homosexual agenda, all in the name of “changing attitudes,” is just one more reason why members of the Church of England are feeling more and more compelled to return to the Catholic Church – even today’s debilitated, barely afloat Barque of Peter, run as it is by bishops who are for the most part as bedeviled as their feminized Anglican counterparts.
Largest-Ever Roman Building Found In Leicester
According to The Leicester Mercury (Feb. 14, 2006), archaeologists believe that they have discovered the remains of the largest-ever Roman building found in Leicester, England. The dwelling, thought to have been either a hotel for Roman officials visiting the city or the home of a wealthy family, is 230 feet long – equivalent to 15 terraced houses. The discovery was made in Vine Street in the city center, yards from the former St. Margaret's Baths site, where archaeologists recently found the skeletons of 1,300 people in a medieval cemetery.
Evidence of Roman existence in the area was first reported in May of 2005, when experts thought they had found the remains of a wealthy family's townhouse. But the excavation has proved much larger than originally thought. Richard Buckley, director of University of Leicester Archaeology Services, said his team had not expected such a large discovery: "The surprising thing is that we didn't expect any Roman activity here in this side of the city. We certainly did not expect this sort of density of population. Until this development, this part of Leicester is blank on Roman history and this shows there was industrial, residential and commercial activity over this part of town.”
The ancient building is located at the junction of two streets with rooms arranged around a central courtyard, served by several corridors with some containing fragments of mosaic pavements. One of the rooms is equipped with a hypocaust, an ancient central heating system, thought to be part of a small bath suite with a plunge bath.
Another large Roman building, 98 feet long, dating from the third century was also discovered. The unusually thick walls, around 1.2 meters, suggest it could have been a public building used for storage. Mr. Buckley said: "We also found two lead seals marked with the initials of the 6th and 20th legions in both areas. No doubt this will help us to understand the era and period a bit more and this is a significant find for the city.”
The site of present day Leicester was once the fortified town of Ratae Coritanorum. It was built by the Romans on the Fosse Way, the military road running from Lincoln to Cirencester, and was fitted out with public buildings by the Emperor Hadrian. Regarding the discovery of the large dwelling discovered in Leicester, Chris Wardle, a city archaeologist, said: "We knew Leicester was a Roman city, but the findings suggests that part of town was intensely occupied."