Mel Gibson and wife Robyn to divorce

Those who hold to conservative family values still end up in the same messy situations. Rep. New Gingrich, Pastor Ted Haggard, Senator Larry Craig.  Now it’s actor Mel Gibson’s turn.  Hollywood is as mixed up as always.  Mel Gibson’s adulterous affair with actor Oksana Grigorieva has recently resulted in an out of wedlock child, Lucia, born on October 30, 2009.  Grigorieva who is 39 has another child out of wedlock whose biological father is former James Bond actor Timothy Dalton.  He probably has no intention of marrying her.

Wife Robyn Moore, his wife of 28 years, and Mel Gibson will be getting a divorce. Gibson had seven children with his wife Robyn and now that’s all coming to an end.  Sad…truly sad.  I feel for his children. I wonder how that is going to affect their children?

Gibson is a committed Roman Catholic who attended the traditional mass in Latin and even drove his children to church.   After Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ (2004), I learned more about Gibson and got to admire his piety, but recently, any respect he garnered from conservative Catholics and protestants will be lost.  But of course, we still pray for him.

Since he believes in pre-Vatican II theology, his infidelity and divorce and be the cause of his wife’s and his own adultery in the future.  When he marries again, his second marriage will be considered adulterous.  The only way for Gibson to avoid adultery would be to annul the marriage and say he made a mistake after 28 years of being married to the same woman.  He could afford it.  One billion minus $500 million leaves him with $500 million.  Yeah, I think he can afford it.  Oksana Grigorieva will still like that.



Evangelicals and Catholics Together: Mary and the evangelical mind

In the November 2009 edition of First Things, a Roman Catholic journal on religion, culture, and public life, the Statement of Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) article: “Do Whatever He Tells You: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Christian Faith and Life” addressed the issue of Mary, which is an important to our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters.   It was very balanced and well thought out in my opinion. Previously, I have heard the defense for Mary from a Catholic point-of-view but what stands out most in this article was the evangelical admission of ignorance of doctrinal beliefs held by Catholics regarding Mary.

Despite all this common ground, however, both Marian dogma and Marian devotion remain contentious issues. Evangelicals understand that the Catholic Church does not equate adoration of God (latria) and veneration for Mary (hyperdoulia). It seems to many Evangelicals, however, that the devotion of some Catholics to Mary can obscure the preeminence, unique sinlessness, and sole salvific sufficiency of Jesus Christ as well as the common pneumatological ground of worship for all Christians who pray “through Christ in the Spirit.”

Emphasis on Mary’s intercessory role, coupled with prayers to Mary, can create confusion between adoration and veneration—and risks leading people away from, rather than to, the Savior. This is especially true in contexts where devotion to Mary is a deeply ingrained part of cultural identity. We do not think this is the intention of Catholic teaching as expressed in Lumen Gentium, and Catholic members of ECT have addressed in helpful ways exaggerations of Marian piety. In an age of syncretism and radical pluralism, the recent statements by Pope Benedict XVI declaring Jesus Christ the one and only Savior are an encouragement to all faithful Christians. We acknowledge that there is little Evangelical reflection on any of these Marian themes, certainly nothing commensurate with the vast Catholic literature in the field. This stems from Protestant neglect of Mary, born of a conviction that the Catholic portrait of Mary exceeds its biblical warrants. Full article…

The mysterious claims of apparitions of Mary at Lourdes, Fatima, and Guadalupe have occasionally caught my attention, hence, the mystique behind Mary.  However, deep inside, I admit that I have secretly held Marian teaching with a slight contempt, simply because it seems like Mary’s humanity should be so obvious to us as Christians.  We regard her as a person not without sin, therefore, the Catholic doctrine of Mary’s Immaculate Conception is unnatural to the evangelical mind.  I have read and heard many Catholics address her as The Blessed Virgin Mary.  To address her as such gives us evangelicals a funny feeling inside because the concept of her being so blessed would almost stand on the verge of idolatry.  That is why evangelicals do not even go there.

We ask ourselves: “Is Mary really that blessed that she should deserve the title The Blessed Virgin Mary?…and why Mary, and not Peter, Paul, James and John?”  Sure Mary was blessed to give birth to Jesus the Christ but she was still only a human being.  However, the more I think about this, I don’t think I would have any problem with this title of honor.  However, what seems to give us evangelicals problems concerning Mary is the adoration and veneration given to her; herein lies the underlying fear.

I know the ECT article addressed this, but protestants, in general, do still get the impression from Roman Catholics that Mary is so highly regarded as a saint that the veneration of her as a saint could lead one to worship her, and pray to her as a secondary mediator after Jesus.  Evangelicals and protestants do not pray to Mary, let alone to any other saint.  In the evangelical mind, it would be on the verge of idolatry to pray to anyone else but to God Himself.  As evangelicals, we have always been taught that the only mediator and intercessor between humans and God is Jesus Christ himself.

I have no trouble with Mary’s virgin birth.  In fact, Mary’s virginal concept is an orthodox doctrine that evangelicals cherish.   It is actually seen as a bellwether test of orthodoxy, and it is usually included in many of our statements of beliefs.  However, this doctrine of Mary’s virgin birth is not on the forefront of the evangelical mind.  Should it be?

All Saints Day: any saints today deserving of recognition?

In the earliest days, St. John the Baptist and the early martyrs were honoured by a special day. The earliest day was traced back to Sunday after Pentecost. During the persecution under Diocletian’s rule there were a great number of Christians martyred so this common day was appointed by theRoman Catholic Church (RCC). Gradually, more saints were added to the list of saints including patron saints recognized by the RCC, plus saints like Luther and Calvin added by protestant churches.

I found out how a person becomes a Catholic saint according to the RCC:

1) The person must have exhibited heroic virtues in life;
2) There must have been a confirmed miracle attributed to the person; and
3) There must be another miracle attributed to his/her intercession.

If a person meets these three requirements, then he/she is canonized by the Roman Catholic Church as a saint.

Today, there are almost as many saints as there are days in the year. But why stop now? Today, I think many more saints of the Lord who are not Roman Catholic but are evangelicals. Protestants, evangelicals, and charismatics who claim numerous uncountable miracles are not as big on celebrating saints like the RCC but who are, nevertheless, deserving of the same commemoration as martyrs.

Why not open All Saints’ Day to all deserving candidates? Are there any lesser-known saints you know of who deserves to be recognized by us today?

Pope Benedict makes it easier for disenchanted Anglicans to convert

Since the consecration of the openly gay Bishop gene Robinson in 2003 and the blessing of same-sex marriages in the Anglican Church in Canada (ACC), there was no turning back.  The wedge was set and hammered into the heart of the Anglican Communion across the U.S. and Canada.  Now it’s open season.

It is now easier for disenchanted Anglicans to convert to Roman Catholicism.  The new constitution will allow groups of disenchanted Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church while keeping some of its Anglican traditions—even some Anglican liturgy.  This openness from Rome will allow the appointment of leaders and bishops to oversee former Anglican churches.  It will even allow married Anglican priests to be ordained as Roman Catholic priests, except for bishops. Sorry bishops.

In response, Cardinal George said in a USCCB press release:

“Today the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has received word of the new Provision in the form of an apostolic constitution issued by the Holy See for the reception into full communion with the Catholic Church of groups from the Anglican tradition. The USCCB stands ready to collaborate in the implementation of that Provision in our country.

“This step by the Holy See is in response to a number of requests received in Rome from groups of Anglicans seeking corporate reunion. The application of the new Provision recognizes the desire of some Anglicans (Episcopalians) to live the Catholic faith in full, visible communion with the See of Peter, while at the same time retaining some elements of their traditions of liturgy, spirituality and ecclesial life which are consistent with the Catholic faith. full article…

Is this easy pathway the best for disenchanted Anglicans?  It’s an easy way to stick it to the Episcopal Church and Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury but is the Roman Catholic Church the only place to turn to for protestants of the liturgical tradition?  Traditional Anglicans have nowhere else left to turn to right now because the Lutheran Church (ELCA) has become as liberal as the Episcopal Church.  But who wants to join a church that carries the name of an excommunicated Augustinian priest?  Anglicans still have a choice. Pre-existing Lutherans don’t.

It’s nice that Rome is so open to receiving disenchanted Anglicans but I wonder why Pope Benedict is so eager?    It almost seems like this is open season in the Roman Church…anything goes and everything is up for grabs.  He is becoming as anxious and eager as evangelical protestants in receiving new converts.  Evangelical churches, watch out.  Rome is coming and competing with evangelicals in converting the converted.  Pope Benedict really knows what he’s doing.  He’d make evangelicals proud because he’s outdoing the evangelicals in evangelism in typical evangelical-style.  It seems like the only church that isn’t doing much evangelism to Episcopalians is the Episcopal Church, which will be sliced and chopped apart.  Oh, but we can’t forget about the other evangelical Anglican churches competing for disenchanted Anglicans (e.g., ACNA).

Is it going to be so easy for Anglicans to recognize the pope as their leader?  The risk for the Roman Catholic Church is that it may even reopen the issue of celibacy in the priesthood.  I wonder what deacons in the RCC think about this?

Cardinal George Responds to Vatican Announcement on Anglican Groups Entering Catholic Church


(Hat tip for video: Tim).