Sunday, December 09, 2007


Lutheran (LCMS) pastor Paul McCain today kindly (and I mean that) emailed me to let me know that I'm banned from commenting at his blog, noting that its not an open forum.

I replied that I appreciated him letting me know, but I also noted that I'm not sure what I said that he took issue with. In the last couple days, I've made three comments at his blog: one, here, wondering what his thoughts on Benedict's new encyclical Spe Salvi were; another, here, expressing concern (with him) about a Knight of Columbus who supposedly said, in regard to some relics of the Magi, "This is the closest I'm going to get to God in my physical lifetime"; and a final comment back at the first post I'd commented on, trying to clarify to another commenter that almsgiving in the context of indulgences wasn't very different from his own understanding of almsigiving and its potential effect on our sanctification.

It's the final comment which I think got me banned, but I'm not really sure why. Pastor McCain stated that he's not inclined to feature folks who are "intent on promoting faulty understanding and error." Now, given that I was simply trying to clarify that Catholic teaching on indulgences & almsgiving, I'm not sure how I was doing so, but there you go. Based on prior interactions with Pastor McCain and the history of his blog, I am inclined to think that he simply isn't interested in having his preconceptions regarding Catholicism challenged: he's confident that he understands Catholic teaching, and he isn't interested in haven't his understanding questioned. Nor is he interested in entering into dialogue with Catholics in order to confirm that his understanding is in fact accurate.

C'est la vie. There are plenty of other Christians -- including Catholics -- with similar mindsets, and while I'm disappointed that Pastor McCain has no interest in ecumenical dialogue, I can't say that I'm that surprised... for many of us who take confessional orthodoxy seriously, it can be difficult to understand the point of ecumenical dialogue. So while I am saddened by his actions in banning me, I applaud Pastor McCain for desiring to promote Lutheran orthodoxy on his blog. I only hope that at some point he realizes that one can uphold one's orthodoxy while simultaneously dialoguing with those of differing confessions.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Pope Benedict and the Jews

The First Things blog recently posted an article by Jewish scholar David Dalin on John Paul the Great and the Jews, extolling the late great pontiff for his relationships and engagement with the Jewish people, both on a personal and pastoral level.

In his conclusion, Dalin also makes reference to our current Bishop of Rome: "Pope Benedict XVI, like Pope John Paul II, is known to be a staunch friend of the Jewish people and the State of Israel and a vocal critic of anti-Semitism. [...] John Paul II was the heir and exemplar of a long a venerable philo-Semitic tradition within papal–Jewish relations, [!!!] a tradition of papal friendship and support for the Jewish people that has continued with John Paul II’s successor, Pope Benedict XVI."