Tag Archives: Roman Catholic Church

Liberation Theology?

Pontiff’s desire for Catholic Church to intervene in global economic crisis typifies radical expectations that he is creating, writes George Kerevan.   SCOTSMAN newspaper

WHO is the politician to watch in 2014? Answer: Pope Francis, aka George Mario Bergoglio, 266th head of the Church of Rome with its 1.2 billion members. Marxists talk about a Bonapartist figure: an individual able to command events when the opposing class forces normally shaping history are in temporary equilibrium. Enter unexpectedly from stage left the former nightclub bouncer, chemical technician and Archbishop of Buenos Aires, who last year was elevated to the Papacy on the retirement of Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus).

I am an atheist and so always fascinated by how God intervenes in history. Bergoglio may have no divisions (bar a few hundred Swiss Guard) but he has influence. He arrives in office at a time when global capitalism is going through an existential crisis. If you think George Osborne’s pathetic mini housing boom means the good times are back, forget it. Southern Europe is on the verge of deflationary anarchy. China is a banking crisis waiting to happen. In the west, inequality between plutocratic rich and working poor threatens to undermine support for free market capitalism. Something’s got to give.

Amazingly for such extraordinary times there is a dire shortage of revolutionaries offering revolutionary solutions. The pathetic anti-capitalist left in Europe is noticeable by its absence. All the social democratic mainstream has to offer – if Labour’s Ed Balls is anything to go by – is to take away the winter fuel allowance from millionaires. Golly gosh!

Into this leadership vacuum strides Pope Francis, fresh from the slums of South America where populism is the order of the day. Bergoglio preaches – and, God forbid, practises – the humility of the first St Francis, declaring the need for a “church which is poor and for the poor”. Now speaking as an atheist, I’m sure George Bergoglio is much as other men. I’m sure his Jesuit training has made him a smart operator when it comes to using symbolism. I’m sure there is much to say about his time as a senior cleric during the fascist Argentine junta.

But here’s the rub: Pope Francis has decided personally – because that’s what Popes can do – to reset the political agenda of the Catholic Church towards intervening in the global economic crisis and its underlying social inequalities. He has lit the blue touch paper and soon a political rocket is going to go off. That does not mean Bergoglio has no spiritual agenda as well – he obviously sees the world in spiritual terms. But it does mean he has reversed the agenda of his Austrian predecessor. Ratzinger denounced “faith in progress” preached by the French Revolution and communism. Bergoglio, on the other hand, has opted to take the Church on the offensive – inside and outside the Vatican. When the first thing you prioritise is a Church “for the poor” you are making a revolutionary statement. The best Ed Miliband can do is talk elliptically about “the squeezed middle”.

A waspish Cardinal Dolan of New York told American television that Francis’s left-wing “style” alters nothing of “substance”. Wrong. Listen to Pope Francis denounce contemporary capitalism: “In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenceless before the interests of a deified market, which becomes the only rule. Inequality eventually engenders a violence.” The doyen of the America Tea Party right, radio loudmouth Rush Limbaugh, called this utterance “pure Marxism”. Actually, that’s near enough.

But does this mean that Liberation Theology is taking over the Vatican? Liberation Theology is a term coined by Peruvian Catholic cleric Gustavo Merino for a radical interpretation of Christianity that emerged in Latin America in the 1960s, prioritising social action against extreme poverty. The movement rejected any barrier between religion and politics, with some young priests turning to guerrilla warfare. Polish Pope John-Paul II, with Ratzinger as his enforcer, branded Liberation Theology a heresy.

Bergoglio is on record as formally rejecting Liberation Theology, but actions speak louder than words. One of his first moves on becoming Pope was to invite Gustavo Gutiérrez to Rome to celebrate mass. Francis has also restarted the beatification process for Oscar Romero, the radical Archbishop of El Salvador who was gunned down by death squads in March 1980 while celebrating mass.

Speaking at a meeting of newly-consecrated bishops last September, Bergoglio denounced the “psychology of princes” (ie Vatican insiders). He has set up a new, eight-man advisory council of cardinals with two members from Latin America. Included is the aptly named Archbishop of Munich, Reinhard Marx. A sociologist, Marx wrote a book after the 2008 financial crisis entitled (with a wink) Das Kapital: A Plea for Man. Marx is orthodox in theology but has denounced the German-led austerity programme in the eurozone. That won him the appellation of “Red Cardinal”.

There are risks in Bergoglio’s strategy. His moves to decentralise church governance and consult the laity on moral attitudes could encourage (if unwittingly) centrifugal forces in Catholicism, factional and theological. His removal of a conservative American cardinal from a key Vatican committee, never mind his criticism of the free market, sets Francis at odds with the US hierarchy that provides the Vatican with a disproportionate amount of its income.

Bergoglio may have no direct political power but the more he speaks out the more he will embolden others to act. He has already scheduled a visit to the West Bank in May – watch out for diplomatic fireworks. Another outcome of the new “red” papacy will be to encourage mainstream politicians to be bolder in reforming capitalism.

This month, Francis will announce his first new cardinals. Rumours are rife he might appoint Mary McAleese, former Irish president, as the first-ever woman cardinal (technically cardinals don’t need to be priests). That sounds far fetched but it is indicative of the radical expectations the new Pope is creating.

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God Hates Fag Christmas – from our old friends at the Westboro Baptist “church”

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December 22, 2013 · 14:58

Change and Decay



The Anglican and Catholic Churches have finally realised they must change to survive. But is it too late?

The problem is not adults leaving the church: it is their children never going at all

Have the Christian churches got it at last? Have they understood that it will soon be too late to halt the slow yet relentless decline they have experienced in this country, and on the continent of Europe, for many years? Yes, they are, finally, beginning to face up to reality. For example, the new Pope, Francis, has just published a truly remarkable document, “Evangelii Gaudium” or “The Joy of the Gospel”, in which he asks the Catholic Church to embark upon a fresh chapter of evangelization, and where he describes in great detail how this should be done. And more quietly, but no less insistently, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is engaged in the same task.

Just a word, first, about where one should direct one’s gaze. It is natural to bracket the Pope and the Archbishop together, but so great are the structural differences between the two Churches that this can mislead. In the Roman Catholic Church, everything flows down from the top, whereas in the Church of England authority is widely dispersed. So Popes issue lengthy documents, often of a high quality, in this case an “apostolic exhortation”, and set a new direction. Whereas in the Church of England, archbishops, bishops and the clergy just get on with things. To see what this means in practice, listen to Bishop Stephen Cottrell addressing the Chelmsford Diocesan synod last month. His speech, “Evangelizing Effectively: the next steps”, cannot match the breadth, nor the wonderful biblical language of Pope Francis’s exhortation, but it is directed at the same purpose in a very effective and practical manner.

The Pope first looks with an unforgiving eye at the barriers to missionary ministry that the Church itself erects. In his exhortation, Pope Francis says “I do not want a Church… which… ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures.” Surprisingly, he rails at the “excessive centralisation” which, rather than proving helpful, “complicates the Church’s life and her missionary outreach”. He warns that “mere administration can no longer be enough”. Pope Francis despairs of “the gray pragmatism of the daily life of the Church, in which all appears to proceed normally, while in reality faith is wearing down and degenerating into small‑mindedness”.

He calls this “A tomb psychology”, which slowly transforms Christians into “mummies in a museum”. And in a thrust that could as well be aimed at the Church of England as well as at the Church of Rome, he notes that in some people we see “an ostentatious preoccupation for the liturgy, for doctrine and for the Church’s prestige, but without any concern that the Gospel have a real impact on God’s faithful people and the concrete needs of the present time. In this way, the life of the Church turns into a museum piece or something which is the property of a select few.” Ouch!

Instead the Pope dreams of a “missionary option”, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world. Because he casts care for self-preservation aside, he also emphasises the need to act without “hesitation, reluctance or fear”.

In a passage that will please Anglicans, “Evangelii Gaudium” has high praise for the humble parish, with its church-building, its vicar and its committed lay-people working locally. While certainly not the only institution that evangelizes, if the parish proves capable of self-renewal and constant flexibility, “it continues to be the Church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters”.

But with regard to missionary endeavour, there is a key difference between the Church of Rome and the Church of England. The Pope’s message is a call to make a fresh start, whereas for the Church of England, a renewed focus on evangelization is a work in progress that was begun about 10 years ago. The English initiative proceeds along two parallel routes. The object is to establish either what are called “fresh expressions” of church or to “plant” new churches.

These new congregations are different in ethos and style from the local church that set them up, because they aim to reach a different group of people. They are created primarily for the benefit of those who are not churchgoers. They may take place in cafes, at home, in a church building that has been re-opened after closure, during the week rather than on Sundays; and sometimes they are led by pioneer priests or by trained youth workers. And this is working. Some three quarters of those who participate had either given up attending church or had never been before.

So re-evangelization is easy if you know what to do? Not at all. It is extremely, dauntingly difficult. The crux of the matter is this. The problem is not adults leaving the church; it is their children not following their example. In short, if the Churches cannot recruit young adults, their decline will go on. But the problem is now understood, it has been measured and complacency has evaporated. In other words, a start has been made.


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‘The Vatican: All The Paintings’ Book Opens Up Religious Art Of The Vatican Museum

A new book by Anja Grebe celebrates the stunning art collection of the Vatican by featuring every Old Master painting on display. “The Vatican: All The Paintings” also includes images of sculptures, maps, and tapestries which span centuries of artistic genius.

If geography is destiny, it is only appropriate that the Vatican Museums hold one of the world’s greatest art collections. Home to masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian, the Vatican has always been a place sacred to the arts. The poetic and creative impulses of the hill beside the Tiber are revealed in its name: The ancient Romans called this modest eminence the Mons Vaticanus, a reference to the poets and seers, or vates, who dwelled there. For many centuries, popes, cardinals, and the religious orders were responsible for the realization of dozens of masterpieces. So many of the treasures in the collections of the Vatican Museums—gorgeously reproduced in Black Dog & Leventhal’s The Vatican: All the Paintings and clearly described by Anja Grebe—depict a vibrant and vivid view into a world of beauty and faith. Walking through the Vatican, or turning the pages of the book, we get an incomparable lesson in the history of art and a profound impression of the skill and passion of the artists, and of their wonderful “force of mind.”

— Introduction by Ross King, author of Brunelleschi’s Dome and Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling
Take a look inside with these gorgeous images:
Raphael: Raphael Rooms, The School of Athens
raphael rooms
One of the most famous paintings in the Raphael Rooms is the School of Athens representing philosophy and science, disciplines in which Raphael includes painting and architecture. It is in part an homage to some of the most important artists and scholars active at the papal court at the beginning of the sixteenth century, most importantly the architect Bramante, to whom Raphael owed his recommendation to Julius II. This painting, whose sophisticated perspective opens up a deep vista in the small room, represents an idealized gathering of scholars and artists from the classical world, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance, and constitutes one of Raphael’s greatest achievements.
Michelangelo: Sistine Chapel, The Last Judgment (detail with Christ, The Virgin Mary and Saints)
last judgment
Michelangelo’s enormous painting unites some 390 persons around the central Christ figure, and almost all are naked. The work depicts the resurrection of the dead and their separation into the saved and the damned. While the saved souls ascend to heaven on Christ’s right-hand side, the side of the “just,” the damned descend to hell on his left. The nude figures, particularly the saints, offended many of Michelangelo’s contemporaries. The stern theologians at the Council of Trent denounced the fresco and commissioned painter Daniele da Volterra to paint vestments and fig leaves over some of the naked figures in 1565, a year after Michelangelo died. These alterations were reversed during the chapel’s restoration.
Pinturicchio: Borgia Apartments, Annunciation
The first room Borgia Apartments, the Room of the Mysteries of Faith, is decorated with scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary. The Annunciation of the Birth of Christ is the first in the sequence. Pinturicchio has painted the event, which according to the Gospel of St. Luke occurred in Mary’s house, in a palatial Renaissance-style interior closed off at the back by an architectural element resembling a triumphal arch. The Annunciation itself takes place in the foreground of this rigorously symmetrical fresco. Mary, wearing a blue mantle, kneels on the right and offers a humble gesture of greeting to the angel, who approaches her from the left holding a lily.
Giotto: Pinacoteca, Stefaneschi Polyptych
The Stefaneschi Polyptych is one of the oldest works in the Pinacoteca. It is closely tied to the history of the Vatican. The Florentine painter Giotto di Bondone completed this richly gilded double-sided work between 1320 and 1330 for the high altar of Old St. Peter’s. The polyptych was commissioned by Cardinal Jacopo Caetani Stefaneschi (ca. 1270–1343), whom Giotto portrays at the feet of St. Peter’s throne holding a detailed model of the altar on which the donor himself can be seen. This likeness is regarded as one of the first realistic portraits in the history of painting.
Leonardo da Vinci: Pinacoteca, St. Jerome
da vinci
This panel of St. Jerome is one of Leonardo da Vinci’s more enigmatic works. It was painted around 1482, the year Leonardo moved from Florence to the ducal court in Milan. It is not known why the highly innovative picture was never finished. It may be that the work failed to meet with the approval of a possible patron or that Leonardo’s own perfectionism led him to abandon it. From a contemporary point of view, the work is fascinating precisely because of its sketch-like state, as this affords an insight into Leonardo’s painting method. The work was only identified in the early nineteenth century—by the painter Angelica Kaufmann—as the work of Leonardo. It was acquired by Pius IX for the Pinacoteca Vaticana in 1856.
Raphael: St. Peter Healing a Lame Man, Tapestry
The healing of the lame man was St. Peter’s first miracle as an apostle. According to the Acts of the Apostles, St. Peter healed a crippled beggar by the door of the Temple with the simple words: “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” (Acts 3:6). Raphael sets the scene beneath the mighty twisted columns of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, whose form and decoration Pieter van Aelst has skillfully translated into tapestry. In the center column we see the act of healing taking place, with apostles St. Peter and St. John and the lame man. Raphael has chosen to depict the moment when St. Peter takes the beggar, who is sitting on the floor, by the hand and thereby effects the miracle.
Roman artist: Pio-Clementino Museum, Laocoön
In early 1506 a large marble sculptural group was discovered in the Esquiline vineyards. In his Natural History, the classical author Pliny the Elder (ca. 23–79 AD) describes the Laocoön as a work that is “to be preferred to all other works of painting and sculpture.” This sculptural group, acquired by Julius II in 1506, was one of the earliest works to be exhibited in the Cortile Ottagono and it remains among the most famous of all antique sculptures. Thought to have been made after a Greek bronze original, the group depicts the gruesome death of the Trojan priest Laocoön after warning his fellow citizens of the deception involving the Trojan Horse. Artists such as Michelangelo admired the realistic depiction of the play of muscles, shown here at the point of their greatest exertion, and the convincing facial expressions and gestures of figures in the throes of death.
Roman artist, Pio-Clementino Museum: Apollo Belvedere
The Apollo Belvedere is perhaps the most famous statue in the Vatican Museums and one of the best-known sculptures in the history of art. This figure of the antique god of the Muses and of war was discovered virtually undamaged at the end of the fifteenth century and put on display by Julius II in the Belvedere courtyard by 1508 at the latest. The larger-than-life-size statue depicts Apollo not as the art loving god of the Muses holding a lyre, but instead in a more martial pose. Disseminated in numerous reproductions, the sculpture has been regarded as the epitome of classical beauty ever since it was put on display in the Cortile Ottagono.
Etruscan goldsmith, Gregorian Etruscan Museum: Large Golden Fibula
This large solid-gold fibula, used to fasten its owner’s robes at the shoulder, is one of the most precious objects in the Gregorian Etruscan Museum. It was found in the socalled Regolini-Galassi tomb in a previously undisturbed necropolis at Cerveteri in 1836. Together with other richly decorated gold items that also found their way into the Vatican, the clasp formed part of the ceremonial dress of the deceased, who must have been a member of the highest aristocracy or even the royal family.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter’s Basilica: St. Longinus
st longinus
According to Christian legend, St. Longinus was the soldier who pierced the side of Christ on the cross with his spear (John 19:34). He is also identified with the Roman captain described in the Gospel of St. Mark as having acknowledged Christ’s divinity after seeing him die: “Truly this man was the son of God!” (Mark 15:39). Longinus was the subject of great veneration as the first pagan convert in the Catholic Church. Bernini sculpted the colossal statue of the saint, one of his most famous creations, for the Longinus pier between 1628 and 1638. St. Longinus stands in a contrapposto stance with widespread arms, symbolizing his readiness to embrace the Christian faith. The emotion and excitement of the saint at the moment of recognizing God is revealed through his ecstatic, upward gaze and the agitated folds of his mantle, which are also examples of Bernini’s mastery.
Pietro Perugino, Pinacoteca, Sala VII: Madonna and Child with Saints
The “Madonna and Child with Saints” is one of Pietro Perugino’s most beautiful paintings. Especially stunning is the virtuoso rendering of the sumptuous fabrics. Each figure is given an individual, almost portrait-like expression. The artist proudly signed his masterpiece on the footrest underneath the Madonna.

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Pope Francis tribute to Nelson Mandela

Pope Francis paid tribute to Nelson Mandela on Friday, as he joins the world in grieving the death of one of the world’s most ardent fighters for equality.
He sent a telegram to South African President Jacob Zuma that said:

It was with sadness that I learned of the death of former President Nelson Mandela, and I send prayerful condolences to all the Mandela family, to the members of the Government and to all the people of South Africa. In commending the soul of the deceased to the infinite mercy of Almighty God, I ask the Lord to console and strengthen all who mourn his loss. Paying tribute to the steadfast commitment shown by Nelson Mandela in promoting the human dignity of all the nation’s citizens and in forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation and truth, I pray that the late President’s example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and the common good at the forefront of their political aspirations. With these sentiments, I invoke upon all the people of South Africa divine gifts of peace and prosperity.

Pope Francis and Mandela shared a strong belief in the injustice of poverty. The Pontiff’s most recent apostolic exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium,” slammed the evils of unfettered capitalism and the world’s responsibility towards the poor, stating, “As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems.”
Similarly, Mandela once said, “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.”
pope mandela
Nelson Mandela welcomed Pope John Paul II to South Africa in 1995, and was appreciative of their mutual concern for the poor, commitment to equality, and undying fight for liberation from oppression. On the occasion of Pope John Paul II’s funeral, Mandela said, “Pope John Paul II was a consistent voice articulating the need for moral regeneration and caring for the poor and marginalized.”

Obit Nelson Mandela

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Pope Francis Hopes To Reunite With Orthodox Church, Sends Greetings To Patriarch Of Constantinople Bartholomew I
Dec 02, 2013
Pope Francis sent special greetings to Orthodox Church leader Patriarch Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople that expressed his brotherly love for his fellow spiritual leader. He said that he hoped for continued dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches in the missive delivered by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

“Your Holiness, beloved brother in Christ, this is the first time that I address you on the occasion of the feast of the Apostle Andrew, the first-called. I take this opportunity to assure you of my intention to pursue fraternal relations between the Church of Rome and the Ecumenical Patriarchate,” he said on Nov. 30. Pope Francis continued, “God, the source of all peace and love, has taught us throughout these years to regard one another as members of the same family. For indeed, we have one Lord and Savior. We belong to him through the gift of the good news of salvation transmitted by the apostles, through the one baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity, and through the holy ministry.”

The Pope also referred to the current disconnect between the Catholic and Orthodox churches. “United in Christ, therefore, we already experience the joy of authentic brothers in Christ, while yet fully aware of not having reached the goal of full communion. In anticipation of the day in which we will finally take part together in the Eucharistic feast, Christians are duty-bound to prepare to receive this gift of God through prayer, inner conversion, renewal of life and fraternal dialogue.”

The Pope also mentioned the persecution faced by Christians living in the Middle East, whose plight he has been vocal about before.

“The memory of the martyrdom of the apostle Saint Andrew also makes us think of the many Christians of all the Churches and Ecclesial Communities who in many parts of the world experience discrimination and at times pay with their own blood the price of their profession of faith,” he said.

“Christians of the East and West must give common witness so that, strengthened by the Spirit of the risen Christ, they may disseminate the message of salvation to the entire world.”

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December 3, 2013 · 09:35

who is this idiot, Rush Limbaugh?

Rush Limbaugh vs. Pope Francis: Talk Show Host Attacks ‘Pure Marxism’ Of ‘Evangelii Gaudium’

Posted: 12/02/2013 4:11 pm EST


Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh slammed Pope Francis’ stance on social justice in his apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium,” calling the document “pure Marxism” on his show.

Limbaugh went viciously on the attack with the show, titled, “It’s Sad How Wrong Pope Francis Is (Unless It’s a Deliberate Mistranslation By Leftists).” He began:

You know, the pope, Pope Francis — this is astounding — has issued an official papal proclamation, and it’s sad. It’s actually unbelievable. The pope has written, in part, about the utter evils of capitalism. And I have to tell you, I’ve got parts of it here I can share with you. It’s sad because this pope makes it very clear he doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to capitalism and socialism and so forth. Wait ’til you hear it.

Though “Evangelii Gaudium” has been lauded by many for its sharp stand for social justice, equality, and economic equity, Limbaugh expressed his disagreements with it, commenting:

Pope Francis attacked unfettered capitalism as ‘a new tyranny’ and beseeched global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality, in a document on Tuesday setting out a platform for his papacy and calling for a renewal of the Catholic Church. … In it, Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the ‘idolatry of money.'”
I gotta be very careful. I have been numerous times to the Vatican. It wouldn’t exist without tons of money. But regardless, what this is, somebody has either written this for him or gotten to him. This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope. Unfettered capitalism? That doesn’t exist anywhere. Unfettered capitalism is a liberal socialist phrase to describe the United States. Unfettered, unregulated.

Limbaugh continued to proclaim the evils of socialism and the benefits of capitalism, supporting the “trickle-down” economic policies that the Pope has criticized.

He confessed himself “bewildered” by the Pope’s statements, as he claimed that:

The Catholic Church, the American Catholic Church has an annual budget of $170 billion. I think that’s more than General Electric earns every year. And the Catholic Church of America is the largest landholder in Manhattan. I mean, they have a lot of money. They raise a lot of money. They wouldn’t be able to reach out the way they do without a lot of money.

“Evangelii Gaudium” called unfettered capitalism “a new tyranny” and urged global leaders to fight poverty. Pope Francis built on earlier remarks about the evils of the “idolatry of money,” and the importance of guaranteeing all citizens “dignified work, education, and healthcare.”

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Complementarianism : Justin Lookadoo the misogynistic Christian 2

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Complementarianism is a theological view held by some in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, that men and women have different but complementary roles and responsibilities inmarriage, family life, religious leadership, and elsewhere. The word ‘’complementary’’ and its cognates are currently used denote this view. For some of those whose complementarian view is biblically-prescribed, these separate roles preclude women from specific functions of ministry within the Church, with the notable exception of the leadership role of the deaconess, in many Christian denominations. It assigns leadership roles to men and support roles to women, based on certain biblical passages. One of its precepts is that while women may assist in the decision making process, the ultimate authority for the decision is the purview of the male in marriage, courtship, and in the polity of churches subscribing to this view.

Contrasting viewpoints maintain either that women and men should share identical authority and responsibilities in marriage, religion and elsewhere (Egalitarianism, or that men and women are of intrinsically different worth (a position usually known as chauvinism, usually male, although female varieties do exist).


Complementarianism holds that “God has created men and women equal in their essential dignity and human personhood, but different and complementary in function with male headship in the home and in the Church.” Proponents of Complementarianism generally see the Bible as the infallible word of God.

The complementarian position is seen to uphold what has been the most traditional teaching[on gender roles in the church. However, the terms traditionalist or hierarchicalistare usually avoided by complementarians, as the former “implies an unwillingness to let Scripture challenge traditional patterns of behavior”, while the latter “overemphasizes structured authority while giving no suggestion of equality or the beauty of mutual interdependence”. Therefore, they prefer the term complementarian, “since it suggests both equality and beneficial differences”.

The Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church both advocate complementarianism with regards to the social doctrine of the Church. The former, for example, asserts that “God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity” but also that the harmony of society “depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out.”

In contrast with adherents of Biblical patriarchy, some complementarians are open to the possibility of women assuming leadership roles in civic and commercial life.

Roles in marriage

The complementarian view of marriage asserts gender-based roles in marriage.[9] A husband is considered to have the God-given responsibility to provide for, protect, and lead his family. A wife is to collaborate with her husband, respect him, and serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation. Complementarians assert that the Bible instructs husbands to lovingly lead their families and to love their wives as Christ loves the Church, and instructs wives to respect their husbands’ leadership out of reverence for Christ The husband is also meant to hold moral accountability for his wife and to exhibit a sacrificial love for her. The wife is meant to respond to her husband’s love for her with love in-kind and by receiving his service and leadership willingly.

An example of the Complementarian view of marriage can be found in the Southern Baptist Convention’s Baptist Faith and Message(2000):

The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to his people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.

— Article XVIII. The Family. Baptist Faith and Message 2000

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood teaches that “Christ is the supreme authority and guide for men and women, so that no earthly submission—domestic, religious, or civil—ever implies a mandate to follow a human authority into sin.”

The expression Sponsa Christi is sometimes used by complementarians, who note that Paul of Tarsus himself advocated such views. Accordingly, the Christ symbolizes the bridegroom, while the Church (Ecclesia) represents the bride.

Roles in the Church

Based on their interpretation of certain scriptures Complementarians view women’s roles in ministry, particularly in church settings, as limited. The complementarian view holds that women should not hold church leadership roles that involve teaching or authority over men.[ For instance, Frank Page, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, a large conservative denomination has written that “…while both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of Pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.” According to Complementarianism, women are not completely forbidden from speaking within a church since Paul speaks about women prophesying inside the church.

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood holds that “[i]n the church, redemption in Christ gives men and women an equal share in the blessings of salvation; nevertheless, some governing and teaching roles within the church are restricted to men (1 Cor;11:2-161 Tim 2:11-15).”Some believe that women should be ordained neither as a pastor nor as an evangelist, while others believe that it is acceptable for women to be evangelists but not pastors. This would not support placing women in leadership roles in the church or family that would imply or provide some authority over men. Which other specific ministry roles are open to women varies among complementarians.[9]

Being critical of the egalitarian position, Southern Baptist theological Albert Mohler stated,

The arguments used in support of the ordination of women require the dismissal or “reinterpretation” of specific biblical texts which disallow women in the teaching office. The same is true of arguments for the ordination of divorced persons–and for homosexuals

Roman Catholic complementarianism has generally advocated roles for women as teachers, mothers and nuns. Some traditionally Roman Catholic countries have been called matriarchal because of the high value that was placed on women, and there are numerous women who have been beatified and who are venerated among the saints. However, the Roman Catholic Church restricts ordination    to men, since “The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry.”

Christian denominations that support complementarianism include many conservative Protestant denominations (as well as many non-denominational Protestant churches), the Catholic Church, and the Eastern Orthodox churches. These groups of churches that support forms of this position specifically include the Southern Baptist Convention,Eastern Orthodox Church, Presbyterian Church in America,[ Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod,[ Roman Catholic Church, Conservative Mennonites, Newfrontiers, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Evangelical Free Church of America, Christian and Missionary Alliance,[Sovereign Grace Ministries  , the Calvary Chapel movement.


“In the Divine plan for creation, men and women have distinct, diverse missions. These missions complement each other, and together bring the Divine plan to harmonious fruition. The role of one is neither higher nor lower than the role of the other: they are simply different.”


Within Islam, “a tension exists between the egalitarian view that believers are judged on the basis of merit and the inegalitarian view that women and men should fulfill distinct, complementary roles in the family and society”.

Complementarian advocates

Parachurch organizations that have been described as complementarian include Focus on the Family, Campus Crusade for Christ, and Promise Keepers. Focus on the Family and the Promise Keepers do not take a position on women in the church, but both believe in male headship in the family. Campus Crusade for Christ “has not taken any role of women in ministry”, though its FamilyLife organization directed by Dennis Rainey sponsors “Weekend to Remember” marriage conferences which reportedly teach male headship.

Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) is an evangelical Christian organization promoting a complementarian view of gender issues CBMW’s current president is Dr. Randy Stinson who is also Dean of the School of Church Ministries at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The CBMW publishes a biannual newsletter called the Journal for Biblical Manhood & Womanhood.

Complementarian movements within feminism

New feminism is a predominantly Catholic philosophy which emphasizes a belief in an integral complementarity of men and women, rather than the superiority of men over women or women over men.

Difference feminism is a philosophy that stresses that men and women are ontologically different versions of the human being. Many Catholics  adhere to and have written on the philosophy, though the philosophy is not specifically Catholic.


It is argued by some who disagree within Christianity, such as Christians for Biblical Equality, which note that complementarianism “sidesteps the question at issue, which is not whether there are beneficial differences between men and women, but whether these differences warrant the inequitable roles, rights, and opportunities prescribed by advocates of gender hierarchy.”

In February 1989, R.K. McGregor Wright put out “Response to the Danvers Statement,” an unpublished paper delivered to theChristians for Biblical Equality Conference, St. Paul, which was later revised and republished. In 1990 Christians for Biblical Equality published a statement “Men, Women & Biblical Equality,” in Christianity Today.

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How Strong is Pope Francis (article in the New Yorker)

NOVEMBER 7, 2013

by Amy Davidson

On Wednesday, Pope Francis went into St. Peter’s Square, where a crowd had gathered, and saw a pilgrim who has certainly been met in his life with averted gazes, and worse. His skin was covered with hundreds, maybe thousands, of bulbous tumors that contorted his features. Francis embraced him, touched his face, and prayed with him. There is a picture of him kissing the man’s head, where there is no unmarked skin and tumors push through his thin hair. (This is the result of a disease called neurofibromatosis.) The image was electrifying, in a way that mercy can be. But it took on more significance as a stage in what many people are hoping is Francis’s own pilgrimage.

The day before the embrace in the square, the Vatican released a “preparatory document” for an Extraordinary General Assembly, to be held in October, 2014. Francis has asked a synod of bishops from around the world to come to Rome and talk about families. (The official title is Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization.) The bishops are also supposed to answer a questionnaire about modern families, the actual ones in their communities. More than that, they have been asked, according to Vatican Radio, “to share it as widely as possible”—with laypeople, too. A pilgrim can also be a pollster, asking questions along the way. There are thirty-nine of them in the document, including these:

5. On Unions of Persons of the Same Sex

a) Is there a law in your country recognizing civil unions for people of the same-sex and equating it in some way to marriage?

b) What is the attitude of the local and particular Churches towards both the State as the promoter of civil unions between persons of the same sex and the people involved in this type of union?

c) What pastoral attention can be given to people who have chosen to live in these types of union?

d) In the case of unions of persons of the same sex who have adopted children, what can be done pastorally in light of transmitting the faith?

What Francis seems to be looking for is not a doctrinal or political response to same-sex unions but a pastoral one: taking modern families as they are and live, and seeing how the Catholic Church can be part of their lives. (There is not a question about how best to lobby legislatures.) The synod, according to the document, is meant to address “concerns which were unheard of until a few years ago.” Its summary of these concerns is not in all respects liberal; it mentions “forms of feminism hostile to the Church,” and emphasizes the indissolubility of marriage. And certain situations that it calls novel, like that of single parents and of dowries “understood as the purchase price of the woman,” have been less unheard of than unheeded.

But there are the seeds of something radical here. There is, for one thing, an attempt to get past pretense. It asks how many people “in your particular church” are remarried, or separated, or are children whose families aren’t the kind in church picture books, and how to reach and include them. In terms of abortion, it asks how people could be persuaded to accept the Church’s teachings—but also how good a job churches are doing at teaching them about “natural” means of family planning, like the rhythm method. Mercy was also a word that came up, with regard to families living “irregular” lives.

It’s not too early to wonder if that synod could be a landmark moment for Francis’s papacy, and his Church. Francis has begun a discussion about the Church’s priorities, notably in an interview with a Jesuit magazine in which he wished the Church away from its obsession with issues like homosexuality. Now his bishops will be coming to him. Many of them are making a very different noise than the one we have heard from their Pope. The greetings might be stranger and more difficult ones than any Francis has experienced in St. Peter’s Square. And the synod will likely require a different sort of leadership than we’ve entirely seen from him. Francis has shown that he can come down hard on, for example, Germany’s Bishop of Bling, who was using church funds for expensive flights and to renovate a luxurious residence. But maybe the weight of the Church will defeat him. It won’t be enough to be an example and provocateur, or some humble mendicant.

How strong a Pope is Francis? The picture of his kiss of the disfigured man was called beautiful, because, if one is to be honest, many people who couldn’t look away from it might not have been willing to look at all if the Pontiff were Photoshopped out, and the man were there alone. It is one thing, though, to admire a Pope for living the way most people couldn’t. It is another to have one who looks at the way most people do live, and embraces them.


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Pope Francis digs at Vatican’s narcissistic nature, calls for change


In an interview, Pope Francis voiced his concern with what he calls “leprosy” in the Vatican. He also reveals that he was anxious when he was named pontiff and considered turning the position down.

By Matthew DeLuca, Staff Writer, NBC News

 Pope Francis, using strong language to condemn a “Vatican-centric view” of the Roman Catholic Church, says that church leaders have too often been narcissists, “flattered and sickeningly excited by their courtiers.”

Extending his departure in style from his predecessor, Benedict XVI, Francis vowed in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that he would do everything in his power to change that view.

“The church is or should go back to being a community of God’s people, and priests, pastors and bishops who have the care of souls, are at the service of the people of God,” he said.

The pope suggested that the church should rethink the relationship between its leaders and the faithful.

“Leaders of the Church have often been Narcissus, flattered and sickeningly excited by their courtiers. The court is the leprosy of the papacy,” he said.

Asked what he meant by “the court,” Francis said that he did not mean the Curia — the officials who govern the church from Vatican City — but something more like the quartermaster’s office in an army, which provides clothing and equipment to troops.

“It is Vatican-centric,” he said. “It sees and looks after the interests of the Vatican, which are still, for the most part, temporal interests. This Vatican-centric view neglects the world around us. I do not share this view and I’ll do everything I can to change it.”

The pope said that he was against what he called “clericalists,” saying that when he meets one, “I suddenly become anti-clerical.” He referred to St. Paul’s outreach to pagans and other religions, said that the church should include people who feel excluded, and preach peace.

In a reference to the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, which led to modern reforms in the church, the pope said: “This includes a dialogue with non-believers. After that, not so much was done in this direction. I have to the humility and ambition to do so.”

The interview was conducted last week in the Vatican guest house, where Francis, who has been praised for what is seen as a simpler and more humble approach to the papacy, lives in a low-key residence.

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected to lead the Catholic Church following the resignation of Pope Benedict

The interview appeared as Francis begins a three-day meeting with a group of eight cardinals gathered from  around the world with the task of reforming the Vatican administration, the Curia.

Last month the pope said the church should not focus on issues like abortion, contraception, and gay marriage to the extent that it neglects other aspects of the faith.

“We have to find a new balance,” he said in an interview published in Jesuit journals. “Otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the gospel.”

In the interview with La Repubblica, Francis disclosed some of his own fears before being elected by a conclave of cardinals in March.

“When in the conclave they elected me pope, I asked for some time alone before I accepted,” he said in the interview. “I was overwhelmed by great anxiety, then I closed my eyes and all thoughts, including the possibility of refusing, went away.”

Eugenio Scalfari, the co-founder and former editor of La Repubblica, who conducted the interview with Francis said he was “shocked” when the pope called to set up the interview.

“I answered, and he simply said: ‘Good morning, it’s Pope Francis. You wrote me a letter in which you said you would have liked to meet me and get to know me, so here I am. Let’s book an appointment. Is Tuesday OK with you? The time is a bit of a pain, 3 p.m.…is that OK?’” said Scalfari recounting the conversation to NBC News.

Scalfari, 89, describes himself as an atheist. During the summer he posed a series of questions to Francis about atheism in an open letter. The pope responded to his questions in a lengthy opinion piece, with the simple byline “Francesco,” published in the newspaper on Sept.11.

“The most surprising thing he told me was: ‘God is not Catholic.’ I asked him what he meant, since he is the leader of the Catholic Church, and he told me that ‘God is universal, and we are catholic in the sense of the way we worship him.”

The opportunity to interview the new leader of the Catholic Church was enough to awe even a seasoned reporter.

“In 60 years of career as a journalist, I interviewed many important people, and I became friends with some of them. But I never thought I could feel I would become a friend of a pope.”

NBC News Claudio Lavanga, the Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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