Famous Catholic Quotes

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Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes or film stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.
Charles A. Coulombe (Puritan's Empire)
fame that mortals desire as a reward and a portion of the immortality their famous deeds deserve; though we Catholic Christians and knights-errant look more to that future glory that is everlasting in the ethereal regions of heaven than to the vanity of the fame that is to be acquired in this present transitory life;
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Don Quixote)
And historians have now discovered an even earlier Thanksgiving than the 1621 Plymouth celebration that English-American historians made famous. Half a century before Plymouth, early American settlers celebrated Thanksgiving with the Timucua Indians in what is now Florida —the best evidence suggests that the settlers were Catholic rather than Protestant, and spoke Spanish rather than English. They dined on bean soup.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Eating Animals)
During the Reformation, one of Martin Luther’s chief complaints about the Catholic Church was that it was full of corruption and fraud. He argued that the cult of the saints, in particular, was riddled with forged relics and superstitious practices. It is rumored that Luther’s epiphany about the Catholic Church came as he ascended the legendary Scala Sancta in Rome in 1510. These “Holy Stairs” are believed to have been the very steps on which Jesus ascended to be tried by Pilate in Jerusalem. To this day pilgrims who ascend the stairs on their knees are granted an indulgence that knocks nine years off their time in purgatory for each of the twenty-eight steps. Luther purportedly became so disillusioned with indulgences and relics after this event that he famously complained, “What lies there are about relics! . . . How does it happen that eighteen apostles are buried in Germany when Christ had only twelve?
Candida R. Moss (The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom)
MAY I ask you about your experiences as confessor to homosexual people? During the press conference on your return flight from Rio de Janeiro you famously remarked, “Who am I to judge?”           On that occasion I said this: If a person is gay and seeks out the Lord and is willing, who am I to judge that person? I was paraphrasing by heart the Catechism of the Catholic Church where it says that these people should be treated with delicacy and not be marginalized. I am glad that we are talking about “homosexual people” because before all else comes the individual person, in his wholeness and dignity. And people should not be defined only by their sexual tendencies: let us not forget that God loves all his creatures and we are destined to receive his infinite love. I prefer that homosexuals come to confession, that they stay close to the Lord, and that we pray all together. You can advise them to pray, show goodwill, show them the way, and accompany them along it.
Pope Francis (The Name of God Is Mercy)
Do you believe in God? Stop. Answer paid. 50 words.” Einstein used only about half his allotted number of words. It became the most famous version of an answer he gave often: “I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.”9 Einstein’s response was not comforting to everyone. Some religious Jews, for example, noted that Spinoza had been excommunicated from the Jewish community of Amsterdam for holding these beliefs, and he had also been condemned by the Catholic Church for good measure. “Cardinal O’Connell would have done well had he not attacked the Einstein theory,” said one Bronx rabbi. “Einstein would have done better had he not proclaimed his nonbelief in a God who is concerned with fates and actions of individuals. Both have handed down dicta outside their jurisdiction.”10 Nevertheless, most people were satisfied, whether they fully agreed or not, because they could appreciate what he was saying. The idea of an impersonal God, whose hand is reflected in the glory of creation but who does not meddle in daily existence, is part of a respectable tradition in both Europe and America. It is to be found in some of Einstein’s favorite philosophers, and it generally accords with the religious beliefs of many of America’s founders, such as Jefferson and Franklin.
Walter Isaacson (Einstein: His Life and Universe)
The famous injunction, normally attributed to Saint Francis, to ‘preach the gospel at all times; use words if necessary’, like many timeworn phrases, contains much that is true.
Andrew Davison (Imaginative Apologetics: Theology, Philosophy and the Catholic Tradition)
Why does religion work as a coping mechanism? Dr. Koenig offers five reasons: it provides a sense of meaning and purpose during times of trial; it offers a positive worldview that is optimistic and hopeful; it provides role models and teachings that facilitate the acceptance of suffering; it gives people a sense of self-control; and it reduces loneliness.9 One does not have to have a Ph.D. in psychiatry to understand that atheists are at a decided disadvantage in times of stress. They simply do not have access to the resources that Dr. Koenig details. “Our Hearts Are Restless Until They Rest in You.” This famous line from St. Augustine captures the essence of Catholicism: our real home is with God.
Bill Donohue (The Catholic Advantage: Why Health, Happiness, and Heaven Await the Faithful)
Chardin is famous for his synthesis of mystical religion, evolution, and ET belief. In The Jesuits, Martin wrote, “This man’s influence on Jesuit thinking and on Catholic theologians as well as on the thought processes of Christians in general has been and still is colossal.”[541]
Cris Putnam (Exo-Vaticana: Petrus Romanus, Project LUCIFER, and the Vatican's Astonishing Exo-Theological Plan for the Arrival of an Alien Savior)
At a minimum it must involve renouncing any desire or ambition to become wealthy or famous; fostering vertical solidarity between rich and poor as well as horizontal solidarity between consumers and producers; rendering effective assistance to marginalized groups in society such as the poor and immigrants; a shared commitment to traditional values, particularly with respect to sex and marriage, as well as a recognition of the importance of families and children; opposition to abortion; an emphasis on environmental stewardship and caring for creation; and a commitment to nonviolence.
Solidarity Hall (Radically Catholic In the Age of Francis: An Anthology of Visions for the Future)
William pondered what his next discovery might be. He knew that readers were vexed by the possibility that their Bard might have been Catholic. There is, after all, that suspicious reference to Purgatory by the ghost of Hamlet’s father. In an era when anti-Catholic legislation was favorably viewed by many, such papist skullduggery was improper in a national literary hero. And so, on Christmas Day of 1794, William presented his nation with a fine gift—Shakespeare’s Profession of Faith, in which he disowns any Catholic sympathies. His father was awed by the import of this, so much so that he could no longer keep the discoveries secret. All holiday frivolity was to be set aside now. —
Paul Collins (Banvard's Folly: Thirteen Tales of Renowned Obscurity, Famous Anonymity, and Rotten Luck)
During the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church actively supported a great deal of science, but it also decided that philosophical speculation should not impinge on theology. Ironically, by keeping philosophers focused on nature instead of metaphysics, the limitations set by the Church may even have benefited science in the long term. Furthermore and contrary to popular belief, the Church never supported the idea that the earth is flat, never banned human dissection, never banned zero and certainly never burnt anyone at the stake for scientific ideas. The most famous clash between science and religion was the trial of Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) in 1633. Academic historians are now convinced that this had as much to do with politics and the Pope’s self-esteem as it did with science. The trial is fully explained in the last chapter of this book, in which we will also see how much Galileo himself owed to his medieval predecessors.
James Hannam (God's Philosophers)
Perhaps the most famous nonviolent militants of the time were Daniel and Philip Berrigan, Jesuit priests and tested pacifist warriors. The Berrigan brothers and seven other Catholic leftists burned almost four hundred draft files in Catonsville, Maryland, on May 17, 1968, using homemade napalm to protest its widespread use in Vietnam. Regarding the attack, Daniel Berrigan said, “Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children, the angering of the orderlies in the front parlor of the charnel house. We could not, so help us God, do otherwise.
Dan Berger (The Struggle Within: Prisons, Political Prisoners, and Mass Movements in the United States)
She is, famously, a protean icon: a hero to nationalists, monarchists, liberals, socialists, the right, the left, Catholics, Protestants, traditionalists, feminists, Vichy and the Resistance.
Helen Castor (Joan of Arc)
Another key philosopher was the ever-popular Voltaire (1694-1778) who used his literary skill to write plays, poems, novels, essays, and reams of letters that expressed his philosophical beliefs to the masses. Voltaire was extremely critical of the dogmatic nature of the Catholic Church and constantly campaigned for the separation of the French state and church. An advocate of freedom of expression and critic of all religious institutions, Voltaire’s work was frequently censored, but in his writing, he often used satire to mask his true beliefs, as in his most famous work, Candide.
Hourly History (Age of Enlightenment: A History From Beginning to End)
Traditionally, reaching the state of illumination symbolized by the center bestows a different fate from that of the ordinary person who accepts salvation. For the latter, life after death will persist in many different planes of being — higher ones, no doubt, where existence is less painful and burdensome and where spiritual aspiration faces less resistance. But those who attain gnosis are freed from this spiral entirely. They can choose to return to manifestation for a special purpose or can dwell in absorption into God — known in the Christian tradition as the “beatific vision.” They are, to use T. S. Eliot’s famous words in Four Quartets, “at the still point of the turning world.” In the Gospels, one name for this still point is “the eye of the needle.” As Christ says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:25). This means that the “I” has to be very fine and subtle to reach this still center of being. A “rich man” — one who is encumbered not only with property but with the heavy baggage of a pompous self-image — is too big to make it through. Obviously, this is an inner condition and so does not necessarily refer to all rich people, though in practice it probably applies to most. Francis de Sales, a Catholic spiritual teacher of the early seventeenth century, observes: A man is rich in spirit if his mind is filled with riches or set on riches. The kingfisher shapes its nests like an apple, leaving only a little opening at the top, builds it on the seashore, and makes it so solid and tight that although waves sweep over it the water cannot get inside. Keeping always on top of the waves, they remain surrounded by the sea and are on the sea, and yet are masters of it. Your heart . . . must in like manner be open to heaven alone and impervious to riches and all other transitory things. Money — “mammon,” as Christ called it — is only one of the forms the force of the world takes. There are people for whom money holds no allure but who are beguiled by sex, pleasure, or power. And for those who are indifferent even to these temptations, there is always the trap of apathy (accidie or acedia, derived from a Greek word meaning “not caring,” are names sometimes used in the tradition). There are many variations, which will take on slightly different forms in everyone. Freeing oneself from the world requires overcoming these drives in oneself, however they appear.
Richard Smoley (Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition)
Bodily possession is ... a rare event. More frequent ... is Satan's ownership of the soul by its being in a state of mortal sin!
Abbe Paul Sutter (Lucifer: The True Story of the Famous Diabolic Possession in Alsace)
It was this hierarchy—so central to Western cosmology for so long that, even today, a ten-year-old could intuitively get much of it right—that was challenged by the most famous compendium of all: Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert’s eighteen-thousand-page Encyclopédie. Published between 1751 and 1772, the Encyclopédie was sponsored by neither the Catholic Church nor the French monarchy and was covertly hostile to both. It was intended to secularize as well as to popularize knowledge, and it demonstrated those Enlightenment commitments most radically through its organizational scheme. Rather than being structured, as it were, God-down, with the whole world flowing forth from a divine creator, it was structured human-out, with the world divided according to the different ways in which the mind engages with it: “memory,” “reason,” and “imagination,” or what we might today call history, science and philosophy, and the arts. Like alphabetical order, which effectively democratizes topics by abolishing distinctions based on power and precedent in favor of subjecting them all to the same rule, this new structure had the effect of humbling even the most exalted subjects. In producing the Encyclopédie, Diderot did not look up to the heavens but out toward the future; his goal, he wrote, was “that our descendants, by becoming more learned, may become more virtuous and happier.” It is to Diderot’s Encyclopédie that we owe every modern one, from the Britannica and the World Book to Encarta and Wikipedia. But we also owe to it many other kinds of projects designed to, in his words, “assemble all the knowledge scattered on the surface of the earth.” It introduced not only new ways to do so but new reasons—chief among them, the diffusion of information prized by an élite class into the culture at large. The Encyclopédie was both the cause and the effect of a profoundly Enlightenment conviction: that, for books about everything, the best possible audience was the Everyman.
Kathryn Schulz
I was also aware of three other historically important Christians whose apparently obsessive-compulsive symptoms had become a source of latter-day psychiatric speculation. They were Martin Luther, architect of Europe’s sixteenth-century Reformation and a figure of incomparable importance in the history of Western civilization; Ignatius of Loyola, Luther’s famous adversary, founder of the Catholic order known as the Jesuits and leader of the Counter-Reformation; and Alphonsus Liguori, a nineteenth-century Catholic saint who is renowned for his contributions to the field of moral theology.
Ian Osborn (Can Christianity Cure Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?: A Psychiatrist Explores the Role of Faith in Treatment)
After studying at Edinburgh University, he spent a decade broadening his mind on the Continent; for example, he befriended some Jansenists in the famous Catholic seminary at Douay in the Spanish Netherlands, and discovered in them a depth of sincere Christian faith and spiritual life he had not thought possible in Roman Catholics. It seems they reminded him of the Christians of the earliest centuries. There was always to be a Jansenist leaven in Leighton’s own piety; in particular, he admired monasticism and the celibate life—he himself never married.25
Nick R. Needham (2,000 Years of Christ's Power Vol. 4: The Age of Religious Conflict)
Drugs can be, and have been, used to fine-tune these processes, but the general neurological principles are powerful enough that it is quite likely that many famous cases of brainwashing were accomplished as above described, without any drugs at all — e.g., the American soldiers who confessed to war crimes which they evidently had not committed, the loyal Communists who confessed to Trotskyite conspiracies which seemingly never existed, etc. It takes very few weeks for most armies, without drugs, to convert a civilian into a soldier, even though the two species are as different as Roman Catholics and Shintoists.
Robert Anton Wilson (Prometheus Rising)
Then there is levitation, of which there are between two hundred and three hundred historical cases in the descriptions of the saints, including Saint Joseph of Cupertino (1603–1663). Saint Joseph was observed to levitate by thousands of witnesses, usually in broad daylight, over a period of thirty-five years. Reports can be found in witnesses’ private diaries and in depositions provided under oath, including 150 eyewitness reports from popes, kings, and princesses.97 Purely secular cases of levitation also exist, including most famously that of the Scottish medium Daniel Dunglas Home (1833–1886).98 Like Saint Joseph, Home was observed to levitate in daylight by dozens of prominent witnesses. Not a single case of fraud was ever discovered. Other charisms include bilocation, in which the mystic is observed to appear in two distant places at the same time; fragrances, or the “odor of sanctity,” issuing from the mystic’s body or clothes; inedia, or complete abstinence from food or drink for long periods of time, without harm; infused knowledge, or the supernormal ability to gain wisdom without studying; incorruption, the absence of the normal decay of the body after death; discernment of spirits, which in the Catholic context means interacting and knowing the difference between angels and demons; and luminous irradiance, a glowing light surrounding the heads, faces, and sometimes the whole bodies of mystics.
Dean Radin (Supernormal: Science, Yoga and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities)
St. Peter’s was much bigger than my mother’s church: you could have comfortably fit ten of my mother’s church inside. And it was made of stone and not wood. As in my mother’s church, there was nothing on the walls, no icons or murals or tale-telling stained glass. I knew from my mother’s famous book that St. Peter’s had once been Roman Catholic and that John Calvin had attempted to strip the building of anything that smacked of ornamentation and idolatry. But it hadn’t worked. The walls were bare, but they looked wrong; their bareness just served to remind you that they hadn’t always been bare. It had been over four hundred years since John Calvin had remodeled, but still, his church looked like a man who has just shaved off his mustache.
Brock Clarke (Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe?: A Novel)
The stone over which certain modern Christians anxious for renewal stumble, is Marian doctrine. For twenty years but especially since the end of Vatican II, we have been watching a real campaign to squelch the Holy Virgin, or at least to put her under a bushel. It is all done with great, good intentions and not without reverence. As was often the case in the Church's past, this doctrinal and spiritual ostracism justifies itself by claiming Christ will be harmed by the worship given His Mother. Its practitioners start by condemning pious exaggerations no sensible person would think of defending, then proceed to throw the baby out with the bath. I mean they throw out recognized doctrines and practices which both the Catholic Church and all eastern Churches have proclaimed and recommended from the dawn of salvation. In the name of a narrow and "wild" ecumenism they thus undermine the most venerable bonds which unite us to our Orthodox brothers, and let's say it bluntly: they scandalize them. The tree is known by its fruits. Let us put to our readers a simple question: the methodical and progressive elimination of the Virgin Mary from the piety and the attention of the People of God - has it made them more open and more sensitive to Christ? If Marian doctrines and practices were curbs and obstacles, shouldn't we be seeing now a great soaring of Christ-centered theology and spirituality? Right here is where the saddle pinches. The doctrinal clouding we now witness, the progressive draining of the very notions of 'mystery' and 'the sacred' of their meaning, the mini-theologies on "the death of God" that find their way into would-be Catholic magazines, the growing confusion of the People of God, especially the little ones and the poor - all this says little in favor of those updated people who believe they build up Christ by pulling down His mother. For those who know how to observe it, the drying up of priestly and religious vocations, as also the crisis in the interior life - the famous "horizontalism" that plagues the Church - seems to coincide in certain countries of Europe with the slow but progressive elimination of Marian observances from the official prayer of the Church. (From the Epilogue, written in 1971)
Maria Winowska (The Death Camp Proved Him Real)
. . . The idea that sex is something grave belongs to a certain Judeo-Christian superstition. Georges Bataille sees eroticism as a wound through which beings communicate violently, and [René] Étiemble reproaches him for his ‘inverted Christianity,’ with his fascination for the Eros-Thanatos pair. True eroticism is gentle, airy, innocent. Even Sade looks still far too Catholic. We’ve got to de-dramatize. Think of springtime warmth, when the air becomes a vehicle for pollen and the perfume of vigorous activity: ‘All that wonderful awakening of April and May is the vast expanse of sex that proposes voluptuousness sotto voce.’ Let’s not be afraid to be as naive as flowers: pants off and under the sun. Let’s be as simple as doves: let’s mate without fear. Future purity consists of merging with that ‘endless sex orgy… With movies in between.’ The corpus cavernosum has not left the caves. It’s less than the shadow of a shadow. Now we only talk about the sex of the angels—without flesh nor pregnancies, without history nor intimacy, beyond the female and the male, far from marriage and circumcision (a pure spirit has no foreskin). But even angels still have too much consistency. And besides, we don’t believe in them. Rather, let’s compare our sex to Lichtenberg’s famous knife, ‘without a blade, for which the handle is missing’—a knife that cuts nothing…
Fabrice Hadjadj (La Profondeur des sexes: Pour une mystique de la chair)
Every nation had its Mysteries and hierophants. Even the Jews had their Peter — Tanaïm or Rabbin, like Hillel, Akiba, and other famous kabalists, who alone could impart the awful knowledge contained in the Merkaba. In India, there was in ancient times one, and now there are several hierophants scattered about the country, attached to the principal pagodas, who are known as the Brahma-âtmas. In Thibet the chief hierophant is the Dalay, or Taley-Lama of Lha-ssa. Among Christian nations, the Catholics alone have preserved this "heathen" custom, in the person of their Pope, albeit they have sadly disfigured its majesty and the dignity of the sacred office.
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (Isis Unveiled (Vol.1&2): A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology)
An amazing thing happened to me today. We were in Loreto, where Franco Terilli was praying to his patron, one of the popes. In Loreto there is a famous cathedral (rather like Lourdes) in the middle of which stands the house in which Jesus was born, transported here from Nazareth. While we were in the cathedral, I felt it was wrong that I can't pray in a Catholic cathedral; not that I cannot, but that I don't want to. It is, after all, alien to me. Then later, quite by chance, we went into a little seaside town called Porto Nuovo, and into its small, tenth century cathedral. And what should I see on the altar but the Vladimir Mother of God Apparently some Russian painter had, at some time, given the church this copy of the Mother of God of Vladimir, evidently painted by him. I couldn't believe it: suddenly to see an Orthodox ikon in a Catholic country, when I had just been thinking about not being able to pray at Loreto. It was wonderful.
Andrei Tarkovsky
Luther had outfoxed his enemies; he had made the speech he was to have been prevented from making, and by his account at least von der Ecken was furious and shouted at him. He had not answered the question. The imperial officer attacked with a litany of names, heresies already condemned in the past that Luther was now resurrecting as if they were new discoveries. Heretics had always claimed the support of scripture against the church, he said. The worst heresies were those in which a little error was mixed with a lot of true doctrine-perhaps a slap against those in the room like Glapion who had said that Luther's books contained much good. Luther was a man who could stumble and err, and scripture could not be interpreted by one fallible man. We cannot draw things into doubt and dispute that the Catholic Church has judged already, things that have passed into usage, rite, and observance, things that our fathers held onto with firm faith, for which they suffered pain and torture, for which even thousands suffered death rather than reject one of them! And now you want to seduce us from the way to which our fathers were true! And what would the Jews and Turks and Saracens and the other enemies of our faith say when they heard about it? Why, they would burst into scornful laughter! Here are we Christians beginning to argue whether we have believed correctly until now! Do not deceive yourself, Martin. You are not the only one who knows the scripture, not the only one who has struggled to convey the true meaning of holy scripture-not after so many holy doctors have worked day and night to explain holy writ! Do not set your judgment over that of so many famous men. Do not imagine you know more than all of them. Do not throw the most sacred orthodox faith into doubt, the faith that Christ the most perfect lawgiver ordained, the faith that the apostles spread over the world, the faith confirmed by miracles, the faith that martyrs strengthened with their red blood ... You wait in vain, Martin, for a disputation over things that you are obligated to believe with certain and professing Von der Ecken's assumption was one of the great medieval myths, a myth taken for granted for so long that only when it was sternly questioned did those who accepted it see how fragile it was. The myth was that history was a positive and progressive force, shaped by divinity, and that revelation became more certain and more detailed with the passage of time. It seems clear from this speech that von der Ecken recognized the fragility of the assumptions that give faith plausibility and how Luther's attack threatened to bring them all down. In a room now filling with darkness, the voice of the imperial orator must have been a cry against a greater darkness that von der Ecken saw creeping over the world. If Luther was right, was anything certain? How could one man set himself against history?
Richard Marius (Martin Luther: The Christian between God and Death)
For two successive days, while perched up in the rigging, covered with tar and engaged in our disagreeable work, we saw these fellows going ashore in the morning, and coming off again at night, in high spirits. So much for being Protestants. There’s no danger of Catholicism’s spreading in New England; Yankees can’t afford the time to be Catholics. American shipmasters get nearly three weeks more labor out of their crews, in the course of a year, than the masters of vessels from Catholic countries. Yankees don’t keep Christmas, and shipmasters at sea never know when Thanksgiving comes, so Jack has no festival at all. About
Charles William Eliot (The Complete Harvard Classics - ALL 71 Volumes: The Five Foot Shelf & The Shelf of Fiction: The Famous Anthology of the Greatest Works of World Literature)
As for Paul's famous remark about "the smoke of Satan", no less a journalist than Vittorio Missori has suggested that Paul lifted these words from the Third Secret of Fatima. Whether this is true or not, it cannot credibly be denied that demonic forces had not only infiltrated the Church, but were doing much of the lever pulling. What else could account for the thorough divergence from orthodoxy that seized the entire Church from 1960 and particularly after the Second Vatican Council? Something that looked a lot like apostacy was winnowing the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church.
Mark Fellows (Fatima in Twilight)
remarkable. The painting he did at age fourteen of a Catholic communion ceremony is very realistic. But later, after the shock of his best friend’s suicide, he created paintings in shades of blue that became known as the Blue Period. Then he met a new lover and created the bright and colourful works of the Rose Period. Influenced by African sculptures, he became part of the cubist movement. Then he turned to a neoclassical style, continued on to surrealism, and eventually painted the famous works The Weeping Woman and Guernica.
Toshikazu Kawaguchi (Before the Coffee Gets Cold)
The self-starvation cycle has been documented across time and cultures, including non-Western ones. In modern Western societies, concerns with fat and thinness are the main reason for weight loss and probably explain the moderate rise of Anorexia Nervosa incidence across the second half of the 20th century. However, cases of self-starvation with spiritual and religious motivations have been common in Europe at least since the Middle Ages (and include several Catholic saints, most famously St. Catherine of Siena). In some Asian cultures, digestive discomfort is often cited as the initial reason for restricting food intake, but the resulting syndrome has essentially the same symptoms as anorexia in Western countries.
Marco del Giudice (Evolutionary Psychopathology: A Unified Approach)
(1) Karl Barth was not an evangelical. He was a European Protestant wrestling with how to salvage Protestant Christianity in the wake of World War I, which exposed the debacle of liberal theology. Barth was not an inerrantist or a revivalist, and he was wrestling with a different array of issues than the “battle for the Bible.” (2) Karl Barth is on the side of the good guys when it comes to the major ecumenical doctrines about the Trinity and the atonement. Barth is decidedly orthodox and Reformed in his basic stance, though he sees the councils and confessions mainly as guidelines rather than holy writ. (3) Karl Barth arguably gives evangelicals some good tips about how to do theology over and against liberalism. Keep in mind that Karl Barth’s main sparring partner was not Billy Graham or the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, but the European liberal tradition from Friedrich Schleiermacher to Albert Ritschl. For a case in point, whereas Schleiermacher made the Trinity an appendix to his book on Christian Faith because it was irrelevant to religious experience, Barth made the Trinity first and foremost in his Church Dogmatics, which was Barth’s way of saying, “Suck on that one, Schleiermacher!” (4) Evangelicals and the neoorthodox tend to be rather hostile toward each other. Many evangelicals regard the neoorthodox as nothing more than liberalism reloaded, while many neoorthodox theologians regard evangelicals as a more culturally savvy version of fundamentalism. Not true on either score. Evangelicalism and neoorthodoxy are both theological renewal movements trying to find a biblical and orthodox center in the post-Enlightenment era. The evangelicals left fundamentalism and edged left toward a workable orthodox center. The neoorthodox left liberalism and edged right toward a workable orthodox center. Thus, evangelicalism and neoorthodoxy are more like sibling rivals striving to be the heirs of the Reformers in the post-Enlightenment age. There is much in Karl Barth that evangelicals can benefit from. His theology is arguably the most christocentric ever devised. He has a strong emphasis on God’s transcendence, freedom, love, and “otherness.” Barth stresses the singular power and authority of the Word of God in its threefold form of “Incarnation, Preaching, and Scripture.” Barth strove with others like Karl Rahner to restore the Trinity to its place of importance in modern Christian thought. He was a leader in the Confessing Church until he was expelled from Germany by the Nazi regime. He preached weekly in the Basel prison. His collection of prayers contain moving accounts of his own piety and devotion to God. There is, of course, much to be critical of as well. Barth’s doctrine of election implied a universalism that he could never exegetically reconcile. Barth never could regard Scripture as God’s Word per se as much as it was an instrument for becoming God’s Word. He never took evangelicalism all that seriously, as evidenced by his famous retort to Carl Henry that Christianity Today was Christianity Yesterday. Barth’s theology, pro and con, is something that we must engage if we are to understand the state of modern theology. The best place to start to get your head around Barth is his Evangelical Theology, but note that for Barth, “evangelical” (evangelische) means basically “not Catholic” rather than something like American evangelicalism. Going beyond that, his Göttingen Dogmatics or Dogmatics in Outline is a step up where Barth begins to assemble a system of theology based on his understanding of the Word of God. Then one might like to launch into his multivolume Church Dogmatics with the kind assistance of Geoffrey Bromiley’s Introduction to the Theology of Karl Barth, which conveniently summarizes each section of Church Dogmatics.
Michael F. Bird (Evangelical Theology: A Biblical and Systematic Introduction)
The Thursday Circle covered a multitude of topics, including religion, ethics, politics, and culture. Part of the requirement for the group entailed attending cultural events. One week Bonhoeffer gave a talk on Wagner’s Parsifal and then took the group to see the opera itself. There were questions of Christian apologetics: “Did God create the world? . . . What is the purpose of prayer? . . . Who is Jesus Christ?” There were ethical questions: “Is there such a thing as a necessary lie?” They discussed the Christian perspective on Jews, on rich and poor, and on political parties. One week the topic was “the gods of the ancient Germans,” and another week it was “the gods of the Negro tribes.” One week the topic was “famous poets and their God (Goethe, Schiller),” and another it was “famous painters and their God (Grünewald, Dürer, Rembrandt).” They discussed mystery cults, the Muslim faith, music, Luther, and the Catholic church.*
Eric Metaxas (Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy)
Whether it is popularly emphasized much or not, Catholic teaching in the famous encyclical Rerum Novarum by Pope Leo XIII tracks Thomas Aquinas’s quote above very closely: “Private ownership, as we have seen, is the natural right of man, and to exercise that right, especially as members of society, is not only lawful, but absolutely necessary” (22). Immediately after this passage in Rerum, the famous encyclical repeats Thomas’s above words. Taken together, all this underscores the Catholic call to public aid, not by heavy taxation but by private charity instead. The same paragraph in Rerum Novarum refines this concept even further: “Whoever has received from the divine bounty a large share of temporal blessings, whether they be external and material, or gifts of the mind [which cannot be taxed!], has received them for the purpose of using them for the perfecting of his own nature, and at the same time, that he may employ them, as the steward of God’s providence, for the benefit of others.
Timothy Gordon (Catholic Republic: Why America Will Perish Without Rome (Crisis Publications))
Wesley’s vision of the universal love of God is what pushed him to claim the whole world as his parish. He was no narrow sectarian, thinking that he and his Methodists had a corner on truth or on love! One of his most famous sermons, in fact, is titled “Catholic Spirit,” in which he sought common ground with Christian believers whose opinions and worship practices were unlike his own—and he sought that common ground in the love of God and neighbor.
Michael Lodahl (The Story of God: A Narrative Theology (updated))