home
RSS
October 31st, 2012
05:21 AM ET

Belief Blog's Morning Speed Read for Wednesday, October 31

By Arielle Hawkins, CNN

Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.

From the Blog:


Burned-out vehicles and destroyed homes line a street in Breezy Point, located on the western end of the Rockaway peninsula in New York.

CNN: Online conversations around Sandy feature God, prayer and atheism
As millions of Americans begin to clean up from Superstorm Sandy, many will turn to insurance companies to cover damages caused by an “act of God.” It’s legalese for natural disasters. Some of the online conversation around Sandy have treated it as such an act, with the term “prayer” trending on Facebook on Monday, as the nation awaited the storm’s landfall. We noticed four themes emerging that touch on God and religion on Facebook, Twitter and in CNN.com’s comments sections:

Tweet of the Day:

Enlightening Reads:

Religion News Service: Looking for an undecided voter? Check the pulpit
Pollsters and politicians hunting for the rare and elusive undecided voter might want to train their sights on the pulpit. A whopping 22 percent of Protestant pastors haven’t settled on a presidential candidate, according to a survey released earlier this month by LifeWay Research. By comparison, just 4 percent of all likely voters remain undecided, according to Gallup.

Washington Post: Mormon church is conspicuously absent in Md. same-sex marriage referendum
Maryland activists working to overturn same-sex marriage have had to get used to one surprising absence from their religious coalition: Mormons. A huge amount of Mormon money and foot soldiers and the support of church leadership were credited with an epic win for traditional marriage in 2008 when California voters approved Proposition 8, which said that only marriage between a man and woman would be recognized in the state. And the D.C. region has one of the largest communities of Mormons outside the West. But Mormon leaders in Maryland have been silent on the ballot measure to affirm or toss the state’s new same-sex marriage law.

Religion News Service: Mass. Supreme Court to hear case against ‘under God’ in Pledge of Allegiance
Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a non-religious family that's challenging the mandatory daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in their children’s classrooms. The family, who are secular humanists, claim that the phrase “under God” in the pledge is a violation of the state’s constitutional ban on religious discrimination.

The Guardian: Stonewall's bigot award prompts banks' threat to withdraw sponsorship
Stonewall has promised to press ahead with its annual bigot of the year award, despite pressure from two leading banks which have threatened to withdraw sponsorship. Barclays and Coutts both say they will rethink their support for the British gay charity's annual awards following complaints from Christian campaigners about the singling out of individuals for the bigot category.

Reuters: Polish court rules against rocker who tore up Bible on stage
Poland’s Supreme Court has opened the way for a blasphemy verdict against a rock musician who tore up a Bible on stage, a case that has pitted deep Catholic traditions against a new desire for free expression. Adam Darski, front man with a heavy metal group named Behemoth, ripped up a copy of the Christian holy book during a concert in 2007, called it deceitful and described the Roman Catholic church as “a criminal sect”.

Quote of the Day:

I guess in the past decades or so we were so focused on how to do things all over the world – churches were trying to strategize. In itself it is not bad. But we might forget that faith is not a product of a strategy…Faith might bring forth new strategies. But if it is not rooted in friendship with Jesus Christ and the following of Jesus Christ, then what kind of evangelization will happen?

– Archbishop Luis A. Tagle of the Philippines, a new cardinal-elect, spoke to the Catholic News Agency after attending the new evangelization synod in Rome.

Opinion of the Day:

My Take: When evangelicals were pro-choice
Jonathan Dudley, author of "Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics," explains why Missouri Rep. Todd Atkin’s comments about what he termed legitimate rape have “reinforced a false assumption, shared by liberals and conservatives alike: that uncompromising opposition to abortion is a timeless feature of evangelical Christianity.”

Join the conversation…


A NASA image of Hurricane Sandy.

CNN: My Take: God not in whirlwinds of Sandy, presidential race
Stephen Prothero, Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," explains why labeling Hurricane Sandy as the will of God paints the Lord as a capricious deity.

- A. Hawkins

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Catholic wife

    @ Ann, Haven't heard the radio piece you mentioned so this is just my guess. If my husband I were to pray together about a large purchase, it would be to ask God for the gift of discernment to make a decision that was finacially sound for the family, or maybe for His guidance in avoiding disharmony in making the final decision, or perhaps to ask for help in overcoming anxiety about taking on a debt. God brings a husband & wife together as 1 flesh. God is Love. He is part of our marriage.

    November 1, 2012 at 2:36 am |
    • Ann

      Thanks for the response. It sounds like you're saying you're not praying for an answer to the question (as in, "Lord, give me a sign if we should buy this" – which, honestly, sounds silly), but rather support in being able to make a good decision.

      I guess I can see how that could be a way to diffuse the stress of the situation, or maybe take you out of the decision itself for a bit and look at it from a different perspective.

      November 1, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      You're right on the money, Ann.

      On the other hand... a few years back, I was at my rope's end. Recently disabled, couldn't go back to work, didn't know what to do with myself and during the personal intention part of the mass, I prayed "Dear God, please tell me what you want me to do next with my life....and please make it obvious enough that not even I could miss it." He did.

      November 1, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  2. Innerspace is God's place while outerspace is for the human race.

    1Cr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

    Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

    Dumb buildings are dimly lit structures!

    October 31, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Frank

      Innerspace is best eliminated in a convenient and timely manner. Mine usually occurs about fifteen minutes after my morning coffee.

      October 31, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  3. Ann

    I have a serious question for those of you who believe in prayer.

    Yesterday, I was listening to a story on NPR. A woman was talking about how when she and her husband have an important decision to make, they "pray about it." The example she used was when they were deciding if they should go ahead and buy a book case they wanted – an unusual expense. That struck me as a pretty secular decision to be making through prayer. To me, it sounded as if they just held off on the decision and thought about it for a while.

    So, here's my question: what is the difference between "praying" about a decision like that, and simply thinking about it?

    Full disclosure: I'm a former catholic, current skeptic/agnostic. I don't really believe in the god of the bible, but even when I did, I really have a hard time imagining that he'd care whether or not I bought a book case.

    Seriously, I'd like to hear from the other side on this.

    October 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  4. BRC

    Has anyone else considered the fact that the fundamentalist Christians in the country that believe that we should do everything possible to support and maintain Isreal to prepare and allow for Jesus's return and the coming of revelations are actually pushing a VERY anti biblical agenda? It's just odd to me. It would seem to me that if "God" wants the Jews to control Isreal, they will, they shouldn't need anybody's help. And there are plenty of times when "God" got mad at the Jewish people, and allowed Isreal to be taken away; have the hypoer religious considered that if there are times when it seems that the area is in danger of falling, it's not an accident, and by propping it up they're defying "God"?.

    Personally I don't believe in any of that and don't care. We should work with Isreal the same way we work with any ally nation, but they should recieve any special treatment or consideration because they're "God's chosen people". That's just stupid, whether you believe in "God" or not.

    October 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      I have wondered that for quite some time. Best I can figure is that Christians consider them 1 step above Muslim. But they don't belive in Jesus, so they are wrong, right? If belief in Jesus is the only way, they should be viewed like anyone else, muslim, athiest, whatever.

      October 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • niknak

      Have you also wondered what is in it for Isreal?
      I am not an "expert" on the whole rapture thang, but I seem to remember that one of the things that will bring it about is Isreal being unified, which will then be destroyed and all it's inhabitents killed when god comes back and "cleanses" the world of the non believers and takes all the true believers up to heaven.
      And Jews are not considered true believers, so they will all die.
      Can any fundie give us, and more importantly the Jews, a bit more info on this rapture deal?

      October 31, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      The Rapture
      Are you Pre, Mid, or Post? If you don’t know how to answer that question, you’re probably a Catholic. Most Fundamentalists and Evangelicals know that these words are shorthand for pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, and post-tribulation. The terms all refer to when the rapture is supposed to occur.

      The Millennium
      In Revelation 20:1–3, 7–8, we read, "Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years were ended. After that he must be loosed for a little while. . . . And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be loosed from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners of the earth."
      The period of a thousand years, the writer tells us, is the reign of Christ, and the thousand-year period is popularly called the millennium. The millennium is a harbinger of the end of the world, and Revelation 20 is interpreted in three ways by conservative Protestants. The three schools of thought are called postmillennialism, amillennialism, and premillennialism. Let’s take a look at them.

      Postmillennialism
      According to Loraine Boettner in his book The Millennium (he also wrote the seriously defective anti-Catholic book Roman Catholicism), postmillennialism is "that view of last things which holds that the kingdom of God is now being extended in the world through the preaching of the gospel and the saving work of the Holy Spirit, that the world eventually is to be Christianized, and that the return of Christ will occur at the close of a long period of righteousness and peace, commonly called the millennium."
      This view was popular with nineteenth-century Protestants, when progress was expected even in religion and before twentieth-century horrors were tasted. Today few hold to it, except such groups as Christian Reconstructionists, an outgrowth of the conservative Presbyterian movement.
      Commentators point out that postmillennialism is to be distinguished from the view of theological and secular liberals who envision social betterment and even the kingdom of God coming through purely natural, rather than supernatural, means. Postmillennialists, however, argue that man is incapable of building a paradise for himself; paradise will only come about by God’s grace.
      Postmillennialists also typically say that the millennium spoken of in Revelation 20 should be understood figuratively and that the phrase "a thousand years" refers not to a fixed period of ten centuries, but to an indefinitely long time. For example, Psalm 50:10 speaks of God’s sovereignty over all that is and tells us that God owns "the cattle on a thousand hills." This is not meant to be taken literally.
      At the millennium’s end will come the Second Coming, the general resurrection of the dead, and the last judgment.
      The problem with postmillennialism is that Scripture does not depict the world as experiencing a
      period of complete (or relatively complete) Christianization before the Second Coming. There are numerous passages that speak of the age between the First and Second Comings as a time of great sorrow and strife for Christians. One revealing passage is the parable of the wheat and the weeds (Matt. 13:24–30, 36–43). In this parable, Christ declares that the righteous and the wicked will both be planted and grow alongside each other in God’s field ("the field is the world," Matt. 13:38) until the end of the world, when they will be separated, judged, and either be thrown into the fire of hell or inherit God’s kingdom (Matt. 13:41–43). There is no biblical evidence that the world will eventually become totally (or even almost totally) Christian, but rather that there will always be a parallel development of the righteous and the wicked until the final judgment.

      Amillennialism
      The amillennial view interprets Revelation 20 symbolically and sees the millennium not as an earthly golden age in which the world will be totally Christianized, but as the present period of Christ’s rule in heaven and on the earth through his Church. This was the view of the Protestant Reformers and is still the most common view among traditional Protestants, though not among most of the newer Evangelical and Fundamentalist groups.
      Amillennialists also believe in the coexistence of good and evil on earth until the end. The tension that exists on earth between the righteous and the wicked will be resolved only by Christ’s return at the end of time. The golden age of the millennium is instead the heavenly reign of Christ with the saints, in which the Church on earth participates to some degree, though not in the glorious way it will at the Second Coming.
      Amillennialists point out that the thrones of the saints who reign with Christ during the millennium appear to be set in heaven (Rev. 20:4; cf. 4:4, 11:16) and that the text nowhere states that Christ is on earth during this reign with the saints.
      They explain that, although the world will never be fully Christianized until the Second Coming, the millennium does have effects on earth in that Satan is bound in such a way that he cannot deceive the nations by hindering the preaching of the gospel (Rev. 20:3). They point out that Jesus spoke of the necessity of "binding the strong man" (Satan) in order to plunder his house by rescuing people from his grip (Matt. 12:29). When the disciples returned from a tour of preaching the gospel, rejoicing at how demons were subject to them, Jesus declared, "I saw Satan fall like lightning" (Luke 10:18). Thus for the gospel to move forward at all in the world, it is necessary for Satan to be bound in one sense, even if he may still be active in attacking individuals (1 Pet. 5:8).
      The millennium is a golden age not when compared to the glories of the age to come, but in comparison to all prior ages of human history, in which the world was swallowed in pagan darkness. Today, a third of the human race is Christian and even more than that have repudiated pagan idols and embraced the worship of the God of Abraham.

      Premillennialism
      Third on the list is premillennialism, currently the most popular among Fundamentalists and Evangelicals (though a century ago amillennialism was). Most of the books written about the End Times, such as Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth, are written from a premillennial perspective.
      Like postmillennialists, premillennialists believe that the thousand years is an earthly golden age during which the world will be thoroughly Christianized. Unlike postmillennialists, they believe that it will occur after the Second Coming rather than before, so that Christ reigns physically on earth during the millennium. They believe that the Final Judgment will occur only after the millennium is over (which many interpret to be an exactly one thousand year period).
      But Scripture does not support the idea of a thousand year span between the Second Coming and the Final Judgment. Christ declares, "For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done" (Matt. 16:27), and "[w]hen the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. . . . And they [the goats] will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matt. 25:31–32, 46).

      The Rapture
      Premillennialists often give much attention to the doctrine of the rapture. According to this doctrine, when Christ returns, all of the elect who have died will be raised and transformed into a glorious state, along with the living elect, and then be caught up to be with Christ. The key text referring to the rapture is 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17, which states, "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord."
      Premillennialists hold, as do virtually all Christians (except certain postmillennialists), that the Second Coming will be preceded by a time of great trouble and persecution of God’s people (2 Thess. 2:1–4). This period is often called the tribulation. Until the nineteenth century, all Christians agreed that the rapture—though it was not called that at the time—would occur immediately before the Second Coming, at the close of the period of persecution. This position is today called the "post-tribulational" view because it says the rapture will come after the tribulation.
      But in the 1800s, some began to claim that the rapture would occur before the period of persecution. This position, now known as the "pre-tribulational" view, also was embraced by John Nelson Darby, an early leader of a Fundamentalist movement that became known as Dispensationalism. Darby’s pre-tribulational view of the rapture was then picked up by a man named C.I. Scofield, who taught the view in the footnotes of his Scofield Reference Bible, which was widely distributed in England and America. Many Protestants who read the Scofield Reference Bibleuncritically accepted what its footnotes said and adopted the pre-tribulational view, even though no Christian had heard of it in the previous 1800 years of Church history.
      Eventually, a third position developed, known as the "mid-tribulational" view, which claims that the rapture will occur during the middle of the tribulation. Finally, a fourth view developed that claims that there will not be a single rapture where all believers are gathered to Christ, but that there will be a series of mini-raptures that occur at different times with respect to the tribulation.
      This confusion has caused the movement to split into bitterly opposed camps.
      The problem with all of the positions (except the historic, post-tribulational view, which was accepted by all Christians, including non-premillennialists) is that they split the Second Coming into different events. In the case of the pre-trib view, Christ is thought to have three comings—one when he was born in Bethlehem, one when he returns for the rapture at the tribulation’s beginning, and one at tribulation’s end, when he establishes the millennium. This three-comings view is foreign to Scripture.
      Problems with the pre-tribulational view are highlighted by Baptist (and premillennial) theologian Dale Moody, who wrote: "Belief in a pre-tribulational rapture . . . contradicts all three chapters in the New Testament that mention the tribulation and the rapture together (Mark 13:24–27; Matt. 24:26–31; 2 Thess. 2:1–12). . . . The theory is so biblically bankrupt that the usual defense is made using three passages that do not even mention a tribulation (John 14:3; 1 Thess. 4:17; 1 Cor. 15:52). These are important passages, but they have not had one word to say about a pre-tribulational rapture. The score is 3 to 0, three passages for a post-tribulational rapture and three that say nothing on the subject.
      . . . Pre-tribulationism is biblically bankrupt and does not know it" (The Word of Truth, 556–7).

      What’s the Catholic Position?
      As far as the millennium goes, we tend to agree with Augustine and, derivatively, with the amillennialists. The Catholic position has thus historically been "amillennial" (as has been the majority Christian position in general, including that of the Protestant Reformers), though Catholics do not typically use this term. The Church has rejected the premillennial position, sometimes called "millenarianism" (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church 676). In the 1940s the Holy Office judged that premillennialism "cannot safely be taught," though the Church has not dogmatically defined this issue.
      With respect to the rapture, Catholics certainly believe that the event of our gathering together to be with Christ will take place, though they do not generally use the word "rapture" to refer to this event (somewhat ironically, since the term "rapture" is derived from the text of the Latin Vulgate of 1 Thess. 4:17—"we will be caught up," [Latin: rapiemur]).

      Spinning Wheels?
      Many spend much time looking for signs in the heavens and in the headlines. This is especially true of premillennialists, who anxiously await the tribulation because it will inaugurate the rapture and millennium.
      A more balanced perspective is given by Peter, who writes, "But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. . . . Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace" (2 Pet. 3:8–14).
      NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials
      presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
      Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004
      IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827
      permission to publish this work is hereby granted.
      +Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004

      November 1, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Endtimes, Millennium, Rapture

      The term "endtimes" applies both to the era of Christ's first coming (Heb 1:2, 1 Cor 10:11, Heb 9:26) and to the events immediately before his return and the end of the ages (Mt 24:13, 2 Tim 2:1, 2 Peter 3:3). The definitive Catholic teaching on the endtimes is contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church under the discussion of the article of the Creed, "From thence He will come again to judge the living and the dead." [CCC 668-682]
      As the Creed infallibly teaches, the Second Coming is associated with the end of the world and the Last Judgment. Therefore, it is NOT associated with any earlier time – such as to establish a "Millennium." The Catholic Church specifically condemns "millenarianism," according to which Jesus will establish a throne in this world and reign here for a thousand years [CCC 676]. She teaches instead that Jesus already reigns in eternity (1 Cor. 15:24-27, Rev. 4 & 5) and that in this world His reign, established as a seed, is found already in the Church [CCC 668-669]. This is the 1000 years, which is the Hebrew way of indicating an indefinite long time – in this case, the time between the first and second comings, the era of the Church, in other words the last days in the broadest sense.The Book of Revelation situates this era between the persecutions of the Roman antichrists of the first century and the final unleashing of evil at the end.
      Naturally, non-Catholics cannot accept that the Catholic Church represents Christ in this world, so they are forced to look for a personal earthly reign somewhere out in the future. The notion that Jesus will come, reign, and then depart, so that the devil can trick the world again, is incompatible with the incomprehensible dignity of the Lord and His love for His people. Jesus' Coming will be definitive, triumphant and ever-lasting, NOT temporal and limited.
      As for the Rapture, the meaning of 1 Thes 4:15-17 is that at the return of Christ (v.15) and the General Resurrection of the Dead (v.16), those who survive the persecution of the Antichrist will have no advantage in being resurrected over those who died before His Coming [CCC 1001]. All will go to meet Him and be with Him forever (v.17; cf. Rev 20:17-21:27).

      The Catechism provides us with a general order of events at the End [CCC 673-677]. Chronologically they are,
      1. the full number of the Gentiles come into the Church
      2. the "full inclusion of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of the full number of the Gentiles" (#2 will follow quickly on, in the wake of, #1)
      3. a final trial of the Church "in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth." The supreme deception is that of the Antichrist.
      4. Christ's victory over this final unleashing of evil through a cosmic upheaval of this passing world and the Last Judgment.
      As Cardinal Ratzinger recently pointed out (in the context of the message of Fátima), we are not at the end of the world. In fact, the Second Coming (understood as the physical return of Christ) cannot occur until the full number of the Gentiles are converted, followed by "all Israel."
      Approved Catholic mystics (Venerables, Blessed and Saints, approved apparitions) throw considerable light on this order, by prophesying a minor apostasy and tribulation toward the end of the world, after which will occur the reunion of Christians. Only later will the entire world fall away from Christ (the great apostasy) and the personal Antichrist arise and the Tribulation of the End occur.
      Although this is not Catholic doctrine, arising as it does from private revelation, it conforms to what is occurring in our time, especially in light of Our Lady of Fátima's promise of an "Era of Peace." This "Triumph of the Immaculate Heart" (other saints have spoken of a social reign of Jesus Christ when Jesus will reign in the hearts of men) would seem to occur prior to the rise of the Antichrist. The optimism of the Pope for the "New Evangelization" and a "Civilization of Love" in the Third Millennium of Christianity fits here, as well. This would place us, therefore, in the period just before the events spoken of in the Catechism, that is, on the verge of the evangelization of the entire world. Other interpretations are possible, but none seem to fit the facts as well, especially when approved mystics are studied, instead of merely alleged ones.

      Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STL

      November 1, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Chick-a-dee

      Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 668-682)
      ART ONE: THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
      SECTION TWO I. THE CREEDS
      CHAPTER TWO I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST, THE ONLY SON OF GOD
      Article 7 "FROM THENCE HE WILL COME AGAlN TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD"
      I. He Will Come Again in Glory

      Christ already reigns through the Church. . .

      668 "Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living."548 Christ's Ascension into heaven signifies his participation, in his humanity, in God's power and authority. Jesus Christ is Lord: he possesses all power in heaven and on earth. He is "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion", for the Father "has put all things under his feet."549 Christ is Lord of the cosmos and of history. In him human history and indeed all creation are "set forth" and transcendently fulfilled.550

      669 As Lord, Christ is also head of the Church, which is his Body.551 Taken up to heaven and glorified after he had thus fully accomplished his mission, Christ dwells on earth in his Church. the redemption is the source of the authority that Christ, by virtue of the Holy Spirit, exercises over the Church. "The kingdom of Christ (is) already present in mystery", "on earth, the seed and the beginning of the kingdom".552

      670 Since the Ascension God's plan has entered into its fulfilment. We are already at "the last hour".553 "Already the final age of the world is with us, and the renewal of the world is irrevocably under way; it is even now anticipated in a certain real way, for the Church on earth is endowed already with a sanct.ity that is real but imperfect."554 Christ's kingdom already manifests its presence through the miraculous signs that attend its proclamation by the Church.555
      . . . until all things are subjected to him

      671 Though already present in his Church, Christ's reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled "with power and great glory" by the King's return to earth.556 This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ's Passover.557 Until everything is subject to him, "until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and inst.itutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God."558 That is why Christians pray, above all in the Eucharist, to hasten Christ's return by saying to him:559 Maranatha! "Our Lord, come!"560

      672 Before his Ascension Christ affirmed that the hour had not yet come for the glorious establishment of the messianic kingdom awaited by Israel561 which, according to the prophets, was to bring all men the definitive order of justice, love and peace.562 According to the Lord, the present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by "distress" and the trial of evil which does not spare the Church563 and ushers in the struggles of the last days. It is a time of waiting and watching.564

      The glorious advent of Christ, the hope of Israel

      673 Since the Ascension Christ's coming in glory has been imminent,565 even though "it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority."566. This eschatological coming could be accomplished at any moment, even if both it and the final trial that will precede it are "delayed".567

      674 The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by "all Israel", for "a hardening has come upon part of Israel" in their "unbelief" toward Jesus.568 St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old."569 St. Paul echoes him: "For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?"570 The "full inclusion" of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of "the full number of the Gentiles",571 will enable the People of God to achieve "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ", in which "God may be all in all".572

      The Church's ultimate trial

      675 Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.573 The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth574 will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. the supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.575

      676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgement. the Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism,576 especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism.577

      677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.578 The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God's victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven.579 God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgement after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.580

      II. To Judge the Living and the Dead

      678 Following in the steps of the prophets and John the Baptist, Jesus announced the judgement of the Last Day in his preaching.581 Then will the conduct of each one and the secrets of hearts be brought to light.582 Then will the culpable unbelief that counted the offer of God's grace as nothing be condemned.583 Our atti.tude to our neighbour will disclose acceptance or refusal of grace and divine love.584 On the Last Day Jesus will say: "Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."585

      679 Christ is Lord of eternal life. Full right to pass definitive judgement on the works and hearts of men belongs to him as redeemer of the world. He "acquired" this right by his cross. the Father has given "all judgement to the Son".586 Yet the Son did not come to judge, but to save and to give the life he has in himself.587 By rejecting grace in this life, one already judges oneself, receives according to one's works, and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Spirit of love.588

      IN BRIEF

      680 Christ the Lord already reigns through the Church, but all the things of this world are not yet subjected to him. the triumph of Christ's kingdom will not come about without one last assault by the powers of evil.

      681 On Judgement Day at the end of the world, Christ will come in glory to achieve the definitive triumph of good over evil which, like the wheat and the tares, have grown up together in the course of history.

      682 When he comes at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, the glorious Christ will reveal the secret disposition of hearts and will render to each man according to his works, and according to his acceptance or refusal of grace.

      Footnotes:
      548 ⇒ Rom 14:9.
      549 ⇒ Eph 1:20-22.
      550 ⇒ Eph 1:10; cf. ⇒ 4:10; ⇒ 1 Cor 15:24, ⇒ 27-28.
      551 Cf. ⇒ Eph 1:22.
      552 LG 3; 5; cf. ⇒ Eph 4:11-13.
      553 I ⇒ Jn 2:18; cf. ⇒ I Pt 4:7.
      554 LG 48 # 3; cf. ⇒ I Cor 10:11.
      555 Cf. ⇒ Mk 16:17-18, ⇒ 20.
      556 ⇒ Lk 21:27; cf. ⇒ Mt 25:31.
      557 Cf. ⇒ 2 Th 2:7.
      558 LG 48 # 3; cf. ⇒ 2 Pt 3:13; ⇒ Rom 8:19-22; ⇒ I Cor 15:28.
      559 Cf. ⇒ I Cor 11:26; ⇒ 2 Pt 3:11-12.
      560 ⇒ 1 Cor 16:22; ⇒ Rev 22:17, ⇒ 20.
      561 Cf. ⇒ Acts 1:6-7.
      562 Cf. ⇒ Is 11:1-9.
      563 Cf. ⇒ Acts 1:8; ⇒ I Cor 7:26; ⇒ Eph 5:16; ⇒ I Pt 4:17.
      564 Cf. ⇒ Mt 25:1, 13; ⇒ Mk 13:33-37; I ⇒ I Jn 2:18; ⇒ 4:3; ⇒ I Tim 4:1.
      565 Cf. ⇒ Rev 22:20.
      566 ⇒ Acts 1:7; Cf. ⇒ Mk 13:32.
      567 Cf. ⇒ Mt 24:44; ⇒ I Th 5:2; ⇒ 2 Th 2:3-12.
      568 ⇒ Rom I 1:20-26; cf. ⇒ Mt 23:39.
      569 ⇒ Acts 3:19-21.
      570 ⇒ Rom 11:15.
      571 ⇒ Rom 11:12, ⇒ 25; cf. ⇒ Lk 21:24.
      572 ⇒ Eph 4:13; ⇒ I Cor 15:28.
      573 Cf. ⇒ Lk 18:8; ⇒ Mt 24:12.
      574 Cf. ⇒ Lk 21:12; ⇒ Jn 15:19-20.
      575 Cf. ⇒ 2 Th 2:4-12; ⇒ I Th 5:2-3; 2 ⇒ Jn 7; ⇒ I Jn 2:1 8, ⇒ 22.
      576 Cf. DS 3839.
      577 Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris, condemning the "false mysticism" of this
      "counterfeit of the redemption of the lowly"; cf. GS 20-21.
      578 Cf. ⇒ Rev 19:1-9.
      579 Cf ⇒ Rev 13:8; ⇒ 20:7-10; ⇒ 21:2-4.
      580 Cf. ⇒ Rev 20:12 ⇒ 2 Pt 3:12-13.
      581 Cf. ⇒ Dan 7:10; ⇒ Joel 3-4; ⇒ Mal 3: 19; ⇒ Mt 3:7-12.
      582 Cf ⇒ Mk 12:38-40; ⇒ Lk 12:1-3; ⇒ Jn 3:20-21; ⇒ Rom 2:16; ⇒ I Cor 4:5.
      583 Cf. ⇒ Mt 11:20-24; ⇒ 12:41-42.
      584 Cf. ⇒ Mt 5:22; ⇒ 7:1-5.
      585 ⇒ Mt 25:40.
      586 ⇒ Jn 5:22; cf. ⇒ 5:27; ⇒ Mt 25:31; ⇒ Acts 10:42; ⇒ 17:31; ⇒ 2 Tim 4:1.
      587 Cf. ⇒ Jn 3:17; ⇒ 5:26.
      588 Cf. ⇒ Jn 3:18; ⇒ 12:48; ⇒ Mt 12:32; ⇒ I Cor 3:12-15; ⇒ Heb 6:4-6; ⇒ 10:26-31.

      November 1, 2012 at 9:13 am |
  5. realbuckyball

    Thank you Jeebus for the hurricane. THAT'LL teach 'em.

    October 31, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  6. K-switch

    Anyone else find it a bit ironic that TrollAlert seems to have become the primary staple of the trolls diet?

    October 31, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  7. niknak

    Morning all;
    Just another beautiful day, without god(s).
    Except if you were in the path of Sandy, then not so much.

    October 31, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    October 31, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian.

      October 31, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • ....

      BULL SH IT ALERT ON TROLL ALERT

      October 31, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.

      October 31, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • TrollAlert

      Add "BULL SH IT ALERT ON TROLL ALERT" degenerates to:

      To the list.

      October 31, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book can help you:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      October 31, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.