Wednesday, December 01, 2010

[1538] MORE ON THE POPE’S BOOK- Let me cover a little more Catholic history, being I’m still reading the Pope's book [Jesus of Nazareth]. The last 2 chapters I read dealt with the temptations of Jesus by the devil- and the concept of the ‘Kingdom of God’. I like Benedict’s interpretation of the temptations- how he applies them to today. He sees the temptation of turning stones into bread as saying ‘God- if you’re really there- then why are there so many starving people in the world- why don’t you provide! Just ‘turn the stones into bread’’ if you will. The Pope develops this thought as a general cause of doubt that occurs in the world; how many people seem to question the existence of God because of the many injustices we see in the world [in theology we call this Theodicy- the Pope I’m sure knows the term- but he’s trying to write for the common reader so he doesn’t use the term]. All in all I liked the argument. He also [surprisingly!] equates the temptation of the devil to Jesus- when the devil says ‘fall down and worship me and I will give you the kingdoms of the world’. Interestingly the Pope applies this to the ongoing temptation that the church has always had to deal with- the temptation of the church ‘bowing down’ in order to exert control over the kingdoms of the world. He compares the church’s ‘marriage’ to Roman govt. [4ht century Constantine] as a weakness of the church- that she in essence opted for outward political control and in a way rejected the kingdom of Jesus- the meek kingdom that would inherit the earth. Now, this observation has been made many times before- but mostly from Protestants! It’s surprising to see a Pope make the same observation! Also liberal Catholic theologian Hans Kung has made this argument- he’s not a theologian in good standing with his own church- a few years ago he openly made the argument that the church should reject Papal infallibility [the doctrine] and got an official censure from the Vatican. So any way I found the observations of Benedict enlightening and surprising- over the next few weeks I’ll probably hit a few more notes from the book [probably should have done a complete book review now that I think about it- but I’m in the middle of making some new radio programs and didn’t want to focus too much on a book review]. Anyway- if you get a chance pick up the book [published in 2006- but any Catholic bookshop will have it] it’s a worthwhile read.

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