Throwback Wednesday: See Jesus via web cam, 24/7?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Huh? But it’s only Wednesday? Yup, I realize I’m a day early, but I had to do a little rearranging to accommodate tomorrow’s timely post. Today, we’re going to revisit an article that was originally published back on April 17, 2016 and has been revised.

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Did you know Roman Catholics believe they can see Jesus Christ 24/7 via web cam? First, a little background.

I’ve mentioned many times that evangelicals and Catholics view the Lord’s Supper VERY differently. Evangelicals partake of the symbolic elements of the Lord’s Supper with great humility and thanksgiving as we remember that our Lord gave His body and blood as a sacrifice for our sins so that we could have eternal life in Him.

Catholicism, on the other hand, teaches its priests change bread wafers and wine into the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ at every mass. The priest then offers up Jesus the “host” (victim) to God the Father as a sacrifice for the “venial” (small, pardonable) sins* of those present, along with those of the pope, the local bishop, and anyone else mentioned (including souls suffering in purgatory). Many of the attendees then line up to receive a Jesus wafer (Jesus wine from a shared cup is optional). Communion recipients are taught that Jesus is physically present inside of them for 15 minutes as their body digests the wafer. The RC church teaches the venial sins of the participants can be forgiven at any point during the mass, but especially during the penitential rite portion and at Holy Communion. Catholics believe the consecrated Jesus wafer imparts graces to the recipients to help them obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) in order to possibly merit Heaven at the moment of their death.

The sacrament of the “eucharist” (thanksgiving) is the central tenet of the Catholic belief system. Rather than receiving Jesus as Savior by faith spiritually, Catholicism sadly misinterprets John 6 and the Last Supper discourses in the gospels and insists that Jesus must be physically eaten in order to attain salvation. Catholics give lip service to “grace” and “faith,” but believe they must ultimately merit their salvation by obeying the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and man-made church rules with help from the alleged Jesus wafer.

After every mass, any leftover Jesus wafers are stored in a locked box called the “tabernacle,” to be distributed later to the sick and housebound. On occasion, priests will set a large Jesus wafer in an ornate viewing container called a “monstrance.” Catholics are invited to come to church separately from the mass to worship and adore the Jesus wafer as “he” rests in the transparent container. In some churches, volunteers sign up for time slots so that the Jesus wafer will be worshiped around the clock in “perpetual adoration.”

I’m currently reading “Another Jesus: The Eucaristic Christ and the New Evangelization” by Roger Oakland and I wanted to pass along a bit of information that’s presented. There are a few Catholic religious orders that do nothing else but worship the Jesus wafer. The members of the order eat, sleep, and worship the wafer. In his book, Oakland mentions a web site (see link below)  maintained by the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters, which includes a live web cam of a Jesus wafer in a monstrance. That’s right! Catholics can view and worship the wafer Jesus any time they want within the privacy and comfort of their own homes.

http://www.savior.org/

Several such “Jesus cams” are available on the internet so that Catholics can worship and adore the virtual Jesus wafer 24/7.

Catholic friend, accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. Jesus is not locked away in a gold box or in a monstrance as a bread wafer. He’s sitting at the right hand of the Father and He’s waiting for you to forsake your dependence on your church membership and your religious laundry list and to accept Him as your Savior by faith alone.

“At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.” – Matthew 24:23-28

“Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” – Hebrews 10:11-14

*Catholicism teaches that “mortal” (major) sins can only be forgiven by a priest in the confessional booth or while administering last rites.

Postscript: On occasions when Catholic churches have caught on fire, pious Catholics have been known to enter the burning building to “rescue” the Jesus wafers stored in the altar tabernacle. See my relevant post here.

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #77

It’s Two-fer-Tuesday, my friends, which means two new sermons from the brethren down in Arkansas.

First, we have Pastor Roger Copeland of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, preaching from Luke 6:27-38 on “Love Your Enemies.”

Next, we have Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City, preaching from Colossians 3:23-25 on “What’s Your Inheritance?”

Both of these sermons were delivered on Sunday, March 14th.

Pastor Roger Copeland – Love Your Enemies

Pastor Cody Andrews – What’s Your Inheritance?

Kazan Redux: Elia Kazan’s Fourteenth Film: “Wild River”

Today, as part of our “Kazan Redux” series, we’re going to re-review director Elia Kazan’s fourteenth film, “Wild River.” The review below was first posted on June 27, 2017 and has been slightly revised.

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Wild River
Directed by Elia Kazan and featuring Montgomery Clift, Lee Remick, and Jo Van Fleet
20th Century Fox, 1960, 110 minutes

5 Stars

Director Elia Kazan had visited the Cumberland area of Tennessee in the early 1930s as an idealistic, young communist. He admired the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, which tamed the flood-prone Tennessee River while providing much-needed hydro-electric power. For many years, Kazan desired to make a film about the tensions involved in the push for the greatest common good as represented by the TVA versus the disruption of individuals’ lives caused by the project.

Plot

M&L

It’s the 1930s and the TVA is on the verge of damming the Tennessee River and flooding several river valleys. Chuck Glover (Monty Clift), a TVA bureaucrat based in Washington, is sent down to Garthville, Tennessee with the mission of removing the last remaining holdout, eighty-year-old Ella Garth (Jo Van Fleet), who has no intention of selling her soon-to-be-flooded river island. Her widowed granddaughter, Carol (Lee Remick), is attracted to the urbane Glover and the two quickly form a relationship. Glover persuades Ella’s Black tenant farmers to leave the island along with their families, but the matriarch remains adamant. At the same time, resentment mounts among the local White citizenry towards Glover’s policy of paying Blacks the same wages as Whites to help clear trees in preparation for the controlled flooding. Carol aggressively pursues the ambivalent Glover, asking him to marry her at the very moment the rednecks arrive at her house in order to send Glover packing. He can only admire Carol’s spunky defiance of the gang of good ol’ boys and asks her to elope. A federal marshal is finally brought in to evict Ella from the island. She is provided a small house on higher ground, but dies of heartbreak shortly after. On their way to Washington D.C. via airplane, Glover, Carol, and her two children look down and view the river and the only portion of Garth Island still above water; the family cemetery plot containing Ella’s fresh grave. Glover admired Ella for her foolhardy stubbornness, but she stood in the way of “progress” and had to be sacrificed.

Comments

Kazan filmed “Wild River” on location in the towns of Charleston and Cleveland, Tennessee. Close to one-hundred locals were used as extras. Emotionally-crippled Monty Clift barely held it together throughout the filming. Kazan’s accounts of the actor’s performance are quite interesting. While Kazan bragged that he bullied Clift into remaining sober throughout the shoot, town lore has it that the McClary sisters regularly snuck liquor up to his room at the Cherokee Hotel. Twenty-five-year-old Lee Remick is superb as the young, love-starved widow. When she confidently and aggressively courts Clift, it’s all he can do just to sit gape-mouthed on the couch, leaving every viewer scratching their head. Jo Van Fleet is fantastic as Ella, skillfully portraying the eighty-year-old matriarch at the age of forty-five. Albert Salmi is entertaining as the alpha good ol’ boy. Overall, it’s a wonderful cast which includes several Kazan regulars.

“Wild River” was one of Kazan’s favorite films although its limited art house release guaranteed unprofitability. Fox was convinced 1960 movie audiences would not be interested in a film about the TVA. The movie was rarely shown on television and was only recently (2013) released on Blu-ray DVD.

Kazan had attempted to write the film script himself, but eventually hired seasoned screenwriter, Paul Osborne. Kazan especially admired the conflict between Glover and Ella in which both held to positions that were simultaneously right and wrong. Relations between Blacks and Whites in the 1930’s segregated Deep South are portrayed quite candidly for a movie made in 1960.

I’ve seen “Wild River” many times but I appreciated watching it for the first time in HD on Blu-ray. Commentary is provided by Time magazine film critic, Richard Schickel, who doesn’t hide his deep admiration for “Wild River” or for Kazan and Remick. This is a pretty good film, but Remick’s performance as someone attempting to straddle both “tradition” and “progress” was Oscar-worthy outstanding.

Additional thoughts from a believer

The Black workers on Garth island and Carol and her children regularly sing old Gospel hymns, with “In the Garden” featured most prominently. Kazan contrasts Christianity and “traditional” values (which includes negative attitudes such as racism) with utopian Liberal Progressivism. I’m all for improving people’s physical circumstances, but true redemption can’t be found in either progressive or conservative politics. Jesus Christ transcends politics and physical circumstances. But in all fairness to Kazan, one of the main messages of this film is that even the most “successful” progressive social engineering project will have its share of victims.

Next up: Kazan’s fifteenth film, “Splendor in the Grass” (1961).

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 3/27/21

Gay Catholics were overjoyed last October when a documentary was released, which included a statement from pope Francis endorsing same-sex civil unions. However, the LGBT-ers were stunned on March 15th when the Vatican released a statement approved by Francis barring priests, for now, from blessing same-sex unions. What’s the deal? My take is that liberal/progressive priests interpreted Francis’ October remarks as a license to “bless” gay “weddings” and the situation was snowballing into a “too much, too soon” controversy for the embattled pope, who has already been dealing with charges of heresy from conservative prelates for the last five years. As the dust settles over this latest statement, Francis’ point man, Jesuit James Martin, continues to chip away at resistance to full acceptance of practicing LGBT-ers within the RCC.

There are so many charlatans masquerading as “prophets” within the big tent of “evangelicalism.”

Few know that the Jesuits were the largest slaveholders in antebellum Maryland.

Traditionalists cling to the Latin mass as a beloved symbol of pre-conciliar, militant Catholicism. Pope Francis is definitely not a fan.

Roman Catholics are strictly forbidden from eating meat on the six Lenten Fridays prior to Easter under threat of eternal damnation. However, the compulsory abstention was NOT in effect on Friday, March 19th because the day was also the feast day of St. Joseph, a “solemnity.” On the Catholic liturgical calendar, a solemnity trumps Lenten Friday meat abstentions every time. Canon Law 1251 states, “Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday.” Roman Catholicism is a dizzying calculus of religious legalities. I imagine the VAST majority of Catholics were not aware of the lifting of the meat ban on Friday, March 19th.

German Catholic prelates continue to “push the envelope” in regards to multiple liberal “reforms.” Even progressive Francis must slow the Germans down to forestall schism.

Twenty-one-year-old, Robert Aaron Long, fatally shot eight employees working at three “massage spas” in the Atlanta area on March 17th. Long had professed to have trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior when he became a member of Crabapple First Baptist Church (Southern Baptist). However, Long had been receiving counseling for porn addiction at a Christian counseling center and told arresting authorities that he had carried out the slayings to eliminate the temptation posed by the massage businesses. Not that Long’s church is to blame for the murders, but the evangelical church generally does a poor job of addressing sex and porn addiction issues. It’s commonly known that many/most of these “massage spas” are covers for prostitution.

Growing up in a cult within the Catholic cult

Little Sister: A Memoir
By Patricia Walsh Chadwick
Post Hill Press, 2019, 326 pp.

3 Stars

Few people today are aware of “The Boston Heresy Case” of the 1940’s and 50s. For centuries, Roman Catholic prelates and theologians taught that only Catholics could possibly merit Heaven, the doctrine of extra Ecclesiam nulla salus (“outside the Church there is no salvation”). In the early-20th century, modernist/semi-Universalist views were making inroads into Catholic seminaries and episcopates, which posited that non-Catholic religionists could also possibly merit Heaven under a liberal interpretation of the exception principle of Baptismus flaminis (“baptism of desire”), i.e. non-Catholics would certainly welcome baptism into the “one true church” if they understood it’s importance. Popular Jesuit priest and writer, Leonard Feeney, publicly opposed this liberal shift in theology and was thereby censured and finally excommunicated in 1953. The Roman Catholic church would later officially promulgate the doctrine of the possibility of the salvation of all religionists in the document, Nostra aetate, issued by the Second Vatican Council in 1965.

During this controversy, Feeney served as director of the St. Benedict Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a resource for Catholic undergrads and teachers at Harvard University.* In defiance of the RC hierarchy, Feeney and the center’s benefactress, Catherine Goddard Clarke, created a religious community, the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which consisted of about one-hundred dedicated “Feeneyites,” including singles and married couple with their children. Due to rising tensions with Boston-area Catholic clergy and laity, the community moved from Cambridge to the rural environs of Still River/Harvard, MA, thirty miles away (see map far below).

In this memoir, Patricia Walsh Chadwick, describes growing up as a child in the Slaves commune. While Feeney was the symbolic figurehead, Catherine Clarke ruled the day-to-day operations with an iron fist. Members were required to take new names, wear mandatory religious uniform garb, sever all connections with family and friends outside of the commune, refrain from discussions of life prior to the order, and practice celibacy. All thirty-nine children were removed from the direct care of their parents. In addition to having very little personal contact with their parents, the children were sometimes treated cruelly and abusively in other regards. Members were forbidden from leaving the compound except for excursions to Boston to peddle the cult’s “outside the Catholic church there is no salvation” literature. In contrast to the severe restrictions the co-leaders imposed upon the membership, Clarke reserved the privilege of driving to her private home in Waltham three nights per week to be with her husband and daughter while Feeney traveled whenever and wherever he wished.

After a series of minor insubordinations, “Sister” Clarke expelled Patricia Walsh from the community in 1966 immediately following her high school graduation. The 17-year-old left behind her parents and four siblings. The other six members of her family eventually left the Slaves as well. Catherine Clarke died of cancer in 1968. After having been reconciled to the Roman Catholic church in 1972 through the efforts of the Boston bishop, Feeney died in 1978. Following their founder’s death, the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary fragmented into several small factions.

It was painful to read this memoir and the descriptions of the abuse inflicted upon the members of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Patricia Walsh Chadwick’s contempt for Clarke is palpable. This is as CULTISH as it gets, folks. Some of the authoritarianism and mind-control methods match what was practiced at Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple and David Koresh’s Branch Davidians. However, the cultish disciplines at Still River were not all that far removed from the regular practices at every Catholic convent in the 1950s and early-1960s.

It’s interesting to read how Feeney attempted to resist the RCC’s theological drift into semi-Universalism. Some traditional/conservative/militant Catholics still revere Feeney as a defender of the “true” Catholic interpretation of extra Ecclesiam nulla salus (“outside the Church there is no salvation”).

From start to finish of this memoir, there was absolutely no trace of the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Chadwick devotes the last 140 pages of the book to her post-Slaves existence, wherein she describes eventually becoming a wife and a mother after thoroughly indulging herself in the sinful pleasures of the world that were denied her in the commune – like the proverbial bird let out of the cage. She remains a nominal Catholic, holding to the bottom-line philosophy popular both inside and outside of the church that spirituality boils down to “being a good person.”

I have another book on order dealing with Feeney and “The Boston Heresy Case.”

*As a Harvard undergraduate, “devout” Roman Catholic, Robert “Bobby” Kennedy, played a key role in Feeney’s censure and eventual excommunication with the help of his powerful father, Joseph Kennedy. See here.

Above: Leonard Feeney and Catherine Clarke
Above: The main building of the former Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary commune/cult in Still River, Massachusetts

Throwback Thursday: IFB Memories #1: Picking through egg rolls?

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on April 28, 2016 and has been revised.

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I’ve mentioned several times that shortly after my wife and I accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior back in 1983, we joined an independent fundamental Baptist (IFB) church in our area. I can best describe it as a church that emulated Jerry Falwell and his Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia; VERY heavy into politics and patriotism and also VERY heavy into waging culture battles. We grew in the Lord “somewhat” while we were there, but there were also A LOT of legalistic attitudes at that church, which eventually wore us down to the point that we stopped attending in 1991. I even walked away from the Lord for the next twenty-three years because I had become so exasperated with “churchianity.”

We have a lot of memories of that church, both good and bad, but some of the members did some outlandish things. I was driving home from work yesterday and recalled the following illustrative episode:

One day my wife and I went out to dinner with another couple from the church, Greg and Gail. We chose to eat at The Shanghai, a nearby Chinese restaurant, and just like at many Chinese restaurants, we were all served egg rolls as an appetizer. Both Greg and Gail immediately proceeded to cut open their egg rolls and pick out the tiny strands of pork that were embedded in the shredded cabbage with their forks. I asked them what they were doing and they answered the Bible forbids believers to eat pork. Hoo boy! I told them the Old Testament dietary laws were done away with by the New Testament covenant (see Mark 7:17-23 and Acts 10:9-15), but they were having none of it and continued to pick out the pork, but said for us to go ahead if we were fine with eating it. Yes, I know we’re told in Scripture not to offend those who still struggle with OT dietary laws (Romans 14:1-23), but those two were not Jewish and it was not 57 AD!!! Time to read the entire Bible, folks! Well, as you might suspect, I ate the entire contents of my egg rolls and savored every pork shred. I would not be a party to such un-Scriptural persnicketiness by also picking through my egg rolls. There were other, similar legalities that the people in that church engaged in. The general attitude fostered that kind of nitpicky scrupulosity and judgmentalism. These were my brothers and sisters in the Lord and I probably shouldn’t point out their foibles, but I use the experience as an example of how we should be on guard against scrupulous legalism.

Thank you, Jesus, for fulfilling the entire law and saving me by grace through faith in You alone. Help me to know Your entire Word. And thank you for pork chops and barbecue ribs – in moderation of course!

Backwoods, hillbilly, anti-Catholic fundamentalist?

My old blogging routine was to post articles Monday thru Saturday, but when I returned back to work in early-January I cut back to only four days per week. A recent cold meant A LOT of couch duty and time to ruminate and write some extra posts. So, in order to relieve the “glut,” I’ve decided to publish today and Friday.

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I was a Roman Catholic for my first twenty-seven years, until 1983 when I trusted in Jesus Christ as my Savior by faith alone. The Lord then put it in my heart to earnestly study my former religion and the many incompatible, irreconcilable doctrinal differences between Roman Catholicism and Gospel Christianity. Over the past five-and-a-half years of blogging, I’ve published many posts examining those differences. The prime difference between Catholicism and Gospel Christianity is in regards to how a person is saved. The Catholic church teaches that salvation is obtained by participating in its sacraments, whereby graces are allegedly received, supposedly enabling the Catholic to better obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!), in order to hopefully merit eternal life at the moment of death. Gospel Christians believe in salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. The theologies are diametrically opposed and cannot be reconciled. One is right and one is wrong. They cannot both be right.

One of the most disturbing things I’ve seen over the past thirty-eight years is how Gospel Christians have increasingly embraced my former religion, the false Roman Catholic church, as a Christian entity. Sixty-years ago, evangelicals rightly knew that the Roman church taught a false gospel. Since then, accommodators and compromisers within have chipped away at theological discernment. A consensus emerged and grew that proclaimed that, although the RCC had some quirky, un-Biblical beliefs, they got the basic Gospel right because they also talk about Jesus, “grace,” and “faith.” The rising tide of secularism motivated many undiscerning believers to dismiss doctrinal distinctives and to embrace Roman Catholics as “brothers in Christ” in an effort to present a semi-united “Christian” front in the culture/morality wars. Some evangelicals were also attracted to Catholic “intellectualism” and the false church’s ornate ritualism and ceremony.

These days, it appears* that the majority of those who identify as “evangelical” embrace “practicing” Roman Catholics as fellow-Christians. The consensus is that those who do not support ecumenism with Rome are akin to embarrassing, repugnant, anti-intellectual, backwoods, bigoted, unsophisticated, hillbilly fundamentalists of a bygone era. But Rome has not changed any of its major doctrines since 1960 and Catholics unabashedly admit that their church teaches salvation by (sacramental) grace and works. So what is the problem? Why did evangelicals cave when it came to Roman Catholicism, but still resolutely (at least for now) reject the Latter Day Saints and the Watchtower Society as false churches? Accommodating evangelical apologists (e.g., Norman Geisler, William Lane Craig, Frank Turek, Josh McDowell, etc.) readily admit that Roman Catholicism teaches a heterodox view of justification, but still dichotomously embrace it as a Christian entity. For ecumenical evangelicals, it is easier on their psyche to hold to a totally incongruous view (i.e., works-righteousness Catholicism is Christian) rather than swim against the tide and be thought of as an anti-Catholic fundamentalist.

In summary, a general consensus developed within evangelicalism over the past sixty years that says that Roman Catholicism teaches the genuine Gospel or something “close enough” EVEN DESPITE the RCC’s own unapologetic testimony to the contrary and despite evangelical theologians’ and apologists’ acknowledgement that Rome’s version of justification (baptismal regeneration, works righteousness) is heterodox and does not lead to salvation.

Because I point out that Rome teaches a false gospel, many evangelicals who visit my blog are embarrassed by my content, which doesn’t agree with the popular consensus/paradigm. In their eyes, I am a bigoted, anti-Catholic fundamentalist. They have been conditioned to be repulsed by those who say anything critical of Roman Catholicism. Warning Catholics and Christians of Rome’s false gospel is now viewed as distasteful and something akin to forcing people to sit at the back of the bus.

“If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema.” – Council of Trent, Canon 14

“None of us can say…I am already saved.” – pope Francis, December 11, 2015

What Does the Roman Catholic Church Believe About Justification? by R.C. Sproul

*A 2015 Lifeway Research survey revealed only 23 percent of evangelical Christian pastors disagreed with the statement that the pope is a fellow Christian and a “brother in Christ” (see here).

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday Sermon Series, #76

It’s Two-fer-Tuesday, my friends, which means two new sermons from the brethren down in Arkansas.

First, we have Pastor Roger Copeland of Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana, preaching from Luke 6:12-16 on “The 12.”

Next, we have Pastor Cody Andrews of Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City preaching from John 3:16 on “For God So Loved The World.”

Both of these sermons were delivered on Sunday, March 7th.

Pastor Roger Copeland – The 12

Pastor Cody Andrews – For God So Loved The World

“Stay out of my way. Don’t get in my way.”

Winters here in Western New York are definitely challenging. Due to our unique position in relation to the Great Lakes, we can boast of having more snow and less sunshine than any other region in the continental United States. One of the hopeful signs of warmer temps ahead is the commencement of Major League Baseball’s Spring Training in Florida and Arizona. My favorite team, the San Diego Padres, had an excellent 2020 season and are poised for another good run in 2021.

I began following the Padres in 1970 when I was fourteen years old. Over the past fifty years, there’s been A LOT more “thin” than “thick,” but the Pads did make it all the way to the World Series in 1984 and 1998.

I was so thrilled when the Padres finally made it to the World Series in 1984. Sure, they ended up tanking against the Detroit Tigers, winning only one game, but that was anti-climactic after the Pads shocked the nation by improbably beating the heavily-favored Chicago Cubbies in the NLCS.

When the 1985 season rolled around, I was still pumped up and I resolved to see the Padres play in-person for the first time. In those days, we didn’t have two nickels to rub together after paying the bills and couldn’t afford vacations, but SOMEHOW I was able to scrape the funds together for my wife, our two sons (ages 10 and 7 at the time), and I to drive to Montreal (six hours away) to see my beloved Pads play the Expos.

That was all happening in the middle of the baseball card craze. A strange hysteria overtook baseball fans and even non-fans. People got it into their heads that baseball cards were a great investment and began buying them up. Card manufacturers quadrupled their production as baseball card shops, yes, baseball card shops, began popping up in cities along with baseball card shows at hotels and convention centers. Our sons and I got caught up in the frenzy and I began my collection of Topps-brand Padres team sets and Tony Gwynn cards. Tony was the Padres’ most popular player. He was called up to the Padres from the minors in 1982 and would go on to play 20 seasons, compiling an incredible 3141 hits and a jaw-dropping .338 lifetime batting average.

While in Montreal, I was determined to get Tony’s autograph. At the stadium, I overheard some savvy fans say that Tony liked to use a particular exit after contests with the Expos, the one leading to Pie-IX station of the Montreal Metro. So immediately after the end of the 9th inning, I frantically dragged my family through the crowd to the exit as if we were going to see Jesus Christ. About 30 other fans had the same plan, and when Tony finally appeared we all thronged around him. Tony’s public persona was that of a smiling and very friendly guy, but that wasn’t the case in this situation. He said very firmly and unsmilingly, “I will sign your items, but don’t get in my way.” So we all walked along with Tony as he reluctantly signed our cards, photos, and baseballs while repeating his warning again and again, “Stay out of my way. Don’t get in my way.” I was put-off by Gwynn’s very unfriendly attitude, but I also understood that it was the result of being constantly harassed by autograph hounds. My wife was a bit befuddled as to why her twenty-nine-year-old husband was jostling with a crowd of other adults for an autograph of a baseball player, like some sixteen-year-old bobby-soxer waiting outside of a New York City dinner club at a Frank Sinatra show in 1947. It’s embarrassing to think about now.

Thirty-six years later, I don’t know what happened to that Tony Gwynn autograph. I don’t desire any celebrity’s autograph at this point. What’s it for? What do you do with it? Tony Gwynn died in 2014 at the age of 54. He succumbed to complications from a 17-year struggle with mouth cancer caused by his regular use of dipping tobacco during his playing days. I don’t know if Tony was a Christian or not. He didn’t discuss his religious beliefs, if any, in public. The bottom dropped out of the baseball card frenzy a long time ago, but there are still a few stores here in the ROC area that cater to sports collectors. News sources report that card collecting is actually making a small comeback among nostalgic, middle-aged males with an excess of time on their hands during this pandemic.

“Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?” – Isaiah 2:22

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 3/20/21

  • New book upcoming from Leonardo De Chirico

In this era of accommodating ecumenism, books that point out the anti-Biblical teachings of Roman Catholicism are becoming fewer and farther between. I was searching at Amazon the other day and was delighted to stumble upon a new book forthcoming from Leonardo De Chirico titled, “Same Words, Different World: What Makes Roman Catholicism Differ from the Gospel?” (photo above), which is due out May 31, 2021. De Chirico is director of the Reformanda Initiative and has already penned two excellent short books on Catholicism; A Christian’s Pocket Guide To The Papacy: Its origin and role in the 21st century and A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Mary: Mother of God?.

Spring begins today and the housing market is gearing up once again. Some priests may pooh pooh the tradition, but Roman Catholics regularly bury small statues of St. Joseph in the yard when selling a house in the belief that it will expedite the sale. And you thought Catholic-Voodoo syncretism was only found in New Orleans and Haiti? See my post on the topic, here.

Beth Moore is wildly popular among evangelical women, but she teaches such dangerous things as contemplative (mind emptying) prayer and embraces the Roman Catholic church as a Christian institution.

Evangelist Luis Palau was often referred to as the “Billy Graham of Latin America.” Like Graham, Palau embraced Roman Catholicism as a Christian entity and he also counted fellow-Argentinian Jorge Bergoglio aka pope Francis as a personal friend. See here.

The Roman Catholic church teaches that using any form of artificial birth control, even non-abortifacients, is a mortal sin and only endorses the unreliable rhythm method aka natural family planning. In defiance of their church, 98% of Catholic women of reproductive age who have ever had sex have used a method of contraception other than natural family planning (Guttmacher Institute, 2011). What do you call an institution when all of its members flout its mandatory rules? A sham.

Progressive German Catholic prelates are trying to radically liberalize their national church in an effort to retain increasingly disaffected members who must pay 8-9% of their annual tax bill to remain on the church’s rolls.

Former Catholic media pioneer, bishop Fulton J. Sheen (d. 1979) was on the fast-track to being canonized, but the process hit a brick wall when the dioceses of Peoria, Illinois (Sheen’s birthplace) and New York City battled in court for the rights to his cadaver. When the dispute was settled in Peoria’s favor in 2018, canonization appeared imminent, but was then put on hold indefinitely after fallout from 2019 investigations in Rochester, New York into priest sexual abuse and cover-up implicated Sheen, the former bishop of that city from 1966 to 1969.

Jesuit priest, James Martin, is progressive pope Francis’ point man in the crusade to wear down resistance to full acceptance of practicing gays and lesbians within the RCC.