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Friday, February 18, 2005

The Bible is God's Community Forming Machine

Protestants say there is no authority outside of the Bible. This is of course a denial of the Bible itself. You cannot even begin to read the Bible if there's no outside of it.

Unless you maintain that those who read the Bible, are already inside of the Sacred. In short, you have to maintain that these people are absolutely and totally at one with God at all times, past - present - future. Of course, in such a case, these people would have to be God themselves.

As you can see, it is not difficult to show the absurdities on which Protestant heresy is based.

Sola scriptura, a non-sensical category

Protestants base their separatist views on the idea of what they call sola scriptura. This means that they see the Scriptures as the only authority to guide their lives. This, of course, is evidence of Protestants' total lack of understanding of what a Sacred Text is all about.

Sacred Texts are inspired by God. But they are not only Sacred, they are
texts as well.

So what is a text?

In essence, texts are machines that form communities. They are means of communication, grouping together individuals, to form a whole. Non-sacred texts form communities that are qualitatively more than the mere sum of the individuals of the group. In this respect, Sacred texts are not different. But they add Sacrality - and they add it
to the community. The community of those who write and to those who read the texts, is Sacred and Inspired.

Texts are written by people. Sacred Texts are written by Sacred People. Catholics have no problems in understanding that the Divine can incarnate itself into the Ordinary, by which the Ordinary becomes Sacred.

The writers of the Bible are testimony to this Divine Inspiration. They were people. People who formed a community. A Sacred community.

Such Sacred communities are called Churches. From the earliest days of Christianity, the Church was seen as a community of people, bound by the Sacred Word, incarnating God as a community, united in Christ, not as individuals but as Sacred Communities. It's extremely important to stress the sociality of the Church. A Church is not a mere reading club (as Protestant Churches want to be), it is a
Sacred Communio.

Hence, the Church is the Incarnation of God. And this insight suffices to understand why Catholics view the Church as a sacred institution, carrying authority.

The Church recognizes the essentially
social nature of people. I would go so far as to say that the Church, representative of God on Earth, puts the community before the individual (the Sacred history of Christianity is full testimony to this), and what's more, the social bond between people is Sacred as well.

To me, the problem of the
Incarnation of Christ, is crucial to understand the differences between Catholics and Protestants when it comes to the idea of sola scriptura. Whereas the latter deny Christ's presence in people, Catholics acknowledge that Christ is incarnated both in the Text, and through the Sacraments, in the Sacred community as well.

Protestants are purists who are afraid of the idea that the Divine may manifest itself in the Ordinary (people, communities). Catholics are not afraid of the union of the earthly (the social) and the Divine. Hence, Catholicism is the true universal religion, binding people as a Sacred community, stressing that the social bond of the Believers is sacred as well.

[still working on this little text]

This is my pop-theological explanation of the non-sensical nature of a doctrine like sola scriptura.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Cristo Redentor, Rio de Janeiro's Warm Welcome

Each year we all have the privilege of enjoying Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro.
This is also the time when that famous statue of Christ
appears on TV screens all over the world: arms wide-open, welcoming the citizens of the world, overlooking the bustling festivities down below in the most vibrant city on the planet.

But how did this impressive landmark get on top of that huge rock, the socalled "hunchback of Corcovado"? Who put it there, so high up in the sky? And why is it so captivating?

Let's take a look at the history of the Cristo Redentor, this Christ who redeems us all.

Rio de Janeiro has always been a mirror-city for European capitals. Up to this day the megalopolis entertains a great cultural dialogue with Paris, Lisbon, Rome, Barcelona and Brussels. This reciprocal influence intensified from the 1920s onwards, when Rio was host to the World Exhibition (1922), showing its splendor to the world.
Rio quickly became a place where modern European artists came to enjoy life, lust and love. They exchanged ideas with fellow Brazilian artists, explored new vistas, people and impressions, and didn't shy away from the beautiful girls on the beach, who, by then, had already become modern icons of New World exoticism in Europe. As a centre of culture, Rio rivalled Buenos Aires, the Paris of the New World.

But Rio was also a very catholic city. It's citizens were so diverse, coming from so many different ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds, that some kind of symbol was needed to unify them all in one spirit.

French sculptor Paul Landowski.

Cidade de Deus.

[ok, be right back].