Ad Limina Apostolorum (Blog) | St. Augustine's Library
Thursday, March 31, 2005

It's All About Love 

In this coming Sunday's Gospel, tightly wedged between our Lord's post-resurrection appearance to the disciples and the famous 'Thomas incident' (which will probably get the bulk of the homily), we have the sparse two sentences which constitute, according to our scholastic tradition, the dominical institution of the sacrament of penance (John 20:22-23):

"And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
'Receive the Holy Spirit.

Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained'."

This bestowal of authority to 'control', if we may use that word, the sanctifying operation of the Spirit, to 'bind and loose' the gift of heaven, to be indwelt with the awesome creative power of the same Spirit who hovered over the waters of creation, would have been interpreted by many ancient readers as nothing other than magic, something along the lines of conjuring or sorcery. It is little wonder that Simon Magus, himself a street magician, sees the apostles as fellow practitioners, and offers to buy their secrets (Acts 8:9-24). And of course, in the apostolic narratives in the Book of Acts, the apostles wage a continual struggle to dissasociate their miraculous ministry from the work-a-day activities of sorcerers or channelers of the pagan divinities.

The Manichees, who, at least according to their Christian opponents, were the spiritual descendants of Simon Magus himself, held the same caricature of the Christian sacraments. According to Faustus, the 'public face' of Manichaeism in the late fourth century, the Christian rituals merely provided superficial justiciation for private dissolution. He mocked Christians for their allegedly low moral standards: Christians, he said, waltzed through the perfunctory rituals of sacramental initiation, and then lived as they pleased. Their private vices could be 'covered over' by the 'magical' purification of baptism and penance, and their sacramental worthiness required no parallel, and especially no conscious effort, on the personal level.

The charges are not obscure. St. Paul had to respond to them within years of Christ's death, and Christian apologists respond to them still today. St. Augustine found the charge compelling enough to merit a small library of literary works, directed specifically against Faustus and the charges mentioned above. For the 'doctor of grace', this charge was not one to be taken lightly, but one which cut to the very heart of the Christian message.

Augustine's writings on this passage in the Gospel, where Christ promises the Holy Spirit to his disciples, give us only one sentence of commentary on the relevant verses:

"The Church's love, which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, discharges the sins of all who are partakers with itself, but retains the sins of those who have no participation therein."

The sentence is scant but loaded, and anyone who has read Augustine at any length at all will immediately recognize the inclusion of the ubiquitous Augustinian allusion to St. Paul in Romans 5:5, almost certainly the most oft-quoted verse in all of Augustine's works. It is a verse used frequently in his anti-Faustian works (cf., e.g. On the Morals of the Catholic Church 13.23), usually with reference to baptism, but also in discussions of the Eucharist or penance. St. Augustine's casual usage of this rather peculiar Pauline phrase - 'the love shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit' - to describe the apostolic prerogative of absolving sins strikes us as rather odd. Paul was certainly not using this phrase to describe the ecclesial forgiveness of sins. What, after all, does love have do do with the sacraments of the Church?

Everything. For St. Augustine, man's union with God, even his sacramental union, can come about through nothing less than an infusion of divine charity, an outpouring of supernatural love. Therefore, he will argue against Faustus, a life of charity is the 'outer mark' of membership in the Church, just as the reception of the sacraments establish the 'inner mark'. Self-giving charity is symptomatic of the life of the Christian just as self-love is symptomatic of the life of the unregenerate. The multitude of Christians from whose lives charity is noticeably absent - the brunt of Faustus' mockery - have stained their baptismal purity, and, until they experience a change of life, possess a membership in the Church which is purely nominal, and not authentic. The sacraments of the Church have one sole purpose, and that is to penetrate, permeate, and perpetuate divine love in the hearts of her members.

Augustine will also turn this argument against another heretical sect, the Donatist party. These African Christians, who had severed themselves from the Catholic communion, carried out the Christian sacraments in schism. Yet for Augustine, these sacraments - even if valid in themselves - amounted to nothing outside the Church, since they were carried out in the absence of charity (for what charity can exist when the unity of the Body is shattered by hatred?), and - as we have noted above - the efficacy of the sacraments lies precisely in the infusion of charity:
"[W]e should understand thereby what the apostle says, 'Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.' For this is that very love which is wanting in all who are cut off from the communion of the Catholic Church . . . and consequently we are right in understanding that the Holy Spirit may be said not to be received except in the Catholic Church . . . [As for those within the Catholic Church, it] is understood that invisibly and imperceptibly, on account of the bond of peace, divine love is breathed into their hearts, so that they may be able to say, 'Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
"But there are many operations of the Holy Spirit, which the same apostle commemorates in a certain passage at such length as he thinks sufficient, and then concludes: 'But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.' Since, then, the sacrament is one thing, which even Simon Magus could have; and the operation of the Spirit is another thing, which is even often found in wicked men, as Saul had the gift of prophecy; and that operation of the same Spirit is a third thing, which only the good can have, as 'the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned': Whatever, therefore, may be received by heretics and schismatics, the charity which covereth the multitude of sins is the especial gift of Catholic unity and peace; nor is it found in all that are within that bond, since not all that are within it are of it, as we shall see in the proper place. At any rate, outside the bond that love cannot exist, without which all the other requisites, even if they can be recognized and approved, cannot profit or release from sin." (On Baptism Against the Donatists 3.16.21)

Thus Augustine places the reception of the Spirit, which is according to Christ the cause of the forgiveness of sins, within the context both of lifegiving love, and of ecclesial integrity. It is not that sacramental efficacy depends upon the prevenient presence of charity, or even upon perfect membership in the Church - rather, perfection both in charity and in ecclesial participation derive from the gift of the sacrament, and are impossible without it. The sacrament is a gift of love, given in the bosom of ecclesial unity, and he who does not love has no share in it:
"If any one, therefore, wishes to receive the Holy Spirit, let him beware of continuing in alienation from the Church, let him beware of entering it in the spirit of dissimulation; or if he has already entered it in such wise, let him beware of persisting in such dissimulation, in order that he may truly and indeed become united with the tree of life." (Ibid., 3.11.50)

# posted by Jamie : 10:57 AM


Friday, March 18, 2005

Peter and Rome, continued 

The reader below has pressed me further on my claim that the Bishop of Rome is the sole successor to the Petrine office. And rightfully so, for as I admitted below, I did not attempt to provide an explanation of why this is the case, except to show that everyone in the ancient Church seems to have assumed it was the case.

I would suspect that a proper and fuller answer to the question would involve the theology of sacred tradition, by which I mean not only the Church's oral, dogmatic tradition, but also the broader notion of tradition which incorporates all of salvation history, along the lines of the words of Pope John Paul II quoted above, "the mystery of the divine plan which arranges the course of human events to serve the Church's beginnings and development." The Second Vatican Council speaks of divine revelation occurring through not only the 'words' of Scripture and ecclesiastical teaching, but also the 'deeds' of salvation history:

"This plan of revelation is realized by deeds and words having in inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them."

If we face the bare facts of the history of the early Church, there are a number of doctrines and ecclesial institutions that are of somewhat 'sketchy' origin. Would the doctrine of original sin have entered the Church's credo had Augustine, interpreting Romans 5:12, not been reading a faulty translation of the Latin New Testament? Would Eutychianism have triumphed in 450 if Emperor Theodosius II, intent on forcing it upon the universal Church, had not fallen off his horse and broken his neck? Would Pelagius have secured a formal commendation from Rome had his compatriots not burned down the monastery of the Pope's secretary days before the meeting?

Thus, in describing the origins of Petrine primacy in Rome, the Pope mentions two central considerations:

"There is a negative one which, beginning with the need of a succession to Peter by virtue of Christ's very institution . . . confirms that there are no signs of such a succession in any other Church. Moreover, there is another consideration we could call positive: it consists in showing the convergence of signs that in every age point to the See of Rome as that of Peter's successor."

The 'convergence of signs' in 'every age' might include: (1) Christ's exclusive charge to Peter to serve as the foundation of His Church (Mt. 16:18) and to shepherd His sheep (Jn. 21:15-19), (2) Peter's journey to Rome and martyrdom there, along with his co-apostle Paul, (3) the political status of Rome as the sole capital of the Roman Empire, soon to dominate the known world, (4) the overwhelming devotion and respect which all Christians, over the next decades and centuries, eagerly offered to the See of Rome, and which led them to utilize the See as a final court of doctrinal appeal, and lastly (5) the clear realization among Christians that the unity of Christ's Church required a single See capable of preserving that unity, none being more capable or appropriate than that residing in the Eternal City.

The dogmas which the Church holds dear, by and large, were not delivered by an angelic messenger emblazoned on pristine parchment in glittering script. Certainly, all have some basis in Scripture, if only implicit and seminal. The concrete outworking of these beliefs requires a lot of nitty-gritty hard work, and this is why the Catholic Church has always put Sacred Tradition alongside Sacred Scripture. And, in my view, Tradition involves not only personally-conveyed oral truths, but the ambiguity and messiness of human history, with all of its unexpected twists and turns. It is always possible that a given event in history, which may seem arbitrary and even meaningless to an objective observer, may also carry the weight of divine providence, i.e. 'deeds wrought by divine providence in the history of salvation'. Of course, it is too often only in hindsight that these deeds can be recognized for what they are, if they are recognized at all.

In short, without having undertaken an exhuastive study of the origins of Petrine Primacy in Rome, I am quite open to the idea that much of it involved human industry, political maneuvering, and yes, historical accident. But my only point here is that it is precisely within these activities that the hand of God can be discerned. John Henry Newman, in his Essay on the Development of Christian Dogma, once referred to Christ's words to Peter in Matthew not as an indicative statement, but as a prophecy - a prophecy which would take decades, centuries to develop, in stops and starts, often in the most 'natural' of ways, seemingly imperceptible to those who lack the faith in this divine prophecy. But a prophecy which, due to the authority of He who gave it, could not fail to bear fruit in time, however inelegant the course of the tree's growth.

# posted by Jamie : 3:26 PM


Thursday, March 17, 2005

Peter and the See of Rome 

A Protestant but Catholic-curious reader writes:
Here's one question that seems to nag me: If Peter was at one time the bishop of Antioch (according to Eusebius), then why isn't the bishop of Antioch considered to be a successor of Peter just as the Roman bishop is?

It seems to me, as I look at the sources, that neither Peter or Paul were bishops in any modern sense, that the monarchial episcopacy developed in the early 2nd century, but that Peter and Paul did both die together in Rome and no doubt poured their teaching into that church.
There are two clearly separate questions here. The second I will answer later on. The first raises the age-old question of the connection between Peter and the Petrine See (i.e., Rome). I say 'age-old question', but in fact it was not really a question for the early Church. It was not Peter's short-term episcopal stint in northern Syria, but the fabulous and horrific spectacle of his bloody martyrdom in the Eternal City, which was blazoned on the imaginations of his contemporaries. From the moment of his death, his tomb and relics were venerated there. One of Peter's successors there, Clement, writing still within the first century, boasts of Peter's glorious martyrdom in his own city. Irenaeus, writing not much later, speaks of the Church in Rome being "founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul."

Similarly, the Fathers speak habitually of Peter handing on his office, not to the bishops of Antioch, but to his successors in Rome:
"The blessed apostles [Peter and Paul], having founded and built up the church [of Rome] . . . handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus" (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3:3:3)

"[T]his is the way in which the apostolic churches transmit their lists: . . . like the church of the Romans, where Clement was ordained by Peter" (Tertullian, Demurrer Against the Heretics 32:2).

"Linus, whom he mentions in the Second Epistle to Timothy as his companion at Rome, was Peter's successor in the episcopate of the church there" (Eusebius, Church History 3:4:9-10).

"For what we have heard from the blessed apostle Peter, these things I signify to you" (Bishop Julius of Rome, Letter on Behalf of Athanasius).
This would mean little except that we have not a single claim of this sort, in all of our historical documents, made by any bishop of Antioch. If the bishop of Antioch believed that he had any sort of claim to the succession of Peter, would he not have objected to the claims made above, or at least voiced similar ones himself?

This does not really answer the question put to me, of course. I have shown only that the early Church was unanimous in considering the bishop of Rome, and only the bishop of Rome, as the successor to Peter. I have not shown why this is the case, which is, I believe, the question at hand. And I can't really supply an answer to this, because the only answer the early texts give us, is that Peter was martyred in Rome, and that the shedding of his blood in Rome somehow consecrates that city perpetually as his See. I cannot explain this claim (which is enigmatic precisely because of its theological potency, not its theological groundlessness) except to say that all of Peter's contemporaries voice it and accept it, seemingly to a man, and thus it became locked in the minds of churchmen for generations, and eventually accepted as dogma by the Church herself (at the first Vatican Council).

There was certainly no eternal mandate which connected Peter to Rome. It is only the 'divine plan' of human history which brought about the events leading to this mystical connection. In the words of the current holder of that office, John Paul II:
In truth, Jesus did not specify the role of Rome in Peter's succession. Doubtless he wanted Peter to have successors, but the New Testament does not state his specific desire to choose Rome as the primatial See. He preferred to entrust that to historical events in which the divine plan for the Church, the determination of the concrete conditions of Peter's succession, would appear.

The decisive historical event is that the fisherman of Bethsaida came to Rome and suffered martyrdom in this city. This fact is rich in theological significance, because it shows the mystery of the divine plan which arranges the course of human events to serve the Church's beginnings and development.

*UPDATE*: I encourage you to visit the reader's own blog. He has asked for the thoughts and input of my readers.

# posted by Jamie : 10:20 AM


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Cardinal tells Catholics to reject Labour over abortion 

I just ran across this article from the other side of the Atlantic. I'm just thinking what this would have looked like on this side. Perhaps Cardinal McCarrick, in the heat of election season, making a press release to announce that the Democratic party was no longer the 'party of choice' for Catholics, overtly praising George W. Bush's anti-abortion policies, and denouncing John Kerry as a false Catholic. I'm not saying one approach is more politically expedient than the other; I'm just wondering why the UK bishops seem to have so much less reluctance in speaking out forthrightly/brusquely in the public square, with very little nuance, even on the most sensitive and politically-charged of topics.

# posted by Jamie : 12:09 PM


Monday, March 14, 2005

"Tenderness is the first disguise of the murderer" 

Christopher at Against the Grain has an intense and thought-provoking review of mercy-killing, both in the Nazi Death Camps, modern Holland and, well, everywhere.

# posted by Jamie : 12:13 PM


Friday, March 11, 2005

Being unwilling to bend the knee at the name of Jesus is the essence of evil 

Bishop Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix holds forth in a discussion of kneeling during mass:

"Kneeling is more than a gesture of the overly pious," he wrote. "It is a fundamental act of faith, a strong expression about Who stands at the center of one's life and Who stands at the center of all creation."

"He added that according to Abba Apollo, a desert father who lived about 1,700 years ago, "the devil has no knees; he cannot kneel; he cannot adore; he cannot pray; he can only look down his nose in contempt."

It's about time someone put forward a theology of kneeling, rather than just complain about it (like me).

# posted by Jamie : 12:16 AM


Thursday, March 10, 2005

On the (Comparatively) Mildness of the Human Fault 

Paul writes below of my (Augustine's) claim that universalists' exclusion of angels from salvation is logically inconsistent:

Well, the Universalist will argue that this makes the point all too nicely. To whom much is given much is expected, so that the Angels have been held to a standard not attainable by man in his fallen state (emphasis added).

There is a bit going on here which requires addressing. The argument relayed (held?) by Paul is a commonly recited one, that the fault committed by the fallen angels is a greater fault committedy by men, the latter as corporately represented by our first parents. Several reasons might be advanced in support of this: (1) the angels, as supreme intellects possessed with a transcendent degree of perspicuity, had already tasted the full Glory against which they rebelled, and hence, could not hope for pardon on the grounds of ignorance; (2) the angels were not tempted, as men were, and hence have no other proximate cause upon which to blame their fall; (3) the angels, being outside of the normal flow of time, are not subject to the normal occasions for repentance, since it is inconceivable that time would bring psychological regret, if angels were even capable of that.

These arguments are very traditional and all that; though they received Milton-esque embellishment in the early modern period they are not without patristic or Medieval foundation. I would not contest them. They provide a more than adequate foundation to justify the impossibility of angelic restoration, which (as I have shown below) is dogmatically impermissible.

But to turn these arguments around as a means of minimizing human fault - now that is a quite modern turn. To argue that, because the angelic rebellion was so much worse than the human, and its instigators so much more worthy of punishment, humans - by comparison - ought to be let off the hook... Well, let's just say the whole picture begins to smack of scales-of-justice legalism, an importation of human standards of judgment onto the divine plane.

In the turning of his will away from his Maker, in bowing the knee before the creation to spite its Creator, in seeking a divinity of his own apart from that graciously offered by the Father, to repudiate a share in divine life in an empty pursuit of egoism and ill-gotten gain, man emptied his own soul of righteousness, and hardened his own heart against his Maker. We are not talking about a legal crime and an externally-imposed penalty (which might afterwards be lightened), but a self-imposed alienation from an interpersonal communion in divine life. Augustine is famous for saying 'God created man without his assent, but He will not save him without it.' Origen, too, was always insistent that sin 'carries its own punishment', that sin IS its own punishment. To see the punishment as applied ambivalently, or equivocally, or even applied externally at all, is to miss the point. Sin is our willful self-imposed separation from God. Its punishment is willful self-imposed separation from God. Once we see sin in this light, the question of whether God will 'modify' it begins to sound a bit silly.

Before getting carried away, let me simply summarize by saying that, if all men are saved, it will certainly not be because of a divine rethinking of what punishment fits what crime, of a Judge who, having incarcerated so many hardened criminals, decides to give a break to a first-time offender. If all of us are saved, in short, it will not be because we are good, or because we are, by comparison with others, not as bad as was previously thought. It will be because God is merciful. And thus His grace, as Augustine always insisted, will ever remain gratis.

# posted by Jamie : 3:04 PM


On Universal Salvation and Christian Charity 

Disputations takes on the concept of universal salvation, or at least, some of the more facile arguments put forward in its defense. As a follow-up, he clarifies the manner in which this concept can be legitimately defended - i.e., as a matter of Christian hope, rather than one of faith or knowledge. The arguments he addresses, of course, are not new ones. St. Augustine, the 'doctor of grace', established a theological repertoire in the fifth century which essentially furnished the counter-arguments against such propositions for centuries. In fact, a simple reminder that Augustine's name is inscribed in the ecclesiastical calendar might in itself constitute a suitable rejoinder to the universalist camp.

In re-reading the good doctor's City of God recently, I came across a really juicy argument which merits some rehashing. In Book XXI of that work, Augustine tells us of those who "attribute to God a still greater compassion towards men" than the Scriptures would seemingly justify:

There are others, again, with whose opinions I have become acquainted in conversation, who, though they seem to reverence the holy Scriptures, are yet of reprehensible life, and who accordingly, in their own interest, attribute to God a still greater compassion towards men. For they acknowledge that it is truly predicted in the divine word that the wicked and unbelieving are worthy of punishment, but they assert that, when the judgment comes, mercy will prevail.

Augustine repeats the arguments used to justify this universalist position, all of which would be readily familiar to us - that eternal punishment would contradict the biblical affirmations of God's infinite mercy, that Scripture simply posits the existence of hell without specifying its population, that biblical warnings of hell may are meant merely for our moral correction, etc.

But Augustine, it might surprise us, does not spend any time rebutting these arguments. His answer is only three short sentences:

And yet they who hold this opinion do not extend it to the acquittal or liberation of the devil and his angels. Their human tenderness is moved only towards men, and they plead chiefly their own cause, holding out false hopes of impunity to their own depraved lives by means of this quasi compassion of God to the whole race. Consequently they who promise this impunity even to the prince of the devils and his satellites make a still fuller exhibition of the mercy of God.

Yet the argument is more potent than it seems. Augustine reminds us that the discussion of eternal merit and retribution cannot be carried on as if it simply involved the fates of men: it is a cosmic and universal principle, which is inclusive of all rational creatures. In other words, the angelic powers are just as subject to this principle as we. A true universalist argument, he claims, will not be limited to men, for how can we plead divine mercy upon impious men and yet remain calloused against the damnation of angels, whose prior glory so outshines our own? Those who call for an extraordinary display of divine compassion, would not a 'fuller exhibition' be a truly universal pardon, which would include even the devil and his henchmen?

This is no red herring. It is a reductio ad absurdum, which, if truly logically followed out, shows the incomprehensibility of the universalist position. For the universalist to remain true to his principles, the fallen angels must be included within the scope of the requested pardon. To plead for men, but to exclude the demons, would be logically inconsistent. Of course, Augustine knows well that no Christian worth his salt would anticipate the pardon of devils (cf. the ninth anathema of the fifth ecumenical council). Thus, the universalist is forced into a logical quandry, holding that the damnation of some rational creatures is compatible with divine mercy, but the damnation of others is incompatible. Additionally, all talk of an empty hell, whose rhetorical existence serves the exclusive purpose of a moral goad, begins to ring hollow.

Of course, the argument has less force in an age when most liberal Christians (who would be most likely to advance the universalist argument) have little tolerance for belief in angels and demons anyways, at least as personal beings. But a parallel argument, which substitutes 'Really Nasty Men' (tm) like Hitler or Bin Laden for the demons, might work just as well. No one wants to imagine himself perishing in eternal flame, but the picture of Hitler reclining in perpetual bliss doesn't exactly sit well either.

Bottom line, Augustine underscores the point that none of us really want universal salvation. We just want a salvation that is broad enough to include ourselves, without requiring any of that risky business of virtue or suffering on our parts.

This gets me back to another, more personal point. The debate over universal salvation always seems to get us so worked up, and I am the worst. Why does it raise so many hackles? I realized the answer to this years ago, when I was first confronted with serious and reasonable arguments for an empty hell (or at least the hope of one). I recoiled at the concept, not because the argumentation was logically faulty, but because the practical consequences simply didn't appeal to me. Once I confronted myself with barefaced honesty, I realized I didn't want an empty hell. I didn't want a full heaven. I wanted a heaven populated exclusively with the people who really deserved it, who had made great sacrifices and avoided the really bad sins - in short, people like me. I wanted everyone else getting just what they deserved, especially a few particularly nasty people I knew. The hope that all men might be saved, the hope which reflects a divine intention (1 Pet. 3:9) and therefore becomes for us not a fanciful question but a moral obligation, in the end, was not a hope that I even wanted to possess. Perhaps I'm just a more bitter or self-righteous person than most, but I suspect a few others struggle with this as well. God may wish that all men be saved, but many of us want to see at least a little blood: As dark as this seems, it's almost as if our exemption from eternal fire won't taste as sweet unless we can look down upon others who didn't make the cut.

Whenever I do feel a bit self-righteous, or over-estimate my own degree of Christian charity, I recall this. Until the salvation of all men becomes a possibility I not only reluctantly accept as a theological concept, but a genuine hope which fills my mind with intense desire and yearning, I have not yet matched the love of Christ in my soul.

# posted by Jamie : 9:28 AM


Thursday, March 03, 2005

Update on my wife's family business 

Faithful Ad Limina readers will be aware of my family's 'coming into' a massive volume of Cabbage Patch Kids (tm) last August, much to my own chagrin. You will also be happy to know that nearly all of them have been happily shipped off to greater idiots than ourselves through that wonderful expediter of trash, Ebay. Yet the ride has not always been a smooth one, especially as I administer my wife's email account. To give you a tiny sampling of the kind of correspondence I deal with daily, I offer you the following transcript of the sale of one (1) Cabbage Patch Kid. ('Danielle', below, is my lovely wife.)

From: Danielle
To: buyer

Sent: Monday, January 31, 2005 2:38 PM
Subject: cpk purchase

Hi, thank you for your payment for the CPK doll. I am shipping it out ASAP!




Subject:Re: cpk purchase
Date:Mon, 31 Jan 2005 17:19:50 -0700

Hi, it was my pleasure and thank you! I've been looking for a little Asian CPK. she's cute and am sure she'll go great in my collection!



Date:Mon, 7 Feb 2005 18:10:42 -0800
From: buyer
To: Danielle
Subject: Question about shipping for item #5552467626 - Cabbage Patch Kids, CPK ethnic adorable smaller vintage

Hi, was just writing to check on the status of the shipping of my doll I purchased from you. If you'd let me know something I'd appreciate it. Thank you, buyer


From: Danielle
To: buyer
Sent: Wednesday, February 09, 2005 10:23 AM
Subject: CPK purchase

Hi, this is Danielle. You asked me when your cpk was mailed. She was mailed on the 1st of February priority mail, so she should already be there. If she is not there by the end of the week please let me know. Thanks, Danielle.


From:"Jon and Karla"
To: "Danielle"
Subject: Re: CPK purchase
Date:Thu, 10 Feb 2005 14:58:06 -0700

Hello Danielle, I still haven't recieved the little Asian CPK. You're right. It should have been here long ago since it was sent priority. I can't imagine what's wrong and don't know what I need to do to find out. I just thought I would let you know that the doll hasn't arrived yet. Thank you,


From:"Jon and Karla"
Date:Fri, 11 Feb 2005 17:25:22 -0700

Hi, the CPK didn't arrive today either. I went to the post office and they're suppossed to investigate it for me. Have you taken your reciept for mailing to your post office to report it? The mail man told me to advice you to do so. They said if they're to blame they can track it with a receipt. If you would let me know something I'd appreciate it. Thank you,


Date:Mon, 14 Feb 2005 05:13:52 -0800 (PST)
From: "Danielle"
Subject: Re: CPK STLL NOT HERE...
To: "Jon and Karla"


Sorry to hear that. Yes, I did keep the receipt, so I will contact the post office and see what they can do. I will let you know ASAP.


----- Original Message -----
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2005 10:55:34 -0800 (PST)
From: "Danielle"
Subject: Re: CPK STLL NOT HERE...
To:"Jon and Karla"


I just called the post office. They said that, since insurance was not selected for the shipping, they cannot track it until thirty days have passed. I can continue to follow up...



From:"Jon and Karla"
Subject: Re: CPK STLL NOT HERE...
Date:Mon, 14 Feb 2005 12:31:19 -0700

Hello, this is karla's aka buyer's daughter, sue-j. my mom has had to go out of town for a couple of days and has me taking and sending messages. that would be great if you would follow up on the doll... That would be around the 28th right? Thank you for the offer to do that.



From:"Jon and Karla"
Subject:In regard to item number 5556690113
Date:Mon, 14 Feb 2005 12:37:47 -0700

hi, my mom will be out of town until wednesday and she wanted me to let you know that she will be paying for this item via paypal no later than thursday morning and will deffinately be purchasing the insurance as well. thank you for your business.

buyer in care of her daughter sue-j smith


From:"Jon and Karla"
Subject:Re: CPK STLL NOT HERE...
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2005 14:17:33 -0700

hello, peppercorn's daughter here again. i took my mom's proof of payment, paypal on her bank statement to the post office. they are somehow going to investigate to see if it ever made it to New Mexico. the post office said it may take time but they can deffinately track it. hopfully with your efforts and ours it won't take too much time. thank you agian for your help. have a nice day,



Date:Tue, 15 Feb 2005 04:52:53 -0800 (PST)
Subject:Re: CPK STLL NOT HERE...
To:"Jon and Karla"

peppercorn's daughter,

Great, good luck, let me know what happens. If they can't find anything then I will definitely followup on my end when 30 days have passed.



Date:Wed, 16 Feb 2005 04:44:11 -0800 (PST)
From:"Danielle "
Subject:Re: concerning lost cabbage patch doll...
To:"Jon and Karla"


Sounds great that they are so helpful. I will mail the receipt to you tomorrow.



From:"Jon and Karla"
Subject:Re: concerning lost cabbage patch doll...
Date:Wed, 16 Feb 2005 11:14:38 -0700

thank you so much Danielle :) you've been awesome!



From:"Jon and Karla"
Date:Tue, 22 Feb 2005 19:00:06 -0700

Hello Danielle! The other little asian doll finally got here today!!! She's adorable. Thanks for the business. Have a great day!!

Readers: Please keep in mind that we started with 125 of these.

# posted by Jamie : 1:26 PM


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

David Haas pushes the envelope of inanity a few inches further 

Come all you single ones, divorced and married:
Come you who have lost your spouse, all who are lonely.
With Christ our brother, we are loved and made whole!

Refrain: All is ready. Here and now. All are welcome here.

Come all you young and old, all male and female.
Come, now, all gay and straight, it does not matter.
With Christ, all people are one in God's whole!

Refrain: All is ready. Here and now. All are welcome here.

I would say he's crossed the line, except that Haas surged miles past it decades ago. Source, from Diogenes via Bill Cork, who comments that "You cannot make a parody of David Haas ... His lyrics themselves sound like a parody."

# posted by Jamie : 1:16 PM


'Warning Signs' for new associations? 

The estimable Peter Vere has listed some fifteen 'warning signs' which canonists and churchmen use in evaluating new groups and associations within the Church. I wouldn't dispute the value of any or all of the 'warning signs'. All of them, I can see, have some basis as serious negative indicators. But as I go through, I keep imagining what a full enforcement of a few of them would look like - (1) direct and excessive obedience to the pope (over and above the direct diocesan ordinary), (5) immediate insistence on placing all goods in common, (6) claiming special revelations or messages as foundation of group, (8) special and severe penances imposed, (9) multiplicity of devotions without internal coherence, (11) special vows beyond the traditional three, (14) serious discontent with the previous institute of which certain members were part, and (2.5) complete severance of members members from the outside world. And I keep thinking - oops, there go the Franciscans, there go the Jesuits, there go the Benedictines, there go the Cistercians, etc., etc. In fact, the ones I listed above could be collected and fruitfully compared to a founding charter for some of our most traditional orders.

I recall a conversation once with a young man who sincerely held that Opus Dei should have no right to exist canonically, since their ecclesial categorization - 'personal prelature' - had no basis in the tradition and did not correspond, at the time of its inception, with any previous category of ecclesial association. At the time he and I were both living in a Franciscan monastery. I trust that the irony is not lost on my readers.

# posted by Jamie : 12:23 PM


Under the Patronage of
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Contact me:

Ad Limina Apostolorum: An ecclesiastical term meaning a pilgrimage to the sepulchres of St. Peter and St. Paul at Rome, i.e., to the Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles and to the Basilica of St. Paul "outside the walls".

"Augustine of Hippo Refuting Heretic"
(illuminated manuscript,
13th century)

"Jamie . . .
I could kill you in three seconds.
-Bishop Sheridan

Books Recently Read or Currently Reading

John Milbank's Theology & Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason (next in stack)

Colson Whitehead's Zone One (reading)

Michael Wyschogrod's Body of Faith: God and the People Israel (reading)

J. B. Schneewind's Invention of Autonomy: A History of Modern Moral Philosophy (reading)

Paul Hacker's Ego in Faith: Martin Luther and the Origins of Anthopocentric Religion (finished: 3 stars)

Edward Peter's Modern Guide to Indulgences: Rediscovering this Often-Ministerpreted Teaching (finished: 1 star)

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