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Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Upon This Rock

by G. K. Chesterton

To a Roman Catholic the Roman Catholic Church is simply the Christian religion; the gift of Christ to St. Peter and his successors of a right to answer at all times all questions about what it really is; a thing surrounded at the edge of its own wide domain by various severed fragments of its own substance; consisting of people who for different reasons deny that right to affirm what it really is, and who therefore differ among themselves, indefinitely and increasingly, about what it really is. It may be added that they differ not only about the nature of the ideal Christianity that ought to be substituted, but even about the nature of the Roman Catholicism that is to be defied. To some it is Antichrist; to some it is one branch of the Church of Christ, having authority in certain provinces but not in England or Russia; to some it is a corrupt perversion of Truth from which religion was rescued; to others a necessary historic phase through which religion had to pass; and so on. But it may be noted by the curious that though there is so much difference in the reasons given, there is something common to most of the emotions felt. The reactions to Rome are all reactions to something odd. It is a thousand things, but all things with a sort of thrill in them; a mystery, a bete noire, a strange survival, a public scandal, a private embarrassment, an open secret, a tactless topic, a sly joke, a last refuge or a leap in the dark: everything except anything that is like anything else.

To a Roman Catholic there is no particular difference between those parts of the religion which Protestants and others accept and those parts which they reject. The dogmas have, of course, their intrinsic theological proportions; but in his feeling they are all one thing. The Mass is as Christian as the Gospel. The Gospel is as Catholic as the Mass. This, I fancy, is the fact which the Protestant world has found it most difficult to understand and about which some of the most unfortunate forms of ill-feeling have appeared. Yet it arises quite naturally from the actual history of the Church, which has had to contend incessantly with quite other and quite opposite heresies. She has not only had to defeat these sects to defend these doctrines, but to defeat other sects to defend other doctrines including the doctrines which these sects rightly hold so dear. It was only the Roman Catholic Church that saved the Protestant truths. It may be right to rest on the Bible, but there would be no Bible if the Gnostics had proved that the Old Testament was written by the Devil, or had littered the world with Apocryphal Gospels. It may be right to say that Jesus alone saves from sin, but nobody would be saying it if a Pelagian movement had altered the whole notion of sin. Even the very selection of dogmas which the reformers decided to preserve had only been preserved for them by the authority which they denied...

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.