Wednesday, November 21, 2012

That's it! No Christmas card for the Pope this year!



The Pope's new book* is now out and he's telling us there were no animals at Christ's birth.  Born in a stable, laid in a manger without animals, huh?  " And she wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger..."  Where was the manger, in the hotel lobby?  When the shepherds showed up what did they have with them?  Goat cheese?  No animals?  My ass - er, donkey! I suppose Mary and Joseph took the bus to Bethlehem then?

I think someone better stick to playing the piano in his spare time.

No animals at Christ's birth!

Next he'll be saying Vatican II wasn't a rupture in Catholic tradition.

Yeah.  So.

. . .

This is really what happened that first Christmas... you'll notice the animals were all over the place:
The extraordinary account of animal behaviour that first Christmas.
Although it is not recorded in the Bible, the story of how the lesser beasts behaved at the birth of the Infant Jesus has been handed down through generation upon generation in the animal kingdom, and the stories have varied little no matter what country one finds oneself in. Humans only know the story from their pets, the cats and dogs many people consider members of their family. Of course animal behaviourists like to claim that the animals' stories had been adapted from watching their masters set up a creche in their homes, and that they overheard the tale while the family piously read the Christmas story to children.
Perhaps - but I tend to doubt it, for why would, say a wolf in the forest know the exact same story? Or a country field mouse collect fir needles to festoon his nest with every Christmas Eve, and bring out the pine nuts he had stored up, only to be enjoyed for the twelve days of Christmas? In fact, it is the mice and rabbits who seem to have the most accurate stories of all. Of course the cats never forget a detail, therefore they deserve a great deal of credit as well. The dogs know the story, and tell it to their pups, but otherwise they don't talk about it much, they prefer to lay by the hearth and simply ponder the story quietly. - Finish reading here
*Anything to sell books, huh Papa Fundamentalist?  O Sola Scriptura?
"There is no mention of animals in the Gospels,"** he wrote in the third and last volume of his biography of Jesus Christ, which like the previous two books is expected to become an international best-seller, with an initial print run of a million copies. - CNA
**There's no mention of a lot of stuff in the Gospel.

Photo source.  I'm thinking he wrote that just because they won't let him have a kitty in the Vatican.  It's sooooo passive aggressive.  Sheesh!

Children the world over - send your protests to the Holy Father at this address:
His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City


  1. Did he say that there were no animals or that they are not mentioned in Scripture? I wonder how old the tradition of the animals at the Nativity is - it must be old indeed, but I wonder wen it was first mentioned.

    1. I'm sure the statement is taken out of context, since he refers to Old Testament prophecy - probably to substantiate what became tradition. I'm just have fun with the story. For sure St. Francis had animals in his living Nativity - and the tradition hearkens back to the prophecy of Isaiah - how the ox and the ass would recognize their God.

      Evidence of this is in the most ancient icons of the nativity - can't recall to what century however.

      Someone more important than me will discuss the story, I'm sure.

  2. I think AoftheAP should hijack this blog more often!

  3. EMAIL him for faster service

  4. Fr. Raymond Brown was on the Pontifical Biblical Commission while both Ratzinger and John Paul II were serving at the CDF and in the papacy. Fr. Brown stated in "Birth of the Messiah" ( c. page 345 or 349) that Mary never said the Magnificat but that Luke got it from Palestinian anawim and placed it in Mary's mouth... but he offered no proof of a textual nature. Benedict in the interview book opined that perhaps God didn't really give Moses stone tablets. In Catholicism, a Pope need only be conservative on sex and then most people will instinctively see him as conservative in everything. For me both he and his predecessor were biblical liberals...that's how they both united against the death penalty. See section 40 of "Evangelium Vitae" wherein John Paul insinuates that the death penalties of the OT were not really from God as scripture says they were and see section 42 of Benedict's "Verbum Domini" wherein he states that the prophets challenged "every" kind of " violence".
    Elijah killed groups of men on three occasions...51, 51, and then 450 prophets of Baal ( I Kgs.18:40); the prophet Samuel "hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal" because Saul failed to do so as ordered by God; and God ordered the prophet Eliseus to kill any of the House of Ahab who escaped the sword of Jehu. Here's the prophet Jeremiah urging the Chaldeans to carry out the doom of the Moabites: Jer.48:10. “Cursed are they who do the LORD’s work carelessly, cursed those who keep their sword from shedding blood.”
    I think Benedict is getting his info on the prophets from our Sunday Missalet summaries...not from the actual Bible as written.

    1. Many, many thanks Bill. I lived in Boston when Brown published his work - he was a frequent guest at the rectory where I worked... I actually know these narratives.

    2. Makes you stop an think, huh?

    3. No, what it does is reminds me that for every Pope Benedict I have an army of past Popes on my side of the argument.

    4. Bill, I see your point, but can we really pick and choose which parts of encyclicals and which parts of the catechism we will accept?

      And doesn't the Eastern church and the Orthodox churches have a much longer tradition of opposing the death penalty (not denying that God ha indeed ordered it, but that after Christ mercy ruled) - it was abolished in Russia in the 18th century. I also understand that eastern Christians had to do penance after killing, even in just war.

      I too am troubled by Catholics who seem to think that the death penalty or war are *intrinsically* evil, or that there are never any just wars, but perhaps some of the development in these areas is legitimate and not just liberalism?

      Btw, concerning the Magnificat - what if it was a song/prayer that Mary was already familiar with, an which she spontaneously recited?

      As for the stone tablets - I'd have to read that one myself. But don't even Jews debate on what was on the tablets - the Decalogue or all 613 mitzvot?

  5. Terry,
    I actually like "moments" of Brown and moments only in the early Brown who was making his bones with the Protestants... and I like his late work, "Introduction to the New Testament", which did not have the grand standing of the youthful and demythologizing "Birth of the Messiah" which I eventually threw in the garbage lest my heirs one day read it. The early book on the Johannine community is the was great. I never threw it out. Brown is like the Stones or Steely Dan or Zeppelin....there's devilish crap there and there's Godly stuff there...and it's harder to throw them musical dudes away because it's all mixed on one album. " Do it again" by Steely Dan is quintessentially everything scripture is saying about the fool..."like the wheel of a cart is the mind of a fool, his thoughts revolve in circles". The Stones' "Wild Horses" is about Osee...biblical love that is greater than Jagger has lived out in actuality...though who knows about right now...I wish him that love before he dies ( Kierkegaard notes that it gets you in heaven). Zeppelin...Heartbreaker.." Some people cry and some people die by the wicked ways of love; But I'll just keep on rollin' along with the grace of the Lord above."
    Fr.Brown is like them.. crap and pearls.

    1. Ha! That's cool - thanks.

    2. Oh wow that's well written. I do have to say I don't like the Stones and Zeppelin as much as I did once, but there are other bands I feel the same way about.

  6. Are you saying someone photoshopped the kitty into Pope Benedict's lap?

  7. Mercury,
    The current hierarchy campaign against the death penalty has and will get inmates killed by lifers...just like Romanus Pontifex by Pope Nicholas V got people enslaved for centuries ( see mid 4th large par.)....and just like Exsurge Domine got heretics burned for centuries ( see art.33 condemned).
    Jeffrey Dahmer and Fr. Geoghan were both murdered by lifers in non death penalty states. It's a free kill almost to a lifer murderer. About 70 inmates a year get murdered by other inmates which exceeds death penalty executions in the US. But greater perhaps are the number of gang murders ordered by coded letters from gang leaders within prison of victims out on the street ( the NY Times years ago estimated 300 street murders in ten years ordered from prison in California which has a death penalty but with an absurd 20 years average appeals period).
    The good thief repented under the pressure of his death penalty because one gospel has him mocking Christ with the bad thief earlier (Mark 15:32)...whereas Scripture notes that the Amorites did not repent of child sacrifice inter alia despite 400 years of God punishing them "bit by bit" ( see
    Wisdom chpt. 12).
    So no....I think the death penalty is very merciful while its faults can be at the trial level as the Innocence Project has proved. Romans 13:4 says the "sword" is used by the state to execute God's wrath. John Paul never quoted it in EV....just as he avoided 5 passages on wifely obedience when he used Ephesians to mangle that issue so that it is nowhere in the catechism despite being repeatedly in the NT.
    The sword there in used here too in Acts
    12:1-2..."Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who
    belonged to the church, in order to mistreat them. 2 And he had James the
    brother of John put to death with a sword...(machaira)."
    Life sentences and totally secure ones were present in the Roman Empire when God inspired Rom.13:4...damnata ad mettala...damned to the metals ( ie to the mines).

    1. What you said about lifers may be true but the commonality is that the two you cited committed crimes against children. Arguably the prison system murdered Fr. as they had warning that his cellmate had planned something. The fact that he murdered a man who made a pass at him was reason enough they shouldn't be cellmates.

      Typically the inmates killing those who abused children were abused themselves.

  8. The ultimate penitential activity would be to send Pope Benedict a Christmas card anyway. Dare you!


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.