Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: Christianity

Orthodox Churches and Gregorian calendar

Gregorian calendar was a reform of Julian calendar and was introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII. Catholic countries adopted it that year. Protestant and Orthodox countries were slow to adopt Gregorian calendar but eventually did. USSR ruled by communists adopted Gregorian calendar in 1927.

Orthodox Churches have persisted with Julian calendar. That creates problems for their followers as they have to follow two calendars. Celebration of Christmas is an example. The governments follow Gregorian calendar and what is 25 December according to Julian calendar is 7 January in Gregorian calendar.

Russian Orthodox Church is the leading Orthodox Church. Among patriarchs the Patriarch of Constantinople, known as Ecumenical Patriarch, is the leader. The survival of the institution of Ecumenical Patriarch is in question and CNN recently carried a programme titled The Last Patriarch.

Constantinople was known as New Rome. In 1054 Constantinople broke away from Rome. In 1439 at the Council of Florence, Catholics and Orthodox unity was achieved. Russian Orthodox Church opposed unity and declared Moscow Third Rome. In 1453 Turks conquered Constantinople and after some years other Orthodox Churches broke away from Rome.

What was possible in 1439 can be possible again. It is good if Orthodox Churches give up their resistance to Gregorian calendar and adopt it. If not, they will be the losers. It will become increasing difficult for their followers to maintain two calendars.

California bishops and death penalty

California bishops are opposed to death penalty. They think life imprisonment without parole is an alternative to death penalty. They are wrong.

California bishops should look at Mexico and how things have gone wrong after Mexico stopped death penalty. Murders have shot up. Lives of ordinary people are not safe. Even lives of priests are not safe.

Christianity is not against death penalty. St. Thomas Aquinas justified death penalty. Jesus Christ was in favour of death penalty when he said if anyone causes little ones to sin a millstone shall be hung around his neck and he should be thrown into the sea. For a long time the church has put heretics to death.

What happens if a murderer escapes from prison and commits more murders?

It is better for California bishops to concentrate on the faithful instead of getting into matters of crime and punishment. More so the bishops should see that cases of child abuse do not happen and if anyone is found guilty he is not spared. The victims should not be bound by secrecy.

Death penalty has deterrent effect though those who oppose death penalty do not agree to that and come up with false statistics.

California bishops should also try for gun control in USA and repeal of the amendment that allows Americans to bear arms. That amendment may have been necessary in 1789 when USA did not have a strong army to defend itself but it is not necessary in 2010 when USA is a superpower. Vested interests like National Rifle Association oppose the repeal of amendment or gun control. If there is gun control the number of murders will come down drastically in USA. There are many shops on USA-Mexico borders that sell various weapons. California bishops will save many lives of innocent people if they try for gun control repeal of second amendment.

Wildfires destroy large parts of California every year. California bishops can have prayer services to deliver California from wildfires.

Marriage law in Nevada is a joke. One can get married one moment and next moment ask for divorce. California bishops can do something so that marriage in Nevada is taken seriously.

Sex and men of God

Catholic Church is facing problems because of some priests who sexually abused children. USA, Ireland, England, Germany, Austria, Holland and Malta have reported abuses. In India some Hindu godmen are facing problems because of sex with their female followers or illegal activities.
Law must take its course and those who commit crimes must face the consequences. However law should apply equally to all. There has to be fairness in media coverage.
There is a sting operation against a Hindu godman who has sex with a woman and there is media outrage against him. Cases are filed against the swami. There is no outcry against violation of privacy.
There is a sting operation against a homosexual professor. The professor loses his job. There is support for the professor from many in the media. There is outcry against violation of privacy. The professor goes to court and gets order for reinstatement. After some days he dies. Those who conducted sting operation are prosecuted.
Many godmen claim they are incarnations of some god or the other. They tell some of their women followers that they were spouses in previous birth. Some women believe and have sex with swamis.
Once a newspaper published photographs of a swami having sex with a woman. The exposure did not stop him from having women followers.
Some in USA say the charges of sexual abuse are to extract money as in USA those who are pronounced guilty have to pay compensation to victims. In other countries there is no such provision. Guilty have to go to jail.
Three bishops in Ireland have resigned for cover-up of abuses. One bishop in Belgium has resigned for abusing a boy about 25 years ago.
Benedict XVI is facing flak for not acting against paedophile priests when he was Archbishop of Munich and Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.
Secrecy followed by the Catholic Church if paedophile cases involving priests has done great damage. The victims were bound by secrecy. Priests were transferred from one place to another. Secrecy is followed in matrimonial cases as well. It is time to do away with secrecy.
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