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Article ID: 4483
Age Group: Adult
Posted: September 11th. 2000
Wren's Bird Call 7
Wren's Bird Call of The Week is a response to the self-righteous 'dee-dee-dee-da-da-dee-dee" coming from that rather large and ostentatious building in Rome. The Vatican puppeteers-you know the ones who have their hands up the back of the Pope's gold-trimmed robe-announced this week that all churches other than the Catholic Church are 'deficient' and that all non-Christian faiths and "other rituals, insofar as they follow from superstitions or other errors (cf. 1 Cor 10:20-21), constitute an obstacle to salvation." Furthermore, the Jesus Christ as defined by the Catholic Church- via the current Pope as the continuing reincarnation of Peter-is THE only way for the lost to be saved. And, of course, 'Tolerance' is once again vilified as a demon out to snatch the unwary Catholic Christian soul.
Shock and outrage and a flurry of responses came in from all religious quarters following this declaration of Catholicism's supremacy over all things Christian. Most Protestant churches after a little grumbling pretty much said, "Well, with a few little exceptions, we can live with that-especially the 'Jesus as the only way' thing. That part's way cool."
The Rabbi Gershon Johnson, Temple Beth Haverim in Agoura Hills, remarked, "I just want Christians to be good Christians," noting there is no pressure from Jews to convert anyone. "I don't understand why they don't want the same for us. I would much rather have a relationship with someone who believes that I'm not going to hell," he said.
Buddhists believe that many paths can lead to an experience with the Divine. "It's a matter of following the one that suits your values and life the best," said Aletha Watanabe of the Oxnard Buddhist Temple, pondering the motivation for those contending there is only one path. "I think it's a fear that someone else might have a better idea."
(Catholic Damage Control Mode On.) Paul Ford, a theologian at St. John's Seminary, rushed in to explain: "The problem is that the document was written for Catholic theologians and bishops. Ford said the mass audience that is trying to digest the statements is misconstruing nuances." (end/Catholic Damage Control Mode and see the entire article for yourself. )
Okay. So this is rather like a General's message being intercepted by the opposing forces who then ring in a justifiably irate phone call: "Excuse me, General Pope, but we just intercepted a message from you saying that you plan to exterminate our forces. I thought that we were negotiating in good faith here. What's up with THAT?"
"That? Oh never mind that", replies General Pope. "That message wasn't meant for you at all. That wasn't me telling you that I was planning to eliminate your forces. (Chuckle) That was just me telling my generals and staff that it was OKAY to go out and eliminate your forces. Two different things entirely. Nothing to worry about here."
Now Pagans certainly do have a right to still be upset over the Vatican's refusal to apologize for all of those 'inconveniences' of the past centuries of genocide, plundering and forced conversions of pagan and other faith populations. But on this matter of 'whose Church is the real Church' and what is 'the one true way to salvation', we can sit on the sidelines, order up a chili dog and pretty much enjoy the game. While we watch the righteous equivalent of billboard wars declaring "This Way To be Saved!" and "Our Church Is the Only Path to Salvation", we can at least offer to help keep score. "We are impartial", we declare, "We are simply removed and impartial observers in your little game."
"As Pagans, we don't have any personal stake in the outcome of "Who's on Heavenly First Base'. We don't care who saves the most souls. It has nothing to do with us. You see, we were never lost."
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