My conversion story is currently featured on Why I’m Catholic. If you look closely enough, you’ll also find some long-lost pictures of me from my high school and college days!
Archive for the ‘Protestantism’ Category
Praise God and may many more follow your lead!
A fascinating interview, by an Evangelical Protestant, with one of the most fascinating Christians alive today:
From Russia, with Love
Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion offers evangelicals more than an olive branch.
Hilarion Alfeyev, the Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, located 80 miles northwest of Moscow, has a very big job. As head of external relations for the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, Hilarion is responsible for talking to global Christianity on behalf of the 150 million people in Russian Orthodoxy worldwide.
Given his gift for languages, Hilarion arose as an easy pick for the job by Russian Patriarch Kirill. This year, the Russian-American Institute, a faith-based educational and support organization (formerly the Russian-American Christian University), helped Hilarion interact with a cross-section of evangelicals around the United States for the first time. Christianity Today deputy managing editor Timothy C. Morgan interviewed Hilarion while he was in Washington, D.C….
Do you want vigorous grassroots engagement between Orthodox and evangelicals?
Yes, on problems, for example, like the destruction of the family. Many marriages are split. Many families have either one child or no child.
There are many incomplete families, not to speak of various homosexual unions, which are equated with the family. This completely changes the whole picture of human relationships. It directly affects the future of many nations. The sign of a spiritually healthy nation is that it expands—it grows. If it shrinks, it is a very clear sign of unhealthiness.
There is a perception that religious freedom is declining in Russia. Is the perception true?‘Secularism is dangerous because it destroys human life. It destroys essential notions related to human life, such as the family.’— Metropolitan Hilarion
It’s a completely wrong perception. We have to ask what we mean by religious freedom. If it’s a freedom for the sects, including dangerous sects, to buy time on television and to propagate their ideas, then I think we no longer have the freedom that existed in the beginning of the 1990s. But I think freedom was sometimes not used in a proper way. For example, I remember how every morning Shoka Asahara would preach on Russian television. He was later condemned to death in Japan for organizing a terrorist attack in the Tokyo underground.
With regards to traditional churches and religions: They have complete freedom of action. There is the law on the freedom of conscience, which makes a subtle distinction between traditional churches and religions that never existed in Russia. Religious communities are given a 15-year probationary period precisely for the reasons I described. They can act freely during this period. They can organize services. They can publish literature. They can do missionary activities. But they are not registered with the juridical status. After 15 years, they can be registered.
My Journey Home To The Catholic Church – Why I Am Converting To Catholicism
I know this may come as a shock to many of you; I am in shock in a way my self. I have spent the past 23 years living my life for Christ always wanting to serve Him and know His truth.
I have been a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church for almost 10 years as I was so inspired by the liturgy and reverence I found there. I have also been in a constant journey for God’s truth, studying His Word as well as church history. After many, many years of resisting a calling that I tried to suppress I have finally felt the peace of God with my decision to join the Catholic Church.
I know that many of you will be confused, even concerned for me. I know that you will have many questions and even be tempted to try and dissuade me from this decision. While I will most certainly talk to you about what God is doing here, I will not be entering into any debates about this right now.
I want to let you know this is not made lightly; I fought against this for years. There are several things that led me to search and finally choose to go back to the Church. I will share a few things in brief here and would love to sit down in person some time with you if you want to peacefully discuss them in more detail.
As a fellow pro-life Protestant Christian who came home to Rome, I can’t be happier for Bryan. Welcome home!
The past 20 years or so have seen an explosion of conversions from Protestantism to Catholicism. During that time, a certain common narrative seems to be associated with these conversions (including my own):
- Protestant is a devout Christian who knows his faith and initially has no interest in the Catholic Church.
- Some issue or event spurs the Protestant to investigate the claims of the Catholic Church.
- This leads to more and more study of the Church’s teachings, in spite of internal and external resistance to the idea.
- Through a long study of the Scriptures and early Church, Protestant begins to realize that Catholic Church is “The Church.”
- Finally, after much prayer, Protestant decides to become Catholic.
On the other hand, there has also been an even greater exodus out of the Catholic Church over the past 40 years. Some of that is people leaving Christianity altogether, but much of it is Catholics becoming Evangelical. The narrative for that type of conversion is usually along the lines of:
- Catholic grows up with little training in the Catholic faith.
- Catholic barely, if at all, practices his faith as he gets older.
- At some point, Catholic realizes that there is more to religion than felt banners and banal homilies.
- Catholic is invited to an Evangelical Protestant service and meets devout, good people who are on fire for the Lord.
- Catholic decides to become Evangelical.
Yes, I realize that there are generalizations in these narratives, but I think most of us recognize that in many cases they broadly represent reality. Norm Geisler, a prominent Evangelical, sums it up like this:
So, while we are losing a few intellectual egg-heads out the top of evangelicalism to Rome, we are gaining tens of thousands of converts out the bottom from Catholicism. The trade-off highly favors evangelicalism.
Source: Dr. Beckwith
Even aside from the derogatory “egg-head” comment, this is an interesting analysis from Mr. Geisler. He basically admits that converts to Catholicism are intellectual, thus acknowledging that they have studied their faith, while converts to Evangelicalism are basically “falling out” of the Catholic Church without any real knowledge of Catholicism (or Protestantism) before their conversion. Even though the raw numbers today favor Evangelicalism, is this movement really to the benefit of the Evangelical’s cause?
It seems to me that, long-term, I would prefer to have converts who deeply know (and love) both their previous faith and their new one. Converts who must agonize over their conversion, studying every angle of it, are usually those who most seriously embrace it after it is done. Those who convert for basically emotional reasons (I saw on-fire people and want that for myself) are much more likely to eventually drift away. But the “egg-head” convert, with the grace of God, is going to be much more likely to spread his new-found faith to others, understanding both what is good about their previous faith and why he left it.
All in all, I’ll take the egg-heads. Sunny side up (perhaps that should be “Son-ny side up”?), not scrambled.
…so I’ll just give you the facts:
- World War III has already started
- The number 11 is homosexual and the number 23 is just plain evil
- Protestants will soon be raptured, but Catholics still have a shot at salvation (yay!)
- Pope Benedict’s recent comments on condoms is part of the End Times
Listen for yourself from the “Third Eagle of the Apocalypse”:
One of the most common refrains of modern Evangelical preaching is that “Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship.” By this, Evangelicals emphasize that following Christ is not simply following a set of rules and rituals, but is a deep personal relationship – even friendship – with Jesus Christ.
And Pope Benedict agrees with them – to a point. Speaking recently about St. Gertrude, the pope said that “the center of a happy life, a true life, is friendship with Jesus.” In his book Jesus of Nazareth, Benedict wrote that friendship with Jesus is that “on which everything depends.” Someone who claims to be Christian yet does not have a deep friendship with the Lord is either lying or self-deceived.
Yet many Evangelicals take this concept too far. For example, a pastor of a megachurch in California is currently preaching a series of sermons called “Why Jesus Hates Religion.” This pastor states that Jesus believed religion to be worthless and that it “contaminates everything with hypocrisy”. Using the common example of the Pharisees, he preached that Jesus rejected religious practices completely.
So is Christianity a relationship and not a religion? The Catholic answer, in typical Catholic fashion, is “it is both”. If we look at the actions of Christ and his first disciples, we’ll see that there is no dichotomy between religion and relationship – they in fact each strengthen the other.
First we should note that Jesus himself followed the rituals of the Jewish religion. He was circumscribed, he was raised in a practicing Jewish home, and he attended synagogue services and made pilgrimages to the Temple – all “religious” activities. After his Ascension, his followers continued to follow the rituals of the Jewish faith. Over time, these followers did abandon those rituals, but only because they had replaced them with new rituals of Christianity, first and foremost among them the Eucharistic liturgy.
If Christ “hated religion”, then surely he and his closest followers would not have continued to follow religious ceremonies, would they?
But it is also important to remember that Christ emphasized the importance of keeping himself as the center of the Christian faith. When he declared himself as “Lord of the Sabbath”, for example, he was declaring that he was greater than the Sabbath regulations of the time and that they all must be subservient to him. His constant condemnation of the Pharisees were for being hypocritical, and the only way to be hypocritical is to live in a way that you proclaim is false – thus the problem is not in the proclamation, but in the life attached to it.
Man is essentially a religious creature – we are homo religiosus. We were created to be religious, and to deny that is to deny our very nature. The rituals and practices of the Catholic religion are wonderfully suited to lead us into a deep relationship with Christ, and a deep relationship with Christ strengthens our practice of those rituals. As just one example, take the practice of receiving communion. This is, after all, a religious ritual. But by receiving our Lord in the Eucharist, one can be more intimate with Christ than is possible any other way on this side of heaven. Yet if we receive the Eucharist coldly and without love, then we are in danger of making it a means of our condemnation. So again, religion and a loving relationship work together to foster a true devotion to our Lord.
Is Christianity a religion? You bet. Is it a relationship? Absolutely. Let’s move away from the false dichotomy put between them and love and serve our Lord faithfully in the Catholic Church!
Recently the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, was asked in an interview a number of “hot button” questions, especially in regards to homosexuality and the episcopacy. For those blissfully unaware, the Anglicans are currently debating whether practicing homosexuals can be admitted to the priesthood and episcopacy. Most of his answers were confusing and unclear, but one in particular stood out:
He was asked, does the Archbishop hope that one day gay bishops can have partners?
And what was the answer given by Archbishop Williams? “Pass”. That’s right, he gave an answer most likely to be heard by a timid poker player with a bad hand. Can anyone imagine such an answer being given by Pope Benedict, or any pope for that matter?
But there is a certain refreshing honesty in his answer, even if it is terribly weak and scandalous. The fact is that there is no way to know what the future holds for Protestantism (and the Anglicans, if they are anything, are Protestant) in regards to faith and morals. So it is always an open question as to what the Anglican church will one day allow, including opening practicing homosexuals as bishops.
This was the crisis that led to my own conversion to Catholicism. As a young Evangelical Christian, I was fervently pro-life. I recognized the intrinsic dignity of the unborn and I knew that no church that claimed Jesus as Lord could support the legalized killing of these precious children. Yet the denomination in which I had been raised – United Methodism – had in fact begun to support legalized abortion. This was a primary reason I decided to search for a new church family. I found a number of Protestant denominations that were strongly pro-life, but I was unable to commit to them because of this lingering question: how could I be sure that these denominations would not one day change their teaching regarding abortion? After all, one hundred years ago the Methodist church was strongly pro-life and had eventually changed its position, so who is to say that the Southern Baptists could not eventually do the same? And if a denomination can change its position on the fifth commandment, everything and anything is up for grabs.
This left me with quite a dilemma. During this time I went to one of my Catholic friends and I asked him, “How can you be sure that the Catholic Church will not change its teaching on abortion (or anything related to faith and morals) one day?”
He simply replied: “It won’t. I just know.”
This answer rocked my world – not because of the words, but because of the way he said them. He knew. The look on his face was one of utter confidence and peace. It was as sure to him that the Catholic Church would not change their teachings in faith and morals than it was that the sun would rise tomorrow. I was a bag of insecurities and confusion regarding my own churches, but here was this person who would never have to worry about where to find the Truth. What a refreshing way to live!
So I exchanged my “bad hand” of insecurity about the future to the Royal Flush of the Catholic Church and her consistent teachings. I put my faith in the rock which Jesus established and on which a Church would be built that the gates of hell would never overcome. A rock that will never “pass” when asked a question about faith and morals.
Watch this video of a “megachurch” service and try to figure out what – or who – is missing:
The slogan of an Evangelical ministry at Wake Forest University named “Wake” is “Worship. Teaching. Friends.”
That’s right. WTF.
They know the double-meaning (and if you don’t, you should be proud) and are using it intentionally to garner attention from college-aged kids through their slogan “WTF is Wake”. Their banner:
The “Wake” people are very pleased with their new-found “viral” status, and somehow think that by getting attention they are advancing their ministry (even though most observers don’t realize that the double-meaning is intentional). However, “attention” does not mean “evangelization”. The dude who is threatening to burn the Qu’ran is getting attention, but that doesn’t mean he is evangelizing. When are people going to learn that being a media whore doesn’t make you an apostle of the Good News? There is nothing wrong with trying to engage the culture, but efforts like this are just salt that has lost its taste, and we know what that’s good for (Matthew 5:13).
Whenever there is a debate between Christians today about some theological point, one question is sure to be fired off: “Where in the Bible is that?” Whether the topic is infant baptism, purgatory, justification by faith alone or the assumption of Mary, Scriptural support is demanded for one’s views. And for good reason; after all, the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and therefore, if a belief is found in the Bible, then surely it is true.
However, there is a false presupposition lurking behind this question, one that is commonly held by Christians today. It is the presupposition that the Bible is the source of Christian doctrine, that the Bible contains all the teachings of the Christian Faith and its purpose is to be a catechism of sorts for our teachings and beliefs. Although many Catholics have this presupposition, it is foundational to Protestantism. If you read just about any book from your local Family Bookstore (a chain of Protestant Christian bookstores), the language used in them is soaked with this presupposition: “The Bible teaches…”, “The Bible says…”, “we see from the Bible that…”.
However, this presupposition is not only false, it is illogical and contrary to history. Let us look at Salvation History for a minute and see how our Faith was passed on to us:
- After the Fall, God raised up a nation (Israel) to be His people. He sent them prophets, kings and priests to teach them about the ways of God.
- At the fullness of time, God sent His Son. This Son – Jesus Christ – preached, did mighty works, and suffered, died and rose again for our salvation.
- The followers of Christ, especially the apostles, went around preaching the Gospel – which consisted of the teachings, works and passion of Christ – to the known world.
- Some of these followers wrote down this Gospel in letters, histories and “gospels.”
- The successors to the apostles – the bishops – continued to preach the Gospel handed on to them, guarding and protecting it from error.
We can see from this short recounting that the content of our Faith – the “Gospel” – was passed on to future generations by two methods: (oral) preaching (a.k.a. Tradition) and writings (a.k.a. Scripture). Then the college of bishops – the “Magisterium”, or teaching office of the Church – continued to preach that Gospel through time, making sure that it was not deformed or altered. But it is important to know the order of priority: the Gospel is the content of the Faith, and oral preaching and writings are the methods in which they are passed on.
(An aside: an objection might be raised that the way we know about Salvation History is through the Bible, so the Bible is “before” the Gospel. However, at this point, we are looking at the Bible as strictly a history book, not an inspired text. One would not think that a book about Socrates is the source of his life and teachings; instead, it simply recounts what we know about him.)
So if we want to know the source of the content of our Faith, we must look to the Gospel, which includes the life of ancient Israel and is fulfilled completely in the person of Jesus Christ and his life, teachings, works and passion.
This idea that there is one pre-existing Gospel and then two methods in which we receive that Gospel has been the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church since its earliest days. In the second century, St. Irenaeus, bishop of Gaul, wrote Against Heresies, which defended the Catholic Faith against the various false teachings of his day. It is a somewhat difficult work, but if you have a moment, take some time to read Book III from the Preface through Chapter 3. In that famous section, Irenaeus lays out his defense of how he knows the heretics are wrong and he is right. His logic is as follows:
- The Gospel was given to the Church through the apostles (Preface-Chapter 1).
- The Gospel was passed on to us through Scripture and Tradition, and the heretics contradict both of these pillars (Chapter 2).
- The Gospel, passed on to us through Scripture and Tradition, is defended and protected by the successors to the apostles, the bishops (Chapter 3).
- Therefore, if we follow the bishops, especially the bishop of Rome, then we can be assured that we are orthodox (Chapter 3).
And the Church today follows this same divine logic. In Dei Verbum, Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, the Church beautifully and clearly articulates the relationship between the Gospel (also called “Revelation”), Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium. Sections 1-6 discuss Revelation being given from God, and then section 7-9 note the two ways in which that Revelation is handed on to us, and finally section 10 notes the role of the Magisterium in guarding and teaching that deposit of faith.
None of this means, of course, that any part of the Gospel will contradict Scripture, Tradition or the teaching of the Magisterium. The “glue,” so to speak, which holds all these parts together in one unified whole is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the originator of the content of the Gospel, the inspiration of the Scriptures, the guide of Tradition, and the protector from error of the Magisterium. Man would not be able to keep a consistent teaching for even a few decades under his own power, but with the Holy Spirit involved, the Church is able to pass on the authentic and saving Gospel to all generations.
So when someone asks, “where in the Bible does it say…”, you can know that if the Catholic Church teaches it, it is part of the saving Gospel, which precedes the Bible and is the source of its content.
The first “communion service” planned for Twitter has been postponed:
THE first communion service on the social-networking website Twitter did not take place last Saturday, after the Methodist minister organising it was asked to postpone it, while the Methodist Church examined the idea.
The Revd Tim Ross announced plans to hold the online service last month (News, 23 July), but decided to cancel it after senior Methodist officials asked for more time to consider whether a communion in cyberspace was appropriate.
Mr Ross wrote in a statement on his website: “Whilst I have not been absolutely forbidden to perform communion on Twitter, British Methodist Church authorities have strongly urged me to cancel it.”
The online service was replaced by a series of short prayers for Christian unity, which, Mr Ross said, “was the motivation for the project”.
I’m sure many Catholics are scratching their heads about this story: how exactly do you have a “communion service” via Twitter? It’s not like you can send particles of bread or wine (or grape juice, the liquid of choice in many Methodist congregations) via that Interweb thingy. It looks like it was just intended to be a bunch of people receiving communion at the same time and tweeting about it:
The assistant secretary of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Ken Howcroft, said that the Church understood Mr Ross’s passion for the importance of communion and of using new media in mission; but the Church needed to “reflect and pray deeply in order to discern what developments are appropriate”.
In an article for the Methodist Recorder, Mr Ross said objections to the Twitter communion had been raised by the Methodist Church Faith and Order Committee, which said it was “not a valid communion”. The idea of “remote communion”, where participants receive the bread and wine at the same time, but in different places, “conflicts with the ethos of the Conference report ‘His Presence Makes the Feast’ (2003) which talks about ‘embodied worship’”.
Mr Ross said the report’s reference to “disembodied spirits” did not say that participants must be in the same physical place, but rather referred to the attitude of those present. “The issue boils down to two questions: Is remote communion a valid communion? Is the Christian community on the internet a valid, gathered Christian community? If the answer to both these questions is ‘Yes’, then a communion service performed by such a community of believers must be valid and may be performed.”
At least someone in the Methodist hierarchy sees the problem with this type of service. As useful as technology can be, it is no replacement for physical interaction between people. Just like one cannot receive confession via the phone and you can’t baptize someone without physically pouring water over them, so too is the Eucharist intended to be celebrated in the context of people physically gathered together. Our Lord was incarnate in the flesh and we need to realize that even with the rise of the Internet, we still are flesh-and-blood persons whose bodies are not mere appendages to who we are, but are integral to us as persons.
Ultimately, we will be saved through our physical bodies, not in spite of them.
…or, at least Huldrych Zwingli claimed it was.
On August 17, 1525, Zwingli, a leader in the Swiss Protestant Reformation, published the book “Subsidium sive coronis de eucharistia” in which he defended his novel belief that the bread and wine of the Eucharist were only symbols. He also rejected the idea that the Eucharistic liturgy was a sacrifice, relegating it to merely a “remembrance.” The reverberations of this book cannot be underestimated: today, the vast majority of Protestants accept Zwingli’s view, often not even realizing that it was not the view of Luther or even Calvin.
Reducing the Eucharist to a mere symbol has had profound effects, but the greatest is the disunity that has prevailed in Western Christendom since the Reformation. As I wrote in Who is Jesus Christ? Unlocking the Mystery in the Gospel of Matthew in the chapter entitled “Shepherd”:
[U]nity in the Church is not the result of theological conformity; rather, theological agreement is the result of a preexisting unity founded upon the Eucharist. It is not coincidental that the greatest case of disunity in the Church — the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation — included a denigration of the Eucharist to merely a symbol of Christ rather than His real Presence. No longer bound by the Eucharist, the leaders of the Reformation began a never-ending proliferation of new denominations and Christian bodies.
The Church is not united based on the desires and strengths of men, but because of the unifying grace of the Eucharist. Without it, our fallen race is guaranteed to be divided. Thus, those who are still united through the Eucharist should not look upon these sad events in a spirit of pride or triumphalism; it is not of man’s power that the Church remains united. Only — only — by the presence of the Shepherd in the Eucharist can it hope to remain one flock. Without Him as the source of unity, his followers will truly be a flock that is scattered.
Let us pray that one day all Christians will be united in the one Eucharistic Body of the Lord, which is no mere symbol, but is truly the Real Presence of Christ among us.
One of the key rallying cries of the first Protestant Reformers was that they were resisting the “Pelagianism” of the Roman Catholic Church. Pelagianism is the belief that man, under his own power, is able to obtain salvation; the grace of God is superfluous to this process. The Reformers believed that the Catholic Church of their time, with its emphasis on works in the process of salvation, was preaching a doctrine dangerously similar to the 4th century Pelagius. They, on the other hand, believed that our works were useless for our salvation and instead believed God alone saves us without any involvement of ours.
Thus, on the surface, these two belief systems – Protestantism and Pelagianism – appear to be in complete opposition. But I would posit that they share an underlying error, and that is presumption. Presumption is the sin in which one believes that it is guaranteed that he is going to heaven. As Joseph Pieper once wrote, it is a “perverse anticipation of fulfillment.” Instead of hoping that one will be saved, the presumptuous person assumes it as fact. But of course no one can know with 100% surety that he will be saved until after his death occurs.
So how do both Pelagians and Protestants presume their salvation? A Pelagianist believes that by his own power he can guarantee salvation and the forgiveness of his sins; God “owes” him salvation based on his good works. A Protestant believes that God alone, without any work of his, will effect his salvation with absolute certainty; in this case God “owes” him salvation based on His supposed promises: he is “assured of his salvation.” In both cases, the person presumes more than he can know.
Both of these attitudes, of course, are erroneous. The proper attitude of the Christian is hope, not presumption. The Christian believes “in hope we are saved” (Romans 8:24). Although we are great sinners, we trust in God’s mercy to save us, but we also know that we must cooperate with this mercy in order to one day see Him face-to-face. Our life as pilgrims here on earth is full of tension between the possibility of damnation and the promise of salvation. And hope is the proper Christian response to that tension, as it recognizes with humility our great sins, but trusts in the even greater mercy of God.
Note: The basis for this post came from Joseph Pieper’s wonderful book “On Hope.”
There is a rising trend in Evangelical churches these days: pastors preaching to multiple congregations through hi-def technology:
The Sunday morning service at Fellowship Church in Dallas, Texas, was humming along with hymns and prayers when something unusual happened.
The lights in the sanctuary suddenly dimmed, and members of the church hushed as they peered at a pulpit shrouded in darkness. The parishioners then erupted in cheers and whistles as Ed Young Sr., the church’s senior pastor, emerged from the darkness with a microphone in hand.
“Please be seated, be seated,” Young said as he grabbed the Bible. “How are you guys doing today? Doing well?”
Young delivered his sermon, but he couldn’t hear or see his congregation respond: He wasn’t physically there.
Young’s parishioners were instead looking at a high-def video image of their pastor beamed into their sanctuary from a “mother” church in Grapevine, Texas.
Young is part of a new generation of pastors who can be in two places at one time. They are using technology — high-def videos, and even holograms — to beam their Sunday morning sermons to remote “satellite” churches that belong to their congregation.
The problem with this trend isn’t the technology, or even having sermons broadcast to multiple locations (EWTN essentially does this all the time). The real problem of this particular use of the technology is two-fold: (1) it encourages a cult of personality around the pastor, and (2) it diminishes the sacramental nature of Christianity, in which matter and spirit are combined in our path to salvation.
Most Protestant services revolve around the sermon, and the better the preacher, the more likely the service will be popular. Churches begin to revolve around the personality of the pastor, whose preaching ability is essential to the success of the church. But the structure of the Catholic Mass helps to prevent this problem. The focus of the Mass is not the sermon, but instead the Eucharist, in which Jesus Christ is truly present to us in sacramental form. The only cult of personality that should exist in the Church is around the person of Jesus Christ.It is great when a Catholic priest is a good preacher, but that is not the primary reason we come to Mass, and it should not be the high point of the liturgy. Instead, the miracle of the consecration is what should draw us: through the power of the Holy Spirit bread and wine are able to change into the body and blood of our Lord.
Furthermore, we believe the “Word became flesh” thus elevating our physical natures to heights unimagined before the incarnation. This taking on of flesh by the Son of God has profound implications for our lives, and it effects how we live our Catholic Faith. The Church does not allow sacraments to occur without the physical presence of the minister (you can’t receive confession by phone, nor can a priest consecrate the bread and wine if he is not physically present). This isn’t anti-technology, it is good theology, for God uses physical matter to bring us closer to Him. As much as modern technology can help us in our walk with the Lord, nothing can replace one-on-one interaction with our pastors and fellow Christians.
Ultimately, it really isn’t very impressive that these pastors can “appear” at multiple locations at one time; Jesus Christ has been appearing at EVERY Catholic parish in the world since his Ascension! He doesn’t need hi-def technology to do it, but instead through a sacramental miracle he takes the form of bread and wine and allows himself to be received by his followers. No man-made technology will ever to able to top that!