I love the movie Kingdom of Heaven. It combines my three favorite subjects in the whole world: the Church; the military and history. I was thinking about that movie and modern popular culture in America this past weekend. For all of my love of the movie, there are things about it that just drive me up the wall. My opinion is that if you are going to make a movie based on historical events then get the history right! The producers got so much of it right that it would be easy to overlook what they got wrong. The costumes were right, the major events were (for the most part) right, the weapons were right, the tactics were right and the characters were (mostly) right.
One thing I found particularly offensive was the portrayal of the monastic orders of knights. A major blunder was that none of the characters portrayed as Templar knights were actually Templar knights in real life. Teutonic knights were portrayed as little more than thugs and henchmen better suited to make an appearance in a mob movie. Read the rest of this entry »
A vein of theology infecting the Church today makes an attempt to discern who the “real” authors of the Gospels were and when they wrote. One of the claims is that the Gospel of Matthew, long considered to be the first Gospel (by Matthew, hence the name), was actually written after 70 AD by an author who was not a disciple of Jesus. This claim is based on the facts that Matthew and Mark are so similar to each other that one must have been copied from the other and the inclusion of the predicted destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in the Gospel of Matthew which did occur in 70 AD.
Papias, bishop of Heirapolis, who was a student of the Apostle John and a companion of Polycarp (also a student of John), wrote that Matthew was the first to record a Gospel in writing, which he did for the Israelites in the Hebrew language. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon, wrote “Against Heresies” at the end of the Second Century. To the best of my knowledge that has never been disputed. In it he said:
Matthew published his gospel among the Hebrews in their own tongue, when Peter and Paul were preaching the Gospel in Rome and founding the church there. After their departure Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, himself handed down to us in writing the substance of Peter’s preaching. Luke, the follower of Paul, set down in a book the gospel preached by his teacher. Then John, the disciple of the Lord, who also leaned on his breast, himself produced his gospel, while he was living at Ephesus in Asia.
The opening verse of the book of Hebrews tells us that “[i]n many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets.” This was done fragmentarily, under various figures and symbols. Man was not given religious truth as though from a Scholastic theologian, nicely laid out and fully indexed. Doctrines had to be thought out, lived out in the liturgical life of the Church, even pieced together by the Fathers and ecumenical councils. In this way, the Church has gained an ever-deepening understanding of the deposit of faith that had been “once for all delivered” to it by Christ and the apostles (cf. Jude 3). Read the rest of this entry »
The phrase “in the fullness of time” is something worth pondering. As my knowledge and understanding of history has grown so has my consideration of just what in “the fullness of time” means.
The first real revolutionary change was when I began to learn more about Alexandria, Egypt. I thought about the implication the city had on the time Jesus’ birth. The major change was that I began to pay much more attention to the geopolitical situation and factoring it into God’s plan for the world.
In the past year and a half I read a tremendous amount about Rome, just for general knowledge at first, but later for more specific reasons. I have always liked Rome for several reasons. Read the rest of this entry »
from www.vatican.va: “The Servant of God Fr Emilian Kovch was born on 20 August 1884, near Kosiv. In 1911, after graduating from the College of Sts Sergius and Bacchus in Rome, he was ordained to the priesthood. In the spring of 1943, he was arrested by the Gestapo for aiding Jews. On 25 March 1944 he was burned to death in the ovens of the Majdanek Nazi death camp. On 9 September 1999 he was honoured with the title “Righteous Ukrainian” by the Jewish Council of Ukraine.”