In the late 1700's, when the US constitution was ratified and the first Catholic diocese was established in the US in Baltimore, the vast majority of Christians in the US were Protestants - only something like 30,000 Catholics called the new country home. This number rose dramatically within a few decades to over a million with the influx of Irish and German Catholic immigrants in the early 1800's. Simmering anti-Catholic feelings that dated back a hundred years or more occasionally boiled over - one of the most notable incidents, the burning of the Ursuline Convent, happened in sight of Bunker Hill in August 1834. [more inside]
To shave or not to shave? That is the question which has divided the Christian Church for 2000 years.
Out of love and concern for the truth, and with the object of eliciting it, the following heads will be the subject of a public discussion at Wittenberg under the presidency of the reverend father, Martin Luther, Augustinian, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and duly appointed Lecturer on these subjects in that place. He requests that whoever cannot be present personally to debate the matter orally will do so in absence in writing.
Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences Commonly Known as The 95 Theses by Dr. Martin Luther on October 31, 1517. or 496 years ago today. [Original Latin][more inside]
In the 19th century, in Roermond, The Netherlands, lived a man who was Colonel of Cavalry, and a Protestant. He married a Catholic noblewoman (likely quite a scandal in a country which was heavily segregated along religious lines at the time). The husband died in 1880 and was buried on the Protestant side of the cemetery. When his wife died eight years later, she could not be buried next to him, as a wall separated the Catholic and Protestant sides. A novel, and rather touching, solution was found.
Besides Halloween, today also marks another holiday: Reformation Day. On October 31st, 1517 (warning: auto-playing video) Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of Schlosskirche in Wittenberg, Germany essentially starting the Protestant Reformation. [more inside]
Pope Benedict XVI makes his usual Sunday address during Italy's National August Holiday and about two-thirds in points out that "excessive activity" can lead to "hardness of heart", specifically recommending taking time out for prayer. It becomes the highlight of the speech, gets picked up all over, by Reuters and AP, and suddenly he's the Patron Saint of Slackers. Huh? Maybe that's why it's called The Protestant Work Ethic. Meanwhile, Americans are 'giving up' on vacations (voluntarily?) and in parts of Turkey a Muslim Protestant Work Ethic is emerging. And whatever happened to the Hacker Ethic?
Mary, quite contrary The Christianity Today weblog offers a fabulously dense post (pegged to this recent UK news story) about the Protestant embrace of Mary. Lots of fascinating links - including one from the blog of the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - will bring you up to speed on "the 'Protestants and Mary' deluge of the last three years." Hours of provocative reading for anyone interested in Christian sects.
Orange you glad I didn't say shamrock? Uhm... don't the catholics and protestants worship relatively the same diety? And didn't this diety say something about ..you know, uh, being nice to each other and stuff? Something like that? And by the way, when is the sequel to The Commitments coming out?