Receiving the Spirit: forgiveness

Pentecost3“Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Many scholars see a parallel between v.23 and Matthew 18:18: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” The parallel becomes clearer when we know that the words “forgive” in John 20:23 are the Greek words aphiēmi and krateō which mean “send away” and “hold” respectively [EDNT 2:314]. But even with the parallels aside, the meaning, extent and exercise of the Matthean and Johannine powers has been a source of division with the post-Reformation Christian community. Continue reading

What to wear? – meeting the Pope!

When President Donald Trump recently visited Pope Francis, part of the world’s attention was on Melania and Ivanka Trump as they wore black dresses and veils while meeting the Holy Father. The Holy See does not impose a compulsory dress code, but does suggest a protocol for state visits and hearings with the Pope, both for men and women. In the case of the latter, the protocol requires a long black dress with a high neckline, long sleeves, and a black veil. For historical reasons, however, some Catholic queens or consorts of kings have traditionally been exempted from using black. This is the so-called “privilège du blanc” (privilege of white), a special prerogative granted under the Pope’s criteria. Continue reading