Catholic Fundamentalism

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Until 1966, Catholics had been anti-modernism and had been skeptical of modern rationality.  The Catholic Church had a rigorous clear-cut world view.  With the changes of Vatican II (1962-1966) some feel that the Church has abandoned unchanging truths.  There was a reaction to the English liturgy, the changes in the church, and the attacks on the absolute authority of the Pope.  The sinfulness of man needed the episcopal authority to direct them.  God is a God of judgment, not a God of mercy.  Catholic fundamentalists are selective, with not much about the Trinity, but lots about the Latin Mass, female and married priests, and artificial birth control.

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The apparition at Mamre (Gen 18:1-18:15)

Yahweh appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day.  He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground.  He said, ‘My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant.  Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree.  Let me bring a little bread that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on, since you have come to your servant.’ So they said, ‘Do as you have said.’”

We are back to the Yahweh tradition.  Yahweh appeared to Abraham at the oaks of Mamre near Hebron, as he was sitting in front of his tent.  Abram is now Abraham. There were three men standing there in the heat of the day.  Abraham was kind to them, bringing water to wash their feet, letting them sit unde a tree, and bringing them bread to eat.

“Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, ‘Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.’   Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it.  Then he took curds, and milk, and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them.  He stood by them under the tree while they ate.”

Abraham told Sarah, not Sarai, to make some cakes.  He also got a calf and prepared it along with curds and milk.  All this he brought to the three men sitting under the tree as he stood by.  Abraham seems like the perfect host.

“They said to him, ‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ And he said, ‘There in the tent.’  Then one said, ‘I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him.  Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age.  He had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.  So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?’  Yahweh said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, and say, shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old.’  Is anything too wonderful for Yahweh? At the set time I will return to you, in due season and Sarah shall have a son.’  But Sarah denied it, saying, ‘I did not laugh,’ because she was afraid. He said, ‘Oh yes, you did laugh.’”

They asked Abraham where Sarah was. One of the visitors said that he would return next season and Sarah would have a son.  Sarah, who was listening in the tent, laughed because she was old and was not with her husband in a womanly way.  Now Yahweh is explicitly named as one of the visitors.  He asked why Sarah was laughing. Sarah denied that she was laughing, but he insisted that she was laughing and seemed annoyed that Sarah lied about her laughing.   This is a strange Yahweh story, as some Christians have seen the three men, one of which is called Yahweh, as a fore taste of the Trinity concept.