B33BC3AB-68A9-403B-8B78-1347C4866C2FSteve Ray here. I am a Knight. My wife Janet is a Lady.

We are proud members of a chivalrous Order with a noble history of 1,000 years. Our mission: to defend and support the Christian presence in the Holy Land.

C1714FD5-92E4-4C3C-A61C-2387FCCABF8AToday fifty fellow Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre arrived in Israel to join us on a pilgrimage following the august steps of millions before them.

In the past they arrived by ship and horses (and camels). Today they arrived by airplane and motor coach.

8751AB24-D9BC-4BDD-894F-22C94BC1CEABJanet and I will guide them along with our excellent friend and local guide Amer Shehadeh who is also a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.

He is a Palestinian Arab, Roman Catholic Israeli citizen. There is no better and more knowledgeable Catholic guide in the country. We have worked together on more than 60 Pilgrimages!

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The North Lieutenancy chapter, with their chaplain Bishop Carl Kemme of Wichita Kansas, has sent these principled Knights and Ladies to see the land, support the local Christians, pray and celebrate Mass at the holiest sites, see the empty Tomb of Christ and earn their pilgrimage shell.

They arrived today and we are proud to lead this noble Order through the Land to visit and experience the Christians and holy sites they’ve sworn to defend and support!

Below is a video of their arrival at the Ben Gurion Airport, their journey north to Galilee and our first Mass and dinner in the Holy Land as the sun sets over the Sea!

FAMILY AND FRIENDS—Please leave your loved ones notes and comments below. I will read them each day on the bus. You can also e-mail me at sray@me.com.

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I never knew my Great Grandmother Frances Picard. She was originally an O’Grady. They had a deep spirituality and she converted to the Catholic Church later in her life. (By the way, this was all new to me since I never knew – in my childhood – that I had several lines of Catholic ancestors.)

My Great grandmother is bottom right

They were literate people back in those days. Detroit was in it’s glory days (oh, how it has fallen). The culture still believed in God; they still had a sense of honor, morality and natural law – all honoring Nature’s God.

During some cleaning and organizing we dug through dusty old books gathered from family archives and attics. I am the family archivist now working on genealogies and digitizing old photos.

We came across a tattered and brittle piece of paper, yellowed with age. It was buried in the binding of an old book. On it was the handwritten script of those who learned great penmanship – before we lost it after the keyboard was invented. On that page and in the lines of poetry I can step back in time and meet my ancestors and get a whiff of the world as it was – better times in many ways.

Here are a few lines from a poem she loved entitled Prelude to the Vision of Sir Launfal by James Russell Lowell. I read it aloud to my wife Janet and we were for a moment whisked away. Notice especially stanzas 9 and 10. What is free when everything else has a cost?

Earth gets its price for what Earth gives us;
The beggar is taxed for a corner to die in,
The priest hath his fee who comes and shrives us,
We bargain for the graves we lie in;
At the devil’s booth are all things sold,
Each ounce of dross costs its ounce of gold;
For a cap and bells our lives we pay,
Bubbles we buy with a whole soul’s tasking
‘Tis heaven alone that is given away
‘Tis only God may be had for the asking;
No price is set on the lavish summer;
June may be had by the poorest comer.

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This article was published by Nick Page in Premier Christianity Magazine in October 2017. He is trying to help Protestants understand that there were problems created by the Protestant movement. He explains five big loses: 1) Loss of unity, 2) Loss of monasteries, 3) Loss of silence, 4) Loss of “doing things”, and 5) Loss of color and beauty. I think this is must reading for Catholics and Protestants.

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And now for the bad news: what we lost because of the Reformation

Sorry to intrude on the Reformation celebrations, but Nick Page has some not-so-great-news to share.

It’s the anniversary! Woohoo! Five hundred years since Luther published his ninety-five theses and lit the touchpaper to launch the Protestant Reformation. There are books and TV programmes and celebratory articles. There will be cards and parties and bunting!

There will be cakes in the shape of Zwingli (with a low-fat, sugar-free, extra-roughage version in the shape of Calvin). Even Playmobil have joined the party and released a figure of Luther (over 34,000 of them were sold in three days, making it the fastest selling figure in the company’s history).

The anniversary of the Reformation is clearly a cause for celebration. But it’s worth remembering that for all its undoubted benefits, the Reformation wasn’t good news for everyone. Its heroes were not entirely without flaws, nor its villains entirely without merit.

Sometimes this comes as a shock to people. Many biographies of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli et al simply repeat the myths (such as Luther throwing ink at the devil, or even, dare I say it, the famous story about Luther nailing the theses to the Wittenberg door). The darker sides of these characters are carefully Photoshopped. Luther was famously abusive to his enemies and was responsible for some vile anti

Semitic writings. Zwingli had his theological opponents drowned in the river. Leaving aside his role in the arrest and execution of the Unitarian Michael Servetus, Calvin was so unpopular within Geneva that people tried to empty their chamber pots on him as he walked beneath their windows.

All three of these Premier League reformers – and many others in the lower divisions – had a propensity to banish anyone who spoke out against them. Now, I know all the arguments: they were not alone in this behaviour, it was the culture of the time, the Catholics were just as bad, etc, but if we want to truly remember the Reformation then the best way is not merely to get all excited about the theology, but also to be honest about the dodgy goings-on. Here are five key ideas which were lost from the Church.

We lost unity

 

The Reformation destroyed the idea of a single, unified Church. True, this was already a bit of an illusion, given that the Western and Eastern churches had undergone the ‘Great Schism’ in 1054. And there had been that unfortunate business when there were two Popes. Then three

Popes for a bit. But, nevertheless, in Western Europe there was the idea of one catholic or ‘whole’ Church to which everyone could claim some sort of allegiance. But the Reformation shattered any semblance of unity. And it didn’t just split Western Christendom into ‘Catholic’ and ‘Protestant’, but into ‘Catholic’ and ‘Protestants’ – the latter encompassing many different flavors of evangelical and reformed belief.

The Reformation began an endless, fractal splintering of the Church. Because, as anyone who has ever tried to do the splits can tell you, once you start it’s very difficult to stop, and if there’s one thing we know about theology, it’s that other people always get it wrong. Even among the reformers themselves there was disunity. Luther and Zwingli hated each other….

For the rest of the “five things we lost”, click HERE.

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Evangelicals Guide To Catholic View of Justification

October 14, 2017

Steve Wood was a Protestant pastor before converting to Catholicism and starting Dads.org. He has just published an excellent book “Grace & Justification: An Evangelicals Guide to Catholics Beliefs.” Steve latest newsletter summarizes some of his book and gives good insights — especially in this 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Revolt. Here is his newsletter […]

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My Open Letter to Filipinos

October 13, 2017

[If you know someone from the Philippines ?? please share this letter with them.] We stepped into the church and it was old and a bit dark. Mass had just begun and we sat toward the front. We didn’t know what to expect here in Istanbul Turkey. I guess we expected it to be a […]

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Questions I Answered on Catholic Answers Live Forum for Non-Catholics

October 11, 2017

To listen to the show where I answered questions from Non-Catholics, click HERE. For more listening options, click HERE. Questions Covered: 04:01 – How does someone like me begin to believe? How can you prove to me that God is real? 14:47 – How much money does the Catholic Church want you to contribute into the offering […]

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Bible Study: Playground or Minefield?

October 10, 2017

Imagine children running and tussling unsupervised in a playground. Now imagine the playground surrounded by deadly dangers: a sharp cliff dropping down a thousand feet to one side, a field of land mines, poisonous snakes in the sand, and a bog of quicksand on the other sides. With anguish you watch the children decimated as […]

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Steve on Catholic Answers Live

October 9, 2017
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Choirs of the Angels in Three Hierarchies

October 9, 2017

Clever little diagram to show the choirs of angels. We have a pack of dogs, a flock of birds, a forest of trees – the word used for groups of angels is “choir.” According to many theologians, like St. Thomas Aquinas, there are 9 choirs of angels in 3 hierarchies. Visit https://churchpop.com for more things like this.

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In Memory of the Battle of Lepanto

October 8, 2017

In 1571 in the Bay of Patras in Greece, the Christians of  Europe pushed back and utterly defeated the Muslims pressing north from Africa. Had this Sea battle been lost the whole course of history and the Western World would look very different. We would all be speaking Arabic and worshiping Allah. Pope Pius V called […]

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Continuing Discussion on Jesus and Homosexuality

October 4, 2017

Steve’s extensive response to new questions in the ComBox below. For the newly revised and full article click here. IN RESPONSE TO MY BLOG JESUS IS NOT A HOMOPHOBE, ROD WROTE: Rod May 30, 2012 at 10:21 PM Steve, Your posting is remarkable ! It is remarkable that, despite your attempts at convincing yourself that […]

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Was Jesus a Homosexual? Some say “Yes” and try to Prove it from the Bible!

October 3, 2017

After posting my blog entry “Jesus and Homosexuality” I received a correspondence from a Harry H. McCall, a self-proclaimed ex-reverend, on June 4, 2012. He referred me to his blog “Debunking Christianity.” His post was entitled Jesus the Homosexual: Evidence From the Gospels. It is despicable to even say or suggest this of Our Lord […]

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Via Dolorosa to Calvary, Mass at Tomb to Western Wall and more

October 2, 2017

Early, early start to pray the real Stations of the Cross. Calvary and tour of the whole Church of Holy Sepulchre. We settled into our benches for our High Mass with Francisans at the Tomb of Christ. The Western Wall on Bar Mitzvah day is always a unique and colorful experience then a free afternoon […]

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Homosexuals and Shellfish

October 2, 2017

I received a copy of an e-mail which was very sarcastic. The sceptic’s words are in red. He wrote: “Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from you, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries […]

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Camels, Floating in Dead Sea, Jericho and more

October 1, 2017

Enjoy camels, Floating in the Dead Sea, Israel Museum, Jordan River, Jericho and more. Fr. Mattson’s homily at Notre Dame here.

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How you can tell if Steve and Janet Ray are at Mass

October 1, 2017

Since our group is riding camels today in Jericho, I thought I would post this funny picture. Check your church parking lot. See a camel? Steve and Janet may be there for Mass :-)

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