* An interesting paper on the question of whether the Assyrian Church of the East (see the Australian/New Zealand diocese website for further information about the ACE) is Nestorian in its Christology. The Church of the East is always associated with Nestorius, so that when, for instance, we talk about Nestorians in China what we really mean are members of the Assyrian Church of the East, not Nestorians in a strict and proper sense at all. There is no doubt that it is highly sympathetic to Nestorius, venerating him and several other prominent Nestorians in its liturgy and refusing to accept the Council of Ephesus. However, the official Christology of the Church, as found in Babai the Great and various synodal pronouncements, while influenced by Nestorius, has generally been more muted; and refusing to accept the Council of Ephesus is not precisely the same as rejecting the substance of its points. Some things the Church of the East has endorsed sound pretty close to Nestorianism; but, of course, 'sounding pretty close' to a heresy is not a mark of heresy when you are dealing with an entire culture of people who use terms in a different way than you do. (This is something that a great many people would do well to remember in discussing theological topics.) Since the paper in question is from the perspective of the Church of the East, and vehemently denies that it holds a Nestorian theology (as, indeed, most theologians in the Assyrian Church of the East do), it makes for interesting reading. See also the Common Christological Declaration Between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East. While the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East are not in full communion, the Catholic Church allows, under restricted conditions, Chaldaean Catholics -- essentially that part of the Assyrian Church of the East which has entered into full communion with Rome -- to receive communion in the Church of the East, and vice versa. This means less than it might sound, since in emergency situations the Catholic Church allows Catholics to participate in the sacraments of non-Catholic Churches, if they are recognized to have apostolic succession and liturgies that meet certain basic criteria; likewise, in emergency situations it allows members of such Churches to participate in Catholic sacramental life. That's something most people don't know. It is not full communion, but as a sort of quasi-communion manifesting itself under emergency conditions it is a sign that the Catholic Church recognizes the other as a genuine sister Church, even if it has not worked out all the details needed for communion in the regular and proper sense. It's an intimation of a unity in root that remains even when that unity is not expressed as it should be in stem and shoot.
* Colleen Keating has an interesting post on Pascal Boyer's theory of religion and what it suggests with regard to Unitarian Universalism.
* Insight Scoop has an summary of the life of Gianna Beretta Molla, the first married laywoman (and the first female physician) to be canonized a saint in the Catholic Church. Her process moved very quickly, and because of the circumstances of her death it's pretty clear she's going to be a controversial one, since she died in childbirth because she refused to abort.
* Tertium Quid of "From Burke to Kirk and Beyond" argues that Maria Montessori's view of education was heavily influenced by her Catholicism.
* Those of you with an interest in Russian Orthodoxy probably already know that this week was a very big week for the Russian Orthodox, because on Ascension Thursday there was a major reunification within the Russian Orthodox Church. Many members of the Church fled Russia to escape the Bolsheviks; they then broke from the Church in Russia when it was seen to be falling too far under the dominance of the Communist regime, forming ROCOR (also more rarely called ROCA), the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (sometimes called the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad), which now represents about a quarter of the Russian Orthodox outside of Russia. It was reconciled, so as to re-establish canonical fullness of communion, with the Church in Russia. This is big news -- Hallelujah-level news. So here are some links:
St. John Maximovich discusses the history of ROCOR
The ROCOR webpage has kept up with the news on the event. Note especially this summary of events.
Fr. John Whiteford, who will be in Russia for the occasion, has a set of links for further information.
* Justin Holcomb discusses what sort of thing counts as a metanarrative in Lyotard's sense.
* Darren at "Historical Theology" has for some time been posting on Protestant theology of the Lord's Supper. Some of his recent posts discuss Calvin's Short Treatise on the Lord's Supper, Garrish's discussion of Calvin's Eucharistic theology, and Torrance's view on the content of the eucharistic event.
* Rob Koons's A Lutheran's Case for Catholicism (PDF). (Ht: MP)
* In the Anglican calendar, today is the Feast of St. Dunstan, one of those saints whose tireless work astonishes more than any miracle attributed to them.
* A nice post on the chiastic structure of Augustine's Confessions at "Per caritatem".