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Thursday, December 27, 2007

"Childermas" AKA Holy Innocents Day


"Childermas" is Old English for the feast of Holy Innocents. It comes from the ancient practice of adding "-mas" to feast days like Christmas, Michaelmas or Martinmas. Holy Innocents feast day is a reminder of all the male children under two years of age Herod had ordered murdered after the Magi refused to report back to him about the birth of Jesus Christ the Messiah.

Mt.2: 1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5"In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: 6" 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"
7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."
9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."
16When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: 18"A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."

December 28 is Holy Innocents Feast Day in the Roman Catholic Church.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Prayers to Mary and Saints



Linda asks: Do or don't Catholics pray to Mary and others they call 'saints'? Prayer is for God only.

My response: Yes. Catholics do pray to saints and to God, but there is a distinct difference in those prayers. A prayer to a saint, is a petition or intercession. We are asking a saint to pray for us and with us about something. We are not looking to the saint as 'God-like' to be worshipped. Only God is to be worshipped.
Christians are one family, united. We are the Family of God and death does not separate God's Family, because God is the God of the Living (Luke 20:38). To ask a saint in heaven to pray for you and with you is no different than asking your next door neighbor to say a prayer for you. We are one Family in God, all alive in Jesus Christ our Savior. The saints are our brothers and sisters in Christ, they love us and wish to pray for us and with us together as a Family in God.
Here are some definitions of 'prayer' and I think if you look at them you will see the distinction made. The first, second and third definition is how we 'pray' to God and God alone. The seventh definition is how we 'pray' to saints. As you can see there are many ways people use the term "pray".

prayer –noun
1. a devout petition to God or an object of worship.
2. a spiritual communion with God or an object of worship, as in supplication, thanksgiving, adoration, or confession.
3. the act or practice of praying to God or an object of worship.
4. a formula or sequence of words used in or appointed for praying: the Lord's Prayer.
5. prayers, a religious observance, either public or private, consisting wholly or mainly of prayer.
6. that which is prayed for.
7. a petition; entreaty.
8. the section of a bill in equity, or of a petition, that sets forth the complaint or the action desired.
9. a negligible hope or chance: Do you think he has a prayer of getting that job?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Advent Prayer




Prayer for Advent From 'Priests for Life'


God of Life,
We rejoice in the promise of your coming.

You have sent your Son, born in Bethlehem.
He is the Prince of Peace, and
The one in whose name all oppression shall cease.

May we welcome his coming each day
And prepare for his coming at the end of time.
May we build a culture that welcomes him
By welcoming every child, born and unborn.

We pray through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bring Him Home Santa: Remember our Troops



**this is not my video**

Prayer for Those in the Armed Services
O God, we implore Thee, watch over those exposed to the horrors of war and to the spiritual dangers of a soldier's, a sailor's, or an airman's life. Give them such a strong faith that no human respect may ever lead them to deny it, or fear to practice it. Do Thou by Thy grace fortify them against the contagion of bad example, that, being preserved from vice, and serving Thee faithfully, they may be ready to meet death whenever it may happen, through Christ our Lord.

O Sacred Heart, inspire them with sorrow for sin, and grant them pardon. Mother of God, be with them in battle, and, if they should be called to make the supreme sacrifice, obtain for them that they may die in the grace of Thy Divine Son.

May their guardian angels protect them. Amen.

Monday, December 17, 2007

We Are One Body




This is not my video, but found on Youtube.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yehw2UssJ0I

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Is Church Authority Biblical?

A Southern Baptist ministers wife asks me: Would you please, if you can, show me ONE scripture from Gods own words that says he has given the [Catholic] Church authority AND if you can, back it up showing The Bible, Gods Written Word, says that we are to look at the church before Gods own words. Thanks.

My answer: I'd be happy to respond to your request and will include numerous scripture for you and I will use a favorite Protestant bible to do so (NIV Thompson Chain Reference Bible). Let's start with the very basics shall we? When two believers have a disagreement and they can't work it out after trying even with help from friends, etc., what does Jesus say to do? 1) look it up in the bible or 2) take it to the Church for the Church authority to decide? The answer is #2! And here's your scripture as you requested:

Matt.18:17 "And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector."Now what authority does the Church have in this case according to Christ in holy scripture? Let's read the next verse to see...
Matt.18:19 “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Jesus is talking about the Church here, not all the folks who tried to settle this dispute before coming to the Church for the final authority on the matter. This is authority given only to the Church by Jesus Christ.

Now let's see more Church authority (and by the way, my non-Catholic Thompson Chain-Reference Bible footnotes these as "church authority" [page 1091 #749], just so you know it's not a "Catholic thing" found only in a Catholic translation of the scriptures).

Now here my non-Catholic TCR Bible goes even further by saying the next reference to "church authority" is John 20:23 [page 1205] this is where the Catholic church also notes the authority of the Church and it's priests to forgive sins during Confession.
Let's go on...

Next we see Luke telling us in Acts 16:4 about more Church authority. This is a good one that can't be denied by anyone who's honest with themselves.Acts 16:4 "And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem." Now by who's authority were the decrees determined according to scripture? Was it bible authority or Church authority? By Church authority of course! It was "determined by the apostles and elders". That is what scripture says.

The bible cannot interpret it's self so it can't tell you what it means in some cases so you need an authority to rightly interpret God's Word. The bible doesn't tell you which books belong in it, Church authority determines what books belong in the bible as inspired by God. If the bible can't tell you what books and chapters belong in it, how can it interpret it's self? It can't. Jesus sent out men to teach and lead believers in the Truth, he didn't hand out bibles and tell people to read it and self interpret what it all means. That was never his intent. What Jesus clearly does in scripture is equip men to reach people with the Gospel message.

In Hebrews 13 we see the writer (probably Paul) writing about imitating church leaders, verse 7 "Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith." Then what does he go on to say? Verse 17 "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work, will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you." It doesn't say 'obey the bible', it says obey the authority of the leaders in the Church.Then at the end of the letter he says in verse 24 "Greet all your leaders and all God's people. Those from Italy send you their greetings." Again we see the leaders separated from the rest of God's people as they are the authority of the Church. Scripture says to "submit to their authority".

And just to add, another part mentioned for this in my Thompson Chain Reference bible that footnotes Church authority is "Matt.16:19 & 18:18". This is an NIV bible, not a Catholic bible yet it still marks Church authority as clearly as any Catholic version of the bible. The truth is Jesus gave his Church authority and scripture supports this. I hope this answered the Southern Baptist wife's question in the way she requested.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Three Misconceptions of Catholicism

The misconceptions of Catholicism are numerous and widespread. If people took a moment to find out what Catholics really believe and why all these misconceptions could be dispelled. Unfortunately, many people don't take the time to investigate things concerning religions and instead accept something they heard as the truth without considering it could be wrong.

A few common misconceptions about Catholic beliefs that I'd like to respond to are Catholic views of Mary, earning salvation by works and holy relics. First, Catholics don't worship Mary. They never have and never will because the Catholic Church teaching is that only God is worthy of worship. To worship anyone besides God is a sin. Mary is the Mother of God incarnate, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. The angel Gabriel called her "full of grace" and "highly favored". When Mary had given birth to the Savior she said "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For he has looked upon his handmaiden's lowliness; behold, from now on all ages will call me blessed." (Luke 1:46-48) The Catholic faith calls her 'full of grace' and 'blessed' because Sacred Scripture records this fact. She is not worshipped, she is honored and highly favored.

Secondly, Catholics do not 'earn' salvation. Salvation comes by grace from God. Faith and good works go hand in hand, neither 'earns' us our salvation, they are the fruits of the grace God gives us. Jesus Christ is God incarnate and came to bring salvation. No one 'earns' their salvation, if we could there would have been no need for Jesus.

And finally, those holy relics. Catholics don't worship holy relics and they are not magic charms. Relics are scriptural and found in both the Old and New Testaments. In 2 Kings 13:21 we see a man brought back to life when his dead body touched the bones (relics) of the Prophet Elisha. In the New Testament we see that handkerchiefs touched by Paul were taken to the sick and they were healed. These healings are all from God. God using ordinary things to do extraordinary miracles with relics.

Saint Augustine said something like "Remember, you will be faulted not because you are ignorant against your will but because you neglect to seek out what it is that makes you ignorant." I think that applies to all of us in our assumptions of things that we take as fact without bothering to seek out the truth of a matter.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Euthanasia Supporters are Goats

March 31 has been declared "Terri's Day" (AKA International Day of Prayer and Remembrance for Terri Schindler Schiavo and All of Our Vulnerable Brothers and Sisters) by the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation and Priests for Life. Terri's Day will help bring attention to the need for protection for all disabled persons. Abled or disabled we are all human beings with value, with the right for life and equality. Every human being should have the right to food and water (as should any animal). That this has to be battled in courts is repulsive and gruesome to say the very least. Who has the right to determine the value of another human being as less valuable than another? No human being has the right to judge another human being's worthiness to life. There is no price tag to place on a human life, they are priceless and precious. Starving a human being to death is barbaric and should be criminal in this nation and others. For any self proclaiming Christian to think that what was done to Terri was some how "humane" is to forget (or ignore) the words of their Savior Jesus Christ in Matt. 25 where Jesus tells us that what we do to others is what we do TO and for Jesus Christ himself. To starve a disabled person to death is to do that to Jesus Christ (Matt.25:42).

Matt. 25:31"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34Then the King will say to those on His right hand, "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' 37"Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, "Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40And the King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' 41"Then He will also say to those on the left hand, "Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.' 44"Then they also will answer Him, saying, "Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' 45Then He will answer them, saying, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' 46And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Those who support euthanasia can find their eternal fate in Matt.25:46 "everlasting punishment" according to the Word of God. We will all be held accountable one day as Jesus demonstrated with the Sheep and the Goats. The Sheep to eternal life, the Goats to eternal punishment.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Abiding in Christ

We've all heard that Jesus is the Vine and believers are the branches and that we must 'abide' in the vine. How does a person "abide" in the vine; that is to say, how do Christians abide in Jesus Christ our Savior? Do we abide by having faith? We all need faith in our daily journey towards our heavenly reward but that's not it. Do you abide by prayer? Prayer is important, no doubt about it. We need prayer but that's not exactly it either. Do we abide by participating in our faith? Now we're getting closer to the answer. In John 15 Jesus tells us He is The Vine and that we are the branches and that we must bear good fruit (good works) to remain part of The Vine. If we fail in this, holy scripture says the branch will be cut out and tossed into the fire. In Matt. 25:31-46 Jesus talks about the Sheep & the Goats. What separated the Sheep from the Goats was their works. The Sheep did good works, they fed the hungry and clothed the naked and visited those in prison and gave water to those who were thirsty. The Goats did none of these things, they were devoid of good works and Jesus said to them "I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."-(Matt.31:45-46). Clearly we need not only to have faith but to act out our faith with good deeds. Jesus is saying you can't sit in the boat and say you have faith, you need to take action and show your faith as Peter did when he stepped out of the boat onto the water. When Peter wavered in his faith, his actions began to sink him but Jesus was there beside him. Jesus is still here beside us now, offering us support when we waver and fall short. One place to find this support is in our sacraments, namely Penance (Confession). If you fall, go to Confession and make things right again. We need to hold tight to our faith and bear good fruit so that we are not cut off and tossed into the fire. We should desire to abide in Christ above all things and live our lives pleasing to God. Not just our words but also by our actions (deeds or works). Jesus says the way to abide in him is by Holy Communion (John 6:56). If we eat His Flesh and drink His Blood we abide in Christ. This is the very core of our Catholic mass. This is why attending mass is so very important for Catholics. The sacraments are vital to us abiding in Jesus Christ. These are not to be taken lightly or treated as valueless 'options' to take or leave. For Catholics they are essential. Attending mass is essential. Going to Confession is essential. We need to understand the sacraments and their importance to us and our Lord. If we fail to abide in Christ we will have put our very salvation in jeopardy. He is The Vine and we are the Branches only if we abide in Him.

John 15
The True Vine
1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples."

----

John 6:50 "This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”
53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me."

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Christians And Same Sex Marriage

So many Christian's and their denominations are struggling with the issue of same sex marriage and relationships. Why? The bible is clear on this. It has nothing to do with "homophobia" or being "biased" or wanting to make some people into "second class citizens". God, not man, decides what is sin and what is not. Man has the choice to accept the Word of God or reject it. The scriptures list what God calls sin. For Christians, Catholics and Protestants alike we proclaim Christ as our Savior and follow our Lord and his teachings to the best of our abilities. There are many laws in the bible, but on the issue of same sex marriage we need to look at Moral Law and the institution of marriage in the bible between men and women, not people of the same sex. We look to God's Word because we are Christians and the bible is a wonderful tool- gift really- to be used in teaching God's will for us and our lives. Should we thump non-Christians over the head with our bibles? No. They have the choice and free will to accept or reject God's teachings. For those of us who call ourselves Christians, we have made our choice and must adhere to the Word of God in all things in our lives.
Why do some Christians think that the Moral Laws of the Old Testament where tossed out by Jesus Christ in the New Testament? Did Jesus ever say that adultery, fornication and/or sexual immorality etc., are A-Okay under the New Covenant? No, he did not. So that tells us that ALL those things (Moral Law) still apply today for believers. It is still wrong to rape, murder, commit incest, adultery, fornication and all forms of sexual immorality as defined by God (man didn't decide what was immoral, God did). The liberal (religious, not political) argument that is spewed out about Leviticus Moral laws only apply to Jews is a house built on sand with the tide coming in.
The Moral Laws include (but are not limited to) not murdering, raping, stealing, fornicating, incest, sex with animals and more, those things are still wrong. The liberal religious thinking that gay relationships are okay after Jesus came is absurd. You can't pick one Old Testament sexual abomination and say "This one is OK now, but all the others are still abominations." Either they ALL are or they are not. Is it OK for a father to have sex with his daughter now? Is it OK for a brother to have sex with his sister in law now? Is it OK for siblings to have sex now? All of these are listed in Lev.18 as wrong, sinful and you can't pick one out of this list and stamp it as "good" while rejecting the rest as still wrong. That is ridiculous. All the sexual immorality abominations in Lev.18 are still abominations in the New Testament. Jesus never said "Oh and by the way, all those sexual abominations in Lev. still hold true except for the "man with man" one, you can do that all ya want now." That is not biblical no matter how people try to twist the Word of God or justify their actions. God will not be mocked and the Truth will always be the Truth. That will not change no matter who says what.
The Word of God is built on the Rock of Truth, not the sand of the liberal religious wishing to rewrite the Word. The Old and New Testaments up hold Moral Law, all Moral Law.
Romans 1:24 "Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion."
Also, 1 Cor.5 addresses the issue of the sexually immoral (in all its forms) within the church and what the church is told to do about these people (vs 13). The strawman that some attempt to build (that we've all heard a thousand times) is "well you eat shellfish! blah, blah, blah" (referencing dietary laws placed on the Jews under the Old Covenant). Apparently these people can't grasp the difference between dietary laws and Moral Law (and Jesus knew it too when he said "Are you so dull?"). Jesus was clear on the dietary law in the New Testament.
Mark 7:18 "Are you so dull?" he [Jesus] asked. "Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean'? 19For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.") 20He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' 21For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.'"
The next strawman that gets tossed out by some is "Monogamous gay love is OK with Jesus". Where did that come from? Certainly not God or the bible in any verses we can find. Monogamy has nothing to do with it. The sin is the same if you have one partner or a hundred! It's the relationship that is wrong. That's a bit like saying a father who has four daughters isn't wrong if he has sex with only one of them, but if he has sex with all of them then its wrong. Sorry, it doesn't work that way. The relationship is immoral. That is the sin according to scriptures. The amount of times the act happens is just how many times you need to repent of the same sin. That is The Word of God, no one has to accept it for their lives, Christianity isn't forced on anyone. But if you claim to be a Christian then you must accept and believe the Word of God taught by Christ our Savior. That is how we follow Christ and become Christians by believing the Word and accepting it as the Word of our God and Savior.
If we do not repent or accept God's teaching then God is not our Father but Satan is. Satan is the one rejecting the Word and deceiving people. Jesus came and gave us the gift of salvation. We have free will to reject that gift, but in order to receive that gift we must not deny the Word of God. Repentance is part of our relationship with our Father- but not our whole relationship. If you don't accept what God calls sin and you don't repent of all the things He tells us are sin (God decides what is sin, not man) then we are not being Christians following our Lord and Savior. We are less than true Christians if we only adhere to what we want to accept. God never gave us multiple choice on sins. He declares what is sin and we (Christians) must believe Him. Who are we to tell God He is wrong? The bible is clear on Moral Law, it stands today the same as yesterday and generations ago. God never changed Moral Law, what was wrong before is still wrong now.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Is the Rosary Biblical?

Have you ever heard a non-Catholic comment that the rosary is not biblical? Have you ever told them they are mistaken on that idea? To pray the rosary is to pray the scriptures in a most beautiful way.
Hail Mary full of grace, The Lord is with thee! (Lk 1:28)
Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. (Lk 1:42)
Holy Mary, Mother of God (Is.9:6) pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. (Jn 5:6)

And Luke 2:35 shows how Mary will suffer with her Son our Savior.

The Joyful mysteries are the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38), Mary's visitation to Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56), the Nativity (Luke 2:1-20), the presentation of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:22-38), and the finding of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52).
The Sorrowful mysteries are the agony in the garden of Gethsemane Luke 22:39-53), the scourging (John 19:1; Is. 53:5), the crowning with thorns (Mark 15:17-20), the way of the cross (Mark 15:20-22), and the Crucifixion (John 19:18-30).
The Glorious mysteries are found in the following scriptures: the Resurrection (John 20:1-29), the Ascension (Acts 1:6-12), the descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-13), the Assumption of Mary (Rev. 12:12), and Mary's coronation in heaven (Rev. 12:1-2, 5).

The rosary is biblical and beautiful.

Are the Seven Catholic Sacraments Biblical?

A Baptist once asked me "Are the seven Catholic Sacraments biblical?". My response is "Absolutely!". First let's look at what those seven sacraments are. They are Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing the Sick (Extreme Unction), Holy Orders and Matrimony. Now let's discuss what a "sacrament" is.
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church #1084 (in part) "...The sacraments are perceptible signs (words and actions) accessible to our human nature. By the action of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit they make present efficaciously the grace that they signify." And #1116 "Sacraments are "powers that comes forth" from the Body of Christ, which is ever-living and life-giving. They are actions of the Holy Spirit at work in his Body, the Church. They are "the masterworks of God" in the new and everlasting covenant."
The sacraments are gifts from God and all were instituted by Jesus Christ. No man on earth, not even a Pope can change a sacrament because he has no authority to do so. Christ instituted them and so they stand until He comes again exactly how he founded them. To alter them would make it invalid. For example, a valid baptism is done with water. If the water element was changed to orange juice it would invalidate the Sacrament of Baptism. Christ instituted the element of water for Baptism and man cannot change that. Time to get back to the original question from the Baptist "Are the seven Catholic Sacraments biblical?". Yes, they are and while there are many scriptures for the sacraments I will give a few for each but these are by no means the only scriptures available for each of the sacraments.
Baptism
-Matt.3:16 "As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him."
-Matt. 28:19 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,"
-Mk 1:8 "I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
-John 3:5 "Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit."
Confirmation-John 14:16 "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—"
-Acts 2:4 "All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them."
-Heb.6:2 "instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment."
Eucharist
-Matt.26-29 "26While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." 27Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. 28This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom."
-Luke 24:35 "Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread."
-John 6: 51 "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
-John 6 "53Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him."
Penance-Matt. 16:19 "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
-John 20:21-23 "Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."
Anointing the Sick (Extreme Unction)
-John 5:14:15 "Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you." 15The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well."
-James 5:14 "Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord."
Matrimony-Matt.19:10-11 The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry." 11Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given."
-Eph. 5:31-32 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church."
Holy Orders
-Acts 13:2-3 "While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." 3So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off."
-1 Tim. 4:14 "Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you."
-1 Tim. 4:16 "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers."
There is my answer to the Baptist about the Seven Biblical Sacraments of the Catholic Church. All found in Holy Sacred Scripture, all instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

The Victims of Choice

Where do you stand on abortion? Before you answer, there are some things you should know. Everyday 3,500+ babies are aborted, that's 1.3 million children a year! Think about that for a moment. Whole generations are being disposed of. How can we let this inhumanity continue? Lets take an up close look at abortion today before we answer those questions.
During a trial in Missouri last year, Planned Parenthood abortionist Robert Crist gave a chilling testimony to the St. Louis Circuit Court. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (a local paper) covering the story quoted Crist, in part, saying "...it is not uncommon for second trimester fetuses to leave the womb feet-first, intact and with their hearts still beating. He sometimes crushes their skulls to get the fetuses out. Other times, he dismembers them." (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 25, 2,000).
Over the years abortionists have come up with numerous grisly ways to kill the pre-born. There's the 'vacuum method', that literally sucks the tiny infant through a tube and into a canister, often times while the child's heart continues to beat for several agonizing moments. There's also the 'evacuation method'. During this brutal procedure the woman lies on a table while the doctor/abortionist cuts the child into small pieces before removing the body parts from the womb. Then there is the 'partial birth (infanticide) method', where the child is killed during the birth when the doctor pierces the back of the infant's skill after the torso has been born and the head is still in the birth canal.
The inhuman madness continues with a weapon relatively new to America. The drug RU-486, also known by the pharmaceutical name "mifepristone", is a chemical killer. Once this fatal chemical has attacked and killed the child, it's now up to the mother's body to expel her dead baby on it's own. Sometimes the womb will not give up the precious infant. At this point the mother could undergo a surgical procedure to "clean out" her womb, or she might be given a drug called Cytotec (or misoprostol). Cytotec forces the woman's body to expel the dead child. There are some known and probably many unknown side effects with this drug. And there have been no extensive long term studies on Cytotec. Side effects we do know include severe cramps and heavy bleeding that at times have women ending up in an emergency room. The manufacturer of Cytotec (the Searle firm), lists a potential side effect as death! Searle goes so far as to state that Cytotec should NOT be used for abortion.
The reality of RU-486 and Cytotec is that they are an "at home abortion kit" (correctly named by Pro-lifer Judie Brown, President of American Life League). This is how your abortion kit works. The pregnant woman fills her prescriptions for RU-486 and Cytotec. She then goes home and swallows the fatal drug RU-486 and waits for the death of her child to occur. Then later she swallows Cytotec to discard the infant. (Note: It may take several pills to completely kill the child. A doctor will confirm the infants death.) She then endures hours of severe cramps and heavy bleeding until the child is dead and begins to pass. Some doctors have advised these women to sit on the toilet during this time and not to look closely in the toilet before flushing! Which means the woman sees her child being aborted then discarded like waste into the sewer. If the woman survives the chemicals and doesn't bleed to death or have any other abortion related complications she then has to live with what she has just witnessed (by choice). By that same choice, she has now made her home the place in which she committed 'legal' murder. This memory will never leave her. Simple everyday things like swallowing an aspirin or cleaning the toilet will trigger the horrid memory of the day she aborted her child. She won't forget the child she flushed. The child who's bones are now in the septic tank. Her baby's final resting place. How could anyone forget that? These women will suffer emotional agony, severe depression and are at a risk to commit suicide. This is called "Post Abortion Trauma" and it happens to thousands of women. Despite all of the above, the Pro-choice movement still insists abortion is good for a woman! What part of abortion benefits a woman? How is she better off after having gone through any of these tragic experiences? The only thing the Pro-choice movement has ever accomplished in its entire history is to have the largest victim tally known today from one single 'choice'.
There's something else you should know. The abortion industry is a multimillion dollar business. And our governments investing your tax dollars and mine to fund this bloodstained market. During the fiscal year 1998-1999, our government gave Planned Parenthood $176.5 million taxpayer dollars. Last years "family planning" fund was $372 million dollars. This program gave out tax dollars to overseas' organizations to perform and promote abortion in other countries.
So where do you stand on abortion? Become active in the Pro-life movement and help end the senseless suffering and growing number of victims. Remember, your silence is costing 1.3 million babies their lives a year.
(**article originally written in 2001**)
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