Thursday, July 31, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
The New Vatican approved English Translation
This new translation is an effort to be as close to the Latin as we can get with English, a more literal and clear translation. Some of the changes are (quote taken from CatholicCourier.com):
-- Whenever the priest says, "The Lord be with you," the people will respond, "And with your spirit." The current response is "And also with you."
-- In the first form of the penitential rite, the people will confess that "I have greatly sinned ... through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault." In the current version, that part is much shorter: "I have sinned through my own fault."
-- The Gloria has been translated differently and the structure of the prayer will have changes from the current text.
-- The opening of the Nicene Creed changes from "We believe ... " to "I believe ... "; other changes in the prayer also have been made.
-- Before the preface, when the priest says, "Let us give thanks to the Lord our God," instead of saying, "It is right to give him thanks and praise," the people will respond, "It is right and just."-- The Sanctus will start "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts." The current versions says "Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might."
-- The new response at the "Ecce Agnus Dei" ("Behold the Lamb of God") is: "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed."
Dissident 'Catholic' Groups
Apparently "Catholics for Choice" (an oxymoron) started this push to attempt to get the Church to change its views on birth control. The dissident 'Catholics' involved are from around the world and not limited to the Washington state "Catholics for Choice" group. Here is a quote from Yahoo.Com.
"The groups published their appeal on the 40th anniversary of the 1968 encyclical "Humanae Vitae" ("On Human Life") — the document issued by Pope Paul VI that prohibits Catholics from using artificial contraception. The initiative was spearheaded by Catholics for Choice, a Washington based pro-choice advocacy group, but the letter was signed by organizations from countries across the Americas and Europe."
Catholic Adoption for Gays in Europe
The Catholic Children’s Society of Arundel and Brighton, Portsmouth and Southwark (A&BSP), had the choice to either close down or cave in to a new law forcing all adoption agencies to allow homosexual couples to adopt. There are no exceptions allowed for religious agencies and their beliefs. Here is a quote from CatholicNewsAgency.com:
"The move will undoubtedly be seen as controversial in some quarters. In January 2007, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor wrote to the-then Prime Minister Tony Blair suggesting that Catholic adoption agencies in England and Wales would be forced to close down if they were not allowed to opt out of new gay rights laws, which he said contradicted Catholic teaching. The cardinal said forcing people to act against their consciences would mean discrimination on the grounds of belief, adding that it would be an "unnecessary tragedy" if Catholic agencies were forced to close. In the cardinal's Westminster archdiocese, the Catholic Children's Society has opted to mount a legal challenge to the regulations by amending its constitution. But A&BSP, which prepares between 40-50 potential adoptive parents a year, has instead decided to comply with them. In a letter sent to the society's supporters by Mr. Connor, he suggested that such a course offered the "only transparent, straightforward and guaranteed way of preserving our full range of much needed services for some of the most vulnerable children in the country."
I'd like to hear my readers thoughts on these topics. Good? Bad? Ridiculous? Does it matter at all? Let's hear your opinions. God bless.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
August Of ‘78
I recall in at least one of the movies of “The Godfather” trilogy, on a couple of occasions, someone invoked the phrase, “I have a pebble in my shoe” to illustrate that he had some sort of annoying problem. I have had a pebble in my shoe for a while now. Now is the right time to remove it. The article I am about to write is one that I meant to write several times previously, and maybe some time in the future. Enough. Now is the time. As I compose this article, now, on May 13th, 2006, it is time to tell you about another date, back in August of 1978.
Ironically, tomorrow is Mother’s Day. As this story unfolds, you will soon learn why I say “ironically.” Today, however, 89 years ago, in Portugal, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three children. It would not be the last of her visits, but the Catholic Church recognizes May 13th as the anniversary of “Our Lady Of Fatima.” In her messages, the Blessed Virgin revealed to the children that the world needs to repent of its evil ways in order to bring about peace before it’s too late. Not only did we not heed this advice, our sordid behavior only drastically worsened. Fast forward to today.
This evening I plopped down on the couch in front of the TV with remote in hand and did what every red-blooded American male does best: I clicked away. As I was channel surfing, I stopped at the channel for the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), and saw Father Frank Pavone, who I know to be the head of the pro-life organization, Priests For Life, giving a homily during a mass devoted to Our Lady Of Fatima.
Father Pavone delivered an impactful and stirring sermon about the apparition of the Blessed Virgin to the children on this day in 1917, and that only through repentance can there ever finally be peace in the world. Father Pavone emphasized that the doors to the Church are open to all who seek repentance, healing and peace through Jesus. He also emphasized that the Church rejects sin, not the sinner, but that the worst sin is abortion. Abortion, he said, defies what Jesus taught us, to love our neighbor, especially the most vulnerable among us. Father Pavone elaborated that despite that fact, no one who truly seeks forgiveness and repentance is exempt from being forgiven. Father went on to say that he even knows of a woman who has had 24 abortions. He said that if that woman so chooses, even she can repent and be forgiven.
Father Pavone also mentioned Mother Teresa. He was correct in doing so, as Mother Teresa also often rallied against abortion, and rightfully reminded us that no nation that accepts or tolerates abortion can truly be a nation of peace. Mother also taught us that we must not give so little regard to God’s precious gift of life that we would barbarically destroy it because we deem it to be an impediment or an inconvenience.
Father Pavone also empathically implored all who heard his voice to repent right now, and today, and to reach out to one another to give witness to the evil, and untold harm of abortion, and to reach out and give comfort to those who have already committed that grave sin, and grave mistake. He gave several very disturbing excerpts from regretful post-abortion mothers, who articulated vivid, grotesque, and heart wrenching testimony of both physical and emotional trauma from abortion on the Priest For Life web site at www.priestsforlife.org, part of the Silent No More campaign at www.SilentNoMoreAwareness.org. Father Pavone also spoke about how both women and men who are suffering and are seeking help and healing from having been involved with an abortion can find such help at another project called Rachael’s Vineyard at www.RachaelsVineyard.org. What those children saw on this day 89 years ago today was a miracle. I believe miracles happen, but rarely. More often than not, I think God acts in very subtle ways, through every day, garden-variety means and messengers He has already created. I believe that God speaks to us often through these means and messengers, as long as our ears and minds are as open as the doors of the Church, and the loving arms of Jesus. Upon listening to, and reflecting upon Father Pavone’s words, and the significance of this day, my eyes welled up, I trembled a little, swallowed a couple times and then very clearly realized what I must do next, so here I am at the keyboard. I believe in stewardship. I believe that God gives each of us gifts and talents to serve Him and His people. OK, Father Pavone, no more procrastination. I write this article today, and right now. Today, the pebble comes out of my shoe.
From here on, any names I use will be fictitious, but the people I describe are real. Sadly, so are the events. I can tell you that this event took place in August of 1978. I cannot recall the exact date, though I wish I could. I once had a high school English teacher who told us that we tend to forget things that are unpleasant. Maybe that’s why, but I don’t know for sure. I wish I could forget more than just the date, but I can’t. Such is my cross to bear.
In my high school years, I worked at a supermarket in a shopping plaza. After a while, I got to know several of the local regulars, including one very pretty blond named Laura. We dated a few times, but it was nothing serious, and it was soon obvious to me that I liked Laura more than she liked me.
There was also a coffee shop in the plaza named “Willy’s.” Willy was a big, burly guy with a thick, reddish/blond beard and an affable personality. He was a former deputy sheriff from the Midwest. One of his regular customers was an older, and very distinguished gentleman named Al. Al was the epitome of a gentleman, very mannerly, but you also got the sense that he was no shrinking violet. I soon learned that Al was a retired cop from a nearby large city. As I was torn between three career choices in those days: the priesthood, journalism, and law enforcement, I was soon a regular at Willy’s, often endlessly jawboning with Willy and Al, and listening in awe as they regaled me with “war stories” from “the job,” “back in the day”. Willy and Al were my heroes, and Willy’s was soon my regular hangout.
Laura had a sister named Cathy, who was roughly 3 or 4 years older than me. To put it into colloquial terms, Cathy had what could then be called, “the community chest.” Through Laura, I knew Cathy enough to talk to her. One of her many sexual escapades resulted in the birth of her little daughter. I have seen dogs treated better than this poor little kid, always dirty, crying, and unhappy. Cathy, on public assistance, would often literally drag her daughter, about 3 or 4 years old by the hand down the hill to Willy’s, where the kid dined on a steady regimen of grease while her mother sat, pouted, snarled, yelled at her, and blew cigarette smoke in her face with about as much warm, nurturing, maternal love as a piece of granite in February.
I went into Willy’s one day and saw Cathy quietly sobbing to herself in a back booth. I went over to comfort her. She was hesitant to talk, but asked if I would give her a ride so she could find her “boyfriend.” I complied. We drove past a couple different bars, looking for his motorcycle in the parking lots to no avail. Cathy finally confided in me that she was pregnant with his child. Romeo had impregnated her in the back of his van, and when she told him of the result, he told mother (and child) to go take a hike. I could see how Cathy was so attracted to the natural warmth and charm of this pure gem. He was a real knight in tarnished armor.
A few days later in Willy’s, I saw Cathy again, now desperate to talk to me. She pleaded with me to take her to an abortion clinic in another city. The ever-compassionate humanitarians at the baby butchery refused to do the procedure unless she had a ride home. I was a kid, myself. I bristled at the idea of abortion, but also knew what kind of “mother,” for lack of a better term, Cathy was. I didn’t know what to do. I needed to talk to someone, and soon. Cathy had a deadline that was soon approaching. Otherwise she could not have the procedure done, and obviously sensing my reluctance, she gave me the ultimatum that given no other choice, she would then be forced to perform the abortion on herself, at great physical risk. She also claimed that I was her only means of transportation. I should have talked to my parents. I don’t know why I didn’t. Then again, maybe I did. I confided in Willy, who reminded me of how badly Cathy treats her daughter. His vote was to go for it. I sought the advice of a parish priest, but every time I went to the rectory, he was not there. Meanwhile, the clock was still ticking, and at my then tender age, while I was convinced I knew everything, I suddenly realized just how little I really did know, and how few life experiences I had to draw from for archived knowledge and direction.
For lack of a better alternative, and feeling pressured, I chose what I thought was the lesser of two evils. I know now, however, that there was only one evil, and I chose it. Cathy could have opted for adoption, or even better yet, to keep her legs closed and stay off her back until marriage. She did not choose these options. I chose not to speak to my parents. We only thought we were confused, but the correct answers stared us both in the face the entire time. Instead, we chose evil.
When the ugly day arrived, I compounded my sin by lying to my parents. I told them that a bunch of us from the store were going to a lake for the day, and I needed to borrow the family car. I even thought to pack swim trunks, and a towel, and on the way home, dunked them into the sand and water at a local beach to give credence to my lie; more premeditated evil.
When we finally arrived at the baby butchery, I was astonished to see pro-life protesters in front with signs. As we exited the car, they surrounded us, and begged us, empathically, albeit very politely, to reconsider our decision. They even offered us help, although I did not know what kind at the time. Cathy became visibly upset, and the protesters were physically blocking our entry to the building. Looking back, it now seems to me that God offered us one more chance. We didn’t take it, so through the doorway of “the point of no return” we went, but not before I took Cathy by the hand, dragging her in, as I yelled at the protesters and physically pushed them out of the way, like I was running interference for a receiver, running for a touchdown in a football game. As we finally got inside, my teenage male testosterone and adrenaline rush made me feel kind of good, like I was Sir Galahad, or something, having just saved a virtuous damsel from distress. In reality, however, what I did was far from noble.
The pre-conceived plan was that I was to drop Cathy off, and pick her up about (I think) six or eight hours later. In the interim, I felt homeless. I knew I couldn’t go home. I went back to my church. My priest was again out, doing hospital visits, or whatever. I literally just drove around, very much in a depressed daze for about six or eight hours. I felt like a fugitive, running away, yet having nowhere to go, and the whole time, just drifting through limbo as the unbearable and seemingly infinite waiting time passed ever so slowly. It was agonizing torture with no foreseeable end.
It was finally time to pick Cathy up. Then I got lost, and in a less than desirable neighborhood. After asking a cop at a construction site for directions, I finally arrived back at the abortion mill. I now could not stomach the very sight of this house of horrors, let alone to actually have to go back inside again.
I checked in at the front desk and was told that Cathy was not quite ready. The receptionist told me to have a seat in the waiting room, and someone would bring her out soon. I sat next to an absolutely beautiful girl, roughly my age, maybe a couple or so years older, and with long, flowing blond hair, fair skin, and blue eyes. I remember feeling very attracted to her, as bad as I felt. Her demeanor astonished me. There was a coffee table in front of this couch, (or chairs, I do not recall which). The table had some magazines on it. This girl was kicked back in her seat, reading a magazine, with her shoes off and bare feet up on the top of the table and magazines, and she cavalierly began talking to me as if we were in her living room, watching TV. She was actually quite friendly. She asked me if I was here for my girlfriend. Not wanting to explain this long story, I said yes. (That was the least of my lies that day!) She asked me if this was my first time. I said yes. She said I looked nervous and worried. I said I was. She attempted to comfort me by telling me that it will be OK, it’s really no big deal, and she has already had three abortions, and was about to have a fourth. Obviously, this girl was not only having abortions, but also using them as a form of birth control, with no conspicuous care in the world, let alone any remorse. Her face beamed with youth, her eyes twinkled like stars, and her smile was warm, inviting, and endearing, but inside, this girl was as cold as ice. She was like a stuffed teddy bear, warm, fuzzy, and gentle on the outside, but dead, lifeless on the inside; a facade, a mirage. If this were Halloween, Satan would have won an award for this costume. I was flabbergasted. Just a couple minutes before, I was attracted to, and even aroused by this girl, who looked like the quintessential “girl next door.” Suddenly, I no longer felt attracted, nor aroused, just kind of sick, and even worse than before I walked in.
A short time later, Cathy was escorted out to the waiting room, and I was emphatically told not to let her drive. What an ironic joke that statement was! I soon felt even sicker! She could not have driven if she wanted to. She looked awful, sick, pale, bordering on ashen, weak, and shaky. I asked her how she felt. In a feeble voice, she simply told me to take her home.
I was really frazzled. I got lost again, and then we got stuck in traffic. I tried to talk to Cathy a few times. I needed to talk, and I was also worried about her. When she gave me answers, they consisted of a few words at most. Finally, I got her home. Feeling awkward, I said something stupid like I will see her at Willy’s soon. About ten minutes later, I was home. My mother, a decent, devout, and very pious woman, was puttering around the house, as she always did, humming to herself as she always did, asking me how my day “at the lake” went, and telling me that we would be having supper shortly, whenever my father got home from work. She had no clue. My feeling of sickness deeply intensified. Our 1970’s supper table was like many of middle class America during that time, a meeting place, and a central focal point of the family. All the family gathered there at mealtime, unlike today, and the day’s events were discussed, as well as historically good news and bad news throughout the years. We argued, laughed, and cried over that table. That inanimate piece of kitchen furniture was to our family then was what a green was to a town in colonial days; it wasn’t the community, it was what brought the community together. I was sullen that night and ate very little. I could not hear my family talk. All I heard was white background noise, kind of like a radio on in another room at a barely audible decibel level. I really did think I was doing the right thing at first. But now, as I wandered aimlessly and anxiously into thought….(“My God…what did I do?).
I soon did see Cathy at Willy’s. I tried to talk to her. She was sullen, angry, and (I think) depressed. She was very cold. She would not talk to me, and never did again. Neither did Laura. I was needed, sought, acquired, manipulated, used, and discarded, in short order. I felt like dirt, even worse than before. This whole saga just refused to end. In the end, Cathy got what she wanted, but she obviously regretted it, but apparently, not for long. A few years ago, I told this story to a buddy of mine, a retired cop from town. I moved out of town long ago, but as my buddy told it, unbeknownst to me, Cathy had a uniform fetish. He said that she hit on him and several other cops on several occasions, and while he turned her down, many of the other cops (as well as many other local guys) did not, and her abortion on that eventful day was supposedly not her last by any means. The added irony to this tragedy is that I went through it not with my girlfriend, but with my girlfriend’s older sister, and I was not even the baby’s father. I was just trying to help. I was a naive kid who felt sorry for a girl who cried. In men, and particularly in younger men, a woman’s tears can be as powerfully mesmerizing as her physical attributes. I was allured by emotions of the heart, and not by logic of the brain. I got drawn in and crashed on the rocks, just like an enchanted sea captain in Greek mythology, myopically and foolishly navigating his ship to impending destruction and doom in response to a seductive and deceitful Siren, who completely captured his attention and focus with her charm.
After the damage was already done, I finally caught up with my parish priest. In Confession, I told him the whole story. I recall really feeling bad for him. I could tell he felt awful that he was so busy that I kept missing him, but I never blamed him. It wasn’t his fault. Anyway, he heard my confession, and gave me absolution. That wasn’t good enough. This ugly incident stained me like a spot of red wine on a white shirt. Nothing could make me clean again. I was dirty. I was evil. In the following years, I would confess this same sin again four or five more times. In the Catholic faith, when you confess your sins to a priest, receive absolution, do your penance and repent, you are forgiven. I believe that God forgave me, but I could not forgive me. It would not go away. My history kept stalking me in my own, troubled mind. It sunk its teeth into me like a pit bull into its prey, crushing and unyielding.
I actually put it out of my mind for few years, and seldom, if ever thought about it, but as years passed, I thought about it more. I don’t even remember if the baby was a boy or a girl, but I could not erase the event, and as I aged, it revisited me with more frequency and intensity, ironically, in a manner similar to pains experienced by a woman in labor. To this day, I still think about what I would gladly give if I could just go back in time and change that entire, hideous day. As every August came around, I pondered what the baby would have done at that age, when he or she would have graduated high school, or perhaps gone to college, what career choice he or she would have made, and whether he or she would marry and have (live) children of his or her own. As time progressed at intervals that would be at various progressive stages of typical, human life, growing, and development, that we otherwise take for granted, I pondered more and more, and with increased burning agony, “what if?”. Sometimes, during such thoughts, I would find myself instinctively and aggressively shaking my head, as if to ward off a chill, or to try to make those thoughts and memories leave my mind, but that dog just won’t hunt.
When my wife and I lost our only child, I blamed myself. I was convinced that God was punishing me. In counseling, I told a priest about my feelings and that throughout my later life, I have confessed this awful, indelible sin several times to no avail, at least, in my mortal eyes. The priest empathically told me that God gives us free choice to make good or bad decisions, but does not “punish” us, at least, not here on earth. We lost our son because it was simply God’s will, and for reasons that for now, only He knows. The priest also firmly told me to never, ever repeat this sin in Confession ever again. He said by virtue of the fact that I repeated the confession of this sin without having committed it again, my action, although unintentional, was itself sinful, because it showed a blatant lack of faith that God forgave me, which He did, the first time I confessed partaking in the abortion.
For those of you who still insist on calling an aborted baby “a fetus,” all I can tell you is that had Cathy or I made a different “choice” (as you folks like to say) that day, that “fetus” would be 28 years old this August. Now, older, wiser, more experienced, principled, and mature, I know fully well what significant magnitude of insidious evil I performed on that eventful day. Now I truly grasp the meaning of the phrase, “Ignorance is bliss,” but ignorance, despite the temporary comfort it may provide, is also blindness, and blindness is as equally dangerous in our lives to our eternal salvation, as it is to our earthly salvation if we are driving a car. I still suffer, and on occasion, I still struggle with forgiving myself. I helped snuff out the God-given gift of a human life of a person that threatened no one, harmed no one, and was as innocent as he or she was defenseless. That’s pretty tough to swallow. I have never forgotten. I can’t, and to a certain degree, maybe I shouldn’t. I still have scars, although through time, and faith, they are somewhat more bearable than they once were, and I do now cope with this event better than I once did. We are all a work in progress, as one priest once recently told me. Even Father Pavone said in his sermon that Project Rachael is not a “magic wand,” but a beginning of opening one’s soul, and beginning a process of healing. Perhaps some day, I will attend a Rachael’s Vineyard retreat. One step at a time. Until today, I was never sure when, or even if, I would ever write this article, and I certainly would not have done it today, had I not been so inspired to do so by God, speaking through Father Pavone, who spoke the truth. The truth needs to be told, and the truth will set you free. For that reason, telling and spreading the truth must never wait.
My Irish/Italian roots make me a passionate person. I have written more than once about defending life. Sometimes, I have done so with an angry tone. That’s not passion. That’s weakness. I was wrong, not for what I said, but for how I said it. None of us are all good or all evil. To one degree or another, we all fall somewhere in the middle, and this is a very highly charged emotional issue on both sides. My wife and I have been involved in Catholic Engaged Encounter retreats, in which we speak to newly engaged couples. In our talks, we tell them, “God doesn’t make junk.” People aren’t evil, deeds are. I can’t save the baby that I helped Cathy kill that day. I wish I could, but it’s too late for that now. All I can do is maybe, with God’s help, save at least one more baby from the same fate. Some of you readers were planned abortions, but you are alive today only because your mother suddenly changed her mind and chose life instead. Do you regret her decision? Even if I can’t save one more innocent, and completely defenseless baby from abortion, maybe to at least one of you, I have struck a chord. Maybe you had, or were involved with an abortion, know someone in that situation, or, maybe you are even contemplating one now. Organizations like Birth Right, at www.birthright.org, and others will give you counseling and resources to help support you in your decision to choose life, but for those who are hurting right now, men, as well as women, with tears silently streaming down your cheeks as you read my heartfelt words, I am asking you to please be stronger than me, and get help, now. You don’t have to go through what I have been going through. If I have now helped at least one of you, then it is also now your turn to go help someone else in the same manner. Every grain of sand forms a beach. Every link makes a chain. Every hurting person you reach out to, and help, makes a difference.
The same priest who counseled my wife and I regarding the loss of our son also told us that it is still possible to be “motherly” and “fatherly” in other ways. If you need help, get help. If you can help, then please help. As I write this article now, tomorrow, Sunday, May 14th, 2006, will be Mothers Day, What will you do then, and beyond?
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Just as the old farmer was to drift off to sleep, he was disturbed by a fluttering and clicking noise outside his window. He got up to investigate and found a flurry of sparrows, trying to get in from the glass pane of the window, apparently seeing and sensing the warm dwindling day’s fire still slightly aglow in the fireplace.
Having satisfied his curiosity, the old farmer returned to his bed, desperate to regain the lost warmth from his abrupt exit. But the sparrows would have none of it, still flying into the windowpane and fluttering about on the sill. They made quite a racket.
Now angry about being disturbed again, the old farmer opened the window, yelling and flailing his arms about, trying to shoo his unwanted visitors away, but to now avail.
He dressed, went outside and opened the barn door, figuring he would give much relief to both he and the birds. The barn was enclosed, protected and full of hay. The birds would be warm and safe for the night, and hopefully quiet, so that he could get some sleep.
But the birds remained at their window vigil, undaunted and still determined to find shelter their own way.
Now frustrated, the old farmer paused to think how he could outsmart his feathered friends. He then went into the house and crushed up a loaf of bread. He went back outside and scattered the breadcrumbs on the snowy ground, leading a trail into the barn.
The trick only partially worked. The birds left the window and flocked about the bread, cautiously pecking at some of it, but they still refused to enter the barn. They now flew around the old farmer, as if equally frustrated and maybe even a bit scared and confused. They just didn’t know what to make of him, and feared getting too close to this large, odd, grandiose being.
Sensing their desperation on this cruel and cold winter night, the old farmer tried to think of another idea, but none came to mind. His exasperation now turned to sympathy for the forlorn birds, but he now felt helpless and didn’t know what else to do to help them. Feeling a bit sad and defeated, he went back in the old farmhouse and returned to bed. Snuggling back up into his cocoon of warm blankets, yet still chilled and shivering from his outdoor jaunt, the old farmer again tried to go to sleep. But the pecking and fluttering soon was again audible from his window. The birds had returned from outside of the barn door. They never did enter inside the barn.
His frustration now returned. The old farmer tried to ignore the poor little creatures, but they only continued zealously at their mission of acquiring and keeping his attention.
Now lying on his back, unsettled and awakened, the old farmer thought to himself, “On Christmas Eve, I need this aggravation! What’s the matter with those stupid birds, anyway? I tried to help them. Why wouldn’t they accept my help? Why wouldn’t they follow my lead? Why wouldn’t they trust me? Would they rather die, out in the winter frost, freezing and starving because of their own lack of faith and their own stubbornness? But what else can I do? I tried everything I could do. They just don’t trust me, even though I tried to save them. Maybe it’s because they don’t recognize me. If only I could turn myself into a sparrow. Then I would be one of them. I would look and act just like them. I wouldn’t be a big, scary, mysterious stranger from a distance any more. Then they would trust me. Then I could fly into the barn to show them and they would all follow me in. Birds can’t be all that much different from people. I’m sure they must trust someone who is one of them. Then, maybe they could be saved. Some might still not trust me, but I bet others would. At least then, some of them could be saved. If only I was a sparrow. If only I was one of them. After all, it is Christmas Eve. If only I could at least be turned into one of them, if even just for a little while. If I could be one of them right now, on Christmas Eve… Hey, wait a minute….”
Monday, July 21, 2008
Anonymous writes: Eat your heart out goddess Mary worshipper...I tell you that every Catholic that venerates mother Mary is nothing more than a pagan idolater! And Catholics do it because they have the need to worship mothers and relegate fathers to a secondary place in direct rebellion to the fact that GOD BECAME A MAN AND NOT A WOMAN...Does God need a mother? NO! Was Mary existing before the creation and spoke to limitless God and said, "Hey! I have an idea, let's make a baby so that I can be the mother of God?" How high do you want to elevate a human being? A mere woman?! You tell us! Catholics are in denial by thinking that a mere human being could be elevated to the place of "Mother of God." Again, God has no mother you fools.
My Response: Let me start by saying I am not a "goddess Mary worshipper" and Catholics are not relegating "fathers to a secondary place". Mary is the mother of God Incarnate, hence we call her "Mother of God". It was God who chose Mary and placed her in the position of being the Mother of God Incarnate. That was God's decision, not Mary's. Mary accepted the Will of God and become the Mother of our Savior Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 1:38).
26 "In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." 29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." 34"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" 35The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37For nothing is impossible with God." 38"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her."
You ask "Does God need a mother?" and then you say "no", but the fact is God must have needed a Mother for His Divine Salvation Plan or He wouldn't have approached Mary with His Divine Will of her being the mother of our Savior on earth, Jesus Christ. Mary was part of God's plan for the salvation of people through Jesus Christ our Sacrifice. For God to be born incarnate on earth, God needed a "mother". Mary is the Mother of God Incarnate. She carried him in her womb, gave birth to him and raised him. We (Catholics) aren't elevating Mary, God elevated Mary above all women to be the mother of our Savior. Don't get hung up on the title and miss the importance and significance of God's Divine Will and the birth of God Incarnate. No one is saying Mary pre-dated God the Father. Mary was chosen by God's Divine Will to be the Mother of God Incarnate- Jesus Christ our Savior. The scriptures say "God with Us" or Immanuel (Matt.1:22). That is where she gets her title from, she gave birth to Immanuel! God on earth. That is the Christmas story!
Friday, July 18, 2008
When my father would come across a bigot or someone small minded and full of hate for someone he'd call them "mental midgets". I think he got that from watching Archie Bunker, but I can't be sure. It's a fitting expression for what I see happening very often today here in America and currently sweeping Australia. The mental midgets are the protesters who are passionately obsessed with disrupting Catholic youth who wish to celebrate their faith at World Youth Day. These mental midgets are not only handing condoms to Catholic youth, but mailing them to the housing places the youth are staying at. They are "gifting" Catholic youth with coat-hangers to show opposition to the Catholic faiths views on abortion. They are having "kiss-ins" where gays are going to make out in front of Catholic youth because these mental midgets say the Pope and Catholics are "homophobic" because we believe God created woman for man and instituted marriage between a man and a woman. They are also handing out gay stickers calling the Pope a "homophobe" and altering photos of the Pope to give him horns on his head. A well known brothel in Sydney is offering a 10% discount to any WYD Catholic who shows their WYD accreditation card and is encouraging them to "commit their sins before the Pope leaves Australia". And the list goes on with the anti-Catholic attacks and hate that our Catholic youth and all Catholics suffer daily from these people simply because we are Catholic and live our faith. Is this fair? Let's imagine for a minute that Muslims were having a WYD. What would happen if anti-Muslim protesters were handing out pork to Muslims? Or lets say Jews were having a WYD and protesters were handing them shellfish? How would the world view it if anti-Muslims or anti-Jews were being intolerant and forming coalitions to "annoy" them? "A newspaper ran a competition for the best anti-Catholic T-shirt. And an ABC host urged men to bait Catholics by going naked, but for a condom." (quote from Australian Andrew Bolt-more below) Would the world be appalled at such a display of intolerance for other faiths? Yes! But where is the outrage for Catholics? Barely a blip in the media over the "cracker" mental midget last week desecrating the Eucharist and taking great pleasure in belittling Catholics and our faith, and same now with WYD in Australia. I did find one guy, a non-Christian defending not only Catholics but the entire Catholic Church against the bigotry of these mental midgets. His name is Andrew Bolt and he's a columnist with the HeraldSun in Australia (link below). He not only sees the bigotry but he went a step further to write about it and call it what it is. Thanks Andrew Bolt! These gays, atheists, and other anti-Catholic groups demand their rights to "freedoms" for themselves (gay marriage, abortion, etc.), but they don't want Catholics to have the freedom to be Catholic and keep our faith. They want Catholics to change our faith to accept condom use, accept gay marriage, accept abortion and anything else THEY decide for us. Where are OUR rights to freedom of religion as WE believe? They are trying (but will never succeed) in forcing the Catholic Church to change its doctrines/beliefs to allow for gay marriage, condom use and abortion. They want to force THEIR beliefs on us, then tell us "Now you can be Catholic and we'll leave you alone because you've caved in to our demands." Where is tolerance for the Catholic faith? Why are non-Catholics demanding that Catholics accept their beliefs? Is this not the stuff of intolerant bigots? Who are they to dictate what our faith should be? What nerve! What intolerance! What mental midgets they are.
If you don't believe they want to force their beliefs on Catholics see what they are saying:
"We will say to them [Catholic youth], 'Take up the campaign within the Catholic Church to promote condoms.' We're not planning to get into any trouble. We don't want to condemn Catholic youth for being Catholics. We want to condemn the Pope for being homophobic and anti-condom. He [the Pope] is clearly a bigot ... many in the Catholic Church are also raising these issues, condemning the Pope for his hateful ideas."-Rachel Evans, from NoToPope Coalition and Community Action Against Homophobia
"Wearing a political T shirt, promoting safe-sex - pre-marital or otherwise and criticising the World Youth Day (WYD) 08 'code of ethics' will all be showcased at our highly annoying fashion show" noted Evans. "Criticising WYD ethics includes promoting contraception, access to abortion and conducting any criticism of the reactionary views of some Catholic Church leaders", said Evans."We will hand out condoms at our rally to young Catholics" said Anthony Englund. "The annoyance laws will not stop us. Young Catholic people are quite capable of distinguishing what they want from their church's theology and what they don't want. By providing them with a token number of condoms we're reminding them they can make up their own minds about what they believe is appropriate behavior in terms of their personal sexual health, "he concluded.
So where's all this tolerance they are screaming about? Where's the right to Catholics to be Catholic? Where is the outrage at these anti-Catholics for trying to force their demands into our doctrines? Don't Catholics have the right to our faith as other groups do? Just how do anti-Catholics define "tolerance"? I can't tell because I see so little from them. They scream tolerance but never show any. When will Catholics see the tolerance anti-Catholics are screaming about? And when will the world see the bigotry against Catholics that Andrew Bolt saw and spoke of? Those yelling for tolerance need to practice tolerance themselves.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Dear Pro-life Friends,
In continuing our coverage of the scandal in Richmond, VA where four employees of a Catholic Charities actually helped a teenaged Guatemalan immigrant obtain an abortion, the latest ALL Report provides the latest details.
From Michael Hichborn
American Life League
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Verse 53 "Jesus 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."
Let's stop here for a minute. How clear is that? What does "unless" mean here? If it's only symbolic then why is it so vital for eternal life? Think people and read what your Savior said.
Verse 54 "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."
Again, nothing symbolic here. Jesus is making a clear statement and telling us what to do to abide in Him. He says "eat my flesh" and "drink my blood". No symbolism here.
Verse 55 "For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink."
Here Jesus makes it crystal clear by saying "real" - "my flesh is REAL food" and "my blood is REAL drink". Nothing symbolic there. Jesus does NOT say "my flesh is SYMBOLIC food" nor "my blood is SYMBOLIC drink". Jesus said REAL and He meant it. When God speaks do you believe Him or tell him "You can't mean that God, you've got it wrong, let me tell you what you really meant to say"? Are you that prideful (and ignorant) as to think you know more than God himself? Wake up Catholics! You don't know it all, but Jesus does and He's telling you the Eucharist is REAL, NOT symbolic as some would like you to believe. Who's the Great Deceiver? Who loves to twist things and get believers to doubt their faith and question their beliefs? Satan of course. Here's an interesting (to some) tidbit about scripture. In Revelation the number of the Beast is given to be "666". In scripture all those who refused to believe in the Eucharist are found in John 6:66. Strange how those things work out. Don't fall for the Deceiver who's working hard among those who call themselves Christians- be they Catholic or non-Catholic. If you don't know your Catholic faith, you are doomed to fall for deception. If you don't know why the Catholic Church believes what it does ASK! Or get a Catholic catechism and read it for yourself. Don't let anyone talk you out of your faith because they know scripture better than you or seem to know more about theology. Know your faith! Teach your faith to your children so they can stand up to deception and untruths about our Catholic faith. Jesus told the disciples He was sending them out among wolves and that they had to be "shrewd as snakes, but innocent as doves" (Matt.10:16). Be shrewd Catholics or the wolves will make a buffet out of you. Jesus Christ said the Eucharist is "real", not "symbolic" and that is exactly what the Catholic Church teaches. If you're Catholic and you don't believe this, you need to start believing it. Talk to your priest, join your parishes RCIA class to 'refresh' your knowledge of your faith. There are many people in my parish who do this and are already Catholics but wish to know their faith better. Educate yourselves so you don't fall for deception. The Eucharist IS REAL. Jesus Christ said so. That's all we need to know. Trust in God. Here's something else to consider. If Jesus isn't real in the Eucharist and you are just kneeling to bread you are committing idolatry. If you are Catholic and don't believe you are kneeling to our Lord in the Eucharist then just what is it you think you are kneeling to? Freihofer's bread? Think Catholics and wake up!
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Fast Forward to the University of Minnesota Morris, where Science Professor Paul Zachary Myers took umbrage to reporting of the UCF incident by the Catholic League, a Catholic Civil Rights organization, and linked his blog to his faculty page at the University’s web site. This sordid saga is far more than a freedom of speech issue. I have read Myers’s ugly rant, in which he requests readers to also kidnap Communion Hosts from Masses and mail them to him so that he can display images of desecration to them on his blog. Myers’s ugly and vitriolic tirade included his use of numerous obscenities and anti-Catholic hate speech, including referring to the Eucharist, which Catholics believe is the body of Christ, as a “cracker.” He also ridiculed nuns, Jesuits, and made a comment suggesting that Catholic League President Bill Donohue kick the Pope in his genitalia, and no “genitalia” was not the actual word Myers used.
The University of Minnesota has since deleted the link leading to Myers’s blog from its web site. That’s not enough. Myers needs to be fired and possibly even arrested. According to the Catholic League, the university’s policy on use of its computers says, “Contents of all electronic pages must be consistent with the University of Minnesota’s policies, local, state, and federal laws.” One such policy under the school’s “Code of Conduct” states that, “When dealing with others, faculty, et al, must be respectful, civil and fair.” That obvious violation aside, Myers, as a UMM professor is presumably a state employee. For what he did and how he did it, any other public sector employee anywhere else would be terminated for such actions forthwith. Also, as Myers is actively attempting to procure the Communion Hosts for his admitted desire of desecration (and sadly, already with several cyber responses, pledging compliance), an act not intended for the Hosts, which when distributed at Mass after the Transfiguration are the consecrated Eucharist, a police investigation should be conducted to determine whether or not Myers violated any applicable Minnesota state law, and/or possibly even any applicable federal law, considering that he used the Internet for his expressed endeavor, which seems to bear a slight resemblance to what is now commonly dubbed a “hate crime.” (Depending upon the category of the victim, of course!)
UCF now supposedly has armed police guarding its on-campus Masses. Kudos to the university for taking that action, but that isn’t enough, either. For whatever Cook’s motivation was, he still either knowingly or unknowingly mishandled the Eucharist, a grave sin. He also disrupted the Mass in doing so. The Catholic League is calling for UCF to take strict action against Cook, including possibly expulsion. I believe, given the severity of the offense, that Cook should be suspended, but not expelled. Despite the gravity of his actions, he still returned the Eucharist. In all fairness, Cook’s errant and corrective actions should both be taken into account. Professor Myers on the other hand, who has and continues to willfully and significantly exacerbate this already tragic incident, has shown no semblance of any such remorse or repentance whatsoever from what I have been able to find so far. For its role in this matter, UCF thus far supposedly has no plans to pursue the matter any further unless someone specifically lodges a formal complaint against Cook. On UCF’s home web page, a link entitled “About UCF” gives a synopsis of the institution and specifically states, “UCF promotes a diverse and inclusive environment.” Nonsense! If such were the case, then the school would not be charging fees for religious services, if that allegation is even true, and it would itself take decisive punitive action against Cook for disrupting the Mass and defiling the Eucharist. Just more shallow, baseless diversity drivel, full of feel-good fluff and devoid of any true substance. The UCF spineless, hypocritical brass may legitimately consider themselves to be as religiously abhorrent to Catholics as they are politically correct to the secular segment of society that they are so obviously pandering to.
As Catholics, we must all unify and aggressively, but civilly fight back against the all too rapidly growing trend of Catholic bashing, especially on the very public dime we ourselves also pay. Let us not forget the horrid and depraved displays of so-called “art” a few years back in New York City’s publicly funded Brooklyn Museum of Art, which depicted a crucifix in a jar of urine and a portrait of the Blessed Mother covered in elephant dung. Other faiths are far better protected by the usual purveying connivers of political correctness because other faiths fight back when attacked. That does not mean however, that we must become one of the gators once we enter the swamp for battle. Both Webster Cook and Bill Donohue are now receiving hate mail, and more specifically for Cook, even death threats. I first tend to doubt that true practicing Catholics are actually sending death threats. Anybody can claim to be anything in a letter. But even if those threats are coming from Catholics, obviously that behavior is reprehensible and hypocritical to our faith, based in the love of God through His Commandments and through the words and actions of His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Last but not least, such utter stupidity also detracts all credibility from our argument. We need to loudly and consistently fight back against this chic, new, ugly sport of Catholic persecution, but we must do so within the parameters of the law, true Christian love, common decency and common sense.
With public institutions rightly comes public trust. Our Declaration of Independence cites our God-given right that all men (and women) are created equal. The public’s trust at the University of Central Florida and the University of Minnesota has not only been violated, but also trampled. The integrity of these publicly funded institutions and the security of our religious rights articulated in the 1st Amendment of the Constitution must be restored, preserved and protected. That has not happened yet. Change in policy and action must occur, zealously and expeditiously. Cook needs to be disciplined, Myers needs to be at the very least, fired, and maybe a few other feckless and inept UCF and UMM elitist educrats need to also have their precious sinecures severed and follow his lead out the door.
Keep the heat on, but remember, keep it civil. And last, but not least, pray!
Saturday, July 12, 2008
One of our videos is Ave Maria, made from assorted prayer cards mostly.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Ironically, one Catholic writer was quoted in the article, rambling on about “right wing propaganda” and the “goodness” of being gay. First of all, claiming to be simultaneously Catholic and pro-gay is like claiming to be both Catholic and pro-choice. Both are oxymoron’s about as plain as an elevator in an outhouse. That cryptic comment about “goodness” of being gay left me hanging. Which “goodness” was he referring to, the various physical, mental and emotional maladies often associated with gay relationships and gay sex, the erosion of our culture, destruction of the family, the corruption of our children, or some other mystical back bench “goodness” to which I am not privy?
Above the article was a perfectly placed ad that said it all: “Meet Rich Gay Men; Find Rich Gay Sugar Daddies.” Beautiful! I do so love irony at times. Yes, “goodness,” indeed.
When it comes to verbal warfare, gay advocates are no chumps. Being politically astute, they learn their lessons well from the pros. Legislators typically take some horrendous bill and doctor it up with a warm and fuzzy, innocuous sounding name that on the surface makes the reader think, “Who wouldn’t favor this bill?” Until, that is, that the discriminating citizen reads the bill’s language. There is no coincidence to the adage, “The devil is in the details.” Gays will likewise manipulate verbiage with mundane and even wholesome words like “tolerance.” After all, who could be against “tolerance”?
We indeed should tolerate our brothers and sisters, but not their willfully chosen evil acts. Such is the difference between tolerance and embracement. In other words, love the sinner, hate the sin. Gays will also speak of freedom. As Father John Corapi once extrapolated on a segment of his program on EWTN, such is the difference between “freedom” and “license.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen once noted that truth is truth, regardless if everybody, only some people, or even nobody believes it. Moral relativism teaches that you may choose to believe that a pickup truck is a dandelion, but like it or not, the flower is still a Chevy. No one is “free” to be gay. That is license.
People are created to serve God, by emulating Jesus and loving each other within God’s laws. Think of your body as a credit card or a driver license (the other kind of “license”). You may possess a credit card or a driver license, but you own neither. The credit card belongs to the bank and the driver license belongs to the DMV. You have a “privilege” to use, or even lose either, depending on your obedience or lack thereof to the conditions set upon your possession, but you don’t own either item, nor do you have a “right” to do so. In the same way, our bodies are not ours, but God’s, only loaned to us for use as prescribed by Him. Indeed, in that regard, our bodies are God’s temple, which is why we should take good care of our health, avoid unhealthy substances like tobacco and illegal drugs, and not desecrate our bodies with tattoos and permanent piercings.
Our bodies are also intended for the sexual act, but only within the boundaries of the sacrament of marriage, and for either purposes of procreation or as an expression of love to our spouse. That pretty much excludes all other sexual acts outside of those parameters, including homosexuality. But gays are first people, and people, be they children or adults, will typically test their limits until they learn their boundaries the hard way. Gays have had their way literally bullying their agenda into various private and even public sector entities, but true religion is not intended to be “tolerant” in that sense. Religion, unlike many of our faltering cultural institutions, is the high bar to which you must reach. It will not lower its standards to accommodate anyone’s hedonistic, narcissistic whims. Religion provides structure and order, which if followed, leads to salvation. Regardless if its baseball, football, basketball or hockey, you can’t win the game unless you first abide by the lines on the diamond, gridiron, court or ice. This isn’t about “right wing propaganda.” Gays cannot do whatever they want with their bodies, and the Pope, as Christ’s representative on earth, must remain strong for the sake of all souls where other denominations have already been tricked by Satan and are leading their congregations to Perdition, if not on the speedy express train, then at least by the gradual but steady local. Regardless, the train will eventually crash and the passengers have been duped into becoming crash dummies.
I suppose another reason so many of these articles caught my eye is because just last night, I happened to be reading Romans, Chapter 1. In verses 22 and 23, Paul writes, “Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.” The gist of this passage is that while those who reject God, like many gays, may not be pagans in the literal sense, they are rejecting God for an idolatry of a different kind, their own homosexual lust. In verses 26 and 27, Paul not only elaborates, but specifically cites homosexuals, their behavior, and the future consequences for their behavior: “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.”
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Washington Post: Antiabortion Group Urges Inquiry
http://www.washingtonpost.com /wp-dyn/content/article/2008 /07/07/AR2008070702319.html ?hpid=sec-religion
The Washington Times: Prosecution of Charity Ruled Out in Abortion Case
http://www.washingtontimes.com /news/2008/jul/08/prosecution -of-charity-ruled-out-in-case -of-teens-/
CBS-6 Richmond (Top Nightly News Story 7/7/08 – the story is the video to the right labeled "Should Charges be Filed in Abortion Case?" )
Monday, July 7, 2008
Well, I’m not one of them. So I won’t guarantee that you will necessarily like attending a mass in the Latin rite, but you should at least try it.
Pope Benedict XVI has given a gentle nudge to dioceses to voluntarily offer the pre-Vatican II Latin rite at some masses. One reason I have heard cited is to supposedly bring unity back to the Church. While we in the US might bristle at the mass being celebrated in a “foreign tongue,” imagine a Polish Catholic in Mexico, going to mass at the local Catholic church without language being a barrier. Our Church knows no borders.
While there hasn’t yet been a tremendous infusion of Latin, or Tridentine masses in Connecticut, there have been some sparse offerings in various parishes.
I ventured into such a mass on two different recent occasions, but at the same church. The first occasion was a high mass and the second occasion was a low mass. The high mass was longer, about an hour and 15 minutes, and the low mass, celebrated by the same priest, was roughly 45 minutes in length.
I noticed that some members of the congregation were holding papers, presumably some form of missals, which theoretically helped them follow along. I still don’t know where they found these missals, but they didn’t seem to be reading them, as the timing of their standing, sitting and kneeling was about as conspicuously out of sync as mine was. If the mass in this church was a fire drill in a school, we were school kids instead of congregants, and the priest was the fire marshal, he clearly would have made us do it all over again.
That awkwardness and my own ignorance of Latin aside, I had mixed feelings about the experience.
Having satisfied my curiosity, I would probably not again seek to go to another Latin mass, but I wouldn’t necessarily avoid one either. And if the Church ever so requested, I would be willing to learn Latin, so long as Algebra was never again foisted upon me.
What I enjoyed most about the mass in the Latin rite, however, was the confirmation of what I previously had heard and read about it, the renewed and all too forgotten reverence for God in His house.
The music was beautiful, solemn, holy and conducive to appropriate reflection. Incense was used at the High mass. The priest primarily had his back to the congregation, and not to the crucifix and the tabernacle. Last but not least, recipients of Holy Communion did so while kneeling at an altar rail, and received the Holy Eucharist on the tongue, not in the hand.
The attire of several people present in the mass astounded me. Several men wore jackets and ties, or at least a shirt and tie. Women wore dresses, and in some cases, even hats and white gloves. Items of casual attire such as jeans, shorts, shorter shorts, and ridiculously short shorts, T-shirts, flip-flops, halters, etc. were limited in presence. I also noted that the overall demeanor of most of the congregants present was more focused and respectful than what I typically see in the modern mass. Apparently, most of the folks present got the memo that they were actually in a church! That led me to wonder if the chicken or the egg came first. In other words, did these congregants consciously decide to dress more respectively because they were going to a Tridentine Mass, or were the congregants already more respectable people who simply all flocked to a Tridentine Mass? I don’t know the answer, and frankly, I don’t even care, given the result.
Sometimes, it’s not just what we say that is significant, but how we say it, and in that same regard, yes, actions can and do speak louder than words.
Only time will tell how this experiment plays out with the return of the Latin rite.
Flip a coin for your own preference of English vs. Latin, but the reverence void that we have sadly seen evolve since Vatican II is now gradually being filled.
That is a welcome and overdue trend that must continue, in any language.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
(Matthew: 5, 5)
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Friday, July 4, 2008
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Here is what the site says:
Hardcore Christianity states: "The Roman Catholic church is the largest "Christian" organization in the world and the largest single religious group on the planet with over 1.2 billion adherents (there are approximately 1.1 billion Muslims & 700 million Pentecostals). Untold articles have been authored on this organization, pro and con, over the centuries with much continued confusion. Centuries ago priest's like Luther, Huss & Calvin started the Protestant revolution after they read the New Testament and discovered many of the teachings of the Catholic church were contradictory. What teachings were they talking about? How do their teachings compare to the truths in the Word of God? What caused the start of Protestantism?"
1) Popes, Bishops, Cardinals and Priests are forbidden to marry in the Catholic church, however Peter, the alleged first Pope, was married (Mk. 1: 29-31).
2) In addition, the Priest Zachary was married (Lk. 1: 5,13) and Bishops were permitted to marry (1 Tim. 3:1-4). In fact, forbidding people to marry is a doctrine taught by demons (1 Tim. 4:1-3).
3) The Bible forbids making or bowing down to religious images (Ex. 20:3-5).
4) Only God can forgive sins, humans cannot. (Mk. 2:7).
5) Jesus forbids calling any human, dead or alive, their spiritual "Father" (Mt. 23:9).
6) The Bible says there is only one mediator between humanity and God. It is only Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 2:5-6, 1 Jn. 2:1-3, Acts 4:10, 12, Jn. 14:6).
7) The Bible teaches that when a person dies they either go to Hell or Heaven. There is no evidence of any kind that Purgatory exists, ever existed or any dead person can communicate with the living (Lk. 16:19-31, Mt. 25:41,46, Heb. 9:27).
8) Has the mother of Jesus ever been given an elevated status by God? According to Lk. 11:27-28 and Eph. 4:4-6, she has not. The veneration, exultation, glorification, honoring, blessed imagination and adoration of Mary is unscriptural.
9) What is the N. T. definition of a "Saint"? Is it a deified dead Roman Catholic? No. It is any born again believer, dead or alive (I Cor. 1:2, 6:1-2, Eph. 5:3, Phil. 1:1, 4:22, Jude 1:14, Rev. 13:7, 20:9). Is Roman Catholic doctrine occur.
OK, so I get a little up tight when I read this kind of garbage, I admit it. Now let's take these falsehoods one at a time and debunk them all.
Falsehood #2: "forbidding people to marry is a doctrine taught by demons (1 Tim. 4:1-3)". The Catholic Church isn't forbidding anyone to marry, priests make this choice on their own if they wish to be priests. This verse is not about the priesthood as we see from the quote in Matthew 19:12 that I already gave. Jesus said "The one who can accept this should accept it." The men who wish to be priests in the Latin Rite are those men! They accept the celibacy and follow Jesus in a celibate priesthood. This is not unbiblical, but totally biblical!
Falsehood #3: "The Bible forbids making or bowing down to religious images (Ex. 20:3-5)." What an outright lie that statement is! What the scripture forbids is WORSHIPING statues. Well guess what? Catholics don't worship statues! In the bible God commands some statues and religious images to be made, if that was a sin WHY would God command it? He wouldn't! When God command the Ark of the Covenant to be build, He told them to make statues of angels made of gold. When the Israelites were in the wildness and plagued by snakes, God commanded them to make a statue of a snake (Num.21) and when ever someone was bit by a snake to go to the statue and they would be healed. Statues are NOT bad, worshiping anything other than God is. That was the point. How many Protestants have statues of the Holy Family and set up Nativity sets for Christmas? If they truly believed that the bible forbids the making of religious images then what are they doing every Christmas with their Nativity sets and putting angels on top of their Christmas trees? Or how about all those angel pins people wear on their coats? Or the pictures in our homes of "Jesus" (what some artist thinks he might look like)? Come on people, think! This stuff is common sense.
Falsehood #4: "Only God can forgive sins, humans cannot. (Mk. 2:7)". Someone at "Hardcore Christianity" hasn't read their bible very well. John 20:23 "If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." This is Jesus Christ talking to his disciples after he breathed on them and gave them the Holy Spirit making them the first priests in his Catholic Church. (Matt.16:18-19)
Falsehood #5: "Jesus forbids calling any human, dead or alive, their spiritual "Father" (Mt. 23:9)". Now if that were true Jesus Christ would have sinned because he called Abraham "father" in the Gospels, so we know that's not true. We also know that Paul himself explains how priests are "fathers" in the Church: 1 Cor. 4:15 "Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel." There it is folks! The priests are fathers through the gospel!
Falsehood #6: "The Bible says there is only one mediator between humanity and God. It is only Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 2:5-6, 1 Jn. 2:1-3, Acts 4:10, 12, Jn. 14:6)" I don't know why this one is here as Catholics believe the same thing. Jesus is the ONLY mediator to God, even our Catholic catechism says so (#2674).
Falsehood #8: "Has the mother of Jesus ever been given an elevated status by God?" Well at least this time they asked-even though the insinuation is that Catholics are in error about Mary. The answer to the question is of course: YES! It's right there in scripture: Mary's Song, Luke 1:48 "for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed,". There it is! Catholics call her Blessed Mother of God because that is what she is! She is blessed because scripture says so and she's the Mother of God Incarnate-hence "Blessed Mother of God" as Catholics call her.
Falsehood #9: "What is the N. T. definition of a "Saint"? Is it a deified dead Roman Catholic? No. It is any born again believer, dead or alive (I Cor. 1:2, 6:1-2, Eph. 5:3, Phil. 1:1, 4:22, Jude 1:14, Rev. 13:7, 20:9). Is Roman Catholic doctrine occur." Now I've read this over and over and I can't make any sense out of it. I can't help but go "Huh?" at this one. So either Hardcore Christianity is saying NO Roman Catholic is a born again believer and hence can't be any form of "saint" or they are so off the wall they think ANY and/or all Roman Catholics are "deified" when called "saint". They are wrong on all accounts. No one is "deified" by the Catholic Church, God and God alone is worshiped.
Ok, so there you have it folks. All "Hardcore Christianity's" claims have been debunked and shown to be false. Onward to the next! (Email me those anti-Catholic sites).
My response: Unfortunately, with a view like that I hardly think my humble blog response is going to change your mind about the Roman Catholic Church, but never-the-less I will respond as best I can. First off, I'd like to say clearly the Roman Catholic Church is NOT "all wrong and messed up" and we do not have "pagan roots". The roots of the Catholic Church are found in scripture when Jesus was speaking to his disciple Simon and told him He was changing Simon's name to Rock [Peter] and on that rock Jesus was going to build his Church (Matt.16:18-19). This is the founding and "root" of the Catholic Church. This is when Simon Peter was then made the first Pope of the Catholic Church. He didn't actually start his roll in that position until Christ ascended (Acts 1 and 2). So that answers and debunks your claims to the Roman Catholic Church having "pagan roots". The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ in Sacred Scripture. Now about "repetitious" prayers. There is nothing wrong with repeating a prayer. You are misconstruing the verse (Matt.6:7). The emphasis is on "vain" not "repetition". The pagan prayers were all vain because they were said to false gods. That's it. Jesus himself repeats his prayers to God the Father in Heaven three times while in the garden at Gethsemane (Matt.26:36-46), so we know there is nothing wrong with repeated prayer. Matt. 26:36 "Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." 37He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." 39Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." 40Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. 41"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." 42He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done." 43When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. 45Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!" Clearly Jesus is practicing repetitious prayer here, yet we know Jesus was without sin, so repetitious prayer is not wrong. Again the focus is on the word "vain" not repetition.
Now about your statement "THE ROSARY IS A RITUAL OF WORSHIP TO THE VIRGIN GODDESS MARY." -nothing could be further from the truth. First off, Catholics do not worship Mary. Secondly, Mary is not a "goddess" and last, the rosary is not a "ritual of worship". The rosary is a prayer. When a Catholic prays to a saint, we are asking that saint to pray for us and with us. We are not worshiping the saint. Catholics worship God and God alone. The word "pray" or "prayer" has different meanings depending on how it's used. When Catholics say they "pray the rosary to Mary" we do not mean it as a form of worship. Worship is for God alone. When we say we are praying to a saint, we are ASKING the saint to join us in prayer. You seem to believe that saints are dead and not in Heaven. That is not what scripture shows at all. Jesus said all those who died in Christ are alive.