10 Really GREAT THINGS about the CC


 

“Ten Great Things About Catholicism” by H. W. Crocker III on March 28, 2013 ·

http://catholicexchange.com/ten-great-things-about-catholicism/

With its divine foundation, sanction, and mission, nothing could be more glorious

than the Catholic Church. But, of course, many people — even many baptized Catholics — don’t see it that way.

Yet when the sins of men — secular material progress, or our own self-centeredness — blind us to this, they blind us to everything. The Renaissance, a great Catholic moment, enlightened the world by seeing it afresh with both the light of faith and the light of classical civilization, which was Catholicism’s seedbed. So, too, today, if we look on the world through truly Catholic eyes, we will find that the fog lifts, our perspectives grow deeper, and beauty and truth beckon above the puerility of mass popular culture.

What’s so great about Catholicism? Here are ten things –in countdown order — to which one could easily add hundreds of others.

10. Hope

Classical paganism, as we know, always ended in despair — a noble despair sometimes, but despair nevertheless. Eastern religions don’t offer much in the way of hope, as they are tied to doctrines of fate, cycles of history, and a nirvana of extinction. Reformation Protestantism is pretty despairing, too, with Calvin’s belief that it would have been better for most people if they had never been born, predestined as they are for damnation. Secularism and materialism are no better, as wealthy secular societies tend to have the highest rates of suicide.

But in the Catholic Church, there is hope. Salvation is open to every man willing to take it. And though Jesus warned His apostles that following His way meant enduring inevitable persecution and hatred, He also gave them this promise: The gates of hell would not prevail against the Church. Even outsiders recognize this. Who ever heard of a deathbed conversion to Methodism? Hope comes from the Real Thing.

9. The Inquisition

The Inquisition? Yes, let’s not be shy. The Inquisition is every Catholic-basher’s favorite tool of abuse — though it is one that is very much not in the basher’s favor. There were several Inquisitions. The first in order of importance in Catholic history was the Inquisition against the Albigensians — a heresy that encouraged suicide, euthanasia, abortion, sodomy, fornication, and other modern ideas that were distasteful to the medieval mind. The struggle against the Albigensians erupted into war — and a war that could not be carefully trammeled within crusading boundaries. So Pope Gregory IX entrusted the final excision of the Albigensian heresy to the scalpel of the Inquisition rather than the sword of the Crusader.

Did this Inquisition of the 13th century strike fear into the people of western Europe? No. Its scope was limited; its trials and punishments more lenient to the accused than were those of its secular counterparts. Inquisitional punishment was often no more than the sort of penance — charity, pilgrimage, mortification — that one might be given by a priest in a confessional. If one were fortunate enough to live in England, northern France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, or, with the exception of Aragon, even, at this time, Spain, the risk that one might be called before an inquisitional trial was virtually zero. The focus of the Inquisition was in the Albigensian districts of southern France; in Germany, where some of the worst abuses occurred; and in those parts of chaotic Italy rife with anticlerical heresy. In all cases, inquisitional courts sat only where Church and state agreed that peace and security were threatened. Nevertheless, the courts were abused. The Church could not modify an ironclad rule of life as true in the 13th century as it is today: Every recourse to law and the courts is a calamity. But the Church then, and people today, seemed to assume it is better than vigilantes and war. There’s no accounting for some tastes.

More famous, certainly, is the Spanish Inquisition. The Spanish Inquisition was a state-run affair, where the Church’s role was to act as a brake of responsibility, fairness, and justice on the royal court’s ferreting out of quislings (who were defined, after centuries of war against the Muslims, as those who were not sincere and orthodox Catholics). Recent scholarship, which has actually examined the meticulous records kept by the Spanish Inquisition, has proven — to take the title of a BBC documentary on the subject –The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition. We now know, beyond all doubt, that the Monty Python sketch of inquisitors holding an old lady in “the comfy chair” while they tickle her with feather dusters is closer to the truth than images of people impaled within iron maidens. (One of the standard works of scholarship is Henry Kamen’s

The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision, Yale University Press.) In the course of an average year, the number of executions ordered by the Spanish Inquisition — which covered not only Spain but its vast overseas empire — was less than the number of people put to death annually by the state of Texas. And this at a time when heresy was universally considered a capital crime in Europe. The myth of the Spanish Inquisition comes from forged documents, propagandizing Protestant polemicists, and anti-Spanish Catholics, who were numerous. The fact is, far from being the bloodthirsty tribunals of myth, the courts of the Spanish Inquisition were probably the fairest, most lenient, and most progressive in Europe.

The man who heads up the modern office of the Inquisition, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the Panzer-Kardinal of the Vatican. Would that he would subject the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America to an Inquisition. It needs it. Indeed, here’s a new rallying cry that I’d like to see become popular: Bring back the Inquisition!

8. The Crusades

All right, I recognize that this is another problem area for some milquetoast Catholics, but let’s be blunt: Do we believe in reclaiming the world for Christ and His Church, or don’t we? Medieval knights took that responsibility seriously, wore the cross on their capes and tunics, and prayed and understood an incarnational faith that acted in the world. It was these knights’ defensive war — and the defensive war of the Church and its allies up through the 18th century, for a millennium of Western history — that repelled Islamic aggression and kept western Europe free. For that we should be ashamed? No: It is one of the glories that was Christendom that in the Middle Ages the pope could wave his field marshal’s baton and knights from as far away as Norway — not to mention England, France, and Germany — would come to serve. Men were Catholics first in those days.

Today, because of Islamic terror groups, the West is again strapping on its armor. We shouldn’t be ashamed of our predecessors who were compelled to do the same.

7. The Swiss Guards and the French Foreign Legion

Though only one of these institutions is under the direct supervision of the Vatican, both qualify as Catholic institutions that should warm the very cockles of our hearts. Indeed, next time you meet a Protestant who asks you why you are a Catholic, try telling him this: I’m a Catholic because I believe in the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church as founded by Jesus and His disciples and as led through the power of the Holy Spirit by the pope in Rome who is himself guarded by the Swiss guards of the Vatican whose uniforms were designed, at least some believe, by Michelangelo. If your interlocutor doesn’t immediately seek instruction to convert, you know you’ve met a hard case.

As for La Légion Étrangère, it seems to me that as the product of a Catholic culture, showcasing a Catholic militarism by accepting men of all nations and backgrounds, devoted to one common goal, and by bestowing a sort of secular forgiveness of sins via its traditional offer of anonymity for recruits, it is a good reflection of the Catholic spirit. Indeed, two anecdotes might help illustrate this fact. First, there is the spirit of Catholic realism, perhaps best told in a story from the devotional book, The Paratroopers of the French Foreign Legion: From Vietnam to Bosnia. Here one finds a Catholic chaplain in Bosnia handing out medallions of the Blessed Virgin Mother. He admonishes his legionnaires that the medallion “does not replace good cover and it does not replace armor. I don’t do voodoo here. So be careful.” Well said, Father.

If that anecdote affirms Catholic realism and natural law, here’s one that reminds us why fighting men have always respected Catholic chaplains above others. It comes from the morally offensive Catholic writer Christian Jennings, in A Mouthful of Rocks: Modern Adventures in the Foreign Legion: “This was the padre assigned to our unit. He wore full combat kit and a large silver crucifix on a chain, which matched his parachute wings…. A Spanish recruit I had been playing poker against suddenly started making faces and gesturing behind the Padre’s back, when suddenly, without taking his eyes off the Frenchman to whom he had been talking, the priest jerked his elbow backwards into the Spaniard’s face, slamming him against an oven.” Charming, n’est-ce pas? And a reminder that for most people, the faith is best taught by action and example rather than by words.

6. Art

Certainly the famous literary Catholics of the English-speaking world — John Henry Cardinal Newman, Hilaire Belloc, G.K. Chesterton, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, Siegfried Sassoon (who converted later in life), and Thomas Merton — have all played an enormous part in my own conversion and continuing appreciation of the faith. Even Catholics of an unorthodox stripe (like Greene) have had a powerfully orthodox influence on me.

Writing, of course, is far from the only artistic testimony to the faith. Catholicism has always surrounded itself with beauty, regarding it as the splendor of truth. In the words of the German priest, professor, and theologian Karl Adam, “Art is native to Catholicism, since reverence for the body and for nature is native to it.” The Puritan influence is foreign to Catholicism — just as the idea that smashing altars, defacing Madonnas, and breaking stained glass as a religious act is foreign, and indeed heretical, to Catholics. The Catholic Church leaves such Talibanism to the Protestants and iconoclastic heresies. The Catholic Church, instead, offers a celebration of beauty; and beauty, in our world of pierced faces, body tattoos, gangsta rap, and concrete tower blocks, is something we could use much more of.

5. Freedom

Yes, the good old reactionary, repressive Catholic Church has been the most ardent defender of freedom in the history of the world — though it almost never gets credit for it. We live in an age of determinist ideologies — with the fate of nations and individuals supposedly determined by race, economics, history, psychology, genetics, or even — insofar as Protestants have any common doctrinal beliefs — predestination. The Catholic Church stands alone in radical defense of man’s free will.

When the media, Protestants, and dissenters tell practicing Catholics that the impulse to sexual activity is overwhelmingly powerful and can’t be controlled or renounced, Catholics alone say, “No, man is free. All Christians are called to chastity, and what they are called to do, they can do, and some can freely take on celibacy as a sacrifice to better serve God and His Church.”

When Maximus in the movie Gladiator rallies his ­cavalrymen with the words, “What we do in this life echoes in eternity,” he is speaking like a Catholic, not like a Reformed Protestant or a Muslim who believes that eternity is already written and that man has no free will.

When skeptics complain that the evidence for God is not clear or that a God who allows suffering and evil is Himself sadistic and evil, the Catholic responds, “Our God has made us free men. True freedom always comes with costs and challenges. You see, ours is not a religion of make-believe where actions have no consequences. Ours is a religion of life as it really is. And life as it really is, is a life of original sin. Catholicism is a religion of pilgrimage, freely accepted, to grow in Christ, to overcome sin.”

It is another oft-propounded myth that the Western world didn’t taste of freedom until the Protestant revolt of Martin Luther, which led to the division and state subordination of churches in northern Europe and eventually led, in some countries, to the separation of church and state and the irrelevance of church to state.

But who would blatantly say that the Renaissance — against which Luther revolted — was not free? Who would deny that the great check on state power throughout the entirety of European history, from the conversion of Constantine until the twentieth century, was the Catholic Church?

Think of the Roman Emperor Theodosius, commander of all Rome’s legions, stripping himself of all imperial insignia to do penance before an unarmed cleric, St. Ambrose, bishop of Milan. It was the Catholic Church that brought a moral check to bear on the exercise and perquisites of power.

Think of the martyrdom of Sir Thomas Beckett and Sir Thomas More. Think of the Protestant revolt, which argued that the power of the state was scriptural and the power of the papacy — the power of Christ’s Church against the demands of the state — was not.

Think of the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Kulturkampf of Bismarck, and later intellectual and political currents, including fascism, communism, and the liberalism of our own time, all of which saw — or see — the state as the essential thing, centralization of state authority as the central task, and state direction as the essential instrument of reform. And what was the roadblock to these “reformers?” The Catholic Church. It was the Church that asserted the independence of “subsidiary institutions.” It was the Church that defended the rights of the family against the state. It was the Church that protested, in the words of Pope Pius XI, against the “pagan worship of the state.”

The true Catholic is a natural Tory anarchist — someone who believes in loyalty to persons, institutions, and the faith (semper fidelis) – and in otherwise letting les bons temps rouler.

4. The Saints

The Catholic is never alone. God is always near. The Catholic remembers Mary. He remembers her saying yes to the Incarnation. He remembers those who have gone before him: the vast parade of saints whose personalities and attributes are so various, so free, and yet so devoted to the singular path that leads to holiness and union with God.

Catholic women — as I noted in my agnostic Anglican days, when I was dating them — had stained-glass minds: an awareness of the romance of the past and of the depth and color of Christian history, even if it was just a velleity, not captured in details or knowledge. Catholics aren’t divorced from history. They are not alone with their Bibles and their consciences. Catholics live history. They are part of the continuum of 2,000 years (or with the Old Testament, even longer) of man’s pilgrimage with God.

In the Apostles’ Creed, the earliest formulary of Christian belief that we have, the Bible is never mentioned. Individual conscience is never mentioned. What is mentioned is history: “born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.” And what is affirmed is belief in God; in the life, resurrection, and coming judgment of Jesus; and then the final litany: “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.”

To the Catholic, life is good; the body is good (which is why it will be resurrected); and it is good for man, if we remember Genesis, not to be alone. In the Catholic Church, he is never alone but lives within the body of Christ, the Church Militant, wherein he receives the sacraments of his earthly pilgrimage; in his prayers for the dead, he remains in prayerful connection with the Church Suffering; and in his emulation of the saints and prayers for their intercession, he looks ahead to the Church Triumphant in heaven.

And what saints there are. “St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle”; the beloved St. Francis, “Lord, make me a channel of Your peace”; the “Dumb Ox” of logic and reason, St. Thomas Aquinas; St. Ignatius Loyola, who showed what miracles of conversion the pope’s marines could achieve when they were all devoted and orthodox (let us hope that they will be again); and on and on in endless panorama. All this belongs to the priceless Catholic heritage. Catholicism does not circumscribe and narrow the truth and practice of religion as all heresies do but celebrates the fullness of humanity and God’s creation.

The saints show us the way. Catholics do not presume that they are saved through faith alone — as do Protestants. Salvation, of course, comes through God’s grace. But as part of our free acceptance of that grace, we are called to become holy: to work, to act, to participate in that constant drama where we struggle to live the life of a saint — to live, that is, the life of Christ. None of us is the elect, predestined to salvation, with the remainder (the majority) predestinedly condemned to hell, as Calvin taught. The Catholic believes he is called to acts of corporal and spiritual mercy and that these help him, by God’s grace, to achieve expiation of sin. Our models and aides in our never-ending effort to achieve sanctity are Jesus, the apostles, and all the saints.

3. Unity

When we affirm the Nicene Creed, we affirm our belief in the “one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church.” The Creed does not say “many, reformed, anti-Catholic, Bible-based churches.” Nor does it say, “several nation-based, autocephalous, and selectively conciliar churches.” The Church is called to be one – one body of Christ, one bride of Christ.

Over the course of 2,000 years, its unity has denied the law of entropy. That it has avoided the most common of temptations — to embrace nationalism or solipsism as the essence of belief — always and everywhere affirming the catholicity of the Church, is proof of its authentic teaching. It is indeed a glory of the Church that it encompasses all men and can use the talents of all nations. The “elasticity, freshness of mind, and sense of form of the Roman combine with the penetration, profundity, and inwardness of the German, and with the sobriety, discretion, and good sense of the Anglo-Saxon. The piety and modesty of the Chinese unite with the subtlety and depth of the Indian, and with the practicality and initiative of the American,” as Karl Adam enumerates these qualities in The Spirit of Catholicism.

Objective truth knows no borders. Surely when Paul preached “one Lord, one faith, one baptism,” he did not envisage, and would not approve of, the 20,000 or more varieties of Protestant experience. The story of the early Church is the story of the Catholic attempt to maintain Christian unity in accordance with the truth against a sea of heresies — a sea that, as a working out of the Reformation, has now in the popular mind washed away the very idea of heresy. The Reformation marks the entrance of relativism into Christian life, and relativism denies unity. More important, it denies objective truth, and therefore relativism itself can’t be true, however attractive it might be to those who, in the words of St. Irenaeus writing in the second century, are “heretics and evil-thinkers, faction makers, swelled-headed, self-pleasing.” Our unity as the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic church is one of the proofs of the verity of the Catholic faith.

That unity is seen in another way, too: namely, in the way that the Church brings together reason and mystery, piety and beauty. It is seen in the way that the Church affirms all positive values — as found anywhere in history or in the world — that are in accordance with natural law and fidelity to the deposit of faith. And it is seen in the way that the Church truly accepts the unity of God’s creation and Christ’s teaching, refusing to let it be parceled up and delimited by nations, philosophers, or pedants who seek to shrink-wrap the faith to their own specifications. The true faith is universal, effulgent, and living.

2. The Sacraments

The sacraments and the visible Church are another proof and nurturer of the faith. I am among the least mystical of men, but I will gladly stump up and affirm the efficacy of the sacraments, sincerely and prayerfully entered into. With Pascal I would affirm that one actually learns the Catholic faith by doing — which is why deracinated, prissy, critical philosophes standing outside will never “get it.” The faith of the Catholic is a great drama unfolding before God, and we are the players in it. There is the awesome reality of the Eucharist, God made flesh at every Mass, and our responsibility before Him and in receiving Him. There is the visible alter Christus of the priesthood. Even those sacraments that many Catholics find painful — such as penance — are powerful reminders of the reality of God and of the necessity of both our faith and our good works.

For me, Shakespeare captured this best in Henry V. Before the battle of Agincourt, Henry pleads with God to remember his works — not his faith alone — on behalf of the Church:

“Not today, O Lord,
O, not today, think not upon the fault
My father made in compassing the crown!
I Richard’s body have interred new,
And on it have bestow’d more contrite tears
Than from it issued forced drops of blood;
Five hundred poor I have in yearly pay,
Who twice a day their wither’d hands hold up
Toward heaven, to pardon blood; and I have built
Two chantries, where the sad and solemn priests
Sing still for Richard’s soul. More will I do;
Though all that I can do is nothing worth,
Since my penitence comes after all,
Imploring pardon.”

It is extremely odd to me that Protestants should take pride in reducing the transmission of God’s grace from the seven sacraments held by the apostolic Catholic Church and Orthodox churches to two. When Protestants say that the celibate priesthood and religious life show a lack of respect for marriage, it’s worth reminding them that to Catholics marriage is a sacrament, an institution of divine grace — something rather more elevated than it is for Protestants. And for Catholics, holy orders is a sacrament, making our priesthood rather more important than a Protestant ministry. For Catholics, religion is not all in the mind. It is tangible, present, and living. In short, it is real.

1. Truth

Nothing else would matter about Catholicism if it weren’t true. But it is our firm belief as Catholics that it is true. And, indeed, I believe that the histori­­cal case for the Catholic Church is virtually irre­futable, as irrefutable as it was to Cardinal Newman. And there is something else. We know that the Church affirms that its members and servants are all subject to original sin. But while men might falter, the teaching of the Church does not. That has been our rock, tested through the tempests of centuries and undiminished through time.

Innumerable secular and other forces are against us. Even within our own midst we have been pain­fully reminded of the work that needs to be done to cleanse and purify our Church. Evil stalks the world. But then, it always has. And the Church has survived, and in the heat of persecution, it has grown in numbers and strength. Let us remember that fact. And let us always keep in mind the immortal words of Auberon Waugh: “There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible.”

Amen to that. Keep the faith, dear readers, and remember that our ultimate destination is heaven.

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If your asked… a possible reply


Thanks. But a REAL disturbing question I really want to ask is. How would a growing Catholic respond to this verse. “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” (

I Timothy 4:1-3) If a Protestant asks this and says the Catholic Church stopped its faith a long time ago. How would you respond. And how would you respond to the abstain from food and marriage thing? Thanks.

 

 

 

I’m Catholic

 

“How to explain a common Protestant charge”

What is a GREAT question, and one we do encounter from time to time,

When ever you encounter something like this the first three steps are to

1. PRAY: Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. 2. Put the verse back into context. In this case it would be well to READ all of chapter THREE and Four to get a fuller picture of what the author is trying to convey. 3. Never forget that Jesus Himself has warranted  the TRUTH [ABSOLUTELY has to be w/o any exceptions] of ALL that the Church teaches on ALL matters of faith belief and Morals. And if this doesn’t resolve your concerns DO EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID AND CONTACT ME or someone qualified to explain it for you.

So allow me to start from this point:

Jesus only gave the “keys to heaven” to one Person on behalf of One Church. That means in an ABSOLUTE SENSE all salvation MUST [and does] flow through the RCC.

Point 1.

Mt. 16: 18-19 [Jesus speaking directly to Simon Peter in the presence of ALL of the Apostles] “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  [These powers are extended to ALL of the Apostles and to Peters successors on Mt. 18:18]

Point 2.

Nowhere in the entire Bible does God [Yahweh or Jesus] permit, tolerate or allow more than One God, One set of Faith beliefs and Only One Church [ark or temple]. ONLY ONE! So

that leads to an interest ring question. On what basis; on what foundation do all of the other; all man-made, religions justify there existence?

Point 3.

Keep in mind that that “binding and loosing” in this application means 1. UNLIMITED Power of Governance to make, void laws and establish what is to be obeyed  2. It has a secondary meaning for the powers to forgives sin in the name of Jesus.

Point 4.

John 20:19-22 “

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week

, [The FIRST PENTECOST … this is when Christ Officially establishes His CC and Peter as its Leader] the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  It is doubtful that there are many more powerful statements in the Bible than this one> “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” This is a literal transfer of God’s OWN Power and Authority to Peter and His Church!

Point 5.

God’s Own warranty of ALL TRUTHS taught by His RCC on ALL matters of Faith-beliefs and Morals.

John 14:16-17 “And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.”

John 17:15-19  “I do not pray that thou should take them out of the world, but that thou should keep them from the evil one. Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth. As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth”

Keep in mind that when these words were spoken written, and included in the Bible that the RCC was the ONLY Church in existence in the entire WORLD! Only The Church Founded by God [not a man-made religion] has God Himself as the Warranty of her Teachings.

Now lets get to your concerns:

1st. Tim.3 is Paul speaking about Bishops, to a very young [for the position of Bishop], Timothy. Paul is 1. Explaining the requirements of the office 2. Encouraging Timothy that despite his young age; GOD has chosen him for this position. So do not be intimidated.

In 1st. Tim. 4: Paul is warning Timothy about heretics and heresies that Timothy [the newly appointed Bishop], will encounter.

Notice in verse One: It specifies in “the LAST TIMES.” It’s NOT  for Timothy’s time, and unless you know something I don’t; we don’t know when the End times will be [Mt. Chapter25], so it’s not even for the present times; not even about us and the RCC.

But for the sake of debate, let’s pretend that it is. THEN what do we have to say? Verse three seems to be the “finger pointed at our practices. [AS a FYI: Church practices are changeable. They are neither Doctrine or Dogma]. … Verse 3 “

3 Forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving by the faithful, and by them that have known the truth.”

The first thing we notice is the word “Forbid”

, and that in it’s context it’s implied that this is an always and every time rule.  NO! Neither is true, neither is factual.

Let’s address the marriage issue first

…. It is Historically provable that when this was spoken and written; the RCC had No LAW against Marriage! Paul even says that a Bishop should have been married to ONLY One wife. 1st. Tim.3:

1Tim.3: 1-2 “ The saying is sure: If any one aspires to the office of bishop, he desires a noble task. Now a bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, dignified, hospitable, an apt teacher,”

It would not be for HUNDREDS of years before celibacy became a requirement of the Priesthood. When it did it was because now as a more MATURE and experienced Church, She was able to determine that those clerics who freely choose celibacy in order to better serve God, were by Far, more consistently holy, pious, and effective in there Ministry. It  was Because of this finding that the Church made it a requirement of the Priesthood and even in Religious Life.

Here is what our Protestant brethren overlook.

1. No One is ever forced to become a priest or religious. John 15: 16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

2. Everyone who aspires to this Godly call is well aware of what is required. Because it is God calling someone to Orders or Religious life; God provides [OFFERS] all of the grace necessary to fulfill this requirement.

3 . Wile mandated, it nevertheless is a purely voluntary act KNOWN WELL before anyone is asked to take Final Vows.

Now we move on to “abstain from meats.”

1. In the context the inference is that Catholics are NEVER permitted to eat meat. That simply is UNTRUE.

2. When God first Adam and Eve He ONLY permitted then to eat as vegetarians. Genesis 1: 29 “And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.”

3. Overlooked is the FACT that Jesus gave [by absolute necessity] the Unlimited Powers of Governance to Peter and the RCC. [Mt. 16:18-19 above and John 17:15-19 above.]

John 21: 15,17 “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

This is a COMMAND. Peter is to protect, teach, guide and guard the “flock” that Christ has placed him in charge of. The Church is empowered to do what ever is seen as BEST for the sanctification of souls….. Suffering WITH Christ is part of that necessary teaching. … Luke 14:7 “

And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. “

1Pet.4: 13 ” But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

1Pet.5: 1, 9 “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world.”

2Tim.4: 5“As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

Phil.1: 29“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, “

2Thes.1: 5“This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be made worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering “

4.Today the Friday ONLY FAST has been lifted and any sacrifice can be substituted for it. Except for Holy Thursday and Good Friday; there are NO longer any absolutely required day’s of “Fast and Abstinence.” BUT even when there was, it was Fridays ONLY. And it was for the Spiritual benefit of US; a source of GRACE for US.

Now as for “stopped our Faith”.

On what evidence is this ridiculous claim made.  We have an unbroken line of Popes, Teaching and practices that date back to the Apostles themselves, the same Bible and the same Seven Sacraments. So on what grounds, what facts do they make such foolish claims?

And despite the Many that have left the RCC, thus endangering there salvation [Heb. 6:4-10], we are still the largest church in America and the second largest in the entire world. We have over ONE BILLION Catholic brothers and sisters.

Hope you find this answers your concerns, if not let me know,

God Bless you,

Pat

As further evidence that I’m sharing the Full Teachings of our catholic Church….

I’ve copied the comments form

Haydock’s Catholic Commentary done in the late 1800’s.

It’s still valid today.1 Timothy iv.

Notes & Commentary:

He warns him against heretics; and exhorts him to the exercise of piety.

“1 Now the Spirit manifestly said, that in the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error, and doctrines of devils,

2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy, and having their conscience seared, 3 Forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving by the faithful, and by them that have known the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be rejected that is received with thanksgiving” 

Ver. 1.

In the last times. Literally, last days; i.e. hereafter, or in days to come. — To spirits of error and doctrines of devils; or, to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, as in the Protestant translation. The sense must be, that men shall teach false doctrine by the suggestion of the devil. 

Ver. 2.

Their conscience seared; hardened: a metaphor from the custom of burning malefactors with a hot iron.

Ver. 3.

Forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, &c. Here says St. Chrysostom[1] are foretold and denoted the heretics called Encratites, the Marcionites, Manicheans, &c. who condemned all marriages as evil, as may be seen in St. Irenæus, Epiphanius, St. Augustine, Theodoret, &c. These heretics held a god who was the author of good things, and another god who was the author or cause of all evils; among the latter they reckoned, marriages, fleshmeats, wine, &c. The doctrine of Catholics is quite different, when they condemn the marriages of priests and of such as have made a vow to God to lead always a single life; or when the Church forbids persons to eat flesh in Lent, or on fasting-days, unless their health require it. We hold that marriage in itself is not only honourable, but a sacrament of divine institution. We believe and profess that the same only true God is the author of all creatures which are good of themselves; that all eatables are to be eaten with thanksgiving, and none of them to be rejected, as coming from the author of evil. When we condemn priests for marrying, it is for breaking their vows and promises made to God of living unmarried, and of leading a more perfect life; we condemn them with the Scripture, which teaches us that vows made are to be kept; with St. Paul, who in the next chap. (ver. 12) teaches us, that they who break such vows incur their damnation. When the Church, which we are commanded to obey, enjoins abstinence from flesh, or puts a restraint as to the times of eating on days of humiliation and fasting, it is by way of self-denial and mortification: so that it is not the meats, but the transgression of the precept, that on such occasions defiles the consciences of the transgressors. “You will object, (says St. Chrysostom) that we hinder persons from marrying; God forbid,” &c. St. Augustine, (lib. 30. contra Faustum. chap. vi.) “You see (says he) the great difference in abstaining from meats for mortification sake, and as if God was not the author of them.” We may observe that God, in the law of Moses, prohibited swine’s flesh and many other eatables; and that even the apostles, in the Council of Jerusalem, forbad the Christians, (at least about Antioch) to eat at that time blood and things strangled; not that they were bad of themselves, as the Manicheans pretended. (Witham) — St. Paul here speaks of the Gnostics and other ancient heretics, who absolutely condemned marriage and the use of all kind of meat, because they pretended that all flesh was from an evil principle: whereas the Church of God so far from condemning marriage, holds it to be a holy sacrament, and forbids it to none but such as by vow have chosen the better part: and prohibits not the use of any meats whatsoever, in proper times and seasons, though she does not judge all kinds of diet proper for days of fasting and penance. (Challoner) — We may see in the earliest ages[centuries] of Christianity, that some of the most infamous and impure heretics that ever went out of the Church, condemned all marriage as unlawful, at the same time allowing the most unheard of abominations: men without religion, without faith, without modesty, without honour. See St. Clement of Alexandria, lib. 3. Strom.

 

God and consistancy


 

Our God and the word: “Consistency

Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, and I change not”

Can this be a literal truth? … Can God NEVER change?

Genesis 17: 20 -31“Then the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomor’rah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me; and if not, I will know.”

So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham still stood before the LORD. … “Then Abraham drew near, [THE LORD] and said, “Wilt thou indeed destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt thou then destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from thee to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from thee! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” And the LORD said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” Abraham answered, “Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Wilt thou destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” Again he spoke to him, and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” He said, “Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.”

God can change His Judgment; BUT NOT His Basic Devine Nature.

God can be defined as: “Every good thing [and ONLY good things], Perfected”

So here’s a thought to ponder.

Did Jesus Christ “HAVE TO” teach exactly what Yahweh taught in the Old Testament?

Can “Old” be made “New?”


The Question of Consistency continues:

Can “Old” be made “New?” 

Exodus 6:7And I will take you to myself for my people, I will be your God: and you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brought you out from the work prison of the Egyptians” Leviticus 18:2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them: I am the Lord your God“.

Leviticus 18:4 “You shall do my judgments, [ALL implied here] and shall observe my precepts, and shall walk in them. I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 26:45 “And I will remember my former covenant, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, in the sight of the Gentiles, to be their God. I am the Lord. These are the judgments, and precepts, and laws, which the Lord gave between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses. Deuteronomy 6:2 “That thou mayst fear the Lord thy God, and keep all his commandments and precepts, which I command thee, and thy sons, and thy grandsons, all the days of thy life, that thy days may be prolonged.”

THE OLD

Deuteronomy 6:4 ”Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.”

THE NEW

Mark 12:29 “And Jesus answered him: The first commandment of all is, Hear, O Israel: the Lord thy God is one God.”

THE OLD

Genesis 17:8-13 “And I will give to thee, and to thy seed, the land of thy sojournment, all the land of Chanaan for a perpetual possession, and I will be their God. [9] Again God said to Abraham: And thou therefore shalt keep my covenant, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant which you shall observe, between me and you, and thy seed after thee: All the male kind of you shall be circumcised: And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, that it may be for a sign of the covenant between me and you. An infant of eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations: he that is born in the house, as well as the bought servant shall be circumcised, and whosoever is not of your stock: And my covenant shall be in your flesh for a perpetual covenant.”

THE NEW

Ephesians 4:5 “One Lord, one faith, one baptism“. Acts Of Apostles 10:45 “And the faithful of the circumcision, who came with Peter, were astonished, for that the grace of the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the Gentiles also” John 3: 3-5 “Jesus answered, and said to him: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith to him: How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother’ s womb, and be born again? Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God

THE OLD

Deuteronomy 7:6 “Because thou art a holy people to the Lord thy God. The Lord thy God hath chosen thee, to be his peculiar people of all peoples that are upon the earth.

THE NEW

Matthew 16:18-19 “And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon [YOU] this rock I [YOUR GOD] will build my church, [SINGULAR] and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. [19] And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.”

SUMMATION

So we can KNOW that our Good and Consistent God; from the beginning held, desired, commanded and made possible:

Only One God

Only One set of Faith beliefs

& Only One chosen People [church]

 

 

 

10 GREAT things about the Cathollic Church


 

Ten Great Things About Catholicism

 

by H. W. Crocker III on March 28, 2013 ·

http://catholicexchange.com/ten-great-things-about-catholicism/

With its divine foundation, sanction, and mission, nothing could be more glorious

than the Catholic Church. But, of course, many people — even many baptized Catholics — don’t see it that way.

Yet when the sins of men — secular material progress, or our own self-centeredness — blind us to this, they blind us to everything. The Renaissance, a great Catholic moment, enlightened the world by seeing it afresh with both the light of faith and the light of classical civilization, which was Catholicism’s seedbed. So, too, today, if we look on the world through truly Catholic eyes, we will find that the fog lifts, our perspectives grow deeper, and beauty and truth beckon above the puerility of mass popular culture.

What’s so great about Catholicism? Here are ten things –in countdown order — to which one could easily add hundreds of others.

10. Hope

Classical paganism, as we know, always ended in despair — a noble despair sometimes, but despair nevertheless. Eastern religions don’t offer much in the way of hope, as they are tied to doctrines of fate, cycles of history, and a nirvana of extinction. Reformation Protestantism is pretty despairing, too, with Calvin’s belief that it would have been better for most people if they had never been born, predestined as they are for damnation. Secularism and materialism are no better, as wealthy secular societies tend to have the highest rates of suicide.

But in the Catholic Church, there is hope. Salvation is open to every man willing to take it. And though Jesus warned His apostles that following His way meant enduring inevitable persecution and hatred, He also gave them this promise: The gates of hell would not prevail against the Church. Even outsiders recognize this. Who ever heard of a deathbed conversion to Methodism? Hope comes from the Real Thing.

9. The Inquisition

The Inquisition? Yes, let’s not be shy. The Inquisition is every Catholic-basher’s favorite tool of abuse — though it is one that is very much not in the basher’s favor. There were several Inquisitions. The first in order of importance in Catholic history was the Inquisition against the Albigensians — a heresy that encouraged suicide, euthanasia, abortion, sodomy, fornication, and other modern ideas that were distasteful to the medieval mind. The struggle against the Albigensians erupted into war — and a war that could not be carefully trammeled within crusading boundaries. So Pope Gregory IX entrusted the final excision of the Albigensian heresy to the scalpel of the Inquisition rather than the sword of the Crusader.

Did this Inquisition of the 13th century strike fear into the people of western Europe? No. Its scope was limited; its trials and punishments more lenient to the accused than were those of its secular counterparts. Inquisitional punishment was often no more than the sort of penance — charity, pilgrimage, mortification — that one might be given by a priest in a confessional. If one were fortunate enough to live in England, northern France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, or, with the exception of Aragon, even, at this time, Spain, the risk that one might be called before an inquisitional trial was virtually zero. The focus of the Inquisition was in the Albigensian districts of southern France; in Germany, where some of the worst abuses occurred; and in those parts of chaotic Italy rife with anticlerical heresy. In all cases, inquisitional courts sat only where Church and state agreed that peace and security were threatened. Nevertheless, the courts were abused. The Church could not modify an ironclad rule of life as true in the 13th century as it is today: Every recourse to law and the courts is a calamity. But the Church then, and people today, seemed to assume it is better than vigilantes and war. There’s no accounting for some tastes.

More famous, certainly, is the Spanish Inquisition. The Spanish Inquisition was a state-run affair, where the Church’s role was to act as a brake of responsibility, fairness, and justice on the royal court’s ferreting out of quislings (who were defined, after centuries of war against the Muslims, as those who were not sincere and orthodox Catholics). Recent scholarship, which has actually examined the meticulous records kept by the Spanish Inquisition, has proven — to take the title of a BBC documentary on the subject –The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition. We now know, beyond all doubt, that the Monty Python sketch of inquisitors holding an old lady in “the comfy chair” while they tickle her with feather dusters is closer to the truth than images of people impaled within iron maidens. (One of the standard works of scholarship is Henry Kamen’s

The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision, Yale University Press.) In the course of an average year, the number of executions ordered by the Spanish Inquisition — which covered not only Spain but its vast overseas empire — was less than the number of people put to death annually by the state of Texas. And this at a time when heresy was universally considered a capital crime in Europe. The myth of the Spanish Inquisition comes from forged documents, propagandizing Protestant polemicists, and anti-Spanish Catholics, who were numerous. The fact is, far from being the bloodthirsty tribunals of myth, the courts of the Spanish Inquisition were probably the fairest, most lenient, and most progressive in Europe.

The man who heads up the modern office of the Inquisition, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the Panzer-Kardinal of the Vatican. Would that he would subject the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America to an Inquisition. It needs it. Indeed, here’s a new rallying cry that I’d like to see become popular: Bring back the Inquisition!

 

8. The Crusades

All right, I recognize that this is another problem area for some milquetoast Catholics, but let’s be blunt: Do we believe in reclaiming the world for Christ and His Church, or don’t we? Medieval knights took that responsibility seriously, wore the cross on their capes and tunics, and prayed and understood an incarnational faith that acted in the world. It was these knights’ defensive war — and the defensive war of the Church and its allies up through the 18th century, for a millennium of Western history — that repelled Islamic aggression and kept western Europe free. For that we should be ashamed? No: It is one of the glories that was Christendom that in the Middle Ages the pope could wave his field marshal’s baton and knights from as far away as Norway — not to mention England, France, and Germany — would come to serve. Men were Catholics first in those days.

Today, because of Islamic terror groups, the West is again strapping on its armor. We shouldn’t be ashamed of our predecessors who were compelled to do the same.

7. The Swiss Guards and the French Foreign Legion

Though only one of these institutions is under the direct supervision of the Vatican, both qualify as Catholic institutions that should warm the very cockles of our hearts. Indeed, next time you meet a Protestant who asks you why you are a Catholic, try telling him this: I’m a Catholic because I believe in the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church as founded by Jesus and His disciples and as led through the power of the Holy Spirit by the pope in Rome who is himself guarded by the Swiss guards of the Vatican whose uniforms were designed, at least some believe, by Michelangelo. If your interlocutor doesn’t immediately seek instruction to convert, you know you’ve met a hard case.

As for La Légion Étrangère, it seems to me that as the product of a Catholic culture, showcasing a Catholic militarism by accepting men of all nations and backgrounds, devoted to one common goal, and by bestowing a sort of secular forgiveness of sins via its traditional offer of anonymity for recruits, it is a good reflection of the Catholic spirit. Indeed, two anecdotes might help illustrate this fact. First, there is the spirit of Catholic realism, perhaps best told in a story from the devotional book, The Paratroopers of the French Foreign Legion: From Vietnam to Bosnia. Here one finds a Catholic chaplain in Bosnia handing out medallions of the Blessed Virgin Mother. He admonishes his legionnaires that the medallion “does not replace good cover and it does not replace armor. I don’t do voodoo here. So be careful.” Well said, Father.

If that anecdote affirms Catholic realism and natural law, here’s one that reminds us why fighting men have always respected Catholic chaplains above others. It comes from the morally offensive Catholic writer Christian Jennings, in A Mouthful of Rocks: Modern Adventures in the Foreign Legion: “This was the padre assigned to our unit. He wore full combat kit and a large silver crucifix on a chain, which matched his parachute wings…. A Spanish recruit I had been playing poker against suddenly started making faces and gesturing behind the Padre’s back, when suddenly, without taking his eyes off the Frenchman to whom he had been talking, the priest jerked his elbow backwards into the Spaniard’s face, slamming him against an oven.” Charming, n’est-ce pas? And a reminder that for most people, the faith is best taught by action and example rather than by words.

6. Art

Certainly the famous literary Catholics of the English-speaking world — John Henry Cardinal Newman, Hilaire Belloc, G.K. Chesterton, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, Siegfried Sassoon (who converted later in life), and Thomas Merton — have all played an enormous part in my own conversion and continuing appreciation of the faith. Even Catholics of an unorthodox stripe (like Greene) have had a powerfully orthodox influence on me.

Writing, of course, is far from the only artistic testimony to the faith. Catholicism has always surrounded itself with beauty, regarding it as the splendor of truth. In the words of the German priest, professor, and theologian Karl Adam, “Art is native to Catholicism, since reverence for the body and for nature is native to it.” The Puritan influence is foreign to Catholicism — just as the idea that smashing altars, defacing Madonnas, and breaking stained glass as a religious act is foreign, and indeed heretical, to Catholics. The Catholic Church leaves such Talibanism to the Protestants and iconoclastic heresies. The Catholic Church, instead, offers a celebration of beauty; and beauty, in our world of pierced faces, body tattoos, gangsta rap, and concrete tower blocks, is something we could use much more of.

5. Freedom

Yes, the good old reactionary, repressive Catholic Church has been the most ardent defender of freedom in the history of the world — though it almost never gets credit for it. We live in an age of determinist ideologies — with the fate of nations and individuals supposedly determined by race, economics, history, psychology, genetics, or even — insofar as Protestants have any common doctrinal beliefs — predestination. The Catholic Church stands alone in radical defense of man’s free will.

When the media, Protestants, and dissenters tell practicing Catholics that the impulse to sexual activity is overwhelmingly powerful and can’t be controlled or renounced, Catholics alone say, “No, man is free. All Christians are called to chastity, and what they are called to do, they can do, and some can freely take on celibacy as a sacrifice to better serve God and His Church.”

When Maximus in the movie Gladiator rallies his ­cavalrymen with the words, “What we do in this life echoes in eternity,” he is speaking like a Catholic, not like a Reformed Protestant or a Muslim who believes that eternity is already written and that man has no free will.

When skeptics complain that the evidence for God is not clear or that a God who allows suffering and evil is Himself sadistic and evil, the Catholic responds, “Our God has made us free men. True freedom always comes with costs and challenges. You see, ours is not a religion of make-believe where actions have no consequences. Ours is a religion of life as it really is. And life as it really is, is a life of original sin. Catholicism is a religion of pilgrimage, freely accepted, to grow in Christ, to overcome sin.”

It is another oft-propounded myth that the Western world didn’t taste of freedom until the Protestant revolt of Martin Luther, which led to the division and state subordination of churches in northern Europe and eventually led, in some countries, to the separation of church and state and the irrelevance of church to state.

But who would blatantly say that the Renaissance — against which Luther revolted — was not free? Who would deny that the great check on state power throughout the entirety of European history, from the conversion of Constantine until the twentieth century, was the Catholic Church?

Think of the Roman Emperor Theodosius, commander of all Rome’s legions, stripping himself of all imperial insignia to do penance before an unarmed cleric, St. Ambrose, bishop of Milan. It was the Catholic Church that brought a moral check to bear on the exercise and perquisites of power.

Think of the martyrdom of Sir Thomas Beckett and Sir Thomas More. Think of the Protestant revolt, which argued that the power of the state was scriptural and the power of the papacy — the power of Christ’s Church against the demands of the state — was not.

Think of the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Kulturkampf of Bismarck, and later intellectual and political currents, including fascism, communism, and the liberalism of our own time, all of which saw — or see — the state as the essential thing, centralization of state authority as the central task, and state direction as the essential instrument of reform. And what was the roadblock to these “reformers?” The Catholic Church. It was the Church that asserted the independence of “subsidiary institutions.” It was the Church that defended the rights of the family against the state. It was the Church that protested, in the words of Pope Pius XI, against the “pagan worship of the state.”

The true Catholic is a natural Tory anarchist — someone who believes in loyalty to persons, institutions, and the faith (semper fidelis) – and in otherwise letting les bons temps rouler.

4. The Saints

The Catholic is never alone. God is always near. The Catholic remembers Mary. He remembers her saying yes to the Incarnation. He remembers those who have gone before him: the vast parade of saints whose personalities and attributes are so various, so free, and yet so devoted to the singular path that leads to holiness and union with God.

Catholic women — as I noted in my agnostic Anglican days, when I was dating them — had stained-glass minds: an awareness of the romance of the past and of the depth and color of Christian history, even if it was just a velleity, not captured in details or knowledge. Catholics aren’t divorced from history. They are not alone with their Bibles and their consciences. Catholics live history. They are part of the continuum of 2,000 years (or with the Old Testament, even longer) of man’s pilgrimage with God.

In the Apostles’ Creed, the earliest formulary of Christian belief that we have, the Bible is never mentioned. Individual conscience is never mentioned. What is mentioned is history: “born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.” And what is affirmed is belief in God; in the life, resurrection, and coming judgment of Jesus; and then the final litany: “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.”

To the Catholic, life is good; the body is good (which is why it will be resurrected); and it is good for man, if we remember Genesis, not to be alone. In the Catholic Church, he is never alone but lives within the body of Christ, the Church Militant, wherein he receives the sacraments of his earthly pilgrimage; in his prayers for the dead, he remains in prayerful connection with the Church Suffering; and in his emulation of the saints and prayers for their intercession, he looks ahead to the Church Triumphant in heaven.

And what saints there are. “St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle”; the beloved St. Francis, “Lord, make me a channel of Your peace”; the “Dumb Ox” of logic and reason, St. Thomas Aquinas; St. Ignatius Loyola, who showed what miracles of conversion the pope’s marines could achieve when they were all devoted and orthodox (let us hope that they will be again); and on and on in endless panorama. All this belongs to the priceless Catholic heritage. Catholicism does not circumscribe and narrow the truth and practice of religion as all heresies do but celebrates the fullness of humanity and God’s creation.

The saints show us the way. Catholics do not presume that they are saved through faith alone — as do Protestants. Salvation, of course, comes through God’s grace. But as part of our free acceptance of that grace, we are called to become holy: to work, to act, to participate in that constant drama where we struggle to live the life of a saint — to live, that is, the life of Christ. None of us is the elect, predestined to salvation, with the remainder (the majority) predestinedly condemned to hell, as Calvin taught. The Catholic believes he is called to acts of corporal and spiritual mercy and that these help him, by God’s grace, to achieve expiation of sin. Our models and aides in our never-ending effort to achieve sanctity are Jesus, the apostles, and all the saints.

3. Unity

When we affirm the Nicene Creed, we affirm our belief in the “one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church.” The Creed does not say “many, reformed, anti-Catholic, Bible-based churches.” Nor does it say, “several nation-based, autocephalous, and selectively conciliar churches.” The Church is called to be one – one body of Christ, one bride of Christ.

Over the course of 2,000 years, its unity has denied the law of entropy. That it has avoided the most common of temptations — to embrace nationalism or solipsism as the essence of belief — always and everywhere affirming the catholicity of the Church, is proof of its authentic teaching. It is indeed a glory of the Church that it encompasses all men and can use the talents of all nations. The “elasticity, freshness of mind, and sense of form of the Roman combine with the penetration, profundity, and inwardness of the German, and with the sobriety, discretion, and good sense of the Anglo-Saxon. The piety and modesty of the Chinese unite with the subtlety and depth of the Indian, and with the practicality and initiative of the American,” as Karl Adam enumerates these qualities in The Spirit of Catholicism.

Objective truth knows no borders. Surely when Paul preached “one Lord, one faith, one baptism,” he did not envisage, and would not approve of, the 20,000 or more varieties of Protestant experience. The story of the early Church is the story of the Catholic attempt to maintain Christian unity in accordance with the truth against a sea of heresies — a sea that, as a working out of the Reformation, has now in the popular mind washed away the very idea of heresy. The Reformation marks the entrance of relativism into Christian life, and relativism denies unity. More important, it denies objective truth, and therefore relativism itself can’t be true, however attractive it might be to those who, in the words of St. Irenaeus writing in the second century, are “heretics and evil-thinkers, faction makers, swelled-headed, self-pleasing.” Our unity as the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic church is one of the proofs of the verity of the Catholic faith.

That unity is seen in another way, too: namely, in the way that the Church brings together reason and mystery, piety and beauty. It is seen in the way that the Church affirms all positive values — as found anywhere in history or in the world — that are in accordance with natural law and fidelity to the deposit of faith. And it is seen in the way that the Church truly accepts the unity of God’s creation and Christ’s teaching, refusing to let it be parceled up and delimited by nations, philosophers, or pedants who seek to shrink-wrap the faith to their own specifications. The true faith is universal, effulgent, and living.

2. The Sacraments

The sacraments and the visible Church are another proof and nurturer of the faith. I am among the least mystical of men, but I will gladly stump up and affirm the efficacy of the sacraments, sincerely and prayerfully entered into. With Pascal I would affirm that one actually learns the Catholic faith by doing — which is why deracinated, prissy, critical philosophes standing outside will never “get it.” The faith of the Catholic is a great drama unfolding before God, and we are the players in it. There is the awesome reality of the Eucharist, God made flesh at every Mass, and our responsibility before Him and in receiving Him. There is the visible alter Christus of the priesthood. Even those sacraments that many Catholics find painful — such as penance — are powerful reminders of the reality of God and of the necessity of both our faith and our good works.

For me, Shakespeare captured this best in Henry V. Before the battle of Agincourt, Henry pleads with God to remember his works — not his faith alone — on behalf of the Church:

“Not today, O Lord,
O, not today, think not upon the fault
My father made in compassing the crown!
I Richard’s body have interred new,
And on it have bestow’d more contrite tears
Than from it issued forced drops of blood;
Five hundred poor I have in yearly pay,
Who twice a day their wither’d hands hold up
Toward heaven, to pardon blood; and I have built
Two chantries, where the sad and solemn priests
Sing still for Richard’s soul. More will I do;
Though all that I can do is nothing worth,
Since my penitence comes after all,
Imploring pardon.”

It is extremely odd to me that Protestants should take pride in reducing the transmission of God’s grace from the seven sacraments held by the apostolic Catholic Church and Orthodox churches to two. When Protestants say that the celibate priesthood and religious life show a lack of respect for marriage, it’s worth reminding them that to Catholics marriage is a sacrament, an institution of divine grace — something rather more elevated than it is for Protestants. And for Catholics, holy orders is a sacrament, making our priesthood rather more important than a Protestant ministry. For Catholics, religion is not all in the mind. It is tangible, present, and living. In short, it is real.

1. Truth

Nothing else would matter about Catholicism if it weren’t true. But it is our firm belief as Catholics that it is true. And, indeed, I believe that the histori­­cal case for the Catholic Church is virtually irre­futable, as irrefutable as it was to Cardinal Newman. And there is something else. We know that the Church affirms that its members and servants are all subject to original sin. But while men might falter, the teaching of the Church does not. That has been our rock, tested through the tempests of centuries and undiminished through time.

Innumerable secular and other forces are against us. Even within our own midst we have been pain­fully reminded of the work that needs to be done to cleanse and purify our Church. Evil stalks the world. But then, it always has. And the Church has survived, and in the heat of persecution, it has grown in numbers and strength. Let us remember that fact. And let us always keep in mind the immortal words of Auberon Waugh: “There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible.”

Amen to that. Keep the faith, dear readers, and remember that our ultimate destination is heaven.

Our LORD exclaimed!


       Our LORD exclaimed!

By Patrick Miron

Mark 10:14Whom when Jesus saw, he was much displeased, and saith to them: Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God”

Few examples of the Love of Christ for His Created humanity are as revealing as is this passage. Knowing that He was on a “Mission” with limited time to fulfill it; Christ nevertheless made time for mere children, who very likely, given the age range implied [young and younger], sensed, rather than knew His Compassion and Love for them. They where able to “sense” goodness in the Presence of Perfect Goodness.

One very seldom sees images of Christ smiling, and with GOOD reason. His Mission was grounded in sacrifice, not social interaction. Grounded is a certain servility and severity of message; not jocularity. But it is difficult not to imagine Christ warmly smiling with these young, pure and precious ones surrounded Him.

Never one to miss a “teaching moment” Jesus then proclaims another “New Teaching.”

Matthew 18:3And said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

NOT mimicking a child will prohibit one from entering heaven ! ? !  What’s that all about?

What characteristics are commonly found in children? That is Christ message here.

A near “Blind” Obedience [substitute “faith -filled” for blind]

A strong desire to please authority figures

An openness to new THINGS [Teachings]

Most often a high degree of humility

A desire to mimic and to follow the example set by adults

A lack of prejudice  and no- judgmental attitude

A desire for approval and to be loved and accepted

ARE NOT these traits beneficial to one Actually KNOWING Christ? For ones own salvation?

 

the Three Crosses


 

The THREE Crosses

by Patrick Miron

 

There were historically THREE crosses.

One for the Perfect Christ

One for the repentant sinner  who is Promised Salvation

One for the unrepentant sinner who chooses for himself; eternal hell.

What are the possible lessons for us here?

We catholics have a beautiful and meaningful Traditional Prayer that the Bishop; Priest  or Deacon say’s before Proclaiming the Gospel Message [THE GOOD NEWS] at every Mass. While making three small signs of the Cross on his forehead, lips and heart and silently proclaiming with each action: Lord please BLESS [which means to: Sanctify, Purify and Guide my] Mind, my Lips, and my Heart. [As I share your Sacred WORD.]

This practice has been picked up over the years by much of the laity; some of whom may not know exactly why or what the  about to be, Proclaimed Gospel [THE GOOD NEWS] signs represent. But we too, prudently seek God’s direct intervention by asking Him to Open our minds, our lips and hearts; so that we are enabled to fully understand; then share and be truly- grateful for what we are BLESSED to hear, and have explained to us. The effect of thus hearing Gods WORDS depends on our response to God‘s Grace and His granting one the ability too UNDERSTAND.

Matthew 4:4 “Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.” … Rom.10: 17 “ So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ.” …2nd. Peter 1: 16-21  You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,  because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

Gospel, John 12:44-50 “Jesus declared publicly: Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me, sees the one who sent me. I have come into the world as light, to prevent anyone who believes in me from staying in the dark any more . If anyone hears my words and does not keep them faithfully, it is not I who shall judge such a person, since I have come not to judge the world, but to save the world: 48 anyone who rejects me and refuses my words has his judge already: the word itself that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day. For I have not spoken of my own accord; but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and what to speak, and I know that his commands mean eternal life. And therefore what the Father has told me is what I speak.“

One of the critical Lessons of the Crosses comes with the necessary understanding that it is always man’s; it is OUR individual response to God’s grace that is “AN OFFER” not a command, that will determine it’s effect upon our life’s.

God’s grace is both perfect and sufficient for our needs

We can freely choose to accept it; reject it, apply it fully and correctly; or partially and or incorrectly. It is MAN”S freewill choice.

We can also deny it, ignore it, or misunderstand it. Again; man’s freewill choice. Our pride; our ego’s can and DO block God’s grace.

God’s intent for:

Only One TRUE God

With Only One TRUE Faith

In His One TRUE [guided and protected] Church is clearly biblical and God s WORDS; and God’s Perfect Will.

Mark 16: 14-15 “At length he appeared to the eleven [Apostles] as they were at table: and he upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen him after he was risen again. And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Matthew 28:16-20 “And the eleven disciples [Apostles] went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.  Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.”

My dear friends in Christ; do not permit “false prophets and teachers” to lead you astray.

The WORDS of Christ are Perfect, Precise and Clear: ONLY today’s Catholic Church can [and does actually have the Mandate from Christ as well as His PERSONAL Protection …] John 17:16-20 “They are not of the world, as I also am not of the world. Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for them do I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.  And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me” … AMEN!