Monday, February 08, 2016

Purgatory, where's that in the Bible?


              It’s true the word Purgatory does not come up once in the Bible.  But that’s not a reason for rejecting the idea.  The word Trinity appears nowhere in the Bible but no one denies that it is taught throughout the Holy Writ.  Catholics simply contend the same for the doctrine of Purgatory.



              How do you explain the doctrine of Purgatory to a Christian who confronts you with it?  It seems that the Protestant Christian believes that one is saved once you accept Jesus into your heart as you personal Lord and Savior (the born-again experience).  This born-again experience can be explained as different processes already done in our Catholic life: How much better to accept Jesus then to take Him onto our tongues and into our very beings when swallowing the Eucharist? 



              Jesus’ salvific work was complete once He died on the cross.  He offered Himself up as the perfect sacrifice for our sins.  Jesus’ earthly work is complete, we need only ask with a perfectly repentant heart and our sins are forgiven.  But what happens to our souls when we sin?  Sinning ‘stains’ our soul, or it ‘muddies’ the soul, it becomes harder to see God through those stains, through the mud caused by our sins.  The water in the mud is pure, but the floating dirt dims God’s rays of sunshine.  Whenever you ask forgiveness with a contrite heart, you shall be forgiven, but the soul is still stained, still muddied from that sin.  There is restitution to be done as we see in Luke 12:59 “…I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny”.  To ‘clean’ yourself up you need to do penance (ie. Do good works for the Glory of God, read Scripture, say some prayers, etc…).  These deeds are to be done only to bring you closer to God, they are not technically needed for your salvation.  If you do not ‘cleans’ yourself perfectly in this life, God shall finish the job of your perfectedness by trial by fire as in 1 Cor 3:15 “But if someone’s work is burned up, that one will suffer loss (pain); the person will be saved, but only as through fire.”  You need to be perfectly ‘clean’ before you can enter into the presence of God (Rev 21:27).



              Most of us will never reach a level of perfect union with God in our lifetimes.  How then can you ensure your salvation?  You are saved!  Nothing can change that short of committing a mortal sin without repenting before the end of your earthly life.  Purgatory is just a way-station to clean up your stained soul before meeting the Father.  There is nowhere to be read that this process is instantaneous or that it has a duration.  There is no way to deny either lengths of time.  Both Protestants and Catholics agree that absolute holiness is necessary to enter heaven.  Disagreements arise when the question of duration comes up.



              How long does this purification, or sanctification take?  Some Protestants believe it is instantaneous, while Catholics believe that there is a possibility of duration involved in the sanctification process.  It seems that Catholics and Protestants believe the same thing but name it differently.  Because does anybody know how time works in the afterlife?  How is time viewed in light of eternity?  Nobody really knows, and whether it is instantaneous or not, Catholics name this process of cleansing as purgatory.



God Bless
Nathan

Saturday, February 06, 2016

The Fatal Flaws in Sola Fide

The fatal flaw of sola fide can be found in the ONLY verse in the Bible which uses the words "faith" and "alone" (sola fide) together.  That verse is James 2:24:
You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. (NASB)
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. (KJV)
Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only?  (DRB)
You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.  (NIV)
See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.  (NABRE)
NO other verse uses these words together!  The ONLY place they are used together is in absolute denial of sola fide!  

Now according to the interpretation of Bradley Cochran (another blogger), even Luther's teaching on sola fide is NOT what most Protestants adhere to today. 
Luther’s notion of justifying righteousness is faith itself because faith satisfies the law.  Luther’s notion of justifying righteousness, then, was not Christ’s active and passive obedience, as in much of the Reformed versions of the doctrine of imputation.  
Furthermore, Luther’s fundamental understanding of justification is one of being “made righteous” by God’s granting of faith precisely because faith is transformational to the core of our hearts.  Luther’s understanding of “none are righteous,” is this: None are righteous apart from the heart transplant of faith, but with that transforming grace, people can be made righteous.  Luther’s understanding of “the works of the law” (pejoratively referred to today as works righteousness) is this: The works of the law are works done without transforming grace.  Good works, on the other hand, for Luther, are those done by the power of grace worked in the heart.
http://theophilogue.com/2009/01/17/what-martin-luther-really-said-luthers-sola-fide/
In other words, it is not faith alone, sola fide, which justifies - but the God given gift of faith which allows men to perform works which God sees as pleasing, or justifying.  Is the WORKS which justify, faith is the enabler to make the WORKS acceptable.  I'm not sure Cochran intended that, but that IS the logical conclusion to his argument - and that IS what Scripture tells us in James 2:24.

That being said, many Protestant sites make the claim that Luther said of sola fide, "it is the article by which the church stands; without which, it fails."  However, in doing a lot of searching for Luther actually making this statement, I've come up empty.  James Swan of BeggarsAllReformation blog also lists this among the "6 Quotes That Luther Didn't Actually Say." (Though Swan's "quote" does not mention sola fide explicitly, rather "justification" being the article by which the church stands or fails).  Did Luther himself say this?  For me, the jury is still out.  It is undeniable that many, perhaps even most Protestant apologists not only believe Luther did say it, they believe it - that their version of "church" falls if this article of sola fide falls.

In another article by Swan, from 2006, he defends Luther's use of the word "alone" in Romans 3:28.  The word "alone" does not appear in the original Greek OR Latin of this verse, it is an addition.  In Swan's article he dances around the fact, doesn't deny it - and then offers rationalization (some from Luther himself) for the reason Luther inserted the word into Scripture.  But oh, the irony!  Often when Protestant apologists are challenged with a scriptural view, they INSIST upon what was recorded in the original texts and reject ANY additions from later interpretations.  So why does Luther get a pass on this?  Why does someone like Swan support the rationalizations of Luther, and others, who argue for this addition to the text?  I submit he must do so.  If they do not defend Luther's defection from authentic scriptural text then they would be forced to admit Luther's Catholic critics were correct.  Luther SHOULD have accepted correction and not altered Scripture, but instead he entrenched himself in the error and used sarcasm as his defense.  

I'm sure Swan would be quick to point out that Luther himself pointed to other, respected, Catholics who used "alone" in reference to Romans 3:28.  The difference being, they were COMMENTING on the passage, not TRANSLATING it.  They were also contrasting "works of the law" not "works in general."  Works done in the state of grace, that is WITH faith, do indeed justify - as St. James so clearly points out and so explicitly states that faith is NOT ALONE in the matter of justification.  Even if we were to accept that "others made the same error" - why does this excuse the error?  It's still an error and still not appropriate to add interpretive words to a TRANSLATION of Scripture.  Now, if you want to call it Luther's PARAPHRASE of Scripture, fine - but let's not call it a TRANSLATION!  The fact is that MIS-translation of Romans 3:28 becomes quite foundational for the invented and anti-scriptural concept of sola fide. 
Whether or not Luther made the claim of the article of sola fide being that upon which his church, and the so-call Reformation, stands or falls - many DO put their "faith" in that article and that stance and the fact is - sola fide does not stand on its own.  Scripture does not support it and again, in the ONLY place where those two words are used together in Scripture (James 2:24) it is an explicit DENIAL of sola fide!  Come home to the Catholic Church.

AMDG,
Scott Windsor<<<

For more reading and related to this topic, let me recommend the following from another blogger and fellow convert:  Your Bible Probably Has a Mistranslation In It.
If you have enjoyed this article, please use the share or like buttons below it!  Thanks!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Lucifer - A Cool Dude?

At first, I watched as a curiosity.  I was wondering how they would portray Lucifer, Satan, the Devil, on the very secular Fox Network.  Interestingly enough, this manifestation of the Fallen Angel of Light makes no bones about who he is - and who God is, even referring to God as "our Father."  His name is "Lucifer Morningstar," and when asked if that was a stage-name, he responds, "No, it was God given." 

The premise of the program, Lucifer is bored with Hell - and decides to take a "vacation" on Earth.  Presumably, at this time, an archangel, Amenadiel, is sent to convince Lucifer to go back to Hell - to return everything to balance.  It is as if God "needs" Lucifer to be evil and in Hell to provide balance and peace in Heaven.  Amenadiel despises Lucifer, as we all really should.  Therein lies the rub, this TV show presents Lucifer as someone we might like, or feel sorry for, that he was convicted to reign in Hell until the end of time.  Since when could Lucifer have the "power" to decide to "take a vacation" from Hell?  He has no such authority to do so.  Yes, clearly his presence is made known in the evil of men throughout the world and throughout all ages - but it is unfathomable that he would have compassion for any human being.  As he is walking the street with one whom he "helped" to stardom, she is brutally murdered and Lucifer takes on a mission, of sorts, to find out who was behind the murder and he seeks to bring the real killer to "justice."  He befriends a police detective whom he convinces to take a deeper look into the case - and proceeds to help her solve it.

The show begins with Lucifer Morningstar racing through the streets in a very nice, classic Corvette.  When he is pulled over by a police officer, he uses his power (like a Jedi mind-trick) to get the officer to admit to one of his deepest desires - and then to the fact that sometimes he just speeds through the streets with his lights and siren going, just because he can.  He claims he can't read minds, but has a "knack" to getting people to "confess" to him.
 
The real problem with this show is it glamorizes the most evil being known to creation.  It makes him look like he's not-so-bad.  It makes him look like someone you might actually like.  That being said, that truly is Satan's goal!  If we are swayed to accept him, or think he's not so bad or even that he didn't get a fair shake - we might be inadvertently letting him in to our lives - or worse, our souls.  In that respect, I really feel like this show is working FOR Satan, and sense a real danger in continued viewing of a version of Lucifer which is "not-so-bad."  Remember, Satan is the author of lies and deception - and if he can get you to turn your focus from God to him - he's winning - though ultimately he will lose, and so will everyone who follows him, for whatever reason.

I am not the only one raising red flags over this programming.  On this site (click here) there's a petition you can join to try and convince Fox to remove the program.  In my humble opinion, Fox is eating up the attention from Christians and the more they/we protest - the more "press" they get.  In that industry, "there's no such thing as bad press."   So, consider signing the petition, or consider just telling your friends and family how much you feel that this programming is really a tool for Satan and against God.  


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Luther on the Eucharist

What did Martin Luther believe regarding the Eucharist?

Who, but the devil, has granted such license of wresting the words of the holy Scripture? Who ever read in the Scriptures, that my body is the same as the sign of my body? or, that is is the same as it signifies? What language in the world ever spoke so? It is only then the devil, that imposes upon us by these fanatical men. Not one of the Fathers of the Church, though so numerous, ever spoke as the Sacramentarians: not one of them ever said, It is only bread and wine; or, the body and blood of Christ is not there present.

Surely, it is not credible, nor possible, since they often speak, and repeat their sentiments, that they should never (if they thought so) not so much as once, say, or let slip these words: It is bread only; or the body of Christ is not there, especially it being of great importance, that men should not be deceived. Certainly, in so many Fathers, and in so many writings, the negative might at least be found in one of them, had they thought the body and blood of Christ were not really present: but they are all of them unanimous.”

—Luther’s Collected Works, Wittenburg Edition, no. 7 p, 391
(qtd, on:  https://bfhu.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/martin-luther-on-the-real-presence/ )

From The Large Catechism (XIV):


And all these are established by the words by which Christ has instituted it, and which every one who desires to be a Christian and go to the Sacrament should know. For it is not our intention to admit to it and to administer it to those who know not what they seek, or why they come. The words, however, are these:
    Our Lord Jesus Christ, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread; and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and gave it to His disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you: this do in remembrance of Me.

    After the same manner also He took the cup when He had supped, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the remission of sins: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me.
Here also we do not wish to enter into controversy and contend with the traducers and blasphemers of this Sacrament, but to learn first (as we did regarding Baptism) what is of the greatest importance, namely that the chief point is the Word and ordinance or command of God. For it has not been invented nor introduced by any man, but without any one's counsel and deliberation it has been instituted by Christ. Therefore, just as the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, and the Creed retain their nature and worth although you never keep, pray, or believe them, so also does this venerable Sacrament remain undisturbed, so that nothing is detracted or taken from it, even though we employ and dispense it unworthily. What do you think God cares about what we do or believe, so that on that account He should suffer His ordinance to be changed? Why, in all worldly matters every thing remains as God has created and ordered it, no matter how we employ or use it. This must always be urged, for thereby the prating of nearly all the fanatical spirits can be repelled. For they regard the Sacraments, aside from the Word of God, as something that we do.

Now, what is the Sacrament of the Altar!

Answer: It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in and under the bread and wine which we Christians are commanded by the Word of Christ to eat and to drink. And as we have said of Baptism that it is not simple water, so here also we say the Sacrament is bread and wine, but not mere bread and wine, such as are ordinarily served at the table, but bread and wine comprehended in, and connected with, the Word of God.

It is the Word (I say) which makes and distinguishes this Sacrament, so that it is not mere bread and wine, but is, and is called, the body and blood of Christ. For it is said: Accedat verbum ad elementum, et At sacramentum. If the Word be joined to the element it becomes a Sacrament. This saying of St. Augustine is so properly and so well put that he has scarcely said anything better. The Word must make a Sacrament of the element, else it remains a mere element. Now, it is not the word or ordinance of a prince or emperor, but of the sublime Majesty, at whose feet all creatures should fall, and affirm it is as He says, and accept it with all reverence fear, and humility.

With this Word you can strengthen your conscience and say: If a hundred thousand devils, together with all fanatics, should rush forward, crying, How can bread and wine be the body and blood of Christ? etc., I know that all spirits and scholars together are not as wise as is the Divine Majesty in His little finger. Now here stands the Word of Christ: Take, eat; this is My body; Drink ye all of it; this is the new testament in My blood, etc. Here we abide, and would like to see those who will constitute themselves His masters, and make it different from what He has spoken. It is true, indeed, that if you take away the Word or regard it without the words, you have nothing but mere bread and wine. But if the words remain with them as they shall and must, then, in virtue of the same, it is truly the body and blood of Christ. For as the lips of Christ say and speak, so it is, as He can never lie or deceive.

Hence it is easy to reply to all manner of questions about which men are troubled at the present time, such as this one: Whether even a wicked priest can minister at, and dispense, the Sacrament, and whatever other questions like this there may be. For here we conclude and say: Even though a knave takes or distributes the Sacrament, he receives the true Sacrament, that is, the true body and blood of Christ, just as truly as he who [receives or] administers it in the most worthy manner. For it is not founded upon the holiness of men, but upon the Word of God. And as no saint upon earth, yea, no angel in heaven, can make bread and wine to be the body and blood of Christ, so also can no one change or alter it, even though it be misused. For the Word by which it became a Sacrament and was instituted does not become false because of the person or his unbelief. For He does not say: If you believe or are worthy, you receive My body and blood, but: Take, eat and drink; this is My body and blood. Likewise: Do this (namely, what I now do, institute, give, and bid you take) . That is as much as to say, No matter whether you are worthy or unworthy, you have here His body and blood by virtue of these words which are added to the bread and wine. Only note and remember this well; for upon these words rest all our foundation, protection, and defense against all errors and deception that have ever come or may yet come.

Thus we have briefly the first point which relates to the essence of this Sacrament. Now examine further the efficacy and benefits on account of which really the Sacrament was instituted; which is also its most necessary part, that we may know what we should seek and obtain there. Now this is plain and clear from the words just mentioned: This is My body and blood, given and shed FOR YOU, for the remission of sins. Briefly that is as much as to say: For this reason we go to the Sacrament because there we receive such a treasure by and in which we obtain forgiveness of sins. Why so? Because the words stand here and give us this; for on this account He bids me eat and drink, that it may be my own and may benefit me, as a sure pledge and token, yea, the very same treasure that is appointed for me against my sins, death, and every calamity.

On this account it is indeed called a food of souls, which nourishes and strengthens the new man. For by Baptism we are first born anew; but (as we said before) there still remains, besides, the old vicious nature of flesh and blood in man, and there are so many hindrances and temptations of the devil and of the world that we often become weary and faint, and sometimes also stumble.

Therefore it is given for a daily pasture and sustenance, that faith may refresh and strengthen itself so as not to fall back in such a battle, but become ever stronger and stronger. For the new life must be so regulated that it continually increase and progress, but it must suffer much opposition. For the devil is such a furious enemy that when he sees that we oppose him and attack the old man, and that he cannot topple us over by force, he prowls and moves about on all sides, tries all devices, and does not desist until he finally wearies us, so that we either renounce our faith or yield hands and feet and become listless or impatient. Now to this end the consolation is here given when the heart feels that the burden is becoming too heavy, that it may here obtain new power and refreshment.

But here our wise spirits contort themselves with their great art and wisdom, crying out and bawling: How can bread and wine forgive sins or strengthen faith? Although they hear and know that we do not say this of bread and wine, because in itself bread is bread, but of such bread and wine as is the body and blood of Christ, and has the words attached to it. That, we say, is verily the treasure, and nothing else, through which such forgiveness is obtained. Now the only way in which it is conveyed and appropriated to us is in the words (Given and shed for you). For herein you have both truths, that it is the body and blood of Christ, and that it is yours as a treasure and gift. Now the body of Christ can never be an unfruitful, vain thing, that effects or profits nothing. Yet however great is the treasure in itself, it must be comprehended in the Word and administered to us, else we should never be able to know or seek it.

Therefore also it is vain talk when they say that the body and blood of Christ are not given and shed for us in the Lord's Supper, hence we could not have forgiveness of sins in the Sacrament. For although the work is accomplished and the forgiveness of sins acquired on the cross, yet it cannot come to us in any other way than through the Word. For what would we otherwise know about it, that such a thing was accomplished or was to be given us if it were not presented by preaching or the oral Word? Whence do they know of it, or how can they apprehend and appropriate to themselves the forgiveness, except they lay hold of and believe the Scriptures and the Gospel? But now the entire Gospel and the article of the Creed: I believe a holy Christian (the Creed says "catholic") Church, the forgiveness of sin, etc., are by the Word embodied in this Sacrament and presented to us. Why, then, should we allow this treasure to be torn from the Sacrament when they must confess that these are the very words which we hear everywhere in the Gospel, and they cannot say that these words in the Sacrament are of no use, as little as they dare say that the entire Gospel or Word of God, apart from the Sacrament, is of no use?

Thus we have the entire Sacrament, both as to what it is in itself and as to what it brings and profits. Now we must also see who is the person that receives this power and benefit. That is answered briefly, as we said above of Baptism and often elsewhere: Whoever believes it has what the words declare and bring. For they are not spoken or proclaimed to stone and wood, but to those who hear them, to whom He says: Take and eat, etc. And because He offers and promises forgiveness of sin, it cannot be received otherwise than by faith. This faith He Himself demands in the Word when He says: Given and shed for you. As if He said: For this reason I give it, and bid you eat and drink, that you may claim it as yours and enjoy it. Whoever now accepts these words, and believes that what they declare is true, has it. But whoever does not believe it has nothing, as he allows it to be offered to him in vain, and refuses to enjoy such a saving good. The treasure, indeed, is opened and placed at every one's door, yea upon his table, but it is necessary that you also claim it, and confidently view it as the words suggest to you.

This, now, is the entire Christian preparation for receiving this Sacrament worthily. For since this treasure is entirely presented in the words, it cannot be apprehended and appropriated in any other way than with the heart. For such a gift and eternal treasure cannot be seized with the fist. Fasting and prayer, etc., may indeed be an external preparation and discipline for children, that the body may keep and bear itself modestly and reverently towards the body and blood of Christ; yet what is given in and with it the body cannot seize and appropriate. But this is done by the faith of the heart, which discerns this treasure and desires it. This may suffice for what is necessary as a general instruction respecting this Sacrament; for what is further to be said of it belongs to another time.

http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/catechism/web/cat-14.html

By nearly all the words here, Luther's view on the Eucharist is very "Catholic."  The distinction between Lutheran and Catholic theology can be shown through two words, "transubstantiation" v. "consubstantiation."  My father-in-law often stated the truism, "words mean things," and they most certainly do here.  Clearly both words are dealing with the "substance" of the Eucharist - but one deals with "change" (tran-) and the other speaks of "with" (con-).  The Catholic view is that the substance changes "transubstantiation" and Luther's view was that the body and blood of Christ, while truly present, is "with" (to use his own words, "in and under") the substance or "consubstantiation."  So which view is the more scriptural view?  Did Jesus hold up the host and declare "This IS My body WITH the bread," or did He say, "This IS My body," period?  Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24 - regardless of translation you will find that Jesus (or St. Paul repeating Jesus' words) does not say "WITH" but simply, "this IS My body..."  Does this cause you to stumble or grumble?  Do you realize that in such grumbling you would put yourself in the same boat with those disciples who also grumbled, and then "turned and walked with Him no more."  Do you really want to be in THAT boat?!  Luther was close, but he:

I encourage you to continue studying this topic, and if you like - join us in discussion or even debate in the Catholic Debate Forum - where respectful questions, even the "tough ones," are answered.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Questions For Catholics Series

Questions For Catholics Series:
Prompted by his priest, Scott Windsor responds to James Jacob Prasch (Jacob Prasch) who asks "Five Questions For Catholics" or is it "Thirty-Three Questions For Catholics?"  Prasch, the chief behind Moriel Ministries, is lashing out against Catholicism and is answered in this seven part series:

Part 1 - Should I Believe Mary or the Vatican?
Part 2 - Questions of "Co-"
Part 3 - Purgatory

Part 4 - The Rock
Part 5 - The Eucharist and John 6
Part 6 - Doctrines of Demons?
Part 7 - Call No Man Father and the Mass


This "table of contents" is also listed on our Indices Page

I have made this index known to the website of Jacob Prasch.  He openly invited engagement in his questions - I hope he meant it and will actively engage my responses.

Monday, January 04, 2016

The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony


After watching a program on EWTN, I decided to rewatch and take some notes to share: 

Symbolon:  Living the Faith

Holy Matrimony

In the Rite of Marriage, the priest asks the couple three questions that shed much light on what marriage is really all about…
1.       Have you come here freely?  And without reservation to give yourselves in marriage?
2.       Will honor each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?
3.       Will you accept children lovingly from God and bring them up according to the law of Christ and His Church?
Marriage is meant to be a free choice of each person.  It is meant to be a total giving of ones self, holding nothing back.  Love which is meant to be faithful all throughout ones life.  And, it is meant to be a love which is fruitful, goes outward and willingly accepts children as a blessing from God.  But to live a marriage that is free, total and faithful is not easy; we need God’s help, we need His Grace in the Sacrament of Matrimony.

Marriage is a Sacrament

                Marriage is a great mystery, a sacrament or sign of Christ’s love.  Eph. 5:32  Christ’s love, as well as “Married Love” is Free, Total, Faithful and Fruitful.  We can see these for signs in the marriage ceremony itself.  The priest asks the three questions of consent (see above) and these questions are not only present on the wedding day, be every day of married life.
                Why do we number marriage among the seven sacraments of the Church?  Whenever we take upon an office, and marriage is an office of a kind of service in the Church, God gives us a special grace in order to take on that office well and in this case it is to offer to love one other person in the same way that Christ loves His Church.  Each one is Christ to the other in the Sacrament of Matrimony.  It is extremely difficult, especially in this day and age, to live the life of matrimony – and Christ understands that and gives to us this special grace to live not in just a natural mode, but a supernatural mode which really makes us capable of loving others as Christ loves us.  Like in the Wedding at Cana, that couple did everything they thought was necessary – and still came up short, but Christ was there!  Jesus did not just give them the bare minimum to get by, but gave to them gallons and gallons of the best wine possible.  God does not give just enough to get by, but enough to make your marriage rich and powerful.

Marriage should reflect Christ’s union with the Church

                The first grace of matrimony is what we call the bond and this comes to be from the sacred promises the spouses make to one another.  As the word “bond” suggests, it binds the two together in a permanent relationship, like Christ to His Church.  So, strictly speaking, it isn’t that the Church doesn’t allow for divorce, but that the Church believes that divorce is impossible.  This bond that is put together by God cannot be broken by any human power and that is why we say when we marry, “till death do us part.”

Marriage is indissoluble – it’s a life-long commitment.

                Why can’t marriage just be a contract between a man and woman?  What would that promise sound like?  “I promise to stay with you in good times, in health and in wealth – until something better comes along.”  There would be nobody crying, there’s nothing beautiful about that, this isn’t what our hearts long for.  You would not be marrying a person, you would be marrying your own selfishness, you’re just marrying your own desires.  Instead of being a true covenant – it’s just an exchange of goods and services and you can just imagine the insecurity that would build in a relationship.  “Is my husband going to stay with me?”  “Do I need to stay thin enough for him to stay around?”  Then there’s the insecurity this would breed in the hearts of the children, “I don’t know if Dad is in this for the long run or not.”  In the end, it’s not a total gift of one’s self, it’s just a partial loan.  If marriage is supposed to be, as St. Paul said, a great sign of Christ’s love for the Church, then what does this say of Christ’s love for the Church?  You know, “I will be with you until the end of the age, or maybe I’ll stick around or maybe I won’t?”  This isn’t really the Vatican imposing her doctrines upon us, it is it is the longing of the human heart; every love longs to be eternal.  “I will love you, and no other,” this is what the human heart longs for, a love which reflects the divine.

Annulments

                You may have heard the term “annulments” in the Church, and it is a term which is greatly misunderstood.  It sounds as if the Church is making null that which would have otherwise been a valid marriage.  The proper term is “a declaration of nullity.”  This comes at the end of a long process in a court called a tribunal in which those engaged in the process of inquiry find that no marriage ever took place.  So, an annulment is not a Catholic divorce, it is a finding that no marriage ever took place in the first place and so there is nothing to divorce.
                Divorce is a legal term whereby a state or the government is dissolving a legitimate, valid, legal marriage.  An annulment is something completely different, it is saying that would appear to be a valid sacramental union between two people was not valid and there never was a real union to begin with.  How can that be?  How can two people walk into a church as singles, perform the ceremony and walk out as singles?  What could invalidate that union?  Well, let’s say the man is forcing the woman to marry him, or let’s say the woman is being significantly deceitful – like saying “I have a huge credit card debt” or “I have a boyfriend, and I don’t want to tell my potential husband because that could really ruin the wedding day.”  Obviously, these are going to be impediments to a valid sacramental union and so upon deep investigation and prayerful consideration, the Church will look back at that wedding day and if it was a valid marriage.  If it was, then the Church will say “What God has put together, let no man separate.”  These are the words of Christ, it is not the imposition of the Vatican upon us.  When Christ told the Apostles, “When you marry a wife, divorce her and marry someone else, you commit adultery.”  The disciples had a hard time with this!  They said, “If that’s the case, then it’s better not to get married.  If I can’t get divorced, then what’s the point of getting married in the first place?”  It speaks to the hardness of heart that Christ was trying to redeem in the first place.
                For making a marriage, consent is required.  One has to be free, not forced (feel fear) whether internally or externally.   Externally, one may desire to marry another person but if he or she is married to someone else, that is an external impediment to making that choice with this person.  The free choice to marry also has to be an informed choice.  Recall that marriage is to be free, total, faithful and fruitful.  So if, for some reason, one directly wills against what marriage is – perhaps one decides “I am not going to permit fruitfulness, that I don’t want to have children,” or perhaps one directly wills against the permanence of marriage in that “I’ll marry for a while, divorce and then marry someone else later,” in that case, you’re not really consenting to what marriage is and if you’re not consenting to what marriage really is – then you’re not really marrying.

Who can enter into a Sacramental Marriage?

      Two people who are:
  • Baptised
  • Opposite sex
  • Free internally (they really choose this person to be their spouse)
  • Free externally (not finding themselves in circumstances which make them unable to marry this particular person).
Full episodes available at:  http://www.symboloncatholic.org – though I did not find this one.  I watched this one on EWTN.

Another video, this one from Ascension Press:
 

















Thursday, December 31, 2015

Circumcision of our Lord, Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

The Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord

and Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God


Traditionally, January 1 is the Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord - the Octave Day after the Nativity of our Lord.  The Latin Rite of the Catholic Church changed this in 1960 to the celebration of the Maternity of Mary, Mother of God.  The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God initially was celebrated on October 11 (started in 1914).  In 1960 Pope John XXIII removed all mention of the circumcision from the antiphons and rubrics of January 1.  In 1969, Pope Paul VI reiterates the celebration of Mary but also mentions that it is a time to celebrate the Newborn Prince of Peace, listening to the song of the angels one more time (though the ChristMass Season lasts at least until January 6, with Epiphany - or even until February 2, with CandleMass - which is where the last mentioning of the Nativity is made for the liturgical year.

The lectionary of the Extraordinary Rite still celebrates the Circumcision of our Lord on January, 1.

This year January 1 is a Friday, which, being a solemnity we are not obliged to our Friday penance...  for those who still observe abstaining from meat, don't have to!  It's a "Cheeseburger Friday!"


Monday, December 28, 2015

Feast of the Holy Innocents

Tonight we recall the suffering of the Holy Innocents
Matthew 2:16-18

December 28

Confession Explained


Confession Explained
Posted by Catholic and Proud on Wednesday, September 16, 2015