Monday, September 15, 2014

SSPX and the Modern Church

As those who know me well already know - for many years I took my family to the Traditional Latin Mass under the auspices of the SSPX (Society of St. Pius the Tenth).  It was only after much contemplation and even writing to Rome that I allowed myself and my family to go there (some of my letters still circulate the Internet, without my permission).

I have never been one who out-right rejects the Novus Ordo Missae (New Order of the Mass) as invalid, though I was heavily influenced at one time by those who do hold that view, still I never rejected the Mass of Pope Paul VI.  I did have, and still have, some problems with the form of the New Order, but it was and remains a "valid" Mass, and when I cannot celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass, I go to the local Novus Ordo parish.

One of the biggest problems I have with SSPX today is that they did not come into full communion a couple years ago when they had the chance.  This is still troublesome to me, in fact - I've rarely been back to the SSPX chapel in our area in the last couple years.  They still have a valid Mass and it still satisfies our Sunday obligation - really, nothing has changed there, but I was very hopeful for the talks where were underway with Pope Benedict XVI, and was a bit disappointed, if not crushed, by the way they turned out.

And this brings me to this...  recently SSPX was permitted to celebrate Mass in St. Peters!  

So, even though there has been a lack of talks (that WE might know about) it appears progress is still being made!  Let us continue to hope and pray for complete restoration of communion between SSPX and the Roman See.


Sunday, September 07, 2014

Rob Zins on Catholic Plan of Salvation

Former Catholic, Rob Zins, has established a "ministry" for Catholics which he calls "A Christian Witness to Roman Catholicism" (CWRC).  In this article I will examine an article Mr. Zins published which allegedly portrays the Catholic plan of salvation.  Zins' article can be found here:   I would add, Mr. Zins does not consider Catholics to be Christians at all, so one has to keep that in mind too when reading his words.

Zins begins his article in a rather confusing/confounding manner.  He speaks of the seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church - then draws focus to one of them, Holy Orders.  After pointing to Holy Orders he digresses into a brief discussion of celibacy of the priesthood.  Then after that short discourse he admits that celibacy is not a requirement for all Catholic priests and that married clergy is even the "norm" among Eastern Catholics and Orthodoxy.  
In order to understand the Roman Catholic religion one must begin with the Roman Catholic Sacraments. Roman Catholics are taught to trust in their priests who perform religious rituals called Sacraments. There are seven sacraments in the Roman Catholic religion. One is Holy Orders. The term Holy Orders extends to bishops, priests and deacons in the Roman Catholic religion. If a priest has taken a vow of celibacy then he would not be able to partake of all seven sacraments. However, celibacy is not a requirement for all Roman Catholic priests.
One has to wonder what the point of this opening paragraph was!  The opening statement typically would present ones case and present some preliminary arguments to be followed up upon later in the article/essay.  Zins entitles his article "The Roman Catholic Plan of Salvation," but his opening statement has little, if anything, to do with the Catholic teaching on salvation!   Okay, so he wants to lay a foundation of understanding of Catholic Sacraments - but all he has done is begin with a pet argument of many ill-informed Protestant apologists who like to attach priestly celibacy as if it is a dogma - but then Zins shoots down that argument himself!
"The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation." New Catholic Catechism. Paragraph # 1129. 
This is an accurate, if out of context, quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC).  Zins, however, continues with disjointed argumentation.
Christians remain unconvinced that Roman Catholic Sacraments are necessary for salvation. 
Well, by Mr. Zins' representation - certainly non-Catholics and especially anti-Catholics would not be "convinced."
The Roman Catholic sacramental scheme is alleged to be constructed upon the Bible. However, in the Roman Catholic religion, there are other sources of authority equal to the Bible. Hence, proof for the seven Sacraments of Rome does not necessarily need to rest upon Scripture. 
Whether or not Mr. Zin's "however" statement is true is irrelevant to the statement that the "sacramental scheme is (alleged to be) constructed upon the Bible."  Mr. Zins has adopted, accepted and embraced the unbiblical doctrine of sola scriptura - which he defines as:  "That Scripture as contained in the Old Testament (39 books, English) and in the New Testament (27 books, English) is our only infallible and sufficient rule for salvation and sanctification. (2 Timothy 3:16)"  My point in bringing this up is that not only is the teaching of sola scriptura NOT found in Scripture - Scripture itself OPPOSES it!  In Matthew 16:18-19 and Matthew 18:18 we clearly see that Jesus is empowering men with infallible authority!  These men are our first bishops and their offices continue to this day in the One, True Church.  So yes, while the Seven Sacraments are definitely founded upon Scripture and scriptural precedence, "proof for the seven Sacraments of Rome does not necessarily need to rest upon Scripture."  I would submit that "proof" lies with one who has faith - and for one who lacks faith, no explanation will suffice.
Rome's doctrine of Sola Ecclesia [sic] (the Church alone) establishes and defines doctrine.
Well, first off the Latin words would not be capitalized in this context.  Second, it would be "sola ecclesiam."  Third, I would challenge Mr. Zims to demonstrate the Catholic Church actually using this phrase in defining doctrine.  While it is a common summary (one which I myself embraced back in 1988-89 in debates with James White), the phrase simply is not used in official teaching by the Church.  That being said, Scripture is PART OF the Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church, it is not apart from it!  What is defined in Scripture is not defined apart from the Catholic Church!  The Scriptures were written by Catholics and the Canon of Sacred Scripture was established by Catholics through the Holy Ghost.
Christians, trusting in the Bible alone for salvation and sanctification, understand that heaven is given to lost sinners on the basis of faith alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ alone. Such faith consists in confidence that Christ alone, at His cross, suffered and died for all of the sins of His Church which is the Body of Christ. Such a faith completely trusts in the promises of God in Christ Jesus. One such assurance is eternal forgiveness of all sins and punishments based entirely upon the satisfaction of Christ's death. Such a faith takes the righteousness of Christ as the complete ground of justification. Such a faith grasps Christ's righteousness immediately. Christians believe there is only One mediator between God and man and He is Jesus Christ. 
Again I must assert that this "Bible alone" doctrine is opposed by Scripture, but we've discussed that already.  What Zins goes into next is essentially a statement of sola fide - also opposed by Scripture in James 2:24.   In fact, it is James 2:24, and ONLY there that Scripture uses the words "faith" and "alone" together, and it is in NEGATION of faith alone, or sola fide!  That being said, Catholics believe that all grace comes from the Cross and Jesus Christ.  We believe in the promises of God in Jesus Christ.  We not only believe Him, we OBEY Him!  We do not doubt His Word when He said He would build His Church (singular, not plural) and that this Church would be built upon "this rock" - and in context, we find that Simon Bar-Jonah was just named "Rock" in that same passage!  
Christians also believe there is no mediator between them and Jesus Christ. The Roman Catholic religion believes itself to be the mediator between man and Jesus Christ. But Christians cannot conceive of a "go-between" and deny the necessity of a "a middle man" between poor lost sinners and Jesus Himself!
I would challenge Mr. Zins to present the official Catholic teaching which states the Catholic religion is the mediator between man and Jesus Christ.  This is simply a false statement and then while not discussing the Sacraments AT ALL in this piece, Zins concludes:
Hence, the entire Roman Catholic sacramental system is inappropriate and in the way when seen in the light of the Christian's direct access to God via a direct route to Jesus. 
So, Mr. Zins has missed the mark entirely.  He does not discuss the Sacraments - and then based upon his misunderstanding of the relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church and the Sacraments He established - he concludes this system, implemented by Christ Himself, is "inappropriate."

I would be happy to engage Mr. Zins further in a discussion of the scriptural basis of the Sacraments and the relationship of Jesus Christ to His Church through those Sacraments if he would accept this invitation to a scholarly discussion/debate.


Monday, September 01, 2014

Mormonism and Islam Origins

I sit and wonder how can anyone accept the "truths" of Mormonism.  I mean, it just seems so far-fetched that anyone with any amount of education and especially if they have studied religious history at all would reject Mormonism completely.  Here we have a religion started by a man, Joseph Smith, who was allegedly visited by an angel named Moroni.  This angel provided him with special glasses through which he, and he alone, could read from golden tablets which were allegedly written by Moroni's father around the 4th century - the translation of these tablets is what they now call The Book of Mormon.  As the story goes, Jews fleeing persecution came to the Americas and formed two groups, the Lamanites and the Nephites and these two groups fought each other.  The Nephites (part of the "true religion") were defeated in about 428 AD and the Lamanites became what we now call the Native Americans (Indians).  The Book of Mormon is the alleged account of the Nephite leader, Mormon, who describes their culture, civilization and the appearance of Jesus to the Nephites in America.  The declared purpose of the appearance of Moroni to Joseph Smith is to restore the Nephite religion to the Americas.  

My thoughts then go to Islam...  The "Prophet Mohamed" is allegedly visited by the Archangel, Gabriel (who is mentioned in Christian Scripture).  Gabriel allegedly dictated the Word of God to Mohammed, who in turn put down those words into what we now call the Quran, (or Qu'ran or Koran).

The two cults have similar beginnings, which is a most significant comparison.  The founders of both were struggling to find the "true religion"  Both religions believe their "prophet" was visited by an angel whom delivered to them the truth of religion.  The founder of each writes a new book of "scripture" adhered to by his followers.  Both claim to be following the same God of the Judeo-Christian heritage, but both Judaism and Christianity are corruptions of the true religion.  Immediately after the death of their respective "prophets," each religion split into two cults, each claiming to be the true succession of the "prophet."  The Mormons split into a group lead by the son of Joseph Smith, they settled in Independence Missouri and are called the "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" while the other main faction followed Brigham Young to Utah.  The Muslims split similarly, one group, the Sunnis, believed that after the death of Mohammed, the successor should be elected from among his followers.  Shias, however, believed that the successor should be a relative of Mohammed and they chose his cousin/son-in-law, Ali.  Shia is shortened from "Shai-t-Ali" (the Party of Ali).  So, both cults have one faction which believes in a blood successor while the other believes the successor is to be elected.

A list I found which presents similar and a few more comparisons:
- Visited by an angel.- Given visions.
- Told that no true religion existed on the earth.
- Was sent to restore the long lost faith as the one true religion.
- A book produced from their teachings claimed to be "inspired by God."
- Each claimed to be illiterate or uneducated and used this as proof the book was inspired.
- Each claimed the Bible was lost, altered, corrupted and unreliable.
- Each claimed his new holy book was the most correct and perfect book on earth.
- Each claimed to be a final prophet of God.
- Each claimed he was persecuted because of his pure faith.
- Was a polygamist who had many wives. 
- Immediately after his death a fight broke out from among the "faithful converts" as to who would succeed him.
- Both religions have those who follow the "original doctrine" of the founding leaders and like these founding leaders, have been violent, polygamists, and have revelations justifying their evil actions.
- Each has progressive revelation. ("New" revelation always replaces older revelation that became inconvenient to the prophet.)
Another list gleaned from a wiki article:
- A founding prophet who received visits from an angel, leading to revelation of a book of scripture;
- A founding prophet whose first wife was older than himself;
- A founding prophet who practiced and preached polygamy;
- A division of the religion into a minimum of two parties after the death of the founding prophet, with one party claiming that leadership should continue through the prophet's descendants, and the other party rejecting this idea;
- Special reverence for, though not worship of, their founding prophet;
- Belief that their faith represents the genuine, original religion of Adam, and of all true prophets thereafter;
- Belief that the text of the Bible, as presently constituted, has been adulterated from its original form;
- Assertions that modern Christianity does not conform to the original religion taught by Jesus Christ;
- Rejection of the Christian doctrines of Original Sin and the Trinity;
- A belief that theirs constitutes the one and only completely true religion on the earth today;
- A clergy drawn from the laity, without necessarily requiring collegiate or seminary training;
- Insistence that their religion is a complete way of life, meant to directly influence every facet of existence;
- Strong emphasis upon chastity, including modesty in dress;
- Prohibition of alcoholic beverages, gambling, and homosexual and bisexual practices;
- Strong emphasis upon education, both in the secular and religious arenas;
- Incorporation of a sacred ritual of ablution, though each religion's rite differs in form, frequency and purpose;
- Belief that one's marriage can potentially continue into the next life, if one is faithful to the religion; and
- Belief in varying degrees of reward and punishment in the hereafter, depending upon one's performance in this life.
Fundamentally speaking, both religions have serious flaws.  Let's start with the older one, Islam.  They consider themselves the People of the Promise, which was given to Abraham - which is true, to a point.  God does promise Abraham that the people of Ishmael will become a great nation - but His Covenant would be in the line of Isaac.  The Ishmaelites become the people who would eventually embrace Islam, but they corrupt the story, giving the Covenant promise to Ishmael.  Of course they would say it is the Judeo-Christian heritage which has corrupted the story, but where is their proof?  Where is their evidence?  The Old Testament passages which testify to Isaac predate any "scripture" from Islam by over 2000 years!

Here's a debate, which I don't agree with the scoring, but do agree with the outcome (the "pro" side should have received some points as some good points were made).

Perhaps the better argument, which was never raised by the "con" side of that debate, is that by the time Isaac was taken up to be the sacrifice, Ishmael was gone, exiled with is mother wandering the wilderness of Bersabee Genesis 21:14; the biggest "pro" argument was that God refers to Abraham's "only son" - which is made after Abraham had cast out Hagar and Ishmael, and that reference is in Genesis 22:2.  So, when the statement of "only son" is made, Isaac is Abraham's only son, and is the one whom he loved. 

According to "Islam 101" the reason Isaac's name is used was due to chauvinism and that the Jews had corrupted the Scripture here, but (they say) God left the word "only" in there to demonstrate it was rightly Ishmael, who was for a time Abraham's "only son."  However, as the "con" debater above raised, the "pro" side is arguing from English translations, especially the King James Version.  I would argue that "commas" are not part of the Hebrew text, those are purely part of the English interpretation/translation and the text could be (and likely should be) better translated "Take now, thine only son whom thou lovest, Isaac..." 

Either way, based upon facts - the "pro" side of that debate would need to present the older, non-corrupted text, or else the speculation on corruption is just that, and nothing more than speculation. 

A serious flaw both religions fail is in the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity.  Islam denies any deity to Jesus and Mormonism assents that Jesus is "a god" and just one among potentially millions or even billions of gods.  The Mormon "prophet," Joseph Smith taught "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!" (in the King Follet Discourse).  The implication being, we can all be gods.  The polytheism of Mormonism is rejected by Christianity, Judaism and Islam alike.  

Back to the point of this article.  I am not the first (and certainly won't be the last) to speculate on the similarities between Islam and Mormonism.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Explaining Why Abortion is Wrong While Avoiding Religious Terms

Today I would like to show how one can debate, argue, on the merits of being pro-life without using religious texts for support.

Using only science and our own Declaration of Independence we can make a solid argument against any and all abortions. First we need to understand that a person is a living human being. The online dictionary Merriam-Webster defines ‘person’ as “a human being.” Second, our Declaration of Independence tells us that all human beings have an unalienable right to life. And thirdly, we can know that a new human being begins its life at the moment of fertilization. As the same online dictionary defines‘fertilization’ as: the process of union of two gametes whereby the somatic chromosome number is restored and the development of a new individual is initiated.

There you have it. Everything you need to successfully explain your pro-life position as being well supported by science by applying the fundamental right to life for all human beings from the beginning of its life (at fertilization) to its natural end.

There’s no other conclusion possible. You see, the only objections to my position of pro-life is to argue that size, level of development, Environment or degree of dependency are points allowing for the destruction of what is growing in the womb, which science tells us that it’s a living human being.

Let’s look at these different objections to see how weak their position really is. Does size determine if someone has a right to life? No, of course not. A baby is much smaller than a teenager but that doesn’t mean that the baby doesn’t have a right to life simply because it’s smaller in size. The same goes for a newly formed human being, the zygote. It may be extremely small but it is indeed a human being and alive and therefore it has a right to life just as a baby or a teenager does. Size does not determine if one has rights.

Does the level of development determine if one has the right to life? Of course not. An adult human being is much more developed than a toddler, does that mean that the adult has a greater degree of this right to life than the toddler does? Just because the level of development might prevent a human being from ‘thinking’ or ‘feeling’ doesn’t mean that our value is based on our abilities. Some individuals , like Gabby Gingras, can’t feel pain at all but that doesn’t mean that she has no right to life.

Does ones location determine if one has a right to life? No. Just because they are living in the womb at the moment, which is in its proper location for its age, doesn’t change ones nature that they are indeed a human being and the fact that they are growing means that they are alive. All living human beings have a right to life no matter where they may be at a certain time in their lives. I have as much a right to life whether I’m in bed or at work; the same applies to the individual whether she is in the womb or in her mother’s arms.

And lastly, the level of dependency. The fact that the individual who is completely dependent on the mother for survival does not determine whether he has a right to life. If that were the case then a newborn would not have a right to life either since it is completely dependent on someone else, usually the mother for its survival. If level of dependency on another for survival determines if one has a right to life means that the killing of newborns would be morally acceptable. No rational individual would support the killing of newborns.

Again, we can plainly see that if it can be ascertained with a great amount of certainty that a new human being begins its existence at the moment of fertilization, then by virtue of believing in the right to life for all supercedes any ‘rights’ the mother may feel she has to an abortion for whatever reason. Science has determined with certainty that a human being does indeed begin its life at the moment of conception which means that a mothers ‘right’ to choose to deliberately kill her developing human being should not be allowed by law.

The right to life is to be afforded to all living human beings simply by virtue of them being human beings. And that right to life cannot be taken away because of their size, level of development, environment or dependency. They deserve this right because we believe that the founders had it right; that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights[that cannot be taken away or denied], that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

God Bless

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sir Richard Attenborough

Sir Richard Attenborough has passed away at age 90.  While he's been a character actor in many films, my best memory of him is as Jacob in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (a favorite of my daughter before she passed away).
Sir Richard Attenborough (Jacob) with Donny Osmond (Joseph)
Rest in peace, Sir Attenborough.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Open Letter to Richard Dawkins

Dr. Scott Hahn posted to Facebook this Open Letter to Richard Dawkins and encouraged sharing it...  I agree and am sharing...  please feel free to do the same.  I'll have a final comment after the letter....

Dear Dr. Dawkins,
Earlier this week, on Twitter, you drew attention to a troubling fact unknown to most people. You pointed out that in the United States and Europe, most children conceived with Down syndrome are aborted. You’re right. Some experts put the number as high as 90 percent. Others suggest that only 65 percent, or 70 percent, or 80 percent of children with Down syndrome are aborted. The actual number is probably very difficult to determine. You have a platform, Dr. Dawkins, an audience, and in some real way I’m very grateful that you drew attention to the pre-natal eradication of people with Down syndrome.
But you made your point about the ubiquity of Down syndrome abortion in order to defend a terrible assertion. You suggested on Twitter, Dr. Dawkins, a moral imperative to abort children conceived with Down Syndrome. You said that if a woman had the choice to abort such a child, and she failed to so, she would have acted immorally. I’m troubled by that, and, very honestly, I’m confused.
You’ve traditionally held a position of moral neutrality regarding abortion. You’ve asserted that killing animals, with the capacity to experience pain, fear, and suffering, is of greater moral significance than killing fetuses: nascently human, you assert, but without the kind of sentience that gives them moral significance. You’ve suggested that no carnivore can reasonably hold a position in opposition to abortion. You’re not alone in that position, it’s become de rigueur among most contemporary analytic ethicists.
I disagree with your position. I’ve long ago concluded that the fetus, the embryo, and in fact, the zygote are human beings—undeveloped, certainly, but possessing the dignity and the rights of sentient adults.
Despite my disagreement, I recognize that you’ve tried to apply your viewpoint with consistency across a variety of ethical situations.
Until this week. This week, you moved from presenting abortion as a morally neutral act to asserting that the abortion of some people—genetically disabled people—is a moral good. A moral imperative, in fact. You haven’t asserted a basis for this position. I suspect you believe that people with Down syndrome suffer, needlessly, and cause undue suffering to their friends and relatives. And, as a general principle, I believe you’re inclined to obviate as much human suffering as possible.
You’ve often said that people who disagree with you should “go away, and learn how to think.” I’ve tried to learn to think, over the years, but perhaps I am naive in some ways. But one of things I’ve concluded is that ethical philosophy can’t be done in a sterile environment—that our humanity, our intuition, our empathy, in fact, must be recognized as a source of ethical insight if we want to think well. Perhaps you believe that your position on abortion and down syndrome is logically valid. But I wonder if you’re kept awake at night by the revulsion that comes with being the champion of killing.
Suffering is not a moral evil to be avoided. Suffering can have meaning and value. Ask Victor Frankl. Or Mohandas Gandhi. Or Martin Luther King, Jr. Or, if you’re willing, ask my children.
I have two children with Down syndrome. They’re adopted. Their birth-parents faced the choice to abort them, and didn’t. Instead the children came to live with us. They’re delightful children. They’re beautiful. They’re happy. One is a cancer survivor, twice-over. I found that in the hospital, as she underwent chemotherapy and we suffered through agony and exhaustion, our daughter Pia was more focused on befriending nurses and stealing stethoscopes. They suffer, my children, but in the context of irrepressible joy.
I wonder, if you spent some time with them, whether you’d feel the same way about suffering, about happiness, about personal dignity. I wonder, if you danced with them in the kitchen, whether you’d think abortion was in their best interest. I wonder, if you played games with them, or shared a joke with them, whether you’d find some worth in their existence.
And so, Dr. Dawkins, I’d like to invite you to dinner. Come spend time with my children. Share a meal with them. Before you advocate their deaths, come find out what’s worthwhile in their lives. Find out if the suffering is worth the joy.
I don’t want you to come over for a debate. I don’t want to condemn you. I want you to experience the joy of children with Down syndrome. I want your heart to be moved to joy as well.
Any day next week is good for us except for Wednesday.
Sincerely yours,
JD Flynn
JD Flynn writes from Lincoln, Nebraska. 
For many years I taught gymnastics - and in that previous life one of my specialties was working with the Special Needs community.  Many of these children had Downs Syndrome, and each one - in their own special way - was a true gift and joy to work with.  Certainly sometimes challenging, but the rewards were always worth it.  I had the honor to coach the Special Olympics gymnastics champion for several of those years.  
I hope Dr. Dawkins accepts JD Flynn's invitation.  There is no way one can spend time with one of these special children without seeing the gift they bring to all around them.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sadness Over the Death of Robin Williams

On my way home from work today I heard the news of the apparent suicide of Robin Williams.  I briefly looked on Facebook and saw many of the sad posts mourning the loss of Robin Williams.  Certainly as an actor, he will be missed.  He was a man of many talents and was able to bring his audiences to tears of joy, and sometimes tears of sadness too.  What saddens me more though is, if the reports are true, that he succumbed to suicide - which is a total lack of faith, even a rejection of faith.  Only God can judge what the state of Mr. Williams soul was at the point of death - so I will not presume to judge his eternal state, but it saddens me to hear about someone who felt his or her problems were bigger than God could handle.

My prayers go out to William's family, and I do pray for his soul - may God have mercy on him.

Photograph: Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times/

Friday, August 08, 2014

ISIS Monsters Beheading Children

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, aka ISIS, is taking "terror" to new heights.  They are beheading children simply because they are Christian.  I had thought about posting the picture of a Syrian father holding the lifeless body of his headless daughter for the shock value, but I have decided against it.  Or how about group crucifixions of Christians?  If you really want to see that morbidity, it's not hard to find in Google or Yahoo searches.  This is beyond terror, it is horror.

Meanwhile, many Americans sit at home and ponder the upcoming NFL season and/or speculate on what is in store for the NBA and NHL seasons which are not much further away.  Should the world stop and put an end to these monsters who claim to be fighting for Allah?  Or, should we just carry on as if nothing is happening, after all, it's not happening in our backyard?  How is this genocide any less horrific than Hitler's treatment of the Jews?  What is it going to take to get the world to take action against ISIS?  I know the USA is still recovering from many years at war in the region - but our pull-out was ill-timed and left a vacuum which was filled by radical factions of Islam.

Don't get me wrong here... most Muslims are not like ISIS.  I also do not support the errors of Islam, but ISIS is not representative of a majority of Islam.  While we can peacefully debate between Christianity and Islam - there is no "debating" with these radical elements.  All they know is violence and hatred of anything or anyone not like themselves.  The only thing which will end their horror will be their complete defeat in this game of war they have actively engaged themselves within.

I urge everyone reading this to pray and fast over these current events.  If an article like this is not enough to convince you, then do a Google or Yahoo images search for "beheaded children" and if that doesn't get your attention, I don't know what will... perhaps just letting the forces of ISIS continue until they really are doing these acts in your own backyard?

I am deliberately NOT "linking" the URL below so that you may be fairly warned of the graphic images you will see if you copy and paste it into your browser.

Oh, and lest any have forgotten... it HAS happened in our backyard...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Conversation with a Non-Catholic

Questioner:  You know, when you pray to Mary you are introducing a mediator between God and man and that goes against God  because He said that “there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.”

An adequate reply:  If that’s the way you feel then don’t you ever, ever ask me to pray for you ever again.  You see, the minute you ask me to pray for you in your time of need you are putting me between you and our one mediator, Jesus Christ.

What we Catholics are doing when praying to Mary is to ask her to pray to Jesus on our behalf in the same way as you would ask me to pray for you on your behalf.  When Paul spoke of the one mediator he introduced the subject by stating that it was good for us to pray for one another (1 Tim 2:1-5).  It is good for one member of the Body of Christ to pray for the well-being of another member of the Body of Christ and since not even (physical) death can separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ (Rom 8:38-39) then even those members of the Body who have physically died are alive and well in heaven because Jesus tells us directly that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jabob is a God of the living implying that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are alive(Matt 22:32).  And because death will not separate us from the Body of Christ means that those who have died in friendship with God are not only alive but that they are STILL members of the Body of Christ.
Questioner: But they’re dead.  They can’t hear your prayers.

Reply: What would be the point of asking for intercessory prayers if the people we are asking are not aware of us or of our prayers?  Well we can find that they ARE aware of us in Heb 12:1 where it says: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”  Or in Luke 15:18 where Luke tells us that their is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
We can see that the saints in heaven are not only alive just as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are alive but that they are indeed aware of what is happening here on earth.

And so ‘dead’ saints are alive in heaven, aware of what is happening on earth and can pray for our well-being just as we can pray for the well-being of others.
God Bless