Sunday, May 23, 2010

Saul Alinsky

When I first heard that Saul Alinsky's book, "Rules for Radicals" - allegedly the playbook used by folks like President Obama and Secretary Clinton - among others - contains a dedication to Lucifer, well I was skeptical.  How could the President of the United States embrace something so blatantly dedicated to the Prince of Evil?  Well, it didn't take me too long to find the dedication - I'll save you some effort, here it is:

“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgement to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins—or which is which), the fist radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom—Lucifer.” –Saul Alinsky

You can verify this yourself by going to Amazon.com and then use the "Look Inside" option.  From there, use the "Search" option and search for the word "kingdom" - there's only one hit, and there you will see it.

http://www.amazon.com/Rules-Radicals-Saul-Alinsky/dp/0679721134#reader_0679721134

Or here is a photocopy of that page:



Now, before I (we) really run with this, I'd like to see where President Obama and/or Secretary Clinton have actually embraced, used or supported Alinsky.   Your comments here would be appreciated if you have helpful information.

I know this is not directly a Catholic apologetics matter - but indirectly it is if the allegations are true.

In JMJ,
Scott<<<

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

St. Augustine on Apologetics


   "If only the weak understanding of the ordinary man did not stubbornly resist the plain evidence of logic and truth!  If only it would, in its feeble condition, submit itself to the restorative medicine of sound teaching, until divine assistance, procured by devout faith, effected a cure!  In that case, men of sound judgement and adequate powers of exposition would not need to engage in lengthy discussion in order to refute mistakes and fanciful conjectures.  But as things are, the intelligent are infected by a gross mental disorder which makes them defend the irrational workings of their minds as if they were logic and truth itself, even when the evidence has been put before them as plainly as is humanly possible.  Either they are too blind to see what is put before their face, or they are too perversely obstinate to admit what they see.  The result is that we are forced very often to give an extended exposition of the obvious, as if we were not presenting it for people to look at, but for them to touch and handle with their eyes shut.
     "And yet, will we ever come to an end of discussion and talk if we think we must always reply to replies?  For replies come from those who either cannot understand what is said to them, or are so stubborn and contentious that they refuse to give in even if they do understand.  In fact, as the Bible says, 'Their conversation is unrighteousness, and they are indefatibable in folly.' [Ps. 94:4]  You can see how infinitely laborious and fruitless it would be to try to refute every objection they offer, when they have resolved never to think before they speak provided that somehow or other they contradict our arguments.
     "For this reason...I hope that you and others, for whose benefit, in the love of Christ, I freely devote this labour of mine, will not be the kind of critics who always look for a reply when any opposition is raised to what is said in this book.  I trust they will not be like 'silly women', of who the Apostle speaks, 'who are always being instructed, and never arrive at knowledge of the truth.'"  [2 Tim 3:7]
--St. Augustine, "City of God", Book II, ch. 1

Although St. Augustine is speaking of the pagans of his time, especially those who are blaming the Church for the sacking of Rome a few years before, one can feel his frustration at trying to explain and defend the Church over and over to others.  I know anyone who is in Catholic Apologetics, defending Christ's Gospel and His Church, knows this frustration and has probably said almost the very same thing about their opponents. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Easter Duty 2010 Last Chance!

Well, this coming Sunday is Pentecost Sunday!  This is your last chance to fulfill your "Easter Duty" if you have not done so already.   A reminder:
CCC 2042 The first precept ("You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor") requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the Mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days. The second precept ("You shall confess your sins at least once a year") ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism's work of conversion and forgiveness.
The third precept ("You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season") guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord's Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.
Catechism of the Catholic Church 2042
Can. 920 §1. After being initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, each of the faithful is obliged to receive holy communion at least once a year.
§2. This precept must be fulfilled during the Easter season unless it is fulfilled for a just cause at another time during the year.
Code of Canon Law 920
So with the Easter Season drawing to a close, it's time to get yourself to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance/Confession), preferably PRIOR to Pentecost Sunday and reception of the Eucharist before or on Pentecost Sunday - THIS Sunday!

I pray your Eastertide has been fruitful, blessed and productive for the Lord. 

In JMJ,
Scott<<<

See also: http://cathapol.blogspot.com/2009/03/easter-duty.html

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Augustine on Peter

My thanks to Cathmom5 who has been presenting snippets from St. Augustine, here are some I've collected on St. Peter...

Number the bishops from the see of Peter itself. And in that order of Fathers see who succeeded whom, That is the rock against which the gates of hell do not prevail.”
Psalmus contra partem Donati, 18 (A.D. 393),GCC 51 


“Let us not listen to those who deny that the Church of God is able to forgive all sins. They are wretched indeed, because they do not recognize in Peter the rock and they refuse to believe that the keys of heaven, lost from their own hands, have been given to the Church.”
Christian Combat, 31:33(A.D. 397), in JUR,3:51 


“For if the lineal succession of bishops is to be taken into account, with how much more certainty and benefit to the Church do we reckon back till we reach Peter himself, to whom, as bearing in a figure the whole Church, the Lord said: ‘Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it !’ The successor of Peter was Linus, and his successors in unbroken continuity were these: -- Clement, Anacletus, Evaristus, Alexander, Sixtus, Telesphorus, Iginus, Anicetus, Pius, Soter, Eleutherius, Victor, Zephirinus, Calixtus, Urbanus, Pontianus, Antherus, Fabianus, Cornelius, Lucius, Stephanus, Xystus, Dionysius, Felix, Eutychianus, Gaius, Marcellinus, Marcellus, Eusebius, Miltiades, Sylvester, Marcus, Julius, Liberius, Damasus, and Siricius, whose successor is the present Bishop Anastasius. In this order of succession no Donatist bishop is found. But, reversing the natural course of things, the Donatists sent to Rome from Africa an ordained bishop, who, putting himself at the head of a few Africans in the great metropolis, gave some notoriety to the name of ‘mountain men,’ or Cutzupits, by which they were known.”
To Generosus, Epistle 53:2(A.D. 400), in NPNF1,I:298 


“When, therefore, He had said to His disciples, ‘Will ye also go away?” Peter, that Rock, answered with the voice of all, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.’ “
Homilies on John, Tract 11:5(A.D. 417), in NPNF1,VII:76 


“And the Lord, to him to whom a little before He had said, ‘Blessed thou art, and upon this Rock I will build my Church,’ saith, ‘Go back behind, Satan, an offence thou art to Me.’ Why therefore ‘Satan’ is he, that a little before was ‘blessed,’ and a ‘Rock’ ?”
In Psalms, 56[55]:14[PL 36, 656] (A.D. 418),in NPNF1,VIII:223 


“Peter, who had confessed Him as the Son of God, and in that confession had been called the rock upon which the Church should be built.”
In Psalms, 69:4[PL 36, 869] (A.D. 418), in Butler, 251 


“And if a Jew asks us why we do that, we sound from the rock, we say, This Peter did, this Paul did: from the midst of the rocks we give our voice. But that rock, Peter himself, that great mountain, when he prayed and saw that vision, was watered from above.”
In Psalms, 104[103]:16(A.D. 418),in NPNF1,VIII:513 



A Challenge From Orthodoxy

From another forum, which since I'm leaving it, I will not advertise for them (for you will not be there long enough to continue responding).  My words will be in maroon.  An Orthodox person who goes by the nickname of "Lion" said:

Lion says: I will challenge that Scott for the Only Church that was and still is connected to the beginning of Christendom is the Orthodox churches... You seem to forget the Break Away from Holy Praxis of the first Millennium  and subsequent acts of departures...


I submit, there was no "departure" or "Break Away" from Holy Praxis (or practice) in the first millennium or thereafter.  Our traditions are different, but Sacred Tradition remains.  The concept of Theosis, while not a practice of Western Christians - it is not objected to either.

I (Lion) will bring forth:

In the Holy Praxis:

1) the abrogation of the married priesthood


The married priesthood is not a churchwide abrogation, it is a discipline of the Latin Church, which is shared, at least in part, in much of the Eastern Church.  Even in the Eastern tradition, once ordained a priest marriage is forbidden and there are no married bishops.  





2) the separation of Baptism and Confirmation


Baptism and Confirmation are two distinct Sacraments and need not be combined.


3) the abrogation of Communion to the Holy Blood


Communion in both species has ALWAYS been practiced in the Latin Rite!  The Precious Blood has not always been distributed to the congregation (though it is commonplace now) but it has ALWAYS been part of the Eucharistic celebration - in fact the Mass would be invalid without it.


4) the abrogation of giving Holy Communion to babies and little children


There is no "law" stating the Eucharist is to be shared with babies and little children.  This is a matter of discipline within the rights of each rite.

5) the secularization of the Sacred Roman(Latin) Orthodox Divine Liturgy


I am not exactly sure of what "Lion" is getting at here.  I hope he reads this and adds a comment.

6) the ''pyramidalization'' of the structure of the Church
  

Again, I believe more clarity is needed here.  I am unfamiliar with this label of "pyramidalization."

In the Apostolic Doctrine:

7) the self-proclamation of the supremacy of the pope


But of course, we do not see this as a self-proclamation, but something Jesus, the Good Shepherd, passed down to St. Peter in John 21:15-17.

8) the self-proclamation of the infallibility of the pope by himself


Again, this is not a self-proclamation, but directly bestowed upon Peter, alone, in Matthew 16:18-19.

9) the misunderstanding of the Divine Relations in the Most Holy Trinity


Catholics have no misunderstanding of the "Divine Relations in the Most Holy Trinity."  We may use some different terminology, but our understanding is not flawed.  I'm sure this is a "dig" at the use of the Filioque in the Nicene Creed - and though I agree it is an addition to that creed, it is not a misunderstanding of the "Divine Relations in the Most Holy Trinity."  This can be a whole debate in itself, so the response here is not intended to answer all of Orthodoxy's objections to the Filioque.

10) the misunderstanding of the Divine Energies


Again, Catholics have no misunderstanding here, those who have looked into the Divine Energies that is.  There really is no disagreement here between Catholics and Orthodoxy, the philosophical discourse used to describe the Divine Energies is not commonly used in Western/Latin thought, but there is nothing in Western thought opposed to Orthodoxy's view of Divine Energies.

11) the innovation of Purgatory as Lieu and the processus of Indulgences 


Well, since Purgatory is not an innovation, but something referenced in Scripture itself, "Lion's" claim here is from an ignorance to Scripture and in direct contradiction to the scriptural position of the Christian Church.  As for "as Lieu and the processus of Indulgences," the statement makes no sense, so again I would have to ask "Lion" for clarity.

In JMJ,
Scott<<<



Friday, May 14, 2010

St. Augustine on the Meaning of Suffering

Why do Catholics believe there is any merit in suffering?  Isn't suffering just a punishment?  If you have suffering doesn't it mean you lack faith?  What is the meaning of suffering?

St. Augustine's view of suffering seems to be the one adopted by the Church early on, and one of the things that Christians struggle with today.  The Catholic understanding is that suffering merits good for our souls and can be a witness to others. 

     However, it often happens that God shows more clearly His manner of working in the distribution of good and bad fortune.  For if punishment were obviously inflicted on every wrongdoing in this life, it would be supposed that nothing was reserved for the last judgement; on the other hand, if God's power never openly punished any sin in this world, there would be an end to belief in providence.  Similarly in respect to good fortune; if God did not grant it to some petitioners with manifest generosity, we should not suppose that these temporal blessings were His concern, while if He bestowed prosperity on all just for the sake of those rewards, and any service of Him would prove us not godly but rather greedy and covetous.
   This being so, when the good and the wicked suffer alike, the identity of their suffering does not mean that there is no difference between them.  Though the sufferings are the same, the sufferers remain different.  Virtue and vice are not the same, even if they undergo the same torment.  The fire which makes gold shine makes chaff smoke; the same flail breaks up the straw, and clears the grain; and oil is not mistaken for lees because both are forced out by the same press.  In the same way, the violence which assails good men to test them, to cleanse, and purify them, effects in the wicked their condemnation, ruin, and annihilation.  Thus the wicked, under pressure of affliction, execrate God and blaspheme;  the good, in the same affliction, offer up prayers and praises.  This shows that what matters is the nature of the sufferer, not the nature of the sufferings.  Stir a cesspit, and a foul stench arises; stir a perfume, and a delightful fragrance ascends.  But the movement is identical. 
[St. Augustine, "City of God", Book 1, "chapter" 8]

Suffering is not necessarily a punishment.  Fortune and fame not necessarily a reward.  What matters is what is inside.  Sometimes God tests, sometimes punishes, and sometimes allows "bad things to happen to good people" because He gave man free will, some choosing to do evil.  Christians should "offer up prayers and praises" through it all and hope for the reward that is our future home.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

St. Augustine discovers the Catholic Church

Lately, protestants posting on the net have tried to say the St. Augustine neither believed in a visible church nor supported the Catholic Church and her doctrines. Not only is this completely false but his love of and support of the Church can be seen in much of his writings. The following is from Book VI of his "Confessions" written about 397-398 AD/CE. At this point in his autobiography, he has not yet converted to the Catholic Church.

Without further ado, St. Augustine on the Church:

"....Yet every Sunday I listened as he [St. Ambrose] preached the word of truth to the people, and I grew more and more certain that it was possible to unravel the tangle woven by those who had deceived both me and the others with their cunning lies against the Holy Scriptures. I learned that your spiritual children, whom by your grace you have made to be born again of our Catholic Mother the Church, do not understand the words 'God made man in his own image' [Footnote: Gen 1:27] to mean that you are limited by the shape of a human body, and although I could form not the vaguest idea, even with the help of allegory, of how there could be substance that was spritual, nevertheless I was glad that all this time I had been howling my complaints not against the Catholic Faith but against something quite imaginary which I had thought up in my own head. At the same time I was ashamed of myself, because I had certainly been both rash and impious in speaking out in condemnation of a matter on which I ought to have taken pains to be better informed."

"...But by now I was sure at least that there was no certainty in them [the Manichean writings], though I had taken them for true when I blindly attacked your Catholic Church. Though I had not yet discovered that what the Church taught was the truth, at least I had learnt that she did not teach the doctrines which I so sternly denounced. This bewildered me, but I was on the road to conversion and I was glad, my God, that the one Church, the Body of your only Son, in which the name of Christ had been put upon me as a child, had no liking for childish absurdities and there was nothing in the sound doctrine which she taught to show that you, the Creator of all things, were confined within a measure of space which, however high, however wide it might be, was yet strictly determined by the form of a human body."

"I was glad too that at last I had been shown how to interpret the ancient Scriptures of the law and the prophets in a different light from that which had previously made them seem absurd, when I used to criticize your saints for holding beliefs which they had never really held at all. I was pleased to hear that in his sermons to people Ambrose often repeated the text: 'The written law inflicts death, whereas the spiritual law brings life,' [footnote: II Cor 3:6] as though this were a rule upon which he wished to insist most carefully. And when he lifted the veil of mystery and disclosed the spiritual meaning of the texts which, taken literally, appeared to contain the most unlikely doctrines, I was not aggrieved by what he said, although I did not yet know whether it was true."

[St. Augustine, "Confessions, " Book 6, selections from the last paragraph of Chapter 3, and the beginning of chapter 4. pg 114, 115 of the 'Penguin Classics' edition, first pub. 1961]

Here you can read "Confessions," Book 6 online. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/110106.htm
Note: The online translation has a little more antiquated English than the one from which I quoted.

St. Augustine tells us he railed against the Church because he didn't actually know what she taught. Sounds kinda like Bishop Sheen's quote that "There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be."

AMDG
Laurie