Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Squirrels

There were five houses of religion in a small Florida town:
A Presbyterian Church, a Baptist Church, a Methodist Church, a Catholic Church, and a Jewish Synagogue.

All of them were overrun with pesky squirrels.  One day, the Presbyterian Church called a meeting to decide what to do about the squirrels.  After much prayer and consideration they determined that the squirrels were pre-destined to be there and they shouldn't interfere with God's divine will.

In the Baptist Church the squirrels had taken up habitation in the baptistery.  The deacons met and decided to put a cover on the baptistery and drown the squirrels in it.  The squirrels escaped somehow and there were twice as many there the next week.

The Methodist Church got together and decided that they were not in a position to harm any of God's creations.  So they humanely trapped the squirrels and set them free a few miles outside of town.  Two days later the squirrels were back.

Now, the Catholic Church came up with a fairly effective solution.  They baptized the squirrels and registered them as members of the church.  Now they only see them on Christmas, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday and Easter.

Not much was heard about the Jewish Synagogue, but theirs seemed to be the best solution.   They took one squirrel and had a short service with him called circumcision and they haven't seen a squirrel on the property since.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Solemnity of the Annunciation

Icon of the Annunciation
Today, Friday March 25, 2011 is the Feast Day of the Annunciation of our Lord - which is a solemnity.  A solemnity is the highest ranking feast in the liturgical calendar.  Essentially it is like a Sunday.  So, when a solemnity falls on a Friday during Lent, like today, we're not obliged to abstain or fast.  The Annunciation is when St. Gabriel the Archangel came to the Blessed Virgin and announced that she would be the Mother of Our Lord.

Every Friday Throughout the Year?
The above being said, I like to remind everyone that abstinence on Fridays is not just a Lenten practice!  Back in the 1960's the requirement of abstaining specifically from meat was lifted - EXCEPT during Lent, when the penitential practice of abstaining specifically from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent remains.  Now I said "specifically from meat" because we (those of proper age and circumstance) are still obliged to abstain from SOMETHING EQUIVALENT - or - do a specific act of charity as approved by our local Episcopal Conference.  My position has been and remains, if it must be something equivalent, why not stick with the tradition of abstaining from meat?  1) It's easy to remember.  2) It became synonymous with Catholicism for so many years that it's part of our identity!  Wear it proudly!  Do not be ashamed to offer up this small amount of penance for our Lord!
                          
Can We Eat Meat Today?
OK, back to the subject at hand...  TODAY you can enjoy that hamburger without guilt!  Hey, if you're going to have some beef - why not make it a prime rib or filet mignon?!  And don't worry - St. Gabriel is on your side!  This only happens about once every seven years - so celebrate it!  And when your friends ask you why you're eating meat on a Friday in Lent - it can be an ice-breaker to discuss the Solemnity of the Annunciation and the whole topic of abstinence and the proper observation of it.  You know, many of your Catholic friends may not even be aware of these facts - so help educate them!

And so you know this is not just "me" speaking, here's the pertinent Canon Law on the matter (emphasis mine):
Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Make note, this also supports what I said about ALL FRIDAYS too, not JUST Fridays of Lent!
 
Always Be Prepared To Give An Answer!
I would also throw a bit of caution to the wind...  be prepared to answer for yourself too!  In the spirit of 1 Peter 3:15-17, always be ready to give an answer!  If you're eating meat today and someone asks and you do not explain yourself, that could be scandalous - which would be sinful.  Be ready to answer, and answer with charity.
 
In JMJ,
Scott<<<








Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Mystery of Faith

The following is a response to the combox under "Is Jesus a Door?"  The response got too big to continue in the combox, so I have made a new article of my reply...

Scott: Let's not try to use "typical" or "stereotypical" comments, if we can avoid them. Such are polemical and rarely fruitful.


Monty: If the "typical" refutation of Catholic doctrine is squarely based on the sacred Text, I am not ashamed to use it, and that you choose to label it "stereotypical" will not diminish the force of its impact.

The "force of impact" is quite diminished when you resort to stereotypical commentary instead of intellectual dialog.

S: You seem rather offended by "to Jesus through Mary" - which is wholly another topic and I will address that in a separate blog article.


M: I hardly think that since the majority of Catholics think it necessary to go THROUGH Mary to get TO Jesus, is somehow "another" topic. For you perhaps it becomes "another" issue, but that's because it so flagrantly violates the Scriptures--and you are caught between a rock and hard place by trying to conform the Bible with out-of-control RC piety. I would certainly hate to be in your position.

I am quite fine "in my position" for I do not claim it is "necessary" to go through Mary to get to Jesus, but it IS PRACTICAL! The Word made Flesh did so through Mary, the Mother of God. She didn't stop being His mother just because He is also God! I believe Jesus loves His mother and thus anything she petitions Him for, He is inclined to listen - as witnessed in the first public miracle of our Lord at Cana.

S: You're putting down your "immaculate foot" over a non-issue to this discussion.


M: Quite a stubborn person, you.

I've been called worse - but being stubborn for the truth is not a negative.

M: I am certainly not being unreasonable by taking my thermometer and examining the spiritual temperature of Catholics who use Mary as a doormat to get to Jesus.

It has been explained to you, quite politely, how referring to the Blessed Mother as a "doormat" is insulting, why do you persist in insulting/inflammatory language when such is not necessary and alternatives have been offered to you?

The temperature reading says they are running a high fever as it regards that issue, being just as wrong as what we find in the catechism (#2677), which would have us believe that we must entrust "all our cares and petitions to HER"; a bold and bombastic contradiction to 1 Peter 5:7: "Casting ALL your care on Him, for He careth for you."

Monty, you don't seem to understand the concept that cares cast upon Mary ARE cast upon Jesus!  Again the "To Jesus through Mary" posting is in the works, so this topic will be addressed more directly there. 


S: Jesus IS the Door to Heaven, NO ONE enters Heaven except THROUGH HIM!

Monty quotes: 
"VATICAN CITY, SEP 9, 1998 (VIS) - At today's Wednesday general audience in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke on the theme of The Spirit of God and the 'Seeds of Truth' in non-Christian Religions. The 'seeds of truth', said John Paul II, are 'the effect of the Spirit of truth operating outside the visible confines of the Mystical Body', the wind 'which blows where it wills'. The Holy Father explained that in all authentic religious experiences, the most characteristic manifestation is prayer. ... Every true prayer is inspired by the Holy Spirit, Who is mysteriously present in the heart of every person. Through the practice of what is good in their own religious traditions, and following the dictates of their consciences, members of other religions positively respond to God's invitation and receive salvation in Jesus Christ, even though they may not recognize Him as their Savior."
Needless to say, your attempts at insisting that Christ is the ONLY way into paradise---- but who, according to the RCC will allow many in who could not care less about His holy person, makes your argument quite disingenuous. After all is said and done, it doesn't make Him a door at all, but a CRAWLSPACE, where Muslims---(experts at being on their knees 3 times a day), get to slip past Him "by following their own religious tradition" which rejects Jesus Christ no less than 15 times in the Koran!

Scott replies:  Monty, one day you will learn (I hope) that YOU are not the judge of ANYONE!  You need to get yourself out of that Judgment Seat, which is Christ's - and His ALONE!  The Catholic Church, if you read official teachings correctly, does NOT say that those not IN the Catholic Church WILL get to Heaven, but only says MAY get there if the reason they are not part of His Church is due to no fault of their own - there are many statements on Invincible Ignorance which the Church ALLOWS for GOD to be THE JUDGE.  When the Church says someone MAY be saved... etc. it would not be wise to take that as a caveat and THINK you are thusly saved.  No, look further and see where the Church teaches who WILL be saved!  Those who DO His Will and OBEY Him, those WILL be saved!  If you are willfully remaining outside His Church... well, that's going to be between yourself and God Almighty.  Again, one who is HONESTLY and DILIGENTLY seeking the TRUTH will not be content with a "maybe" statement.

Monty continues:  We also notice the ridiculous statement that the Holy Spirit is "mysteriously present" in everyone (an utterly unbiblical premise), and the word "mysterious" always and forever being summoned into service to dodge all of the RCC's "mystifying theocracy" without any explanation or scriptural proof. 

Ridiculous?  I'm so sorry that you do not seem to understand what the "Mysterium Fidei" (Mystery of Faith) is all about.  Monty, Faith IS a mystery!  If it were not, it would not be "faith" but "proof."  The Christian Faith is just that - it is based in FAITH - and for those who have faith it is wonderful and confirming; but for one who lacks faith, they will scoff and ridicule those who have faith.  I pray that God grants you faith, TRUE faith, that you might be comforted in Him and in the mysterium fidei - which is the REALITY of His Presence in the Eucharist.  All that is necessary "proof" for one who has faith is Jesus' own words, "This IS My body." 

Monty errantly contiues:  No wonder God calls Rome, "MYSTERY Babylon" in the book of Revelation!

Mystery Babylon in Revelation 17-18 would more aptly be pointing to something like the United States, whereas the woman in Revelation 12 would more aptly be pointing to the Church.  Again, Monty, consider that "mystery" and "faith" go hand in hand, and to accuse the Catholic Church of falsity based upon the use of "mysterium fidei" is quite simple minded and, well, not well thought out.

S: It seems to me, just expressing my personal opinion here, that you cannot accept that a Catholic believes that Jesus REALLY IS A DOOR. Remember, THAT is the matter we're discussing in this article which you are attempting to divert to a discussion on Mary. THE POINT is that Jesus REALLY IS A DOOR just as the Eucharist REALLY IS HIS BODY AND BLOOD!You seem to be avoiding that point.


M: Oh come now. Jesus is not "really" a door in the same sense as your belief that the Eucharist "really is" His body and blood. The former is obviously figurative, the latter, literal.


Well Monty, Jesus really is a door!  He REALLY is the entry into Heaven, and no one gets to Heaven without going through Him.  Likewise, the Eucharist REALLY IS His body and blood.  It is not merely symbolic as you seem to think.  "This is..." is not symbolic language.

Again, may God grant you faith.

In JMJ,
Scott<<<

Sunday, March 20, 2011

To Be Deep In History

I write this article in response to Keith Mathison's article of the same title.  In Mathison's article he states:
Cardinal Newman recognized the obvious difference between the current Roman Church and the early church. He was too deep in history not to see it. He had to develop his famous idea of doctrinal development to explain it. He argued that all the later Roman doctrines and practices were “hidden” in the church from the beginning. They were made explicit over time under the guidance of the Spirit. But the problem that many Roman Catholics fail to see is that there is a difference between development and contradiction. It is one thing to use different language to teach something the church has always taught (e.g., the “Trinity”). It is another thing altogether to begin teaching something that the church always denied (e.g., papal supremacy or infallibility). Those doctrines in particular were built on multitudes of forgeries.
Dr. Mathison is just flatly wrong here.  Let us take a look at these two examples which he specifically mentions.  Keep in mind, he is stating that not only are these "built on multitudes of forgeries," but that they are also not "developed" doctrines - rather they are "contradictory" doctrines (to the false concept of sola scriptura, which is the invented doctrine of the Protestants of the 16th century).


Papal Supremacy
The basis of papal supremacy is built upon the Scriptures themselves!  One who adheres to Scripture should not oppose that for which Scripture is the foundation!  Now Dr. Mathison does not get into examples in his article, rather he just makes an unsubstantiated assertion.  I will not respond in kind, I will present evidence from Scripture for the foundation of papal supremacy.
Matthew 16:18-19 - I'm sure most reading this already have heard the arguments from both side as to whether or not the Church would be built upon St. Peter or upon his confession, so I won't belabor that particular argumentation here and now - the fact of the matter is that Jesus is speaking directly and solely to St. Peter here, and against that - there is no argument.  St. Peter is singled out here and to him alone the promise of the keys to the kingdom of Heaven is given. 
Isaiah 22:20-21 - There is a Biblical analogy for just as King Hezekiah (715-686 B.C.) gave authority to his Prime Minister Eliakim (Isa 22: 20-21), so too did Jesus invest Peter.[1]
Rev 3: 7, refers to “The words of the holy one, who has the keys of David, who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens.” These are the royal keys Christ presented to Peter.[2]
John 21:15-19 - Jesus, in threefold manner, while still maintaining the "sheep" are "His," gives to St. Peter, and St. Peter alone, the commission to "feed My sheep...tend My sheep..."  Whereas Jesus remains the Shepherd, He is passing on His authority as such to St. Peter. 

Now, there are many more references which can be shown here - and while I do not deny Protestants have their own "spin" on them, the fact remains the concept of papal supremacy is rooted in Scripture.  Just because someone, like Mathison, can come up with alternate interpretations of Scripture passages - this does not negate and certainly does not make the Catholic interpretation contrary to the Scriptures appealed to.  He may be able to disagree with our interpretation, but he cannot deny the scriptural foundation of this teaching.

Papal Infallibility
This is also based in Scripture and thus cannot possibly be considered contradictory, nor based in forgeries which came about hundreds of years later.  This again brings us back to Matthew 16:18-19.  Now Jesus did not limit what St. Peter, alone in this context, could bind or loose - in fact He says to him, "whatsoever you shall bind..." which is not mere implication, but an explicit statement of affirmation that whatsoever St. Peter chose to bind or loose on Earth was also bound or loosed in Heaven!  I will presume that Dr. Mathison would agree with me that nothing fallible could possibly be bound or loosed in Heaven, therefore this authority given to St. Peter, alone, in this context is infallible authority!  It is not based in any forgeries which came about centuries later - but in Jesus' own words!

The Forgeries
Were there forgeries?  Yes, we cannot deny that these existed and I have given a much fuller response to these in a previous article[3].  Again I must assert that these forgeries were not the foundation of either papal supremacy or infallibility.  Those who look objectively to both history and the Scriptures, I am quite confident, must come to the same conclusions as I have and utterly reject Dr. Mathison's premises that papal supremacy and infallibility are not only not contradictory - but also not built upon the forgeries which came centuries later.

In JMJ,
Scott<<<

Notes
[1] Qtd. from http://www.catholicfaithandreason.org/papal-supremacy-in-the-bible-and-church-fathers.html
[2] ibid. 
[3] The Papacy and the False Decretals (a response to William Webster): http://www.americancatholictruthsociety.com/webster/decretal.htm
 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Eastern Catholic Miraculous Icons




In keeping with the miracles of the Eucharist series, the video above shows miraculous icons of the Eastern Catholic Church.

Accompanied by Kyivan Chant "Behold the Bridegroom Cometh."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Miracle at Lanciano

Lanciano, Italy gets its name from the centurion, Longinus, who pierced the side of our Lord while He hung on the Cross.  "Lanciano" means "the lance."  It is said that Longinus had poor eyesight, and after piercing the side of the Lord and being sprayed by the water from His side, he was healed - his eyesight restored completely.  After this Longinus left the Roman army and converted to Christianity.  He was later martyred for his faith in Cappadocia, and his feast day is celebrated on March 15th.  Let us take a moment to remember St. Longinus on this day.

In the year 750 a priest at Lanciano, Italy, after pronouncing the words of consecration of the Eucharist had a strong temptation to doubt the Real Presence of Jesus.  Before his eyes the Sacred Host visibly changed into a circle of Flesh and the consecrated wine transformed into bright red Blood, coagulating into five small clots, each different in form and size.

There have been four authentications performed on these consecrated Hosts throughout the centuries, with the latest being performed in 1970.  Microscopic studies document that:
  • The Flesh is real human flesh and the Blood is real human blood.
  • The Flesh is composed of cardiac muscular tissue (myocardium), having no trace whatsoever of any materials or agents used for preservation of flesh.
  • Both the Flesh and Blood belong to the same blood type, "type AB."
  • The proteins in the Blood are in the same proportions as those found in normal fresh blood. 
This on-going miracle can be seen to this day!  After more than 1200 years, without any attempt to preserve, the Host still appears rose-colored when backlighted and the five clots of coagulated Blood are a brownish-red hue, tending toward yellow.  
Cards relating information can be purchased through St. Joseph Catholic Radio:
For further reading I suggest:
http://www.miraclerosarymission.org/lanciano.html
http://www.ewtn.com/library/CHISTORY/ZLANCIAN.HTM


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mary, Mother of GOD, is No Doormat--Part One, Scripture

Something needs to be said.  I hope Scott doesn't mind too much, if I jump in here.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is definitely not a doormat.  She was and is a beautiful, obedient, servant of God, both the Father and her Son, the Son of God, Jesus Christ Our Savior, and then the Holy Spirit (after all she was there at Pentecost --Acts 1:14--and received the Holy Spirit at the same time the apostles did) whom her Son promised to all Christians.  Mary, the Mother of the Christ, can rightly be called the first Christian. 

Mary is the Queen mother.  I can tell you one thing that I know for sure about Hebrew royalty, they honored their mothers!  Jesus Christ is, after all, acknowledged almost universally by Christians to be the King of the Universe.  That would make Mary, His mother, Queen Mother.  The queen mother in Israel was not reverenced above the king, neither is Mary, the Queen Mother of Heaven reverenced above Jesus Christ the King of the Universe in the Catholic Church.  Remember King Solomon?  The Queen Mother, Bathsheba, was at his right hand in the palace.  Adonijah asked Queen Bathsheba to intercede for him to his brother, King Solomon.

Then Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah, and the king stood up to meet her and paid her homage. Then he sat down upon his throne, and a throne was provided for the king's mother, who sat at his right.  In I Kings 2, it says that she did intercede for her stepson, Adonijah.

"There is one small favor I would ask of you," [Queen Mother Bathsheba] said. "Do not refuse me." "Ask it, my mother," the king [Solomon] said to her, "for I will not refuse you."  So she said, "Let Abishag the Shunamite be given to your brother Adonijah for his wife."  "And why do you ask Abishag the Shunamite for Adonijah?" King Solomon answered his mother. "Ask the kingdom for him as well, for he is my elder brother and has with him Abiathar the priest and Joab, son of Zeruiah."   And King Solomon swore by the LORD: "May God do thus and so to me, and more besides, if Adonijah has not proposed this at the cost of his life.  And now, as the LORD lives, who has seated me firmly on the throne of my father David and made of me a dynasty as he promised, this day shall Adonijah be put to death."

In John 2, the Blessed Virgin Mary interceded for the wedding couple.

When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine."  (And) Jesus said to her, "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come."  His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you."...Jesus told them, "Fill the jars with water." So they filled them to the brim. Then He told them, "Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter." So they took it.  And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine,...

Queen Bathsheba have the ear of her son the King.  Queen Mary, too, had the ear of her Son, sitting as she was near Him, the King.  Queen Bathsheba interceded for her stepson.  Mary, mother of our King, interceded for the wedding couple.  King Solomon said he would "not refuse [her]".  Jesus Christ, on the surface, seems to turn His mother down, but note her confidence that Jesus would do as she asked ("Do whatever He tells you.")  King Solomon took back his word to his mother; it was not politically expedient to grant his 'enemy', his half-brother, any favors, so he did not honor his promise.  Jesus did as His mother asked, without any promise, and miraculously turned water into wine--and not just any wine but the best wine. 


Let's approach this from another angle.  Here are some generally acknowledged prophecies about the Messiah's mother (iow, MARY):

Genesis 3:15: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at His heel."

Obviously the "woman" will has a significant role in that her child (offspring) will "bruise" Satan's "head".  He made no such statement to the man, Adam.  He did not mention the savior without the way in which He would enter the world--through the womb of the woman.

Psalm 22:10-11 (9-10 in other versions)  Yet you drew me forth from the womb, made me safe at my mother's breast.  Upon you I was thrust from the womb; since birth you are my God.

This is almost universally seen as a messianic prophecy from one of the Psalms.  Why does this prophecy talk about the WOMB from which the Savior/messiah would come.  His mother's womb (twice), His birth from her, even the breasts that would feed Him.  Of course, His mother is significant; they don't just mention the Messiah, but also His mother.

Don't like that prophecy?  How about the old stand by, Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name Him Immanuel."

It should be properly read in English as "the virgin shall be with child, and the virgin bear a son, and the virgin shall name him Immanuel."  The VIRGIN is prominent in this prophecy; she is the sign of the savior, she carries the Savior, bears the Savior, and names the Savior.  Seems pretty significant to me.

There is are at least Seventeen names for Mary, the mother of the Savior.
Woman:  Genesis 3:15; Jeremiah 31:22; John 2:4; John 19:26; Galatians 4:4; Revelation 12:1, 4, 6, 13-17.
Virgin:  Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27 (twice).
Mary:  Matthew 1:17, 18, 20; 13:55; Mark 6:3; Luke 1:26, 30, 34, 38, 39, 41, 46, 56, 2:5, 16, 19.
Mary His Mother:  Matthew 2:11; Luke 2:34.
His Mother: Matthew 2:13, 14, 20, 21; 12:46, 47; 13:55; Mark 3:31; Luke 2:33, 43, 48, 51; 8:19; John 2:5, 12; (John 6:42); 19:25, 26.
Mary the Mother of Jesus: Acts 1:14.
Mother of Jesus: John 2:1, 3.
Full of Grace: Luke 1:28.
Handmaid of the Lord: Luke 1:38.
Blessed among women: Luke 1:42.
Mother of my Lord: Luke 1:43.

Here are some other significant Scriptures that Catholics (and many, many non-Catholics) believe are types, or figures of Mary, the mother of God the Son mentioned in Scripture (some repeat from above) [List from Catholicbridge.com]:
•Genesis 3:15, 24:43-46 - Rebecca, 28:12 Jacob's Ladder, 30:13?,

•Exodus 3:11-12, 13:2, 13:14 (Magnificat), 15:20, 21, 26 (Magnificat), 25:8 Ark, 34:19-20
•Leviticus 12:2, 8 (Purification)
•Numbers 18:15 (Presentation)
•Judges 6:12, 15 (Annunciation)
•1 Samuel 2:1-10 (Magnificat)
•Isaiah 7:14 (Virgin Birth)
•Ezekiel 44:2 (Mary's perpetual Virginity)
•Mat 1:16, 18-25 (Mary to be found with Child), 2:11, 13-14, 20-23 (Maji flight to Egypt), 12:46-50 (Who is my mother?), 13:55 (is his mother not Mary?)
•Mark 3:31-35 (Your mother is outside), 6:3 (is he not son of Mary?)
•Luke 1:26-56 (Annunciation, visitation magnificat), 2:5-7, 16-19, 22, 33-35, 39, 41-51 (Nativity, shepherds, presentation, finding in the temple), 8:19-21 (Your mother outside) 11:27-28 Blessed is the womb that bore you
•John 1:14 (incarnation), 2:1-5 (Cana), 6:42 (Do we not know his mother), 19:25-27
•Acts 1:14 (Gathered in prayer with Mary), Gal 4:4 (God sent son born of woman)
•Col 1:15, 18 (first born, Head of body)
•Rev 11:19 (Ark in Heaven),12:1-17 (Woman clothed with the sun)


Besides Mary, the mother of God, what other person, besides the apostles themselves including Sts. Paul, Mark, and Luke, is mentioned so many times in Scripture?  A doormat?  I think not.  The woman, the mother of the Messiah was prophesied and honored through Scripture, and the Church.  She is no doormat.  She is His mother, and she is our mother.

All Scripture quotes from the New American Bible, special nod to this page on Mary in Scripture for names of Mary, and Catholicbridge.com for Mary in Scripture.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Is Jesus a Door?

The following discussion orginated here.

 mo said... You then go on to boldly declare that the gospel be defined by the fact that the bread and wine ARE His actual body and blood, "hidden" under other elements, "because He has said so". I trust you recall He also said He was a "door", but that did not mean He was made of wood and hinges.

Often in the apologetics world, at least that of Catholic apologetics, we hear the retort as "mo" makes above after the Catholic makes the claim that "Jesus said, 'this IS my body...' and we believe it!"  Well, is Jesus a door made of wood and hinges?  Well, He's not made of wood and hinges - but He most certainly is a door!  It is ONLY through HIM that we can enter into Heaven!  So yes, Jesus IS a door - but that "door" is hidden under the appearance of the Man, Jesus Christ just as the Eucharist REALLY IS HIM, but hidden under the appearance of bread and wine.

I hope this helps "mo" understand the concept better AND to understand that this IS the great MYSTERIUM FIDEI, the "Mystery of Faith" which we proclaim at every Mass.  The Eucharist IS Jesus Christ and it is those who LACK FAITH who do not believe Him.

"For one who has faith, no explanation is necessary; for one who lacks faith - no explanation will do."

"mo" continues:
Next you say that worshipping the Eucharist is a recognition of His "Real Presence". In your view maybe, but I trust you already know that all non-Catholics on earth utterly reject such a notion, and for solidly good reasons, not the least of which was that Jesus said His physical presence was "going away" (I would imagine no less than 10 times), promising to send the Comforter in the absense of His physical body. This is also confirmed by Paul where we read that, "Though we have known Christ after the flesh, now henceforth know we Him NO MORE" (2 Cor 5:16).
Well, first off, not all non-Catholics reject the Real Presence!  Most notable are the Eastern Orthodox, the Anglicans, and even, quite close to the Catholic understanding, the Lutherans.  If you put all the Christians together who accept the Real Presence and compare that with those who do not, I'm sure you will find that those who reject the Real Presence are quite in the minority.  Now, that does not give you license to say, "the path to Heaven is the narrow one..." as if those who believe in the Real Presence are on the wider path - because in the overall picture Christianity is a minority religion on this planet.  You don't get to claim to be on that narrower path merely because you reject a belief/article of faith common to the majority of Christendom.

"mo" continues:
As for "worshipping" the Eucharist, I must classify this as pure idolatry. Your catechism states, "The Eucharist is the efficacious sign. . .of God's action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the WORSHIP men offer" (# 1325, #1380}. Not only does this clash with "worshipping God in spirit and in truth" (Jn 4:23) by supposing He means worship through a material object, but also the catechism's shocking claim of SANCTIFICATION through worshipping the Eucharist! This directly contradicts the Bible which says that we are sanctified by the operation of the Holy Spirit who dwells within {1 Cor 6:11} . 
I understand that you consider it idolatry because you do not have the faith necessary to accept the Word of God on this matter.  BUT, for those of us who DO accept His Word on this - we DO accept that the Eucharist IS His body and blood and to give it any LESS worship would be disrespectful, if not blasphemous.

"mo" continues:
Sanctification is a lifelong process wherein we are "conformed to the image of His Son" {Romans 8:29} 
And I agree with you here!  (I'm not afraid to agree with you when you get something right).  YES!  Sanctification IS a lifelong process!  
"mo" continues:
and Jesus prayed that we would be "sanctified through thy truth; thy WORD is truth " {Jn 17:17}. That being so, the process of advancing along on the road of holiness can only come about through "eating" the Word of God (and not the Eucharist!) because, "How sweet are thy words unto my taste; yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth ......and "How then shall a young man cleanse his way? [sanctification]. By taking heed according to thy word" {Ps 119:9/103}.
So, if you are truly "eating" the Word of God, then you are "accepting" Him AT HIS WORD!  The bread is no longer merely bread - it IS His body!  The wine is no longer merely wine, though it may appear so, it IS His blood!  Likewise, Jesus IS not just "a" door - He is THE Door by which we can enter into Heaven.

In JMJ,
Scott<<<

PS- I put "mo" in quotes because I don't know who "mo" is and the profile for "mo" is hidden. If "mo" will give me his/her real name, I will give respect to him/her and use that name.

Quinquagesima Sunday

OK, that was LAST Sunday, and the last Sunday before Lent begins (which began three days ago, on Ash Wednesday), but I wanted to bring out something which was in the readings of the Traditional Latin Mass (the extra-ordinary rite).

The Epistle. 1 Corinthians xiii. 1.
THOUGH I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
I thought this rather appropriate after reading through TurretinFan's "Rome Colored Glasses" article.  We ALL see as through a glass, darkly - for now - but one day we will see Him face to face.  The main point of this Epistle is charity.  Those who post to their blogs and have not charity are just sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.   Let us not forget to convey the love of Christ in our blogging.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

A Response to Steve Finnell

Steve Finnell left us an invitation to follow his blog, and he did this in a post under San Gennaro.  I have deleted Steve's comment there (as well as the responses to it) and instead will post one of his blog entries here and respond to it (and it is linked back to his original article).  A repeating theme on Steve's blog is "forgiveness" and "the Word of God," so I've picked one of those for my initial response to him.

THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN

There are more than few who present the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican as an example to support the "Sinner's Prayer" as a means to forgiveness from sins. (Luke 18:9-14)

THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT THE PUBLICAN IN THIS PARABLE EVEN BELIEVED IN  JESUS.

Jesus used this parable to illustrate the futility of a  self-righteous attitude. Jesus was not saying non-Christians can say a form of the "Sinner's Prayer" as the means to being justified before God.

The Scriptures teach that sins are forgiven because of God's grace (Ephesians 2:8), faith in Jesus as Savior (John 3:16), confessing Jesus as Lord, believing in His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 10:9-10), repentance (the intellectual commitment to turn from sin and turn to God.--Luke 24:46-47) and water baptism, (Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, Galatians 3:27, 1Peter3:20-21).

Jesus nor any apostle ever stated that non-Christians should say a  Sinner's Prayer, in order to receive forgiveness from sins.

ONLY CHRISTIANS WHO HAVE BEEN WASHED BY THE SHED BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST CAN RECEIVE FORGIVENESS FROM THEIR SINS, BY PRAYER!
John 20:23 tells us:  "If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."  Now, this is Jesus speaking directly and only to His Apostles, our first bishops.  The forgiveness of sins is an authority given by Jesus to His bishops!   To this day it is the bishop who holds jurisdiction over the Sacrament of Reconciliation and only those priests whom the bishop with jurisdiction has given faculties to forgive sins can do so.  So, if Mr. Finnell wishes to rely on Scripture - he must submit himself to one who has been granted this authority!  This authority, as pointed out, is traced all the way back to Jesus Christ Himself in His Word at John 20:23, and there's really no getting around this.  

Yes, it is those Christians who have been washed by the shed blood of Jesus Christ who can receive forgiveness - but it is also only those who have been thusly empowered to forgive sins who can do so!

We can also agree with Mr. Finnell that the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee relates to the futility of a self-righteous attitude.  However, he calls into question whether or not the Publican is even a Christian.  Well, the Publican is NOT a Christian!  Christianity had not been born yet!  Christ had not yet built His Church, as He promised He would do (Matthew 16:18-19). 

Back to the point... Mr. Finnell does a good job of laying out what it takes for forgiveness EXCEPT the KEY POINT of WHO CAN FORGIVE SINS!  Yes, He will claim that forgiveness is by the Blood of Christ, but it is Christ Himself who tells us WHO can forgive sins - and sins THEY do not forgive are NOT FORGIVEN.  

May God guide Mr. Finnell, and all who are reading along, the Spirit of Wisdom and Grace to seek out what God's Word REALLY tells us about forgiveness. 

A blessed Ash Wednesday to you too and may you have a good Lent.
 
In JMJ,
Scott<<<

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Eucharistic Miracle of Herentals

Eucharistic Miracle of Herentals - Belgium 1412

In 1412, a certain Jan van Langerstede who obtain their living by stealing sacred objects from the churches who then resold around Europe, went to the nearby village of Poederlee, entered the church and stole the chalice and ciborium containing five consecrated hosts. While returning to Herentals, where he was staying at a hotel in the area known as the 'De Hegge "the hedge", felt restrained by a mysterious force that kept him from continuing the journey, then hid in a field in the Hosts a large rabbit hole and then returned quietly to Herentals. Jan was sentenced to hang by Judge Gilbert De Pape, as the police searching his luggage found the stolen goods, but before his death the prisoner pointed to where he had hidden the consecrated Hosts, then the court suspended the sentence and ordered to Jan return to the crime scene to verify the authenticity of the confession. A multitude of crowd followed them and wonder just came in, saw the radiant Hosts all arranged so as to form a cross. The Hosts miraculously remained intact, despite the weather (it had been raining). Were immediately reported in procession, partly in Herentals, and partly Poederlee, where they remained until the sixteenth century. On January 2, 1442, the miracle was declared authentic by the magistrate of Herentals and place of discovery of Hosts was built a small chapel.

This text and more like it:
http://digilander.libero.it/rexur/miracoli/inglese/ostia.htm

Monday, March 07, 2011

San Gennaro

In the spirit of the Eucharistic Miracles series, I present the story of San Gennaro - Saint Januarius, Bishop and Patron Saint of Naples.  This miracle is not one of the Eucharist, but is worth looking into.


Miracle of San Gennaro's blood - which liquefies from solid clots to blood up to two times per year.  In 305ad San Gennaro was decapitated by the Romans.  Some of his blood was preserved in a glass vile which is kept in the Naples Cathedral, Duomo di San Gennaro.  This miracle happens nearly every September 19th, on his feast day.  On years when it does not happen, Naples is said to be without the protection of their patron saint.  In 1980 the blood did not liquefy and there was an earthquake which killed 2000 people.


To read more, check here:
http://www.huliq.com/1/68815/miracle-san-gennaro-repeats-september-19



It is said, before he was beheaded that Diocletian had him thrown into the stadium with wild bears which had not been fed in days - yet the bears paid no attention to San Gennaro.  Diocletian then had him cast into a fiery furnace - and he came out of it unscathed.  Being frustrated by these two attempts, he finally had the Bishop of Naples beheaded.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Kudos to Audra Kane!

I just found this page about my niece, Audra Kane, and I wanted to share...

Hugs Audie!

Love,
Uncle Scott<<<

Audra works with Ashley Furniture and CarpetOne in Western New York, here's a video of Audra doing a commercial for the store!







http://www.a2z.org/audra

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Rome-Colored Glasses?

Another blogger who uses a pseudonym of "TurretinFan" posted an article of little more than invented scenarios which were seeming to impugn the Catholic teaching on the papacy.  Some responses have gone back and forth in the combox on his blog, but my current response is read better as its own article than a combox so I am posting it here (I'm also posting it there in parts, but again it's easier to read it here).  To see what I'm responding to, please visit TurretinFan's blog here:  

TF responds:
> a) There's nothing in the original article that
> suggests that Roman apologists use these
> quotations.

The inference is there when you said, “many of my readers of the Roman communion would draw a similar inference that Athanasius is affirming Roman primacy.”  You have clarified that you did not have any Catholic apologists in mind, I have thanked you for this clarification - and I thank you again.

> I was hoping the problem was that you
> didn't read the article carefully. If you did
> read it carefully, I'm not sure what to
> attribute your question to.

Again, I had no “problem” with the article, per se, other than the invented “what if” scenario seemed deliberately misleading.  Again, you have clarified your position.  I have thanked you, and I thank you again.

> b) You are welcome to disagree, but most
> of the quotations at the links you provided
> don't even come close to being as strong
> statements in favor of Rome or Rome's
> bishop as the statements in favor of
> Alexandria's bishop, or Caesarea's bishop,
> or Carthage's bishop, or Antioch.
>
> Let me take the first quotation from your
> first list:
>> "The blessed apostles [Peter and Paul],
>> having founded and built up the church
>> [of Rome] . . . handed over the office of
>> the episcopate to Linus"
>> (Against Heresies 3:3:3 [A.D. 189]).
>
> Look at it! Even if we leave aside the
> fact that the hacked up quotation has to
> use brackets to put in the most important
> words, and even if we ignore the fact that
> Irenaeus is absolutely guaranteed to be
> wrong (Scripture proves that Paul didn't
> found the church in Rome), still what
> does he say except that Linus was
> made a bishop there by them?  Nothing
> about universal jurisdiction, primacy, or
> succession of investiture of replacement
> of Peter by Linus after Peter's death
> (what are we supposed to believe that
> there were two popes for a while?).

Let us take your objections here in order:
1) The “hacked up quotation” which makes use of brackets does so to insert the CONTEXT of St. Irenaeus’ work!  Just look at 3:2:
by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the tradition has been preserved continuously by those who exist everywhere. (emphasis mine)
Yes, the context speaks volumes - and I would encourage any objective readers here to look at the context:  http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103303.htm
2) I am not here to argue your disagreement with St. Irenaeus.
3) Saying St. Linus was made a bishop by them, alone, does not prove succession - but it does, when combined with OTHER ECF testimonies, provide further evidence for succession.
4) THEN when we look at the paragraph just prior to the one cited in the list, which you refer to, we DO see things in a much more “Catholic” light.
5) Two popes?  I’m not asking you to believe that - while I would not oppose the concept of a dual governing by Sts. Peter and Paul - St. Peter still has a primacy of office which St. Paul does not have.

> It's lame. It doesn't come close to
> establishing a papacy in the early church.

Well, again, when we look at the context, which again I hope you and both your and my readers do, such an establishment is not hard to see at all.

> It takes oodles of wishful thinking and
> Rome-colored glasses to anachronistically
> impose the papacy on that quotation.

Again, there is no anachronism here.  I feel the need to use a quote from The Princess Bride: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” (Inigo Montoya)

> The first of my quotations says Athanasius
> had the "charge of the whole world" which
> is a lot closer in its sound to a statement of
> universal jurisdiction than Linus simply
> being made a bishop.

Well again, read a bit more context from St. Ireneaus, but be that as it may - the words of praise for St. Athanasius came near the end of his life.  You may recall, it was St. Athanasius, almost alone, who stood firm on behalf of the entire Church in the face of Arianism.  I whole-heartedly uphold the praises lofted upon him in his waining years.

> Yes, I'm free to have a contrary opinion to
> yours, and there's a good reason I do.

Well, while I have empathy for your opinions, I once thought much as you do - I cannot agree that your reasons are good - and I’m certain that where you are now you do not believe my stance is “good” either.

Godspeed to you, TF.

Scott<<<

Addendum:
Turretinfan said...   Friday, March 04, 2011 2:10:00 PM 

Scott:      
a) As far as your response to my analysis of the quotation goes, you abandon the quotation itself for a questionable translation of another item in the context;    

b) But even with that, you are forced to admit "Saying St. Linus was made a bishop by them, alone, does not prove succession";    

c) So you make a vague general appeal to all the ECFs writings and claim "THEN when we look at the paragraph just prior to the one cited in the list, which you refer to, we DO see things in a much more “Catholic” light."    

But of course the problem is that the same methodology is applied to all the quotations. None of them prove the papacy, and it is only by selecting those quotations and viewing them anachronistically that we can conclude that they have anything to do with the papacy (a doctrine unknown in that time).    

-TurretinFan 

I respond:
a) From what I can see, the verbage is identical to what you quoted - so now it's a "questionable translation?"

b) Again, the word "alone" there should be "ALONE" to make the point that this statement ALONE does not PROVE succession - however taken in light of other quotes it ADDS to the evidence of succession as numerous ECFs list St. Linus in the succession of St. Peter as Bishop of Rome.

c) No one is asking you to "view them anachronistically."  LOOK at what is said IN CONTEXT and IN TIME - the words are ALL THERE, but again - only for one who has eyes to see.

Scott<<<

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Eucharistic Miracle St Mary of Egypt

This Eucharistic miracle
is related in the life of
St. Mary of Egypt who lived
in the desert for 47 years.
The account of her life was
written by the Bishop
Sofronio of Jerusalem in the
6th century. St. Mary is said
to have walked on the Jordan
River to reach the opposite
bank and receive Communion
from the Monk Zosimus.



We are told that when St. Mary was 12 years of age she left her parents and went to Alexandria. There she led a very dissolute life for 16 years. One day she came upon a ship about to set sail with different groups of passengers.  She inquired who they might be and where they were going. She was told they were pilgrims sailing toward Jerusalem for the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. She decided to join them. When on the feast day she tried to enter the church, she was seized by a mysterious force.  Fearfully she raised her eyes to an image of the Holy Virgin and was overcome with a deep sorrow for the sinful life she had led until that day.  Only then was she able to make her way into the church and worship the True Cross.

She did not remain in Jerusalem. “If you go across the Jordan you will find peace” was the message of the Madonna. The following day after her confession and Communion she made her way across the Jordan to the desert of Arabia.  There she lived for 47 years in solitude encountering neither men nor beasts. Her skin shriveled, her hair was long and white, but the promise of the Virgin proved true, she found her peace of soul.

One day she met up with the Monk Zosimus and asked him to bring her Communion each year. One year Zosimus arrived with the Eucharist, but Mary did not show. In great sorrow Zosimus prayed: “Lord, my God, King and Creator of all, do not deprive me of my desire, but grant that I may see this holy woman.” Then he thought, “Now what will I do if she appears, there is no boat around to get me across? I will not achieve my wish.” While he gave into these thoughts, Mary appeared on the opposite shore and Zosimus was consoled. Then he saw her make the sign of the Cross over the water and walk out on it as though it were dry land. 

When 12 months had passed Zosimus returned but was unable to find the remains of the saintly penitent. A lion had dug her grave and buried the body.

(Original text from: http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/english_pdf/Maryegypt.pdf)