The Church Loves The Homeless And Will Not Abandon Them

Thursday, February 18, AD 2010

Pope Benedict visits a local shelter in Rome and is moved to tears by woman who was once homeless and is now helping others with the same plight.

Here is the complete text of the above YouTube video:

Workers, volunteers and those who are served at  homeless shelter in Rome, were filled with joy by Pope Benedict XVI’s visit.

But it was the pope who was moved to tears while listening to what this woman had to say about over coming homelessness.

“When I got to the hostel I was desperate, but now I’m a changed person.”

She got help and after being rehabilitated she wanted to help others in her shoes and is now a volunteer at the shelter.

During the pope’s visit to Don Luigi di Liegro shelter he affirmed the Church’s commitment to helping the poor.

Papa Bene:

“The Church loves you deeply and will not abandon you.”

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2 Responses to The Church Loves The Homeless And Will Not Abandon Them

  • I hate to ask, but…who sets up the poverty line? I grew up well below the poverty line in the 80s and 90s, but we lived very comfortably and my folks didn’t go into debt.

    I’m all for helping out folks who really need help, I’d just rather not encourage envy from folks that just don’t have lots.

  • Probably some well meaning social worker who believes that not being able to afford a cafe latte and drive a prius is considered the poverty threshold.

The Dominican Sisters On The Oprah Winfrey Show

Friday, February 12, AD 2010

The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  They are a new order that arose from Pope John Paul II’s call for a new evangelization.  They are devout and orthodox in our Catholic faith which explains why the average age of a nun is 26 and they are already turning back inquiries since they are packed to capacity in their new convent.

They recently made an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show this past Tuesday, February 9.  I’ve only seen some of the show online and my assumptions were validated.  That being they were knowledgeable about our faith, energetically orthodox, and calm in their disposition.

I strongly advice you to watch all four videos that I have been able to track down of the entire show.  Some of the videos have a few seconds where the digital relay distorts the picture, but the sound is not disturbed.

Part I:  I love hearing the sisters talk about their faith unapologetically, ie, you hear “God called me”, “I am married to Jesus Christ”, etc, etc.  Simply beautiful!

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27 Responses to The Dominican Sisters On The Oprah Winfrey Show

  • I never watch Oprah but was visiting my brother’s family this past week and my sister-in-law had this particular show on. I was struck by Lisa Ling’s comments and was wondering if anyone knows if she is Catholic. It seems as these sisters, had a profouund impact on her.

  • Wait a minute! This is a scandal! They showed up on Oprah! We all know Oprah supported Obama! And according to this article, she supports abortion and homosexuality!

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2000/aug/00081101.html

    So how can they go on her show and make her evil acceptable?

    (Note to reader: this is sarcasm).

  • God can even use the vacuous Oprah show for His own purposes.

  • Doesn’t stop the fact, Donald, that their presence on Oprah helped her make more money, and we know she is pro-abortion… so how come no one is condemning them but praising them for the very things they condemn the USCCB for?!

  • Maybe because Oprah has absolutely nothing to say about the laws written in this country, how the laws are enforced and which judges are picked to enforce the laws. Additionally the nuns weren’t going on the show to honor Oprah, or to express support for her, but to spread their message. Oprah does quite nicely financially without the nuns. The nuns got a nice bit of publicity by going on the show. Making use of a pro-abort entertainer’s show in order to spread the message of Christ strikes me as being in the “cunning as serpents” category.

  • “Maybe because Oprah has absolutely nothing to say about the laws written in this country, how the laws are enforced and which judges are picked to enforce the laws.”

    While others say she is the one who got President Obama elected. And she has major influence over Obama. And she has major influence over her media.

    “Additionally the nuns weren’t going on the show to honor Oprah, or to express support for her, but to spread their message.”

    Same with the USCCB working with non-Catholic groups.

    “Oprah does quite nicely financially without the nuns.”

    So that excuses helping her make more money so she can push more pro-homosexual, pro-abortion themes in her media?

    “Making use of a pro-abort entertainer’s show in order to spread the message of Christ strikes me as being in the ‘cunning as serpents’ category.”

    It’s funny how it is “making use of…” and not “guilt by association” when people like a group.

  • “While others say she is the one who got President Obama elected.”

    Some people also say that Obama is a great President Karlson. Fantasy statements are never to be taken seriously. A lousy economy, Bush fatigue and McCain being a lousy candidate are what got Obama elected in this frame of reality.

    “Same with the USCCB working with non-Catholic groups.”

    It is called shoveling money at pro-abort groups Karlson. Feel free to try again.

    “So that excuses helping her make more money so she can push more pro-homosexual, pro-abortion themes in her media?”

    They didn’t help her make money Karlson by appearing on her show. She would have made precisely the same amount of money whether they appeared or not.

    “It’s funny how it is “making use of…” and not “guilt by association” when people like a group.”

    No it’s called the nuns being smart enough to use Oprah for their purposes. The Bishops are dumb enough to allow their Left-wing staffers at the USCCB to allow Left-wing groups to use the Bishops and the money contributed by unsuspecting Catholics.

  • “It is called shoveling money at pro-abort groups Karlson. Feel free to try again.”

    But God can use pro-aborts, as you just said. And so that’s why it is ok for the nuns to help Oprah get shoveled more money! Sheesh. Consistency. Not with you. Sophistry, that’s all you have.

  • Henry,

    When you try this “I will show how foolish your way of thinking is” tactics, you always end up with the egg on your own face because you don’t bother to actually understand the position of the people you’re trying to ridicule. Either do the work of understanding your opponents or just drop the tactic — you really don’t do yourself any credit with these dogged little “I’ll show you the implications of your thinking” sessions.

  • “But God can use pro-aborts, as you just said. And so that’s why it is ok for the nuns to help Oprah get shoveled more money!”

    Once again Karlson Oprah would have received precisely the same amount of money whether the nuns were on her show or not. The nuns did not place any more coins in her pocket. This is a strawman of yours that is completely unconvincing.

  • So Donald

    Since Oprah would receive the same amount of money either way,it makes it all fine for them to be the ones to help her make it?

  • She would have made exactly the same money Karlson if she had you on or Fifi the dancing beagle. The nuns used Oprah not the other way around.

  • Actually, would she? The fact that this got many who do not normally watch Oprah to watch her means it makes her more money. But the fact is, even if you are correct, you didn’t answer my question. Why should it be fine for them to help her make money, and thereby, cooperate with the evil which will be done with that money they helped her generate?

  • This really is not hard Karlson. Oprah makes precisely the same amount of money no matter who she has on. She is not a struggling host of a show trying to establish an audience. She has a huge audience and advertisers who pay her richly for commercial space on her show. She makes the same money no matter who she has. You will have to come up with some other red herring argument to argue that nuns appearing on Oprah is the same as the USCCB through the CHD funneling funds to pro-abort groups.

  • I agree with the fact that Oprah made no more money than she would have with a dog and pony show.
    I am an RN and I worked for a year in a convent and got to know a large group of the Sisters. I am also Catholic, as a convert in my sixties, before I worked at the Convent! They are usually incredibly quietly happy and work diligently to help others in many ways, the primary way in prayer, By renouncing the world in favor of Jesus when they become Sisters they do not think about money in their own existence. My guess would be that they went on that show to preach the name of Jesus as Savior, and no other reason as the Sisters of the Convent that I love would do! Nearly all of the Sisters I know worked most of their lives in poor areas of the southwest and California teaching school for indigent families children. If you do not know what it means to be a Sister you might do well to not comment about their motives!

  • Marilyn

    I don’t think you get the point of my comments. I am not criticizing the sisters, but applying the kind of logic which is used by some around here to judge the USCCB and show how it would also apply to those who do similar things and yet they applaud.

  • Henry points out the problems in logic when folks are selective in their criticism of association with evil. Oprah ok, but Jenkins not. Nixon ok, but Obama not. The dictatorship of relativism is wearing its tan uniforms on this site.

    If it didn’t sting on some level, you wouldn’t have strung out this thread into the teens. The fact that you have to continually justify it is telling. See if Michael Voris or Ray Arroyo can take your back on this.

    The bloggers here are playing to the home crowd, but they’re not doing their pro-life viewpoints, their conservative bona fides, or Catholicism any favors.

    Personally, I don’t see any problem with the nuns appearing on Oprah. Good for all of them.

  • Karlson makes a nonsense argument and Todd supports it. Business as usual for the usual suspects.

  • Marilyn,

    Disregard the comments by Henry K. and Todd.

    They want to destroy what is good for political points.

  • It’s a tough gig to have to prop up poor arguments, but you guys seem to have a good time doing so. Too bad we can’t take this discussion to Oprah or EWTN. They’re missing all the fun.

  • Todd let us know when you have an actual argument to contribute rather than just a snide attitute.

  • I think we need to say that the Sisters were invited to be on this Show, and it is not their intention to support Oprah.

    I think the best thing to conclude is that the little bit they did in harm is by far outweighed in the good which I no doubt occurred and will occur because of this encounter. I’m not trying to say this as a consequentialist.

    I say this because Oprah is not evil incarnate, she may be missinformed upon a great many subjects, but maybe she and her viewers can be converted. That is always the hope, appearing on a show of hers does not always show support for the views that Oprah has.

    I don’t know if you can link Oprah’s views to the Show in general. Any television program will have views that they support that will be in conflict with the faith. As long as you do not support or even make it known that you don’t support those views when you appear upon the said show I think it violates.

    We must engage culture in any case, show our disapproval and start to change it from the inside out. We are counter cultural and Christ will do the work, but we must engage in the debate and what better place then at the pinnacle of where it is seen. Silence is not an issue!

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  • I enjoyed watching these videos then unfortunately went to read the comments. The devil has his shills everywhere.

    God bless these wonderful sisters. I hope they touched many in Oprah’s audience who have been spoon fed untold amounts of new age nonsense and whatever else appears on that show.

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As Our Modern, Western Culture Begins To Implode, The Catholic Church Is Our Last, Best Hope

Sunday, January 31, AD 2010

Channel surfing the other night, I came across a slew of 1980s “coming of age” movies on cable television. With all of their flaws (too much sexual innuendo, which is mild by today’s comparisons,) one can easily see a positive theme of a bright future and endless possibilities running through this genre of films. I had almost forgotten that in the 1983 film Valley Girl, Julie played by Deborah Foreman actually chastises her hippy parents for their suggestion that if she and her new boyfriend Randy, played by Nicholas Cage, want to explore their sexuality it would be alright by them.  Julie rebukes her parents for having such beliefs as well as the nostalgia surrounding their involvement in the 1960s anti war movement; after all it was the era of Ronald Reagan. Everything seemed possible; it was Morning in America again. Many of these movies were set in California which at the time exuded excitement for those of us growing up in colder, Midwest climates. Economically, California was booming and it was also the heart of a growing and diverse music scene.

Fast forward some 25+ years later and many of today’s films have a dark undercurrent with more than a little subtle leftwing political and cultural propaganda running through them. While there are certainly hopeful signs in Hollywood, especially with the advent of stars like Eduardo Verastegi and his movie Bella and associated Metanoia Films, (Click here for my interview with Eduardo Verastegui,) the secular film industry has fallen even farther into the cesspool. Sadly the Golden State’s economic boom seems but a distant memory, which was bound to occur when California’s Big Government mentality rivaled that of Sweden or the Canadian province of Quebec. The bigger question remains; is California setting the trend once again for the nation and the western world, and if it is what hope is there? The hope remains as it always has not in mortal man and the latest left wing hypothesis about the world’s failings, but in the teachings of the Catholic Church.

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4 Responses to As Our Modern, Western Culture Begins To Implode, The Catholic Church Is Our Last, Best Hope

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  • Fulton Sheen said that the time of evil would come upon mankind. Pope John Paul said a great darkness has descended on the earth. And we are living in this age of darkness and evil made transparent . The light of Christ is shining so brightly now that all of mens hearts and actions are coming into the light and being exposed for who and what they are. This is a great time of purification and God is getting ready to move mankind into a very important direction. You are either with Christ or against Him, There will be no middle ground. That is why it seems that it is all imploding but what is really happening is a time of great grace before the time of great judgement!

  • Man, where have I been for not finding your web site earlier – loved every word spoken.

    will be e-mailing you later brother. Praise Christ for you taking a stand and speaking His truth. We are so hungry for JUST the truth. Fr. John Corpie tells it like it is – and there is standing room only when he speaks somewhere. Holy Mother Church needs to feed her sheep – I am so tired of shim milk. Where is the beef that I may feed on the deep things of God.

    God bless brother – Later.

    In Christ,
    Don

3 Responses to The Crucified Rabbi Trailer

  • THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH

    Oh, Bride of Christ, you’re beautiful
    So radiant your face.
    Crowned in love by holy priests
    Your raiment spun of grace.

    Attended to by angel choirs
    That ever sing your praise,
    The mother of the blessed saints
    Who wisely chose your ways.

    Protector of the Eucharist
    Beloved of the Queen,
    The keeper of the flame of faith
    The door to truths unseen.

    Pure flower of the Spring of Life
    The soul’s sweet lullaby,
    Oh, God’s most gracious gift to man
    Through you how blessed am I.

    Kate Watkins Furman

  • Thank you for sharing that Kate.

    A very serene poem in honor of the Bride of Christ.

  • my son does that sometimes but when i put him to eat and watch tv at the same time he seems to enjoy his food more…

If You Want The Political Left To Run Governments, Look At What The Religious Left Has Done To Religion (Left It In Tatters)

Monday, January 25, AD 2010

There is a undercurrent in American society that somehow believes that if the mafia ran things, the country would be better off. There was one city (Newark, New Jersey) where the mafia once controlled much of the city. When their grip on power was done, the city was in tatters. The same could be said for liberals running religion.

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40 Responses to If You Want The Political Left To Run Governments, Look At What The Religious Left Has Done To Religion (Left It In Tatters)

The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism Because Nonsensical Believers & Non Believers Are Unwittingly Showing Many the Way

Wednesday, January 20, AD 2010

Throughout the last few years and specifically the last decade or so, the voluminous number of kooky quotes and statements coming from religious believers (heterodox Catholics included) and non believers alike is mind boggling. It can’t but help push the reasonable minded into the Catholic Church. Most casual observers are familiar with the number of high profile converts and reverts to the Catholic Church in the last 25 years or so. They range from theological luminaries like Dr Scott Hahn and Dr Francis Beckwith to political figures like Deal Hudson, Laura Ingraham and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Many like them have come to the Church after years of study and reason, but many also have come to the Church after years of seeing their particular religious denomination become unrecognizable.

The latest world calamity has given us two examples of sheer kookery coming from a religious leader and a secular voice. After the horrific earthquake that left the western world’s most impoverished nation in tatters, the Reverend Pat Robertson chimed in with a quote that was not only tragically insensitive but historically inaccurate. The onetime presidential candidate (who actually came in second in the 1988 GOP Iowa Caucus) and a leading voice of the Evangelical world blamed the earthquake on Voodoo, a cult that sadly far too many people practice in Haiti.  Robertson voiced his opinion on his popular 700 Club television program. Robertson repeated the fundamentalist canard that in the early 1800s the leaders of a slave revolt fighting against French colonial forces forged a pact with the Satan to thrown off the chains of their oppressors.

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12 Responses to The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism Because Nonsensical Believers & Non Believers Are Unwittingly Showing Many the Way

  • Since when is pro-abortion Brown “the truth”?

  • Who said he was? I never mentioned his name in the article. However, when the people of Massachusetts (the only state who voted for George McGovern) can see the craziness of the left, you can rest assured that they are not alone.

  • “As evidenced by the stunning results in the Massachusetts special election seat vacated following the death of Senator Edward Kennedy, even in the most liberal of locales the public will eventually clamor for the truth.”

    You didn’t have to say his name to mention him — you most certainly mentioned him through that statement. Do not confuse “naming names” as the only way to mention someone. And from all you wrote here, “a pro-choicer” is now the right and the truth.

  • “You didn’t have to say his name to mention him — you most certainly mentioned him through that statement. Do not confuse “naming names” as the only way to mention someone. And from all you wrote here, “a pro-choicer” is now the right and the truth.”

    Hmm, I didn’t get that from this statement. In any case, one doesn’t have to be impeccable to demonstrate the principle that the mind of the people is changing. Brown is obviously not perfect, but I don’t think Dave is talking about his politics or theology so much as the change that his election represents.

  • The change the election represents I don’t think is exactly as Republicans are making it out to be; while some of it might be on Obama, and other aspects of it might be on health care, another aspect people have to remember is Coakley assumed the seat was hers and didn’t campaign properly. That, I think, is the lesson all sides might want to remember: don’t assume you are a sure-win and do nothing because of it. Nothing, however, to do with “truth.” Nothing in the results shows truth wins — since abortion does.

  • I agree with Henry.

    Brown did make the centerpiece of his campaign as a referendum on ObamaCare, though other factors such as Coakley’s poor campaigning certainly played a factor into it.

  • “I agree with Henry.”

    Tito, that’s the first sign of the apocalypse!

  • The truth that believing Catholics shouldn’t be barred from working in emergency rooms certainly won.

    Brown is quite problematic (and it’s not like I sent him money), but at least we are spared the spectacle of another Massachusetts Catholic baying for abortion in DC.

    I’ll take my silver linings where I can find them.

  • Dale

    So, what silver linings do you find for Obama? Can you find some?

  • I questioned authority relentlessly. Holy Mother Church had all the answers.
    Some retreat to the Church, others flee or are driven, some even backtrack, and many seem to crawl, but, always, the door is wide open.
    Inquisitive mind + Road To Damascus (TM) moment = conversion/re-conversion. Sweet.

  • Despite the badly-concealed sneer with which you pose your question, Henry, sure. Haitian relief, support for a limited range of renewable energy sources, uniting (briefly) the country after the Fort Hood terrorist massacre, helping a limited range of distressed homeowners and credit card and equal pay protection come quickly to mind.

    But, as you know, he’s been a pro-abortion stalwart–deceptively so–when it comes to the protection of human life and issues of conscience.

    Thus, my great relief that a putative sister in the Church–one who expressly finds the Catholic faith disqualifying from life-saving work–will not be able to work on a national stage to implement her bigotry, nor be able to lend her support to the most problematic parts of the President’s agenda.

    Your mileage evidently varies.

The Construct of Rebellion

Monday, January 11, AD 2010

In 2010 the Catholic Church in particular and Christianity in general are under attack because age old truths are being abandoned for the Dictatorship of Relativism. One might ask; how did we get here? It didn’t happen overnight; as a matter of fact many of those doing the rebelling actually think they are doing us all a favor.  Centuries and millennium evolved into a construct of rebellion where self appointed leaders who thought knew better than the Church and society itself tried to change all that was sacred and holy into something, they but most importantly their friends in the intelligentsia, could accept. Too many cooks in the kitchen can be bad for your acquired culinary tastes, but when truth is watered down it is something entirely different and far more serious. In this instance, we are talking about souls, not taste buds.  If this is so then how could the thesis of my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism be true? The answer is simple because the world is getting closer and closer to the precipice. Some may chose to jump but thankfully more will chose to come back from ledge into the world of reality and when they do they will see the many positive developments happening in the Church. One’s own mortality has a way of causing self preservation.

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55 Responses to The Construct of Rebellion

  • Well said, Dave. Thank God for Mary’s heel crushing the head of the serpent that is rebellion, or the whole place would have turned into one boring, childish, real-life version of “Wayne’s World.” It’s no wonder so many folks despise her as she has done what they ought to be doing.

  • What is the evidence for The Porsche?

  • My compliments for a well argued post. I am unaware of the O’Brien site or books, but I cannot disagree with any of your assessment nor your conclusions. I have been making a similar argument via my Canadian blog (http://www.frtimmoyle.blogspot.com) trying to point out the logical contradiction of modern day relativism – a contradiction that exists because moderns no longer possess a knowledge or sense of the role of the church in times past. I offer the following taken from one of my posts written when the European court ordered the removal of the crucifix from Italian classrooms:


    Where I freely admit that the governing authority of any school should be able to either choose or not to present this symbol of Christian/Catholic faith, it is entirely another thing to deny the right to express their faith/convictions/belief in the public square. The principle that is expressed as “separation of church and state” also implicitly includes the freedom to express those values that we believe are the path which leads to the betterment of all humanity.??Read the story, and ask yourself whether the secular argument that leads to this European suppression of the freedom of speech of believers is any different from the agenda that marks the direction of North American society today.??This story is proof positive of the price of failing to argue in defence of the principles which are the accumulated human reasoning that stretches back to the earliest days of recorded history. Whether the moral principles of our modern civilization evolved as the refinement of simply human wisdom, or whether it is a still imperfect vision of God’s will, they have brought Western civilization to the point where we are today. The “rights” that are now so suddenly being tossed aside in the last twenty-five years are the foundations upon which the right itself is rooted. The poisoned fruit of the civilizational tree now endangers the root from which it sprang. ??Freedom of expression of faith in the public square must be respected; it is the essential corollary of the freedoms of thought and speech. I pray that leaders of our faith, our Bishops, would look to the European (or Québécois for that matter) social experiment and heed the need to “teach”, in every forum possible, the wisdom and teaching of our Church: to educate those raised in the “sex, drugs and rock and roll” generation (the first generation of essentially uncatechized “C & E” Catholics (i.e., “Christmas and Easter”) who now have moved into society’s corridors of power) of the wisdom of these first principles before they use the levers of power to shape the debate. ??Freedom of life… Freedom of belief… Freedom of speech: these are the Bishops’ menu of first principles to defend in full. Let’s pray that they fashion sumptuous salad of arguments, no matter how appealing the dessert table secularism seems to offer. ??Society needs strong bones to grow and prosper. We eat of the poisoned fruit at our own peril.

    Fr. Tim

  • Excellent commentary, Fr. Tim, which very much reflects why us California voters are now being put on trial for having the temerity to vote for changing the Constitution to limit marriage to one man and one woman.

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  • Lest one begin to think that this is all new, I quote St. Basil to the western bishops in the 4th Century:

    “The dogmas of the Fathers are despised; apostolic traditions are set to nought; the discoveries of innovators hold sway in the churches; men have learned to be speculatists instead of theologians… The aged sorrow comparing what is with what was; more pitiable the young as not knowing what they are deprived of”. [Ep.90]

  • Thank you Dave for letting history teach us, at least some will repeat the errors and call for a “king” to rule and guide or other idols instead of our Lord and Savior. Your recent Times article was excellent also.

  • Dave, you’ll be thrilled to know that Spirit Daily posted this today in its second most prominent spot.

  • Thank you for writing this. Thank you for mentioning the Blessed Mother crushing the devils head.I attend morning mass and pray the daily rosary for conversions and repentence(for many years) and within the last month have had 3 people say they want to come back to the church and I have been taking them to Sunday mass with me. One has already talked with the priest.The other I am taking to a Catholic healing service. The 3rd is actually an unchurched person who accepts what I am teaching him and wants to talk to the parish priest. When the Blessed Mother said she will give graces of conversion and repentance when you say the rosary, she means it. Thank you.

  • Great article !! Truer words were never spoken. We need to hear more of the truth to stir all Catholics
    into reality and into standing up for the Church and our rights.

  • There are 3 essentials ingredients in the Church that keep any soul on the correct road. The Eucharist. Confession and the Rosary. Stay faithful to these and you and your household will be saved. The world is passing away and we are passing through it to something that we can not even begin to understand. Show mercy to all those who are in darkness.

  • As a simple un-educated mother of seven I read the whole article Construct of Rebellion, and thought it was most informative and full of truth.
    However, what it was lacking was the matter of placing some blame on the church itself for the departing of so many Catholics from their true faith during the 2000 years of excistance.
    I asked should the church not have been more alert and listened to the complaints from the faithful on some liturgical customs and for the lack of education in the full deep meaning of scripture and the bible, also the lack of explaination the dogmatic reasons for truth?
    Even the fathers of the church were weak at times and had to also endure the evil one.
    Now we have at least been assured through the workings of the wonderful Popes we have had with John Paul and Benedict that the church will always remain. Both of them have used the media and every other medium to prove that the Catholic church is the only true one to embrace all of the world’s people.

  • as one person commented I echo: Confession, Mass, the Eelfucharist….and let the world blow its up and fall into hell…..or let it REPENT FAST.

    sanctuaryhouse.tumblr.com…….. CALL IT UP…

  • In Worcester, Massachusetts, a Diocese is coming unglued because it embraced dissent and New Age occultism. Visit: http://lasalettejourney.blogspot.com

  • I am wondering which diocese in Worcester Roger is talking about.Eileen George gives monthly

  • teachings there and she is veryorthodox andoutstanding catholic

  • The same diocese which hosts a “Commission for Women” which has New Age links. The same diocese where numerous children have been sexually abused. The same diocese where a Holy Cross professor (and ex priest) promotes homosexuality and is “married” to another man. I could go on but you wouldn’t accept the facts.

  • How does Eileen George feel about the College of the Holy Cross sponsoring Planned Parenthood on its campus? How about the Newman Center at Fitchburg State College promoting homosexuality as a simple variant of normal sexuality as well as homosexual “marriage”? Is she concerned that the Diocesan Commission for Women has links to Joyce Rupp? Read what Donna Steichen and other orthodox Catholics have had to say about Rupp.

    With all due respect for Eileen George, the Diocese of Worcester is losing many of the faithful (75 of 120 parishes are in economic crisis by the Diocese’s own admission) for a reason.

  • Holy Cross has engaged in homosexual agitprop:
    http://hccns.org/articles/news/081115_homosexual-promotion.htm

    Sorry Martha, Eileen George’s presence in the Worcester Diocese doesn’t justify that.

  • While I agree with your basic outline, there are two things that bother me with what you wrote: 1) The many grammatical and typing errors. Sorry, but when people have a good idea and they’re trying to communicate it, it helps to do so with correct punctuation and without typos.

    2) Whether or not people believe what Michael Brown wrote in his book or posts on his site is no indication of their adherence to the truth or lack thereof and no one should take it as such. Mr. Brown may be a Pulitzer-nominated journalist, but that doesn’t mean everything he writes is of the same quality as his work on Love Canal. Mr. Brown is not the sum total of the Catholic Faith. That comes to us from the apostles and their successors.

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  • Thomas, while you may claim to be an excellent grammarian, you might want to brush up on your reading skills. Where did I say or insinuate that Michael Brown is the sum total of the Catholic faith?

  • “Sadly, the construct of rebellion is prevalent in all areas, even among some faithful Catholics.” A construct of rebellion implies that there’s something authoritative against which one can rebel. One cannot rebel against one who does not have authority and Michael Brown does not have authority.

  • “…self appointed leaders who thought [they] knew better than the Church…” It’s the authority of the Church that’s being rebelled against. Not Michael Brown.

    Thomas, are you simply here in an attempt to wear down the author of this article?

  • No, John, I’m not. I made two observations about what I consider to be an otherwise well-constructed argument – grammar and saying that not liking Michael Brown’s book is part of the construct of rebellion.

  • No Thomas, you wrote: “A construct of rebellion implies that there’s something authoritative against which one can rebel. One cannot rebel against one who does not have authority and Michael Brown does not have authority.”

    No one said that Michael Brown is the authority being rebelled against. Instead, the author of the article wrote about, “..self appointed leaders who thought [they] knew better than the Church..” That’s the Church. Not Michael Brown.

    You are engaging in dishonesty.

  • On the contrary, John. The author writes (with my edits): “However, the pull of being accepted by the world is tough even for self-professed, orthodox-minded Catholics. For example, the secular scholarly world rolls its eyes and snickers at modern day miracles and apparitions. One of the most popular Catholic websites, Spirit Daily, is one such site that makes mention of both. However, mention you read this site and you are bound to be looked at with suspicion even in the world of orthodox-minded Catholicism…It would seem that for some, the fear of being lumped in with those who see the Blessed Mother in every scrap of burnt toast or every dilapidated barn door holds far more sway than believing that the Blessed Mother has appeared in human history to bring attention to her Son, the Savior of us all. Sadly, the construct of rebellion is prevalent in all areas, even among some faithful Catholics.”

    Hence my statement that in order to rebel, one must have something authoritative against which to rebel. Just because people don’t like what Michael Brown writes — no matter how well researched it is — doesn’t mean they’re part of the construct of rebellion. I certainly accept that Mary appears in the world and that God works miracles. I don’t necessarily like Michael Brown’s approach.

  • This kind of dialogue appears to be feeding the egos of the individuals. Are we working for our own glory or God’s. I think the best road to travel is the one of Humilty and Love. Why not focus on ourselves individually and see where we are on the road of repentance and reconciliation.

    Better still why don’t we focus on Christian Unity and do positive things, – let us do the will of the Father and not our own, let us take this opportunity to love one another and at least celebrate Easter on the same date every year. At least the rest of the world will see that we are united on the essence of our faith; the death and resurection of Jesus Christ.
    It is only through unity that we will have :
    Peace, Love and Reconciliation
    Mary Joanne
    onedate.org

  • I don’t appreciate your unfair criticism Mary. I was merely attempting to defend what the author wrote. Hiw words are being twisted. There is no peace without truth Mary. It is the truth which sets us free (John 8:32), not falsehood.

  • The author wrote, “…It would seem that for some, the fear of being lumped in with those who see the Blessed Mother in every scrap of burnt toast or every dilapidated barn door holds far more sway than believing that the Blessed Mother has appeared in human history to bring attention to her Son, the Savior of us all. Sadly, the construct of rebellion is prevalent in all areas, even among some faithful Catholics…”

    What the author is saying is that because some rebel against the Church’s authority, they even reject or disregard Our Lady’s appearances to mankind. Our Lady always leads people to Jesus her Son and His Church. The author is not saying. or suggesting in any way, that Michael Brown is some sort of ersatz Magisterium of the Church or Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    To suggest otherwise is to engage in dishonesty.

  • Thomas, you are demonstrating the pedantic nature of the “lawyerly” arguments for Relativism. Argue all the brush strokes away and soon the painting itself will no longer exist for you.

  • “Just because people don’t like what Michael Brown writes — no matter how well researched it is — doesn’t mean they’re part of the construct of rebellion. I certainly accept that Mary appears in the world and that God works miracles. I don’t necessarily like Michael Brown’s approach.”

    I agree. I read Spirit Daily, probably more than I should, and I always come away from the site with confusion, not peace.

    What has always bothered me about Michael Brown is his very heavy reliance on non-Church approved apparitions, particularly the “1990 prophecy”. It’s clear to me that he believes all of them, even those which have not received Church approval. I certainly believe Mary has and still does appear in the world, but there are so many alleged apparitions, and many of them contradict each other.

    I certainly don’t believe they should all be thrown out, but they need to be examined. Michael Brown is always going on about today’s Church “throwing out the mystical”, but I don’t believe that’s a fair claim. Why is it so “bad” to discern these apparitions, and if something about one doesn’t make sense, discard it? Why did God give us intellects if He doesn’t want us to use them?

    Michael Brown may be well-intentioned, but the net result of reading his site is confusion.

  • Elizabeth writes “What has always bothered me about Michael Brown is his very heavy reliance on non-Church approved apparitions, particularly the “1990 prophecy”. It’s clear to me that he believes all of them, even those which have not received Church approval.”

    Elizabeth, calumny is a sin. I would refer you to what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say in that regard. Mr. Brown has said – repeatedly – that we MUST accept the Church’s final decision on ANY apparition site. And this includes Medjugorje. For you to imply that Mr. Brown is someow failing to discern the authenticity of an apparition site or that he does not accept the Church’s ultimate authority is preposterous.

    Gaudium et Spes (specifically No. 28) forbids judging a person’s interior dispositions. I suggest you meditate very carefully on that teaching.

  • In Fides et Ratio, No. 16, Pope John Paul II teaches us that, “The world and all that happens within it, including history and the fate of peoples, are realities to be observed, analysed and assessed with all the resources of reason, but without faith ever being foreign to the process. Faith intervenes not to abolish reason’s autonomy nor to reduce its scope for action, but solely to bring the human being to understand that in these events it is the God of Israel who acts. Thus the world and the events of history cannot be understood in depth without professing faith in the God who is at work in them. Faith sharpens the inner eye, opening the mind to discover in the flux of events the workings of Providence. Here the words of the Book of Proverbs are pertinent: “The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps” (16:9). This is to say that with the light of reason human beings can know which path to take, but they can follow that path to its end, quickly and unhindered, only if with a rightly tuned spirit they search for it within the horizon of faith. Therefore, reason and faith cannot be separated without diminishing the capacity of men and women to know themselves, the world and God in an appropriate way.”

    Faith and reason are described by His Holiness in this important Encyclical Letter as two lungs. Imagine how difficult it is to breathe properly with only one lung!

    Michael Brown is all for discernment of private revelation. But, along with St. Paul, he believes that we shouldn’t despise prophecy. Understand the difference?

  • peter santos: You accuse Elizabeth of sin because she expresses concerns about a Catholic writer and speaker. You accuse her of “judging a person’s interior dispositions”, and then lecture her on how she should meditate on Church documents.

    Elizabeth states that, in her opinion, Michael Brown relies heavily on non-Church approved apparitions, particularly the “1990 prophecy”. This is not judging Mr. Brown’s “interior dispositions”, but simply stating fact. On Spirit Daily, Mr. Brown mentions the “1990 prophecy” VERY frequently, and is quick to defend Medjugorje. Yes, he does state clearly that we should accept the final decisions of the Church on these matters. But, that does not negate what Elizabeth wrote.

    It seems to me that because you disagree with Elizabeth YOU assume evil motives on HER part. She says nothing in her post that would constitute the “sin” you claim she has committed. YOU are the one who has accused someone of sin because of a post. Elizabeth makes no such accusation.

    As an aside, I follow Spirit Daily and have for about 4 years now. I enjoy reading both the links and Mr. Brown’s own articles. Much discernment is needed in digesting these writings, clearly, as Mr. Brown’s opinions do not constitute official Church teaching. Stating that plain fact is NOT a sin, Peter.

  • For Elizabeth to assert that Michael Brown believes all apparitions or private revelation, “even those which have not received Church approval,” is calumnious. It’s a lie. He has written against certain private revelations which were obviously false. The rest he commends to the Church.

    Calumny is, objectively speaking, sinful. It may even constitute grave sin. It offends against both charity and truth. It is a violation of justice.

  • For Elizabeth (and anyone else who falsely accuses Michael Brown of accepting all apparitions), I submit the following words of Mr. Brown himself from 2005:

    Discerning Apparitions A Difficult Process

    [Q & A by Michael H. Brown]

    In the past twenty years there has been an explosion of alleged apparitions, locutions, stigmatics, and healers. Which are real and which are not?

    I would never attempt such a list, because I don’t have the authority to do so. We simply go by what the Church has decided, unless there is not yet a decision, in which case we try to exercise discernment.

    How do you tell if an apparition is real?

    This is one of the hardest questions in the world to answer. The process of what we call “discernment” is intensely complex. It’s also very personal. There is no formula. Some apparitions miss certain criteria and yet bear signs of authenticity while others seem to fill most standards but have problems at their very root. In the end, only through prayer and fasting can we get a true inkling. It is the spirit — not the mind — that discerns.

    You mean a “gut feeling”?

    No. I mean a feeling in the depths of the spirit after a period of fasting. When we fast, we are more sensitive to evil. We are more likely to know if it is present. This is very important.

    But aren’t there some tips to discernment?

    In the Bible it says that “by their fruits you will know them,” and so this is certainly one major facet. But we have to be careful about what we consider “fruits.” I have seen many cases in which people adhering to what turned out to be a deceptive circumstance had a great first impression, or even found the visit a major step in their return to the faith, to their conversion. God can take good from evil. He can draw with crooked lines. It is for that reason that we must be careful in speaking negatively about a circumstance, even if there are indications of problems; we don’t want to discourage those who have had good experiences.

    Are there often problems?

    Most claims of apparitions, visions, or locutions are a mix — in other words, there are parts that seem inspired, parts that come from the person’s subconscious, and parts that may be from a source that is deceptive or demonic. All of us are in touch with God and those who feel they have a special “line” of communication may in some cases have such a special gift, although too frequently this leads to ego, and ego leads to a person putting his or her own spin on what they think they have been “told.” This is very common, and why so many predictions do not materialize: The prophecy was not a direct communication but filtered through the ideas, preconceptions, and feelings of a person. It is the demonic component that of course concerns us the most. A demonic influence can cause not only spiritual trickery but also deep discouragement, division, and illness.

    Is divisiveness a standard of discernment?

    Certainly, it’s one. Now, remember that even with the authentic apparitions like Fatima or Lourdes or Medjugorje, which the Pope discerned as worthy of devotion (in recently publicized private letters), there is resistance. There is spiritual warfare. And that can lead to division. There will be some division. But that division usually is far outweighed by good fruits such as conversion. If division is the main effect, or if there is constant, lasting rancor, and a lack of peace, then there is a problem with the apparitions. We can also say to watch out for pride among the seers, attempts at self-promotion, and the spawning of a cult-like following. Cults in the bad sense of that term are a bad fruit (there are also holy cults, when proclaimed as such by Rome). Those who begin to exclude others because they don’t believe in a certain apparition are not in tune with the Holy Spirit, Who tells us through the Church that we don’t have to accept a private revelation. Meanwhile, we must watch for prophecies that are too gloomy and dark, that give messages of tremendous specificity, that ramble on at great length, and that contain messages threatening people who don’t believe in the particular revelation. There are some messages that have denounced anyone who won’t help purvey a private revelation. As soon as I see that, I know there is deception.

    What about those that mention the anti-christ?

    We have to weigh these with special caution. In my discernment there is truth to the coming of a personage of evil, and certainly major events, but we have to be cautious about believing that the coming scenario will exactly fit the scenarios spawned by those who have speculated on specific end-times schedules. Are we in the end times? We are at the end of an era. It is a very, very important time. It is not the end of the world. What is about to happen will fit the general prophetic pulse we have heard now for nearly 25 years (since the onset of Medjugorje, which caused an explosion in private revelation), but it will occur in ways we don’t specifically anticipate and that make sense (the feeling of, “oh, yeah, of course”) only in retrospect.

    What percent of seers are authentic?

    It’s impossible to say. What we can say is that very, very few are corporeal apparitions at the level of a Lourdes or Fatima. “Corporeal” is to see the Blessed Mother as a full-bodied, multi-dimensional apparition similar to the way we see another person: with eyes wide open. Some who claim this are imagining it, are projecting a “vision,” and a vision can be authentic, but it is not at the level of an apparition.

    How prevalent is actual demonism in alleged revelations?

    It is not uncommon. That is one way to put it. This is the fast lane of mysticism, which is one reason the Church is cautious. I might add that I am always perplexed by why a local bishop usually uses the term, “no evidence of the supernatural,” to dismiss a troublesome apparition. Often, there is plenty of evidence of the supernatural, but it’s supernaturality that is coming from the wrong source. At the same time, and overall, private revelation is of great benefit and as in Jesus’ time, among the Pharisees and Sadducees, it is sorely neglected by the official Church.

    Is the U.S. Church more closed and skeptical toward apparitions and phenomena like weeping statues than other nations?

    Yes, due to our scientific bent, much more skeptical.

    Why do you believe in Medjugorje?

    I have been there I think seven times, and I didn’t believe in it the first few hours I was there. I thought it was collective hysteria. Then I started to see phenomena myself — a lot of it — and tremendous, tremendous fruit, whereby virtually everyone who was going there was experiencing a deepening of faith or outright conversion unlike any other religious encounter with which I was familiar, just really profound and in most cases lasting. I had never seen people touched on such a massive scale. Dozens of millions have been affected in a way that can be compared only with older sites such as Lourdes or with trips to the Holy Land. Medjugorje leaves a feeling of peace and well-being and conversion.

    Whereas a false apparition?

    Another way of discerning a false apparition or a false anything is that it tends to drain you. It takes your energy. This is a hidden means of discernment: it takes more than it gives. It is temporary. This is often a good way to evaluate any situation, although like everything else in this field, there are exceptions (no foolproof means of discernment). We are very open to mysticism — it is crucial to our time and to any time — but we urge folks not to become involved in new such claims unless they are fasting and staying close to the New Testament. Daily reading of the Bible puts us in the correct frame of mind and is probably the best way to discern an apparition.

    06/27/05

    As for his acceptance of Medjugorje, there is nothing against faith there. A decision has not been made regarding that alleged apparition site. Mr. Brown has already said that he will ACCEPT THE CHURCH’S DECISION.

    Elizabeth is engaging in calumny. She should make this right.

  • I don’t understand where you’re coming from. How can you be so bold as to assume I’m in a state of mortal sin? Isn’t that up to God to judge? Not you?

    What exactly IS the “1990 prophecy”? Has it undergone Church scrutiny? Has it been submitted to any Church authorities for discernment and/or approval? I have been reading Spirit Daily for about 5 or 6 years. This is what I meant by an unapproved private revelation. There is no source and no mention of it ever being submitted to the Church.

    Medjugorje is different. It hasn’t been formally approved by the Church, but the Church is more than aware of it, so to speak. Not so with the 1990 prophecy.

    There is good on his site (his articles on Maria Esperanza, but much that leaves me, and others I’m sure, scratching their heads. There is a lot of stuff from his “mailbag” that makes me wonder. How much of this is real, and how much of it is coming from people’s overwrought imaginations? He needs to be more careful when presenting these viewpoints and some sites he links to. It’s all very confusing and doesn’t help the average person on their spiritual journey. That is all.

  • Elizabeth, Peter never said you are in “a state of mortal sin.” Your dishonesty is showing again. He wrote, “Calumny is, objectively speaking, sinful. It may even constitute grave sin. It offends against both charity and truth. It is a violation of justice.”

    You falsely accused Mr. Brown of accepting ALL private revelation, “even those which have not received Church approval.” This is – objectively speaking – calumnious. But rather than acknowledging that your post was false and unjust, you now assume a defensive posture and accuse Peter of judging your soul.

    When will your dishonesty cease? You are behaving very poorly.

  • I know what I wrote. I don’t appreciate Elizabeth’s false accusation against me.

  • This is the time I will ever read or visit this site. I’ve been accused of being a poor reader, of trying to wear down an author after a mere two posts, being dishonest, being egotistical, twisting words which were clearly written, and of being a relativist. Elizabeth comes along and gives her opinion that Michael Brown relies too heavily on Marian apparitions and personal revelation and she’s accused of calumny. There is no engagement of ideas here, only personal animus. The impression one is left with is that if one does not agree with everything written at this site, then that one is necessarily part of the construct of rebellion. Not exactly the best impression to leave with anyone.

  • Sorry, meant to say “This is the last time I will ever read or visit this site.”

  • Thomas, you’re not here to participate in a “dialogue.” Like Elizabeth, you’re here to level false accusations. Read Peter’s post of Michael Brown’s article from 2005. He does not accept all private revelation uncritically. Nor has anyone (including himself) held up Mr. Brown as “the authority” on all private revelation.

    As Christians, let us refrain from such falsehoods.

  • I will never cease to be amazed how the internet has the capacity to take a solid, well formed argument for the faith, and transform it into this demonstration of the classic “my father can beat up your father” form of analysis (or in this case, “my Mary can beat up your Mary” such as this thread has morphed into.

    Will wonders ever cease.

    Yes indeed, a great illustration of how the the internet is a wonderful tool for the faith… or is it that the internet is the place to witness the faith of tools?

  • Apparently Fr. Moyle has no problem with calumny. Maybe he should brush up on his Catechism. If this thread has “morphed” into something unproductive, it is because of unfair allegations and misinterpretations.

    Asinine comment Father. With all due respect for your priestly office. Asinine.

  • “Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one’s neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2479).

    I would exhort those who visit this thread to read Michael Brown’s 2005 article on discerning private revelation and hold Elizabeth’s false accusations up to the light of truth.

  • I agree with you Peter. Where was Father Tim when Elizabeth was leveling a false accusation against Michael Brown? He chides you for exposing Elizabeth’s false accusation against Michael Brown and showing it for what it is and describes it as a “my father can beat up your father form of analysis.”

    Father is a disappointment.

  • I am closing this thread.

    In the future please stay on the topic at hand.

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Some 500 Years Ago Like An Abduction In the Night, The Virgin Mary Was Taken From Many Christians

Wednesday, December 9, AD 2009

For many Christians today, the thought that the leaders of the Protestant Reformation believed in the Immaculate Conception of Mary or her bodily Assumption into heaven would seem ludicrous, even more bewildering would be the devotions many of the Reformation’s leaders had for the Blessed Mother. Believe or not it, they did. In this month of December when Catholics celebrate three feast day’s commemorating the Mother of our Lord, perhaps it is time to remind our separated brethren of the truths their founder’s believed.

Sometime ago when I was writing my book, The Tide is Turning Toward  Catholicism,  I showed a friend of mine, who is an Evangelical, a homily about the Virgin Mary delivered in the 1500s. I asked him who gave that homily, “probably some pope,” he exclaimed. No, I said it was Martin Luther. He replied, “Dave I trust in almost everything you say, but I am going to have to call you out on this one. I mean isn’t that what the Reformation was all about, ending superstitions like those about Mary?” His mouth dropped when I showed him the passages. I am sure many of today’s Evangelicals, especially of the Calvinist lineage, would have the same reaction.

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84 Responses to Some 500 Years Ago Like An Abduction In the Night, The Virgin Mary Was Taken From Many Christians

  • “The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes
    And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
    And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
    And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
    And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,”

  • Mr. Hartline,

    Can you provide us with some specific examples of Reformation leaders revering the Blessed Virgin Mary?

  • Aegis, go to the link below in regard to Martin Luther and Mary.

    http://www.davidmacd.com/catholic/martin_luther_on_mary.htm

  • Aegis, I have supplied two links to my article. I hope it helps. Take care!

  • Even more amazing, Christians of that age needed no papal declaration for these aspects of the Blessed Mother.

    As for the vehemence against Rome, yes, it is true that leaders and people chose to distance themselves from Roman practices. It’s not so different today: many Catholic conservatives are deeply distrustful of anything that looks like Protestantism or Anglicanism or even Eastern Orthodoxy. Indeed, being called a Protestant is, in some places, a worse epithet than being called a devil. In a way, it’s amazing some Catholics have stilled adhered to the Lord’s Prayer.

  • “Indeed, being called a Protestant is, in some places, a worse epithet than being called a devil. In a way, it’s amazing some Catholics have stilled adhered to the Lord’s Prayer.”

    Todd, where do you find the energy to construct so many straw men?

  • Todd, an absolutely fascinating post. At first I thought one of the fundamentalists who sometimes peppered my site with derogatory comments had returned. Ironically, you said more about self loathing Catholics in one paragraph than others might take several pages to say. Your site seems to emphasise Ecumenism over all things. Yet, for some unknown reason you take a pot shot at one of the bedrock teachings of your own Church, the Chair of Peter. In that Ecumenical spirit which you mention on your site, I will refer to Dr Charles Stanley’s comment; “what else don’t you believe?”

  • The main take-home point of the Reformation is that there is no longer any source of “infallibility” outside of Scripture. Neither Roman tradition nor the views of the Reformers could be held as infallible. Luther was wrong on many points, Calvin too.

    Modern day Protestants have inherited the concept of sola scriptura more than they’ve remained faithful to the beliefs of the Reformers. Scripture does not demand the veneration of Mary. There is no evidence that the early church as a whole held to the immaculate conception and assumption. These were made dogma fairly recently: immaculate conception (1854); assumption (1950).

  • Todd, are you channeling the founding Protestants in making up stuff?

  • Dennis, the Assumption was celebrated and widely believed in the Early Church long before the Canon of the Bible was finalized by the Church Councils and Pope Damasus in 382 AD.

  • It appears one can present many references to Mary, Mother of Our Lord, and her veneration, yet it continues to amaze me of those who try to diminish her role throughout the Bible and the tenent of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption.

  • Thanks again, Dave, for placing before us bits of history that have been forgotten or deliberately obscured. The purported Reformation was a cultural and historical disaster, with evil men culling out a rump faith without devotions, the saints, the Blessed Mother, or Christmas. What an inadequate legacy to leave to the good, loving sincere Protestants of today who have never been told the truths.

  • Jesus loved his mother and so should we.

  • Dennis –

    You are overlooking the evidence of Marian devotion inherent in the Bible.

    Who is it that told us that the Angel Gabriel greeted Mary as Kecharitomene (full of grace)? Luke. Luke was not one of the original 12 disciples – so from whom did Luke learn that Mary was full of grace? Luke is the author of Acts, and we learn in Acts that he was a student of Paul’s, and traveled with Paul. So, it was Paul who taught Luke this teaching. Now, Paul was not one of the original 12 disciples either. So from whom did Paul learn this? Well, we learn in certain later readings of the New Testament that Paul was taught by the early disciples and by Christ himself.

    It is only logical that when we become baptized, and through baptism become members of Christ’s body, we inherit the parents of Christ. Who were Christ’s parents? Mary and God. Therefore, through baptism, our own parents are Mary and God. This is why we call everyone brother and sister – we are all part of one body and all sharing the same parents.

    For proof of this, Paul goes on in Galatians 4:31 to tell us that we are (through baptism) “children not of the slave woman but of the free born woman. Here he is referencing the slave woman as a woman born into sin, whereas the free born woman is one who was not born in submission to sin and later freed, but one who was free from birth which would only be possible if she were cleansed of original sin prior to her birth.

  • I’m not defending Todd here, but I personally am upset when I see many parishes being “protestantized” in architecture and practice.

  • This brings to mind something I believe Mother Teresa said: I wan’t to love Mary like Jesus does and to love Jesus like Mary does…

    How much more of a connection between two people can you get? It is only with a blind eye that people will neglect that true love….

  • I’ll have to dissent from Dennis’ point: without dogmatic declaration, Eastern Christians have venerated Mary through the Immaculate Conception and the Dormition (Assumption) for centuries–to this day.

    I’m also a doubter on the original line of thinking here. Doctrines or venerations of the Virgin were not foremost in the minds of people of the Reformation period. As is true today, Mary was used as a tool on both sides, either a badge of orthodoxy or a point of differentiation.

    The Reformation is far more complex than just an expression against the veneration of Mary or any of the other saints.

    It was in fact the excesses of the Chair of Peter that put Europe to the tipping point. Not only did Martin Luther continue to venerate Mary to his death, but he continued to see himself as a loyal Christian. Human pride, being what it is, hardened the hearts of people on both sides. The Blessed Mother, like many of those living in the 16th and 17th century, were just innocent bystanders in tussles over greed, scandal, tribalism, privilege, power, and whatnot. A unified Christianity may well have been able to bring all of Asia to Christ in the 1600’s, had it not been for the wasted energies fighting Christian wars.

    There’s a lot to lament in the Reformation, but let’s acknowledge a dollop of blame falls to Rome. Far from beinga pot shot, that’s simple acknowledgement of fault.

  • As much as I thought Todd’s earlier comment was unfairly cartoonish, I have to say I think his last post was spot on. Plenty of blame to go around for the Reformation.

  • Someone mentioned that Jesus loved Mary and so should we. Does Jesus love her more than the next guy? Second, i never met Mary, so how can i love her. Jesus loved his disciples, should i adore them.? Mary is just another personality in the bible. The bible is about Jesus, from fron to back. Some weird religion has made Mary a central figure, even a queen in heaven. That was done to keep peoples eyes off Jesus. Now lets see…HUMMMMM..whos job is it to keep us from Jesus? Could it be….SATAN? The devils pet religion is doing a bang up job.

  • “The devils pet religion is doing a bang up job.”

    I applaud you Wayne. It is almost refreshing to see that ignorant, unashamed anti-Catholic bigotry is still alive and well.

  • Wayne, in addition to the documents written and collected by members of the Catholic Church and known as the New Testament, you might wish to consider the comments of these men who lived a few centuries after Christ regarding Mary. I assume their names will be unfamiliar to you, but a little time using google and you will learn all about them.

    Irenaeus

    “The Virgin Mary, being obedient to his word, received from an angel the glad tidings that she would bear God” (Against Heresies, 5:19:1 [A.D. 189]).

    Hippolytus

    “[T]o all generations they [the prophets] have pictured forth the grandest subjects for contemplation and for action. Thus, too, they preached of the advent of God in the flesh to the world, his advent by the spotless and God-bearing (theotokos) Mary in the way of birth and growth, and the manner of his life and conversation with men, and his manifestation by baptism, and the new birth that was to be to all men, and the regeneration by the laver [of baptism]” (Discourse on the End of the World 1 [A.D. 217]).

    Gregory the Wonderworker

    “For Luke, in the inspired Gospel narratives, delivers a testimony not to Joseph only, but also to Mary, the Mother of God, and gives this account with reference to the very family and house of David” (Four Homilies 1 [A.D. 262]).

    “It is our duty to present to God, like sacrifices, all the festivals and hymnal celebrations; and first of all, [the feast of] the Annunciation to the holy Mother of God, to wit, the salutation made to her by the angel, ‘Hail, full of grace!’” (ibid., 2).

    Peter of Alexandria

    “They came to the church of the most blessed Mother of God, and ever-virgin Mary, which, as we began to say, he had constructed in the western quarter, in a suburb, for a cemetery of the martyrs” (The Genuine Acts of Peter of Alexandria [A.D. 305]).

    “We acknowledge the resurrection of the dead, of which Jesus Christ our Lord became the firstling; he bore a body not in appearance but in truth derived from Mary the Mother of God” (Letter to All Non-Egyptian Bishops 12 [A.D. 324]).

    Methodius

    “While the old man [Simeon] was thus exultant, and rejoicing with exceeding great and holy joy, that which had before been spoken of in a figure by the prophet Isaiah, the holy Mother of God now manifestly fulfilled” (Oration on Simeon and Anna 7 [A.D. 305]).

    “Hail to you forever, you virgin Mother of God, our unceasing joy, for unto you do I again return. . . . Hail, you fount of the Son’s love for man. . . . Wherefore, we pray you, the most excellent among women, who boast in the confidence of your maternal honors, that you would unceasingly keep us in remembrance. O holy Mother of God, remember us, I say, who make our boast in you, and who in august hymns celebrate your memory, which will ever live, and never fade away” (ibid., 14).

    Cyril of Jerusalem

    “The Father bears witness from heaven to his Son. The Holy Spirit bears witness, coming down bodily in the form of a dove. The archangel Gabriel bears witness, bringing the good tidings to Mary. The Virgin Mother of God bears witness” (Catechetical Lectures 10:19 [A.D. 350]).

    Ephraim the Syrian

    “Though still a virgin she carried a child in her womb, and the handmaid and work of his wisdom became the Mother of God” (Songs of Praise 1:20 [A.D. 351]).

    Athanasius

    “The Word begotten of the Father from on high, inexpressibly, inexplicably, incomprehensibly, and eternally, is he that is born in time here below of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God” (The Incarnation of the Word of God 8 [A.D. 365]).

    Epiphanius of Salamis

    “Being perfect at the side of the Father and incarnate among us, not in appearance but in truth, he [the Son] reshaped man to perfection in himself from Mary the Mother of God through the Holy Spirit” (The Man Well-Anchored 75 [A.D. 374]).

    Ambrose of Milan

    “The first thing which kindles ardor in learning is the greatness of the teacher. What is greater than the Mother of God? What more glorious than she whom Glory Itself chose?” (The Virgins 2:2[7] [A.D. 377]).

    Gregory of Nazianz

    “If anyone does not agree that holy Mary is Mother of God, he is at odds with the Godhead” (Letter to Cledonius the Priest 101 [A.D. 382]).

    Jerome

    “As to how a virgin became the Mother of God, he [Rufinus] has full knowledge; as to how he himself was born, he knows nothing” (Against Rufinus 2:10 [A.D. 401]).

    “Do not marvel at the novelty of the thing, if a Virgin gives birth to God” (Commentaries on Isaiah 3:7:15 [A.D. 409]).

    Theodore of Mopsuestia

    “When, therefore, they ask, ‘Is Mary mother of man or Mother of God?’ we answer, ‘Both!’ The one by the very nature of what was done and the other by relation” (The Incarnation 15 [A.D. 405]).

    Cyril of Alexandria

    “I have been amazed that some are utterly in doubt as to whether or not the holy Virgin is able to be called the Mother of God. For if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how should the holy Virgin who bore him not be the Mother of God?” (Letter to the Monks of Egypt 1 [A.D. 427]).

    “This expression, however, ‘the Word was made flesh’ [John 1:14], can mean nothing else but that he partook of flesh and blood like to us; he made our body his own, and came forth man from a woman, not casting off his existence as God, or his generation of God the Father, but even in taking to himself flesh remaining what he was. This the declaration of the correct faith proclaims everywhere. This was the sentiment of the holy Fathers; therefore they ventured to call the holy Virgin ‘the Mother of God,’ not as if the nature of the Word or his divinity had its beginning from the holy Virgin, but because of her was born that holy body with a rational soul, to which the Word, being personally united, is said to be born according to the flesh” (First Letter to Nestorius [A.D. 430]).

    “And since the holy Virgin corporeally brought forth God made one with flesh according to nature, for this reason we also call her Mother of God, not as if the nature of the Word had the beginning of its existence from the flesh” (Third Letter to Nestorius [A.D. 430]).

    “If anyone will not confess that the Emmanuel is very God, and that therefore the holy Virgin is the Mother of God, inasmuch as in the flesh she bore the Word of God made flesh [John 1:14]: let him be anathema” (ibid.).

    John Cassian

    “Now, you heretic, you say (whoever you are who deny that God was born of the Virgin), that Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, cannot be called the Mother of God, but the Mother only of Christ and not of God—for no one, you say, gives birth to one older than herself. And concerning this utterly stupid argument . . . let us prove by divine testimonies both that Christ is God and that Mary is the Mother of God” (On the Incarnation of Christ Against Nestorius 2:2 [A.D. 429]).

    “You cannot then help admitting that the grace comes from God. It is God, then, who has given it. But it has been given by our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore the Lord Jesus Christ is God. But if he is God, as he certainly is, then she who bore God is the Mother of God” (ibid., 2:5).

    Council of Ephesus

    “We confess, then, our Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, perfect God and perfect man, of a rational soul and a body, begotten before all ages from the Father in his Godhead, the same in the last days, for us and for our salvation, born of Mary the Virgin according to his humanity, one and the same consubstantial with the Father in Godhead and consubstantial with us in humanity, for a union of two natures took place. Therefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this understanding of the unconfused union, we confess the holy Virgin to be the Mother of God because God the Word took flesh and became man and from his very conception united to himself the temple he took from her” (Formula of Union [A.D. 431]).

    Vincent of Lerins

    “Nestorius, whose disease is of an opposite kind, while pretending that he holds two distinct substances in Christ, brings in of a sudden two persons, and with unheard-of wickedness would have two sons of God, two Christs,—one, God, the other, man; one, begotten of his Father, the other, born of his mother. For which reason he maintains that Saint Mary ought to be called, not the Mother of God, but the Mother of Christ” (The Notebooks 12[35] [A.D. 434]).

  • Newman overs the topic pretty well in his reply to Pusey’s EIRENICON, republished as NEWMAN ON THE MOTHER OF GOD.

  • The Bible is about Jesus from cover to cover?

    Dude, what “bible” have you been reading?!?!

    The true Bible is about God’s relationship to creation, man in particular, and His revelation of this relationship to man. It is about BOTH God and MAN. Part of that revelation includes revelation about the mother of the Second Person of the Trinity.

    Your “bible” sounds a little abridged.

  • Wayne, tell me you didn’t just quote the Church Lady. Unironically. Please….

    Oh. You *did.*

    Well, that’s…refreshing.

  • “Seperated brethren”…you mean like my Protestant friends who said that they don’t want to talk to me anymore since I got baptised into the Church?

  • It’s sad that so many Protestants like Wayne don’t do a little study of the early church since I think virtually all Protestant denominations recognize up through the Council of Ephesus. I’ve often gotten the impression that many modern Protestants seem to take the Bible and Creeds as things that came down from Heaven fully formed. If they would study the first four centuries and learn what a difficult time was had in sorting out the Canon from the rest of the writings and the making of the Creeds it would be most helpful, I believe.

  • C-Matt doesnt seem to think the scriptures arent all about Christ. He must be a good catholic. Jesus said” search the scriptures, it is they that testify of me”. Dnald R love to quote men, catholic men, and then expect me to believe it as gospel. He takes it as gospel. The bible warns us that in the last times some will teach the doctrines of men as if they were gospel. The carnal man does not understand the things of the spirit, thats why they love the writings of men, because them they understand.Catholic men also wrote that there is no salvation outside the catholic church.Hogwash on top of hogwash.It dont surprise me that people still fall for this kind of stoneage cult religion. But, as my grandma used to say…it takes all kinds

  • “Dnald R love to quote men, catholic men, and then expect me to believe it as gospel. He takes it as gospel.”

    Sola Scriptura in all its primitive glory! Wayne, the New Testament was written by men, Catholic men. The Catholic Church determined what books to include as part of the New Testament, and what books to exclude. How did the “devil’s pet religion” as you so charmingly designate the Catholic Church, have the ability, and, more importantly, the authority to do this?

  • Wayne correct me if I’m wrong, but did the Holy Bible drop down from Heaven written in American English?

    As far as I know the first book of the New Testament was written around 60 A.D. and the last book written probably around 100-110 A.D. What happened during the time of Christ’s Resurrection in 33 A.D. up until 110 A.D.? Did Christians have the Holy Bible during that time?

    Not to mention the fact that the Holy Bible wasn’t even the “Holy Bible” until the 16th century.

    Please explain to me where I am wrong, etc.

  • Hi Tito, befor the new test was all written down, it was word of mouth. But what does that have to do with anything? You must be a catholic, trying to justify a murderous corrupt organization for no other reason than you belong to it.

  • Everyone,

    I don’t want to be guilty of anti-Roman Catholocism. I am a Lutheran, but I have no hostility towards Catholics. I have a few questions, though:

    1. Where in the Bible is the Bodily Assumption of the Virgin taught?

    2. Where in the Bible does it say that we should pray to the Virgin Mary?

    I don’t want to sound judgemental, but it seems to me that any doctrine that directs a person to someone other than God for salvation or justification is blasphemous. (I am not, however, a member of the Catholic Church and do not want to be guilty of misrepresenting her doctrine. Do I have the essential point right: that Roman Catholocism teaches that Mary can be prayed to, asked for help, etc.)?

    Love in Christ,

    Aidan

  • Wayne,

    It (the New Testament) wasn’t word of mouth. Why do you think the books in the Bible were called “letters” and “epistles”?

    It seems you are corrupting facts of history.

    If you did your own independent investigation you would be surprised at what you found.

  • I would like to add that discussion is perfectly acceptable as long as it is done in civility. To all Protestants who are here to “bash” – in other words, defame – individual practitioners of the Catholic religion, you do not do any justice to God, who commands us in 1 Peter to give an answer to all who ask “in meekness and in fear”, NOT in hatred and bigotry. I submit that – as all of us worship the one true God, the Blessed Trinity – we should all treat each other as brothers and sisters and Christ.

  • Adian, if you call pointing out fallacies in a religion as bashing, then close your eyes. Or pointing out fallacies in anything. You wouldnt have likes Jesus much either. He really socked it to them at times. Catholics give jesus lip service but their heart is far from him. The catholic church has taught its faithfull to look elsewhere for grace. i dont blame the individual catholic person. Hail Mary full of grace. She was at one time. But she awaits resurection like most everyone else.But, some folks are suckered into worshiping her. That why the catholic church discourages reading the bible. Cause of all their unscriptural teaching

  • I note Wayne that you have not answered my question, but since you are an ignorant bigot I didn’t expect one, at least one that was intelligent.

  • “1. Where in the Bible is the Bodily Assumption of the Virgin taught?

    2. Where in the Bible does it say that we should pray to the Virgin Mary?”

    As to one Aidan, nowhere. It is an early tradition and belief of the Catholic Church. Catholics do not rely on Sola Scriptura. The Church created the New Testament and not the other way around.

    As to two Aidan, Catholics do not pray to Mary. We ask her to pray for us and to intercede for us with God. The Hail Mary prayer ends “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

  • I’ve always wondered why Protestants are so quick to denigrate Mary, to insist that she is no different from anybody else. She was chosen to be the mother of Jesus! And she accepted God’s will. That’s why we venerate her!

    As Donald says, we do not pray to her or consider her equal to God. If the Catholic view of Mary seems improper to Protestants, from the Catholic standpoint, the Protestant view of the mother of Jesus seems very disrepectful.

  • As a small child, I think I found Mary especially comforting. The thought of “God watching me” sometimes alarmed me (especially when I had been naughty). The thought of a kind, smiling lady praying for me in Heaven made me feel much better.

  • Where inside the Bible does it say “Bible”?

  • Wayne,

    You haven’t answered nor rebutted any of the questions we posed to you? Why is that?

  • Hi Donald and Tito, i had to go somewhere and just got back. Donald, very few, and i mean very few catholics stick their necks out and say that catholics wrote the new testament.I always thought it was written by people who knew jesus. yes, Paul knew Jesus. Now, in a mad atenpt to make the catholic church holy, you say the catholics wrote it.God used the early fathers of the church to put togeather a bible for us. He uses whom he will. Most people know that the catholic church didnt write the new test.cause it wasnt around.Well since then, the catholic church has shown the world what its about. It took up romes past time of killing christians. Directed from the Holy Office. HAHAHAHA. The catholic church uses holy names for its murderous offices. It even calls this pompus blasphemer Holy Father. And people are buying that.Lets see, what was that name Donald called me? ah yes, ignorant bigot. Well, at least i dont kiss the feet of idols and the rings of child molesters, and you wont catch me bowing down to a statue. but thanks anyway

  • Wayne, still no answer, at least not an intelligent one. You are obviously completely ignorant of early Church history. The Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ. The New Testament is a product of the Catholic Church just as much as the current catechism is. The historical record is crystal clear. You can deny it all you wish but you are railing against stubborn historical facts. As for the rest of your hate filled screed, it merely testifies again that you are simply an ignorant bigot who knows nothing about the Catholic Church. We Catholics have a term for your chief affliction: invincible ignorance. Until you let go of your bitter hate and your stunning ignorance, you will be far from Christ indeed.

  • Wayne, it must be difficult to write posts by the faint light of a burning cross. I admire your talent in that regard.

  • Waiter! I’d like to send my troll back. He’s not very good.

  • Aidan, thanks for your polite & kinds tone… it’s much appreciated. I’d like to try to respond to a couple of your questions and comments.

    You asked about Mary’s assumption and about praying to her, and about finding both in Sacred Scripture. Most Catholic scholars today — including Pope Benedict — would say that while you cannot find every Catholic doctrine stated *explicitly* in Scripture, you can find all of them at least *implicitly*. Because Scripture is the Word of God, we will never completely exhaust our understanding of it and the way in which it all fits together… we’ve been spending 2000 years already mediating on the truths found therein, progressively growing in our understanding of the truths given definitely by Christ and His Apostles. That’s a general comment.

    You asked about praying to Mary; it’s crucial to understand that the prayers which Catholics direct to Mary are of a completely different kind than those we direct to God… adoration and worship are due to God alone, not to any creature, and so in no way are prayers to Mary those of adoration or worship. Rather, they are prayers seeking her intercession, and as such they are completely biblical: St. Paul directs us to pray for one another and to ask for one another’s prayers, and that’s what we do with Mary: we are asking her to pray for us. Just as it is right and good that I ask for the prayers of other Christian with me here on earth, so too is it right and good for me to ask prayers of those who are already with Jesus in heaven… as Jesus Himself said, God is the God of the living, not of the dead: those who have died in Christ are truly alive in Him now.

    Thoughts?

  • I second Dale’s last comment, btw.

  • Only a person with their head in the sand can think Christ started the catholic church. But Christ did tell us how to spot phonies. He said..” by their fruits shall ye know them” What are the fruits of the catholic church? Pogroms agaisnt Jews, the inquisition, the crusades(most cruel and barbarous), homosexual pedophiles by the truckloads,lesbian nuns wholesale, selling get out of hell tickets(only an ignorant catholic would buy), an army of subversives(jesuits), coverups of crimes by priests. These are just some of the fruits of the wonderfull catholic church. My girlfriend was born catholic and went K thru 12 in catholic school. She says that if anyone says catholics dont worship Mary is a damnned LIAR. Her words exactly. She got out of that snakepit called the catholic church, by the way.

  • Oh sorry, i forgot money laundering and drug running

  • Aidan!
    Thanks for the questions…quick answer…i hope this helps
    Bodily Assumption of Mary: nowhere does it state it explicitly…however we can infer.
    Elijah was assumed into heaven…why not the Mother of God?
    Also, Rev 12 “A great sign was seen in the heavens, a Woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet”
    Seems convincing to me. God bless bro!

  • In addition: Mary was the only person whom an Angel praised during a visit. Usually, in the presence of an Angel, men fall to their knees in fright thinking the Angel is God. however, the Angel praised Mary!
    How beautiful and true and fitting!

  • Can we please ignore Wayne and just pray for him? I know it hurts…but let’s ask for the grace to forgive him.

  • “Can we please ignore Wayne and just pray for him?”

    Good idea, Patrick. As is the idea to pray for the grace to forgive.

  • Dear Adian, Mary was not the mother of god. Mary was the mother of a man. Catholics love to say that the woman in revelations was Mary. they were taught that by their appologetics dept. Keep reading. It says she fled to the wilderness to hide. The catholic Mary is queen of heaven, not some chick hiding from the devil in the wilderness.Keep reading. The woman is he bride of christ. We, the saved, are the bride of christ.The 12 stars are the 12 tribes of Israel.Catholic theology is so shabby, only the blind believe it. Jesus said, “if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch”

  • Pray for me to do what? For me to become catholic? Rite. I cant wait to get on my knees in front of a statue.

  • Chris,

    With regard to this:

    “you cannot find every Catholic doctrine stated *explicitly* in Scripture, you can find all of them at least *implicitly*.”

    I was listening to a Protestant minister on the radio not long ago talk about how the Trinity itself is an implicit doctrine.

    If they can accept that one, I don’t see why ones relating to Mary would be so difficult.

  • Hey Joe, you mean that the catholic church can twist scripture to fit any unbiblical idea they come up with.That protetant preacher you mentioned is more than likely unsaved, as is the case with 99.9% of protestant preachers.The trinity is all over the bible.And no, im not going to do any quotes. You catholic BIG THINKERS can find them for yourself.

  • Agreed, Joe: the implicit nature of something as basic as the Trinity is evident from divergent readings of the NT as found among JWs and Mormons.

    To be fair to Protestants, though, some of our doctrines are *more* implicit than others… the Assumption, for instance, isn’t *as* evident as praying to Mary (although Patrick quickly sketched some of those indications above).

    In any case, it’s definitely not a matter of us holding to beliefs which are completely extra-biblical, let alone contrary to Scripture.

  • I would like to note for anyone “silently” reading this comment thread that the best place to find out what the Catholic Church teaches is in her authoritative teaching documents. The next best place is Catholics who are well-versed in those teaching documents. I wouldn’t recommend placing *too* much value in the practices of those in primary or secondary Catholic schools as indicators of Catholic teaching.

  • “Pograms against Jews”

    On the contrary, the Popes have treated the Jews more fairly than any other government in history (comparatively speaking).

    “The Inquisition”

    All govenrments have arbitrary laws, in those days it was Christianity.
    These days, we have seemingly arbitrary laws that can land you in jail or worse.
    It’s just a matter of government not bearing the sword in vain.

    “The Crusades”

    If it weren’t for the Crusades, first of all, you wouldn’t have Christianity or the Bible other than maybe a modified version in Arabic.
    Plus, the first one had to be done to help halt the progress of the Turks (and to protect the Byzantine Rite).
    The Fourth was an embarassment and had none of the righteousness of the First.
    In the case of the Fourth, I would agree.

    “Homosexual pedophiles”

    This is a greatly trumped up charge.
    It is a propblem, but it isn’t even close to every priest, as your language (and attitude) implies.

    “Lesbian nuns”

    There are lesbian Protestants too.
    Some probably more devout than you.
    ‘Sorry.

    “Get out of hell tickets”

    Indulgences is too complicated to describe, so against the propaganda and caricature treament they have gotten in Protestant “reformation” history books, it can do nothing.
    Bigotry is a flood against the humble trickle or reason.

    “Jesuits”

    The worst Jesuit who ever lived is a better, more respectable man than the most virtuous Protestant martyr.
    Just sayin’…

    “Cover ups”

    Paul said keep litigations against fellow Christians within the Church.

    I’m sorry, I’ve just wasted both of our time writing this reply…

  • Charlie,

    A very good starting point in debunking and countering the baseless charges against the Catholic faith.

  • The worst Jesuit who ever lived is a better, more respectable man than the most virtuous Protestant martyr.

    Well, let’s not get too carried away…

  • “Pray for me to do what? For me to become catholic? Rite.”

    I’d say “learn how to spell,” but let’s not presume to seek the miraculous right away.

    On a related point, it’s time for the poisonous troll to get the hook. The angry Catholic-hating lesbian last week got banned a lot faster. We’ve long since passed the point of diminishing returns with this hateful subliterate. Boot him.

  • THE OTHER DAY I AM TALKING TO A ADVENTISTS PASTOR NATIVE OF HONDURAS AND HE TELLS ME IF I CAN PLEASE INTERPRET REV 13 I SAD TO HIM A TALKS IN A WAY ABOUT A WOMEN WHO PRETENDS TO BE MARRY AND HE SAD NO IT IS MARRY I SAD THE DESCRIPTION THAT IT GIVES IS MARRY BUT YOURE SUPOSE TO DEFENDER AND TAKE HER AWAY FROM THE RESTS OF THE CHAPTER HE DID NOT AGREE WITH ME I WANTED TO HIT HIM OVER THE HEAD WITH MY BIBLE BECAUSE HE ACUSE OF MISTERPRETATING BIBLE AND HE TOLD ME I WAS GOING TO BURN IN HELL FOR TAKING AWAY THINGS FROM THE BIBLE SO I SAD SO YOU AINT GOING TO BURN EVEN DO YOURE STANDING BEFORE GOD CALLING HIS MOTHER A HORE .HE SAD NO BECAUSE THAT IS EXACTLY WHO MARRY IS IN THE BIBLE I SAD BUT IF YOU WERE STANDING AT THE DOOR OF THE HOUSE OF JESUS YOU WOULD TELL HIM THAT HE SAD YES.

  • “The worst Jesuit…”

    Well let’s not get too carried away…

    Yes, you’re right, but it is a total nincompoop, a historical charlatan, an ignoramus, a liar, and a bogoted fool who knows about Jesuit history like the missions to India, the ferocious persecution in Japan, and the way their charitable work with Native Americans was cut off because of some paranoid hater threatening the Pope to abolish their Order; not to mention the wonderful kinds of men who were part of it (St. Francis Xavier, St. Ignatius Loyola): and yet condemns the Jesuits.
    Now they have truly been Christians, if anyone has.

  • If you’re referring to Wayne, Charlie, you’ll find me in broad agreement… he’s merely regurgitating the worst anti-Catholic propaganda out there.

    I’d propose that time spent attacking the Catholic Church is better spent in prayer, becoming more familiar with the Jesus whom Catholics supposedly don’t know.

  • Oh, sorry, Chris 🙂
    Should have been more clear.

  • Everyone,

    Thank you for your answers to my questions. I apologize for mis-representing the Hail Mary prayer. Chris, you asked for my thoughts. I do believe in Sola Scriptura, so I do not accept tradition as equal with Scripture. But, by the same token, I do not believe that faith in the bodily Assumption of Mary into heaven is a doctrine that will damn a person, so I don’t like to dispute it too much. 🙂 As for praying to Mary, I do confess that it seems a dangerous doctrine. If one believes it as you do, then it causes no harm. But there are many who would twist it in their hearts and believe that they are praying to Mary for salvation. Many midevil doctors of theology fell into this error. I still disagree with both doctrines, but I thank you for illuminating them for me, and I still believe that Catholocism is a Christian religion.

    Wayne, it is true that Mary was not the mother of the Holy Trinity. But she WAS, in a very real sense, the mother of God the Son in His incarnation on earth. This (if I am not mistaken) is the Catholic teaching; not that she was the mother of God in heaven, but His mother on earth.

    I would like to point out, though, that while the Trinity IS implicitly spelled out in the New Testament, Scriptural support for it is far more concrete than, say, the intercession of the saints or the Assumption of Mary. But again, I believe that so long as a person throws themself at the feet of God the Holy Trinity and pleads His mercy rather than their works for salvation, that person is saved regardless of what other doctrines he may hold. The danger that Protestants see in these doctrines is: 1. We believe Sola Scriptura, and this does not allow them, and 2. Some unstable people might take them too far and worship Mary or the saints. But, while I must be clear in voicing my disagreement of these teachings, I must also say that I do not doubt the personal salvation of any who believe them, nor will I disagree in any manner but one of kindness and love.

    Wayne, you seem to be under the illusion that Protestantism is a united Church. It is not. Even on such elementary matters as Baptism, Communion, and the Election Protestants are divided. Does it follow, then, that only those people who accept EVERY doctrine of the Bible are saved? True, those who do not have all of biblical doctrine are missing out, so to speak, and God might, on Judgement Day, have something to say about it, but that is not for us to decide. And it is not for us to point to an individual and say, “You are not a Christian”. We do not know peoples’ hearts. We do not know if they truly believe or do not believe. There are Christians in every denomination of visible Christendom, and even in some denominations that are overtly anti-christian (i.e. Jehovah’s Witnesses and the LDS Church). You have every right to voice your disagreement, but please do so in a loving and respectful way. If you are not speaking the truth in love to either bring people to Christ or strengthen peoples’ faith in Him, then you are violating His very specific commands. Do not be like the Pharisees and think yourself preferred by God over someone else because you hold a specific doctrine or repudiate a certain teaching.

    I pray that God blesses everyone on this forum.

    Love in Christ,

    Aidan

  • P.S. Interpretations as to whom the woman of Revelation is differ. Some believe her to be Mary, some the Church, some the twelve tribes of Israel. I personally do not take a stance. I agree with Wayne, however, in saying that the saved are the bride of Christ.

  • Aidan I hope you will continue to visit and participate in the comboxes. You are just the type of questioner we like to have visit us.

  • Everyone,

    I know I’ve written a lot already, but a further reading of the forum prompted more comments.

    Wayne, you say that I would not have liked Jesus very much. Please do not insinuate that I have not devoted my heart and soul to my Lord and Savior. I have. I love Him with all of my being. But I am not Him. You are not Him. We must speak the truth, and we must do it directly, but we are not sinless and so cannot do all of the things that Christ did. And besides, am I not being clear as to my position? I have voiced my disagreement with the doctrines of Mary and others in Roman Catholocism. But I have done it (I hope and pray) with gentleness and respect and love (if I have not, please correct me that I might repent and ask the forgiveness of those on the forum). And look at what has happened. Though we disagree and though we have not met each other, the Catholic members of this forum and I have formed bonds of respect and honor towards each other. That is what we are supposed to do with all people, especially brothers and sisters in Christ. That is what Paul had in mind when he pled for unity in the church. Doctrinal unity, certainly, but above all unity of love and purpose. I remind you of St. John’s admonition in his first epistle that those who hate a brother or sister are not Christ’s. I am in no position to judge you, I simply ask that you pray about it.

    Donna, you say that you always thought of God as angry and Mary as smiling upon you. I confess that this view is precisely the kind of thing that Protestants fear regarding doctrines of Mary. For God is a loving God and is perfectly willing at all times to hear us, save us, protect us, dry out tears, pick us up when we fall, not because of our righteousness, but because of His love. So long as we repent and believe, He will wipe our guilt an d shame away. “Cast your cares upon the LORD, and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). I know that you know that already, and I do not wish to sound condescending or rude, but I felt like the Lord was tugging at me to affirm His love for you and all here.

    Another question: I was under the impression that the idea of the Roman bishop being the universal bishop was not formulated until the sixth or seventh century. Didn’t Jerome say that the title of ecumenical bishop was offered the Pope, but that he refused? Wasn’t Pope Gregory the first to exercise the authority of universal bishop? Curious as to your thoughts. My knowledge of the early Church Fathers is by no means absolute.

    Love in Christ,

    Aidan Clevinger

  • Thank you Mr. McClarey. I appreciate that more than you know.

  • Aidan: Well, that comment I made about Mary was certainly not meant to illustrate any profound theological insight. It was my recollection of how I viewed Mary when I was a child. I think many Catholics develop that emotional attachment to Mary, which is why it hurts on a gut level to see her treated with a lack of respect.

    I know that God is love. But the concept of God, a being that sees and knows all, can be overwhelming, particularly for a small child. Mary is there to affirm and reassure us that God is love and mercy, that He will forgive us. Not that Mary will forgive us – we know only God forgives sins. Asking her to pray for me was a great comfort as a child. But I did not believe, nor was I ever taught that she was a “goddess” or equal to God.

    I’m afraid I don’t have the theological sophistication of most of the posters here so I’m fumbling a bit while their reasoning is much clearer. But it’s a good thing to be asked why, exactly, do you believe as you do. So thanks, Aidan, as you have given me food for thought.

  • Aidan, first of all thank you for engaging us in such a wonderful, faith filled dialogue. I hope you continue to read and comment. As for your question on the rise of popes and papal authority. The Early Church had always recognized the authority of the Successor of Saint Peter. As early as 96 AD, the Church in Corinth wrote to Pope Clement on a theological controversy that had broken out in their city.

    This is particularly telling since they could have easily written to Saint John who was nearby. However, they wrote to Rome. Obviously being a pope was dangerous business, since once the Roman authorities found out who it was, they did their best to kill them. Almost all of the popes of the first two centuries died martyrs. There was a saying in the Early Church, I believe St Augustine used it as well when referring to controversies. He and others would simply say, “Rome has spoken,” which meant the matter was settled. Obviously, this didn’t completely stop heretics like Arius, but they knew they would incur the wrath of the faithful for their open rebellion.

    I realize this may not be taught in many Protestant seminaries or universities (liberal Catholic ones too.) However, rest assured Pope Gregory was not the first to exert his authority.

  • Everyone,

    Thanks again for your answers to all my questions. I can never promise complete agreement, but I can at least gain a greater understanding of the Catholic religion.

    Mr. Hartline, you reference St. Clement’s letter to the Corinthians, and say that they could have written to John. Wasn’t John the pastor of Ephesus? And at the time of the writing of 1 Clement, wasn’t he imprisoned/exiled on Patmos? I could most certainly be wrong about that, but I had always thought that at the time of Clement’s letter to the Corinthians John had been banished from Rome.

    I do not wish to seem as if I don’t trust your word, but I like to research things myself as well as hear informed people. Could you provide source documents in which the Roman bishop exercised ecumenical authority before Pope Gregory?

    Lastly, what is the biblical groundwork for the teaching of the Pope? I know Matthew 16:18-19, but beyond that I’m afraid I’m unfamiliar with the arguments for papal supremacy.

    Thanks again for everyone’s answers. God bless you all!

    Love in Christ,

    Aidan

  • Aidan,

    Here’s a good start.

    The Jews have always had the tradition of a final authority on matters of faith (in this instance, Judaism).

    This is called the “Seat of Moses”. Which is a Jewish saying for explaining that the word is final on this particular matter.

    Some examples from the Holy Bible are from the Holy Gospel of Saint Matthew 23:1-3…

    1 Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3 so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.

    “So practice and observe what they tell you.” Here Jesus is telling his followers to listen to the authority of Judaism and “practice and observe”.

    As you should know that the Holy Spirit guides the Church (or in your instance, how you interpret the Bible). Hence the Holy Spirit guides the “Seat of Peter”, which is the successor of the “Seat of Moses”.

    This is a continuation of the authority, or ex cathedra, from the seat, of Peter.

    We see this in the Old Testament in Numbers 7:89…

    89 And when Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with the LORD, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was upon the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; and it spoke to him.

    Again in Leviticus ex cathedra is invoked in 16:2…

    2 and the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at all times into the holy place within the veil, before the mercy seat which is upon the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.

    This final authority was promulgated by God Himself telling Moses in Exodus 25:17-22…

    17 Then you shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. 18 And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end; of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. 20 The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be. 21 And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark; and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. 22 There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you of all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.

    Notice the description being used by God?

    The seat is built upon the Ark, which contains the Word of God, ie, the Ten Commandments.

    “I will speak with you of all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.”

    Speak with you. Him, God, The Holy Spirit speaks through men of authority, ex cathedra, ie, the Seat of Peter, ie, the Pope.

    Right smack in the Holy Bible.

    Note: Ex Cathedra is roughly translated “from the seat” or “from the chair” of Moses/Peter.

    The term “mercy seat” means chair or seat, it’s a vulgar German translation.

    Hope this helps.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • Its only if you believe that the pope has authority. Or that the Holy Spirit guides the catholic church.

  • Thats only if you believe that authority is with the supposed seat of Peter. Mormons say they have the authority. So what do we do now? I say Jesus is the only authority

  • Wayne,

    Read the Holy Gospel of Saint Matthew 16:19…

    19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

    Or do you not believe what the Holy Bible says?

  • Tito,

    Thank you for the time and care that you took to answer. I offer my comments here:

    Tito, your research is very detailed and opened me up to Scriptural truths I was not formerly aware of. But the Bible does not ascribe this seat to St. Peter. Other than Christ’s reference to the Pharisees possessing the seat of Moses, I believe the only other reference to the Ark of the Covenant is in Revelation, where it is in Heaven with God.

    Isn’t this same authority given to Peter (I understand that the Greek word for “you” is singular in Matthew 16:19) later given to all the Apostles (John 20:21-23) and to all believers (Matthew 18:19-20)? Why, if Peter was the ecumenical bishop, did Paul not seek ordination from him (Galatians 1:16-17) and oppose him when he erred (Galatians 2:11-21)? And why did he say that that “all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas [Peter]”) (1 Corinthians 3:21-22).

    On Matthew 16:18-19; isn’t Christ elsewhere called the “rock”, and doesn’t Ephesians 2:20 say that the Church is build upon Christ and the apostles and prophets? According to this interpretation, the “rock” that Christ shall build His Church on is Peter’s confession of faith, not Peter himself.

    I have the quotation from Jerome: “If the question is concerning authority, the world is greater than the city. Wherever there has been a bishop, whether at Rome, or Eugubium, or Constantinople, or Rhegium, or Alexandria, he is of the same dignity and priesthood”

    Furthermore: “Gregory, writing to the patriarch at Alexandria, forbids that he be called universal bishop. And in the Records he says that in the Council of Chalcedon the primacy was offered to the
    bishop of Rome, but was not accepted.” (Quoted from Philip Melancthon’s Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope”)

    I again thank all here for their respect and attention to my questions, and I pray that God would be glorified through our discussions.

    Love in Christ,

    Aidan

  • Aidan,

    On Matthew 16:18-19; isn’t Christ elsewhere called the “rock”, and doesn’t Ephesians 2:20 say that the Church is build upon Christ and the apostles and prophets? According to this interpretation, the “rock” that Christ shall build His Church on is Peter’s confession of faith, not Peter himself.

    That is the crux of the issue between Catholics and Protestants.

    Protestants believe Jesus was referring to Peter’s faith, while Catholics know that it was referencing Peter and the Church.

    The problem arises in the old Greek. Which is a translation of Aramaic. In Aramaic it is clear that Jesus was speaking of Peter and the Church. But in old Greek it is a bit confusing because of the use of the word Kephas. Which can mean either a small rock or a large rock.

    In this case, in reading of the context of the passage, it is clear that, just as in Aramaic, that Jesus is referring to the Church. Not Peter’s faith.

    Only in English (maybe German and Dutch) do you see that Peter and Rock are distinct. But in any Latin language it is the same word, Peter for Petra and Rock for Petra. Spanish, Peter for Pedro and Rock for Piedra. See the similarities?

    As far as your other questions I will get back to you tomorrow on them.

    Ironically, I have Bible Study to lead tonight (I couldn’t find someone else to do it) so have a good evening!

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • Aidan,

    One last thing before I go and return tomorrow…

    With the destruction of Jerusalem, which included the Temple, the seat of Moses was superseded by the Seat of Peter.

    Read the Holy Gospel of Saint Matthew 16:19…

    19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

    This is clearly a direct command from Jesus, the Son of God, telling Peter that he has given him authority to ‘bind’ and ‘loose’, meaning that it will be ‘bound’ and ‘loosed’ in Heaven as well. At minimum this reads as implicit authority, if not explicit authority (to remove debate on nuance).

    It only goes to Reason that Jesus was establishing a visible Church on earth with final authority.

    I’ll address the rest of your concerns and questions tomorrow, if our readers and/or my colleagues don’t get to it first!

    In Christ,

    Tito

  • Aidan, again it is a pleasure to have this congenial discussion with you. I for one hope it continues. I believe you wondered about my assertion concerning the letter to Pope Clement from Corinth. I believe St John had not yet been exiled, he still lived in Ephesus and Corinth is most certainly closer to Ephesus than Rome. However, the church in Corinth wanted a final answer and they knew that even though St John was an Apostle, he was still outranked by the hand picked Successor to Saint Peter in this case Pope Clement. Keep in mind that (Acts 1:20-26)the succession of Apostles was determined (May Another take his office) which is taken from the 69th Psalm. I believe the original version of the King James Bible even had the verse from Acts translated as “May another take his bishopric.”

    As far as the rock translation goes, it was never questioned until the time of the Reformation. Some Evangelicals had said that Jesus couldn’t be referring to Peter because in Hebrew rock is feminine. However, Jesus spoke Aramaic to his Apostles, not Hebrew or Greek. Judas was probably the only one who understood Hebrew or Greek.

    I say the following as charitably as I know how Aidan. However, it is difficult for many of us to understand how someone (like the Reformation leaders) can come 1,517 years (and often longer) after the fact and claim they know the true translation. It would as if in 3293 AD someone would come forth to say the American Revolution was not as we had been taught. Recently, I heard an Evangelical Preacher on the radio saying Catholics were getting all excited because an angel who appeared to Mary. The preacher said “So what angels have appeared to a lot of people.” True angels have appeared to a lot of people but never with the verse “Hail Full of Grace,” (the Greek “kecharitomene”) which is an extraordinary greeting never found in any other place in the Bible. Usally angels cause people to tremble, in this case it was angel who was being reverant.

    One more thing, as much as Martin Luther disagreed with the Church or some matters on others like the Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary, his dissent was minor if at all. As a matter of fact I believe he said that if anyone didn’t believe in the Eucharist they weren’t Christian and a Crusade should be taken up against them. I do believe he was very ruthless to the point of torture or death to anyone he caught from the “Protestant” side who did not believe in the Eucharist, which I believe is why Munzer started his uprising against Luther and the civil authorities who supported him. Again, Aidan thank you for this wonderful dialogue. Please continue to post. God Bless!

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Adios Heretics, Hello Orthodoxy!

Wednesday, December 2, AD 2009

With the recent scandals rocking the Catholic Church here in America as in President Obama receiving an honorary degree at the University of Notre Shame to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claiming that abortion is an open-ended issue in the Church, we have seen a reemergence of ecclesial leadership on behalf of our shepherds.  Many bishops have awoken to the fact that being “pastoral[1]” has been a remarkable failure in resolving the deviancy emanating from Catholics and Catholic institutions.

The upsurge of young adults rediscovering their faith to the excellent parenting of Catholic families in raising fine orthodox Christian children, we have seen what is only the beginning of a Catholic renaissance here in America.  And let us not forgot the ever faithful cradle Catholics among us that have contributed in keeping the faith in the tumult arising from the Second Vatican Council to today.

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6 Responses to Adios Heretics, Hello Orthodoxy!

  • Gates are not an offensive construct, they are purely defensive.

    It seems to me that Hell’s defenses are weak and rather than sit back and hold off Satan’s attack we should be taking the offensive. Christ has assured us that if we attack Hell’s gates, they cannot prevail against us.

    How do we attack Hell? We must seek virtue.

    Thanks for posting this. Will our orthodoxy increase the attacks against us individually in spiritual warfare? I don’t know about you, but the current situation, both in the Church and the secualr world; think more and more Tridentine Masses and mantillas as well as Tea Party Protests, is pusing more and more of us to conservatism and orthodoxy. Will that cause a step up in demonic attacks – it sure feels that way.

    Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio. . .

  • I wouldn’t have said “Goodbye, Liberals” as the title to Michael Voris piece, but “Goodbye, Heretics” which is more accurate in my opinion.

  • It sure is inspiring to see young people be proud of their faith. When my 16 year old daughter came back from an A.C.T.S. retreat, she inspired me to be closer to Jesus and proud to be Catholic. I was supposed to teach her and she ended up teaching me.

  • protestantism=institutionalized dissent….it also bleeds into Holy Mother Church members as well unfortunately.

  • Diane,

    I agree on some levels. It’ll be a generation or so until most (unfortunately not all) dissidents and heretics leave or are purged form Holy Mother Church.

    Ora pro nobis!

The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism Because The Pope of Christian Unity (Pope Benedict XVI) Is Gathering the Scattered Flocks Left Behind by Those Who Thought They Knew Better Than The Church

Sunday, November 22, AD 2009

The Catholic Church has always had a bull’s-eye attached to it, and in truth many of us wouldn’t want it any other way, for when we are almost universally loved, as has happened a few times in the last 40 years we have become “of the world,” instead of suffering for the world.”  Lately, during the pontificates of Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI dark forces have gathered at the gates of truth attacking the Church for a variety of long held beliefs.  These beliefs can range from the theological to the social. However, following the US Election of 2008 a tidal wave seems to have inundated the Church from the mainstream media, the political realm and even the entertainment world. The Church’s 2,000 year old teachings and beliefs have been attacked in the United States and Western Europe from elected officials, the mainstream media and well known entertainment celebrities. Some of the faithful have become discouraged and questioned me as to how the thesis of my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, could possibly be true in light of this news.

The truth of the matter is that against this troubling backdrop the Church continues to grow around the world, especially in African and Asia but even in North America, where much of the onslaught against the Church has emanated. Seminaries and Mother Houses often have no room for those pursuing a vocation and those young African and Asian men and women are often sent to the US or Europe to explore their vocation. Even in the US and pockets of Europe seminaries are experiencing a mini boom. One seminary rector told me that in the 40+ plus years of being affiliated with the Church, he has never seen a longer sustained period of top notch orthodox minded young men coming in and being ordained as he has seen in the last 10 years. Perhaps this is why the powers that be are so angry.

It seemed the US midterm Election of 2006 emboldened the cause of those militant liberals and secularists who have contempt for much of what orthodox minded Catholicism holds dear. Following the results of the Election of 2008, many pundits proclaimed the results as a sea change for America. Agnostics and atheists gleefully announced that a world where religion and especially conservative or orthodox minded Catholicism held sway was being replaced by a humanist brand of religion where age old teachings were replaced by the ideas of “enlightened” religious leaders, agnostic thinkers, and pop culture celebrities. It seemed this new brand of liberal thinker was less idealistic than their 1960s peers and displayed an anger and hostility that was a far cry from the utopian idealism displayed some 40 years ago. Yet, beneath the surface and below the radar screens of many news organizations, lies the hope of the Catholic faithful who hold on to the ideas  imparted by Christ, His Apostles, Popes, Bishops, Priests, Women Religious, Saints and holy laymen and laywomen throughout the centuries.

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6 Responses to The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism Because The Pope of Christian Unity (Pope Benedict XVI) Is Gathering the Scattered Flocks Left Behind by Those Who Thought They Knew Better Than The Church

  • I appreciate your message of hope.

    Your title is way, way too long!

  • The Church, the holy bishops and priests, the laiety, and the Holy Father certainly have Satan running scared!

  • I have been told by some evangelicals that there belief that eventually all orthodox christians will be under the care and protection of the Catholic Church. Even though there is disagreement among them. I tend to agree with there reasoning and from the signs we are seeing. I pray that the holy spirit comes to all those that need the help to come home.

  • As usual Dave, you tell like it is. Although some did not like Bishop Tobin’s public response to Patrick Kennedy, who found out quickly that his ilk will no longer be tolerated in his actions against the tenets of the Church, I belive more and more Bishops have come to the realization, that speaking out after conferring with these so called “catholics” has strenghtened the laity. Take care and God Bless.

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  • Splendid column as usual, Dave. No doubt the damage wrought by Luther will be repaired and unity restored, thanks to the secularists whose relentless assault have recently spurred the Christians to draw a line in the sand with the Manhattan Declaration to show that they will not render to Caesar what is God’s.

D.C. Council vs. the Catholic Church Poll

Sunday, November 15, AD 2009

The Washington Post has a poll out on whether or not Washington D.C. should require the Church to follow a law it considers immoral?

This is in regards to whether Catholic Charities should be forced to go against the Catholic Church teachings because they receive funding from the Washington D.C. city council.

In previous TAC posts we wrote about DC Bigotry and about Setting the Record Straight on the Church in D.C. (by Donald R. McClarey and Joe Hargrave respectively).

Of course not, but the Know-Nothings are in force and are skewing the numbers so go to the poll to vote!

To vote click here.

So far as of November 15, 6:15pm CST:

D.C. Council vs. the Catholic Church

The D.C. Council is considering a law forbidding discrimination against those in gay marriages. The law would apply to all groups that have contracts with the District, including Catholic Charities, one of the city’s largest social services providers. The Archdiocese of Washington says that because of the Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage, it would have to suspend its social services to the poor, the homeless and others rather than provide employee benefits to same-sex married couples or allow them to adopt.

Should the city require the Church to follow a law it considers immoral?

chart

Father John Zuhlsdorf and I voted “NO”.

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11 Responses to D.C. Council vs. the Catholic Church Poll

  • I voted no. Surprise!

  • The presiding Priest at the 10:00 Mass this morning at St. Matthew’s Cathedral (Fr. Knestout) preached on the controversy surrounding Catholic Charities as it relates to this bill. Fr. Knestout is very reserved, but you can feel the force of his disgust with the media coverage of the situation. He suggested that after all the emails he received from irate individuals, perhaps those emails should now be sent to the people on the City Council responsible for this unconstitutional abomination.

  • Sadly we can expect this sort of mess when the Church accepts terms and missions from pagan governments. We should stay clear. The Church is not a welfare agency. Before you bleeding hearts jump on me for being callous and unCatholic, I am not suggesting that we do not have a commandment to feed, clothe, etc. and take care of the poor and infirm; I am saying that it is more important for the Church to help get their souls saved than to feed them.

    Ideally the Church will do both; however, when the Church begins to take money and queues from pagan governments the worshipers of the spirit of the present darkeness will seek to silence the Church (no proselytizing). DC has decided to bunt the Church – good. Do the work anyway and preach the Gospel while doing it.

    BTW – I voted no! Did you read the misinformed venom in the comments? This is scary stuff – its not funny and it should not be taken lightly. Hating Catholics that aren’t with the program, nudge, nudge, wink, wink is cool. Bring it on!

  • Thanks guys for voting.

    It seems to be helping a little. The ‘No’ are now 26% instead of 25%.

    There must be a lot of bigoted people in DC for the numbers to be skewed that way.

  • Tito,

    That comes as no surprise to those of us trapped behind enemy lines in enemy-occupied Northern Virginia (Greater Washington, DC).

    Pray, pray, pray.

    St. Michael the Archangel defend us in battle. . .

  • So much for democracy, the best form of government?

  • I voted “no” – It is an act of charity to give those with same-sex attraction a united Catholic face- that stays with the truth/mercy of our Catholic teaching. Those who enable sin may be even more accountable for that sin than those who ignorantly engage in the sinful act itself. The sin of misleading the little ones- with the image of the millstone tied around one’s waist and being cast into a deep Sea- should be sobering for any Catholic who seeks to re-write the Catechism.

  • the father z approach to online witness! way to go!

  • Here’s another lesson in the difference between charity and government. Would that our bishops learn from these lessons and lose their habit of plumping for government spending labeled ‘welfare.’

  • P.Z. Myers has posted this poll on his blog and has asked his readers to skew the results.

  • While I agree with Fr Z on the question the poll asks, I’m not sure starting a poll skewing war with the sundry inhabitants of cyberspace is .. a worthwhile pursuit.

DC Bigotry

Friday, November 13, AD 2009

No Catholic Bashing

As Joe in his brilliant post here notes, various organs of the Left are in a tizzy because the Archdiocese of Washington has stood up to the attempt by secular bigots to force the Archdiocese to act contrary to Catholic teaching regarding homosexuality.  Here is the statement of the Archdiocese:

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3 Responses to DC Bigotry

  • There seems to me a lack of understanding of the nature of charitable giving. If the council of the District of Columbia wishes to cut back on what is given for the poor, why then that council may do so. That it is a foul and disgusting thing to do so is evident. Who pays the piper calls the tune.

    This is always the danger of the Church taking dubious money.

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  • As a result, religious organizations and individuals are at risk of legal action for refusing to promote and support same-sex marriages in a host of settings where it would compromise their religious beliefs. This includes employee benefits…

    WRONG. A point missed by both sides (Doesn’t the Archdiocese have competent Counsel that reviews tehse things?), employee benefits are regulated under federal law with a state pre-emption. The proposed DC marriage law would make no change for any employer (relgious or secular) as far as employee health & welfare benefits.

A Plague of Atheists Has Descended, and Catholics are the Target

Wednesday, November 4, AD 2009

Christopher Hitchens

Greg Craven, who is the Vice-Chancellor of Australian Catholic University (ACU), wrote a serious, yet funny, article.  The article comes from my favorite Australian newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald.  In the article, A plague of Atheists has Descended and Catholics are the Target, Greg Craven explains the rise of a new group of atheists that would rather engage in polemics and attacks on the Catholic faith than engage in serious dialogue.  These attacks are so vitriol that they descend beyond reason and become humorous to read, but they aren’t intentional.

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103 Responses to A Plague of Atheists Has Descended, and Catholics are the Target

  • He’s very funny–and spot on to boot. I’m guessing Hitch for the photog–not sure as there’s some distortion. But gawsh, you’d think a devotee of science would trouble himself to support his local dentist more often!

  • Apparently atheists don’t believe in flossing, either.

  • CMinor,

    Good guess.

    It is Christopher Hitchens.

    I have to say I actually like listening to Mr. Hitchens, though I don’t agree with him on his thoughts on faith at all. He seems to be the more civil of the “new atheists”. Unlike Richard Dawkins who goes out of his way to insult anyone showing a hint of faith without being provoked.

  • Ah yes.
    The last acceptable prejudice is alive and well Down Under.

    On our NZ Catholic blog entitled http://www.beingfrank.co.nz we have a couple of resident atheists who comment and criticise the catholics constantly.
    Have to give them a good serve on occasions to quieten them down. 😉

  • Whatever happened to the old-school atheists who, quite ironically, were the ones responsible for such great religious films like The Song of Bernadette, Ben Hur and (I believe) even the much celebrated Man for All Seasons?

  • “Atheists” must attack the Church because [to quote Newman] it is the Ark of Salvation; the only true Church. Give them credit that they realize that. They know their enemy.

  • Gabriel:

    If you truly believe that atheists attack the Church because it is the Ark of Salvation, the only true Church; then why do you suppose Protestants attack it?

  • Because they disagree with the atheists on that point?

  • One wishes the chancellors of Catholic universities in the USA were as well-spoken and strong in their defense of the Faith. Indeed, one wishes the chancellors of Catholic universities in the USA were Catholic.

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  • e. writes Wednesday, November 4, 2009 A.D.
    “Gabriel:
    “If you truly believe that atheists attack the Church because it is the Ark of Salvation, the only true Church; then why do you suppose Protestants attack it?”.

    Same reason. Who am I to disagree with Newman? He knew the problem from the inside out.

  • This article is bullsh*t. It is just a belligerent rant against “certain” atheists who have said “certain” things about the Catholic Church. First of all, using unruly behavior to go against unruly behavior is self defeating. You only proved that you could be just as stupid as the opposition. Second of all, who are these “certain” atheists? How exactly did they attack the Catholic Church? What did they say? Why not address the specific issue you have with the specific person you disagree with instead of generalizing & displaying elementary school-styled bigotry? Greg Craven is pathetic.

  • Jack,

    You just proved the point of the article with your diatribe.

  • What a load of nonsense. I like how you start off your biased and untrue article with a picture meant to invoke a negative response correlated with atheism- that’s a nice psychological tactic. Then you go and make irrational claims like Catholics have an advantage that they at least believe in something. I am an atheist and I believe in all kinds of things- I simply don’t believe in things that there is no proof of, like life after death, because death isn’t exactly what we all wish for. I am an adult and am more conserned with truth than fantasy, and you are somehow saying you have the advantage of believing in something regardless of whether or not it is true. So in your article you essentially brag about random belief as opposed to being proud of being a rational thinker that seeks truth over wishful thinking. I’m also sorry that you had to make it a point to say you don’t like atheists, but whether or not you like the truth, it doesn’t change what is actually truth. I became an atheist because I am an intelligent rational thinker that spend a large amount of years studying religion and the human mind- I can tell the difference between reality and superstition. I did NOT become an atheist to increase my popularity at parties. To me, finding what is real is more important than making superstitious people like me better. Truth is not about being a hit at parties- it’s about being an adult and accepting what there is evidence for whether or not we like them.

    What you said about an atheist’s interest in religion is also very misguided and an outright lie. Just because religions are games of make believe doesn’t mean I don’t know A TON about them, and I have very educated opinions on them. Have you ever studied religions in depth (not just Christian ones), read things like Joseph Campbell, questioned the claims people make about what they believe in? People are going around using fantasy to interact with the world, and thus they should be publically criticized for it. People like Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine would do it, and people like me do it as well. I study cults and media based brainwashing as well, and I have lots to say on those subjects too. Your argument simply had no sense behind it.

    Now everything you said was very ridiculous, but I at least gave you the respect of going through your rant and addressing some of the claims specifically. I have nothing to hide and showed what was wrong with your claims in a rational manner- something you failed to do about atheists.

    I hope the propaganda you are spreading is ripped to shreds at the University though. I’m going to guess that the overwhelming majority of college educated people will easily see through the lies and logical fallacies.

    I will continue to study religion, cults, propaganda, public relations, marketing, and other forms of psychological manipulation, and promise to help discredit propaganda articles like the one you just wrote here in the future. Please continue to spread it though because articles such as this one helps the educated public realize just how irrational your claims are. I have no hate for you whatsoever even though you write nothing but blatant lies and misconceptions. Have a great New Year’s weekend!

  • Steve, you write “Have you ever studied religions in depth (not just Christian ones), read things like Joseph Campbell, questioned the claims people make about what they believe in?”

    What if the answer is yes?

  • Well at least that’s a start- I just think 99% of the time it’s not going to be so. This article was so over-the-top ridiculous that I can’t imagine it came from a person who is actually educated about religion.

    It’s possible that they’re so brainwashed that cognitive dissonance blinds them completely to reality, but most educated people will not be able to type out so many logical fallacies like this article writer did without either feeling like a really bad person who knows they are lying deep down inside.

    Even if there was a god (and I’m fully convinced that there is no reason to believe in one, and am also convinced that there is MUCH reason to believe that religions are all untrue fantasies built to help mankind cope with his psychological forces), the arguments the article writer made here would STILL be absolutely ridiculous, and not something a well educated person would be able to pull off (unless they were a con artist lying for a purpose).

    I’m gonna bet the article writer knows very little about religion though because that’s the highest probability. It’s possible I’m wrong, but just not very likely.

  • And I do want to add that it’s a HUGE shame that this kind of propaganda is coming from a person with a position at a University where education should be more valued then pushing lies down people’s throats. I hope for the students at that specific Catholic University that this type of brainwasher is not the norm.

    I myself went to Catholic school in gradeschool and highschool and got a great education. If I wrote an article such as the topic creator did for one of my classes, I would have been given an F. Luckily not all religious schools employ propagandists.

  • “I hope the propaganda you are spreading is ripped to shreds at the University though. I’m going to guess that the overwhelming majority of college educated people will easily see through the lies and logical fallacies.”

    ::begins laughing hysterically::

    Are you serious?

    Universities in the Western world have nothing to do with educating people about logical fallacies. They are about indoctrinating people in the false religions of secular humanism and political correctness with methods that become more fascistic every year.

    Don’t believe me? Check out Freedom for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

    Universities are no longer modernist, my friend. They are post-modernist. Modernists value reason and logic (sometimes to the point of religiosity, which is silly). Post-modernists do not believe in objective truth and view reason and logic as Western paradigms.

  • I’m sorry that you must have a poor experience with education, but I have not had the same problem. I was taught about logic and objective reality in schools. Science itself requires understanding of objective reality and that is exactly what the scientific method tests for unlike religion, which just makes up answers without any evidence. Philosophy is not the point of an education though- and I would agree that many people waste their minds away in philosophy classes instead of seeking what is real.

    Now of course there is no objective truth in things like morality and such (though of course our human nature will make some morals seem almost universal based on our agreed upon desires), but in cases of whether or not there is an afterlife, whether or not people leave their bodies during meditation or prayer or sleep, whether religions brainwash members as opposed to teaching them truth, how molecules interact with eachother, well then there is most definitely an objective truth.

    The fact that we are having this communication on an instrument built upon what we have learned about the objective reality through the scientific method is proof that the objective truth is real. I have never taken a class in college or even high school that would not agree.

    Maybe many universities in America are failures though, because there are still so many irrational people like the writer of this article out there, but I don’t think that universities are pumping out people that ridiculous at a high rate.

  • Steve,

    How about this thought experiment.

    Can you convince twelve of your friends to die for a lie?

  • Steve, ss regards your comment about propaganda, the Catholic Church invented it. It simply means propagation of the faith. Clearly, in your case, we failed. Please accept our apologies.

    I hope your relationship with your father isn’t damaging your relationship with God. I know, you don’t beleive in a god so you can’t have a relationship with him or her, right?

    The fact is that you do have a relationship with God because He made you and He gave you the brilliant, truth-seeking mind you have. He loves you and wants you to use reason and faith to come back to Him. All rationality must begin with an act of faith in something. You obviously beleive in truth and that is an excellent place to start.

    Just remember that understanding is given to those who believe, not the other way around. It seems illogical, but that is simply a symptom of the lie that we are all born into. You can get out, if you really want to.

  • Actually I shouldn’t blame America for the failure in this specific religious propaganda article, as it came out of Australia. Also I’ve never heard any of my teachers in catholic school make such huge logical fallacies, so I can’t even say all religious schools in America breed stupidity. Some of them are actually quite good. I think part of that is because I’m from a major city and not the south or something. I think religious people in major cities are less likely to be strongly brainwashed, and usually just use religion to cope instead of trying to use it as a total guideline for their lives, but that’s just my guess.

  • Hold on Steve. I was being charitable and you go and post bigotry, “. . .because I’m from a major city and not the south or something.”

    Those of us who live in the South find your bigotry displeasing, yet, as Christians, we still love you. We might have to give you a whoopin’ if you come down here though. For your own good, you understand.

    Hey Steve, do you think it is possible that you are blind to Christ because you come from a major (read liberal secular progressive) city. Geography doesn’t make one more or less intelligent, perhaps more or less arrogant though.

    It is a shame that you seek truth in a world that is confined by your limited senses and has no reason for being. it must be extremely boring and fruitless. Sad.

  • “Steve, ss regards your comment about propaganda, the Catholic Church invented it. It simply means propagation of the faith. Clearly, in your case, we failed. Please accept our apologies.”

    Propaganda means spreading lies by psychological manipulation. I agree that the Catholic church does this- that’s actually part of the reason it spread so well. But they certainly didn’t invent it. I’m not going to blame the Catholic Church for inventing lying.

    “I hope your relationship with your father isn’t damaging your relationship with God. I know, you don’t beleive in a god so you can’t have a relationship with him or her, right? ”

    Nope, my relationship with my dad has nothing to do with whether or not a conscious creator of the universe exists. Though you make a good point- much of the myth of gods comes from the human experience of their fathers- it’s just projected onto the universe through anthromorphization.

    “The fact is that you do have a relationship with God because He made you and He gave you the brilliant, truth-seeking mind you have. He loves you and wants you to use reason and faith to come back to Him. All rationality must begin with an act of faith in something. You obviously beleive in truth and that is an excellent place to start.”

    Well thanks for agreeing that truth seeking is a positive thing- I don’t agree that I can have a relationship with a being that doesn’t exist though, and I think you’re trying to avoid having to prove that he does by simply saying I have a relationship with him whether I believe in him or not.


    Just remember that understanding is given to those who believe, not the other way around. It seems illogical, but that is simply a symptom of the lie that we are all born into. You can get out, if you really want to.

    Well no, it seems exactly like it is- what you just said is an attribute of a cult. Understanding is given to those who believe means that something will seem to be true if you are brainwashed to believe it-
    I agree. Scientologists, Mormons, Christian Science cult members would all say exactly what you are saying to me, except they also think the same about you!

    I understand that position because it means that you must be brainwashed to believe in something that is a lie.

    It would be nice if a god existed, but I won’t brainwash myself into believing in a lie just because it sounds nice, and because brainwashing makes things feel true even when they are not.

    Thanks for not being like the writer of this article- you sound like a good person. Greg Craven sounds like an evil person, and I can assure you that you do not share his negative qualities.

    While I think you are deluding yourself with religion, I at least think that you are not harming other people with your beliefs, and I also think that you will probably live a very good life and have lots of friends and do a lot of good in the world, and I can’t fault you for any of that. If your beliefs make you happy, so be it.

  • No it’s not possible that the city I live in raised me to be blind to any god. I have studied religion in great depth, and have studyied how religion forms, the psychological forces that create religious myths, the psychological factors behind belief and spiritual experiences, etc. I have put more time into studying religion and the human mind than anybody I know.

    Now I guess I’ll appologize for the crack against the south. I don’t necessarily think I was wrong, but maybe was overly insensitive on that one. You’re a nice person so I don’t want to talk trash to you. I’m sorry.

  • “It is a shame that you seek truth in a world that is confined by your limited senses and has no reason for being. it must be extremely boring and fruitless. Sad.”

    Boring and fruitless? No way. I have taken multiple road trips all across America, seen mountains, met people from all over the world, stayed at hostels, drank in countless bars, seen all kinds of great bands play, hung out with friends of mine at shows they’ve had at famous venues, have lots of friends, have had multiple attractive girlfriends, have been in love, have had best friends for many years, still keep in touch with over 100 people from my high school days, etc etc etc.

    Life is beautiful. It is not all bad. I do see it as tragic that it is temporary, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the life that I have while I have it. I’d love there to be an afterlife- I’d especially like something like “what dreams may come”. But those are my dreams, and I have accepted reality instead of clung to only them.

    In my life I vow to meet many people, see many places, take chances, talk to the girl when my heart drops a beat, listen to my friends cry all night about their problems so I can be there for them, embrace music and art…

    I have many goals and many dreams, and I while I will be realistic about them, I will also shoot for the stars and be happy while I can be. Whether or not there is reason doesn’t matter- I give my life my own reason and have had many fun and happy experiences along with the sad ones.

  • AK,

    Never assume that an atheist doesn’t like their life.

    Not all of them are perceptive enough to have an existential crisis 🙂

    If you don’t think about anything beyond pleasure and pain, being an atheist is quite fun and quite liberating. Just ask the Marquis de Sade.

    “In my life I vow to meet many people, see many places, take chances, talk to the girl when my heart drops a beat, listen to my friends cry all night about their problems so I can be there for them, embrace music and art…”

    Now you sound like the lyrics to a cheesy pop music song.

    “I have studied religion in great depth”

    Until you study it from the inside, your knowledge is superficial. All the things you list are what a bunch of people who already agree amongst themselves tell one another to reinforce their beliefs – in the same sort of closed-circuit that small religious cults get trapped in as well.

    You seem like a nice young person who means well. I too was an atheist, a militant atheist, and a communist. But I never swallowed the post-modern pill and became a relativist. I was always firmly modernist in my thinking. But when you extend that into philosophy, you can only end up, not only at religion in general, but specifically in the Tradition of the Catholic Church.

  • By “modernist” I just mean, believes in objective truth. Not the Modernism denounced by Pius X.

  • “I have studied religion in great depth”

    Have you read the Summa Theologica of Saint Thomas Aquinas? If you haven’t, you haven’t studied religion in great depth. Here is a sample:

    “Article 3. Whether God exists?
    Objection 1. It seems that God does not exist; because if one of two contraries be infinite, the other would be altogether destroyed. But the word “God” means that He is infinite goodness. If, therefore, God existed, there would be no evil discoverable; but there is evil in the world. Therefore God does not exist.

    Objection 2. Further, it is superfluous to suppose that what can be accounted for by a few principles has been produced by many. But it seems that everything we see in the world can be accounted for by other principles, supposing God did not exist. For all natural things can be reduced to one principle which is nature; and all voluntary things can be reduced to one principle which is human reason, or will. Therefore there is no need to suppose God’s existence.

    On the contrary, It is said in the person of God: “I am Who am.” (Exodus 3:14)

    I answer that, The existence of God can be proved in five ways.

    The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.

    The second way is from the nature of the efficient cause. In the world of sense we find there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. Now in efficient causes it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several, or only one. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause. But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.

    The third way is taken from possibility and necessity, and runs thus. We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, since they are found to be generated, and to corrupt, and consequently, they are possible to be and not to be. But it is impossible for these always to exist, for that which is possible not to be at some time is not. Therefore, if everything is possible not to be, then at one time there could have been nothing in existence. Now if this were true, even now there would be nothing in existence, because that which does not exist only begins to exist by something already existing. Therefore, if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist; and thus even now nothing would be in existence — which is absurd. Therefore, not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary. But every necessary thing either has its necessity caused by another, or not. Now it is impossible to go on to infinity in necessary things which have their necessity caused by another, as has been already proved in regard to efficient causes. Therefore we cannot but postulate the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity, and not receiving it from another, but rather causing in others their necessity. This all men speak of as God.

    The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things. Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble and the like. But “more” and “less” are predicated of different things, according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest and, consequently, something which is uttermost being; for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being, as it is written in Metaph. ii. Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum heat, is the cause of all hot things. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.

    The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.

    Reply to Objection 1. As Augustine says (Enchiridion xi): “Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works, unless His omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil.” This is part of the infinite goodness of God, that He should allow evil to exist, and out of it produce good.

    Reply to Objection 2. Since nature works for a determinate end under the direction of a higher agent, whatever is done by nature must needs be traced back to God, as to its first cause. So also whatever is done voluntarily must also be traced back to some higher cause other than human reason or will, since these can change or fail; for all things that are changeable and capable of defect must be traced back to an immovable and self-necessary first principle, as was shown in the body of the Article.”

    The Summa can be read on line at the link below. Read it and think about it and get back to us.

    http://www.newadvent.org/summa/

  • I think everyone that comes to realize there is no meaning or no afterlife has the occasional existential crisis- I’ve had plenty. But do you think I sit around crying that I’m going to die all day? Nope. There is much to see and enjoy out there! Carpe diem! Seize the day!

    Reminds me of a quote from Dead Poet’s Society:

    “” They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – – Carpe – – hear it? – – Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary!”

    And of course I have studied religion from the inside- I was raised Catholic. I have also joined other Christian sects on my path to truth. But that’s absolutely a ridiculous way to live life- thinking that you have to be a cult member to know truth. That’s not how we discover reality- it’s how we get brainwashed.

    I’m conserned with truth, so you don’t have to give me lessons on being a cult member, or use cult member tactics like saying “only ingroup members can understand our knowledge.” Sorry, one of my degrees was psychology, and I have also taken many sociology classes. I am not mystified by ingroup outgroup dynamics of cults. Plus I don’t think you realize how much time I’ve put into debating religion with scientologists and mormons online! Since at least I was a teenager in the early and mid 90s. You are not saying anything any cult member hasn’t been saying to me for years. Cults are so fun to study for me I even visited Clearwater Florida just so I could visit Scientologists in their natural habitat, and even gone to Salt Lake City, and entire city built around fantasy. I love that kind of stuff. One day I will visit the Vatican too I’m sure.

    I am not trying to be mean saying you are using cult tactics either- just pointing out the objective truth behind what you were saying. I bet you could spot the logical fallacies in what you are saying if you were listening to a Jehova’s Whitness or a Muslim or a Scientologist or Mormon speak.

    In the same way you can see through their fantasies, I can see through all versions of Christianity.

  • “Have you read the Summa Theologica of Saint Thomas Aquinas? If you haven’t, you haven’t studied religion in great depth. Here is a sample:

    Yep, I have read writings of Aquinas along with plenty of famous Christian appologists. I consider him to be a bad appologist (not that I’ve ever found a good one), because he specifically tries to define things into existence.

    Defining things into existence is not proof of the existence of the thing you are defining- it is simply proof that you can play word games.

    Aquanas is famous for starting with the premise of “god exists” and then twisting reality around to try and make it seem to go along with his assumption. Problem is he never was seeking truth, but was actually trying to find ways to wordily sound like his beliefs were correct without needing actual evidence.

  • From your wording of your reply Steve I am sure you have not read the entire Summa. That is my challenge to you. Read it and think about it. If you are going to claim you have studied religion in depth, you really need to do so.

  • Like I have said, he is famous for trying to define things into existence, like he was doing in your example.

    people use aquanas all the time discussing religion, and he’s easily refuted, since all he is doing is trying to define something into existence and not offer proof. That is not how you find objective reality. It’s how you waste time talking to yourself and patting yourself on the back for feeling like you know what you’re talking about, when really you have no evidence whatsoever that what you are saying is true.

  • Yes, you studied psychology at the university, that makes you an expert on people! Do you realize how you sound? No one cares about your credentials. Either your argument is valid or invalid, true or false.

    The Catholic Church is not a “cult.” I know because I belonged to a political cult – and those aren’t that different than religious cults. The Catholic Church built universities and observatories. Contrary to the stupid lies promulgated by communist liars, the Church has been history’s greatest patron of science and the arts, of the illumination of man’s consciousness and spirit. Cults do not do these things.

    You were “raised Catholic.” So was I, Steve. The modern Church has many flaws. The Catholicism I speak of is the 2000 year old Tradition, the Catholicism of Christ, the Apostles, the Church Fathers, the medieval Doctors, and so on.

    It sounds to me that your definition of “cult tactics” is so broad that it can be used to cover an argument for anything. What cult argument have I used?

    As for your Carpe Deim mentality, nothing prevents Catholics from living it as well. But we give thanks to the one who made it possible. In a universe that is 96% dark matter and dark energy that we cannot see or discern any purpose for, with only 4% comprising the matter that we take for granted, it is impossible for me to carelessly write off the question of a creator.

    If there is no God, there is no justice. And if there is no justice, there is no morality. And yet, we are as sure of the existence of justice and morality as we are of certain mathematical proofs and logical propositions. Inherent in the universe is order, is a comprehensible language that random chaos could never erect. This is why scientists who actually study it, such as physicists, end up believing in some kind of God – and if they spent a little time on philosophy they would recognize that it is the God presented by Church Tradition that they have found.

    What biologists, or for that matter, psychologists think is really of secondary importance. They work with matter, with DNA or brain chemistry, and become subsumed in materialism as a result. They don’t see the forest for the trees, they believe materialism is a credible explanation for what they observe. Step beyond working with mere matter, into the quantum field, into neuroscience, into quantum physics, where everything we take for granted about matter and the laws it obeys breaks down, and the universe suddenly becomes a great deal more complex.

  • The challenge has been issued Steve. It is up to you now, unless you are afraid that your cherished atheism cannot withstand a meeting of the minds with the Dumb Ox.

  • You can be upset that you are a cult member and I am correctly labeling you as such all you want, but you are using cult member tactics to debate me, so I will simply point out what you are doing. Saying that you have to see the truth from the inside to know about it is a very easy to spot cult member tactic.

    Most cults use that mind trick. It’s just incredibly easy to spot and discredit.

    And you being upset that there is no ultimate justice doesn’t mean that there is ultimate justice. Sorry, we can’t always get what we want. The universe doesn’t care that we exist. People and other animals suffer and die every day by uncarring natural forces. We will die too whether we want to or not, and whether or not people who hurt you are punished will mean nothing in the end.

    You’re just using really weak arguments to claim that there is a god and still offer no evidence of one. You just tell me that you want to believe in a god. I’m sure you do. That doesn’t mean that there is one- and it certainly doesn’t mean your specific god is more real than any of the thousands of others humans have invented to try and cope with life.

  • “The challenge has been issued Steve. It is up to you now, unless you are afraid that your cherished atheism cannot withstand a meeting of the minds with the Dumb Ox.”

    What challenge? I’ve already read aquainas and even told you why his arguments don’t work. I don’t see what there is left for me to do.

  • “As for your Carpe Deim mentality, nothing prevents Catholics from living it as well. But we give thanks to the one who made it possible. In a universe that is 96% dark matter and dark energy that we cannot see or discern any purpose for, with only 4% comprising the matter that we take for granted, it is impossible for me to carelessly write off the question of a creator. ”

    But here in lies your problem- you realize that we do not know everything- that is true- but then you make the HUGE logical fallacy by assuming that because we don’t know it all there is a god, and even moreso, your specific god.

    If you instead stopped at the part where you admit we don’t have all the answers on what the universe is or what its true origins were, then you would be on the right path to truth over fantasy.

    You’re using the god of the gaps argument- filling in what we don’t know with a magical answer. Just like people used to think Thor was throwing lightning or causing thunder. You are doing the exact same thing and I bet even you consider Thor to be a silly explanation.

  • Steve, the challenge is to read the entire Summa and think about it. Just judging from your inability to spell the name Aquinas correctly, and from your comments about him, you obviously have read very little that he has written. Read him Steve, every word. If you are going to be an effective atheist you need to become familiar with the works of one of the most effective advocates for the other side. The gauntlet is down Steve. Pick it up or walk away.

  • I have no idea how you think I don’t know those arguments. I have already told you that I have read his works and the works of many other famous appologists.

    His silly first cause argument is all over the internet for years, and is instantly destroyed by its own logic, as we could not rationally explain how a god could be a causeless first cause, without defining a god being into existence without evidence.d

    Yes my spelling sucks, and I have noticed many spelling mistakes, but I am doing the important thing which is giving you the reasoning why his logic fails- far more important than spelling every word correctly.

  • I see you are walking away Steve. Too bad. You are missing a chance to truly try to understand what was written by one of the greatest intellects produced by mankind. The Summa is waiting Steve, if you ever do feel intellectually up to the challenge.

  • Steve,

    I don’t know how to convey to you that I couldn’t care less that you think I am a “cult member.” I guess in order to validate your own position, you will necessarily assume that people are “upset” with you (when you have no way of knowing that through text). I usually make my emotions known to people – if I want to convey anger, I will use appropriate language and punctuation.

    In this case I am simply hearing rather, to use your word, “weak arguments” that we are cult members. It’s not even an argument, in fact, but a repeated assertion.

    “Saying that you have to see the truth from the inside to know about it is a very easy to spot cult member tactic.”

    Just because something is true of cults does not mean that it is exclusive to cults. I would say the same thing about any organization or discipline. That doesn’t mean you have to JOIN it – which is what I think a cult member would insist on. I don’t say you have to be a Catholic to understand Catholicism, but you do need to consult authentically Catholic sources.

    If that wasn’t clear before, I hope it is now. A cult would say knowledge of the cult’s truths requires initiation and progression through the various ranks. As a Catholic I say knowledge of the Church’s truths are readily accessible to all – but that they must be obtained from the Church, and not from people who hate it. That is a simple matter of fairness and intellectual honesty. Is it clear now?

    “And you being upset that there is no ultimate justice doesn’t mean that there is ultimate justice.”

    I never claimed that my dismay made it so. Let me put it differently; I believe that the sensation of hunger is a reasonable proof for the existence of food, even if I never see food. I believe that the existence of fear is a reasonable proof for the existence of predators, even if I am never stalked by one. And I believe that man’s overwhelming, universal desire for justice and morality, as evidence by every culture that has ever existed, is reasonable proof for a law-giver.

    I also realize that you have a desperate desire to make it all about me. If it is all about me and my wants and fears, and not man’s as such, you can play the psychological reduction game. But I am not simply arguing on my own behalf.

    What, in your view, is a strong argument for God?

  • “but then you make the HUGE logical fallacy by assuming that because we don’t know it all there is a god, and even moreso, your specific god.”

    No, you’re wrong. Our lack of knowledge about 96% of the universe is one of several things that I believe makes belief in God REASONABLE.

    I DO NOT – I repeat – I DO NOT say that it PROVES the existence of God.

    There is a difference between proving something, and establishing the reasonableness of a belief. Belief in God would be unreasonable if it conflicted with what we absolutely do know about the universe – it doesn’t. Belief in God is reasonable if it doesn’t contradict what we know, if it is a good or even likely explanation for what we see in the universe – it is.

    But I DO NOT claim that ANYTHING is PROVEN. Please understand that.

  • Steve,

    As a former athiest/agnostic I can tell you that studying religion is not the same thing as being a beleiver. I know more about religion than most people who believe – not an arrogant commnent, just a fact. Knowledge of facts is insufficient and that is all I had.

    My saving grace was that I was very interested in seeking truth and not being a hypocrite. I suspect that is the same for you. I would not become a beleiver because I felt that I would be lying and that was unacceptable. Why? I mean how odd is that?

    Why seek truth? Why be honest? There may not be a material advantage to such things. So why was I compelled to seek truth and be honest? It is written in our hearts by He who made us. You know this, we all do. Even back then I knew it, I just hated it. I hated it because it diminished me. It made me contingent and forced obligations on me and all I wanted to be was free! But that is a lie. I wasn’t free. I am now.

    What I have learned and what you have to discover is that faith must preceed reason. A rational mind cannot comprehend truth, it can only glimpse truth. You have faith – you believe that you can determine the truth and you believe that you can do it without God. The problem with that faith is that it is totally limited to the material universe. Matter is important and all of it was poured into the universe in the beginning – when God said, “BANG!”. How can you, a creature of the bang, ever know what caused the bang?

    There is only one way. The cause of the Big Bang must be revealed to you by the cause itself. You can’t reach out of the system to Him, so He will reach into the system to you. There is one catch though – you have to have faith in Him before wisdom or understanding is given. You can’t fake it. What are you afraid of? Be honest.

  • Well first off I was defining cult tactics as you were using as anybody else in the social science feilds would do so. I know cult has a negative connotation, but I am not beating around the bush there. I’m not going to agree with your position that the arguments you used could be used by non cult members.

    “I never claimed that my dismay made it so. Let me put it differently; I believe that the sensation of hunger is a reasonable proof for the existence of food, even if I never see food. I believe that the existence of fear is a reasonable proof for the existence of predators, even if I am never stalked by one. And I believe that man’s overwhelming, universal desire for justice and morality, as evidence by every culture that has ever existed, is reasonable proof for a law-giver. ”

    Ok, so now you’re using CSLewis’s argument. There is absolutely no proof in the universe that everything that is hoped for exists. That makes no sense whatsoever. It’s a pretty poor argument, and makes no distinction between all the hoped for things of all religions and cults.

    ” also realize that you have a desperate desire to make it all about me. If it is all about me and my wants and fears, and not man’s as such, you can play the psychological reduction game. But I am not simply arguing on my own behalf. ”

    religion is probably just a manifestation of our wants and fears- I’m not making it all about you- I’m making it all about humans in general.

    “What, in your view, is a strong argument for God?”

    I’ve yet to come across one.

    But it would obviously have to be something that wouldn’t be only believable if you undergo the same mental processes any brainwashed person would have to undergo. Saying that you need faith and things of that nature are akin to saying you need to play make believe. If there was a god, knowing him shouldn’t require you to do the same things people who play make believe do.

    I think faith in the christian religion is partial proof that there is no christian god, and that religion is only a coping mechanism. It seems silly to believe knowing a god would require the process of make believe, in which case you would never be able to prove your beliefs are true, but only FEEL that they are. Scientologists, Mormons, Chriastians- they all have faith they are correct, and to them, they all FEEL they are 100% right. But they still have no proof outside of feelings, and emotions are a clear path to lies and deception.

  • Steve,

    Joe wrote, “But I DO NOT claim that ANYTHING is PROVEN. Please understand that.”

    Pay very close attention to that comment. It is very, very important.

    There can be NO proof for God. Not that He cannot provide definitive proof if He desired but it would be self-defeating and then he wouldn’t be God would He?

    If God was a proven fact then there would be no need for belief. I do NOT beleive in things that I know are provable facts because they are provable.

    If God were a quantifiable fact by human ability then we would have no Faith in Him, we would simply accept him as we do gravity or Jello. In other words we would be compelled to accept him and therefore we would not be freely choosing to love Him. He wants us to choose to love Him becuase He wants us to freely desire to be with Him. That is why He is veiled in mystery.

    That doesn’t mean there are not proofs for the logic of believing in Him and I can tell you that I know He is real because I know Him. I have a personal relationship with Him and a communal relationship with Him and His Church. I can proove that I have this relationship because that is how I live my life. I can’t proove God becuase that would end the prologue to eternity and as much as Eternity with Him is my desire, I want to maximize my time here and now.

    I know you want to maximize your time here and now too. The difference is that you do it for yourself and I try to do it for His Greater Glory.

    Please understand that God loves you and wants you to be with Him. He wants to give you a true purpose for your life and all these gifts and more await you – but first you have to let go of your belief that you are an end unto yourself.

  • “No, you’re wrong. Our lack of knowledge about 96% of the universe is one of several things that I believe makes belief in God REASONABLE.

    I DO NOT – I repeat – I DO NOT say that it PROVES the existence of God.

    There is a difference between proving something, and establishing the reasonableness of a belief. Belief in God would be unreasonable if it conflicted with what we absolutely do know about the universe – it doesn’t. Belief in God is reasonable if it doesn’t contradict what we know, if it is a good or even likely explanation for what we see in the universe – it is.

    But I DO NOT claim that ANYTHING is PROVEN. Please understand that.

    OK, well I’m glad that you don’t think that argument proves there is a god. Many Christians do.

    I agree that the fact that we don’t know everything leaves the doors open for all kinds of crazy possibilities. I can never prove there is no creator.

    But until there is evidence of such a being, it is not reasonable to believe in one. Also, the fact that so much of spiritual experiences, religious passions and beliefs, religious mythology and setup, can be explained away by what we learned from psychology, anthropology, sociology, etc, we have much reason to believe that religion does not lead to truth.

    Whether or not there is a creator god though we might never be able to know. That doesn’t mean assuming one exists is reasonable, just possible.

    Let’s say there really is a god. If one existed, it would STILL not be reasonable to believe in it without evidence, and believing in one because of things that can be explained away as emotional feelings or coincidences or desires would still be irrational regardless.

  • “There can be NO proof for God. Not that He cannot provide definitive proof if He desired but it would be self-defeating and then he wouldn’t be God would He?

    If God was a proven fact then there would be no need for belief. I do NOT beleive in things that I know are provable facts because they are provable.

    If God were a quantifiable fact by human ability then we would have no Faith in Him, we would simply accept him as we do gravity or Jello. In other words we would be compelled to accept him and therefore we would not be freely choosing to love Him. He wants us to choose to love Him becuase He wants us to freely desire to be with Him. That is why He is veiled in mystery.”

    Come on. Me and you both know that is a cop out.

    The idea that this god wants you to believe in him by the process of make believe is ridiculous, and applies to all religions- even the ones you don’t believe in.

    What you are saying here is pretty silly.

  • And by the way, I love my parents and have loved girlfriends and friends, and I know they exist. The idea that love is not possible if you don’t hide is completely silly.

    It’s just a way to get around the fact that there is no god, and you have to pretend one exists, and you’re essentially trying to justify playing make believe by including it in your theology.

    Things like that are good indicators that religion is not true.

  • Has it ever occurred to you, Steve, that the FEELING that all of these groups have may be valid, but that their knowledge may be different and imperfect?

    To beat the horse you don’t like, every person in every culture feels hunger – but each culture might have different theory about how food works in the body prior to generalized scientific knowledge. This could be applied to dozens of other phenomenon.

    You, like so many other atheists, make the mistake of assuming that agreement on some matters negates truth in all matters. Catholicism, precisely because it is not a cult, recognizes that there are universal truths that virtually all religions tap into. Man has a religious instinct, a longing and a desire for the transcendent, for God.

    It is not a question of which religion is absolutely true, to the absolute exclusion of every tenant of every other faith. It is a question of which religion possesses the fullness of the truth. It isn’t a coincidence that the same civilization that discovered the fullness of logic also came to embrace Christianity as promulgated by the Catholic Church.

    The thing that you dismiss, that everyone feels, is real. Deny it in yourself if you must, suppress it, beat it down.

    What I find to be a “pretty poor argument” is your just dismissing of arguments as “pretty poor arguments” without explaining why. I’ve never even read C.S. Lewis, to be honest with you – it just makes sense. It is REASONABLE to believe that that which we universally desire, exists. I didn’t say that it proved anything. Understanding the distinction between reasonable faith and absolute certainty would be a big help for you, and many atheists I suspect.

    Finally, we are not Vulcans, but human beings. When you say “emotions are a clear path to lies and deception”, this is absolutely false. Raw emotions untempered with logic can lead to lies – but our emotions are a part of our human nature. Furthermore, the desire for God is not an “emotion” like fear or anger, but a sensation, like hunger or thirst. We feel it in an emotional way, but it is not itself an emotion.

    We are designed to seek out our creator, to know and to love him. We know him through studying the natural world and philosophy, and we love him through religion. This is simple.

  • Steve: “Scientologists, Mormons, Chriastians- they all have faith they are correct, and to them, they all FEEL they are 100% right. But they still have no proof outside of feelings, and emotions are a clear path to lies and deception.”

    “Let’s say there really is a god. If one existed, it would STILL not be reasonable to believe in it without evidence, and believing in one because of things that can be explained away as emotional feelings or coincidences or desires would still be irrational regardless.”

    Steve, I used to think juat like you. Your ideas are not original and neither one of us came up with them. They are reasonable ideas based on a flawed premise. Intelligent people will come to the same conclusions given the same lie to begin with.

    I want you to understand that I thought I was in control when I was athiest/agnostic. I felt like Spock. I kept my silly emotions in check and I pittied those fools who run around controlled by their feelings and desires. I was a frikin’ Jedi.

    The truth is I was completely driven by my emotions and disordered desires. Since coming back to Christ and His Church I have truly begun to understand what the interior spiritual life is about. It is about self-mastery, freedom to be what I was made to be and although not often enough and not nearly perfectly enough, my emotions are actually in check now.

    What you seek is real and it is available. You are going down a path that yields the opposite result.

    Godspeed on your sailing trip. Eventually you will discover the truth and you’ll find that it was right were you started. Discovering England is easy, we already know it is there. 😉

  • By the way, if I was going to take your “give up on yourself and just work for an unproven being you call god who just so happened to write a book through a bunch of people” attitude, which in your strange thinking assumes it’d make me have a better relationship with the supposed being, I’d have to believe in just any random nonsense anybody tells me just in case belief without evidence is the true trick to the magic.

    That means I’d have to become a Scientologist, Mormon, JW, buy things from every con artist, etc.

    If you have to just take a leap of faith rather than examine what is actually real based on scientifically derived evidence or even solid proof, then the world you would live in would be one of nonsense, no technology or medicine, everything said goes, insanity.

    One big game of make believe where everyone is right as long as they believe and have good feelings about it or think its making their lives change.

    Not sure we’d be having this conversation on a computer right now if that’s how people derived knowledge, though I am convinced that a large percentage of humans are living in such a delusiory world as we speak.

  • “Steve, I used to think juat like you. Your ideas are not original and neither one of us came up with them. They are reasonable ideas based on a flawed premise. Intelligent people will come to the same conclusions given the same lie to begin with.

    I want you to understand that I thought I was in control when I was athiest/agnostic. I felt like Spock. I kept my silly emotions in check and I pittied those fools who run around controlled by their feelings and desires. I was a frikin’ Jedi.

    The truth is I was completely driven by my emotions and disordered desires. Since coming back to Christ and His Church I have truly begun to understand what the interior spiritual life is about. It is about self-mastery, freedom to be what I was made to be and although not often enough and not nearly perfectly enough, my emotions are actually in check now.

    What you seek is real and it is available. You are going down a path that yields the opposite result.

    Godspeed on your sailing trip. Eventually you will discover the truth and you’ll find that it was right were you started. Discovering England is easy, we already know it is there.

    Basically you didn’t disprove anything that I said- you just reestablished that you are content with your game of what I would consider make believe.

    So we’re back to where we started- you have no proof that there is a god, and I can prove that you are “sure” that your god exists by the same process involved in any form of imagination.

    As far as I can tell that means I have won the argument.

  • “I agree that the fact that we don’t know everything leaves the doors open for all kinds of crazy possibilities. I can never prove there is no creator.”

    But it is not a “crazy possibility.” It is more crazy, more irrational, to assume that the universe just wished itself into existence, that the order and logic that scientists who study its very fabric observe, that mathematicians, philosophers, and even musicians experience, is the creation of random forces with no intelligence, no purpose, no will. THAT is a the “crazy possibility”, the possibility that is at odds with everything we know and experience as human beings in society.

    “But until there is evidence of such a being, it is not reasonable to believe in one.”

    Evidence is not required for reasonable belief. It is precisely when the “hard evidence” is lacking, and yet, we must make a decision, that the reasonableness or unreasonableness of something comes into play. It is more reasonable to believe in God than in nothing, given, again, what we know about the structure and order of the cosmos, from the galaxies and solar systems to the sub-atomic level.

    “Also, the fact that so much of spiritual experiences, religious passions and beliefs, religious mythology and setup, can be explained away by what we learned from psychology, anthropology, sociology, etc, we have much reason to believe that religion does not lead to truth.”

    These “sciences”, I really hate to tell you, are dominated by materialists who have absolutely no connection with what is going on in the world of actual science. I say this as someone with an advanced degree in political science. These disciplines are NOT where we learn truth. Psychology, sociology, anthropology – these ARE good for explaining a piece of the puzzle, but they are so far from being able to establish the truth about God that it is laughable. Steve, you cannot use these as your basis. I did. It’s how I ended up in Marxism and atheism myself. Once you move beyond these extremely limited social disciplines, I guarantee you will see a universe that is so much greater and richer than you could imagine.

    “things that can be explained away as emotional feelings”

    Again, the feelings are real – why do you think they can be “explained away”? I understand that there are people who have psychological problems, but if anything religion is the cure for that – objective studies find over and over again that religious people are happier, more content, more focused. They are psychologically more healthy because, honestly, we are designed to be this way, to live in an ordered, structured reality. The chaos of post-modern society has created psychological problems precisely because no one knows what is true or false anymore. It leads people around in endless circles, causes confusion, and I believe, mental breakdown. Religion is a part of a well-balanced psychological diet.

  • Steve,

    I agree it is a silly argument. I wasn’t arguing. I wasn’t trying to win. I was trying to help you win. Bear in mind winning is helping you become who you are supposed to be, not allowing you persist in a dellusion because it satisfies your ego and your emotions.

    I take this pretty seriously. You should know that. As a Catholic, I believe your soul may be in jeopardy. To you that is a fantasy, to me it is a reality. Either way you look at it, I am being compassionate toward you because I love you. I think we can agree that is a good thing no matter what the reason.

    I was simply telling you that I was where you are and I understand what you are stating. It is cogent and reasonable if you BELIEVE in an accidental universe – which is an illogical idea. Your faith is unreasonable. Before you get defensive, I am not attacking you as unreasonable – just what you believe.

    You were Catholic and now you are an atheist. I was an athiest and now I am a Catholic. I think perhaps you have the Catholic faith of a child and now you are an adult and it doesn’t sit well. I suggest you go seek the Catholic faith of an adult.

    As for my ‘argument’ that you have to beleive before you can understand – it isn’t mine – it is irrefutable truth. We all belive before we know. Religious or otherwise. Think about it, unless you know everything, you have to begin with belief in something – unless you are God 😉

    Did it ever occur to you that we are Catholics becuase what we believe is actually True?

  • Steve,

    I’ll leave it here for now.

    If you want, you’re welcome to contact me anytime. My email address in on my blog, which can be accessed by clicking my name. My email address is on my About page.

    All I will debate is the reasonableness of belief – not proof, not existence. That said, I think we can get somewhere. Because I do know your beliefs from the inside out, having held them all, fervently, for several years. I know that however strange belief in God and the Church might sound, materialism – especially a materialism derived from the social sciences – is completely bankrupt.

  • The atheist’s missionary zeal is impressive to me. What also is more impressive is the insistence that atheism flows from superior intelligence. It’s like a strange form of an argument from authority. “Believe me because I’m smart!”

  • American Knight,

    You are actually mistaken on a point. You wrote,

    “There can be NO proof for God. Not that He cannot provide definitive proof if He desired but it would be self-defeating and then he wouldn’t be God would He?

    If God was a proven fact then there would be no need for belief. I do NOT beleive in things that I know are provable facts because they are provable.”

    But the Church has always taught the contrary:

    “Our holy mother, the Church, holds and teaches that God, the first principle and last end of all things, can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason.” Without this capacity, man would not be able to welcome God’s revelation. Man has this capacity because he is created “in the image of God”. (CCC #36)

    Faith does not make possible belief in the existence of God. Brains do that. The New Atheists have very successfully gotten the idea in people’s heads that belief in God takes some sort of wild leap in the dark – that it can neither be proven nor deduced, nor even inferred by common sense. That is all wrong.

    Faith does not make possible belief in the existence of God. Faith makes possible belief in God’s revelation of His infinite self to our very finite nothingness, specifically, His revelation of His infinite love for us. In a bruised and battered world that is very difficult to believe sometimes, to be sure.

    It is very important that we know our faith very clearly, or else we will never make an adequate defense of it, American Knight. You are right that God does want us to love Him, but far from veiled himself in mystery, He has revealed Himself to the point of nudity – dying on a cross emptied and bare of everything and anything that could obscure His love for us, or give us any other reason to want to be with Him. Sin obscures our eyes from seeing God clearly, face to face, and nothing else. The mysteries are not meant to hide God from us, but to present Him to us. Indeed, “mysteries” is what the Eastern Christians call sacraments, the greatest signs of His love.

  • Does “known with certainty” = proof?

    I may know something, but I might not be able to prove it.

  • Hey Joe, I think it does. The Church does hold that some of the arguments for the existence of God are valid proofs. It doesn’t tell us how far those proofs go. That is, how much of God’s nature is revealed to human reason alone. I think myself that they proved an extremely limited slice of who God is – namely, I think you can prove His existence and maybe a few other significant attributes.

  • Ryan,

    Thanks for pointing out what the CCC states. I think we are on the same page; however, we may be differing as pertains to semantics. Let me try to clarify.

    Ryan: “Faith does not make possible belief in the existence of God. Brains do that.”

    I agree with your comment and I don’t see a contradiction with mine. Belief in God is not only possible it is highly probable through reason; however, that does not constitute proof.

    As for the Church stating that we can know God with certainty by the natural light of human reason, I don’t doubt that. I take it to mean that reason is what provides a belief in a god but belief in the One True God requires first His revelation and second our receptivity trough an act of faith.

    It is perfectly reasonable to know that there is an uncaused first cause, but that doesn’t mean that we know that it is a god and even more unlikely that we would know that He is the God of Abraham. Human reason can determine the existence of God but not His nature. The Greek philosophers knew there was a prime cause, an unknown god – it took St. Paul to reveal Who that God is to them and it took Christ wrestling Saul to the ground of the Damascus road and blinding him to reveal the Father to Paul.

    Proof eliminates doubt, without doubt there is no act of faith. St. Paul tells us we need Faith, Hope and Charity here; but, in Heaven we only need Charity. Faith is no longer reqiured because we see God face to face, we have proof and beleif becomes unnecessary. Until we are in Heaven, God willing, God is veiled in mystery and requires us to choose to believe in Him specifically and through His Son; rather than some abstract first cause. Belief is not proof, it is an act of Faith.

    Additionally, no one has ever provided evidence of the existence of Our God wherein evidence can hold up in the court of human reason. Of course, no one has provided evidence that He does not exist either. We know that an intelligent creator exists but we have to believe in the Christian God before we are given understanding by the power of the Holy Spirit. Through the Sacraments (mysteries) we can know God, but first we have to believe and before that we have to reason that Jesus is the Christ of God and Holy Mother Church is His body.

    I think we are trying to state the same truth and we just needed to clarify semantics and context. I hope I have made progress toward that. Let me know.

  • American Knight,

    I am not so sure that we are on the same page. There’s a field of study called natural theology and it looks into what man can reasonably deduce regarding God from nature alone, unaided by revelation. Man can know his existence as creator, his unchangeability, his eternity, his intelligence, and a number of other attributes of his relationship to creation, that is, of his life ad extra, outward.

    The Church teaches that it is no act of faith, and no act of faith is entailed, to believe that God exists. None. Rather, it is a rejection of reason to believe contrarily. The Church teaches that God’s existence can be proven. I understand your reasoning – it is the very air of our culture, but it is not the teaching of the Church. If you believe it is, you have only to furnish a supporting citation.

    “Proof” does not mean that belief can be compelled. A light can be turned on to blinding brightness, and a blind man will still not see it. Likewise, God’s existence can be – and is, according to the Church – self-evident and provable, but there may still be people who willfully reject it, or whose sight, whose reason, is blinded unwittingly by sin.

    I take it to mean that reason is what provides a belief in a god but belief in the One True God requires first His revelation and second our receptivity trough an act of faith.

    Here you are getting closer to the mark. We cannot know about God’s life ad intra – the Trinity, the Incarnation, His perfect joy and love, etc. Those require revelation by God Himself, and an act of faith by us.

    Proof eliminates doubt

    Would that that were so, my friend.

    Faith is no longer required because we see God face to face, we have proof and belief becomes unnecessary. Until we are in Heaven, God willing, God is veiled in mystery and requires us to choose to believe in Him specifically and through His Son; rather than some abstract first cause.

    Faith is directed toward knowing God fully – intimate union with him. It is not knowing his existence with certainty, nor about knowing those things that can be discerned from his creation.

    By natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the basis of his works. But there is another order of knowledge, which man cannot possibly arrive at by his own powers: the order of divine Revelation. Through an utterly free decision, God has revealed himself and given himself to man. This he does by revealing the mystery, his plan of loving goodness, formed from all eternity in Christ, for the benefit of all men. God has fully revealed this plan by sending us his beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, (CCC #50).

    These words of yours:

    Additionally, no one has ever provided evidence of the existence of Our God wherein evidence can hold up in the court of human reason.

    make me think that you either haven’t read the arguments or are confusing the dismissiveness of our opponents with a lack of conclusiveness on the part of our apologists.

    We know that an intelligent creator exists but we have to believe in the Christian God before we are given understanding by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Now you are getting to it. The knowledge of the existence of an intelligent creator is not an act of faith. It is not included in what the Church has ever meant by faith.

  • Ryan,

    Thanks for engaging in this discussion. Please forgive my ignorance and thanks for indulging me. I am trying to understand.

    “The Church teaches that it is no act of faith, and no act of faith is entailed, to believe that God exists. None. Rather, it is a rejection of reason to believe contrarily. The Church teaches that God’s existence can be proven. I understand your reasoning – it is the very air of our culture, but it is not the teaching of the Church. If you believe it is, you have only to furnish a supporting citation.’

    I think it does not require faith to believe in god, especially a monotheistic God – but, how does that translate to the God of Israel? I used to be an atheist and logically came to the conclusion that God exists, but I did not know Him. As a student of history I concluded that the God of the Old Testament is the one God and it goes to follow that the Catholic Church is his only Church. Yet, even when I came back to the Catholic Church I did not know much about God, other than He Is. The rest had to be revealed through His Church and prayer – but I did not know how to pray. If He had not revealed Himself to Israel and not sent His Son then there would be no ‘proof’ of Him and I would be left like a Greek – knowing there is an uncaused first cause and knowing little to nothing about Who He Is.

    I know Him now. I have seen and felt His work in my life. I can say with certainty, and I can pray for endurance in that certainty, that I know God through His Son – personally. I also, know that knowledge was preceded by an act of faith, I had to believe first and before I could even bring myself to believing I had to reason that the belief was rational. So I am not so sure how I would have gotten to know God with out first believing Him.

    Knowing that, it seems logical to me that I cannot prove God to an honest atheist although you and I can have a discussion about Him with certainty. The difference is we know because we believe, the atheist doesn’t know because he does not. Even if he accepts the rationality of a god that does not mean he believes in the, one, Triune God of Christ, just a god.

    What am I missing?

  • American Knight,

    You are a better man than I.

    I think it does not require faith to believe in god, especially a monotheistic God – but, how does that translate to the God of Israel

    You’re right – it doesn’t. But even without knowledge of God as the great I-AM, without his self-disclosure to Abraham and his sons, we might have deduced with logical certainty a number of things about Him. For that matter, the Greeks did.

    His very act of creation gives proof of his existence and evidence and examples of to his nature – much more than an uncaused cause or some sort of primal force. We can know that He orders things, and therefore is immensely intelligent. We can know that he orders not only the natural world, but also human relations. We can know that he leaves us freedom, though we cannot from the fact of human freedom deduce with certainty its purpose. All that is a good deal more than a mere uncaused cause. None of this requires faith to believe – most of it was believed by most of the founding fathers, who tried to make a creed of it to replace traditional Christianity. It is called Deism.

    Now, what he has revealed to us through the prophets, and finally in Jesus Christ, is infinitely more. The prophets hinted, and Jesus has finally revealed to us the interior life of love that is God: the love of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for each other. He has revealed to us our purpose: eternal union of love and joy with Him. He has also revealed the non-eternity of the universe: that it had a beginning and will have an end. These are the things that far surpass mere Deism, and we call these things the core dogmas of Christianity. They required revelation because we could not have figured them out just by having figured out that God exists, is intelligent, etc. They require faith because the self-disclosure of God can be walked away from in favor of contrary evidence. People see all the violence in the world as evidence that God cannot be good and loving; they see how people can be broken as proof that we are not free.

    They are wrong, but it’s pretty damned hard to prove it because they have so much sin and suffering to marshal as evidence. But none of their evidence really speaks to the existence of God; they make logical fallacy after logical fallacy to try to show that it does.

    Knowing that, it seems logical to me that I cannot prove God to an honest atheist although you and I can have a discussion about Him with certainty.

    There are different degrees of honesty and sincerity. A man might never tell another person a lie, all the while being himself deluded about the truth. This phenomenon happens most often when we speak about ourselves and about our relationships. That is how one spouse can think his marriage is ducky while the other feels it to be hell. We see the things we want to see, and we rarely really want to see our own weaknesses. Seeing weaknesses requires that we either carry them around with us, or else work to correct them.

    We are unified creatures, and our hearts, minds, and habits will never stray too far from each other. And we, like all animals, are subject to laws of decay and inertia. That’s why it’s important to distinguish between proving and convincing. A person will downplay evidence that requires change. How many black men were proved innocent but hanged for improprieties toward a white woman? How many people deny the humanity of the fetus while knowing full well that it cannot possibly be a fish?

    A thing can be very well proved without anyone ever being convinced. To be convinced requires an openness of the will to being convinced, to changing one’s mind, and with it, one’s heart and habits.

    I think the missing link in our discussion has been the difference between a thing being objectively proven true, and a person being convinced. It’s a sad fact of human nature that the two are not always connected in our outlook.

    So rehash of the Church’s teachings:

    (1) There are some important basics of God’s existence that can be known with logical certainty unaided by faith or grace;

    (2) For a thing to be proven is not the same as for even well-intentioned, generally sincere and upright people to be convinced – there are shadowy forces at work in all our hearts;

    (3) There are plenty of things that we can only know by God’s self-revelation followed by his gift of grace to enable our faith;

    (4) People receive revelation in an act of faith precisely to the degree that they are willing to change, to be changed, just as a sees a lit bulb to the precise extent that he is willing to open his eyes and have a fresh look at things.

  • Steve,

    We appreciate your charity in engaging in a constructive dialogue.

    Please continue to engage us in this debate.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • Thanks for clarifying. I doubt that I am a better man than you. I think we are both sincere and I am glad we had this discussion. If we are to always be prepared to defend the faith we have to really know what He Who gave us our faith wants us to defend.

    I think you are right that we were missing the difference between proven truth and conviction. I suspected we were engaged in a semantic difference.

    So I think we can reasonably conclude that belief in God requires no faith because it is rational and that to not-believe in God is quite insane. We can also conclude that belief in the God of Christ requires faith and that once we believe in Him we are given understanding of His revelation.

    It seems to be the difference between reason, faith and blind-faith. It is reasonable to have faith in God and He rewards that faith with knowledge. It is unreasonable to have blind-faith that God does not exist, in fact it might be insane.

    Have I got it?

  • Lol. Yeah, American Knight, I wouldn’t go quite so far as insane. Mistaken should probably suffice most cases, though in the cases of some of the more rabid New Atheists, maybe insane isn’t so far off. Lol.

  • “So I think we can reasonably conclude that belief in God requires no faith because it is rational and that to not-believe in God is quite insane. We can also conclude that belief in the God of Christ requires faith and that once we believe in Him we are given understanding of His revelation.”

    What you guys are still saying is not true at all. It is not rational to believe in a god- the only rational position is atheism, as there is no good evidence of any gods. Moreover, there is plenty of evidence that god believe is simply a psychological coping mechanism people have been using to deal with the world and their mental states.

    Also, the idea that you need to believe before you can understand is simply the cult position I was talking about again. You don’t actually gain understanding from the believing, you gain feelings that your beliefs are correct.

    I already understand that and agree that that is what happens to a cult member- that’s called brainwashing. Brainwashing is why so many rational people believe in irrational things like God.

    Many people brainwash themselves with techniques such as prayer, speaking in tongues (hyperventaliation), chanting, etc. Those are all proven brainwashing techniques.

  • Hi Steve,

    I am glad that you are back.

    We need to make a distinction here.

    The belief in a single intelligent, super being is the only rational position for the existence of the universe as it is. This is not some blind leap of faith it is a belief based on the only logical, reasonable, rational line of thought. Your belief is a negative belief, it requires a suspension of reason. Your answer to the reason for existence is NOT God. Yet, you offer no positive alternate reason for existence. That is irrational.

    I agree that believing in the God of Israel goes beyond reason because it requires receptivity to His revelation. a single omni-god is reasonable, God, Our Father and Jesus Christ His only begotten Son requires faith.

    Why does this faith have to precede understanding? Not because the Catholic Church is a brainwashing cult, rather, it is because the Catholic Church is a messy institution made up of sinners yet Christ is her head. What He requires is for us to believe in Him and then He gives us understanding by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is impossible to convey. I knew it intellectually and I was still not a believer. Once I became a believer I was given the understanding, nor by any man or church, but by the Spirit through the Church. It is the most powerful experience and it is more real than anything you have ever experienced.

    This requires the religion of an adult and the faith of a child. You have the intelligence of an adult with the knowledge of a child and a lack of faith.

    What have you got to lose by embracing the religion of your youth as an adult and what possible ill can you suffer by loving God?

    Try praying – it is not brainwashing, you are not going to brainwash yourself. Jesus is not Tony Robbins. Praying is communing and communicating with God. If He isn’t real then nothing will happen, if He is real then He might answer you – how cool would that be? You must hope that we are right and that atheism is a lie, right? Give it a shot. He Loves you.

  • Steve! Good to hear from ya again!

    Also, the idea that you need to believe before you can understand is simply the cult position I was talking about again. You don’t actually gain understanding from the believing, you gain feelings that your beliefs are correct.

    You see, that’s exactly what I was NOT saying. There are lots of things we need to believe in order to understand – but the existence of a single, creating God is not one of them. Jesus and all that, I grant you, takes faith. But to believe that there is an intelligent being who created the universe? Anyone can understand and see it who is open to understanding it.

    See, the problem with this sort of conversation is that it short-circuits itself. Allow me to explain.

    I have no proof that you exist. No evidence, really. Oh, but you sent me emails. Sure, sure, Steve. I know. But ANYONE might have sent thoooose. Even a computer program. Or I could be dreaming. Or maybe American Knight is really schizophrenic and interested in arguing with himself, so he’s created a “Steve” identity. The possibilities are endless. You just can’t prove you exist.

    But then, such a conversation partner will never believe anything that he doesn’t want to believe, and will always be able to come up with an alternate explanation to make the evidence go away.

    Now, I have no reason to believe that “Steve” is a mindgame or a phony. I do believe that you exist. But there are powerful reasons not to want to believe that God exists. Has it occurred to you that just as there are psychological causes prompting people to believe in God, there are also psychological causes prompting people to doubt or disbelieve in God?

    But that’s not the actual question, is it. The actual question is whether God – whatever he is like – exists. That hasn’t anything to do with psychology any more than whether elephants exist.

    Incidentally, it is St. Anselm, not St. Thomas Aquinas, as you said, who defined God into existence. Anselm’s argument, called the ontological argument, is admittedly fairly weak. To his credit, he never believed it was a trump card.

  • Wait. I’m confused. Are you saying that I’m Steve?

    That makes a lot of sense. I felt like someone else was using my PC and IP address and it turns out to be me. I must suffer from MPD. What an odd combination, a fallen, arrogant and disobedient Catholic sinner who seeks forgiveness and the face of God in Christ and an irrational persona that wants to deny that God exists simply to enjoy an empty life of material and sensual pleasure. How Quixotic.

    I feel queasy.

    God help me. god’s not gonna help you, he isn’t real. Christ save me. christ isn’t going to help you, he was a revolutionary, hippie, pacifist, social reformer and he died 2000 years ago. Mother Mary pray for me. Mary can’t pray for you she’s dead and she wasn’t the virgin mother of Jesus. Come Holy Spirit and illumine my mind. We don’t need a spirit to illumine our mind, our mind is its own illumination. Why’s it so dark in here? It isn’t dark your eyes have been closed by the oppressive catholic church. Open your eyes. Ah, that’s better, hey, why the heck is it so crowded in here? Why do I feel so alone with all these personalities or whatever they are?

    Resistance is futile. There is no me. There is only Borg . . . . . .

  • Lol. No, I’m not saying you’re Steve. I’m saying Steve is you. At least, as far as you can prove to my unwilling mind. Lolol.

  • “The belief in a single intelligent, super being is the only rational position for the existence of the universe as it is. ”

    That’s absolutely ridiculous and wrong. You don’t seem to have any understanding of logic. Filling in gaps of knowledge with “a magic creator being did it” is the uneducated and primative person’s stance.

    Now you know why atheists come down on religious people so much- they make up answers when they do not know them all. That’s about as ridiculous as it gets. Rational intelligent people realize that they cannot answer every question, and intelligent people also realize that having a made up answer like “there is a god that created the world” is inferior to having no answer at all. If you cannot provide evidence for your answer, it should be immediately rejected as silly.

    You are no different than a person who thinks thunder comes from a powerful being flying around in the sky. Before we understood the process of thunder and lightning, primative people made up ridiculous answers as to what they thought it was. However, that is simply because they were not intelligent thinkers. It took mankind a long time to realize that being superstitious is not the way to find objective truth- that’s why the scientific method was eventually created. To limit human bias and things like “God did it” answers, that are absolutely baseless.

    We don’t even have to go into your faith based section because your orginal premise to even start that post was completely flawed.

    It is not rational to believe that there was a creator of the universe, and you have failed in your attempt to support the argument that it is rational to believe in a god. Also, you have shown that you have no real understanding of logic.

  • Steve,

    God, whose necessary existence is demonstrated by St. Thomas Aquinas’ five arguments, is not a “god of the gaps.” We are not saying, “We do not know how lightning happens, so we’ll call however-it-happens God.” What we are saying, in essence, boils down to a few propositions:

    (1) Everything we observe in the natural world has a beginning and an end.

    (2) Things are not created by something of the same sort, but by something of a higher order of organization. For example, we make machines that can build other machines, say cars; but the cars are simpler than the factory car manufacturing systems, which are still simpler than the humans who invent them. That is, the human has more parts in more coherent organization, operating as a more complete, self-sustaining unity.

    (3) Either the universe began at some point, or else it is eternal. If it began at some point, before which it did not exist, then something of a higher order must have begun it.

    (4) If the universe did not come into being at some point, then it just always was – but there is no evidence of that, and the view is as dogmatic as ever a belief in God was, but it explains less.

    (5) We are not saying, “We don’t know how it came about, so it must have been God.” We are saying that if it is not eternal, then only something of an entirely higher order could have brought it about – something that existed before it and was not at all part of it and not subject to any of the conditions that the universe brings about. If there is another possibility – of a self-creating universe – that is also entirely beyond our observed experience, because we experience nothing in the universe that creates itself.

    So, while the universe may be self-creating, we cannot show that, and have no experience of such a phenomenon. While the universe might always have existed, nothing in the universe has such an infinite experience: not eagles, not electromagnetic waves, and now, thanks to physicists, we are reasonably sure that even matter as we know it hasn’t always existed.

    What we do experience all the time is the creation of things by other things of a higher order: nests by birds, waves by stars, houses by men.

    Is it completely irrational to suppose that the universe – the sum total of all things – came about in a way similar to the way in which all of those things came about?

    It might not be true, but is it so irrational?

    I mean, granted, Richard Dawkins thinks aliens from another universe, but then, that only pushes the question back, doesn’t it? Because one still has to wonder whence they came?

  • “If you cannot provide evidence for your answer, it should be immediately rejected as silly.”

    There’s no empirical evidence either way. So this would apply to atheism as well – it should be immediately rejected as silly. We don’t know the function or purpose of 96% of the matter/energy in the universe.

  • Long before I was a Christian, I could never rule out God’s existence. The idea that the universe popped out of nothing and created itself, is well, irrational, and as Ryan points out goes against everything we know about how time space and matter behave in the universe. Could there be some self-existent proto-matter or substance that defies are knowledge, from which the universe(s) and life sprang up? I suppose, but then that’s an act of faith, because such a thing defies what we know about the universe and cause and effect.

    Knowing what I know now, how so often supposition and speculation are substituted for science and fact, we are not talking about a few gaps of knowledge, but basically a crater that alot of people don’t want to admit exists, and has only gotten bigger as time goes by.

  • Cupofwrath,

    “Protomatter” isn’t an irrational leap of faith any more than anything else is. But it doesn’t explain the question of where it came from.

    I have to repeat myself. I do not believe in God because he explains things I do not know. The Catholic Church asserts that God’s existence – at least as a single, superintelligent Creator – is definitively knowable from reason; and not because he explains things, big or small, that we cannot explain. God is not used to fill in the gaps, the lacunae, or the craters in our knowledge. That’s not what he’s for and it’s not why we believe in him or know he exists.

    The example of “protomatter” makes the point well. If there is/was “protomatter”, there would still need to be something before, outside of, and of a higher order than the “protomatter” that brought it into being, just as with Dawkins’ aliens speculation.

    Either that, or the universe is eternal… which very well may be – but there is no evidence for that.

  • The nature of the world itself and its tendency toward disorder, along with the fact that there are no known naturalistic processes or scenarios that can explain it, is and remains evidence in favor of the existence of a creator.

    That is what the bible tells us:

    Rom 1:20 For the unseen things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things made, both His eternal power and Godhead, for them to be without excuse.

    It’s certainly not the only evidence, as creationism is not the root of salvation, but faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. The point being that creationists are not trying to use God to plug holes in an almost complete theory, but creationism remains an alternative to mostly bad science and speculation.

  • Whoa, whoa, whoa, Cupofwrath.

    That’s fine. I want it understood here and now, though, that I am NOT arguing for creationism – nor does the Catholic Church.

    In fact, the Church (and I, following her) argue that the first chapters of Genesis are primarily symbolic. The Church always has read it that way. The Church DOES NOT CLAIM THAT THE BIBLE IS A SCIENCE TEXTBOOK. Any such reading is not Catholic.

    Nor does the Church use the Bible to discuss, let alone settle, issues of natural science. That’s not what the Church does. It’s not what the Bible does.

    You are right, though, in observing that the natural tendency toward distintegration and disorder, in everything from molecules to mountains, makes it hard to explain the presence of evoluntary processes without something outside and beyond the natural order guiding those processes.

  • The author of the article makes a good point in that it often seems as though these neo-atheists are driven by deep personal hatred, especially for Christians. Alot of them feel that their ideology and humanism is the solution to the world’s problems, and religion is the enemy. It is more ideological and political than it is intellectual and rational.

  • Well, i don’t read it as a science textbook, but I don’t feel it contradicts good science either, provided it is rightly divided.

  • Cupofwrath,

    The Bible doesn’t contradict good science because good science and it speak to entirely different questions. The first chapters of Genesis no more speak to the processes by which God created the universe than they speak to the processes by which you get dressed in the morning.

    It’s just not what those chapters are about. They do not address questions about the natural order of material reality – which is what natural science does address. Natural science does not address questions about the moral order or other spiritual reality. The two do not contradict each other; and in this case, they do not even speak to each other.

  • So what do you suppose that its talking about…sports gambling, feminism, asbestosis? I would agree if you said that there are multiple layers to it, and the time scale may not be as clear as some people say, but at the end of the day it is clearly about “origins”.

    Exo 20:11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all which is in them, and He rested on the seventh day

    Psa 33:6 Through the Word of the Lord the heavens were made; and all their host were made by the breath of His mouth.

    Isa 45:12 I have made the earth, and created man on it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands; and I have set all their host in order.

    All of these verses indicate that God played a direct supernatural creative role in the universe and the things in it.

    I know that the Catholic church took a fairly safe official position on this, but there are plenty of Catholics who are creationists, Michael Behe is a molecular biologist who has done work that absolutely embarasses evolution. Just like with climategate, so called “scientists” are just as susceptible to bias and dogma and paradigms as everyone else.

  • Absolutely, Cupofwrath.

    Genesis means “origins,” and that’s what it’s about. I never asserted that God did not play a direct supernatural role in creating the universe. The natural universe could never have come into being unless something above/outside (super in Latin, “supernatural”) had created it. That has been my central point in my posts to Steve.

    My point to you has been different – that the book of Genesis is not about the mechanical processes of those origins – it is not science, nor is it history. This statement would be troublesome if either the human author(s) or the Holy Spirit intended it to be such, but there isn’t real evidence that they intended us to read it like we read a history of the American Revolution. Moreover, there isn’t evidence that anyone read it that way before the Protestant Reformation, and really, before the late 19th century.

    It is about Whom is responsible for creating the universe (God), what He had in mind when doing so (His plan), the order that He has built into it (the natural Law), and what screwed it all up (the devil and our sinful complicity with him), perhaps among other things.

    The Catholic Church hasn’t taken a “fairly safe official position” on this issue. It has continued to teach about this passage what it has taught since the earliest Church fathers – since Irenaeus and Augustine. It understands the passage in the same way our Lord did when he quoted it to criticize divorce (); that is, we use it as a text about the nature of creation and the moral life, not a primer on geology, history, or cosmology. We use it the same way that the medieval and ancient rabbis used it. We use it, judging by the Hebrew, in the way that the authors themselves intended.

    Of course scientists are susceptible to bias and dogma. We all are. I haven’t argued that. Please try to understand what I am saying, and not lump me in with darwinists.

    And of course there are Catholics who are creationists, just as there are Catholics who are abortionists and Catholics who are nihilists. They are all less Catholic for it. So? We do not have “official positions” on matters of faith and morals. We have only the perennial teachings of Christ and the Apostles, those who submit to them, and those who rebel but cannot bring themselves to walk away.

  • fair enough,
    My position is simply this: I believe of course in a natural world that is governed by laws of cause and effect, established by God. I also believe in a preeminent supernatural reality, such as angels and Jesus’ physical resurrection from the dead.

    My opinion is that the bible supports the latter as the “mechanism” or direct cause of much, but not all, of the natural world, and I have never found any plausible scientific revelation that otherthrows that. If I did, I guess I would have to reconsider things.

  • Cupofwrath,

    I share your concerns in this matter. And while I certainly do not accuse Ryan of this, I have mentioned before what I see as a sometimes exaggerated effort on the part of some Catholics to establish themselves as credible in the eyes of atheistic materialists, who have, through the same academic process that our co-blogger Zach has brought up, create a “consensus” outside of which there is nothing but mockery and ridicule.

    Thus even allowing a little bit of creationism in the door is the equivalent to wearing yesterday’s fashion to the latest awards ceremony – everyone will laugh at you. This is the degree of subjectivism that has seeped into the debate.

    If one is truly investigating the matter and one concludes that “creation science” is false, that is fine. If one is acting out of an a priori belief that one must conform to the “scientific consensus”, which is established by a psychological process that I have little to no confidence in, then I am not impressed.

  • Also, Ryan,

    “The Church DOES NOT CLAIM THAT THE BIBLE IS A SCIENCE TEXTBOOK. Any such reading is not Catholic.”

    I have to question this as well. This is not the interpretation of the Church, but is there some sort of ex cathedra statement declaring that no Catholic may accept biblical literalism? In other words, it is a sin?

  • Joe: I can see on some level why the church position is what it is, as the jury continues to be out on a alot of this.

    My past experience with Theistic evolutionists is that it is convenient for them to take whatever the scientific establishment says as being correct, and force the bible conform to it. If one takes the time to question, alot of what is presented and accepted as science is supposition and speculation, just another one of the world’s religions.

  • BTW, is that Christopher Hitchens rotten decaying mouth pictured up top. It seems like he is as opposed to toothbrushes as he is to Christianity. (if its anyone else I apologize in advance).

  • Joe Hargrave,

    Good question. There’s nothing ex cathedra against biblical literalism, but there are very few things indeed that are ex cathedra. The catechism’s discussion of biblical interpretation is very good – though it’s weakness is that it’s a bit vague sometimes, vaguer than, say, it’s teaching on contraception or the bodily resurrection.

    For starters, check out: CCC 105-119, paying special attention to the last half of 107, 109, 110, 115, and 116. They’re not ex cathedra, but they are authoritative.

    A note on 116 is that the “literal” interpretation, as the paragraph explains it, is not what modern people with our modern assumptions take it to mean at face value when we read it, but what the intended, original author meant to convey when he actually wrote the letters (litera, in Latin) on the paper to his intended audience. The term “literal” is therefore a bit unfortunate for contemporary speakers of English. I believe “historical” is probably a more useful and accurate term for us to understand the CCC’s intent on this point.

    A great second source is Dei Verbum, Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation. Especially see #12 of that document. Vatican II’s declaration on the matter isn’t a break with tradition, either. In 1943, Pius XII wrote Divino Afflante Spiritu, an encyclical encouraging precisely the sort of scholarship I was getting at above. In that document, check out #38-43 particularly.

    A good fourth source is the Pontifical Biblical Commission’s 1994 document entitled, “Interpretation of the Bible in the Church.” It is entirely unread by many (most?) Catholic exegetes who, unfortunately, have for fifty or sixty years been trained in a very bad “school” of thought that has little philosophical or theological background and all the presuppositions first of the modernists and now of the postmodernists.

    Modernists and postmodernists read the Bible in exactly the same way as fundamentalists/literalists. They just reject the Bible (as thus read) whereas fundamentalists interpret it. The tradition approach of the Church is almost completely unknown to both groups.

    I don’t imagine there’s anything sinful about biblical literalism (e.g., God made the earth in 6 24-hour days), but it is certainly way outside the parameters of Catholic teaching. It is an erroneous attitude, though I suspect those in the Church who hold that attitude do so in rather too much good faith to be guilty of much other than inadvertently buying into the fundamentalism that is the other half of American culture.

    Thanks for trusting my good faith, Joe – that’s a rarity on the web. I hope God strikes me down before a mock a person for being mistaken, or even for being foolish. Much better gently and clearly to correct such people when prudently possible. And I am certainly not in league with materialists or atheists – but let’s not sign on fundamentalists’ dotted lines simply because we agree with them on some moral issues.

    Nuance, hairsplitting, careful thought – whatever you want to call it – that’s been the Catholic way since St. Justin Martyr. Heck, since St. Paul.

  • Cupofwrath,

    Right. What I was getting at is that according to Genesis, God is the “doer” of creation, and I fully believe that. Nothing else makes sense. But the world being created in 6 24-hour periods is not the point of the first creation account, nor is it the intent or the teaching of the first creation account.

    There are all different sorts of writing. We make a serious mistake if we read a particular sort with an approach suited to a different sort. For instance, reading the newspaper, I take with me the basic attitude that says, “I am looking for facts. Here I will find some, but they will certainly be cluttered with the opinions and biases of the reporter. Other facts, though relevant, will be omitted either from negligence, malfeasance, or oversight – so I must account for the likelihood that the article will leave omissions in my knowledge that it might not advertise.”

    Now, if I take that basic mindset with me to sit down with John Donne or e. e. cummings, two of my favorite poets, you can see immediately how my presuppositions will be not only incorrect, but irrelevant. They will be as irrelevant as instructions for operating my dishwasher. That’s because newspaper articles, poetry, and operating instructions – though all writing and all perhaps in English – are very different sorts of writing, even to the point of using the same language and words but in very different ways. Likewise, words change meaning. King James II, when he saw St. Paul Cathedral in London rebuilt during his reign after the Great Fire, remarked that it was “awful and artificial.” Those are pretty bad insults, right? But not in his day. In his day, they meant “awe-inspiring” and “the results of craftsmanship, or artifice.” So even over time language changes meaning – and King James II lived well into the “modern English” period of our language – that’s not “old English” he’s speaking!

    Much of what is needed in the study of the Sacred Scriptures is a deep awareness of the language, culture and cultural understandings, history, and styles of writing in use at the time the sacred authors were being guided by the Holy Spirit to write the texts. Very often, just like King James II’s comments, the text was not intended to mean what we take it to mean based on our own understandings.

  • Ryan, you are mistaken about a few things in your last post:

    1) “if either the human author(s) or the Holy Spirit intended it to be such, but there isn’t real evidence that they intended us to read it like we read a history”

    How is there not any real evidence for this? The “obvious and literal” meaning of the text is that it relates historical events.

    2) “Moreover, there isn’t evidence that anyone read it that way before the Protestant Reformation, and really, before the late 19th century.”

    This is incorrect. The majority view of the Church until the last century was overwhelmingly “creationist,” or literal, including most of the Fathers, Sts. Augustine, Basil, and Aquinas, as well as most of the popes.

    3) “The Catholic Church hasn’t taken a “fairly safe official position” on this issue. It has continued to teach about this passage what it has taught since the earliest Church fathers – since Irenaeus and Augustine.”

    Is it true that Augustine believed the early chapters of Genesis to be figurative? Yes. Did he believe the earth was created in six days? No, he thought it took only one. He also thought that the earth was around 6,000 years old at the time that he lived. Theistic evolutionists frequently cite Augustine because he took a figurative hermeneutic to interpreting most of the Bible. They conveniently overlook the fact that he thought the world was created in one day rather than six, and that the earth was young. Aquinas entertains both the literal interpretation and Augustine’s and ends up leaning toward Augustine.
    However it is true that the Church has not dogmatically defined the issue.

    4) “We use it, judging by the Hebrew, in the way that the authors themselves intended.”

    I’m not sure where you are going here. For instance, the Hebrew word “yom” (“day”) is used hundreds of times in the OT, and in the singular sense it is used in Gen. 1 it always means a 24-hour period. There are other examples as well, but one should consider the audience that Genesis was written to; a tribe of largely unlearned nomads who would likely have had a simple understanding of anything they read. Complex allegory employed in the text to communicate non-literal truths would have been more confusing than anything. Allusion is supposed to help the reader understand, not confuse.

    5) “And of course there are Catholics who are creationists, just as there are Catholics who are abortionists and Catholics who are nihilists. They are all less Catholic for it.”

    A bit of a low blow here. Lumping creationists in with abortionists and nihilists? Harsh man, harsh.

  • Oops, I guess I meant your second-to-last post.

  • Ryan,

    Thanks for all of those sources.

    One thing I must comment on, however, is this:

    “The catechism’s discussion of biblical interpretation is very good – though it’s weakness is that it’s a bit vague sometimes, vaguer than, say, it’s teaching on contraception or the bodily resurrection.”

    This ‘weakness’, this vagueness, is not limited to the Catechism. Cardinal Christoph Schonborn’s treatment of the evolution controversy also leaves one with questions.

    It seems to me at times that the Church is walking on a tightrope, performing a delicate balancing act, and that the real message is almost indiscernible.

    It’s not that I think theistic evolution is irredeemable – it’s that it needs more work. Even Pope Benedict has said as much.

  • Matt Glassman,

    If you are Catholic, please read the citations I provided for Joe Hargrave. Please also consider, in that case, reading the Holy Father’s book In the Beginning.

    If you are not Catholic then there isn’t much for us to discuss about what the Church teaches it. Why the Church teaches it is a whole different question, which I do not believe I have addressed, and which I will not address tonight. It’s too late.

    I was not lumping creationists, abortionists, and nihilists together – except inasmuch as their doctrines all appear among members of the Catholic Church, and that those Catholics who hold any of those doctrines are less Catholic for holding them. That’s a fact. The Church rejects creationism and has never taken a literal “face-value” interpretation of Gen 1-3, among others. You made my point perfectly with Augustine. He did not, as you say, take that text as factually true at face-value, but did not believe that it was intended to be taken as such. Believing the earth was young is aside from the point – at that time, there was no reason to believe contrarily. What else was he to believe.

    That does not mean that Augustine was reading the beginning chapters of Genesis and taking them at “face-value”.

    Please reread my post, if you haven’t already done so carefully. What we today take to be the “face-value” of a text was not the “face-value” at the time they were written.

    Do you read Hebrew? I ask because you have asserted that every use of the singular of yom is a literal twenty-four hour period. Can you demonstrate that, or anything like it, or even cite an article that does? If that is factually true, it seems a neutral enough fact that all sorts of scholars should understand it. If it is true that yom (I presume as distinct from yamim, since you said “singular”) is never figurative, then Genesis 1 gets pretty kooky pretty quickly. The day and night, both as a twenty-four hour phenomenon and as a visual effect, occur because of the earth’s rotation around its orbit to face at regular intervals toward and away the sun. But in the Genesis account, read at face-value, the sun and moon are created on the fourth day, after daytime and evening on the third. Moreover, before this cycle began, to speak of twenty-four hour days is literally senseless. Lastly, right off the bat, I can point out that in the wisdom literature, the word “day” doesn’t usually mean a particular twenty-four hour period, or a twenty-four hour period at all – but rather, apparently, a “time” at which something happens, e.g., “on the day of battle” (Ps 138:3; 140:7; Prov 16:4; inter al).

    Genesis 1-3 is not, as you put it, “complex allegory.” In fact, that’s its beauty. It is a very simple story that has embedded within it a wealth of truth about God and the human condition that become intuitive to people who have drank in the story. Those meanings are lost when we get caught up trying to prove that Hebrew nomads in 2010 BC understood the story in the same way that we do now, in AD 2010. If you consider the audience, you will see that simple tribesmen the world over generally use allegories for spiritual truths, and are much more interested in them than in cosmology or geology for their own sake.

    What I meant about Genesis’ author giving no evidence that he intended the text to be read in what you call the “obvious and literal” way is that it is different than what one finds in any ancient history texts. St. Luke, for instance, tells us his method for assembling an historical account (Lk 1:1-4). St. Matthew tells us that he is going to tell us the details of Jesus’ birth (Mt 1:18). Both of them go out of their way to give us the historical context surrounding the birth of Christ. The author of Genesis does no such thing. Instead, he has daytime coming before the sun – which anyone looking at the sky can plainly see makes no sense. But they didn’t think he was a liar, or stupid – they thought that wasn’t his point – or else they wouldn’t have bothered listening.

    Let me ask you, Matt, why Gen 1-3 needs to be historically, factually true just as described? I mean, I know that and why accounts of the Resurrection must be about facts – or else our “faith is in vain,” (1 Cor 15:14). And I believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, and I believe that we will all be raised on the last day to be judged by God. That is the heart of the Christian faith. But why must the daytime have come a day before the sun’s light?

    Do you believe it somehow discredits the Bible if its author did not mean what we think he meant when we first read it, but if he actually meant something different?

  • Oh, Joe, I absolutely agree.

    I think the Church does too. And that’s precisely because the Church isn’t in the business of speaking about the natural causes of things, but the supernatural causes. The theory of evolution no more phases or interests her than the heliocentric theory of the solar solar system.

    Inasmuch as these things are used to advance ideologies hostile to the faith, they must be put back in their place or even (if they are false) debunked.

    Otherwise, what do I (or the Church) care about the theory of evolution? Great scientific theory. Fine. Explains lots of data. Leaves some questions. Just like every other scientific theory. But let’s not make an ideology about God from some old bones. Let’s certainly not pretend that the scientific method can explain everything or tell the purpose of life.

    On the point of biblical interpretation, I believe the Catechism’s vagueness is because it does not want to commit (or seem to commit) either a particular interpretation of a particular biblical passage – the Church very rarely does that. Much more often, she rules out particular interpretations of particular passages as being contrary to the apostolic faith. Consequently, the Catechism refrains from using a particular example. Without a particular example, it’s all gonna seem general and abstract, i.e., vague.

    The Holy Father’s book does very much the sort of thing that the Catechism discusses, and it does so using an example – Gen 1-3. I spent a few years in a conservative/traditional seminary studying for the priesthood. In the Beginning is one of the texts that we used for protology and Christian anthropology. I encountered it in our class on the Pentateuch.

    You’re a good man, Joe, and it’s a good blog y’all’ve got here. (Yes, I know I just double contracted in writing. I reserve that right.)

    It’s time for bed.

  • I don’t think I can comment on this thread anymore… that picture is really starting to gross me out.

  • Ryan,

    The language of Gen. 1 denotes the sun taking over the administration of the light as a type of governorship. Yours is a frequent objection put forth by theistic evolutionists which really shouldn’t give us much trouble. The light is distinct from the sun (a la Rev. 21:23), but the sun was created to rule over the light of the day.

    Augustine and the Church Fathers would have known nothing of the theory of evolution, but they would have been familiar with Greek Atomism, which posited an old earth, and they obviously did not choose to subscribe to it. Again, I’m not sure why you would choose to cite him- what he believed was even farther from your position than mine is.

    Why does it have to have occurred in 24 hour periods? I don’t know, I’m not the creator, ask Him. All I know is that that’s what the Spirit inspired the writer to communicate. He even went so far as to specify what kind of day he was talking about: “And there was evening and there was morning, one day.”

    The real question is this: Why would we read anything other than historical writing when that’s the genre of the text? What is there contained in Gen. 1-11 that suggests it is anything other than historical? If the writer wanted to communicate whatever you allege him to be saying then why did he not simply write that instead of giving us a sequence of events that reads just like a history?

  • Ryan,

    I never claimed that Augustine took Gen. 1 at face value. In fact I said he interpreted most of Scripture allegorically. By the way, the fact that the Church hasn’t dogmatically ruled on this issue means that is is untrue that “The Church rejects creationism.”

    In fact, every statement made by the Church herself, or prominent members of the Church has been either vague, or in explicit support of creationism, with opinions ranging between those two poles.

    Also, and please don’t take this as rude, but perhaps you should consult St. Ephrem or St. Basil’s interpretation of the matter before you make remarks accusing creationists as being Catholic only to the extent that abortionists and nihilists are.

  • Matt,

    I didn’t say that you said St. Augustine took Gen 1 at face value. My words were:

    He did not, as you say, take that text as factually true at face-value, but did not believe that it was intended to be taken as such.

    When I wrote, “as you say,” I might have more clearly stated “As you wrote, Augustine did not…” My apologies for the ambiguous phrasing. I didn’t say that he believed evolution or denied God was the Creator.

    I don’t deny that God is the Creator who made the universe from nothing. I affirm that.

    Again, I did not write that creationists are Catholic only to the extent that abortionists and nihilists are. I wrote:

    And of course there are Catholics who are creationists, just as there are Catholics who are abortionists and Catholics who are nihilists. They are all less Catholic for it.

    That’s different and it means a different thing that what you save I’ve written:

    creationists as being Catholic only to the extent that abortionists and nihilists are.

    In your (the second) statement attempting to recapitulate my statement, it sounds as if I’ve said creationists are no more Catholic than abortionists or nihilists. In fact, my statement said that creationism (perhaps I ought to have written “biblical literalism”) is just as much a defect in faith as those other ideologies. Now, granted creationists share many moral stances with us that abortionists do not; but so do Mormons.

    My statement means that, just as nihilism is alien to the Catholic faith, and so is abortionism (for it is an ideology), so is creationism. It does not mean that creationists are as bad as abortionists. By creationism, let us be clear, I do not mean that belief in God as the eternal deity who created the world at the beginning of time, sustains it throughout time, and will remake the world at the end of time. That is Catholic faith. I mean, and you seem to mean, a literalistic reading of Gen 1-3. Imposing a literalistic interpretation upon Gen 1-3 (among others) is foreign to the Catholic faith, and a novelty. It is an influence of fundamentalist Protestantism just as much as the creeping influence among American Catholics of rapture theories.

    I need to cut off this conversation because it’s getting heated and defensive. I don’t know if you’re Catholic, but if you are, I really recommend reading the authoritative church documents that I cited; they do a better job making the point than I can.

  • I’m sorry if I sounded heated or defensive, I never meant that (sorry, can’t type tone!).

    I have to say that I disagree with you that a literal (not literalistic…whatever you mean by that) understanding of Genesis 1-3 is not foreign to the Catholic Church, and is in fact what the traditional understanding of the Church has been until the advent of Darwinism and “Higher” Criticism. And while I haven’t read ALL of the documents you cited, I have read enough recent documents addressing the subject to guess what they might include: more vague statements about how we need to be open to new research, and how science doesn’t conflict with faith.

    I am Catholic, and I have taken the liberty of compiling a short list of statements made by various Catholic figures which I will include below:

    Exodus 20:11 “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them, and rested on the seventh day: therefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it”

    Mark 10:6 “But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.”

    185 “the Mosaic account of the creation, which teaches that the world is not yet ten thousand years old, but very much under that.” –Origen, Against Celsus, 1.19, Ante-Nicene Fathers, 4:404

    ~350 “No one should think that the Creation of Six Days is an allegory; it is likewise impermissible to say that what seems, according to the account, to have been created in the course of six days, was created in a single instant, and likewise that certain names presented in this account either signify nothing, or signify something else. On the contrary, one must know that just as the heaven and the earth which were created in the beginning are actually the heaven and the earth and not something else understood under the names of heaven and earth, so also everything else that is spoken of as being created and brought into order after the creation of heaven and earth is not empty names, but the very essence of the created natures corresponds to the force of these names.” –St. Ephrem the Syrian (Commentary on Genesis, ch. I)

    ~350 “Although both the light and the clouds were created in the twinkling of an eye, still both the day and the night of the first day continued for 12 hours each.” –St. Ephrem the Syrian (Comm. on Genesis, ch. I)

    354 “Some hold the same opinion regarding men that they hold regarding the world itself, that they have always been . . . . And when they are asked, how, . . . they reply that most, if not all lands, were so desolated at intervals by fire and flood, that men were greatly reduced in numbers, and . . . thus there was at intervals a new beginning made. . . . But they say what they think, not what they know. They are deceived . . . by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of many thousand years, though reckoning by the sacred writings, we find that not 6,000 years have yet passed.” –Augustine, The City of God, 11.3

    ~360 “That Paradise was closed and that a Cherubim was commanded to prevent man from entering it by a flaming sword: of this we believe that in visible fashion it was indeed just as it is written, and at the same time we find that this occurs mystically in every soul.” –St. Macarius the Great (Seven Homilies, IV, 5)

    ~370 “There is nothing truer than this, that each plant either has seed or there exists in it some generative power. And this accounts for the expression “of its own kind.” For the shoot of the reed is not productive of an olive tree, but from the reed comes another reed; and from seeds spring plants related to the seeds sown. Thus, what was put forth by the earth in its first generation has been preserved until the present time, since the species persisted through constant reproduction.” –St. Basil (Hexaemeron, V,2.)

    ~370 “Those who do not admit the common meaning of the Scriptures say that water is not water, but some other nature, and they explain a plant and a fish according to their opinion. They describe also the production of reptiles and wild animals, changing it according to their own notions, just like the dream interpreters, who interpret for their own ends the appearances seen in their dreams. When I hear grass, I think of grass, and in the same manner I understand everything as it is said, a plant, a fish, a wild animal, and an ox.” –St. Basil (Hexaemeron, IX, 1)

    ~370 “The nature of existing objects, set in motion by one command, passes through creation without change, by generation and destruction, preserving the succession of the species through resemblance until it reaches the very end. It begets a horse as the successor of a horse, a lion of a lion, and an eagle of an eagle; and it continues to preserve each of the animals by uninterrupted successions until the consummation of the universe. No length of time causes the specific characteristics of the animals to be corrupted or extinct, but, as if established just recently, nature, ever fresh, moves along with time.” –St. Basil (Hexaemeron, IX, 2.)

    ~379 “That which reasons, and is mortal, and is capable of thought and knowledge, is called man equally in the case of Adam and of Abel, and this name of the nature is not altered either by the fact that Abel passed into existence by generation, or by the fact that Adam did so without generation.” -St. Gregory of Nyssa (Answer to Eunomius, Second Book, p. 299 in the English Eerdmans edition.)

    ~379 What of Adam? Was he not alone the direct creature of God? Yes, you will say. Was he then the only human being? By no means. And why, but because humanity does not consist in direct creation? For that which is begotten is also human. -St. Gregory Nazianzen (Third Theological Oration, On the Son, ch. XI)

    ~381 “They who make Unbegotten and Begotten natures of equivocal God’s would perhaps make Adam and Seth differ in nature, since the former was not born of flesh (for he was created), but the latter was born of Adam and Eve.” -St. Gregory Nazianzen (Oration on the Holy Lights, XII)

    ~386 “As of the earth He said only: Let it bring forth-and there appeared a great variety of flowers, grasses, and seeds, and everything occurred by His word alone; so also here He said: Let the waters bring forth… and suddenly there appeared so many kinds of creeping things, such a variety of birds, that it is impossible even to enumerate them with words.” –St. John Chrysostom (Homilies on Genesis, VII, 3)

    ~386 “When you hear that ‘God planted Paradise in Eden in the East,’ understand the word ‘planted’ befittingly of God: that is, that he commanded; but concerning the words that follow, believe precisely that Paradise was creted and in that very place where the Scripture has assigned it.” -St. John Chrysostom (Homilies on Genesis 13:3).

    ~735 “The earliest formation (of man) is called creation and not generation. For creation is the original formation at God’s hands, while generation is the succession from each other made necessary by the sentence of death imposed on us on account of the transgression.” -St. John Damascene (On the Orthodox Faith, II, 30)

    1215 “from the beginning of time and by His omnipotent power made from nothing creatures both spiritual and corporeal, angelic, namely, and mundane, and then human, as it were, common, composed of spirit and body.” -Lateran 4

    1860 “Our first parents were formed immediately by God. Therefore we declare that … those who … assert … man … emerged from spontaneous continuous change of imperfect nature to the more perfect, is clearly opposed to Sacred Scripture and to the Faith.” –Council of Cologne

    1870 “If anyone does not confess that the world and all things which are contained in it, both spiritual and corporal, as regards their whole substance, have been created by God from nothing, let him be anathema.” –Vatican I

    1870 “God … who by His own omnipotent power at once from the beginning of time created each creature from nothing, spiritual, and corporal, namely, angelic and mundane, and finally the human.” –Vatican I

    1880 “We record what is to all known, and cannot be doubted by any, that God, on the sixth day of creation, having made man from the slime of the earth, and breathed into his face the breath of life, gave him a companion, whom He miraculously took from the side of Adam when he was locked in sleep.” –Pope Leo XIII, Arcanum Divinae Sapientiae

    1909 “Whether the various exegetical systems which have been proposed to exclude the literal historical sense of the three first chapters of the Book of Genesis, and have been defended by the pretense of science, are sustained by a solid foundation? — Reply: In the negative.” –Pontifical Biblical Commission (Question 1)

    1909 “Whether, when the nature and historical form of the Book of Genesis does not oppose, because of the peculiar connections of the three first chapters with each other and with the following chapters, because of the manifold testimony of the Old and New Testaments; because of the almost unanimous opinion of the Holy Fathers, and because of the traditional sense which, transmitted from the Israelite people, the Church always held, it can be taught that the three aforesaid chapters of Genesis do not contain the stories of events which really happened, that is, which correspond with objective reality and historical truth; but are either accounts celebrated in fable drawn from the mythologies and cosmogonies of ancient peoples and adapted by a holy writer to monotheistic doctrine, after expurgating any error of polytheism; or allegories and symbols, devoid of a basis of objective reality, set forth under the guise of history to inculcate religious and philosophical truths; or, finally, legends, historical in part and fictitious in part, composed freely for the instruction and edification of souls? — Reply: In the negative to both parts.” –PBC (Q. 2)

    1909 “Whether in particular the literal and historical sense can be called into question, where it is a matter of facts related in the same chapters, which pertain to the foundation of the Christian religion; for example, among others, the creation of all things wrought by God in the beginning of time; the special creation of man; the formation of the first woman from the first man; the oneness of the human race; the original happiness of our first parents in the state of justice, integrity, and immortality; the command given to man by God to prove his obedience; the transgression of the divine command through the devil’s persuasion under the guise of a serpent; the casting of our first parents out of that first state of innocence; and also the promise of a future restorer? — Reply: In the negative.” -PBC (Q. 3)

    1909 “Whether, presupposing the literal and historical sense, the allegorical and prophetical interpretation of some passages of the same chapters, with the example of the Holy Fathers and the Church herself showing the way, can be wisely and profitably applied? — Reply: In the affirmative.” -PBC (Q. 6)
    note: To be fair, the other questions of the PBC allowed for the investigation of the possibility of “yom” meaning more than a 24 hour period, and also admitted that Gen. 1 was not written in strictly scientific language.

    1928 “the evolution of species is impossible, even as a hypothesis… it openly contradicts the sacred text, and the universal opinion of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church.” –Cardinal Lepicier (De Opere Sex Dierum)

    1950 “How are we to safeguard the unmistakably clear biblical account or testimony telling us that the body of the first man became alive through God’s breathing upon it, if, as the evolutionists claim, it [that body] was already alive before this.” -Cardinal Ernesto Ruffini (Responsabilita dei paleoantropologi cattolici” in Osservatore Romano, June 3, 1950)

    1950 “Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion [polygenism] can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.” (Pius XII, Humani Generis, 37 and footnote refers to Romans 5:12-19; Council of Trent, Session V, Canons 1-4)

    1950 “The first eleven chapters of Genesis, although properly speaking not conforming to the historical method used by the best Greek and Latin writers or by competent authors of our time, do nevertheless pertain to history in a true sense, which however must be further studied and determined by exegetes…” –Pius XII (Humani Generis)

    Again, this is only a short list and is by no means exhaustive. However, it captures the “mood” of the Church concerning the theology of origins. And yes, before you say it, I realize that none of these are dogmatic, but it certainly is telling how specific these references are compared to how vague the selections are which theistic evolutionists generally use to open the window for evolution and old-earth.

    Hopefully this will finally settle things.

  • Uh, no, Matt, it doesn’t settle things.

    For starters, you didn’t get that all thought up and typed in during the ten minutes between when I posted and when you did. You clearly have a pre-fab list you carry around for the topic.

    Secondly, only one of your Vatican citations, numbered as 1909 (PBC Q.2) really supports your position – the one replying doubly negative. The others do not mean, I think, what you think they mean. For example, the question immediately following it, lists off and affirms what are clearly a set of “morals of the story.” It does not affirm the creation of the world in six 24-hour periods, you will note.

    Whether they are dogmatic or not is almost aside from the point. Some of them, I am thinking especially of the one that you number 381, are clearly irrelevant – the author wasn’t at all writing on our topic. Nazianzen is here arguing about the substance of the Logos. He takes Genesis’ account of creation for granted, and primarily because he is interested in differentiating creation from Creator, and putting Christ on the Creator side of things, whereas Arians had Him as a creature. He doesn’t take Genesis literally as creationists do – he rejects the idea of the eternity of matter/world – as all Christians ought – because that imputes divinity to the creature. I’ve read him, and not just a stray quote.

    I have to say that I disagree with you that a literal (not literalistic…whatever you mean by that)

    makes me think that you really do not understand the passages. “Historical/literal sense,” going back to St. Augustine, does not mean what you take it to mean. It means “the meaning intended by what the historical writer wrote.” It does not mean, and has never meant, “a literal history,” or else the psalms, among others, could never have a “historical/literal sense,” since they are clearly (for the most part) not intended to be histories, though they are set in historical contexts.

    I have consulted St. Ephraim modestly, both in translation and in Syriac, which I studied in graduate school. Basil I have only read in translation, because my Greek is painfully slow and his Greek is painfully elegant.

    Matt, I really suggest you read the documents I suggested, and consider the questions I asked. To wit,

    Let me ask you, Matt, why Gen 1-3 needs to be historically, factually true just as described? I mean, I know that and why accounts of the Resurrection must be about facts – or else our “faith is in vain,” (1 Cor 15:14). And I believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, and I believe that we will all be raised on the last day to be judged by God. That is the heart of the Christian faith. But why must the daytime have come a day before the sun’s light?

    These things are not easy. I am happy that you know yom in Hebrew. I also asked if you read Hebrew. I do. It is an important and relevant question. How can someone argue to understand a text when they cannot read it except in translation? Who would give ten minutes’ consideration to a Japanese “professor of Shakespeare” who couldn’t even read English, and only read Hamlet in translation?

    I ask you these things, not to demean you, but because there is a LOT of information out there – that you haven’t even read the foundational documents of the Church’s method of interpreting scripture – documents that liberals and progressives of all stripes ignore or hate, yet still want to lecture about how the Church interprets or should interpret the Scriptures… well, it’s a bit cheeky, to be frank.

    My background is that after taking a degree in Classical History, cum laude, I spent three and a half years in a seminary noted for its orthodoxy, which I loved. As of now, I am on break from doctoral studies in a leading Catholic biblical studies program – where I got myself into more than a little hot water for criticizing the Higher Criticism.

    On the other hand, you don’t get some basic distinctions – like between the literal sense and literalistic interpretation. You confuse historical (which is to say literal) with literalistic interpretation. You quote sources, the contexts of which you don’t seem to be aware, and in some cases whose authors don’t support your interpretation. For pity’s sake, you quote St. Ephraim who says the night and day were each twelve hours – which is much more than Genesis says – without even seeming to be aware that the man was a poet. A poet. An excellent theologian, and a doctor of the Church, but not a systematic one – certainly not an infallible one (and yes, the point is perfectly relevant and not at all trivial). I can email you, if you like, some of my translations of some of his poetry.

    Now, I apologize to you for sounding snooty, and I am sure I do. I am not hauling out my weak little credentials to try to settle some fight on the basis of my “authority.” I haven’t got any. But I have got reasons, and I’ve got authoritative Church documents that are only a bit vague, but not really so much – they just don’t agree with you, is all. You haven’t got so much though. I am irritated with myself for staying up late to reply to your cut-and-paste citations, when I have to work in the morning. That is my fault.

    Look, brother Matt, just because the Higher Critics were colossal asses and closet/open atheists – and they were – I know, because I studied under some of the last of them, doesn’t mean that all of their tools and conclusions were inimical to the Faith. Just like Protestant fundamentalists, though they be by-and-large monumental simpletons when it comes to theology, and they are – doesn’t mean that they are immoral or false in all their way of life.

    You have a real passion for these things that I do not. I admire that. I hope you will pursue it in serious study. Another book I can recommend that is very interesting, though technical and difficult, is Opening Up the Scriptures, edited by Jose Granados, including contributions by Joseph Ratzinger.

    Now I am going to bed, and I really don’t anticipate having time or energy to respond to this topic tomorrow. Maybe the next day, if you can answer the questions I linked above, or read some of the authoritative, if difficult, documents I’ve linked, and spare me the cut-and-paste. The whole thing has certainly derailed from the initial thread. I apologize for being a colossal ass. Good night.

  • I guess you can call the list “pre-fab” if you want. After all, I did put it together before tonight, and simply out of curiosity. I’m not sure how that discredits it though. And if you can’t see how they refute your position and prove that your claims regarding the Church’s position on creationism, then I suggest you go back and read through them again.
    The fact that the authors of the quotes were not speaking directly of evolution is also irrelevant. Enough can easily be discerned from the citations to undermine your claims. For instance, I’m baffled as to how Augustine stating plainly that the Earth is not yet 6,000 years old doesn’t contradict what you have said. You have obviously skimmed the list carelessly.

    “Historical/literal sense,” going back to St. Augustine, does not mean what you take it to mean. It means “the meaning intended by what the historical writer wrote.” It does not mean, and has never meant, “a literal history,”

    I understand what it means. It’s my position that “a literal history” is what Moses intended to communicate.

    “You confuse historical (which is to say literal) with literalistic interpretation.”

    No I don’t, see above.

    “For pity’s sake, you quote St. Ephraim who says the night and day were each twelve hours – which is much more than Genesis says – without even seeming to be aware that the man was a poet. A poet.”

    If Genesis doesn’t say this then I can’t imagine what “and there was evening and there was morning, one day” means. Moses used terminology to communicate the common notions of all of these ideas. And, if this is not what he meant then there is certainly nothing in the text to suggest otherwise.
    Whether or not Ephrem was a poet makes no difference, and I defy you to show me something from your “authoritative texts” to match the specificity of his (or St. Basil’s) comments.
    To suppose that a poet was incapable of effective scriptural interpretation because of his experience as poet would be a logical fallacy, one that is certainly below a scholar with such an extensive and impressive resume as yours (sorry, couldn’t resist). In fact, Ephrem, being poet, teacher, and deacon would seem like an ideal candidate to read the text from both the poetic (if you suppose Gen. 1-3 to be) and theological vantage points.

    “Let me ask you, Matt, why Gen 1-3 needs to be historically, factually true just as described?”

    It depends on what you mean by “need.” If you are referring to why God chose to create in this fashion, then I don’t know. If you are referencing my (and the Church’s traditional) interpretation of Gen. 1-3 then I would simply direct you to the text itself because that’s what it says.
    The burden of proof is on you to prove otherwise because you are proposing that it means something other than what the text says at face-value. Viewing the text as Augustine did (creation instantaneously a few thousand years ago) is one thing, but to simply read the text and then stretch it to include billions of years and an evolutionary development of the human body is preposterous. Finding anything like that in Gen. 3 is pure eisegesis. And to say that Moses didn’t actually comment on the issue in Gen. 1-3 is just as bad since he thought enough to include specifying qualifiers like “evening and morning,” and “according to their (its) kind(s) in the text.

    Also, I did not mean to imply that the tools of the historical-critical method were useless. Certainly they are helpful when one understands their limitations.

    I have read most of the Church’s documents on the interpretation of scripture and can’t find anything in them to rule out a literal interpretation of Gen. 1-3 I think you are confusing the Church’s willingness to entertain scientific research’s implications on scripture with an outright acceptance of current theory. I never meant to “lecture,” just wanted to correct your erroneous claims of the Church denying creationism. Again, I would be interested in you showing me an “authoritative” citation that does this in anything other than vagaries.

    Literal, literalistic, call it what you like, but at the end of the day you’re still the one who is faced with demonstrating how Moses meant something other than the words he wrote in Gen. 1-3. I really am curious to see how you do so, considering the specificity of the text concerning the events of Creation Week.

    Oh, and I do read a little Hebrew though I am by no means an expert.

    I appreciate the offer for some of St. Ephrem’s poetry. I must admit I’m a bit of a philistine when it comes to poetry but you can send it to mghansolo@hotmail.com and I will take a look.

Some Advice Before You Get Married

Monday, November 2, AD 2009

I am a single man that believes that my vocation is that for marriage.  So when I came across this article I thought it prudent to read it since I have much, much to learn about marriage.  Me being the type that I would like to prepare for it the best I can rather than “learn on the job”.

Regardless, this struck home, not because of any past sin, but because it is rare to see a good priest speak truth to power.  Once cloning technology gets perfected I plan on mass-producing this priest.  Yeah, I know, cloning destroys the dignity of man so I was only speaking rhetorically.

So here is a warning for you all before you read the article.  Of course the author issues his own warning, but it is best to be safe than sorry!

Continue reading...

30 Responses to Some Advice Before You Get Married

  • I have seen/been to weddings like this – well, maybe not so caricatured – thankfully though, not in the Catholic Church. Mainly the garden variety wedding.

    But don’t let your own post put you off Tito. It doesn’t have to cost $29,000 you know.

    I would have thought that an articulate dude such as yourself would have been hitched by now anyway. 🙂

  • Don the Kiwi,

    I’ve learned that it will be on God’s time! 🙂

    But, yes, I’ll be keeping an eye on costs if I ever get there. It probably won’t be that much since I’m nowhere near where I need to be to afford something like that!

    I gave up on credit long time ago. I only use credit for home and car loans. (and sadly I need to have a credit card because rental car agencies don’t accept cash, debit cards, nor checks anymore.)

  • My wife and I had our wedding reception at the Parish Hall of Saint Mary’s in Paris, Illinois with food supplied by my Mom and her friends. I doubt if more than $500.00 was spent for the whole thing. 27 years later, I’d say my wife and I have gotten our money’s worth.

  • Getting married in January, I will say it’s very very difficult to keep costs down. You can’t find bridesmaids dresses for much less then 200, and when you do you have to pay for alterations to put sleeves on them to make it proper for churches. Having a rehearsal dinner & a large family for guests at the reception racks up very quickly. In the end, I think we’ll be under 10,000 but we’ve had to be real smart about it.

    Of course, if you can get away with a small wedding, then the costs will be much cheaper, as you can ditch the large cots with catering i.e. Donald

  • I agree some of the absurdities of modern weddings, but I have to take issue with this:

    “All this tells me that the photographs are over one hundred times more important than the grace of the sacrament, in most peoples’ estimation.”

    If a priest really held that opinion, I would harbor serious doubts about his orthodoxy. Would he then expect people to pay big dollars to the priest every week for all the sacraments?

  • Michael,

    You can get the materials for the sleeves by cutting out the mid-riff area. You see girls showing their belly buttons as being the fashion now, so you can be hip and cost effective at the same time!

  • This was certainly tongue in cheek; however, it is sadly quite true.

    Our modern culture has elevated the wedding far above the marriage. I think that may be one reason why we are tempted to have multiple weddings and virtually no marriage.

    My wife and I paid for our own wedding, our bridal party was no help because most people think the job of the bridal party is to plan the debauched bachelor and the worse bachelorette party, rather than host the wedding so the bride and groom can celebrate the sacramental union.

    We didn’t spend much money because I didn’t have it. Thank God for that – it can be a waste of money – not that money shouldn’t be spent but it should only be spent in honoring Christ and sharing the best wine, not on frivolous and vain trimmings. Our marriage has been great because of Grace and not any of my doing. We were so hip when we did it that I convinced my wife that we did not need the sacrament so we had a civil wedding. No one in the family objected and I wouldn’t have put up with it anyway because I was going to give my wife her day because I was an arrogant prick.

    God had different plans, as He always does. He allowed us to be married because He ordained the union even though this prideful sinner had no idea at the time. We so easily blind ourselves. Bridezillas and $10,000 dresses institutionalize the vanity of that pride. God breaks it down.

    Thanks be to God we enjoyed the convalidation of our wedding without fanfare, without a million people who could care less about the sacrament or about Jesus and we had a nice (albeit expensive) dinner following with both of our fathers and a couple of close friends and relatives. It was amazing and I cried. I didn’t cry the first time. It was just a contract that I was going to will to keep because I was my own god. This time it was a sacrament and I was called to climb on the cross for my bride and she was called to submit to me. Without the acknowledgment of sacrifice in a marriage instituted at the wedding, it is just a mere modern convenience (or is that inconvenience). Why would I be emotionally caught up in that? I didn’t. I love my wife. That is with MY OWN love for her the first time.

    When we did it right I loved and love her more today with His Love, He is Love and without that, the marriage is dead before it starts.

    Before anyone is to think that our marriage worked or didn’t until we came back to the Church let me clarify. Our marriage worked but not because of our wedding, it worked only because of our convalidation. Since God is not subject to time, He must have graced us in advance of our convalidation prior to our own knowledge of the convalidation. He knows that we were coming back home.

    I tell you these things because I want you, especially Tito, to know that He has blessed you with a wife or He has blessed you without a wife. What transpires doesn’t matter. All that counts is that you turn to Him, He’ll do the rest. I thank Him everyday for my wife and more importantly, I think Him for Him. Without Him I don’t know how long I would have had a wife (or for that matter a living soul), not that we had any shattering problems, but I am sure we eventually would have. He married us. I used to think I did that. Pride and arrogance lead to envy and vanity. The modern wedding is vain, the modern marriage is empty, the modern family is dead.

    We must have strong sacramental weddings, which lead to stronger trinitarian marriages. A marriage in which the purpose is to help each other get to the third person in the marriage – God. It is not a 50/50 (partnership) split. It is 100% (communion)! Either you are all in, sacrificially, or you may as well be all out. Strong marriages make for even stronger families and authentically orthodox Catholic families are what this vanishing country, this dying civilization and this decadent world needs to be lifted up out of the mire and set on a hill.

  • Tito:

    Between telling me to have the bridesmaid bare their midriffs (which would cause a heart attack for the poor priest at whose church-which has mandated Latin hymns at all weddings there, god bless them-we’re having the wedding) and telling me to move to Houston on facebook, you’re just full of terrible ideas.

    😉

  • And people wonder why kids these days are just living together.

    Let’s see….

    “Dear ignorant slut;
    How dare you ask about something like how long the main isle is? I will proceed to assume that it is to prolong “your” section of the ceremony, which you have somehow managed to bully the poor idiot you’ve been sleeping with into going through with, and which you only want because it’s the Done Thing.

    What kind of creature are you, to hold a once in a lifetime event as somehow special, or something to be daydream about? You are obviously totally ignorant about anything to do with the Church, and you don’t even care about the actual sacrament, because I won’t charge you as much as the photographer or DJ will.

    (Nevermind man hours invested, material investment, supply and demand or any other things that change price– it’s purely an expression of what you value, and you can set the price at will!)

    There is no way you could actually have everything not related to the location under control and just want to know how long the isle is; you can’t actually both be Catholic, or give a damn enough to have researched what’s required to be married in the Church. Because you’re an ignorant slut trying to get married to the first guy who didn’t run away fast enough.

    -Yours truly, Rev. Know-it-all
    PS- why are so few people getting married in the Church, and why do the young not follow the Church’s teachings on sex?”

    Yeah, totally not offensive to those folks who actually grew up faithful, and fought against the assumption that they were going to have sex with anyone they dated for more than a month, or for that matter that they screwed anyone male they were around socially for more than a month.

    How dare a young woman dream about a celebration of her unity with the man she loves, before God and all? What, does she think marriage is special or something?

  • I’ve heard it said that many women these days get divorce only so that they can get married again simply because of how they’re so infatuated, not with the Sacrament of Marriage itself as any such sacred institution (obviously), but because of the very experience behind all the big hoopla of a wedding event.

    As regarding how non-Catholics view the Catholic version of Marriage, it’s often a common complaint that Catholics take marriage too seriously by requiring too many things prior to an actual marriage (e.g., Cana, etc.). Those non-Catholics I’ve met who’ve married Catholics (including the Catholic herself) often complain why the Catholic Church can behave so unreasonably.

    Whenever I hear such things from non-Catholic acquaintances, in the back of my own mind, I often wonder if only marriages were taken as seriously as the Catholic Church does, then perhaps their marriage might perhaps live up to the Sacrament that it actually is.

  • Foxfier, I’m mostly with you. I saw this linked elsewhere and did find it entertaining at first — and was very surprised that it was on a real parish website! But it laid on the sarcasm so thick that I started to think that rather than shedding new light for anyone, it would serve mainly to inspire pride and self-righteousness like I started to feel in myself reading it (because I mostly don’t see myself in the negative description, although I was hardly the ideal bride,) or to alienate those who either have not been taught or have rejected the different and better way and who are being so harshly characterized.

  • Clearly this was ‘sarcastic’ and somewhat tongue in cheek. Perhaps that isn’t the best approach. Nevertheless, it is precisely because the Church is ‘strict’ that makes her attractive. When I decided to come back to the Church the difficulty I had was in accepting Christ; choosing which church was easy. There is only one Church. If I had found the Church lax in the application of the teaching of Jesus Christ or in her sacraments or precepts then why would I waste my time?

    The Church is attractive because she is strict. If I had found the church to be relaxed or I had stumbled into a liberal parish I am not so sure I’d be Catholic today and I may not have brought my marriage into the Church. I found no appeal in any of the Protestant churches and I may as well have remained totally democratic in the church of me.

    I had a good marriage and I thought that was because I made it so. Marriage is only good in Christ. Can someone stay married and maybe even seem ‘happy’ without? Probably, but it is not real and the purpose becomes to exult each other rather than help each other get to Heaven. It degrades into hate or idolatry. Ultimately, it is a loss. Deep down inside we know that; so if we know it is a loss anyway, then why bother keeping it when it gets hard. Why not just get a do-over?

    Weddings do overshadow marriages in the modern culture and it is the responsibility of the Church and her clergy to remain faithful to the sacrament else marriage will fall apart. Look at what is being proposed now. Men marrying men, women marrying women, multiple partners seeking the same ‘right’. It is falling apart and the only constant seems to be the ever expensive ‘virginal’ white dress worn by non-virgins marrying drunk grooms after sleeping with the bridesmaid – that may be the groom or the bride – hard to tell these days.

    Marriage has become a joke and the wedding just another debauched party. If we want weddings back and we want wedding feasts back we have to restore marriage to what it is supposed to be. I have never been happier, more in love or had a clearer sense of purpose and duty in my marriage than now after bringing the marriage back into the Church. How many more are out there? Unless the Church offers a true solution, who cares?

    Human freedom is broad, but it has limits. Those limits, set by God through His Catholic Church are what set us free to become who we are supposed to be. Without those limits, our priorities get skewed and we fall into slavery disguised as freedom. The married state is for the purpose of bringing the bride and the groom to Heaven where they can be united, all in all, eternally. Without that intent it is just a legal contract and headed toward disaster even if it is not legally dissolved.

    Stable marriages, even those without a huge reception and expensive accessories, may be especially those, build stable families and stable families build stable communities. It is absolutely necessary. Additionally children from sacramental marriages and stable families make for single people who are more likely to choose the priesthood, religious life, consecrated virginity or matrimony. Why? Everyone of those is a lifelong commitment, you know, like a sacramental marriage. We have been too lax and careless about this for too long.

    We cannot confuse the message and the messenger. I am a sarcastic person so this letter appealed to me. You may not be so it won’t. The message is still accurate.

    There is money to be made in weddings, marriages lead to families and that is a burden on our government and Mother Earth. If we could just kill all the married people before they are born, we’d solve the problem and then Fred and John can walk down the isle and act like bridezillas with virginal dresses by Vera Wang and drive off in a Humasine. How cute?

  • There is a world of difference between being abrasive or sarcastic, and being flatly insulting to someone who has shown no sign of deserving it.

    Again, I’ll point at the assumption that the Rev. puts forth that anyone who would be interested in being married in his church is a slut. Amazing how when my mom was growing up, that was a major insult– and now, it’s a defended base assumption against any young woman interested in a wedding.

    Maybe if folks showed the least hint of respect for chastity, it would be a bit more common, instead of being a punchline in both secular and, apparently, religious media.

  • “it is the responsibility of the Church and her clergy to remain faithful to the sacrament else marriage will fall apart.”

    It is not the responsibility of the Church and her clergy to remain faithful to the sacrament or else marriage itself falls apart.

    The responsibility lies where it has always been in the first place: both spouses.

    This is why the sacrament of marriage itself is actually not conferred by the priest but by the spouses themselves. As the Catechsim itself teaches:

    1623 According to Latin tradition, the spouses as ministers of Christ’s grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. In the tradition of the Eastern Churches, the priests (bishops or presbyters) are witnesses to the mutual consent given by the spouses,124 but for the validity of the sacrament their blessing is also necessary.125

    The only reason why the ceremony has to take place in the Church in the presence of a priest is precisely because:

    1621 In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ.120 In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up.121 It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but “one body” in Christ.122

  • I was just wondering what the point is for most people who already have basically good Catholic marriages to sit around reading this stuff. It’s not full of particularly fresh observations, though perhaps a particularly bold statement of them. Like I said, I read it at first with some feeling of enjoyment — and superiority, essentially, not really gratitude to God for His grace that my life isn’t like that. I already know the writer’s point and it’s not giving me ideas on how to evangelize those who don’t. I’m not saying there’s no place for this kind of commentary anywhere, but seriously, what is its effect on most of the people reading it?

  • It made my laugh.

    e., you are right, perhaps faithful wasn’t the right choice of words. However, most lay people look to the clergy for guidance and cathechesis, so the clergy’s committment to the sacredness of all the sacraments including matrimony will guide the flock.

    Reverence for marriage is essential for society to fucntion. The bride pursuing her wedding based on popular media, modernist cultural (de)values and the peer pressure of prurient minds is not going to respond to a ‘nice’, PC message about how holy marriage is. And young men don’t even want to bother – why should they? They get all the sexual benefits of marriage and they can hang out with their buds, drink beer and play video games without ever growing up. If they have an ‘oops’ there’s always abortion.

    Some people, especially stupid young ones and their hippie parents need an in your face approach. Or I could be wrong, but it is worth a shot.

  • “I was just wondering what the point is for most people who already have basically good Catholic marriages to sit around reading this stuff. It’s not full of particularly fresh observations, though perhaps a particularly bold statement of them.”

    Foxfier’s comments more than made up for it:

    “Maybe if folks showed the least hint of respect for chastity, it would be a bit more common, instead of being a punchline in both secular and, apparently, religious media.”

    American Knight may have a point here:

    “And young men don’t even want to bother; why should they? They get all the sexual benefits of marriage and they can hang out with their buds…”

    I remember some saying that goes: why buy the cow when you’re already milking it? Or something like that.

    Anyway, most acquaintances I know from university practically utter the same: that is, why marry your girlfriend when you’re already receiving fringe benefits from her already?

    Sad, but true.

  • Why would anyone marry in the Catholic Church when annulments are so easily obtained that “counting” on a life long commitment has become a farce?

    It is a sad state of “affairs”, quite literally.

  • Karl,

    The easy access to annullments is a problem, no doubt. But why would someone want to marry in the Church? I married outside of the Church and I can tell you the grace we have been freely given since we married in the Church is amazing. The reason to marry in the Church is to be married to each other in Christ, the bridegroom supreme. It makes a difference and those who do not beleive are missing out on the beauty of this world and I shudder to think what awaits in the next.

  • One of the best articles I ever read on this topic was “The Wedding Merchants” by Caitlin Flanagan, in the February 2001 issue of The Atlantic. You can read it at this link:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200102/flanagan

    I wish I’d read it before my own wedding in 1994. I tried very hard to do everything on the cheap and be elegant but not extravagant. In the end we (me and my parents) spent just under $5,000 on the whole thing, well below the national average to be sure, but in retrospect, even THAT amount of spending probably wasn’t necessary.

    The formal wedding as we know it today is really a relic of early 20th-century high society culture, in which 1) brides married very young and went directly from living with their parents to living with their husbands; 2) they were presumed to be innocent, not only of sexual experience, but also of experience in running a household; 3) women didn’t work outside the home, and so could devote all their time to planning and attending social events like weddings; 4) attending and giving formal parties was a routine part of life, so they didn’t have to learn the etiquette involved from scratch.

    As Flanagan says, there was a time when a girl who “aped the ways of rich folk on her wedding day” would have been ridiculed, not admired.

    Perhaps more Catholic couples should consider getting married during regularly scheduled parish Masses… it CAN be done, sometimes very beautifully; it saves money on flowers and church decorations since they are already there; and it enables an otherwise tiny wedding party to enjoy the presence of a packed church.

    This story contains a wonderful example of how it can be done:

    http://www.sj-r.com/homepage/x19928804/Dave-Bakke-Soldiers-strangers-celebrate-wedding

  • Dear Am Knight,

    I was married in the Catholic Church and once believed as you do. In theory, only, I still do.
    Pray for the Church and if you have time left over, for my family as well. Thank you.

    My snide remarks come from heartbreaking experience, not bigotry against the Church. I appreciate the kindness of your response.

  • Karl,

    You will be in our prayers. Life can be painful and we are all looking for healing and you are already in the right place to receive it even if the perception is that the problems are caused by the Church – God only allows that which sanctifies us; that is probably going to hurt.

    I didn’t find your remarks ‘snide’; I think you are accurate re: annullments. The question we have to ask is why bother getting married at all? It is biologically possible to have children without marriage and these days a willing partner for ‘just sex’, ‘friends with benefits’, ‘I don’t want a husband just give me a baby’, etc. are easily found. If you do bother, why stick through the rough spots? I can just get marriage 2.0, you know, an upgrade.

    There is only one reason – Christ. We can keep our marriage vows to our spouse even if they do not reciprocate. Remember that our disposition at judgment is in how we directed our will, selfishly or conformed to God’s. Will there be pain and damage? Yes. Will there be grace? Of course.

    God bless you.

  • It thought the article was a hoot. I somehow missed the slut part, but the opening question is just plain funny. “I visited your church *once* and am thinking about having my wedding there ….” That alone is worth a chuckle, and then punctuated with “how long is your main aisle”? Come on, that is just classic display of superficiality.
    Sarcasm and parody can be effective. Many people who are invincible to measured reason (often due to their own arrogance) are quite vulnerable to well-placed ridicule. Like the fellow who insists on wearing white socks with dress trousers because he thinks the conventions of dress are just stupid anachronisms. He’ll stop only after folks point at him and giggle.

  • I guess horribly superficial things like “I’d like my parents to be able to come to my wedding” never crossed your mind, Mike.
    Most of the folks I know who aren’t getting married near a parent’s home do get married at a different place than the one they live– so that people can actually make it to the celebration.

    Silly, superficial things like “airports” and “hotels” come into play, though occasionally “the church is breathtakingly gorgeous” or “my grandparents were married in that church” will influence such a desire.

    Oh, and when you accuse a lady of routinely sleeping with whoever they’re dating, you’re calling them a slut. First block-quote in, second line.

    I must say, I didn’t know that we had so many mind readers around! To know that Mary is a shallow, materialistic person who knows nothing of her faith from a single line? And to know the only thing she’ll respond to, from a two-line note, is to be publicly mocked and accused of multiple violations of binding Catholic teachings?

    So, where’s the “funny” and “effective” accusation against the lady of having had a couple of abortions?

  • Another issue I’ve seen discussed in other forums is the difficulty of finding MODEST wedding dresses that aren’t strapless or cut extremely low in front or back. Apparently designers assume that all brides want to look “sexy,” which creates problems for those who want to show proper reverence in church.

    One way to get around this problem is to shop at a store or website that sells Quinceanera dresses (for Hispanic girls celebrating their 15th birthdays). The online stores carry all sizes (up to size 28!), most styles are available in white or off-white, and most come with matching jackets or shawls to solve the problem of dressing modestly in church.

    There are also stores and websites that cater to Mormon brides who need modest dresses for their temple weddings. I don’t think there’s any law against non-Mormons shopping there 🙂

  • Elaine,

    That is what I see among my friends as well.

    The difficulty of finding modest wedding gowns. It’s amazing how our culture have degenerated.

    Like I joked before, but it’s true, I’ve noticed now bare mid-riffs at wedding ceremony’s.

  • Tito:

    Now, come on.

    What precisely can be a better way of celebrating the Sacrament of marriage than having your to-be-wife dressed up as a crack whore, except without the dignity?

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  • e.,

    I hear the crack *#ore look is in!

Vatican Condemnation of Halloween is False

Saturday, October 31, AD 2009

[Updates at the bottom of this post.]

In what is a common occurrence that happens more than you think, the media again has done a poor job of reporting the news that emanates from the Vatican.  If it came from the Vatican at all.  The new one today is that the Catholic Church condemns Halloween, or some variation there of.

Various news outlets have reported that the Pope, the Catholic Church, or the Vatican have condemned, blasted, slammed, or as the Times of London said, “reserved their venom for the millions of parents who allowed their children to celebrate this “pagan” festival.”

And people say anti-Catholicism doesn’t exist?

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7 Responses to Vatican Condemnation of Halloween is False

  • I’m kinda curious how folks are celebrating Halloween in Spain, that they were able to find two quotes that could be shoe-horned into this story.

    The Times story says:
    José Sánchez González, the Bishop of Sigüenza-Guadalajara, in central Spain, went further, suggesting that Hallowe’en parties had a “background of the occult and anti-Christianity”. He said that he saw the dark influence of Hollywood playing with the young minds of Spanish children as they danced innocently around pumpkins, little realising that they were attending a pagan festival.

    “Due to this influence, Hallowe’en started being celebrated several years ago and it is spreading more and more, without people knowing what it is that they are celebrating,” he said.

    Sounds to me like they might actually have a problem– same way that the GB Christian group they quote to support their article is trying to deal with the real problems of vandalism and kids getting hit by cars while they’re out trick or treating.

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  • And who wrote this article “Vatican Condemnation of Halloween is False” ?? There is no author under the title … so we don’t know who to respond to, but going to the Contributors list, I realized that not one of the contributors is a Church Official or a priest. So, how could YOU be the authority on what the Church teaches? I would rather go with the priest from Spain than your opinions. Hope you can find the Truth and discern spirits .. especially during this time of occult and satanic rituals.

  • So, how could YOU be the authority on what the Church teaches?

    The Church publishes her binding teachings, and I don’t mean in a newspaper.

    Thus, it’s not a matter of the person posting having authority or not– it’s a matter of truth, which requires no authority to share.

    It doesn’t matter if someone is a Priest or “Church Official,” if they’re saying something is true when it isn’t, or if they’re being quoted as “the Vatican says” when it’s their view.

    (BTW, while there isn’t an author listed, you could go to the trackback right above your comment, go through and notice the first comment there is “Bravo, Tito.”)

  • I would rather go with the priest from Spain than your opinions.

    So that means I can follow whatever Richard McBrien says? After all, he’s a priest and dresses like one when he’s on TV.

Moving Halloween to Saturday: Treat or Trick?

Thursday, October 29, AD 2009

In recent years Halloween has gone from a primarily child-oriented holiday to an occasion of commercial importance comparable to Christmas or Easter. National retail sales figures indicate that Halloween is the 6th biggest holiday for retailers — behind Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day — and rapidly gaining ground, particularly among young adults.

The trend has now sparked a movement of sorts — led by the Spirit Halloween retail chain — to move Halloween permanently to the last Saturday in October. Their online petition at this link (http://www.spirithalloweekend.com/ ) asks Congress to lend its official endorsement to the change, although that would not be strictly necessary since Halloween is not a federal or national holiday.

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15 Responses to Moving Halloween to Saturday: Treat or Trick?

  • Darn, I wish Spirit Halloween had a combox. Darn, darn, darn!

  • I vote (B) a concession to worldliness and indifference.
    Vigils, feast days, birthdays… the actual dates count for something. I enjoy a movable feast as much as the next guy, but it should have a better excuse behind it than grubbing for cash or extending the weekend.

  • Remember that they then consolidated both Abraham Lincoln’s and George Washington’s birthdays to “President’s Day”.

  • Halloween and All Saints have a particular significance for me since my wedding anniversay falls on All Saints. If they change it, I will have to come up with some other way to remember, so I vote no. Or maybe I can convince my wife to celebrate the solemnity of our marriage along with All Saints, rather than the actual day of our wedding?

  • I think you make a compelling argument overall. Actually changed my mind, as a matter of fact.

    As to changing the date – I actually find it to be more confusing. When I’m looking at my calendar, it’s so much easier to assess the fixed-date holidays as compared to the floating ones. “Which weekend is that on this year?”

  • For the record, I also would vote “no”.

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  • Also, I really need to give credit here to Todd Aglialoro, now a writer for Inside Catholic, who many years ago when he worked for the Peoria Diocese Family Life Office, wrote a column for The Catholic Post titled “How Halloween Is a Very Catholic Thing.”

    It was in that article that I first came across the quote from Chesterton on paganism and Christianity. Unfortunately, I cannot find this article online anywhere, and I no longer have print back issues of The Post to refer to.

    If you happen to be reading this, Todd, thanks for the inspiration, and can you tell me where to find that article?

  • Instead of moving Halloween to Saturday, it needs to be moved right off the calendar. There is nothing good about it- junk food for kids, wild parties for adults, strangers ringing your doorbell all evening, drunks in the ER all night. Once again, America has taken a religious day and turned it into a mockery.

  • I understand your concerns, Annie, but by your standards, St. Patrick’s Day should probably be “moved right off the calendar” too.

    It lacks only junk food for kids and strangers ringing your doorbell… although strangers in an adjacent apartment who start their St. Paddy’s Day party at 2 in the afternoon are just as annoying 🙂 Likewise, it too is a religious holiday that has been pretty much turned into a caricature of itself, at least in the U.S.

    Also, I read somewhere many years ago that the government of Ireland, back in the late 50s or early 60s, briefly considered moving St. Patrick’s Day to September so there would be better weather for outdoor celebrations! Needless to say, that didn’t fly.

  • And speaking of moving holidays to weekends — if I remember correctly, students at U. of Ill. in Champaign observe something called “Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day” on the Friday or Saturday closest to the actual St. Paddy’s Day. The observance consists entirely of hanging out in bars and getting as drunk as possible.

    I suppose that no matter what happens to the Spirit Halloween petition drive, the preceding Saturday will become, if it hasn’t already, “Unofficial Halloween” for adult partying purposes anyway.

  • Goodness, perhaps someday the secularists will wish to ensure “Christmas,” which they will call “The Winter Holiday,” always falls on Friday so everyone gets a 3 day weekend.

    Awfully pesky the way things are now, when Dec. 25 can fall on a Wednesday. Once you remove the religious significance of these holidays, there’s no point to keeping to a set date.

  • Some of you should read up on history a bit.

    The reality is that the Church chose Dec 25th for Christmas in an attempt to add religious meaning to an already existent pagan holiday. There is circumstantial evidence that Jesus was actually born in April.

    Back to the holiday at hand…Halloween is and always has been a pagan holiday. The religious holiday that the Church attached to it (once again, in order to add a religious meaning to it) is All Saints Day. This petition doesn’t mention moving All Saints Day. In fact, you might end up with more people in the pews on Nov. 1st if they haven’t been out trick or treating and then stuffing themselves full of candy all night the night before.

  • Martha,

    I wasn’t aware that the Hebrews were pagans. Wasn’t Dec. 25th the date the temple was re-dedicated? It seems like a religiously significant date for the temple in Jerusalem and since Jesus refers to Himself as the temple – it makes sense, don’t you think?

    As for Halloween – move it, don’t move it – it doesn’t matter – for most of us, including the secularists, it is just a fun night to dress up act silly, beg for candy and share some frivolous entertainment with each other. There is a danger that the occult becomes cool, but I think for most people this is innocent fun. As for all the drunks, rowdy morons, witches and satanists – they are going to do what they do, with or without secular Halloween and they’ll do it on Oct 31 and/or the last Sat in Oct – do they really care?

    People are not skipping Mass on All Saints because of Halloween – how else do you account for all the other days they skip Mass?

    Holidays have the significance we give them. Christmas can be just a day to drink egg nog and get gifts. Easter can just be about chocolate eggs. We are not forced to worship God; we are just as free to worship ourselves – at least for a little while – then Bam! Halloween won’t mean a thing although some of the imagery might be familiar in hell.

  • Thanks for sharing with information. now i know more about holloween..please keep posting. I will visit again.