Feast Day of the Beheading of John the Baptist

Monday, August 29, AD 2016

August 29 is the feast day of the beheading of John the Baptist, the herald of Christ.  Charlton Heston, in the video clip above, gave a powerful portrayal of the Baptist in The Greatest Story Ever Told, capturing the raw courage and energy that animated John the Baptist as a result of the blazing faith he had in God.  Like Elijah, John came out of the wilderness to fearlessly proclaim the word of God, but what Elijah and the other prophets could only glimpse darkly, the coming of the Messiah, John saw with his own eyes.  The last and greatest of the prophets, John fulfilled the role of Elijah as proclaimed by the prophet Malachi:

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.

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Cardinal Kasper Debates John the Baptist

Saturday, August 29, AD 2015


John the Baptist:  For Herod himself had sent and apprehended John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias the wife of Philip his brother, because he had married her.

Cardinal Kasper:  Often pastors want to control human life. It’s clericalism.  They don’t trust people and therefore don’t respect the conscience of people.

John the Baptist:  For John said to Herod: It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’ s wife.

Cardinal Kasper:  Of course, we have to give guidelines from the Gospel and remind people of the commandments of the Lord, but then we should trust that the Holy Spirit is working in the hearts and in the conscience of our people.

 John the Baptist:  But Herod the tetrarch, when he was reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done;  he added this also above all, and shut up John in prison.

Cardinal Kasper:  Therefore divorced and remarried people should find a good priest confessor who accompanies them for some time and if this second, civil marriage, is solid then the path of new orientation can end with a confession and absolution.  Absolution means admission to Holy Communion.  

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16 Responses to Cardinal Kasper Debates John the Baptist

  • There ain’t a dance out there by any girl that would make me promise half of anything let alone a kingdom.
    Herod must have been stoned and the Bible leaves us to discern it after many years. He was on his fifth goblet of Jack Daniels.
    On a more serious note, the Old Testament repeatedly promise long years of life for righteousness to old testament man as in:

    ” My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.” Proverbs 3:1-2

    They were also promised no miscarriages in the Sinai Covenant. We are not so promised but are promised a cross. John the Baptist and others under the old law were exceptions and forerunners of the new promise…the cross in matters physical. Moses had full strength of body til he was 120 years old. I doubt any Christian ever had that.

  • ps
    Great contrapunctal contrast. John the Baptist was so non dialogic….so 29 AD….so locust and wild honey.

  • Brilliant. Thanks be to God.

  • I wonder if John the Baptist was being judgmental, the anathema of today’s culture?
    What will Cardinal Kasper say when he finds himself standing beside King Herod in the next life?

  • +Kasper is clearly after money. I think everyone is aware of how the Church is funded in Germany and how big the Church bureaucracy is in Germany and how Germans are rapidly deserting the Church.

    +Marx and +Kasper’s scheme is to take Martin Luther’s approach. Hey, Lutherans and Catholics signed the Joint Declaration, and Lutherans remarry after divorce (this permitted by an ecclesiastical community founded by someone who invented Sola Scriptura and then ignored it when it came to divorce), so why not Catholics? +Kasper and +Marx likely remind the Vatican of how much of their funds come from Germany. So, the FFI gets slapped around, the likes of +Cupich get named to archdioceses and the Roman Pontiff badmouths free market economies – the same economies that enable Catholics of those countries to fund the Vatican (while downplaying the violence committed against Catholics by Muslims).

    Is it any wonder people leave the Church for evangelical pep rallies or for sleeping in on Sundays?

  • I told my 18 yrs of 9th grade CCD students, “you will never be able to say that no one ever taught the truths of the faith.” 1, 2, 5,6,7,8,9 commandments taught in depth, with a fun but serious view of the why’s. Which picked up the other 3 quite well. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

  • “Penguins Fan … Kasper is clearly after money…”

    Yep, 30 pieces of silver to be exact.

  • “bill bannon ….There ain’t a dance out there by any girl that would make me promise half of anything let alone a kingdom.”

    But, you ain’t never seen my grandma do the minuet?

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  • Is Kasper’s end-game merely divorce? I don’t think so.

    It strikes me that, if he can get the Church to declare Christ’s own words subject to interpretation, how much more so Paul’s?

    I suggest to you that the real target isn’t any particular rule but the concept of interpretation of scripture itself. He wants to say “ALL of scripture is subject to the evolution of social norms and must be interpreted in light of Man’s collective wisdom.” How else can one set aside the specific prohibitions against homosexual conduct that have been with the Church since her founding?

    No, I don’t think this is about divorce, it is about something far more important.

  • If Herod was indeed a king, he would have the sovereignty and knowledge of himself to rule instead of cowtowing to political correctness. And as far as his wife of sorts, Herod would have saved St. John for the sake of his sovereign personhood, and not have the man murdered because Herodious did not agree with John’s opinion. Neither one of them, herod and herodius, had any sense of Justice or Sovereignty. Some king, I might add, rotted to death in his tent.

  • Again:James 1: 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
    “to keep oneself unstained from the world” This is the crux of the environmental issues and the save the whales agenda. The only saving of creation that counts in the eyes of God are the orphans and widows. Sitting at Mass Sunday was St. James addressing Pope Francis’ visit to America, admonishing us all “to keep oneself unstained from the world” Relinquish Gaia, the whales, the fracking, the redistribution of wealth already addressed as that issue of religion and our relationship with God: “to visit the orphans and widows in their affliction.”

  • An oath to commit evil is not a valid oath. Oaths are promises to God.

  • David Spaulding,
    Precisely. Kasper wants to destroy the Faith, and he’s been pushing this stuff since the 60s, long before the Kirchensteuer was an issue. It’s comforting for many Catholics to think that this is merely about money for the German bishops, but that doesn’t explain why so many of Kasper’s allies come from countries where they have no such monetary incentives. The true explanation is more frightening: like many heretics in history, these men loath the Church and wish to see her destroyed.

Why Was Christ Baptized?

Sunday, January 12, AD 2014


Saint John Chrysostom explains to us why Christ was baptized when He had no need of it:



Hence it is evident, that He came to Jordan not for the forgiveness of sins and not for receiving the gifts of the Spirit, but so that some from those present then should not think that He came for repentance like others.  Listen to how John precluded this:  What he then spoke to the others then was, “Bear ye fruits worthy of repentance.” But listen to what he said to Him: “I have need to be baptised of Thee, and Thou art come to me?” (Matthew 3:8, 14). With these words he demonstrated, that Christ came to him not through that need with which people came, and that He was so far from the need to be baptised for this reason—so much more sublime and perfectly purer than Baptism itself. For whom was He baptised, if this was done not for repentance, nor for the remission of sins, nor for receiving the gifts of the Spirit? Through the other two reasons, of which the one the disciple speaks, and about the other He Himself spoke to John. Which reason of this baptism did John declare? Namely, that Christ should become known to the people, as Paul also mentions: “John therefore baptised with the baptism of repentance, so that through him they should believe on Him that cometh” (Acts 19:4).  This was the consequence of the baptism. If John had gone to the home of each and, standing at the door, had spoken out for Christ and said: “He is the Son of God,” such a testimony would have been suspicious, and this deed would have been extremely perplexing. So too, if he in advocating that Christ had gone into the synagogues and witnessed to Him, this testimony of his might be suspiciously fabricated. But when all the people thronged out from all the cities to Jordan and remained on the banks of the river, and when He Himself came to be baptised and received the testimony of the Father by a voice from above and by the descent of the Spirit in the form of a dove, then the testimony of John about Him was made beyond all questioning. And since he said: “and I knew Him not” (John 1:31), his testimony put forth is trustworthy. They were kindred after the flesh between themselves, “wherefore Elizabeth, thy kinswoman, hath also conceived a son”—said the Angel to Mary about the mother of John (Luke 1: 36).  If, however, the mothers were relatives, then obviously so also were their children.

Thus, since they were kinsmen, in order that it should not seem that John would testify concerning Christ because of kinship, the grace of the Spirit organised it such, that John spent all his early years in the wilderness, so that it should not seem that John had declared his testimony out of friendship or some similar reason. But John, as he was instructed of God, thus also announced about Him, wherein also he did say: “and I knew Him not.” From whence didst thou find out? “He, having sent me that sayeth to baptise with water, [is] the One [Who] did tell me” What did He tell thee? “Over Him thou shalt see the Spirit descending, like to a dove, and abiding over Him, that One is baptised by the Holy Spirit” (John 1:32-33). Dost thou see, that the Holy Spirit did not descend as in a first time then coming down upon Him, but in order to point out that preached by His inspiration—as though by a finger—it pointed Him out to all. For this reason He came to baptism.

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8 Responses to Why Was Christ Baptized?

  • According to the calendar used in the Ordinary Form, today is the Baptism of the Lord. Jesus had no need of baptism, but chose to be baptized to establish the Sacrament for his apostles and those who would succeed them.

    In the Extraordinary Form today is the Feast of the Holy Family. We are made aware of the example set by Mary and Joseph to work to have a holy and happy family life. Such has never been an easy thing to accomplish, in the US or anywhere else, even in the days when Catholics in this nation had a “Catholic culture”. I find myself striving for this and often coming up short.

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  • Baptism makes a difference. Pope Francis said baptism changes us in his Wednesday teaching.
    He baptised the baby of an unmarried couple in the Sistine Chapel on this day celebrating the baptism of Jesus. I don’t know if he gave any pastoral counsel to these parents about getting married and living a good life passing on the faith in practice and by example.

  • excuse me- they were married but not in the Church-

  • “He baptized the baby of an unmarried couple in the Sistine Chapel” Pope Francis was taking back the child from the secular culture. That the parents wished to have their child baptized is very encouraging.

  • Yes I didn’t explain all that in my comment last night. I agree with the pope on this approach, given that there is exhortation / catechesis for these parents

  • I read somewhere that one of the reasons that Jesus chose to be baptized was so that in the future we could not say, in our pride and vanity, “Jesus wasn’t baptized, why should I be?”

  • I guess that was stated in other words by St. John Chrysostom……sorry.

John the Baptist, Herod and Us

Thursday, August 29, AD 2013

Today is the feast day of the beheading of John the Baptist.  His message of repentance is extremely unpopular in our day.  We live in a time of cheap grace.  When men bother to think of God at all they often tend to view him as a pal, a good joe who will gather us into a Heavenly Kingdom that is like Disneyland on steroids where we will be happy forever, no matter what wretched evil we have committed in this life.  What could be more opposite to this view of “God loves us just the way we are” than the burning message of the Baptist?

[1] Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip his brother tetrarch of Iturea, and the country of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilina; [2] Under the high priests Annas and Caiphas; the word of the Lord was made unto John, the son of Zachary, in the desert. [3] And he came into all the country about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of penance for the remission of sins; [4] As it was written in the book of the sayings of Isaias the prophet: A voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. [5] Every valley shall be filled; and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight; and the rough ways plain;

[6] And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. [7] He said therefore to the multitudes that went forth to be baptized by him: Ye offspring of vipers, who hath shewed you to flee from the wrath to come? [8] Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of penance; and do not begin to say, We have Abraham for our father. For I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham. [9] For now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down and cast into the fire. [10] And the people asked him, saying: What then shall we do?

[11] And he answering, said to them: He that hath two coats, let him give to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do in like manner. [12] And the publicans also came to be baptized, and said to him: Master, what shall we do? [13] But he said to them: Do nothing more than that which is appointed you. [14] And the soldiers also asked him, saying: And what shall we do? And he said to them: Do violence to no man; neither calumniate any man; and be content with your pay. [15] And as the people were of opinion, and all were thinking in their hearts of John, that perhaps he might be the Christ;

[16] John answered, saying unto all: I indeed baptize you with water; but there shall come one mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to loose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: [17] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire. [18] And many other things exhorting, did he preach to the people. [19] But Herod the tetrarch, when he was reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’ s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done; [20] He added this also above all, and shut up John in prison.

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Pope Benedict XVI Wishes Us All a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 25, AD 2009

Here is the text of Pope Benedict’s Christmas Eve Homily:

Dear Brothers and Sisters! “A child is born for us, a son is given to us” (Is 9:5). What Isaiah prophesied as he gazed into the future from afar, consoling Israel amid its trials and its darkness, is now proclaimed to the shepherds as a present reality by the Angel, from whom a cloud of light streams forth: “To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:11). The Lord is here. From this moment, God is truly “God with us”. No longer is he the distant God who can in some way be perceived from afar, in creation and in our own consciousness. He has entered the world. He is close to us. The words of the risen Christ to his followers are addressed also to us: “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20). For you the Saviour is born: through the Gospel and those who proclaim it, God now reminds us of the message that the Angel announced to the shepherds. It is a message that cannot leave us indifferent. If it is true, it changes everything. If it is true, it also affects me. Like the shepherds, then, I too must say: Come on, I want to go to Bethlehem to see the Word that has occurred there. The story of the shepherds is included in the Gospel for a reason. They show us the right way to respond to the message that we too have received. What is it that these first witnesses of God’s incarnation have to tell us?

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Advent and John the Baptist

Friday, December 11, AD 2009

In Advent my thoughts frequently turn to John the Baptist, the last, and the greatest, of the prophets who foretold the coming of Christ.  The Jews lived in expectation for many centuries for the coming of the Anointed One, the Christ.  It was left for the Baptist to be His final herald.  His cries for repentance in preparing the way for the Lord are a useful reminder to us as to the proper spirit to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Of the film portrayals of John the Baptist, my favorite is that of Charlton Heston in the movie The Greatest Story Ever Told, who conveys well the sheer force of the Baptist’s message and the courage with which he conveyed it.  John came to testify to the Truth and nothing would stop him from doing it, not even death as the last 2000 years can attest.

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