Saint Thomas Aquinas

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Cost of Misinterpretation.


I work in a group of 10 people with a 1 manager above us. We all perform the same job duties day to day. All of us have a working knowledge of the job and its workings. I myself am a senior engineer in my department of work and there is one other senior as well. Keep following, it will come together here I promise. My manager, the other senior engineer and myself were talking about an email that was sent out by the other senior engineer on what happened at a particular job site the other day. Two of us interpreted the email one way and the other another. Both interpretations made sense when explained by each of us, and the text was written in proper English, yet it can be taken to mean two very different things. We all stood there admitting that both interpretations made sense. This email without further clarification could have possibly cost our company money. What is my point?

My point is, I find it very interesting that 3 people all working closely day in and day out, all very well versed in the job and its terms and applications all had different interpretations of the email. If find it difficult to buy into the Protestant notion that we can all interpret the Sacred Scriptures for ourselves and understand it completely without any authority to clarify what it means. You see if my manager and I were unable to go back and ask the other senior what he really meant, then we would have no way of knowing what he meant. It could have been taken two completely different ways. This text was only a few hours removed from us, yet Sacred Scripture is removed from us over many centuries with no one to ask for clarification on its meaning. Or is there someone to ask? Yes, you guessed it, you can ask the Church.

The Catholic Church has lived the Sacred Scriptures day in and day out faithfully and is a living source of the Written Gospel. If something as simple as an email containing one paragraph can be interpreted two ways by 3 people removed only a few hours from the text, what is the likelihood of being able to interpret the Sacred Scriptures without error when it is translated from many languages, and are many centuries removed from us? The answer is very clear. What is the cost of misinterpretation? We have hundreds of Protestant denominations all telling us that they have the correct interpretation of Sacred Scripture, yet all disagreeing on what the text means. They disagree on the sacraments of marriage, baptism, the Eucharist, justification, sanctification and list goes on and on. Yes the Catholic Church clearly defines each of these core theological teachings very clearly.

Of course we will have hecklers who will demand that the Church produce an infallible interpretation on each verse. These hecklers miss the point. The point is we know what justification is, we know what baptism is, we know what the Eucharist is. How do we know? Because we as Catholics are in a very real sense living with those who wrote those texts. We are living and abiding in the Holy Spirit which transmits to us the living Gospel, the living Word Jesus Christ to us in both written and oral form. The Sacred Scriptures are what is known as Holy Writ, the living Word in written form. We can go back and examine passages of Sacred Scripture with the voice of the living Church, and not with a personal interpretation far removed and incapable of asking the original writer what they intended to communicate.

We as Catholics have a living connection back to that original source. It is Jesus Christ himself and the Church that He works through, infallibly. Until one comes to that realization they are reading something that they have no way of knowing for sure what the true meaning is. The Sacred Scriptures become a written connection to Jesus Christ when they are kept in the bosom of the Church that Jesus gave them to us through. When they are removed from that sacred entity then interpretation is up for grabs to each person who reads it. Even though the interpretations may sound good and even make sense to them and others, it does not mean that their interpretation is what God intended to communicate to them in that Holy Writ. Even understanding the language and its grammatical usages does not guarantee correct interpretation.

What is the cost of misinterpretation? It is ultimately the loss of souls. Those who think that they are capable of infallibly interpreting Jesus, the Sacred Scriptures and Tradition for themselves, rather than going to Jesus Himself to ask Him what He intends to communicate to them are indeed lost. Although it is common for Scripture to have many meanings, dogmas and doctrines that are communicated through them are not up for negotiation. This is why the Church has always been the entity that Jesus intended to give us, just as He told us in the Gospel of Saint Matthew. This verse is infallibly interpreted by the Church, "And I say to thee, thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Save Saint Stephen's!



Pray That Cleveland's Landmark Churches Will Not Be Closed.

There are rumors that Cleveland's bishop may close parishes in the diocese. Saint Stephen's among others are on the list for possible closings. I am originally from Clevleand and I have been to many of the beautiful churches in the city. I pray that these ancient pre-Vatican II churches will be spared in favor of closing the modern eye sores that pass for churches now-a days.

From the Cleveland Encyclopedia of History..

The parish of ST. STEPHEN'S CHURCH at 1930 W. 54th St. in Cleveland was established in 1869. It eventually became the largest German-speaking Catholic parish in Cleveland. The congregation was using a small brick structure in 1873 when the church that stands today (1994) was begun. CUDELL† & RICHARDSON† were architects of the church. The first services were held in 1876 and the church was dedicated in 1881. The church is constructed of Amherst sandstone and is Gothic in style. On the interior an organ was added in 1886, and frescoes in 1893. A redesigned tower (lacking the steeple) was added in 1907. Adjacent buildings have included a brick residence (1896), a pastoral residence (1896), and a brick school (1897).

The church is best known for its decorative interior, especially the intricate wood carving. Most of the wooden objects are white oak and were ordered from Munich, Germany, and were installed in 1893. The main altar, which won first prize at the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 before coming to St. Stephen's, was also carved in Germany.

Video clip link..here
News article here...

Lent and Fasting: A Defense


I noticed certain Protestants once again this Lenten season attacking the practice of Lent. Working in their usual form they appear to ignorant of Scripture as well as Church History, which both give testimony to fasting, as well as to the practice of a Lenten season. Although the amount of time to be practiced for Lent and the date of Easter was not universal, it was practiced since the earliest days of Christianity. In fact we have Saint Ireneaus writing to the Pope (St Victor I)in his day the following, "The dispute is not only about the day, but also about the actual character of the fast. Some think that they ought to fast for one day, some for two, others for still more; some make their ‘day’ last 40 hours on end. Such variation in the observance did not originate in our own day, but very much earlier, in the time of our forefathers" (Eusebius, History of the Church, V, 24)

After the Church was able to come out in the open and practice her faith after Constantine, we start to see a more universal practice come into place. The Council of Nicea (325), in its disciplinary canons, noted that two provincial synods should be held each year, "one before the 40 days of Lent." St. Athanasius (d. 373) in this "Festal Letters" implored his congregation to make a 40-day fast prior to the more intense fasting of Holy Week.(Saunders 2002)

There are many more examples of the Early Fathers of the Church preaching or writing on the importance of the Great Fast of Lent. The 40 days of Lent was soon adopted since many Biblical examples give us traditions to follow in honoring Our Lord's passion, death and resurrection. Biblical verses from the Old Testament are looked at as prototypes of Jesus' fast as well. "Moses stayed there with the Lord for 40 days and 40 nights, without eating any food or drinking any water" (Ex 34:28). Elijah walked "40 days and 40 nights" to the mountain of the Lord, Mount Horeb (another name for Sinai) (I Kgs 19:8). Most importantly, Jesus fasted and prayed for "40 days and 40 nights" in the desert before He began His public ministry (Mt 4:2). (Saunders 2002) So we then had the Church looking to Our Lord's fast in the desert as an example to be followed.

The type of fasts also varied from place to place, but the most common fast was to abstain from meat, and dairy. Pope St. Gregory (d. 604), writing to St. Augustine of Canterbury, issued the following rule: "We abstain from flesh, meat, and from all things that come from flesh, as milk, cheese and eggs." (Saunders 2002) In the early ages of Christianity, fasting included also abstinence from wine, as we learn from St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, Theophilus of Alexandria, and others. (Gueranger 1997) Fasts have varied throughout Christian history with religious orders oftentimes holding much stricter fasts, then going more lenient, then back again. In the 1700s fasting evidently became very relaxed in the West forcing Pope Benedict XIV to write a letter in 1741. "The observance of Lent is the very badge of the Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of the cross of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should mankind grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God's glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, and of private woe." (Gueranger 1997)

In the West Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. In the East it begins on the Clean Monday, which was the Monday before Ash Wed this year. This starts off the 40 days of the Great Fast. The Sacred Scriptures also tell us that there will be fasting in the Church. Jesus in Matthew 9:14-15. The disciples of St. John the Baptist came, one day, to Jesus, and said to Him: "Why do we and the pharisees fast often, but Thy disciples do not fast? 'And Jesus said to them: 'Can the children of the Bridegroom mourn, as long as the Bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the Bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then they shall fast." We then see the apostles in the book of Acts fasting as well. Acts 13:3 and 14:23 for example. So the Bible is no stranger to fasting. Saint Robert Bellarmine, a great Saint of the Reformation era shows us how Sacred Scripture attests to fasting as well.

From Live Well, Die Holy: The Art of Being a Saint, Now and Forever, St. Robert Bellarmine, Sophia Press pgs. 57-62

"Another advantage of fasting is that it tames the flesh; and such a fast must be particularly pleasing to God, because He is pleased when we crucify the flesh with its vices and concupiscences, as St. Paul teaches us in his letter to the Galatians; and for this reason, he himself says, "But I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection, lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway' (Gal 5:24, 1 Cor 9:27)."

"Another advantage is that we honor God by our fasts when we fast for His sake. Thus the apostle Paul speaks in his letter to the Romans: 'I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service' (Romans 12:1). In the Greek, "reasonable service" (logiken latreian) is "reasonable worship"; and St. Luke speaks of this worship when mentioning the prophetess Anna: 'And she was a widow until fourscore and four years, who departed not from the temple, by fasting and prayers serving night and day' (Lk 2:37)"


I often see some Protestants (Usually of the Reformed flavor) attacking those who fast, yet it is Jesus and the apostles they also attack unwittingly. It is with great joy to see that many Protestants are now beginning to realize the importance of this spiritual exercise.

It is important to look at the Spiritual benefits that this Great Fast gives us. I quote Abbot Gueranger O.S.B. "Lent, then, is a time consecrated in an especial manner to penance; and this penance is mainly practiced by fasting. Fasting is an abstinence, which man voluntarily imposes upon himself as an expiation for sin, and which, during Lent, is practiced in obedience to the general law of the Church. According to the actual discipline of the western Church, the fast of Lent is not more rigorous than that prescribed for the vigils of certain feasts, and for the Ember Days; but it is kept up for forty successive days, with the single interruption of the intervening Sundays." It is important however to remember that one must be disposed to fast. In other words, fasting for the sake of fasting is not going to do anything for you spiritually, if you are not united to Christ in mind and in heart. If one is not disposed to the graces of Our Lord, fasting will be nothing but a dry, dead exercise. Hence we see the great Saint Ephraim (306 – 373) giving his spiritual council on the matter.

Taken from Hymn 1: The True Fast and Christ, Adam, and Satan

1.2
This is the fast which exalts; which appeared from the First Born So as to extol the younger ones. There is occasion for delight for the discerning ones in fasting; When one sees how much he has grown. Fasting secretly purifies the soul So it can gaze on God and grow by the vision of Him. For the weight that is from the earth, bends it back to the earth. Blessed is he who gave us fasts, The sheer wings by which we fly to him.

1.3
Fasting is bright and beautiful for any who bright enough yo gaze on God. The Turbid One, stirred up by anything cannot fix the eye on that Clear One. He who possesses a clear eye He can gaze upon him; as much as it is given to him to gaze. Instead of the clarifying wine, let us clarify our thought So that we will be able to see the Clear One Who overcame the Evil One by means of fasting, that Disturber of All.

1.6
This is the instructive fast, it teaches the athlete the ways of the contest. Draw near to it, study, learn to struggle shrewdly. Behold he instructed us to fast with our mouths and hearts, Let us not fast from bread and think thoughts In which the hidden poison of death is hidden. Let us confess on the fast day the First Born
Who gave us the word of life to meditate on.

1.9
The Troubler mixes filth with our Clarity, So as to make the first-fruits of our prayer and fasting hateful. It is possible by his jealousy, that our gift be rebuked.
Take away your deceits from your fasts, remove mockery from your praise. May your voices wash your mouths from lies. Allow us, O First Born in your mercy To uproot hidden weeds from our thoughts .

The Catechism gives us a summary of fasting as a form of penance and preparation.

Fasting as a form of Penance
1434 The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others....

1438 The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church's penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).
- CCC pgs. 360-361

Fasting as a form of Preparation
1387 To prepare for worthy reception of this sacrament, the faithful should observe the fast required in their Church. Bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest.
- CCC pg. 350

Finally I would like to reiterate the proper use of fasting, and its spiritual benefits when used in union with Christ and His Church. Pope Benedict XVI recently gave a talk on the current Lenten season. He said, "In the New Testament, Jesus brings to light the profound motive for fasting, condemning the attitude of the Pharisees, who scrupulously observed the prescriptions of the law, but whose hearts were far from God. True fasting, as the divine Master repeats elsewhere, is rather to do the will of the Heavenly Father, who “sees in secret, and will reward you” (Mt 6,18). He Himself sets the example, answering Satan, at the end of the forty days spent in the desert that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mt 4,4). The true fast is thus directed to eating the “true food,” which is to do the Father’s will (cf. Jn 4,34). If, therefore, Adam disobeyed the Lord’s command “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat,” the believer, through fasting, intends to submit himself humbly to God, trusting in His goodness and mercy."

"The practice of fasting is very present in the first Christian community (cf. Acts 13,3; 14,22; 27,21; 2 Cor 6,5). The Church Fathers, too, speak of the force of fasting to bridle sin, especially the lusts of the “old Adam,” and open in the heart of the believer a path to God. Moreover, fasting is a practice that is encountered frequently and recommended by the saints of every age. Saint Peter Chrysologus writes: “Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others. If you do not close your ear to others, you open God’s ear to yourself” (Sermo 43: PL 52, 320. 322).


The entire message is found here at the Vatican website.


Sources
History of Lent- Fr. William Saunders 2002
The History of Lent-Abbot Gueranger O.S.B.
Saint Ephraim's Hymns on Fasting-Gary A. Anderson, Sidney Griffith, and Robin Darling Young
Live Well, Die Holy: The Art of Being a Saint, Now and Forever, St. Robert Bellarmine, Sophia Press
Message Of His Holiness Benedict XVI For Lent 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pope Pius XII His Last Days


I ran across this video on YouTube and thought I would share it with you. It is video footage of Pope Pius XII. The video focuses on his last years as Pope. There is some great footage of him here. The video is in Italian, but has subtitles. Pope Pius XII was a great Pope who did everything he could to assist the Jewish people from the fierce persecutions of the Nazis regime. There are some who try and demonize him, but their efforts fail to stand up to historical scrutiny. Even the Jewish people themselves hailed him as a great leader and expressed their gratitude for his help during World War II. In the 1960s however the revisionists went to great lengths to smear his character, despite numerous testimonies to his holiness.

In February 1945 Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog of Palestine stated: “The people of Israel will never forget what His Holiness and his illustrious delegates, inspired by the eternal principles of religion, which form the very foundations of true civilization, are doing for our unfortunate brothers and sisters in the most tragic hour of our history, which is living proof of Divine Providence in this world.”

During a presentation in Rome of the book "The Jews, Pius XII and The Black Legend," by Italian journalist and writer Antonio Gasperi, Dr. Gumpel came to the final conclusion: "After reading over 100,000 pages of the documents for the process of beatification, I am more and more convinced that Pius XII was a saint."

Pope Pius XII is also known for his great leadership of the Church. He penned 41 great Encyclicals. Pius XII made a substantial contribution to the study of Mariology, and he also defined the dogma of the Blessed Mother's Assumption in 1950. You can read the document here on the Vatican website.

The Holy Father was also a an opponent to the Communist/Socialist agenda. It is argued that this is one reason that he was demonized. The Russians hated him for it and drummed up all kinds of accusations against his character which have been proven false time and time again. I have yet to fully delve into the life of this great Pope. I hope to be able to pick up some books about him some time in the near future. Until then there are some good websites and articles to check out.

Here are some great websites and articles on the great Holy Father Pope Pius XII.


The Vatican
The Mariology of Pope Pius XII- Fr John Hardon
The Invention of the Black Legend
Savior of the Jews
Pope Pius A Towering European Saint
Pope Pius XII

Here are a few books that I would like to read sometime in the future. If you have read any of these let me know how they are by leaving a comment. I want to get a couple of the best ones. Thanks

The Myth of Hitler's Pope-Rabbi Dalin
Righteous Gentiles: How Pius XII and the Catholic Church Saved Half a Million Jews From the Nazis-by Ronald J. Rychlak (Author), Michael Novak (Author)
Hitler, the War and the Pope-by Ronald J. Rychlak
Defamation Of Pius XII-by Ralph Mcinerny
Pope Pius XII: Architect for Peace-by Margherita Marchione
Consensus and Controversy: Defending Pope Pius XII-by Margherita Marchione


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Co-operating with Evil By Voting?

Well after the Presidential election there are still Catholics who think that it was OK to vote for pro-abortion candidates. I posted on this before. Just to give you more to think about, I put this video series by Father Corapi here for your viewing pleasure.





Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Pope Moves On Through The Darkness


Saint Thomas More once said, "I think that when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos." And so we fast forward 500 years or so to today's "Catholic" politician who endorses the mass murder of abortion, and her recent meeting with the Pope.

The Pope has carefully thought out his recent meeting with the heretic Nancy Pelosi. She thought she was going manipulate the press by getting them to buy into some sort of endorsement from the Pope. Instead the Vatican stated, "His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development." The Pope also denied any photo ops of her meeting with him. Very nice. The Pope has carefully positioned himself, as He should when meeting with the devil. He has not allowed himself to be manipulated.

Now the evil Pelosi is trying to spin the meeting as a positive encounter. It looks like no one is buying it. Here is a nice article on the meeting between the Holy Father-The Pope of The Church, and the Evil Mother-The Feminist Voice of Hedonism. Sorry Nancy, you can't be a Catholic and pro-abortion. It separates you from the Church. Either publicly repent or be gone! I for one am sick and tired of you loser politicians who call themselves Catholic yet publicly endorse immorality of the most heinous, malicious kind. The Pope was wise in his encounter with this wretched, miserable tool of hell.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Saint Thomas More on Protestantism.


I think that this text speaks for itself. I thought I would share it with you. Just think, if Saint Thomas were to write this today he would be attacked by the media monster too. All of the Protestants would be crying like when the Pope wrote about the status of Protestant churches as not being real "churches". The Pope however wrote in a much more palatable writing style, and they still complained. I think Catholics should go back to writing like Saint Thomas More did. Unfortunately they would probably try and force them to go to a sensitivity class or something. Anyways, enough of my babel. This could have been written yesterday to the many Protestants who go around proclaiming their false gospels. This is taken from the The Sadness of Christ By Thomas More (page 81).

"And nervertheless nowadays, first in one place, then in another, there are springing up from day to day, almost like swarms of wasps or hornets, people who boast that they are “autodidacts” (to use St. Jerome's word) and that, without the commentaries of the old doctors, they find clear, open, and easy all of those things which all the ancient Fathers confessed they found quite difficult- and the Fathers were men of no less talent or training, of tireless energy, and as for that “spirit” which these moderns have a often on their lips as the do rarely in their hearts, here the Fathers surpassed them no less than in holiness of life. But now these modern men who have sprouted up overnight as theologians professing to know everything not only disagree about the meaning of Scripture with all those men who led such heavenly lives, but also fail to agree among themselves concerning great dogmas of the Christian faith. Rather, each of them, whoever he may be, insisting that he sees the truth, conquers the rest and is in turn conquered by them. But they all are alike in opposing the Catholic faith, and all are alike in being conquered by it. He who dwells in the heavens laughs to scorn these wicked and vain attempts of theirs. {PS 2:4} But I humbly pray that he may not so laugh to scorn as to laugh also at their eternal ruination, but rather that He may inspire in them the health-giving grace of repentance, so that these prodigal sons who have wandered so long, alas, in exile may retrace their steps to the bosom of Mother church, and so that all of us together, united in the true faith of Christ, may attain to the glory of Christ our head, which no one should ever be foolish enough to hope to arrive at outside the body of Christ and without the true faith."

Hold Fast Holy Father!


In the midst of media uproar over the lifting of the excommunication of the SSPX and the appointment of a new bishop in Austria, I pray that the Holy Father will stand fast and ignore the press. We even have Catholics like George Weigel attacking the Holy Father in a recent essay in First Things, an American religion journal, criticizing the Vatican for its “chaos, confusion and incompetence.” (NY Times) It amazes me the effort that our modern culture will put forth to try and destroy the Catholic Church. They will let the government run ramped in scandal, yet something that is not even a scandal will be presented as such when it comes to the Catholic Church.

First of all, SSPX Bishop Williamson's views on the holocaust has nothing to do with the lifting of the excommunications. The Pope has already addressed the issue separately. Secondly the comments by Rev. Gerhard Maria Wagner of Austria are his own personal comments on Hurricane Katrina. Many are outraged that he called out the sinful culture of New Orleans, and commented on the catastrophic hurricane Katrina which he referred to as a punishment from God. So what? Maybe it was a punishment from God. The outrage is not that he referred to Katrina as being a punishment, but that he had the audacity to call people out in their sinful actions such as those that go on in New Orleans every day and night. Sin hates to be called out into the open and exposed for what it is.

Next we also have these anti-traditionalist Catholics who hate the Tridentine Liturgy and the Church's age old traditions and so they are attacking the Holy Father because of it. There are some who are so blinded by their imaginary Vatican II only Church, that any call back to the tradition that came before it is attacked as being against the modern "spirit" of the Church. This is absolute nonsense. In fact I think we are going to see a radical and correct interpretation of the Vatican II documents coming forth very soon that are going to shock some. It isn't as if this hasn't happened, it has just been obscured by liberalism up until now. The days of ambiguous documents I hope are coming to an end. We have this Neo-Vatican II crowd that sees everything in light of Vatican II, but rejecting all that came before it. They are afraid of the Traditional Latin Mass, and think that the Novus Ordo is the be-all end-all liturgy of the Church. What they seem to have forgotten is that the Church can make changes in the celebration of the Liturgy. If the liturgy is not working well for the Church, then she can go back and amend or change it. It changed about 40 years ago, and it is changing now since Pope Benedict's Motu Proprio. The fact is the Novus Ordo in its present form, has its shortcomings, which are now being recognized by the Pope.

Before I finish this, I also want to stop anyone who is going to label me a radical traditionalist who thinks that Vatican II was invalid and that the Novus Ordo is invalid. That is not what I have written, nor what I have intended to communicate to my readers. The point I am making is that some things since Vatican II have not worked out well for the Church, and we can see that the church is beginning to make changes because of it. Those who reject it in the Church will sadly be left behind.

As far as the secular media goes, the majority of them work for the other side. They will use any means at their disposal to attempt to destroy the Church. The world does not want the Church to be the sign of contradiction that Christ called it to be. They want the Church to conform to their sinful dispositions and accept them as if their sin were a benefit to society. This is not gong to happen, no matter how much they hate us for it.

I personally think the Pope should keep pressing on and ignore these media clowns and hold fast the course he is heading. He is navigating the ship on its course for the heavenly harbor of Christ, with or without them. Those who want to get on board are welcome, those who do not want to need to mind their own business.

Below is a novena that you can pray for the Holy Father. Please add it in to your daily prayer schedule.

NOVENA FOR THE POPE:

One Our Father
Three Hail Marys
One Glory Be


And the following prayer:

V. Let us pray for Our Sovereign Pontiff, Benedict,
R. May the Lord preserve him and give him life, and make him blessed upon the
earth, and deliver him not to the will of his enemies.

V. Thou art Peter,
R. And upon this Rock, I will build My Church.

Let us Pray,

Almighty and everlasting God, have mercy upon your servant, Benedict, our Sovereign Pontiff, and guide him in your goodness on the way of eternal salvation; so that, with the prompting of your grace, he may desire what pleases you and accomplish it with all his strength. Through Christ Our Lord.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Apologetics: Is Catholic Scholarship Dead?


This is going to be a first for me. But I have to agree with James White in one of his latest videos. I know, pigs are flying and cows have sprouted wings! I must admit that there is a great lack of scholarship in the modern Catholic apologetics world today in general. There is a real need for faithful Catholic scholars these days to step up and put out some scholarly works. There isn't much to many of these Catholic apologetics books that are coming out these days. There are rarely notes and sources given. Many of these books, although sometimes sufficient for novices, are not worth much beyond that. This is not an attack on any of these Catholic apologists personally. I like Patrick Madrid and the folks over at Catholic Answers. I do however feel that we really need to step it up when it comes to scholarship. Printing a book with a few Scripture quotes with a few paragraphs to expound on it is just not going to cut it anymore. I think that the target audience at novices has been exhausted, and there is plenty of material out now for that purpose. We need in depth apologetics material. When we look at previous works by Catholic Scripture scholars, they would take a whole chapter to expound on each Scripture passage, using the Church Fathers, Church Councils and exploration in languages to back up their work.

I will readily admit that I am no scholar, and I do not have the tools to read Greek and expound upon the original texts and so forth. I do however cite my sources whenever I write an article and provide the sources that I used, so people can do their own research and verify what I have written. Sadly, we don't even have this in most of these modern Catholic apologetics books today. If I can't go to the source that someone is using or have any reference to at least go back and check on their work, then I personally have no use for it. Where are all of the real scholars in the Catholic apologetics world today? In the past we saw the Catholic Church produce great Scripture scholars and apologists, many whose works are now out of print. Yes we have a few gems to work with like the recently reprinted work of Lapide on the Four Gospels which are spectacular. When it comes to modern apologetics work however we are sadly lacking in material. Is all lost?

Don't fret, there are still some well written books out there that are well documented and focused at an audience other than the novice. In order to find real scholarship you will unfortunately, for the most part (There is still some good material being written), have to look beyond the apologetics world of today to get it. Catholic scholars are not targeting this market, so you will have to find it in the academic realm, or find it reprinted from earlier sources. Here are a few works that I really like and I think are well written and well documented. They may not be specifically aimed at an apologetics audience, but the material in them can be used for such a purpose. It just takes more digging and more time to read through the material and gather the information for yourself. The few sources below are well worth purchasing for your library. There are many more, you just have to look harder to find them, and pay a little more (or alot more!) to get them. I also have some great book recommendations on my Catholicchampion website, as well as some others on the right side of this blog page.

1. Sacred Scripture: The Disclosure of the Word by Francis Martin
2. The Catena Aurea- Thomas Aquinas
3. Commentary on the Four Gospels- Cornelius a Lapide
4. History and Theology of Grace: John Hardon SJ
5. The Mystery of Mary: Paul Haffner
6. Trinity in Aquinas: Gilles Emery, OP
7. Catholic Moral Tradition: David Bohr

The Rosary: The Saints vs the Heretics.


The Protestants continue to attack Jesus Christ and His Church as usual. One of the latest attacks has been against the Rosary. Several bloggers have attacked the Rosary recently by writing,

"I think we should be praying to God, asking that the massacre of the unborn be abated, but the Rosary is not the way to pray. It is saddening to see not only the depth of the superstition, but as well the depth of the sincerity of those who are drawn into these practices."

Another said "Paul doesn't mention the Rosary as a means of fighting sin and standing strong in the faith. One would think if the Rosary is the "strongest weapon outside the sacraments that we have to combat mortal sin" he would've mentioned it. Perhaps Paul mentioned it elsewhere to the Ephesians, but didn't write it down? Perhaps this is an unwritten Tradition? Perhaps it's been defined as such by an infallible authority?"

Let us contrast these statements with those of the Saints. Humm, I wonder who I am going to believe? Those who lived their lives for Christ unconditionally, or those so insecure in their faith that they have to continually attack Jesus, His mother and His Saints. I think that is a no-brainer. Lets look at what the Saints say about the Rosary shall we?

"Of all prayers rosary is the most beautiful and the richest in graces; of all it is the one which is most pleasing to Mary, the Virgin Most Holy. Therefore, love the Rosary and recite it every day with devotion: this is the testament which I leave unto you so that you may remember me by it."

by Saint. Pius X.

"Love the Madonna and pray the rosary, for her rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today."

by Saint. (Padre) Pio of Pietrelcina.

"The rosary is my weapon."

by Saint. (Padre) Pio of Pietrelcina.

"Our Lady has never refused me a grace through the recitation of the rosary."

by Saint. (Padre) Pio of Pietrelcina.

"The rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin... If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, and in your country, assemble each evening to recite the Rosary. Let not even one day pass without saying it, no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labors."

by Pope Pius XI.

"The Rosary is a priceless treasure inspired by God."

by Saint. Louis De Monfort.

Can those who attack the Rosary stand up to the scrutiny that these great Saints have? Have they suffered for Christ and done His will as Saint Pio has done? Have they had the humility to stand up before men and humble themselves in the midst of false accusations as Saint Pio did imitating Our Lord and Savior Jesus? You can answer these questions yourselves. As for me, I will follow Jesus Christ, His Church and His Saints, and I will reject those who maliciously attack His Church and His Saints. Saint Athanasius said the following when attacked by heretics who denied the true apostolic faith,

"You are the ones who are happy; you who remain within the Church by your Faith, who hold firmly to the foundations of the Faith which has come down to you from Apostolic Tradition. And if an execrable jealousy has tried to shake it on a number of occasions, it has not succeeded. They are the ones who have broken away from it in the present crisis."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Interesting Comments by Bishop Bernard Fellay


In the wake of the lifting of the excommunications of the four SSPX bishops we are probably going to get a deeper examination of Vatican II and her documents. We know that for decades liberal, unfaithful Catholics including "theologians" have tried to hi-jack the council and her documents to try and promulgate heresies. We also know as well that not all of the documents that came from VCII all hold the same weight. Vatican II must be interpreted in light of the councils that came before her. Unfortunately many today inside and outside the Church have forgotten that if they ever knew it all.

On Wed, Feb 11th Bishop Fellay made a few interesting comments. I am curious to see how the Holy See will respond to them. As we know there were no knew doctrines or dogmas proclaimed from the council. The council was supposed to be a guideline for how the Church was supposed live the doctrines and dogmas that came before it in the modern world. There are critics on both sides who argue about how effective it has actually been. Here is what Fellay had to say.

Fellay said of the Council: "One cannot approach it in a dogmatic way and say 'amen' to everything. This approach is completely wrong. There are different domains, themes and degrees of authority."

"In my opinion, many of the problems we point out can be resolved by distinctions and not by absolute acceptances or rejections," he said.

"The Church no longer has the will to convert. We don't agree here. This is serious,"

Asked about the Council statement that Jews were spiritual "elder brothers" of Christians, he agreed the two faiths shared the Old Testament but said Jews rejected the New Testament.

"That is not enough for them to be saved," he said.

As for cooperation with other Christian churches, he said it was acceptable if it led them to return to the Catholic Church they left during and after the Protestant Reformation.

"If that's the true aim of ecumenism, we certainly don't oppose it," he said. "There is only one Church and there cannot be several."

Fellay said the modern Catholic Mass, which the SSPX rejects in favour of the traditional Latin liturgy, was valid but sometimes not reverent enough.
Full article here.


Everything the bishop said in this article I agree with. Many have gone overboard with VC II instead of looking at the documents for what they were intended for. He is also correct in that the Catholic Church of late has done a poor job of converting the sinner. The liberals who have a warped view of ecumenism have at times been in the heirarchy stalling the Church's efforts to effectively teach the importance of the one true Church of Christ. Fellay also demands that we call Protestants and Jews to the Catholic Church, which I again agree with. Finally I cannot agree more with Fellay on the Novus Ordo Liturgy, which is more often than not subjected to the most heinous acts of liturgical abuse. Myself I prefer the Eastern Liturgies or the Tridentine Liturgy. I go to both of them, while only rarely attending the Novus Ordo. I think that further dialog between Bishop Fellay and the Holy See is going to answer a lot questions for us all. This may also put the final stake in the coffin of these liberal, unfaithful Catholics who have attempted to use the Church as a vehicle to promulgate their evil agendas, by butchering the documents of VCII.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Express: Movie Review


The Express: The Ernie Davis Story.

We interrupt all things Catholic for a movie review! I don't usually do movie reviews, but since there are few movies this day and age that are morally acceptable, I think it is worth noting when you find one that is. The Express is one of them. Not only was it a good story with no worries of immoral content, but being a Cleveland Browns fan also made it quite enjoyable for me. The movie is about Ernie Davis who was the first African-American to ever win the Heisman trophy. Unfortunately his career was cut short by leukemia. He died at the age of 23, soon after being the Cleveland Browns #1 draft pick after a trade with Washington. Sadly he never played an NFL game. Browns fans of the day longed to see him play in the same backfield alongside the great Jim Brown. The movie is rated PG (Rated PG for thematic content, violence and language involving racism, and for brief sensuality)and is overall a great family film. It is available on DVD. Click here for the official website. Here is also another cool website dedicated to Ernie and the movie. It has old film footage of him playing for Syracuse as well. Now back to all things Catholic!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More Favorite Anathemas..





From the Synodicon of the Holy Spirit.

"To those who scorn the venerable and holy ecumenical Synods, and who despise even more their dogmatic and canonical traditions; and to those who say that all things were not perfectly defined and delivered by the synods, but that they left the greater part mysterious, unclear, and untaught, ANATHEMA!"

"To those who hold in contempt the sacred and divine canons of our blessed fathers, which, by sustaining the holy Church of God and adorning the whole Christian Church, guide to divine reverence, ANATHEMA!"

"To all things innovated and enacted contrary to the Church tradition, teaching, and institution of the holy and ever-memorable fathers, or to anything henceforth so enacted, ANATHEMA!"

From the Synodicon of Orthodoxy.

On those who wickedly make play with the word ‘uncircumscribed’ and therefore refuse to depict in images Christ, our true God, who likewise shared our flesh and blood,[12] and therefore show themselves to be fantasiasts: Anathema!

On those who hear and understand the Lord saying, If you believed Moses, you would have believed me,[13] and the rest, and Moses saying, The Lord our God will raise up for you from your brothers a prophet like me,[14] and then say that the prophet is received, but that they will not represent the grace of the prophet and the salvation he brought for the whole world through images,, even though he was seen and lived among men and women, and cured sufferings and sickness with mighty acts of healing, and was crucified, and buried, and rose again, and did and suffered all this for our sake; on those who will not accept that these works of salvation, accomplished for the whole world, may be seen in icons, nor honoured and venerated in them: Anathema!

On those who remain in the icon-fighting heresy, or rather the Christ-fighting apostasy, and neither wish to be led to their salvation through the Mosaic legislation, nor choose to live piously in accordance with apostolic teaching, nor are persuaded to turn from their error by the advice and exhortations of the Fathers, nor are abashed by the harmony of every part of the ecumenical Church of God, but once and for all have subjected themselves to the lot of the Jews and the pagans[lit: Greeks]; for immediately they have uttered blasphemies against the Archetype, and have not blushed to dare to make the image of the archetype identical with the archetype himself. On those, therefore, who have heedlessly accepted this error, and have stuffed their ears against very divine word and spiritual teaching, as they are already putrefied, and cut themselves off from the common body of the Church: Anathema!

Sixth Session CANON IX Trent.
“If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema!”

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fasting: Climbing the Ladder....


With Lent fast approaching this is a good video to watch.



Fasting has become a thing of the past and is dismissed often times today as some sort of outdated medieval practice. The Saints all fasted in order to orient themselves toward God. It is important however to do it in the right spirit and without health risks. Below are some thoughts by the Saints on fasting.

[The devil] dreads fasting, prayer, humility, and good works: He is not able even to stop my mouth who speak against him. The illusions of the devil soon vanish, especially if a man arms himself with the Sign of the Cross. The devils tremble at the Sign of the Cross of our Lord, by which He triumphed over and disarmed them.

--Saint Antony Abbot..

In the same way, fasting, vigils, scriptural meditation, nakedness and total deprivation do not constitute perfection but are the means to perfection. They are not in themselves the end point of a discipline, but an end is attained to through them.

St. John Cassian, Conference One..

Abba Isidore said, "If you fast regularly, do not be inflated with pride; if you think highly of yourself because of it, then you had better eat meat. It is better for a man to eat meat than to be inflated with pride and glorify himself."

The Desert Fathers..

Almsgiving heals the soul's incensive power; fasting withers sensual desire; prayer purifies the intellect and prepares it for contemplation of created beings. For the Lord has given us commandments which correspond to the powers of the soul.

St. Maximos the Confessor ..

Beware of limiting the good of fasting to mere abstinence from meats. Real fasting is alienation from evil. ‘Loose the bands of wickedness.’ For give your neighbor the mischief he has done you. Forgive him his trespasses against you. Do not ‘fast for strife and debate.’ You do not devour flesh, but you devour your brother. You abstain from wine, but you indulge in outrages. You wait for evening before you take food, but you spend the day in the law courts. Woe to those who are ‘drunken, but not with wine.’ Anger is the intoxication of the soul, and makes it out of its wits like wine.

St. Basil, in his homilies on the Holy Spirit..

Fasting is wonderful, because it tramples our sins like a dirty weed, while it cultivates and raises truth like a flower.

St. John Chrysostom..

If you can begrudge the stomach, your mouth will stay closed, because the tongue flourishes where food is abundant.

St. John Climacus

Darth Kung Strikes Again!


One of Catholicisms arch-enemies is the one who I call, Hans" Darth" Kung. Over the years he has attacked the Church and supported heretical positions all the while touting himself as a "theologian". He is one of the Legion of Doom along with others like Charles Curran who call themselves Catholic, while denying core doctrines of the Catholic Church. Darth Kung has now commented that Obama would make a great Pope! He wants the spirit of Obama in the Papacy! This is sad indeed when you welcome world secularism as your guide instead of the Church. Darth said, "Whereas President Obama, with the support of the whole world, is looking forwards and is open to people and to the future, this Pope is orientating himself above all backwards, inspired by the ideal of the mediaeval church, sceptical about the Reformation, ambiguous about modern rights of freedom." Followed up by, "Whereas President Obama is concerned for new cooperation with partners and allies Pope Benedict XVI, like George.W Bush, is trapped in thinking in terms of friend and foe. He snubs fellow Christians in the Protestant churches by refusing to recognize these communities as churches."

First of all this guy doesn't know his history nor his theology for anyone knows that without the Eucharist there can be no Church, therefore Protestant denominations cannot be called Churches. This stuff is elementary for most Catholics who study their faith, but for the brilliant Darth Kung it seems to go over his head. Darth seems to equate freedom with license which is anything but freedom. This dark villain has a lot of nerve to attack the Holy Father after the Pope himself has made efforts to have a civilized dialog with him. I guess this is what you get from Darth Kung! The superheros of the faith will have to be on their toes as long as Darth prowls the badlands looking for evil counterparts to support his attempted destruction of the Church. We all know who wins in the end. Its not the Legion of Doom. Read the full article here...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Recommended Website. Light of the East Radio


I have run across this cool website which contains over 200 broadcasts dealing with Eastern Catholicism. Give it a listen! http://www.byzantinecatholic.com/radio.htm

Saturday, February 7, 2009

What are Works in Catholic Theology?


What are Works?
By Matthew James Bellisario 2009

When we read Saint Paul there are many who go away with an incorrect, misunderstood view of his writings. Many seem to think that since the Old Covenant had been usurped by the New that nothing of the Old remained. They believe it was completely abrogated without any replacement of something else. What many fail to grasp is that the Old is not thrown away, but it is perfected. As the great theologian Fernand Pratt SJ tells us, “Only the relation of man to the law is no longer the same. The principal defect in the ancient Law was that of being external to man and little adapted to our fallen state. In order to restore equilibrium, it was necessary either to lower the Law to the level of fallen man, or to raise man to the level of the Divine Law.” What does this mean for the Christian? It means that we are no longer slaves to Law, but by faith, by baptism, he has become grafted into Christ to do His will. It is here where true love is found and where we find what works really are. As Pope Benedict XVI points out in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est, “ Consequently, more than anything, they must be persons moved by Christ's love, persons whose hearts Christ has conquered with his love, awakening within them a love of neighbour. The criterion inspiring their activity should be Saint Paul's statement in the Second Letter to the Corinthians: “the love of Christ urges us on” (5:14).

There is still today Protestants who want to contrast faith to works as if they could ever be separated. It is a fact that saving faith is married to saving works. Works outside of faith and love of God are not “works” at all. Any pagan could go feed the poor, or help the sick with a motive not poised to serve God, and those works would be dead because they lack faith. Yet the same could be said for dead faith, that is faith that really has no love of God in it. In other words, those who say they have faith, yet they live like they have none really have no saving faith at all. Therefore as Saint James says, “Faith without works is dead.” So we see they are married together as one substance in a sense, such as the Holy trinity is one in substance.

When one is made alive in Christ, they are made anew. They are now reborn, and they now are disposed to graces that Christ gives that makes him able to do real works. That is the works are now not man's alone, but they are now united to Christ. This makes the works now worth something rather than them being just nice acts of kindness. The person is now elevated in a sense to the supernatural end that they were created for, instead of the natural end which sin has brought upon man. When a man believes he acts on his belief, and so as Saint Paul says in his letter to the Galatians (3:27-28), “26 For you are all the children of God by faith, in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The person is made anew not by faith alone, but also by the action of baptism. Now after baptism the person belongs to, and is united to Christ alone. Now the person follows the commandments because he he is bonded to Christ by love and now the yoke is made light as Jesus Himself tells us, (Matthew 11:28-30) “28 Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. 29 Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. 30 For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.”

Did Jesus imagine a faith that required no works? Some say that faith alone is required and that is all. However faith can never be defined without works. Let us look to Our Lord again when He tells us that those who refused to work in His service would be denied eternal salvation. (Matthew 25:41-46) 41 Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. 44 Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? 45 Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me. 46 And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.” If faith alone was the measure of all things then how does Jesus base his condemnation against those refusing to do works here? It is because faith and works cannot be separated.

If I say I have faith in God, yet I reject His Church, and His teachings and go off and live as I please with no reference to God, do I really have faith? No, the first act of faith is to repent and to live as God has instructed us to live. When we fall into sin, what do we then do? We repent and with God's grace we continue on in our relationship with God. This radical fantasy that we hear so many times today, that tells us as long as one believes he is saved and no matter what he does or how he acts he is still saved, is a lie. There are also those who think they are predestined to be saved, and since they think they are one of them, then they themselves think that is a sign that they are predestined. They are equally delusional. The Bible never tells us anything of the sort. That is why faith and works are once again inseparable. I will continue to write that over and over until people outside the Catholic Church finally understand it.

It is a fact that faith and works are inseparable. One can say he has faith when he lives his faith. Saint James James 2:24) tells us, “24 Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only?” As the Pope has been pointing out we cannot separate faith from charity, nor works from charity. Saint Paul tells us, (1 Cor 13:2) “2 And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” Even works without love in Christ is worthless as Saint Paul continues, “3 And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. “ So faith, works and love here are all bound together. None can exist without the other because they are all attributes of Christ which in whom we now live.

Jesus tells us, (John 14:15) “15 If you love me, keep my commandments.” How does he expect us to do that when we are sinners and cannot live by the Old Law? He continues to give us the answer, “16 And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever.” Jesus plainly tells us that those who love him keep his commandments, and those that abide in Him are illumined by the Holy Spirit which enables man to do real “works”. This whole false argument that Catholics are doing works to score points to get to heaven has long been defeated and laid to rest. Catholics who love Christ and serve Him do works because they love Him and those around them. They unite themselves to God to do His will. One may ask, how can one do God's will? He can only do it with God's grace. Saint Paul tells us, (Roman 2:8-9) “5 But according to thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou treasurest up to thyself wrath, against the day of wrath, and revelation of the just judgment of God. 6 Who will render to every man according to his works. 7 To them indeed, who according to patience in good work, seek glory and honour and incorruption, eternal life: 8 But to them that are contentious, and who obey not the truth, but give credit to iniquity, wrath and indignation.”

We can see that faith, in order for it to be true requires that you do something. You must act on your faith. It must be married to love of God and neighbor, and married to the works that goes with it, otherwise faith is dead. So the Church has made sure to safeguard itself and her faithful from false prophets who go around claiming that we cannot do anything good, and from those who proclaim that we are like covered dunghills who are saved by faith alone. When it comes down to it, faith alone is an oxymoron. It is like trying to separate the Holy Trinity into separate substances rather than accepting the realization that they are one and undivided.

One final thought here is taking a look at what types of works are made through the love of God. Some mistakenly think that works only mean an active going out and doing something physically. The Church defines different types of works, which are all gifts of the Holy Spirit working in us. We have corporal works of mercy which are the seven practices of charity toward our neighbor, based on Christ’s prophecy of the Last Judgment, that will determine each person’s final destiny:

1. Feed the hungry
2. Give drink to the thirsty
3.Clothe the naked
4.Shelter the homeless
5.Visit the sick
6.Visit those in prison
7.Bury the dead

Next we have the Spiritual works of mercy
The seven practices of Catholic charity toward our neighbor’s soul:

1. Convert the sinner

2. Instruct the ignorant

3. Counsel the doubtful

4. Comfort the sorrowful

5. Bear wrongs patiently

6. Forgive injuries

7.Pray for the living and the dead

We can see that these are all things that are required of us if we are to say we are faithful Christians. Faith, charity and works are one and cannot be separated. I will leave with some thought from Saint Thomas. The below quotes are taken from The Perfection of the Spiritual Life by Saint Thomas Aquinas. We can see the Pope Benedict XVI is following this same train of theology that Saint Thomas was.

“Now, the spiritual life consists, principally, in charity. For he that is without charity is spiritually nought. Hence St. Paul says (1 Cor. xiii. 2), “If I should have all prophecy, and should know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity I am nothing.” And the blessed apostle John declares, that the whole spiritual life consists in love, saying, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He that does not love abides in death” (1 John iii. 14). Therefore, he that is perfect in charity is said to be perfect in the spiritual life absolutely. But he that is perfect relatively is perfect in something incidental to the spiritual life This is evident from the words of Holy Scripture.

St. Paul considers charity as the chief element in perfection. He enumerates several virtues, such as mercy, benignity, and humility, and then concludes by saying, “But above all these things, have charity which is the bond of perfection” (Col iii). Some men are also said to be perfect in point of understanding, “In malice be children and in sense be perfect,” writes St. Paul to the Corinthians (1 Epist. xiv. 20). Elsewhere in the same epistle, he bids them “be perfect in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. i. 10); although, as has been said, a man who has perfect knowledge, without charity, must be judged to be nothing.

The Perfection of Divine Love Which is Necessary to Salvation

There is another way in which we love God with our whole heart and soul and strength. We so love Him, if there be nothing in us which is wanting to divine love, that is to say, if there is nothing which we do not, actually or habitually, refer to God. We are given a precept concerning this form of Divine love.

First, we are taught to refer everything to God as to our End by the words of the Apostle (1 Cor. x. 31), “Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God.” We fulfil this precept when we order our life to the service of God; and when, in consequence, all our actions are, virtually, directed to Him, save those that are sinful, and which, therefore, withdraw us from Him. While we act thus, we love God with our whole heart.

Secondly, we love God with our whole mind, when we subject our understanding to Him, believing what has been divinely transmitted to us, according to the words of St. Paul (2 Cor. x. 5), “bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ.”

Thirdly, we love God with our whole soul, when all that we love is loved in God, and when we refer all our affections to the love of Him. St. Paul expresses this love in the following words: “For whether we be transported in mind it is to God, or whether we be sober, it is for you; for the charity of Christ presses us” (2 Cor. v. 13).

Fourthly, we love God with our whole strength, when all our words and works are established in divine charity according to the precept of St. Paul, “Let all your things be done in charity” (1 Cor. xvi. 14). This, then, is the third degree of perfection of divine love, to which all are bound of necessity and by precept. But the second degree is not possible in this life, save to one who, like Our Lord Jesus Christ, is, at the same time, both travelling on the road to Heaven, and enjoying the happiness of the Blessed.”

Sources

ENCYCLICAL LETTER
DEUS CARITAS EST
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
BENEDICT XVI

The Theology of Saint Paul: Fernand Pratt SJ 1961

THE PERFECTION OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE by Thomas Aquinas

Douay-Rheims Bible Online Drbo.org

Friday, February 6, 2009

Pope Benedict and Martin Luther on Faith Alone.


There is much talk going around the blogosphere on Pope Benedict XVI talking about Luther's Justification by Faith Alone doctrine. Has Pope Benedict shifted Catholic thinking on this matter, or has he just worded it different explaining what faith and works is? Let us first look at what he actually said back in Nov of 2008, when there were popular "Reformed" Protestant apologists who came out saying that the Pope was going to exonerate Luther and lift his excommunication and so forth. As we know now that never happened and those who made videos about such things made complete fools of themselves. Now we have other Protestants who don't even have the class to look up the complete wording of the Pope. Instead they are reading a news article and speculating on a tiny quote from the general audience that the Pope gave. It took me 5 minutes to find the actual audience given by the Pope.

Pope Benedict spoke on 2008-11-19 at a General Audience
"For this reason Luther's phrase: "faith alone" is true, if it is not opposed to faith in charity, in love. Faith is looking at Christ, entrusting oneself to Christ, being united to Christ, conformed to Christ, to his life. And the form, the life of Christ, is love; hence to believe is to conform to Christ and to enter into his love."

What exactly is the Pope saying here? Everyone knows that Catholic teaching tells us that faith and works are intimately intertwined and cannot exist without one another. Some are are making claims, and interpreting the Pope as completely endorsing Luther's "Faith Alone" principal. Others are making up the definition of what he defines works as. They obviously have never read any of the Pope's encyclicals where he defines what faith is and how love and works are all intertwined together.

In his encyclical Deus Caritas Est he describes how faith and love are one, and how love cannot live without doing God's will. Therefore the Pope has not, nor has he ever taught "faith alone" as Luther taught it, as being Catholic teaching otherwise he would have never made the qualifier in the original quote.."by faith alone" is true "if faith is not opposed to charity" If Luther had taught this he would not have made that qualifier. He is in essence correcting Luther's oversight on what faith actually is. The Pope says it is correct only if it is not opposed to charity. The people who are quoting this obviously have no clue as to what the Pope means by love and charity because if they read his other letters and encyclicals they would not have made this mistake. Secondly those who are defining works as being separated from faith, as being some sort of buy your way into heaven scheme haven't the faintest idea of what the Pope is saying, nor what the Catholic Church teaches.

If we read on in the same General Audience address, the Pope clarifies by saying the following, "And the form, the life of Christ, is love; hence to believe is to conform to Christ and to enter into his love. So it is that in the Letter to the Galatians in which he primarily developed his teaching on justification St Paul speaks of faith that works through love (cf. Gal 5: 14).......We shall see the same thing in the Gospel next Sunday, the Solemnity of Christ the King. It is the Gospel of the judge whose sole criterion is love. What he asks is only this: Did you visit me when I was sick? When I was in prison? Did you give me food to eat when I was hungry, did you clothe me when I was naked? And thus justice is decided in charity. Thus, at the end of this Gospel we can almost say: love alone, charity alone. But there is no contradiction between this Gospel and St Paul. It is the same vision, according to which communion with Christ, faith in Christ, creates charity. And charity is the fulfilment of communion with Christ. Thus, we are just by being united with him and in no other way."

Here we can see the Pope has not endorsed faith as being separated from works. He points out how we must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc, which are all corporal works of mercy which are united to faith. So the Pope is expounding on the apostolic and Biblical teaching of what faith is, and what works are, and how in love they are bound together.

For those who chose not to put the time into looking up the full audience I have done the work for you. Here it is.....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sermons from the FSSP in Sarasota!



Over at the CatholicChampion.com website I have a page of sermons from the FSSP priests that are in or have visited Sarasota Fl. They now have their own parish which they will be running in Sarasota which is now being renovated as we speak. If you like great sermons then you will love these. There are now 26 sermons on the page from Father James Fryar, Father Justin Nolan and Father Daniel Geddes of the FSSP. Now that I have my high speed internet back I have loaded 7 new sermons, and there are more to come. Generally I try and update them every couple of weeks. Enjoy!

Eastern Catholic Synaxarion for February


The Eastern Catholic Church has a different calendar than the Roman. Here is this months calendar for the feast days. Below are the major feasts for the year taken from www.byzcath.org.

2009 Liturgical Calendar

Major Fasts and Feasts
January 1 Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord
Feast of St. Basil the Great
January 6 Feast of the Theophany of Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ
January 11 Sunday after Theophany
Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee (The Sunday of Zacchaeus is omitted this year)
January 25 Sunday of Zacchaeus
January 30 Three Holy Hierarchs, Saints Basil, Gregory and John Chrysostom
February 1 Sunday of the Publican & the Pharisee; Pre-Festive Day of the Encounter
February 2 Feast of the Encounter of Our Lord with Simeon and Anna (Presentation of Our Lord into the Temple)
February 8 Sunday of the Prodigal Son
February 14 First All-Souls Saturday (Memorial Saturday)
February 15 Sunday of the Second Coming of Christ (Meat-Fare)
February 22 Forgiveness Sunday (Cheese-Fare)
February 23 Beginning of the Holy Forty Days Fast
March 1 1st Sunday of Great Lent - Sunday of Orthodoxy
March 7 2nd All Souls Saturday
March 8 2nd Sunday of Great Lent - St. Gregory Palamas
March 14 3rd All Souls Saturday
March 15 3rd Sunday of Great Lent - Veneration of the Holy Cross
March 21 4th All Souls Saturday
March 22 4th Sunday of Great Lent - St. John Climacus
March 25 Feast of the Annunciation to the Mother of God
March 26 Canon of St. Andrew of Crete
March 28 Akathistos Saturday
March 29 5th Sunday of Great Lent
April 4-12 Great and Holy Week
April 4 Lazarus Saturday
April 5 Flowery (Palm) Sunday - Entrance into Jerusalem
April 6 Holy and Great Monday
April 7 Holy and Great Tuesday
April 8 Holy and Great Wednesday
April 9 Holy and Great Thursday
April 10 Holy and Great Friday
April 11 Holy and Great Saturday
April 12 PASCHA - The Resurrection of Christ
April 12-19 Bright Week
April 19 2nd Sunday of Pascha - St. Thomas
April 23 Feast of St. George the Great-Martyr
April 26 3rd Sunday of Pascha - Ointment Bearing Women
May 3 4th Sunday of Pascha - Healing of the Paralytic
May 6 Mid-Pentecost
May 1 Feast of Saints Cyril & Methodius
May 10 5th Sunday of Pascha - Samaritan Women
May 17 6th Sunday of Pascha - Man Born Blind
May 21 Day 40 - Ascension of Our Lord
May 24 7th Sunday of Pascha - Holy Fathers of the 1st Nicean Council
May 30 5th All Souls Saturday (Memorial Saturday)
May 31 Day 50 - Pentecost - Feast of the Descent of the Holy Spirit
June 7 All Saints Sunday
June 8- 28 The Apostles' Fast
June 24 Nativity of St. John the Baptist
June 29 Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul
July 12 Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Six Ecumenical Councils
July 20 The Holy Prophet Elias
August 1-14 Dormition Fast
August 6 Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ
August 15 Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God
August 29 Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist
September 1 Liturgical New Year
September 8 Feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God
September 14 Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
October 1 Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God
October 18 Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh and Final Ecumenical Council
November 8 Feast of St. Michael and All the Heavenly Hosts
November 15 thru--
December 24 Philip's Fast (Nativity Fast)
November 21 Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple
November 26 Thanksgiving Day (USA)
December 6 Feast of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker - Patron of the Byzantine Catholic Church
December 9 Feast of the Conception of the Mother of God in the Womb of St. Anne (some Churches celebrate this feast on December 8th)
December 12 Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
(Also: Our Venerable Father Spiridon the Wonder-worker, Bishop of Tremithus)
December 13 Second Sunday Before Christmas Holy Forefathers
December 20 Sunday Before Christmas - Holy Fathers
December 25 Nativity of Our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ (Christmas)
December 26 Feast of the Synaxis of the Mother of God
December 27 Sunday After Christmas - Commemoration of the Holy and Just Joseph, King David, James the Brother of the Lord and Stephen the First Martyr

Note: The Byzantine liturgical year starts on September 1 and ends on August 31. The movable feasts are determined by the date of Pascha (the feast of the Resurrection). There are two systems currently in use to calculate Pascha - Gregorian (Western) and Julian (Eastern). Roman Catholics, most Byzantine Catholics in America and some Orthodox (notably those in Finland) follow the Gregorian date. Some Byzantines in America and most Byzantines and Orthodox elsewhere follow the Julian date. In the year AD 2009 Pascha will be celebrated on April 12 on Gregorian calendar and on April 19 on the Julian and Revised Julian calendars.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Eastern Churches: A Video History


Here is yet another video series that I came across on YouTube. It goes through a brief and basic history of the Eastern Churches. Those already well versed in this subject may find it a bit basic, but for those who know little it will be a good primer. If you want to watch it as one video instead of in 3 parts you can go here and watch it in a Quicktime video.







What are the Eastern Catholic Churches?


This video series goes along with the last post that I had on Eastern Catholicism. Here Father Maximos of Holy Resurrection Romanian Catholic Monastery in Newberry Springs, CA talks about the basic characteristics of the Eastern Catholic Churches. He also talks a bit about the state of the Orthodox Churches as well.




Eastern Catholic Theology


I ran across this video series concerning Eastern Catholic Theology. Being an Eastern Catholic myself I thought it was quite interesting. If you are interested in the Eastern and Western diversity that exists within the Catholic Church I recommend watching this series. The Eastern Catholic Church is overlooked by most Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Viewing the Church in her entirety solidifies why the Catholic Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

I would encourage people interested in apologetics to watch this as well. The Abbot explains the depth of theology and how it intertwines with doctrine and dogma and how much theologies can differ and still remain Catholic in principal. The same truths can be expressed by different theologies. When one watches this video we can see how the Eucharist is explained differently between the two, yet the basic belief is the same. I have talked about this earlier on a post in reference to the Orthodox and the Eucharist.