Saint Thomas Aquinas

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Response to Turretin Fan's Audio Presentation on Contraception


Responding to Turretin's Audio Response on Contraception Disagreement in the Catholic Church.


Turretin Fan has posted an audio response to my earlier article on contraception. He claims that since there are not any anathemas attached to the statements by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church on the teaching of contraception, that it is not infallible doctrine. The teaching that I posted earlier is the only "officially" held position that the Catholic Church has on contraception. First off there does not have to be an anathema attached to a teaching in order for it to be infallible. This is a qualifier that Turretin Fan has invented, since the Church has never taught that in order for something to be doctrine or dogma that there must be an anathema attached to it. Where Tf gets this I have no idea. It sounds like he presents an "Ace in the hole" here, but there is nothing that substantiates this undocumented statement of his.

Turretin says I cannot defend my position in regards to the Church's teaching on contraception. I have demonstrated quite clearly that the Catholic Church has one clear teaching on this subject. (Contraception, more specifically the use of condoms). Let us dive into this empty argument provided by Turretin Fan. He claims that he has proven that there is disunity within the Catholic Church. My point is that there is no division within the "official" teaching of the Church. I do not know whether Turretin understands this or not, but individual bishops do not make up Catholic doctrine. He claims that since there is disagreement among bishops of the Church, that that in itself defeats Rome's claims of the infallible Catholic Magisterium. This however does not prove that at all.

It is my argument that just because there are many bishops who refuse to follow the Magisterium's clear "official" teaching on this subject, doesn't negate the authority of the Magisterium, nor its effectiveness in teaching clear unifying doctrine. All it does is demonstrate that there are and always have been those who dissent from "official" Church teaching. So no, Turretin Fan has not demonstrated that there is disunity in the Catholic Church that upsets the authority and clearly held doctrine of the Catholic Church. The Magisterium can promulgate the truth all day long, yet if bishops refuse to follow, Turretin attaches the blame on the Magisterium and claims that it doesn't solve doctrinal problems. This is clearly nonsense. Yes we have many clear examples of bishops rejecting Church teaching. So what? As I stated before, there have been times in the past where many bishops bought into heresies. The Church Magisterium however always held fast to true doctrine and dogma.

Turretin Fan readily admits in his audio response that he never claimed to prove that "official" Catholic teaching was divided on this issue. It is quite obvious that any Catholic who wants to remain faithful to the Church will follow "official" teachings and not individual bishop's dissenting views. Turretin Fan's argument does not upset the Magisterium as he claims it does. What would he have Rome do, go out and hunt everyone down who dissents from "official" Church teaching and off them? That may not be a bad idea....I am joking here... Well Rome has essentially done this doctrinally in her documents. In my next post I will address the teaching of the Church and whether or not the teaching on contraception by the Church is an infallible doctrine.

I also got a chuckle once again that Turretin creates a "Mr. Bellisario vs the bishop" scenario instead of "official" Church teaching vs the bishop scenario, which would be a much more accurate headline. Be that as it may, Turretin Fan has only demonstrated that there are and always will be dissenters in the Church. He also readily admits that there is clear "official" Catholic Church teaching on this matter, which defeats his argument trying to tear down the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. In my next article I will go through the wording of "official" church documents and demonstrate that this moral teaching cannot be changed, and therefore falls into the category of Church doctrine.

Contraception and the Catholic Church: A Contradiction?


Contraception and the Catholic Church.
By Matthew James Bellisario 2009

It seems that there is a certain “Reformed” apologist Turretin Fan who thinks that there is a disagreement on what the Catholic church actually teaches on contraception. I wrote an article a week or so ago about Pope Benedict's statement on the AIDS crisis in Africa. This “apologist” thought it would be amusing to find a bishop in the Catholic Church that disagreed with what I wrote and which also coincidentally disagreed with the Pope on the use of condoms. Once again we see that Protestants do not understand how the Church defines doctrine and dogma, so they go look for some bishop that contrasts Church doctrine and then they claim that the Catholic Church has no official position on the subject. As we will see in this article, the Catholic Church has a teaching on contraception that cannot be changed because it is doctrine. It doesn't matter how many people calling themselves Catholic do not believe it. As many will recall back during the early years of the Church, the Arian heresy had led most of the bishops of the Church into heresy. Doctrine is not decided by a majority vote. It is decided by the Papacy in conjunction with, but not subjected to the rest of the bishops. Once doctrine or dogma is decided and has been consistently taught by the Pope or in official church documents then it cannot be changed no matter how many bishops oppose it.

Let us look at the link that this Protestant pitted against me as if I am the one opposing the bishop. As we will see it is my not my opinion, but the Church's official stance on contraception that the bishop is opposing. In my original post I was addressing the absurd remarks the former Prime Minister of France made against the Holy Father. The Protestant apologist that hails himself as the all-knowing sage of Catholicism has once again made an incorrect assumption that he cannot justify. See my responses in bold type.

Turretin writes...

“Although some people (mostly conservative Romanists) would like you to think that the Roman Catholic Church has only one view on contraceptives (Yes because the Church teaches us that), the issue is actually one on which there is a degree of disagreement (As we will see the disagreement is in Turretin Fan's head, not in the official documents of the Catholic Church), as illustrated in the following two articles:

On the "pro" side, Manuel Clemente, Bishop of Porto (link to article).

"Speaking to journalists, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Porto Manuel Clemente said condoms in such cases are 'not only recommendable, they can be ethically obligatory.'"

vs.

On the "con" side, Matthew Bellisario, editor of the "Catholic Champion" web site (link to article)

"Well how does this genius think that AIDS is spread? Does MR Juppe know that it spreads by having sex, and that condoms promote sexual intercourse among people in Africa that have AIDS? Condoms are not 100% effective and the disease is primarily spread by sexual intercourse. Wow, I just wonder how someone like this clown becomes a Prime Minister in any country outside of Wonderland."

***

Obviously, Mr. Bellisario is not making his comment directly to Bishop Clemente, and perhaps he'd be embarrassed to call one of the bishops of his church a "clown" - though he does not hesitate to law on the compliments when it comes to the former prime minister. (Because the Prime Minister doesn't know what he is talking about similar to Turretin Fan. Two peas in a pod! Dull minds think alike)But leaving aside the bombastic nature of Bellisario's remarks, what we see from this comparison of views is that the typical Romanist apologetic argument that we need Rome to give us unity on issues like contraception (which are not explicitly addressed in Scripture) is wrong as a matter of fact: although Rome provides organizational unity, that organizational unity masks great doctrinal and moral disunity.”

-TurretinFan

So what did the bishop say that contradicts the Pope himself? Below is from an article from USA today that Turretin linked to.

Speaking to journalists, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Porto Manuel Clemente said condoms in such cases are "not only recommendable, they can be ethically obligatory.”

"The great solution to the AIDS problem, like any other problem, has to be behavioral," Clemente said.

However, AIDS sufferers "have a moral obligation to prevent and not provoke the illness," he said at a monument unveiling in the port city Sunday.

Clemente is the second Portuguese cleric to contradict Pope Benedict XVI. Armed Forces bishop Januario Torgal Ferreira said a week ago that to ban condom use was equivalent to consenting to the death of many people.

He added that the people giving the pope advice "should be more learned."


So let us look at what has been said here. For one I find it interesting how my Protestant opponent pitted me against the bishop rather than the Pope. Not really a surprise since Turretin loves to attack me in any possible fashion available to him. He tries to make it look as if I am on my own in my position without the support of the entire Church. Let us take a look at the clear teaching of the Church. We will see that the bishop is not following Catholic moral teaching by recommending condoms to people. A very clear teaching that is taught in Catholicism is that an evil cannot be done in order to achieve a good. This is what the bishop is doing. Let me explain.

The Catechism gives a basic outline on the teaching condemning any artificial method that prohibits the fulfillment of the sexual act. The wording that the Catechism uses must be looked at carefully. It regards this type of act as an intrinsic evil. That means that the act itself is never justified in any circumstance whatsoever. The Catechism tells us that a a natural form of birth regulation is allowed under certain circumstances, which is also known as NFP. Then the Church follows with a condemnation of every other method that would prevent the conjugal act from being fulfilled. The text would include the use of condoms since it would fall into the category of using it in anticipation of the conjugal act as well as a means to render procreation impossible during the act. This puts the bishop clearly at odds with the Catechism of the Church.

“In contrast, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil: 159”

Next let us look at Humanae Vitae. The document is clearly written in a manner that defines the text as doctrine. It opens with a text that is clearly defining in the name of the Church Magisterium. Therefore any bishop of layperson for that matter opposing it is in opposition to clear and concise doctrine. It opens with the following text.

4. This kind of question requires from the teaching authority of the Church a new and deeper reflection on the principles of the moral teaching on marriage—a teaching which is based on the natural law as illuminated and enriched by divine Revelation.

No member of the faithful could possibly deny that the Church is competent in her magisterium to interpret the natural moral law. It is in fact indisputable, as Our predecessors have many times declared, (l) that Jesus Christ, when He communicated His divine power to Peter and the other Apostles and sent them to teach all nations His commandments, (2) constituted them as the authentic guardians and interpreters of the whole moral law, not only, that is, of the law of the Gospel but also of the natural law. For the natural law, too, declares the will of God, and its faithful observance is necessary for men's eternal salvation. (3)

In carrying out this mandate, the Church has always issued appropriate documents on the nature of marriage, the correct use of conjugal rights, and the duties of spouses. These documents have been more copious in recent times. (4)


Now that we have defined the weight of this document let us look at the text regarding forms of contraception. This includes the use of condoms even in an effort to try and derive a good from it. The document is crystal clear. “Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. (16)”

Humanae Vitae Section 14

Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one, or that such intercourse would merge with procreative acts of past and future to form a single entity, and so be qualified by exactly the same moral goodness as these. Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good," it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (18)—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general.

Now we have two official sources from the Church contradicting the bishop. This is obviously not my own opinion here. What is also of primary note in all of this is the clear emphasis that procreative and the unitive qualities of the sexual act not be separated intentionally. The document tells us that this is also an official teaching of the Church.

Union and Procreation

12. This particular doctrine, often expounded by the magisterium of the Church, is based on the inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act.

Since most protestants like Turretin Fan reject sound reasoning and the Natural Law, this would of course fly right over his head. Turretin has failed to prove any inconsistency in official Catholic teaching on this subject. Like usual his observations are empty rhetoric. Let me continue on with more official documents of the Church on this subject.

In 1995 Pope John Paul II released a document called Evangelium Vitae. In it the Pope covers a wide range of sexual ethics. In it he teaches the same doctrine that both Pope Paul VI and now Pope Benedict XVI teach. In in referring to the immoral use of artificial reproduction he writes, “Apart from the fact that they are morally unacceptable, since they separate procreation from the fully human context of the conjugal act....” So far we have three Popes over the course of just 40 years or so defining this a an “official” teaching of the Church.

My question to the Turretin Fan is this. Where is an official document written by the Church that tells us that this teaching is not consistent? Where is the statement that the bishop made, which Turretin quoted, consistent with any document “officially” released by the church? I do not want a bishop's private opinion on the matter, I want an official document that substantiates this bishop's teaching which contradicts three Popes and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. I will give you a hint, they do not exist. There are more documents I could quote that reiterate this basic principal on Catholic morality regarding the conjugal act. It can be seen in the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's document Persona Humana (1975), as well as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's document Donum Vitae. The Church consistently gives us this unchangeable teaching that the procreative element and the unitive element cannot be intentionally separated regarding the conjugal act for any reason. This includes condoms. There is no contradiction despite Turretin Fan's written accusation on his blog.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Christ the King FSSP Chapel Update: Sarasota Latin Mass

The new FSSP church in Sarasota Florida, 'Christ the King' will open its doors on April 19th, 2009. I posted some information earlier on the new church and the renovations taking place. Today the altar arrived as well as the sacristycredens and fixtures that will adorn the church. I wanted to post a few pictures as progress is made on the church. The dedication of this FSSP church is going to be a historic day indeed.


Father James Fryar FSSP contemplates his first sermon that he will give from the new ambo. .


The bas-relief image of the Annunciation that adorns the altar face.


The altar-rail.


The main altar pieces which will be put in place this week.


Fr. James Fryar FSSP and Fr. Justin Nolan FSSP flank a part of the new sacristycredens which will be custom fit to the sacristy room this week.


Fr. James Fryar marvels at the new cherubim that will cap the ceiling beams coming down the walls.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Diocese of Venice FL Hosts Bioethics Conference

Diocese of Venice Hosts Bioethics Conference 2009



On March 21 at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in Fort Myers, his Excellency Bishop Frank J. Dewane hosted the second annual bioethics conference in the Diocese of Venice. The tables of the hall were full as Bishop Dewane gave a brief introduction during which he confirmed how important it was to examine and understand bioethics in our culture today. The bishop's special guest from the Vatican, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, then graciously took his place at the podium.

The Cardinal's lecture, over one hour in length, looked at human life, its origins, and its organic movement of relationships and finality. Using a scientific, philosophical and theological approach, he clearly demonstrated that a proper view of human life is contrary to modern culture's view of human life. He started with the basics of human genetics and clarified what human life is in regard to science. He then looked at human life in light of the ancient philosophers. Next he touched on the Malthusian mentality in the world today, which neglects the sanctity of human life. Finally he tied it all together theologically by looking at Sacred Scripture, the Incarnation of Christ and the love of the Holy Trinity. The Cardinal clearly demonstrated that the Catholic view of life, emphasizing movement from death to life, is in complete opposition to the world, which views human life as a movement from life to death. A clear point made by the Cardinal was the importance of opposition in relationships, without privation. Using the Holy Trinity he demonstrated that God who gives life, does so in a loving donation. He then concluded by saying that the only possible life is through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Other speakers included John Haas, Ph.D., who spoke on the key principals of natural law and double effect, and later gave another talk on the job duties of healthcare workers and the avoidance of co-operation with evils such as abortion. Marie Hilliard, RN., Ph.D., then spoke on the topics of sexual assault, Plan B emergency contraception, and the duty of health care workers when they face personal risk. The conference closed when the Cardinal presented a gift to Bishop Dewane and Bishop Dewane thanked the Cardinal for his support and encouragement of the event. Bishop Dewane then presented some awards. The Bishop and the Cardinal appeared joyous throughout the event and remained engaged with the laity during the course of the day. The Cardinal even had a private meeting with some students who attended the event, during which he answered questions about healthcare education and related some personal anecdotes from his experiences in the Vatican.

Other contributers to the event included Rev. Ed McNamara, Rev. Joseph Keane, Dave and Mary Reardon, Devin Jones, Joanne Gorgone, R.N., Judy Abler, Terri Foley, R.N., Scott Gray, Stephen Hannan, M.D., the Ethics Committee of LMHS, several registration volunteers, and four private sponsors.

Overall this bioethics conference was a unique experience for everyone who attended. I am looking forward to next year's conference.

By: Matthew James Bellisario 2009

Bishop Frank J. Dewane opens the conference.



Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan gives his lecture on human life.



John Haas, Ph.D., giving a lecture on the law of double effect.


Closing comments by the Cardinal while the Bishop and Monsignor look on with approval.


A candid shot of the Cardinal and Bishop Dewane as they make their exit.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tradition Looks to the Future: Sarasota's New Latin Mass Church

Tradition Looks to the Future: Sarasota's New Latin Mass Church.
By Matthew James Bellisario. March 19th, 2009

While many see tradition as something oppressive and limiting, those who attend the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Liturgy think otherwise. Attending the ancient liturgy is not something from a bygone era. Thanks to Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Florida will open its first Extraordinary Latin Mass parish on April 19th, 2009. Bishop Frank J. Dewane was installed on July 25, 2006, as only the second bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida. The Latin Mass community in Sarasota was launched about thirteen years ago (January 22, 1995) by the Ecclesia Dei Society with the permission of Bishop John J. Nevins and with the support of Saint Martha's pastor the Very Rev. Fausto Stampiglia.

For the past thirteen years, the Latin Mass has been celebrated at Saint Martha Catholic Church in Sarasota. Since the 1970s, the Novus Ordo has been the 'official' celebrated liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. Those in the Diocese of Venice preferring the Latin mystique and the age-old reverence that the Tridentine Liturgy offered were out of luck until this Mass was offered. Since Bishop Dewane has taken the seat of bishop in the Diocese of Venice in Florida, things have moved along at a rapid pace for this growing Latin Mass community. Even before the release of Pope Benedict's Motu Proprio, Bishop Dewane had things in motion to help the community grow. Since he has been appointed bishop, we have seen the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter come into the diocese and take over the Latin Mass duties at Saint Martha. Rev. Father James Fryar, FSSP, has been the spiritual father and priest of the community for nearly two years now.

The growing demand for the Extraordinary form has had Father James Fryar stretched from Ocala to Naples and back again. The need for a second priest was acknowledged and the FSSP graciously provided another. Recently Father Justin Nolan, FSSP, has joined Father Fryar in Sarasota. Now the two of them share their priestly duties traveling the Florida coast celebrating the sacraments in Sarasota, Fort Myers, Naples and Ocala. The only absent piece of the puzzle for this growing community was a church of their own. At the end of this past year Bishop Dewane announced the purchase of an Anglican church in south Sarasota for the exclusive celebration of the Extraordinary Form. The bishop has named the new church 'Christ the King'. Thanks to the many years of hard work by the Ecclesia Dei society which provided the foundation, all those who have recently joined the community to support it and its growth, and the dedication of Bishop Frank Dewane, the Extraordinary Form of the Mass now has a home for future generations.

Remodeling has been underway since the beginning of the year and is nearing completion. Although there will be more renovations to take place in later years, the church has received a rather extensive facelift. These include a new bell-tower, new paint, new tile, four stained glass windows taken from an old church up north, and a an altar taken from an old church; as well as statues, an organ that will blow the doors off the church, and a new sound system. New lamps have been added for the nave and sanctuary; a restored altar rail is on the way; new etched glass windows on the doors with the papal insignia have just been installed; and to top it off, a new roof is being finished as we speak. Later restoration plans include the replacement of glass windows on the other side. The property also has plenty of land for future expansion.

The parish will seat 200 people and will be the only parish dedicated to the traditional Mass in Florida. Mass times for Sunday at the new church are 8:30 a.m. for the low Mass and 10:30 a.m. for high Mass featuring a beautiful Latin Mass choir. Saturdays there will be a 9 a.m. Mass followed by confessions. There are also weekday Masses as well as the activities of evening Vespers, the praying of the rosary, and confessions. As we can see, tradition is not a thing of the past. True tradition is a living tradition and it always looks to the future.

Visit Venicelatinmass.org



Here is the outside of the church when it was purchased.


Here is the outside under renovations.




Here is the inside of the church when it was purchased.


This is how it looks now with more to come!


Here are the etched windows with the papal insignia on the doors of the church that were recently installed.


New lamps adorn the nave and the sanctuary.


A new altar is on the way!


Father James Fryar FSSP awaiting his flock at the new church.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Former Prime Minister Alain Juppé (UMP) A Fool!


In recent news (Rorate Caeli) this pompous ass has the audacity to criticize the Holy Father and the Catholic Church's position on the use of condoms. He says, "this pope is becoming a real problem" because he is living “in a situation of total autism....."To go say in Africa that condoms increase the danger of AIDS is, first of all an untruth and it is inacceptable for the African people and for everyone else," he continued. "There is a real problem, I feel a profound sense of uneasiness all around me" said Mr. Juppe, who has "the impression" that the pope "lives in a situation of total autism.”

Well how does this genius think that AIDS is spread? Does MR Juppe know that it spreads by having sex, and that condoms promote sexual intercourse among people in Africa that have AIDS? Condoms are not 100% effective and the disease is primarily spread by sexual intercourse. Wow, I just wonder how someone like this clown becomes a Prime Minister in any country outside of Wonderland. There are many studies out there that prove condoms are only 70-85% on preventing STDs if they are used correctly. So it is obvious that the promotion of condom use versus the promotion of abstaining is promoting sexually transmitted diseases. This is an obvious fact since you can't get an STD by abstaining. This former Prime Minister clearly has his own agenda for attacking the Pope. Who is the real problem here? A former Prime Minister who cannot add and subtract or the Holy Father who is encouraging those in Africa to follow God's plan and do it God's way, and not the worlds way? I'll let you decide.

Here is what doctors say and medical studies say..from www.prolife.com

"Simply put, condoms fail. And condoms fail at a rate unacceptable for me as a physician to endorse them as a strategy to be promoted as meaningful AIDS protection."

Quote from: ¾ Dr. Robert Renfield, chief of retro-viral research, Walter Reed Army Institute

"You just can’t tell people it’s all right to do whatever you want as long as you wear a condom. It (AIDS) is just too dangerous a disease to say that."

Quote from: ¾ Dr. Harold Jaffee, chief of epidemiology, National Centers for Disease Control

In 1993 the University of Texas analyzed the results of 11 different studies that had tracked the effectiveness of condoms to prevent transmission of the AIDS virus. The average condom failure rate in the 11 studies for preventing transmission of the AIDS virus was 31%.

I ask again, who is the "real problem?"

Planned Parenthood Coverup. Where is the outrage?


I have to wonder why the large News channels are not covering this scandal like they love to cover any scandal that involves the Catholic Church. Shouldn't the current presidential administration be up in arms over this? Could it be that the media has a biased interest in not making more noise about this? Has anyone viewed this story on the News of any of the major networks? Maybe I just missed it. Let me know if you did, I am curious. The Catholic Edition has the story on the cover page. Check it out. The Mona Lisa Project has been successful in showing us all what this organization (that is sponsored by our taxes!) is all about. Make sure people are aware of this evil organization.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cleveland Closings..St Stephen's safe, but Saints Colman and Casimir gone!







Although some beautiful Catholic churches in Cleveland escaped closings, a couple of them that I know of that are absolute gems have been lost. I am sure there are others. Here are a few pictures of St. Colman which is on the list to be closed. This is a shame indeed. Unfortunately most of the modern eyesores for churches will remain open. I believe it is a shame that we as Catholics are not evangelizing the communities around us. If we were these churches would remain open. This is what we are losing! I took these pictures when I visited Cleveland a few years ago. Here is a list showing which churches so far have been selected for closing, and which ones in the same areas that have closures that will remain open. For a history of the parish click here..

I would also like to add that I am not blaming the new bishop here in this. I think that the Catholic Church as a whole is to blame. When the demographics change in these neighborhoods we do not evangelize effectively and therefore we tend to look at these churches as museum pieces. God doesn't want His churches to be museum pieces. He wants them to be filled with faithful souls. This is what we need to work on. If these churches were filled they wouldn't be closing.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Explanation of Catholic Morals Part I- Believing and Doing


EXPLANATION OF CATHOLIC MORALS

I ran across a wonderful book on the Project Gutenburg website. The publication is in the public domain and can be used without copyright infringement. It has some great information in it on how the Catholic Church views morality. This will be the first among several posts that I will reference to over the Lenten season. If you want to skip ahead and read the whole thing for yourself the complete text is here. I will bold text some of the thoughts that catch my attention. Not only is this work a great spiritual refresher for us and how we live our lives in Christ, it is good for basic Catholic apologetics as well.

The first chapter is on how we believe and how we act on our beliefs. The issue of freewill and grace is briefly touched upon here so that we can understand what God expects of us in relation to His grace. Enjoy

The book is called
EXPLANATION OF CATHOLIC MORALS
BY
Rev. JOHN H. STAPLETON


CHAPTER I.
BELIEVING AND DOING.

MORALS pertain to right living, to the things we do, in relation to God and His law, as opposed to right thinking, to what we believe, to dogma. Dogma directs our faith or belief, morals shape our lives. By faith we know God, by moral living we serve Him; and this double homage, of our mind and our works, is the worship we owe our Creator and Master and the necessary condition of our salvation.

Faith alone will save no man. It may be convenient for the easy-going to deny this, and take an opposite view of the matter; but convenience is not always a safe counsellor. It may be that the just man liveth by faith; but he lives not by faith alone. Or, if he does, it is faith of a different sort from what we define here as faith, viz., a firm assent of the mind to truths revealed. We have the testimony of Holy Writ, again and again reiterated, that faith, even were it capable of moving mountains, without good works is of no avail. The Catholic Church is convinced that this doctrine is genuine and reliable enough to make it her own; and sensible enough, too. For faith does not make a man impeccable; he may believe rightly, and live badly. His knowledge of what God expects of him will not prevent him from doing just the contrary; sin is as easy to a believer as to an unbeliever. And he who pretends to have found religion, holiness, the Holy Ghost, or whatever else he may call it, and can therefore no longer prevaricate against the law, is, to common-sense people, nothing but a sanctified humbug or a pious idiot.

Nor are good works alone sufficient. Men of emancipated intelligence and becoming breadth of mind, are often heard to proclaim with a greater flourish of verbosity than of reason and argument, that the golden rule is religion enough for them, without the trappings of creeds and dogmas; they respect themselves and respect their neighbors, at least they say they do, and this, according to them, is the fulfilment of the law. We submit that this sort of worship was in vogue a good many centuries before the God-Man came down upon earth; and if it fills the bill now, as it did in those days, it is difficult to see the utility of Christ's coming, of His giving of a law of belief and of His founding of a Church. It is beyond human comprehension that He should have come for naught, labored for naught and died for naught. And such must be the case, if the observance of the natural law is a sufficient worship of the Creator. What reasons Christ may have had for imposing this or that truth upon our belief, is beside the question; it is enough that He did reveal truths, the acceptance of which glorifies Him in the mind of the believer, in order that the mere keeping of the commandments appear forthwith an insufficient mode of worship.

Besides, morals are based on dogma, or they have no basis at all; knowledge of the manner of serving God can only proceed from knowledge of who and what He is; right living is the fruit of right thinking. Not that all who believe rightly are righteous and walk in the path of salvation: losing themselves, these are lost in spite of the truths they know and profess; nor that they who cling to an erroneous belief and a false creed can perform no deed of true moral worth and are doomed; they may be righteous in spite of the errors they profess, thanks alone to the truths in their creeds that are not wholly corrupted. But the natural order of things demands that our works partake of the nature of our convictions, that truth or error in mind beget truth or error correspondingly in deed and that no amount of self-confidence in a man can make a course right when it is wrong, can make a man's actions good when they are materially bad. This is the principle of the tree and its fruit and it is too old-fashioned to be easily denied. True morals spring from true faith and true dogma; a false creed cannot teach correct morality, unless accidentally, as the result of a sprinkling of truth through the mass of false teaching. The only accredited moral instructor is the true Church. Where there is no dogma, there can logically be no morals, save such as human instinct and reason devise; but this is an absurd morality, since there is no recognition of an authority, of a legislator, to make the moral law binding and to give it a sanction. He who says he is a law unto himself chooses thus to veil his proclaiming freedom from all law. His golden rule is a thing too easily twistable to be of any assured benefit to others than himself; his moral sense, that is, his sense of right and wrong, is very likely where his faith is nowhere.

It goes without saying that the requirements of good morals are a heavy burden for the natural man, that is, for man left, in the midst of seductions and allurements, to the purely human resources of his own unaided wit and strength; so heavy a burden is this, in fact, that according to Catholic doctrine, it cannot be borne without assistance from on high, the which assistance we call grace. This supernatural aid we believe essential to the shaping of a good moral life; for man, being destined, in preference to all the rest of animal creation, to a supernatural end, is thereby raised from the natural to a supernatural order. The requirements of this order are therefore above and beyond his native powers and can only be met with the help of a force above his own. It is labor lost for us to strive to climb the clouds on a ladder of our own make; the ladder must be let down from above. Human air-ships are a futile invention and cannot be made to steer straight or to soar high in the atmosphere of the supernatural. One-half of those who fail in moral matters are those who trust altogether, or too much, in their own strength, and reckon without the power that said "Without Me you can do nothing."

The other half go to the other extreme. They imagine that the Almighty should not only direct and aid them, but also that He should come down and drag them along in spite of themselves; and they complain when He does not, excuse and justify themselves on the ground that He does not, and blame Him for their failure to walk straight in the narrow path. They expect Him to pull them from the clutches of temptation into which they have deliberately walked. The drunkard expects Him to knock the glass out of his hand: the imprudent, the inquisitive and the vicious would have it so that they might play with fire, yea, even put in their hand, and not be scorched or burnt. 'Tis a miracle they want, a miracle at every turn, a suspension of the laws of nature to save them from the effects of their voluntary perverseness. Too lazy to employ the means at their command, they thrust the whole burden on the Maker. God helps those who help themselves. A supernatural state does not dispense us from the obligation of practising natural virtue. You can build a supernatural life only on the foundations of a natural life. To do away with the latter is to build in the air; the structure will not stay up, it will and must come down at the first blast of temptation.

Catholic morals therefore require faith in revealed truths, of which they are but deductions, logical conclusions; they presuppose, in their observance, the grace of God; and call for a certain strenuosity of life without which nothing meritorious can be effected. We must be convinced of the right God has to trace a line of conduct for us; we must be as earnest in enlisting His assistance as if all depended on Him; and then go to work as if it all depended on ourselves.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Orthodox Sermons Online


I like listening to audio sermons online. At Catholic Champion I frequently update audio sermons from the FSSP priests in Sarasota Fl. I recently ran across this cool Orthodox website that has tons of audio sermons on it. It is called Orthodoxsermons.org. There is close to 1000 sermons on the site. Check it out.

Bioethics Resources


With the atrocity of abortion, embryonic stem cell research and the many other attacks being waged on the human person, we cannot afford to be ignorant of bioethics. One focus of my blog is to pass on good information to my readers that can better inform them of their Catholic faith and the issues we face today as Catholics. There are two Catholic bioethics websites that I would like to pass on to you. The Bioethics Defense Fund is a great website with tons of resources on it. The second one is the The Internet Journal of Catholic Bioethics. I suggest stopping by as you surf the web.

Turretin Fan Refuted by Jay Dyer..


I wanted to post up a link to the web-site called Nicene Truth. Jay Dyer effectively refutes the "Reformed" apologist Turretin Fan. There is a well done MP3 audio clip that you can listen to of Jay responding to Turretin Fan dealing primarily with the Incarnation of Christ. These two have had several exchanges. I think that Jay does a great job of exposing the errors that Turretin puts forth. Jay used to be a Reformed Protestant and is a convert to Catholicism. Enjoy..

The Cause for the Canonization of Saints.


There are many remarkable Catholics whose cause for canonization have been opened for some time. I wanted to post some of them up for your reference and devotion. Most of these causes are being investigated or are still waiting to authenticate miracles attributed to them. Here are a few that are in the process of being investigated. You can ask for these souls intercession in your personal devotions. If you want to honor the relics of a blessed soul, visit the website of the cause for Blessed Francis Seelos. For a small donation to cover the cost of the theca they will send you a first class relic. You can either write them or call them. Remember that relics are only to be used for ones own spiritual prayer and devotions, and they are never to be sold. Visit each of these individuals websites for more information on their lives and cause.

1. Archbishop Fulton Sheen.
2. Francis Xavier Seelos
3. Pope John Paul II
4. Father Patrick Peyton, CSC
5. Fr. Isaac Thomas Hecker
6. Fr. Emil J. Kapaun
7. Terence Cardinal Cooke
8. Fr. Vincent Capodanno
9. Fr. Walter J. Ciszek

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Government Steps Up Attacks on the Church..


I don't like to get involved in politics but in recent days it seems that either the state or federal governments have been stepping up their attacks on the Catholic Church and basic human rights. The Bill of Rights seems to be ignored these days. On Thursday it is reported that the Diocese of Bridgeport is now under fire form the State.

The big Zero in the White House has already overturned the bill regulating overseas abortion and continues to make moves to further his assault on the Church and human life each day that he occupies the Presidency. Catholic hospitals are at risk as well as freedom of religion, and you can add assault to freedom of speech on to the list as well. It is time for people to step up and fight for the faith by contacting politicians petitioning them to stand up for basic human rights in this country. Above all else we must pray the God will not allow our basic rights to be taken away from us.

Words of Saint Pio...

"Keep close to the Catholic Church at all times, for the Church alone can give you true peace, since she alone possesses Jesus, the true Prince of Peace, in the Blessed Sacrament."

"Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God's heart. You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips, but with your heart. In fact on certain occasions you should only speak to Him with your heart."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Its Not Too Late!


To Those Who have Left The Catholic Faith

I felt compelled to write about a subject that is dear to my heart. There are many people that I know who have either left the Catholic Church for another deficient form of the Christianity or have quit going church altogether. This is a subject of grave importance. After-all, what is the old saying? What is the largest Christian population in the world? It is those Catholics who no longer practice their faith. The second largest body is the actual Catholic faithful. A very sad fact indeed. What are the implications of choosing not to participate in the life of the Church? That is what I want to write about today.

I am not writing this to be condescending to anyone. It is only by the grace of God that I am Catholic and continue to practice my faith. I have had help along the way by some great people as well. But there are many today who think they have an indefinite amount of time to reconcile with God and His Church. I know several people who are moving towards their 70s and think that someday they will get back to church, yet they seem in no great hurry to do it. It doesn't take a genius to conclude that they will be dead most probably within the next 10 to 15 years. Yet they have no sense of urgency to reconcile. The great Saint Thomas more once said, “In whatever way we live-whether we wake or sleep, we eat or drink, we mourn or sing- all the while we are dying.”

I cannot know the hearts of these individuals so I cannot judge them personally, only God can. But there are certain facts that I want to propose to anyone reading this who may be considering going back to practicing their Catholic faith, and even to those who may not have considered it. If you have knowledge that you are not fulfilling your loving obligation towards God then you are risking your soul to eternal damnation. This includes indifferentism. Too often in today's liberal, relativistic culture we have this notion that everyone is going to heaven. As long as your not Hitler, a serial killer, or a rapist, your as good as in right? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this type of thinking is going to lead you right into hell. If you choose not to acknowledge God and His Church here on earth by your own freewill, then why do you think you would acknowledge it after your dead?

Heaven is made for those who love God. Today most Americans that I talk to seem to view heaven as the Playboy mansion where they can lounge around and eat or do whatever you like to do here on earth. This type of thinking is pure nonsense. Heaven is created for those who love God and want to be with Him. It is made for those who love and praise God and partake of Him here on earth. If you are a Catholic and you choose week in and week out not to go to Mass where you can receive Him and be with Him, then why do you think that after you die you would choose anything different? The fact is, those who choose not to be with God in this life choose not to be with Him in eternity. That leaves only one other possibility, hell.

Please if you are a Catholic that is not going to Mass, not going to God to repent of your sins and not fulfilling your obligation to Almighty God, it is not too late. The next opportunity you get, go to confession, and start going back to Mass. Make it a priority. I find it amazing how people can always find time for household chores, or some form entertainment, yet neglect the life of their souls. If a person sincerely wants to reconcile with God, there will be open doors for you. There are a myriad of excuses that one can make on why they don't want to go to Church. Don't listen to the media who continually attacks the Catholic Church. This decision is a matter of life and death for you. It is up to you to choose what you are going to do, despite what others say. Just so that you don't think I am over exaggerating things here as to the seriousness of this situation, I want to quote a few documents or writings from the Church. Many Catholics today think the Church has changed her teachings on the seriousness of abandoning their faith.

Below are the basic precepts that one must follow in order to be reconciled with God, according to the Catholic Church. Remember, these are not just rules to follow. They require an interior moving of the heart towards God. Just performing acts as if they will buy your way into heaven is not what is being implied here. We must love God in doing these acts. Out interior disposition must be oriented towards God.



II. THE PRECEPTS OF THE CHURCH

2041 The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor:

2042 The first precept ("You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor") requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.82

The second precept ("You shall confess your sins at least once a year") ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism's work of conversion and forgiveness.83

The third precept ("You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season") guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord's Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.84

2043 The fourth precept ("You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church") ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.85

The fifth precept ("You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church") means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.86

The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his own abilities.87


Below are more detailed excerpts from the Catechism.

Precepts of the Catholic Church from the Catechism on the Sunday Obligation
2180 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass.

2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.

2182 Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to his Church. The faithful give witness by this to their communion in faith and charity. Together they testify to God's holiness and their hope of salvation. They strengthen one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The Sacrament of Confession for the Catechism.
1422 "Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God's mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion."

1440 Sin is before all else an offense against God, a rupture of communion with him. At the same time it damages communion with the Church. For this reason conversion entails both God's forgiveness and reconciliation with the Church, which are expressed and accomplished liturgically by the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.

1484 "Individual, integral confession and absolution remain the only ordinary way for the faithful to reconcile themselves with God and the Church, unless physical or moral impossibility excuses from this kind of confession."[94] There are profound reasons for this. Christ is at work in each of the sacraments. He personally addresses every sinner: "My son, your sins are forgiven."[95] He is the physician tending each one of the sick who need him to cure them.[96] He raises them up and reintegrates them into fraternal communion. Personal confession is thus the form most expressive of reconciliation with God and with the Church.

1496 The spiritual effects of the sacrament of Penance are:
- reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace;
- reconciliation with the Church;
- remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins;
- remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin;
- peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation;
an increase of spiritual strength for the Christian battle.


I hope that anyone who stops by my blog that is a Catholic and has fallen away from the Church will read this with an open heart. We do not live forever, and we don't know how much time is left for us. Lets make sure that our relationship with God is strong. Don't think you can wait till the last minute to reconcile yourself with Him. The Catholic Church offers you Christ in the Holy Mass. It is He whom you can receive at the Divine Liturgy. Saint Pio once said, “If we only knew how God regards this Sacrifice, we would risk our lives to be present at a single Mass.” It is sad how many Catholics have lost their way and have no idea what kind of peril they are putting themselves in, nor the amount of heavenly grace they are throwing away by choosing to be absent from the Church. I will leave you with another quote from the great Saint Pio.

“Our present life is given only to gain the eternal one and if we don't think about it, we build our affections on what belongs to this world, where our life is transitory. When we have to leave it we are afraid and become agitated. Believe me, to live happily in this pilgrimage, we have to aim at the hope of arriving at our Homeland, where we will stay eternally. Meanwhile we have to believe firmly that God calls us to Himself and follows us along the path towards Him. He will never permit anything to happen to us that is not for our greater good. He knows who we are and He will hold out His paternal hand to us during difficulties, so that nothing prevents us from running to Him swiftly. But to enjoy this grace we must have complete trust in Him.” (Saint Padre Pio)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Why Saint Athanasius Isn't A Friend of "Reformed" Apologists


In recent times there is a phenomenon of "Reformed" apologists hi-jacking the writings of the Early Church Fathers and coming up with revisionist interpretations of them. Lately on some of the "Reformed" blogs they have been arguing over whether or not one of Saint Athanasius' writings ("Homily of the Papyrus of Turin") is authentic or not. Be that as it may there are many of his writings that are certifiably attributed to him, and they prove that he is no friend of their heretical form of Christianity. While I am going to provide some passages from his writings It is important for anyone to go back and read the whole letters for themselves to get the general idea of the writing. Far too many "Reformed" apologists these days cut and paste quotes completely out of context. It is popular these days to quote Saint Athanasius whenever he talks about Scriptural sufficiency. They do this ignorantly thinking that Saint Athanasius is using this term in the same context that they are. Yet if you read the whole letters you can plainly see that he is writing in a completely different mindset than these "Reformers" are coming from.

Saint Athanasius has many writings dealing with various theological subjects, most in response to the Arian controversy. Here are just a few thoughts from Saint Athanasius which are completely foreign to any "Reformed" theological position, yet solidify the Catholic Church's teaching on these matters.

1. Proper authority and hierarchical construction of the Church.

Saint Athanasius wrote an historical account of the Arian hersey. In it he gave a reason as to why one particular, heretical individual (Gregory at Alexandria) acted the way he did.

"And many other things he did, which exceed the power of language to describe, and which whoever should hear would think to be incredible. And the reason why he acted thus was, because he had not received his ordination according to ecclesiastical rule, nor had been called to be a Bishop by apostolical tradition; but had been sent out from court with military power and pomp, as one entrusted with a secular government. Wherefore he boasted rather to be the friend of Governors, than of Bishops and Monks."

Saint Athanasius also wrote to the African concerning the Arian heresy. It is very clear that Saint Athanasius held the councils, synods and the bishops of the Church, including Rome in high esteem. He also writes about the importance of oral apostolic kerygma which is passed down in the Church. This is all contrary to the "Reformers" who mock the Catholic Church's bishops, and the Councils of the Church. He writes,

"Now it would be proper to write this at greater length. But since we write to you who know, we have dictated it concisely, praying that among all the bond of peace might be preserved, and that all in the Catholic Church should say and hold the same thing. And we are not meaning to teach, but to put you in mind. Nor is it only ourselves that write, but all the bishops of Egypt and the Libyas, some ninety in number. For we all are of one mind in this, and we always sign for one another if any chance not to be present. Such being our state of mind, since we happened to be assembled, we wrote, both to our beloved Damasus, bishop of the Great Rome, giving an account of Auxentius who has intruded upon the church at Milan; namely that he not only shares the Arian heresy, but is also accused of many offences, which he committed with Gregory the sharer of his impiety; and while expressing our surprise that so far he has not been deposed and expelled from the Church, we thanked [Damasus] for his piety and that of those who assembled at the Great Rome, in that by expelling Ursacius and Valens, and those who hold with them, they preserved the harmony of the Catholic Church. Which we pray may be preserved also among you, and therefore entreat you not to tolerate, as we said above, those who put forward a host of synods held concerning the Faith, at Ariminum, at Sirmium, in Isauria, in Thrace, those in Constantinople, and the many irregular ones in Antioch. But let the Faith confessed by the Fathers at Nicæa alone hold good among you, at which all the fathers, including those of the men who now are fighting against it, were present, as we said above, and signed: in order that of us too the Apostle may say, ‘Now I praise you that ye remember me in all things, and as I handed the traditions to you, so ye hold them fast." (To the Bishops of Africa)


In light of Easter which is upcoming we will undoubtedly see some "Reformers" attacking the Catholic Church's celebration of Easter as they did with Christmas, claiming that the Church has no authority to mandate a day to celebrate such Feasts for the good of the faithful. Saint Athanasius wrote about this as well explaining the very nature of the Church's responsibility and authority to do so. Here we also see that Scripture is not all that is needed, but that Council's were necessary to define doctrines correctly. It is clear that Saint Athanasius' definition of Scriptural sufficiency is not the same as the "Reformers" define it.

"5. As to the Nicene Council, it was not a common meeting, but convened upon a pressing necessity, and for a reasonable object. The Syrians, Cilicians, and Mesopotamians, were out of order in celebrating the Feast, and kept Easter with the Jews ; on the other hand, the Arian heresy had risen up against the Catholic Church, and found supporters in Eusebius and his fellows, who were both zealous for the heresy, and conducted the attack upon religious people. This gave occasion for an Ecumenical Council, that the feast might be everywhere celebrated on one day, and that the heresy which was springing up might be anathematized. It took place then; and the Syrians submitted, and the Fathers pronounced the Arian heresy to be the forerunner of Antichrist and drew up a suitable formula against it. And yet in this, many as they are, they ventured on nothing like the proceedings of these three or four men. Without pre-fixing Consulate, month, and day, they wrote concerning Easter, ‘It seemed good as follows,’ for it did then seem good that there should be a general compliance; but about the faith they wrote not, ‘It seemed good,’ but, ‘Thus believes the Catholic Church;’ and thereupon they confessed how they believed, in order to shew that their own sentiments were not novel, but Apostolical; and what they wrote down was no discovery of theirs, but is the same as was taught by the Apostles........Vainly then do they run about with the pretext that they have demanded Councils for the faith’s sake; for divine Scripture is sufficient above all things; but if a Council be needed on the point, there are the proceedings of the Fathers, for the Nicene Bishops did not neglect this matter, but stated the doctrine so exactly, that persons reading their words honestly, cannot but be reminded by them of the religion towards Christ announced in divine Scripture." (Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia)

Clearly when it comes to the construct of the Church Saint Athansius is no friend to the "Reformers", say what you will.


2. Sacred Scripture in the Church vs Sacred Scripture Outside the Church.

Many "Reformers" today try and make Saint Athanasius out to be a defender of "Scripture Alone". Yet if we read Saint Athanasius honestly he never gives us any reason to believe that. In fact we can see that he believed that Sacred Scripture needed to remain within the confines of the Church along with oral apostolic kerygma to be interpreted authentically. He refers many times that they are to follow the interpretations handed on to them as handed down by the apostolic fathers. Once again the "Reformers" have no ally here, being that they continually and obstinately reject apostolic Tradition. In writing against the Arians he says,

"And however they may write phrases out of the Scripture, endure not their writings; however they may speak the language of the orthodox, yet attend not to what they say; for they speak not with an upright mind, but putting on such language like sheeps’ clothing, in their hearts they think with Arius, after the manner of the devil, who is the author of all heresies. For he too made use of the words of Scripture, but was put to silence by our Saviour. For if he had indeed meant them as he used them, he would not have fallen from heaven; but now having fallen through his pride, he artfully dissembles in his speech, and oftentimes maliciously endeavours to lead men astray by the subtleties and sophistries of the Gentiles. Had these expositions of theirs proceeded from the orthodox, from such as the great Confessor Hosius, and Maximinus of Gaul,or his successor or from such as Philogonius and Eustathius, Bishops of the East , or Julius and Liberius of Rome, or Cyriacus of Mœsia, or Pistus and Aristæus of Greece, or Silvester and Protogenes of Dacia, or Leontius and Eupsychius of Cappadocia, or Cæcilianus of Africa, or Eustorgius of Italy, or Capito of Sicily, or Macarius of Jerusalem, or Alexander of Constantinople, or Pæderos of Heraclea, or those great Bishops Meletius, Basil, and Longianus, and the rest from Armenia and Pontus, or Lupus and Amphion from Cilicia, or James and the rest from Mesopotamia, or our own blessed Alexander, with others of the same opinions as these;—there would then have been nothing to suspect in their statements, for the character of apostolical men is sincere and incapable of fraud."

3. Papal Authority

Although we cannot deduce the extent of authority the Pope had from Athanasius' writings, we can tell that the Pope had some sort of authority in the Church since Athanasius was summoned by him to give an account of a false accusation leveled against him. This is also a pie in the face of modern "Reformed" apologists who rewrite history claiming that the Bishop of Rome had no authority on the early Church.

""Athanasius, knowing their plot, retired, and betook himself to the West. For to the Bishop of Rome (Julius was then the Shepherd of that Church) the Eusebians had sent the false accusations which they had put together against Athanasius. And he, following the laws of the Church, both ordered them to repair to Rome, and also summoned the divine Athanasius to judgment. And he, for his part, started at once on receiving the call; but they who had made up the story did not go to Rome, knowing that it would be easy to see through their falsehood." Theodoret, (H.E. ii, 3)

These are just a few examples that prove that the "Reformers" are not friends of Saint Athanasius, but they are his sworn enemies. They reject the very substance of the Church which he swears by in his letters. The "Reformers" take his writings and dissect them like they do the Scriptures, as if they are a science project under a microscope never taking them into proper focus in light of the text or substance that surrounds them. Just as they take a passage of Sacred Scripture and pull it out and separate them from their surrounding texts as a whole, they do so with Saints like Athanasius, who cannot be read and understood outside of the context for which he was intending to write. They think that these Fathers were writing these texts for future controversialists like themselves when they were actually dealing mostly with specific situations. By understanding those situations we can deduct certain principals the author is using to substantiate his position. That is what the Church does so well. The Church lived in these times and passes on what she has taught through the ages. This is something that the Reformers" will never have. Please go through these texts for yourselves and read them. You too will realize that Saint Athanasius is certainly no friend to these "Reformers".

Sources: (You can find them all at the Ethereal Library online.)
To the Bishops of Africa
To the Bishops of Egypt
History of the Arians
Discourses Against the Arians
Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Archbishop Chaput: "They say everything that needs to be said."


Denver Archbishop Chaput has been in the public eye even more than usual over the past year or so and is a champion of Catholic orthodoxy. He has consistently defended the Catholic Church from those liberals who constantly try to promote a false understanding of Catholic teaching, especially on issues such as abortion. In talking recently about pro-abortion Catholic politicians he had this to say. "I don't know if it's because we've let it go on for such a long time and haven't challenged it before now, but this attitude of being comfortable with being pro-choice and Catholic at the same time seems to be deeply set in the lives of these folks", "It seems like there has been a very bad period of catechesis of people in the Church, not only catechesis of the laity but also catechesis of the clergy and it's bearing bad fruit in our time. "We need to reinvigorate the Church's understanding of the horror of abortion," Chaput continued. "It seems that we have become deadened to the horror of abortion."

I find it comforting that we see bishops starting to stand up and preach the Gospel in the face of the media's misrepresentation of Catholicism. Public dissenters like Biden, Pelosi, Kerry and others fuel the media's continued assault on the the Holy Father and Catholicism in general. These public dissenters refuse to be the signs of contradiction to the secular world that the Church calls them to be and instead try to change Church teaching. The problem we are facing today is that Catholics are listening to these politicians instead of the Church.

One problem has been, as the Archbishop has pointed out, is that very few have opposed them on these issues publicly until recently. Silence has given free reign to these apostates to change public perception of Catholic doctrine. Thankfully we are starting of see some of the bishops like Archbishop Chaput oppose them. Chaput recently said that Nancy Pelosi should not present herself for communion because of her stance on abortion. "Every Catholic, whether you’re famous or anonymous, whether you’re a public official or a private citizen, has a responsibility to be faithful to what the Church believes about human life, and we believe that human life is sacred and precious from the moment of conception. So that applies to the Speaker as well as it does to me and to you and to anyone who’s Catholic."

Back before the election a Catholic supporter of Obama named Douglas Kmiec quoted Chaput in his book called, "Can a Catholic Support Him? Asking the Big Question about Barack Obama." Chaput responded to him clarifying that he in no way supported Obama for president.

"I believe that Senator Obama, whatever his other talents, is the most committed ''abortion-rights'' presidential candidate of either major party since the Roe v. Wade abortion decision in 1973. Despite what Prof. Kmiec suggests, the party platform Senator Obama runs on this year is not only aggressively ''pro-choice;'' it has also removed any suggestion that killing an unborn child might be a regrettable thing. On the question of homicide against the unborn child - and let's remember that the great Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer explicitly called abortion ''murder'' - the Democratic platform that emerged from Denver in August 2008 is clearly anti-life.

Prof. Kmiec argues that there are defensible motives to support Senator Obama. Speaking for myself, I do not know any proportionate reason that could outweigh more than 40 million unborn children killed by abortion and the many millions of women deeply wounded by the loss and regret abortion creates.

To suggest - as some Catholics do - that Senator Obama is this year's ''real'' prolife candidate requires a peculiar kind of self-hypnosis, or moral confusion, or worse. To portray the 2008 Democratic Party presidential ticket as the preferred ''prolife'' option is to subvert what the word ''prolife'' means. Anyone interested in Senator Obama's record on abortion and related issues should simply read Prof. Robert P. George's Public Discourse essay from earlier this week, ''Obama's Abortion Extremism,'' and his follow-up article, ''Obama and Infanticide.'' They say everything that needs to be said."


I have to applaud the Archbishop for his recent public comments in support of human life and the Catholic Church. The Archbishop was born in 1944 in Kansas and was ordained Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, on July 26, 1988. Pope John Paul II appointed him Archbishop of Denver on February 18, 1997. The Archbishop has also promoted the FSSP in his diocese well before the release of Pope Benedict's motu proprio. In the fall last year he also allowed two Tridentine Masses to be celebrated at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver. Two FSSP priests minister in the Denver Archdiocese at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Latin Mass Community in Littleton. My hats off to the bishop!

Sources:
Ignatius Insight
LifeSiteNews
Archdiocese of Denver
Denver Catholic Register