O'Reilly interviewed Bishop Tobin this evening on Fox concerning the Kennedy issue. It was a huge improvement over Chris "The Screwball" Matthews last evening. Aside from O'Reilly not getting the difference between abortion and the death penalty, he conducted a decent interview. He also allowed the bishop to clarify his position with the Kennedy situation. I feel a little better about this now.
Watch the interview below.
I will be away over the next few days for the Thanksgiving holiday. I wish everyone a blessed Thanksgiving!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Chris Matthews is a real loser folks. How Bishop Tobin put up with his crap on TV is beyond me. Watch the videos below. It is the interview that was done on Chris Matthew's Hardball show today. It should be called Chris Matthews Screwball show. It is utterly clear that Matthews had no intention of giving the bishop an honest interview. Like usual, the liberal media played the emotional card on the abortion issue. Matthews asked the bishop three times if the bishop would pass a law to stop abortion. Matthews could not stomach the bishop's answer. The bishop spoke twice claiming that he would outlaw abortion because it is in fact murder. Then Matthews went crazy trying to pin the bishop as to what punishment the bishop would uphold for those who break the law.
Unfortunately the bishop kind of danced around the penalty issue. Obviously the punishment would be different depending on who the person is. For example, how about we put the doctors in jail who perform the abortions? Matthews kept trying to defend Kennedy by trying to force the bishop into a corner regarding criminal laws and the penalties for breaking the criminal laws, rather than bringing up Kennedy's profession of the Catholic faith. For starters, Kennedy is a professing Catholic who is clearly going against Catholic morality. No one is forcing Kennedy into being a Catholic. If Kennedy isn't going to follow the religion he professes then in my opinion, he can leave. Nothing would make me happier than to see Kennedy officially leave the Church if he is not going to uphold her teaching and her faith. After all, Kennedy is a public heretic who has separated himself from the Church, and he is only hurting himself by receiving Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin. The bishop is only trying to help him repent and return to the Church. We know that in this case a bishop doesn't even have to officially excommunicate Kennedy, because an obstinate post-baptismal denial of some element of the faith such as the support of abortion, brings upon the dissenter an automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication. Of course the bishop can bring a formal excommunication if he so chooses. None of that was discussed in the interview.
Chris Matthews is also a confused, twisted idiot. What really made my blood boil is when Matthews quoted Jesus in defense of legalized abortion, when he brought up the Scripture passage about rendering to Caesar what is Caesar's! (Matthew 22:21) Matthews will have to answer for going on national TV and claiming that Jesus would support legalized abortion. What a wretched tool of hell this man is in twisting Scripture to turn Jesus into an advocate for legal abortion. You can almost see the sulfur coming out of Matthews' nostrils as he attacked the bishop. The arrogance of Matthews stinks to high heaven and it frankly makes me sick. I never could have stomached that on national TV.
I applaud the bishop for remaining calm, yet it seems to me that the bishop was kind of blindsided by this screwball. I also applaud Bishop Tobin in his efforts to uphold Catholic morality. Since Kennedy has made this whole issue public, I would love nothing more than to see an official excommunication of him from the bishop. These Kennedy's have used the Church for the last 50 or so years, yet they refuse to live the Catholic faith and they all constantly go against her moral teachings. During Ted's funeral they arrogantly commandeered the pulpit of the church for his funeral. Now in their gratitude they are publicly spitting on the face of the Christ. The Devil dances for joy when he sees such arrogance and pride. I hope the bishop will be able to go on another program better prepared next time. Forgive me for my long rant here, but this just makes me sick to my stomach.
Update: It looks like Bishop Tobin will be on the O'Reilly factor tonight. (11/24/09) Hopefully the Bishop will be prepared to answer the tough questions. If you are interested here is a good article about the interview from Catholic Online.
Monday, November 23, 2009
I have another Podcast installment. This sermon is from Father James Fryar FSSP, while he was on his mission this year in California. He delivers a sermon on a historic occasion for the Latin Mass on the Feast of Christ the King. If you want to subscribe to the Catholic Champion Podcast, go to the ITunes store and search for Catholic Champion in the top right search box. We now have improved sound quality! Enjoy!
Friday, November 20, 2009
We have all heard the bad arguments presented by Protestant apologist before. They come with every absurd argument they can to dismiss the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist as being the real Body and Blood of Our Lord. In fact there are some Protesters who claim that this teaching was invented in the high middle ages after the turn of the millennium. Here is yet another Church Father who lived in the 700s who clearly believed the teaching of the Catholic Church. His name was St. John Damascene, or better know as St. John of Damascus.He wrote an apologetic work called an Exposition of the Orthodox Faith. In it he describes the Eucharistic teaching very explicitly. I want to post the entire 13th chapter of Book four. The bold type is my emphasis on certain doctrines the Saint taught in the text. What is interesting is the way he sets up his argument. He really understands the two natures of Christ and how Christ makes Himself present in those two natures in the sacred mystery. This is one of many areas of theology that the Protesters have maliciously destroyed. The great Saint also understands the priesthood in the same way as Catholics and Orthodox do today. As we know, St. John was instrumental in fighting the iconoclastic heretics and was well known in the Church of his day.
Chapter 13. Concerning the holy and immaculate Mysteries of the Lord.
God Who is good and altogether good and more than good, Who is goodness throughout, by reason of the exceeding riches of His goodness did not suffer Himself, that is His nature, only to be good, with no other to participate therein, but because of this He made first the spiritual and heavenly powers: next the visible and sensible universe: next man with his spiritual and sentient nature. All things, therefore, which he made, share in His goodness in respect of their existence. For He Himself is existence to all, since all things that are, are in Him Romans 11:36, not only because it was He that brought them out of nothing into being, but because His energy preserves and maintains all that He made: and in special the living creatures. For both in that they exist and in that they enjoy life they share in His goodness. But in truth those of them that have reason have a still greater share in that, both because of what has been already said and also because of the very reason which they possess. For they are somehow more dearly akin to Him, even though He is incomparably higher than they.
Man, however, being endowed with reason and free will, received the power of continuous union with God through his own choice, if indeed he should abide in goodness, that is in obedience to his Maker. Since, however, he transgressed the command of his Creator and became liable to death and corruption, the Creator and Maker of our race, because of His bowels of compassion, took on our likeness, becoming man in all things but without sin, and was united to our nature. Hebrews 2:17 For since He bestowed on us His own image and His own spirit and we did not keep them safe, He took Himself a share in our poor and weak nature, in order that He might cleanse us and make us incorruptible, and establish us once more as partakers of His divinity.
For it was fitting that not only the first-fruits of our nature should partake in the higher good but every man who wished it, and that a second birth should take place and that the nourishment should be new and suitable to the birth and thus the measure of perfection be attained. Through His birth, that is, His incarnation, and baptism and passion and resurrection, He delivered our nature from the sin of our first parent and death and corruption, and became the first-fruits of the resurrection, and made Himself the way and image and pattern, in order that we, too, following in His footsteps, may become by adoption what He is Himself by nature Romans 7:17, sons and heirs of God and joint heirs with Him. He gave us therefore, as I said, a second birth in order that, just as we who are born of Adam are in his image and are the heirs of the curse and corruption, so also being born of Him we may be in His likeness and heirs of His incorruption and blessing and glory.
Now seeing that this Adam is spiritual, it was meet that both the birth and likewise the food should be spiritual too, but since we are of a double and compound nature, it is meet that both the birth should be double and likewise the food compound. We were therefore given a birth by water and Spirit: I mean, by the holy baptism : and the food is the very bread of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who came down from heaven. John 6:48 For when He was about to take on Himself a voluntary death for our sakes, on the night on which He gave Himself up, He laid a new covenant on His holy disciples and apostles, and through them on all who believe in Him. In the upper chamber, then, of holy and illustrious Sion, after He had eaten the ancient Passover with His disciples and had fulfilled the ancient covenant, He washed His disciples' feet in token of the holy baptism. Then having broken bread He gave it to them saying, Take, eat, this is My body broken for you for the remission of sins. Likewise also He took the cup of wine and water and gave it to them saying, Drink ye all of it: for this is My blood, the blood of the New Testament which is shed for you for the remission of sins. This do ye in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you do show the death of the Son of man and confess His resurrection until He come.
If then the Word of God is quick and energising Hebrews 4:12, and the Lord did all that He willed ; if He said, Let there be light and there was light, let there be a firmament and there was a firmament ; if the heavens were established by the Word of the Lord and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth ; if the heaven and the earth, water and fire and air and the whole glory of these, and, in truth, this most noble creature, man, were perfected by the Word of the Lord; if God the Word of His own will became man and the pure and undefiled blood of the holy and ever-virginal One made His flesh without the aid of seed , can He not then make the bread His body and the wine and water His blood? He said in the beginning, Let the earth bring forth grass Genesis 1:11, and even until this present day, when the rain comes it brings forth its proper fruits, urged on and strengthened by the divine command. God said, This is My body, and This is My blood, and this do ye in remembrance of Me. And so it is at His omnipotent command until He come: for it was in this sense that He said until He come: and the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit becomes through the invocation the rain to this new tillage. For just as God made all that He made by the energy of the Holy Spirit, so also now the energy of the Spirit performs those things that are supernatural and which it is not possible to comprehend unless by faith alone. How shall this be, said the holy Virgin, seeing I know not a man? And the archangel Gabriel answered her: The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you. Luke 1:34-35 And now you ask, how the bread became Christ's body and the wine and water Christ's blood. And I say unto you, "The Holy Spirit is present and does those things which surpass reason and thought."
Further, bread and wine are employed: for God knows man's infirmity: for in general man turns away discontentedly from what is not well-worn by custom: and so with His usual indulgence He performs His supernatural works through familiar objects: and just as, in the case of baptism, since it is man's custom to wash himself with water and anoint himself with oil, He connected the grace of the Spirit with the oil and the water and made it the water of regeneration, in like manner since it is man's custom to eat and to drink water and wine , He connected His divinity with these and made them His body and blood in order that we may rise to what is supernatural through what is familiar and natural.
The body which is born of the holy Virgin is in truth body united with divinity, not that the body which was received up into the heavens descends, but that the bread itself and the wine are changed into God's body and blood. But if you enquire how this happens, it is enough for you to learn that it was through the Holy Spirit, just as the Lord took on Himself flesh that subsisted in Him and was born of the holy Mother of God through the Spirit. And we know nothing further save that the Word of God is true and energises and is omnipotent, but the manner of this cannot be searched out. But one can put it well thus, that just as in nature the bread by the eating and the wine and the water by the drinking are changed into the body and blood of the eater and drinker, and do not become a different body from the former one, so the bread of the table and the wine and water are supernaturally changed by the invocation and presence of the Holy Spirit into the body and blood of Christ, and are not two but one and the same.
Wherefore to those who partake worthily with faith, it is for the remission of sins and for life everlasting and for the safeguarding of soul and body; but to those who partake unworthily without faith, it is for chastisement and punishment, just as also the death of the Lord became to those who believe life and incorruption for the enjoyment of eternal blessedness, while to those who do not believe and to the murderers of the Lord it is for everlasting chastisement and punishment.
The bread and the wine are not merely figures of the body and blood of Christ (God forbid!) but the deified body of the Lord itself: for the Lord has said, "This is My body," not, this is a figure of My body: and "My blood," not, a figure of My blood. And on a previous occasion He had said to the Jews, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. For My flesh is meat indeed and My blood is drink indeed. And again, He that eats Me, shall live John 6:51-55.
Wherefore with all fear and a pure conscience and certain faith let us draw near and it will assuredly be to us as we believe, doubting nothing. Let us pay homage to it in all purity both of soul and body: for it is twofold. Let us draw near to it with an ardent desire, and with our hands held in the form of the cross let us receive the body of the Crucified One: and let us apply our eyes and lips and brows and partake of the divine coal, in order that the fire of the longing, that is in us, with the additional heat derived from the coal may utterly consume our sins and illumine our hearts, and that we may be inflamed and deified by the participation in the divine fire. Isaiah saw the coal. Isaiah 6:6 But coal is not plain wood but wood united with fire: in like manner also the bread of the communion is not plain bread but bread united with divinity. But a body which is united with divinity is not one nature, but has one nature belonging to the body and another belonging to the divinity that is united to it, so that the compound is not one nature but two.
With bread and wine Melchisedek, the priest of the most high God, received Abraham on his return from the slaughter of the Gentiles. Genesis 14:18 That table pre-imaged this mystical table, just as that priest was a type and image of Christ, the true high-priest. Leviticus xiv For you are a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek. Of this bread the show-bread was an image. This surely is that pure and bloodless sacrifice which the Lord through the prophet said is offered to Him from the rising to the setting of the sun Malachi 1:11 .
The body and blood of Christ are making for the support of our soul and body, without being consumed or suffering corruption, not making for the draught (God forbid!) but for our being and preservation, a protection against all kinds of injury, a purging from all uncleanness: should one receive base gold, they purify it by the critical burning lest in the future we be condemned with this world. They purify from diseases and all kinds of calamities; according to the words of the divineApostle 1 Corinthians 11:31-32, For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. This too is what he says, So that he that partakes of the body and blood of Christ unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself. Being purified by this, we are united to the body of Christ and to His Spirit and become the body of Christ.
This bread is the first-fruits of the future bread which is ἐπιούσιος, i.e. necessary for existence. For the word ἐπιούσιον signifies either the future, that is Him Who is for a future age, or else Him of Whom we partake for the preservation of our essence. Whether then it is in this sense or that, it is fitting to speak so of the Lord's body. For the Lord's flesh is life-giving spirit because it was conceived of the life-giving Spirit. For what is born of the Spirit is spirit. But I do not say this to take away the nature of the body, but I wish to make clear its life-giving and divine power John 6:63 .
But if some persons called the bread and the wine antitypes of the body and blood of the Lord, as did the divinely inspired Basil, they said so not after the consecration but before the consecration, so calling the offering itself.
Participation is spoken of; for through it we partake of the divinity of Jesus. Communion, too, is spoken of, and it is an actual communion, because through it we have communion with Christ and share in His flesh and His divinity: yea, we have communion and are united with one another through it. For since we partake of one bread, we all become one body of Christ and one blood, and members one of another, being of one body with Christ.
With all our strength, therefore, let us beware lest we receive communion from or grant it to heretics; Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, says the Lord, neither cast ye your pearls before swine Matthew 7:6, lest we become partakers in their dishonour and condemnation. For if union is in truth with Christ and with one another, we are assuredly voluntarily united also with all those who partake with us. For this union is effected voluntarily and not against our inclination. For we are all one body because we partake of the one bread, as the divine Apostle says 1 Corinthians 10:17 .
Further, antitypes of future things are spoken of, not as though they were not in reality Christ's body and blood, but that now through them we partake of Christ's divinity, while then we shall partake mentally through the vision alone.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Fr. William Casey of the Fathers of Mercy is one of my favorite preachers. In this 5 min portion of this sermon, he calls Catholics to hold firm to their faith in the midst of the moral corruption in the world.
Catholic organizations help millions of people in many different areas of service all over the world. Below are statistics from just the U.S. in 2004. I wonder how many Christian organizations come close to these numbers?
More than 1,688 local Catholic Charities agencies and institutions provided services to 8,522,997 unduplicated individuals in need of help in 2004.
* Provided Services that Build Strong Communities to 3,646,222 people
Social support services 1,837,964
Education and enrichment 775,968
Socialization and neighborhood services 359,574
Health-related services 276,400
Services to at-risk populations 396,316
* Provided Food Services to 6,287,891 people
Food banks and food pantries 2,984,089
Soup kitchens 1,247,290
Congregate dining 1,291,982
Home delivered meals 274,253
Other food services 490,277
* Provided Services that Strengthen Families to 1,071,463 people
Counseling and mental health services 387,856
Immigration services 350,164
Addiction services 94,027
Refugee services 92,034
Pregnancy services 98,064
Adoption services 49,318
* Provided Housing Related Services to 598,953 people
Counseling and Assistance 203,063
Temporary shelter 251,671
Supervised living 70,121
Permanent housing 52,384
Transitional housing 21,715
* Provided Other Basic Needs Services to 1,741844 people
Financial Assistance (not rent, mortgage, etc.) 176,304
Clothing Assistance 592,899
Utilities Assistance 330,721
Assistance with Purchase of Prescriptions 47,484
Additional Other Basic Needs Assistance 594,436
* Provided Disaster Services to 331,727 people
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
In this new ongoing series I will post examples of how the Catholic Church has been a force for good in societies over the past 2000 years. It seems that some people have been hoodwinked by atheist chiselers like Christipher Hitchens, into believing that the Catholic Church has not been a force for good in the world. Aside from the fact that the Church is more concerned for the salvation of souls rather than building a utopia here on earth, we can see very clearly that there has never been a greater force for good on the earth than the Catholic Church. Today's example, Pope Benedict XVI's audience on the monastery of Cluny. For the sake of brevity I quoted only parts of the audience address. The entire text can be found here.
In our catechesis on the Christian culture of the Middle Ages, we now turn to the monastic reform linked to the great monastery of Cluny. Founded eleven hundred years ago, Cluny restored the strict observance of the Rule of Saint Benedict and made the Church’s liturgy the centre of its life. It stressed the solemn celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours and Holy Mass, and enriched the worship of God with splendid art, architecture and music. The monastic liturgy, seen as a foretaste of the heavenly liturgy, was accompanied by a daily regime marked by silence and intercessory prayer. Cluny’s reputation for sanctity and learning caused its influence to spread to monasteries throughout Europe. Exempt from interference by feudal authorities, the monastery freely elected its abbots and flourished under a series of outstanding spiritual leaders like Saints Odo and Hugh. Cluny also contributed to the reform of the universal Church by its concern for holiness, the restoration of clerical celibacy and the elimination of simony. At a formative time of Europe’s history, Cluny helped to forge the Continent’s Christian identity by its emphasis on the primacy of the spirit, respect for human dignity, commitment to peace and an authentic and integral humanism.
Significant also were the benefits contributed to society by monasteries inspired by the Cluniac reform. At a time in which only ecclesiastical institutions provided for the indigent, charity was practiced with determination. In all houses, the almoner had to receive passers-by and needy pilgrims, traveling priests and religious, and above all the poor who came to ask for food and roof for a day. Not less important were two other institutions, typical of Medieval civilization, which were promoted by Cluny: the so-called truce of God and the peace of God. At a time strongly marked by violence and the spirit of revenge, assured with the "truce of God" were long periods of non-belligerence, on the occasion of important religious feasts and of some days of the week. Requested with "the peace of God," under the pain of a canonical censure, was respect for defenseless people and sacred places.
Thus enhanced in the conscience of the people of Europe was that process of long gestation, which led to the recognition, in an ever clearer way, of two essential elements for the construction of society, that is, the value of the human person and the primary good of peace. Moreover, as happened with other monastic foundations, the Cluniac monasteries had ample properties that, put diligently to good use, contributed to the development of the economy. Next to manual labor, there was no lack of some typical cultural activities of Medieval monasticism, such as schools for children, the setting up of libraries and the scriptoria for the transcription of books.
In this way, a thousand years ago, when the process of the formation of European identity was at its height, the Cluniac experience spread over vast regions of the European Continent, and made its important and precious contribution. It recalled the primacy of the goods of the spirit; from this it drew the tension toward the things of God; it inspired and favored initiatives and institutions for the promotion of human values; it educated in a spirit of peace.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Father James Fryar FSSP, the Chaplain of Christ The King Chapel in Sarasota, Florida has begun broadcasting the Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) live online! For now, the schedule for live streaming Masses is as posted below. Hopefully at some time in the future there will be added content. You can find more information about it on the Christ the King website. Go to the webpage and click on "Video Stream" to watch. If you are so inclined, you can donate to help keep the stream going and possibly help with getting more broadcast time so more content can be added in the future. Any amount would be appreciated. Enjoy, and pass it along.
Based on current local time (EST)
Sunday: 8:30 am 10:30 am
Mon-Sat: 9:00 am
Tues & Fri: 6:30 pm
Evening Recollection of the Confraternity of St. Peter:
Second Friday of the Month
at 6:30 pm
Fr. Robert Barron is putting together a 10 part video series on Catholicism. He is traveling around the world to put together this educational film. From the movie trailer, it looks like it is going to be pretty good. Check it out here.
Monday, November 9, 2009
The Apostolic Constitution titled, Anglicanorum Coetibus, has been released from the Vatican. More to come later when I get a chance to sit down and read through it!
I have been having a dialog with a guy named Rick, who logs onto my blog with the name Anonymous. Recently he has been commenting on my most recent post about relics. In that post I clearly provided a few examples of people in the early Church venerating relics, or references that at least allude to the veneration of relics. The crux of my post dealt with Saint Augustine, and his clear acceptance of the veneration of relics, as he penned in Chapter 8, Book 22 of his, City of God. I provided three clear examples of St. Augustine referring to people venerating relics, and being healed as a result of the relics. Towards the beginning of Chapter 8, St. Augustine clearly tells the reader that healing comes through, "now miracles are wrought in the name of Christ, whether by His sacraments or by the prayers or relics of His saints." This guy Rick kept heckling my use of Justin Martyr's comment on the burying of the martyr's bodies, so I conceded that the quote may have been too vague to support my case. I have no problem admitting when I make mistakes, or when I use less than convincing arguments. But in reference to the majority of the material I provided, which referred to Saint Augustine, I asked him this question, "Does St Augustine believe in the veneration of relics, yes or no?" Rick responded with the following, "No. Augustine was using a literary tactic called hyperbole. It is clear that Augustine was not a modern RCC even though you try to force him to be."
First of all we can see that this guy Rick has no intention of being honest in reading the Church Fathers. Secondly, where did I call St. Augustine a "modern Roman Catholic?" Do you see what kind of rhetoric these guys resort to? It is very clear that St. Augustine was not using hyperbole here. As the dialog continued with Rick, I saw him become more hostile as I demonstrated again that Saint Augustine was not speaking in a hyperbolic fashion. I can understand his frustration. After-all, Saint Augustine is repeatedly hailed by the "Reformed" Protestants as one of their own. In fact, I believe the arch-heretic John Calvin once said, “Augustine is so wholly with me, that if I wished to write a confession of my faith, I could do so
with all fulness and satisfaction to myself out of his writings.” I wonder if he was aware that Saint Augustine supported praying to Saints, and venerating the Saint's relics? What a pathetic, wretched fool Calvin was. The nauseating, foul stench of his arrogance and malevolent pride still blows on the winds of Protestantism today. I can't help but feel sorry for Rick, because his hatred of the Catholic Church is blinding him to the point where he will not even let St. Augustine's writings speak for themselves. Instead he goes into denial, claiming that the entire Book is one big hyperbole. Let us look at this Book a little closer, and see if Rick's conclusion is correct. The bold type in the quotes below is my added emphasis.
In the beginning of Chapter 8, Saint Augustine is explaining why Christ demonstrated miracles in His lifetime. But he is also answering a question as to whether or not miracles continue to happen in his time. "Why, they say, are those miracles, which you affirm were wrought formerly, wrought no longer?" The great Saint adds, "I might, indeed, reply that miracles were necessary before the world believed, in order that it might believe." Then Saint Augustine uses a literal connection that cannot be denied. He connects the miracles of Christ to the miracles brought about by the Sacraments of the Church, by prayer, and yes, by relics. We can all see plainly there is no hyperbole in his writing. If he is using the later as a hyperbole, then he is referring to Christ's miracles as hyperbole also, and we know that is not the case.
Chapter 8.— Of Miracles Which Were Wrought that the World Might Believe in Christ, and Which Have Not Ceased Since the World Believed.
The miracles were published that they might produce faith, and the faith which they produced brought them into greater prominence. For they are read in congregations that they may be believed, and yet they would not be so read unless they were believed. For even now miracles are wrought in the name of Christ, whether by His sacraments or by the prayers or relics of His saints; but they are not so brilliant and conspicuous as to cause them to be published with such glory as accompanied the former miracles.
Saint Augustine then moves on to prove that there had been miracles in his time by these various means. He refers to a man being healed in Milan, as result of gathering by the remains of the bodies of Protasius and Gervasius. It is also worthy to note that St. Augustine believed that these bodies were revealed miraculously to Saint Ambrose in a dream.
The miracle which was wrought at Milan when I was there, and by which a blind man was restored to sight, could come to the knowledge of many; for not only is the city a large one, but also the emperor was there at the time, and the occurrence was witnessed by an immense concourse of people that had gathered to the bodies of the martyrs Protasius and Gervasius, which had long lain concealed and unknown, but were now made known to the bishop Ambrose in a dream, and discovered by him. By virtue of these remains the darkness of that blind man was scattered, and he saw the light of day.
Is this hyperbole folks? Saint Augustine says he saw this happen with his own eyes, or at least was present in the city when it happened. I also find it amusing that Protestants hate when Catholics make the sign of the cross. Yet we can clearly that St. Augustine not only recognized that Christians made the sign of the cross in his day, but next he tells the story of a girl who was healed through it.
In the same city of Carthage lived Innocentia, a very devout woman of the highest rank in the state. She had cancer in one of her breasts, a disease which, as physicians say, is incurable...On the approach of Easter, she was instructed in a dream to wait for the first woman that came out from the baptistery after being baptized, and to ask her to make the sign of Christ upon her sore. She did so, and was immediately cured.
Soon after the great Saint gives us an example of how the Sacraments can heal. We know that St. Augustine held to a view of baptism that falls in line with the Catholic definition of baptism. In this example he clearly demonstrates that there is more to the sacrament of baptism than mere symbolism, because he identifies miracles coming as a result of the Sacrament itself. He also says that he is taking the word of a bishop that the miracle was real, and yes, a literal one.
An old comedian of Curubis was cured at baptism not only of paralysis, but also of hernia, and, being delivered from both afflictions, came up out of the font of regeneration as if he had had nothing wrong with his body. Who outside of Curubis knows of this, or who but a very few who might hear it elsewhere? But we, when we heard of it, made the man come to Carthage, by order of the holy bishop Aurelius, although we had already ascertained the fact on the information of persons whose word we could not doubt.
Lets get back on track and focus on the the issue of relics. The next story that St. Augustine tells us is perfectly fitting to today's Protestant scoffers like Rick. We can see that Rick fits perfectly into the character of one of the scoffing youngmen in the story. This story has to be hard to stomach for people like Rick. We can see that St. Augustine recognizes that Christians prayed to the deceased martyrs in heaven.
There was a fellow-townsman of ours at Hippo, Florentius, an old man, religious and poor, who supported himself as a tailor. Having lost his coat, and not having means to buy another, he prayed to the Twenty Martyrs, who have a very celebrated memorial shrine in our town, begging in a distinct voice that he might be clothed. Some scoffing youngmen, who happened to be present, heard him, and followed him with their sarcasm as he went away, as if he had asked the martyrs for fifty pence to buy a coat. But he, walking on in silence, saw on the shore a great fish, gasping as if just cast up, and having secured it with the good-natured assistance of the youths, he sold it for curing to a cook of the name of Catosus, a good Christian man, telling him how he had come by it, and receiving for it three hundred pence, which he laid out in wool, that his wife might exercise her skill upon, and make into a coat for him. But, on cutting up the fish, the cook found a gold ring in its belly; and immediately, moved with compassion, and influenced, too, by religious fear, gave it up to the man, saying, "See how the Twenty Martyrs have clothed you."
The next story tells us about a bishop who was carrying the relics of the martyr Saint Stephen. The bishop gave a blind girl some flowers, and she was miraculously healed by them. We can see that it was a result of the relics that this happened. The great Saint refers to the relics carried by the bishop twice.
When the bishop Projectus was bringing the relics of the most glorious martyr Stephen to the waters of Tibilis, a great concourse of people came to meet him at the shrine. There a blind woman entreated that she might be led to the bishop who was carrying the relics. He gave her the flowers he was carrying. She took them, applied them to her eyes, and immediately saw. Those who were present were astounded, while she, with every expression of joy, preceded them, pursuing her way without further need of a guide.
If there was any doubt as to the healing that Christ brings about as a result of relics, he gives us yet another story. Just by carrying a relic, a bishop was healed, and another priest was even resurrected from the dead by the relic! In fact, he tells of several occasions where this happened as a result of Saint Stephen's relic.
Lucillus bishop of Sinita, in the neighborhood of the colonial town of Hippo, was carrying in procession some relics of the same martyr, which had been deposited in the castle of Sinita. A fistula under which he had long labored, and which his private physician was watching an opportunity to cut, was suddenly cured by the mere carrying of thatsacred fardel, — at least, afterwards there was no trace of it in his body...
Eucharius, a Spanish priest, residing at Calama, was for a long time a sufferer from stone. By the relics of the same martyr, which the bishop Possidius brought him, he was cured. Afterwards the same priest, sinking under another disease, was lying dead, and already they were binding his hands. By the succor of the same martyr he was raised to life, the priest's cloak having been brought from the oratory and laid upon the corpse...
At Hippo a Syrian called Bassus was praying at the relics of the same martyr for his daughter, who was dangerously ill. He too had brought her dress with him to the shrine. But as he prayed, behold, his servants ran from the house to tell him she was dead. His friends, however, intercepted them, and forbade them to tell him, lest he should bewail her in public. And when he had returned to his house, which was already ringing with the lamentations of his family, and had thrown on his daughter's body the dress he was carrying, she was restored to life.
There, too, the son of a man, Irenæus, one of our tax-gatherers, took ill and died. And while his body was lying lifeless, and the last rites were being prepared, amidst the weeping and mourning of all, one of the friends who were consoling the father suggested that the body should be anointed with the oil of the same martyr. It was done, and he revived...
Likewise Eleusinus, a man of tribunitian rank among us, laid his infant son, who had died, on the shrine of the martyr, which is in the suburb where he lived, and, after prayer, which he poured out there with many tears, he took up his child alive.
I would hope that at this point, Rick, and those Protestant hecklers like him would admit that Saint Augustine was not using hyperbole here. Just in case there remains any doubt as to the literal language used here, we can see what St. Augustine himself says about the stories that he just related to us. He tells us quite plainly that all of these miracles were true, literal stories. In fact, that is the entire reason he is writing this letter. He is writing it to respond to the "Ricks" of his day.
What am I to do? I am so pressed by the promise of finishing this work, that I cannot record all the miracles I know; and doubtless several of our adherents, when they read what I have narrated, will regret that I have omitted so many which they, as well as I, certainly know. Even now I beg these persons to excuse me, and to consider how long it would take me to relate all those miracles, which the necessity of finishing the work I have undertaken forces me to omit. For were I to be silent of all others, and to record exclusively the miracles of healing which were wrought in the district of Calama and of Hippo by means of this martyr— I mean the most glorious Stephen— they would fill many volumes; and yet all even of these could not be collected, but only those of which narratives have been written for public recital. For when I saw, in our own times, frequent signs of the presence of divine powers similar to those which had been given of old, I desired that narratives might be written, judging that the multitude should not remain ignorant of these things. It is not yet two years since these relics were first brought to Hippo-regius, and though many of the miracles which have been wrought by it have not, as I have the most certain means of knowing, been recorded, those which have been published amount to almost seventy at the hour at which I write. But at Calama, where these relics have been for a longer time, and where more of the miracles were narrated for public information, there are incomparably more.
Finally Saint Augustine closes with an incredible story of healing that happened as a result of the veneration of the relics of Saint Stephen in his church. Read carefully how the Christians of his day viewed relics in the same way that Catholics do today. The Protesters accuse Catholics of idolatry in venerating relics, despite the Catholic Church's explanations to the contrary. Yet we can see here the Catholic faith being lived out in Saint Augustine's time. We can see that the miracles brought about by the Saints and their relics can never be separated from Christ Himself. The Christians at that time knew it, Catholics now know it, and you can see how the Christians of the early 400s viewed this in this last paragraph. Also, Saint Augustine tells us that he witnessed these events happen. Is Rick now going to call St. Augustine a liar? I think the hyperbole argument has now been laid to rest. Hopefully Rick will be man enough to admit that he was wrong.
One miracle was wrought among ourselves, which, though no greater than those I have mentioned, was yet so signal and conspicuous, that I suppose there is no inhabitant of Hippo who did not either see or hear of it, none who could possibly forget it. There were seven brothers and three sisters of a noble family of the Cappadocian Cæsarea, who were cursed by their mother, a new-made widow, on account of some wrong they had done her, and which she bitterly resented, and who were visited with so severe a punishment from Heaven, that all of them were seized with a hideous shaking in all their limbs. Unable, while presenting this loathsome appearance, to endure the eyes of their fellow citizens, they wandered over almost the whole Roman world, each following his own direction. Two of them came to Hippo, a brother and a sister, Paulus and Palladia, already known in many other places by the fame of their wretched lot. Now it was about fifteen days before Easter when they came, and they came daily to church, and specially to the relics of the most glorious Stephen, praying that God might now be appeased, and restore their former health. There, and wherever they went, they attracted the attention of every one. Some who had seen them elsewhere, and knew the cause of their trembling, told others as occasion offered. Easter arrived, and on the Lord's day, in the morning, when there was now a large crowd present, and the young man was holding the bars of the holy place where the relics were, and praying, suddenly he fell down, and lay precisely as if asleep, but not trembling as he was wont to do even in sleep. All present were astonished. Some were alarmed, some were moved with pity; and while some were for lifting him up, others prevented them, and said they should rather wait and see what would result. And behold! He rose up, and trembled no more, for he was healed, and stood quite well,scanning those who were scanning him. Who then refrained himself from praising God? The whole church was filled with the voices of those who were shouting and congratulating him. Then they came running to me, where I was sitting ready to come into the church . One after another they throng in, the last comer telling me as news what the first had told me already; and while I rejoiced and inwardly gave God thanks, the young man himself also enters, with a number of others, falls at my knees, is raised up to receive my kiss. We go in to the congregation: the church was full, and ringing with the shouts of joy, "Thanks to God! Praised be God!" every one joining and shouting on all sides, "I have healed the people," and then with still louder voice shouting again. Silence being at last obtained, the customary lessons of the divine Scriptures were read. And when I came to my sermon, I made a few remarks suitable to the occasion and the happy and joyful feeling, not desiring them to listen to me, but rather to consider the eloquence of God in this divine work. The man dined with us, and gave us a careful account of his own, his mother's, and his family's calamity. Accordingly, on the following day, after delivering my sermon, I promised that next day I would read his narrative to the people. And when I did so, the third day after Easter Sunday, I made the brother and sister both stand on the steps of the raised place from which I used to speak; and while they stood there their pamphlet was read. The whole congregation, men and women alike, saw the one standing without any unnatural movement, the other trembling in all her limbs; so that those who had not before seen the man himself saw in his sister what the divine compassion had removed from him. In him they saw matter of congratulation, in her subject for prayer. Meanwhile, their pamphlet being finished, I instructed them to withdraw from the gaze of the people; and I had begun to discuss the whole matter somewhat more carefully, when lo! As I was proceeding, other voices are heard from the tomb of the martyr, shouting new congratulations. My audience turned round, and began to run to the tomb. The young woman, when she had come down from the steps where she had been standing, went to pray at the holy relics, and no sooner had she touched the bars than she, in the same way as her brother, collapsed, as if falling asleep, and rose up cured. While, then, we were asking what had happened, and what occasioned this noise of joy, they came into the basilica where we were, leading her from the martyr's tomb in perfect health. Then, indeed, such a shout of wonder rose from men and women together, that the exclamations and the tears seemed like never to come to an end. She was led to the place where she had a little before stood trembling. They now rejoiced that she was like her brother, as before they had mourned that she remained unlike him; and as they had not yet uttered their prayers in her behalf, they perceived that their intention of doing so had been speedily heard. They shouted God's praises without words, but with such a noise that our ears could scarcely bear it. What was there in the hearts of these exultant people but the faith of Christ, for which Stephen had shed his blood?
Update: Rick Is Delusional.
Folks we have a scholar in the house today! Here is part of Rick's response to his hyperbole argument. Rick has now come unglued, and as I suspected, he will not admit his error. I also cannot believe that his Protestant buddies don't have the honesty to come over and correct his error. Rick has no argument as to why he thinks St. Augustine is speaking hyperbolic here. He just wants us all to believe it because he says so. I clearly demonstrated that he was not, and anyone with any common sense can see that St. Augustine clearly believed in the veneration of relics.
"It is clear that Augustine was using both hyperbole and exaggerated piety in his beliefs. Everyone can see here that the papist first tried to force a meaning into the prior quotes that were not there, and he is too much of a coward to address his errors. Instead he wants to viciously attack Christians for challenging him. Now he wants to turn Augustine into a relic worshiper. Shameful!
Pray for Rick and those like him, who refuse to accept reality. They would rather live in their own selfish, theological fantasies.
Let us Catholics recite the litany below for the conversion of Rick, and those like him who are confined to the darkness of unbelief.
Litany of Saint Augustine
Lord, have mercy on us! Christ, have mercy on us! Lord, have mercy on us! Christ hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of heaven, Have mercy on us! God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us! God, the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us! Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us!
Holy Mary, Pray for us. Holy Mother of God, Pray for us. Holy Virgin of virgins, Pray for us. Holy Father Augustine, Pray for us. Saint Augustine, example of contrite souls, Pray for us. St. Augustine, son of the tears of thy mother Monica, Pray for us. St. Augustine, light of teachers, Pray for us. St. Augustine, exterminator of heresies, Pray for us. St. Augustine, illustrious warrior against the foes of the Church, Pray for us. St. Augustine, pillar of the true faith, Pray for us. St. Augustine, vessel of Divine Wisdom, Pray for us. St. Augustine, rule of conduct for apostolic life, Pray for us. St. Augustine, whose heart was inflamed with the fire of Divine Love, Pray for us. St. Augustine, humble and merciful father, Pray for us. St. Augustine, zealous preacher of the Word of God, Pray for us. St. Augustine, precious treasure of confessors, Pray for us. St. Augustine, illumined expounder of Sacred Scriptures, Pray for us. St. Augustine, ornament of bishops, Pray for us. St. Augustine, light of the true Faith, Pray for us. St. Augustine, noble defender of Holy Church, Pray for us. St. Augustine, refulgence of the glory of God, Pray for us. St. Augustine, blossoming olive-tree of the House of God, Pray for us. St. Augustine, indefatigable adorer of the Most Holy Trinity, Pray for us. St. Augustine, inexhaustible fountain of Christian eloquence, Pray for us. St. Augustine, shining mirror of holiness, Pray for us. St. Augustine, model of all virtues, Pray for us. St. Augustine, consoler of the distressed, Pray for us. St. Augustine, comforter of the forsaken, Pray for us. St. Augustine, friend and helper of the poor, Pray for us. St. Augustine, our father, Pray for us.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: Spare us, O Lord! Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: Graciously hear us, O Lord! Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: Have mercy on us, O Lord!
Christ, hear us! Christ, graciously hear us!
Let us pray. O God, Who didst disclose to Saint Augustine the hidden mysteries of Thy wisdom and didst enkindle in his heart the flame of Divine Love, thus renewing in Thy Church the pillar of cloud and fire: graciously grant, that we pass safely through the storms of this world and reach the eternal fatherland which Thou didst promise us. Through Christ Our Lord. R. Amen.
Prayer Source: Kyrie Eleison — Two Hundred Litanies by Benjamin Francis Musser O.F.M., The Magnificat Press, 1944
On April 22, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI visited the northern Italian city of Pavia, where he prayed before the remains of St. Augustine.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Here is a video series that was filmed at the Holy Resurrection Monastery in March, 2009. Bishop Salvatore Cordileone talks about the importance of liturgy in the Church, as well as Pope Benedict's vision of the organic development of the Latin Rite liturgy. He also makes reference to the Eastern Rite liturgies, their history, and how they can be a compass for the Latin Rite liturgy. To view the video in full scale, right click on the video and go to YouTube. Enjoy.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Score one for God and His servant, Pope Benedict XVI. It hasn't taken long for his proposal to Anglicans to take effect with an Anglican province! The Traditional Anglican Communion in Great Britain is the first to come back into the Catholic Church, through Pope Benedict's new Constitution. Although we haven't seen the final document yet, Anglicans are not letting that stop them. Maybe they already have more information than we do. A news article from NC Register gives the following information.
An undated statement on the province’s website reads:
“That this Assembly, representing the Traditional Anglican Communion in Great Britain, offers its joyful thanks to Pope Benedict XVI for his forthcoming Apostolic Constitution allowing the corporate reunion of Anglicans with the Holy See, and requests the Primate and College of Bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion to take the steps necessary to implement this Constitution.”
A statement from Bishop David Moyer of the Traditional Anglican Communion reads:
“The well-attended Assembly was a grace-filled gathering where all in attendance became aware of the movement of the Holy Spirit. The bishops, priests, ordinands, and lay representatives were brought to a place of “being in full accord and of one mind,” as St. Paul prayed for the Church in Philippi.
I went over to the website of the Traditional Anglican Communion in the U.S. and they are also apparently considering the offer. Here is the website for the UK group. Hopefully we will see more groups coming into the true Church. Praise be to God!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Saint Ephrem the Syrian was a Saint who lived in the years 306 – 373. He wrote some of the most beautiful theological writings on the Blessed Virgin Mary from this time period. In his writings we see a developed theology regarding the importance of the Theotokos in God's plan of salvation. Some Protesters claim that there is no evidence for Catholic doctrines, such as her perpetual virginity, or her immaculate conception, that can be found in the early centuries of the Church. Of course, this is claim is not true, and Saint Ephrem is one of the important witnesses to Catholic Marian doctrine in the early Church. Another unique characteristic of St. Ephrem and the Syrian Church, is that it was largely removed from Roman influence. It had its own unique language (Aramaic), it was largely influenced by the Jewish culture around it, and it developed its own Christian imagery. The ascetic lifestyle of the desert monastics also had a permeating voice in the theology and lifestyle of Christians in the region. It was from this environment that Saint Ephrem wrote these words about the Blessed Virgin.
"Because there are those who dare to say that Mary cohabited with Joseph after she bore the Redeemer, we reply, 'How would it have been possible for her who was the home of the indwelling of the Spirit, whom the divine power overshadowed, that she be joined by a mortal being, and gave birth filled with birthpangs, in the image of the primeval curse?' If Mary was blessed of women, she would have been exempt from the curse from the beginning, and from the bearing of children in birthpangs and curses. It would be impossible therefore to call one who gave birth with these birthpangs blessed."
(Saint Ephrem's Commentary on Tatian's Diatessaron)
In this short passage of his commentary on the Diatessaron, we can see at least two Catholic Marian doctrines supported. First we see that St Ephrem is at least alluding to Mary being exempt from the original curse, which was the cause of women having to bear birthpangs. This would imply that Mary had some sort of original grace. St. Ephrem is putting her on par with Adam and Eve as not having the loss of grace which was contracted by all men after Adam and Eve fell in their original sin. This passage also puts the Catholic interpretation of Luke 1:28 ("Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with thee!) on the table as a support for the Catholic doctrine of her Immaculate Conception. Saint Ephrem gives this uniqueness of being "full of grace", to Mary alone, and he is using it to exclude her from the birthpangs that were due to her as a result of man's original sin. He is obviously using the term in reference to Sacred Scripture. (Luke 1:28)
Secondly, we can see that the Catholic teaching of Mary's perpetual virginity is strictly upheld. We must conclude that St. Ephrem believed that Mary had no other children except for Christ Himself, which is also Catholic doctrine. Saint Ephrem was obviously very familiar with the Gospels, and he obviously was not interpreting Jesus' other brothers (Matthew 13:55) as being born from the Theotokos, as modern Protesters do. There is much more that can be written about Saint Ephrem and his writings as a support for Catholic doctrine. But this is one passage in his writings that I recently found to be very illuminating.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Since the time of the Protestant revolt, a war has been waged on the Saints. From the earliest documents of Christianity, we have conclusive evidence that Christians venerated the relics or bones of the Saints. Their places of burial were always regarded in the highest esteem. St. Justin Martyr and his companinion were sentenced to death in the year 165. The following was written on the burial of their bodies,
"The holy martyrs, having glorified God and having gone forth to the accustomed place, were beheaded and perfected their testimony in the confession of the Savior. Some of the faithful, having secretly removed their bodies, laid them in a suitable place, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ working with them, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen."(Martyrdom of Justin Martyr 5.)
We also have conclusive evidence of the intercession of the Saints in the earliest written accounts of the Christian liturgies. There is no Divine Liturgy in any ancient Church that does not have prayers for the intercession of the Saints. The Divine Liturgy of Saint James, the oldest surviving complete liturgy in existence, dating from the 4th century, gives us this example,
Let us call to mind our most holy, pure, most glorious and blessed Lady, Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary, of the holy, glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John, of the holy, godlike and all-praised Apostles, of the glorious Prophets and victorious Martyrs and all the holy and just, that by their prayers and intercessions we may all find mercy.
We not only find the veneration, prayers and intercession of the Saints in the Church's liturgical life, but we find it among the Saints and Church Fathers themselves. The Christian communities venerated the relics of the Saints regularly, and even made pilgrimages to their places of burial. For example, there is no question that the relics of Saint Mark were highly venerated in Alexandria in the year 311, in the Church of Saint Mark in Bucolia. (Meinardus, Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity) We also have the witness of the great Saint Augustine in the early 5th century. There is no question as to Saint Augustine's belief in the veneration of the relics. In fact he even wrote about the miracles that came as a result of venerating the relics of the martyrs. In his writing, the City of God, St. Augustine tells us that St. Ambrose also believed in the miracles and veneration of relics. He explicitly tells us for example, that a blind man was healed by gathering at a place where there were relics of the martyrs Protasius and Gervasius. This is but one of many examples the great Saint gives in this writing.
For even now miracles are wrought in the name of Christ, whether by His sacraments or by the prayers or relics of His saints; but they are not so brilliant and conspicuous as to cause them to be published with such glory as accompanied the former miracles. For the canon of the sacred writings, which behoved to be closed, causes those to be everywhere recited, and to sink into the memory of all the congregations; but these modern miracles are scarcely known even to the whole population in the midst of which they are wrought, and at the best are confined to one spot. For frequently they are known only to a very few persons, while all the rest are ignorant of them, especially if the state is a large one; and when they are reported to other persons in other localities, there is no sufficient authority to give them prompt and unwavering credence, although they are reported to the faithful by the faithful.
The miracle which was wrought at Milan when I was there, and by which a blind man was restored to sight, could come to the knowledge of many; for not only is the city a large one, but also the emperor was there at the time, and the occurrence was witnessed by an immense concourse of people that had gathered to the bodies of the martyrs Protasius and Gervasius, which had long lain concealed and unknown, but were now made known to the bishop Ambrose in a dream, and discovered by him. By virtue of these remains the darkness of that blind man was scattered, and he saw the light of day. (St. Augustine, The City of God, Book 22, Chapter 8)
We can also go back further to the year 160AD and look at the Martyrdom of St. Polycarp. His bones were also venerated after his body was burned.
Accordingly, we afterwards took up his bones, as being more precious than the most exquisite jewels, and more purified than gold, and deposited them in a fitting place, whither, being gathered together, as opportunity is allowed us, with joy and rejoicing, the Lord shall grant us to celebrate the anniversary of his martyrdom, both in memory of those who have already finished their course, and for the exercising and preparation of those yet to walk in their steps.
(The Martyrdom of Polycarp, 150-160AD.)
More evidence of the veneration of the Saints follows the construction of church buildings. Once Christianity came out from under persecution, churches were often built over the tombs of the Saints. The altars in the churches were even required to have relics in their altar stones. (Canon 7 of the Seventh Ecumenical Council) This comes from the practice of setting up places of worship over the tombs of the Saints. This was done in the catacombs in Rome for example.
Once we look at the evidence from the earliest Christians, we have no doubt that the veneration of relics can be traced back to the earliest years of the Church. Some Protestants falsely accuse this veneration as taking the place of the proper worship due to God alone. But this is also a lie. None of these Christians ever viewed the veneration of the relics as being on par with the worship that is due to God alone. The Catholic or Orthodox Churches also do not believe this, despite what hecklers like Turretin Fan and James White write on their blogs. For instance, we can see a radical departure from the examples I provided above, which demonstrate the honor and respect Christians had for relics in the early Church, to Dr. James White's view of them now. He wrote the following on a blog article of his, back in 05/21/2008 the following,
There are few things more repulsive to the life-long Protestant than relics, and nothing more creepy than entering an old style traditionalist Roman Catholic church filled with skeletons and bones and the like. (James White, Alpha and Omega 2008)
Turretin Fan ignorantly wrote this comment on one of his blog posts on the veneration of the Saints.
Well, they bow down to them and reverence them. They call this "venerating" them. We view such "veneration" as worship, and properly condemn it as idolatrous. The modern Roman Catholics shy away from referring to the veneration of relics as "worship" - largely, one suspects, because of Reformation pressures. Nevertheless, in older books one can see admissions that it is worship of relics that is going on: E.G
To Dr. White and his Protesters, the relics themselves are "creepy", and "repulsive". The veneration of them is falsely labeled as idolatry. Yet, to a true Christian like St. Augustine, it is a sacred honor to venerate the relics. True Christians like St Augustine were giving honor and glory to Almighty God, who had worked through them. The earliest Christians, just as Catholics and Orthodox Christians today, venerate them because they are God's! We hear the words of Saint John Damascene, "We depict Christ as our King and Lord, and we do not strip Him of His army. For the Saints are the Lord's army." Isn't it a shame that we have someone like Dr. White saying that he is "creeped" out by something that true Christians venerate and receive great blessings from? There is no question that God has healed many through the veneration of His relics. Of course we know that the grace comes from God Himself, and it is not as if the relics themselves are the source of the blessings bestowed upon the believer. Let us Contrast Dr. White's statement, to the great St. Augustine's story of how the veneration of the relics of the Milanese martyrs drove demons away and healed a man. It is clear that St. Augustine, contrary to the Protester White, was not "creeped" out or repulsed by relics.
There is a country-seat called Victoriana, less than thirty miles from Hippo-regius. At it there is a monument to the Milanese martyrs, Protasius and Gervasius. Thither a young man was carried, who, when he was watering his horse one summer day at noon in a pool of a river, had been taken possession of by a devil. As he lay at the monument, near death, or even quite like a dead person, the lady of the manor, with her maids and religious attendants, entered the place for evening prayer and praise, as her custom was, and they began to sing hymns. At this sound the young man, as if electrified, was thoroughly aroused, and with frightful screaming seized the altar, and held it as if he did not dare or were not able to let it go, and as if he were fixed or tied to it; and the devil in him, with loud lamentation, besought that he might be spared, and confessed where and when and how he took possession of the youth. At last, declaring that he would go out of him, he named one by one the parts of his body which he threatened to mutilate as he went out and with these words he departed from the man. But his eye, falling out on his cheek, hung by a slender vein as by a root, and the whole of the pupil which had been black became white. When this was witnessed by those present (others too had now gathered to his cries, and had all joined in prayer for him), although they were delighted that he had recovered his sanity of mind, yet, on the other hand, they were grieved about his eye, and said he should seek medical advice. But his sister’s husband, who had brought him there, said, “God, who has banished the devil, is able to restore his eye at the prayers of His saints.” Therewith he replaced the eye that was fallen out and hanging, and bound it in its place with his handkerchief as well as he could, and advised him not to loose the bandage for seven days. When he did so, he found it quite healthy. Others also were cured there, but of them it were tedious to speak. (St. Augustine, The City of God, Book 22, Chapter 8)
I recommend that you read the entire Chapter 8, of book 12, of St Augustine's City of God. There is no question as to his belief of the miracles brought by the veneration of relics, and the prayers offered to the Saints. I want to leave you with one final story by Saint Augustine, which gives us an example of the power of God in His Saints, and in their intercessory prayers for us. Once again, the Protestor Dr. White and his cohort Turretin Fan, loathe and despise the veneration of relics and the Saints; yet the true Christian, like Saint Augustine is in awe of God's work in them. One side wars against God and His Saints, the other venerates and gives glory and honor to God who works in them and through them.
There was a fellow-townsman of ours at Hippo, Florentius, an old man, religious and poor, who supported himself as a tailor. Having lost his coat, and not having means to buy another, he prayed to the Twenty Martyrs, who have a very celebrated memorial shrine in our town, begging in a distinct voice that he might be clothed. Some scoffing young men, who happened to be present, heard him, and followed him with their sarcasm as he went away, as if he had asked the martyrs for fifty pence to buy a coat. But he, walking on in silence, saw on the shore a great fish, gasping as if just cast up, and having secured it with the good-natured assistance of the youths, he sold it for curing to a cook of the name of Catosus, a good Christian man, telling him how he had come by it, and receiving for it three hundred pence, which he laid out in wool, that his wife might exercise her skill upon, and make into a coat for him. But, on cutting up the fish, the cook found a gold ring in its belly; and forthwith, moved with compassion, and influenced, too, by religious fear, gave it up to the man, saying, “See how the Twenty Martyrs have clothed you.” (St. Augustine, The City of God, Book 22, Chapter 8)
Monday, November 2, 2009
Recently an anonymous commenter dropped by to let me know that a James White/Robert Sungenis debate is in the works. Comments have been made on YouTube, on one of their past debates. One of Dr. White's cohorts, Turretin Fan, dropped by to confirm that this debate is indeed in the works, but no official date or location is known at this time. Until Robert or James posts something on their websites, we will have to take it as a rumor I suppose. Hopefully I will be able to attend personally if it takes place.
"Apparently Dr. White has accepted it - or at least accepted it in principle, awaiting the working-out of the necessary details. They need to find a forum, etc."
If you are into inspiring spiritual books, then the Red Book Of Chinese Martyrs is the book for you. It is filled with stories of how great Catholics suffered under the persecutions in China. The Communists of China have gone to great lengths to persecute the Catholic Church. One of the saddest stories in the book is the persecution of the Trappist Monks of Yangjiaping. Their monastery was pillaged and eventually burned to the ground, while the Trappists were forced on a death march, which claimed the lives of 33 Catholics. Although some amazingly survived to re-establish their community in another part of China, in the 50's Mao expelled them and silenced the order for good. This is just one of the stories of the more than 300 page book that takes you on a journey through the Catholic persecutions in China. When we think we have it bad here in the US, a book like this can really put things into perspective. You can buy the book at The Catholic Company which offers a number of great Catholic books.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
One of the fruits of Protestantism: The Ruins of Whitby Abbey.
There is not much that needs to be said for the celebration of disunity that Protestants are now proud to call their own. They call October 31st, "Reformation Day." The late great Fr. John Hardon had a few choice words for the proper use of the word, Reformation. I do not need to add anything to Father Hardon's words. Just let them sink in.
"Never - unless you’re in a daze and are not responsible for what you’re saying: Never use the word; never use the word, Reformation to speak of Protestantism. Never! There was only one Reformation and that was the Reformation of the Catholic Church."
(From The Real Meaning of Halloween)