Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Slander of Pope Saint Damasus (John Bugay and JND Kelly)

The great Pope, Saint Damasus was a hero of the early Church. He was born around 305 and was Pope during the Arian crisis between the years of 366 to 384. He was hailed by other Saints of his time such as St. Jerome as being a man of stellar character and he was recognized as standing firm against two prominent heresies, Apollonarianism and Macedonianism. It is a well known fact that false accusations of murder were brought against him instigated by a by a man named Ursinus who sought to undermine the papal election of the time. Eventually Ursinus and some of his supporters who aligned themselves against Damasus were murdered by opponents of theirs, and some people of the time tried to implicate Damasus in the those murders. He was however exonerated of that charge by the authorities of the time. Damasus was also falsely accused of adultery, and it is also a historical fact that the emperor Gratian himself along with a synod of 44 bishops of the Church exonerated him from these false accusations. Protestant historian Henry Chadwick recognizes these accusations as probably being false in his work 'The Pelican History of the Church.' Even secular sources like the New World Encyclopedia recognize both of these accusations as possibly being false, and they at least have the decency to include these exonerations as historical facts. But let us look at how some of the opponents of the Catholic Church still slander his character today in an effort to pull people away from the one true Catholic Church.

There is a disgruntled, maniacal ex-Catholic named John Bugay over at a site called 'Beggars All.' He has written a slanderous piece attacking Pope Saint Damasus in an effort to get people to question the credibility of the Catholic Church in making Damasus a Saint. Bugay writes, "In the comments from that last thread, the discussion turned to Pope Damasus (366-384 AD). At question was my appellation “the murderer Pope Damasus,” but as I said there, I’ll stand by that appellation. J.N.D. Kelly (“Oxford Dictionary of the Popes”) notes that Damasus hired the mob [and note both the nomenclature and the location], which “savagely attacked the Ursinians”, [followers of Ursinus, a rival of Damasus’s] and killing 137 people in the process.  “Pope St. Damasus,” of course, is officially a Saint of the Roman Catholic Church. He personifies the legacy, which we see today, that any amount of lying or criminal activity can be excused if it is done in the name of Mother Rome." 

Bugay however lets his hatred for the Church cloud his judgment since he looks for one source to build his weak case on, the Protestant hack historian J.N.D. Kelly who never even mentions the fact that the authorities of Damasus' time exonerated the man of these charges! I read the book this morning on the entry on Damasus and amazingly Kelly leaves out these facts. What a surprise. Of course he is the go to man for everything slanderous against the Catholic Church concerning church history. Most other sources recognize the fact that these accusations are probably, or at least possibly false, based on a summary of historical evidence. In fact Kelly's book is one of the few that does not even mention these facts. How convenient! Yet for these types of radical Protestants and many radical atheists, there is no appeal to a summary of historical sources, it is only their biased hatred of the Catholic Church that fuels them in their search for anything that will make them feel better about rejecting Christ and His Church. Isn't it funny how a court of the Church and the court of the emperor at the time of Pope Damasus exonerated the man of these charges, and yet we still have extreme Protestant hecklers and atheists today who still go back and use the same false charges against him today? Such is the plight of those who hate the Church.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Nook Color EReader Catholic Review

I purchased the Nook Color Ereader recently, and I must say that I really like it. I had previously used a Sony Ereader, but slow loading times and erratic lockups made it less than fun to use. The new Nook is much faster and the display is a pleasure to read from. So far I have not found the screen to be any harder on my eyes than the paper simulation display on the Sony. You can adjust the brightness as well, and so far late night reading has been a pleasure. The text size is also easy to change and even the blindest of people will be able to get the font large enough to read. Books load fairly quickly and I really like the ability to high-lite and make notes in the text for future reference and research. You can high-lite in 3 different colors in case you want to high-lite by topic for easy reference. This is great for Scripture study since you can make all the notes you want for future reference. Aside from a 2000 page Bible or something, the load time for a 300 or 400 page book is normally 10 to 20 seconds. Smaller books like 150 to 200 pages load almost instantly. The Bible takes a bit longer, 45 seconds or so.

There are thousands of books available on Barnes and Noble, and I really like the fact that they have direct access to many of the 'Internet Archive' books for free download. This means you have direct access to hundreds of out of print Catholic books for free. You can literally pay for the 250.00 price tag quite quickly, since it would cost you hundreds to find just a few of these books in regular print. So far I have found plenty of cool stuff for free like Pope Leo XIII's encyclicals, books on moral theology, Byzantine architecture, writings of St. Bernard, biographies on Pius IX, liturgical texts on many liturgies, homilies of St. Chrysostom and the list goes on. The formatting is not always the best since they are converted over to text from scans, but they are certainly readable. There is one catch with downloading the free books through Barnes and Noble, you need to set up an account with them with a credit card. You don't get charged, but I suppose it is an effort to get you to be more open to buying some of their books. After all, once you are registered it only takes two touches of the button to download a book. Downloading the books on WiFi is effortless and takes only seconds to get them. Another cool feature is that most books have free downloads of samples so you can check the book out before you buy it. I bought Martin Mosebach's book 'Heresy of Formlessness' and it has been a great read so far. Ignatius Press is starting to make many of their books available in E format on Barnes and Noble. Hopefully TAN and others will follow suit. You can get magazine subscriptions for it as well, but there are only 86 titles available right now, and none so far have caught my attention to give it a try.

So far I have not done much with PDFs or other documents. I use all Mac products and so far no problems linking up and moving files back and forth from the Nook. I did move over a few PDFs and they are showing up with an x in the middle of the pages. I have not had a chance to see what the deal is with that. There is ample storage on the device at 5GB, expandable to 32 with an SD card. I have 75 books on it and a few pictures and I still have 4.85GB remaining. You can also back up your files on your Mac as well in case the Nook dies. From what I read, Barnes and Noble also has permanent records of your purchases so you can download them any time. I still recommend you make your own backup. Pictures look great on the screen as well and you can carry your favorite pictures around with you. I have not tried music on it yet, but it does have a music player on it, and if you like the Pandora internet radio, it comes loaded on it as well. I have not had the chance to play with that yet. I am more interested in using it for reading, and I use my iPod for music already so I probably won't get much use out of it in that area. 

Another cool feature of the Nook Color is that it has real browser surfing for the internet if you have a WiFi connection. It is not a solution for working on the Net, but it is great if you want to look something up for quick reference. You can also turn the screen sideways and surf that way as well. This works with pictures too. The touch screen is pretty decent, and is similar to the iPad, but not quite as responsive from what I have seen, but certainly not bad. Overall, I would say that this is a pretty good purchase, and I can see myself using it quite a bit. It is also really cool that for a buck you can download the entire Summa and carry it around with you along with a ton of other great books. I don't think this can ever substitute fully for a good hard copy of a book. But with all of the free books online, the space issue of having thousands of books around my place, and the portability benefits, it is a welcome addition to the library.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Who Has the Authority To Teach the Scriptures?

"And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words: going forth out of that house or city shake off the dust from your feet. Amen I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city." (Matthew 10:14-15)

Although we as Catholics do not believe the Scriptures are the only authority of God, the Catholic Church has always recognized them as 'an authority', since they are God's written Word. That being said, we also understand that they are never to separated from the authority of Christ or from the authority He gave to His Church on earth. The Protestant on the other hand thinks that Scripture is their only authority, while denying the Catholic Church's authority to preach and teach the Scriptures. I find this Protestant position problematic on many fronts, but I will address only one here. How can it be that each individual Protestant thinks each has the authority to interpret the Scriptures for themselves, yet they deny any possibility of the Church possessing that same authority? In other words, they deny the Catholic Magisterium, claiming that there is no such thing proclaimed in the Scriptures, yet they proclaim themselves each as their own magisteriums. The standard definition of a Magisterium is nothing more than 'a teaching authority.' 

If we are to examine the Scriptures on a whole, which position holds sway as to how the Gospel is preached and understood in the New Testament? Is it up to each and every person to interpret Jesus' teaching on their own? Or did Jesus send particular individuals to whom He gave authority to teach? This answer is not hard to find. Quite simply, Jesus gave the apostles and those whom He sent to teach the Gospel, not just anyone who happened to come across the Old Testament, who decided on his own to teach it. Remember, there was no New Testament when the apostles taught the Gospel. So, could anyone interpret the Old Testament and truly understand what it meant? Or did it take Jesus, and the apostles He sent to correctly interpret it? The answer would be the later. We have two perfect examples in the book of Acts where St. Peter and the apostles taught new interpretations of the Old Testament by the authority Jesus gave to them. One regarding circumcision, in Acts 15, as well as when St. Paul goes to the Bereans in Acts 17. The Bereans were Hellenistic Jews, who by the way did not believe in Scripture Alone either, yet we see they were searching the Scriptures to understand who the Messiah was. Some only understood the passages correctly when St. Paul enlightened them with its proper interpretation, and even then many rejected his interpretation and left. The Scriptures tell us "And many indeed of them believed...", not all. We see the same today with Protestantism. They search the Scriptures but do not understand them, and when the Church that Jesus sent them tells them what the true interpretation is, they likewise leave rejecting the true interpretation. 

So, when it comes to authority, the Protestant argument leaves much to be desired. They insist that no Church can have the authority or the divine command to interpret the Scriptures for them, yet they give that same authority to themselves, and they even allow their "pastors" to have some authority over them. How else do you explain the idiots who followed Jim Jones? He is another wonderful product Protestantism can add to its roster of blind, heretical anti-Christs along with Luther, Calvin and the like. Those however who are not gullible enough to follow their "pastors" blindly, go "church" shopping when they disagree on Biblical interpretation. How convenient! The Catholic on the other hand looks for the teaching authority that Christ gave to him through His appointed teachers, in His only Church which He established. Notice, the basic doctrines of Catholicism regarding salvation, baptism, the Eucharist, marriage, etc, are very firm, clear, and not up for negotiation. The Catholic Church is united its its official proclaimed doctrines and dogmas. Protestantism however has no unified position on any of these doctrines, despite the fact that they search the Scriptures. 

One Protestant "church" allows divorce despite what the Scriptures tell them, while others do not allow it, yet they are all searching the Scriptures. Who is right? The Catholic Church however is united on this teaching, and understands the correct interpretation of the Scriptures regarding divorce. This pattern of division is repeated in virtually every major doctrinal teaching of Scripture in Protestantism. Yes, many in the Catholic Church do not believe what the Catholic Church teaches on marriage and divorce, but they do know what the Catholic Church officially teaches on the matter. This is a major difference in the way Scripture is handled in true Christianity. For the Protestors, they have only probability in their interpretations. At best its an educated guess for them, and is ultimately a false reliability on their own crippled intellects. They know not the end of the barrel from the stock of the rifle. Sometimes they get lucky and only shoot themselves in the foot, other times they kill themselves. Yes, the Protestants love to quote the Berean passage as a prooftext for their heresy of Sola Scriptura. What they do not realize however is that the Berean passage is a perfect example of what happens when people who search the Scriptures do not separate from the teaching authority of Christ and His Church. They hear the appointed teacher and obey. Those who did not listen searched the Scriptures till they were blue in the face, yet they never truly understood them, they only thought they did. Such is the plight of the Protestants. They search and never find because of their own pride in rejecting God's appointed teaching authority.  So they commit spiritual suicide.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Litany of the Saints

One of the prayers that Satan hates the most is the 'Litany of the Saints.' This is known by myself first hand after helping in many exorcism sessions where demons often shrieked in horror, fear or outright rebellion when the Litany was prayed at the beginning of the exorcism. This is one of many common hatreds that Protestants and Satan share in. Sadly Satan and the Protestants walk side by side, arm in arm in their insolence towards God and His family. This Litany, which has grown throughout time as the Church has grown, however dates back to the earliest days of the Church and is said to be apostolic. In fact there are documents which date back to Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus’s time, 270AD, and Saint Basil’s writings tell us of his devotion to the Saints and their images, which he also believed originated from the apostles. “Wherefore also I honour and kiss the features of their images, inasmuch as they have been handed down from the holy apostles, and are not forbidden, but are in all our churches.” (Letter 360) Saint Gregory the great is also said to have to had processions in which the Litany of the Saints was sung. Throughout history it has been an active part of the Church's prayer life. 
Since Holy Mother Church has always regarded this Litany as a treasure trove of grace, should we not say this Litany often as we can in our own private devotions as well? Knowing that Holy Mother Church has always had a special affection for this prayer, and knowing that Satan and his minions are offended by it, we should be enkindled for our love of God, His Church and His family to recite it often and with conviction. Make it a part of your regular prayer life and invoke the intercession of the Saints, for your own salvation and that of the whole world. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Podcast Sermon: Satan Is Real- How Do We Deal With Him?

Here is a powerful sermon preached today by Fr. James Fryar, FSSP at Christ the King in Sarasota, Florida. If you are wondering just how we are to deal with Satan then you need to listen to this. Father Fryar neatly sums up the sermon with six rules to follow when dealing with Satan. I have had the opportunity to assist at exorcisms before and I can tell you that everything he says is dead on. Listen here or download it on iTunes by searching for Catholic Champion. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

More Heavenly Friends To Pray For Us!

The Pope has just released the names of new Saints, Martyrs, Venerables and Blesseds. Read the full article here.

New Saint

Blessed Guido Maria Conforti, Italian archbishop-bishop and founder of the Pious Society of St. Francis Xavier for Foreign Missions (1865-1931).

New Blesseds

• Servant of God Francesco Paleari, Italian priest of the "Cottolengo" Institute (1863-1939).

• Servant of God Anna Maria Janer Anglarill, Spanish foundress of the Institute of Sisters of the Holy Family of Urgell (1800-1885).

• Servant of God Marie Clare of the Child Jesus (nee Libania do Carmo Galvao Meixa de Moura Telles e Albuquerque), Portuguese foundress of the Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (1843-1899).

• Servant of God Dulce (nee Maria Rita Lopes Pontes), Brazilian religious of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God (1914-1992).

Newly Declared Martyrs to be Beatified

• Servant of God Alois Andritzki, German diocesan priest who died in the concentration camp of Dachau (1914-1943).

• Servants of God Jose Nadal y Guiu (1911-1936) and Jose Jordan y Blecua (1906-1936), Spanish diocesan priests, killed in hatred of the faith during religious persecution in Spain.

• Servants of God Antonio (Miguel Faundez Lopez), Spanish professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor (1907-1936) and Bonaventura (ne Baltasar Mariano Munoz Martinez) Spanish cleric of the Order of Friars Minor (1912-1936), as well as Pedro Sanchez Barba (1895-1936) and Fulgencio Martinez Garcia (1911-1936), Spanish priests and pastors of the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi, killed in hatred of the faith during religious persecution in Spain.

New Venerables

• Servant of God Antonio Palladino, Italian diocesan priest and founder of the Congregation of Dominican Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (1881-1926).

• Servant of God Bechara (Selim Abou-Mourad), Lebanese religious of the Basilian Salvatorian Order of the Melkites (1853-1930).

• Servant of God Maria Elisa Andreoli, Italian foundress of the Congregation of Reparatrix Sisters Servants of Mary (1861-1935).

• Servant of God Maria Pilar of the Sacred Heart (Maria Pilar Solsona Lamban), Spanish religious of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary, Religious of Pious Schools (1881-1966).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Loss of “Oppositio” in the Modern Church

The Loss of “Oppositio” in the Modern Church
Matthew Bellisario 2010
It would certainly be a heresy to only accept one of the two natures of Jesus Christ. We cannot love His humanity and despise His divinity. This one sided distorted view of Christ is comparable however to the view many Catholics have today. I think it is safe to say that the average Catholic parish today is infested with the errors of modernism, which has led to an unfortunate clouded view of Jesus Christ and His Church. Modernism of course is a broad term used to describe a radical break with the past, or a shifting away from the objective reality of religious truth, to an obsession with the subjectivist thought of secularism. It may also be classified as a type of rationalism. These types of errors have taken up residence in many different forms within the minds of Catholics today. We witness corrupt catechesis in parish RCIA programs and diaconate formation programs. These theological perversions permeate many Catholic’s view of the Sacraments, most visibly in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The most obvious problem we have today is the denial of objective reality, which is one of the bastard children of secular humanism and rationalism. Many refuse to accept reality for what it is, instead substituting half truths in its place, much like only acknowledging one of the natures of Christ. This creates a lukewarm indifferentism towards the Catholic faith. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Italy Says, "Learn Our Language First!"

I like to read the Italian news sites, and I found this article to be quite interesting. It seems that if you want to move to Italy and get a job you have to learn their language first. I wonder how that would fly over here in the States? It seems to me that making potential migrants learn the language of the country they want to move to would do a couple of positive things. It would make that person more likely to be productive as a person of that particular society. It would also require the person to put forth some effort to assimilate into that particular culture. Italy is forming a points system based on how well you intend to adapt into their Italian culture. You start with 16 points for learning the language, but you must attain 30 points in two years to stay. You can gain points by taking vocational courses, or signing contracts for rentals, etc, which seem to be fine, but another way is to volunteer for the national health service, which I am sure probably promotes immorality of some sort. You lose points if you commit crimes, and they will even kick you out if you are a trouble maker. Maybe we can learn something here in the US? Overall, from what I have read in the article it seems to make a lot of sense. In order to move and work in Italy, you have to speak their language, and in order to stay you have to make an effort to find a job and contribute to their society. In other words, you have to integrate into their society to some extent to live there, which is in my opinion not such a bad thing.