Sunday, July 10, 2011

Prayer, Study and Discipline: The Prayer Corner

I am a Dominican at heart, and I favor the ideal of how prayer and study ultimately complement one another. They are able to be fully integrated in our lives if we follow the advice of Saint Dominic. How we choose to spend our time in prayer and study is important. We study our faith not just for the sake of knowledge, but so that we can know and love Our Lord Jesus Christ, and in turn share what He gives us with others. This all happens by God's grace of course. By grace, He elevates our minds and hearts above our natural state. This is not to say however that human nature is bad, this is one of the egregious errors of Protestantism. Yes, we have a fallen nature, but it is not totally destroyed and useless to us as human beings. As many Thomistic theologians have said, "grace presupposes nature, it does not destroy it." We are not trying to shed our human nature as if it were a curse, no we are praying for God's grace so that He may elevate it. We ask for His grace so that we may be "deified" or made more like Him. We want to do His will, and we can only know His will by His grace. There are many ways in which God gives us His grace, one way in which it is given is in prayer, and study. I say one way because truly prayer and study should not be separate entities. God gave man an intellect so that he may be able to observe objective truth. By His grace he then elevates man's intellect so that as he perceives reality, he may then gain the virtues of wisdom and prudence. God created man with an intellect, and through this intellect is one of the ways in which God speaks to man. When we set out to study we must have a right intention. We must not lose sight of the end which we are seeking, which is to do God's will and have eternal life.

I have a few simple recommendations to assist in your end goal. The first is to first pray to God to enlighten you in your studies. Pray before you study, and then make your study a kind of prayer. The second is to have a good book for daily spiritual mediation, and a nice copy of the Scriptures near by for daily reading. These should complement your other readings. I will be doing a couple of book reviews soon. One will be on a good book for daily meditation, and another will be on what Bibles to use. Finally last but not least, is to have a place in your house devoted to prayer and study. It used to be customary for Catholics to have prayer corners in their houses. You don't see this so much anymore. I have in my bedroom a corner designated for my prayer and study. In my prayer corner I have a desk, my reading material, a rosary, candles, and I am surrounded by icons, or holy images, which help to focus my thoughts on God. This is yet another way God speaks through our intellect. We see the icon of the Theotokos and Our Lord in her arms, and the thought of the incarnation comes to mind. I then contemplate on how Christ chose to perfect and elevate human nature, not destroy it. It is important that we have a designated place to go to pray, and study. I find it helpful to have a desk to sit at when I am reading something that is laborious, so that as I am reading I can underline passages in the book, or I can take notes on my laptop. If I do not want to mark up my expensive books, I use my laptop to record important notes as I read. If you have a short attention span and memory like mine, you need all of the help you can get. The prayer corner is a huge help to stay focused on your prayer and study. Stay tuned for more book reviews.

Below are a couple of videos that you may enjoy from the Dominican theologians, Fr. Bruno M. Shah, and Fr. Thomas Joseph White. Fr. Shah talks about Dominican study, while Fr. White talks a bit about Dominican theology, as well as nature and grace.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine: Book Recommendation

Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine: Book Recommendation
Matthew J. Bellisario 2011

    For those of you who want a book that is easy to understand and yet not like many of the watered down books that cover the Catholic faith these days, I think you will enjoy Archbishop Sheehan’s classic, ‘Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine.’ Originally penned in two volumes between 1918 and 1923, the work became the norm to teach and defend the Catholic faith in high schools across the US. It is now printed by Barronius Press and has had some recent updates added by Father P.M. Joseph. In reading the text however, you would never know that anything has been updated, and aside from a few additions tying in some references to some other material such as the CCC and some more modern books or documents from the Church that are helpful, which were not in existence in the early 1900s, it retains the same original structure and form.

    The work is based upon a Thomistic foundation which makes it very clear and easy to understand. If there is one book to lay along side the Catechism of Trent for basic study, which can be used to explain and defend the essentials of the Catholic faith, this is a great choice. This one book far surpasses any modern pop-apologetics book on the market. At 686 pages it may look intimidating, but do not let that deter your purchase. The book is written in such a way that you do not have to go cover to cover to get a comprehensive use of it. The book is laid out in two parts. Part I being Apologetics, further broken down into three subsections, Natural Apologetics, Christian Apologetics and Catholic Apologetics, then broken into 14 chapters, or 301 pages. This first part argues from the existence of God, to the signs of Revelation, to the historical proofs of the Gospels, to the person of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the one Catholic Church.

    The first chapter gives a summary explanation of the ways of knowing God, from order and law in nature, from motion, from change, from causality and from dependence. After giving this summary explanation it then gives a fuller treatment of the subject complete with objections and further rebuttals to the objections. So you can use it to gain a simple understanding, and then later delve into the more fuller explanation of the subject giving you the ability to defend the arguments. Most of the chapters in part one give a summary of the material, more detail, and then address objections. For example in chapter 10, ‘The Identification of the Church of Christ: The Catholic Church is the True Church’ it summarizes the four marks of the Church: 1. It must be universal, 2. It must be one, 3. It must be Holy, 4. It must be apostolic. It then explains these principles and then moves on to examine the Protestant sects and how none of them bear even one mark of the true Church. It then covers the history of the rebellion and proves that “Protestantism, as a doctrinal system, is perhaps the weakest heresy ever proposed.” The chapter then marches forward to cover the Orthodox Churches in the same manner.

Chapter 11 covers the papacy, and answers common objections that we often hear from the Protestant pop-apologists on the internet like James White and the folks over at Beggars All blog. For example, the Galileo controversy as well as the Pope Liberius and Honorius controversies are clearly addressed. They are clearly shown that they are not strong arguments against the papacy. I find it quite alarming how Protestant pop-apologists like James White keep bringing up these same lame arguments in their debates. The Spanish Inquisition is also covered over several pages. It was not the monstrosity that the Protestant spin machine has cracked it up to be.

    Part II, which covers Catholic Doctrine, is broken down into five subsections and then into 19 chapters or 385 pages including the subject index. This second part covers subjects such as God and His Divine Essence, the Trinity, the Angels, the Fall of Man, Jesus Christ and the Incarnation, the Church, Grace, Worship, the Eucharist and the Sacraments and the Last Things. The book is concrete in its teachings. For example it lays out the argument against Darwinian evolution very clearly and in great detail, using some modern sources to question the fossil records and the lack of proof for the evolutionary change of species, etc. It makes clear the teaching of the Church which holds that God directly created the soul of Adam. This is where the modern additional material not found in the original really benefits the book. Footnotes in this section refer to scholars such as Behe and other modern scientists or biologists.

Thankfully grace is covered in the traditional manner, which has been a lost art in recent decades. The work explains sanctifying grace, actual grace, external graces, merit and perfection, and then explains common errors such as Pelagianism, semi-Pelagianism, Lutheranism and Calvinism and the heretical “Faith alone” heresy. Chapter 14 covers Transubstantiation and the Real Presence of Christ in great detail, explaining substance and accidents properly, which must be understood in light of Thomism in order to follow Trent’s infallible dogma. It then offers a rich defense of the dogma as well as answering some difficulties. All seven Sacraments are also richly covered and defended.

It must be noted that the book also contains great footnotes referencing many Church documents, Church Councils such as Trent and Lateran, the CCC, Scripture, Aquinas, the Church Fathers and other Catholic works. This is one extensive yet easily understood work that can be used to teach your children the faith while you brush up on the basics yourself. I am working through it again underlining as I go, because this is the material that you need to have internalized in order to converse with people outside the Church. I am convinced that if you work through this book no trickster is going to be able to talk you out of your Catholic faith. I have classified this book on my essentials list as (B) for beginner. At 22.95 I think it is money well spent.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Books: Digital VS Paper

"Books might now descend from being commodities to the ephemeral, disposable level of e-mails."

Since I will focusing on promoting reading material on this blog, I thought I would share with you this article that I ran across pertaining to how we read books today. With the internet and E-Readers now becoming popular, it seems that hard copies of books are less sought after. Certainly digital reading can be more convenient and you can take with you many books at one time. But, is this really a good thing? How has our attention span and our ability to stick with one book been affected by the digital age? Do we spend as much time reading as prior generations, and are we able to develop good habits when a large portion of our reading comes from the internet or digital sources? Certainly we can say that television and other multimedia sources have moved modern culture away from reading, but how has the book in digital form affected us? This article examines this question. I do enjoy my Nook Color, but time and time again I find myself spending more time reading an actual book. What are your thoughts? Read the full article here.

"...recent discoveries from which emphasize the brain’s “neuroplasticity”—the tendency of parts of the brain to reshape themselves in response to injury by way of compensation, or develop or atrophy by habitual use or disuse. Indeed, neurophysiology plays a significant role in Carr’s narrative, as he relates scientific research revealing that interaction with the Internet lights up the frontal cortex of our brains, where short term or “working” memory processes immediate experience; while reading conventional books exercises the hippocampus, a different, deeper part of the brain associated with the transmission of long-term memory to the cortex of the brain.

All of which gives force to Carr’s assertion that the Internet changes the way we think. The Internet, by its natural force of rapid movement from one screen to the next, from one piece of information to the hypertext’s other—and the digital books to which it gives birth and to which it is so similar—occupy the lion’s share of our daily online experience. Digital books share the habitual characteristics of their environment, the Internet. Those experienced and embedded in the normal way of reading linear text in physical books might be able to read “deeply” the given digital text, but the increasing numbers of those immersed in a digital environment will only bring the tools given them by that environment. They will find it increasingly unnatural to read physical books, and I believe, increasingly unable and disinclined to read at all."
"The inevitability of turning the pages of books into online images should not prevent us from considering the side-effects. To make a book discoverable and searchable online is also to dismember it. The cohesion of its text, the linearity of its argument or narrative as it flows through scores of pages, is sacrificed. What that ancient Roman craftsman wove together when he created the first codex is unstitched. The quiet that was “part of the meaning” of the codex is sacrificed as well. Surrounding every page or snippet of text on GBS is a welter of links, tools, tabs, and ads, each eagerly angling for a share of the reader’s fragmented attention." (Carr, The Shallows)

Dr. Steven A. Long (The Teleological Grammar of the Moral Act)

The Teleological Grammar of the Moral Act: Book Recommendation
Matthew J .Bellisario 2011

    Today’s confusing theological climate in the Church is a troubled one indeed. I believe that the theologians of the Church are divided between those who are realists, and those who are modernists, and I also believe that the theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas is the remedy for those who are being tossed about by the waves of the errors of modernism. I believe that this is nowhere more readily apparent than in the realm of moral theology. When it comes to defining the species of a moral act, I would argue that most Catholic moral theologians today flunk the litmus test out of the gate. Those outside the Church such as the Protestants are not even on the map. In the Church we have only to look at the "New Natural Law" theorists like Germian Grisez, John Finnis and others to see how much damage this lack of proper theological understanding has caused. We have moral theologians who cannot even discern properly the nature of an abortive or contraceptive act. What was once admitted by Catholics and Protestants alike, to be known as an intrinsically disordered act, by observation of the Natural Law, contraception, is now accepted as being morally licit by all major Protestant denominations. Unfortunately many theologians in the Church are abandoning proper moral theology as well. Although the Church herself will never err in her teaching, modernists in the Church are not teaching the Catholic faith properly, many probably due to ignorance. There is no better book than Dr. Steven A. Long’s ‘Teleological Grammar of the Moral Act’ to explain the importance of why Thomism is so important for moral theologians today.

    Although in the introduction, the book is depicted as a primer to St. Thomas Aquinas, “regarding the intention, choice, object, end, and species of the moral act” it is by no means a light read. Those who have little familiarity with Saint Thomas or Aristotelian philosophy may find it a bit difficult. So I have put it in the advanced category on my essential reading list. Nonetheless, this book is certainly required reading for those interested in understanding the basics of moral theology. A little bit of effort in reading this book is a worthwhile investment. The book is only about 140 pages, so it is not overwhelming, but it is packed with useful information, and you will surely reference it time and time again.

    In this book Dr. Long tackles a ton of moral issues including but not limited to private defense, AIDS and condom use, separating conjoined Siamese twins and an astounding chapter on the principle of double effect. After reading this book you will realize how few theologians understand the principle of double effect properly. Chapter one opens with explaining choice and intention, means and ends. St. Thomas’s moral analysis of the nature of morality and the natural teleological structure it is founded upon is covered in detail. If you are already asking yourself what teleology is, let me explain a bit. The word is derived from the Greek term telos, which means “purpose” or “end”. Teleological means having a purpose, end or a particular design for an end. In moral theology, we look at acts in this fashion, as having an intended purpose or end to them, and this is rooted in the natural law.

    There are some key components to understanding moral ethics. For example, there is a clear distinction between choice and intention, “Intention is of the end, and choice is of the variable means to the end.” In other words we choose a means to get where we want to go, after we first desire a proximate end. Dr. Long uses an example of a person’s desire of having good health, and only then chooses to use penicillin to reach that desired end. So not only is the choice and the means important, but also the intended end, which should be ordered towards the “good”. Along with this properly ordered end comes prudence in how we reach that end. Of course all of this presupposes that the human mind is able to know and understand reality, which many people deny today. “...for precisely what defines the teleology of human nature is that it constitutes reasons for action. Prior to any practical agency of the human subject, one must know the end which one then ensuingly comes to desire.”

    Long then delves a bit into Aquinas’ view of the speculative and rational intellect, explaining the proper distinction between the two. Then the object, end and moral species is covered. “The primary and decisive element for moral judgement is the object of the human act. One can see, then, how critically situated the discourse of St. Thomas is which delineates the nature of the object of the moral act... the object of the act always includes a relation and proportion to the end sought.” There is much more covered throughout the chapter dealing with this subject. After Dr. Long lays down the basics of this natural teleology he then moves on in chapter two to explaining how this all works in the case of private defense. He does so because it is easy to show how a distorted or absent knowledge of Thomas’ position on teleology can lead to error in assessing the morality of an act, and this is one area that is often misunderstood today. The Summa Theologica II-II q 64, a 7 along with the great Tommaso de Vio Cajetan is referenced here, and I would recommend referencing Saint Thomas’s text when they are referred to. Most of them are easily found online.

    The third chapter alone is worth the price of the book, which covers the principle of double effect. Dr. Long gives the proper understanding of the principle of double effect, and how it is often misapplied today. It is proven that there are few cases that require such an application. Self defense is again addressed and used to illustrate his point. The appendix in this book is really fun to read. Here Dr. Long addresses a variety of modern complicated moral dilemmas and he shows how to apply this teleological theory to determine whether these particular actions are morally licit or not. Have you ever wondered whether or not it would be permissible to separate conjoined Siamese twins? Dr. Long walks you through this moral dilemma. I will not spoil it for you here.

    This book belongs on every Catholic bookshelf in America. Truly, it really belongs on your desk or on your nightstand so you can reference it time and time again. My copy is underlined from the beginning to the end. Many today simply do not know how moral theology was done in the Church prior to the modern age. This book teaches you the principles the Church has used for centuries to determine the nature of moral acts. Many moral theologians have strayed from the path of reality, and have tried to change how we define good and evil, right and wrong. This is very apparent with those who confuse private defense with the death penalty, or try to justify using condoms because of the danger of AIDS. It is my hope that this publication will be promoted by all of the major Catholic media outlets. The book is published by Sapientia Press of Ave Maria University, and it is endorsed by the great Thomistic theologians, Ralph McInerny, Romanus Cessario O.P, and Russell Hittinger. It can be purchased on Amazon for $24.95.

(All quotes are from 'The Teleological Grammar of the Moral Act)
Steven A. Long, Ph.D. is Professor of Theology. He has previously taught at the University of St. Thomas, at St. Joseph’s College, Christendom College, and the Catholic University of America. His research interests include Thomistic metaphysics and natural law; the theology of grace in relation to human freedom; the philosophy and theology of Law; and such specific moral issues as the death penalty and the nature of the object of the moral act. He has published many articles in such journals as Communio, The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Nova et Vetera, Revue Thomiste, and The Thomist, as well as chapters on such topics as divine providence, the death penalty and Evangelium Vitae, the doctrine of just war, and religious freedom. His book The Teleological Grammar of the Moral Act was published in 2007 by Sapientia Press. His work Natura Pura:  On the Recovery of Nature in the Doctrine of Grace was published by Fordham University Press in April of 2010. Professor Long is also the author of a metaphysical work that has been approved for publication by the University of Notre Dame Press, titled Analogia Entis.  A collection of Dr. Long's essays, tentatively titled Thomistic Disputations: Providence, Freedom, and Law has been accepted for publication and is forthcoming from Sapientia Press. Along with the Academic Dean of the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity at the University of St. Thomas, Dr. Christopher Thompson, he is the co-editor of the forthcoming collection of essays derived from the Lilly sponsored Habits of Mind seminars, titled Reason and the Rule of Faith.  He holds an M.A. from the University of Toledo and a Ph.D. from the Catholic University of America.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Moving In a New Direction

I know, that was a short sabbatical! Over the past three years or so I have engaged in a variety of different issues in regard to the Catholic faith on this blog. I have engaged in apologetics, debating Protestants as well other Catholics who I have disagreed with over various issues. I have also written articles on various Catholic doctrine such as the Mass, the veneration of the Saints, and moral issues such as the death penalty. Sometimes I have shared my thoughts on current events pertaining to Catholicism. Of late, I have also sought to promote the work of solid Thomistic theologians and other solid reading material which I find interesting and helpful to those who profess the Catholic Faith. After much thought I have decided to move this blog further in that direction.

In the future I will be using this blog primarily to promote solid Catholic reading material. I will do so by writing book reviews on publications in which I think will help Catholics to dig into the rich faith which we profess. One of the primary ways to stop the modernist crisis which plagues the Church today is to educate ourselves. In order to do that we must know what authors and theologians are reputable, and promote their work to others. There are so many books being published today, that it is very hard to discern who is on the level and who is not. With the limited time we have it is helpful to know what books are worth spending the time to read. I have spent the last several years of my life reading books pertaining to Catholicism. I am a convert from Protestantism and Orthodoxy to Catholicism, so I have done quite a bit of reading along the way, and over the past 15 years I have collected over 2000 volumes in my personal library. I think a positive way that my investment can be used is to share it with others.

I feel that there is more to be gained by promoting these largely unknown Catholic theologians and authors, than spending large amounts of time writing my own material, or engaging in online debates. To those who I have insulted in the past when engaging in these polemics, I apologize. Often times zeal has gotten the better of my charity. At any rate, I am not in the same league as these authors and theologians whom I will be promoting. They have already answered all of the tough questions, and have responded to the feeble arguments of those, both in and out of the Church, who have opposed the truth. The great shame of it all is that most of these theologians and authors are not promoted in the large Catholic media outlets such as EWTN. The average Catholic has probably never heard of Dr. Steven A. Long. I hope that this will change over time, and this blog is now my effort to promote the work of these important, yet unknown authors.

Certainly, there is no amount of reading material that can plumb the depths of Jesus Christ or His Church. There is also no substitute for prayer, visiting Christ in the Sacraments or reading Sacred Scripture. But hopefully we can learn more about Him from these publications so that we can love Christ in a deeper manner, and come to understand the fullness of the faith which we profess. In doing so we can help others that we run into on a day to day basis to also find the truth of Jesus Christ and the one Church that He gave us. We can also help to restore the proper understanding of the Catholic faith to those in the Church. So this is now going to be the primary goal of my blog. For those who are familiar with the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter and the Latin Mass, I will continue to promote their work, of which I am happy to be a part of at Christ the King in Sarasota, Florida. I will leave the comments on for those who want to share information or their thoughts. If you want to debate however, you will have to find someplace else for that. The material that I want to promote says all I have to say. If you want to debate them, then have at it. They do not need me to defend their work. Stay tuned for my book review of Dr. Steven A. Long's 'Teleological Grammar of the Moral Act." Thank you for continuing to stop by!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

What Is Wrong With Modern Apologetics (Thread on YouCat)

This is what you get on Catholic forums these days, cowards. I for one am sick and tired of the same old character attacks on the blogs and forums. You rarely have any real substantial debate, which is yet another reason why I am thinking of foregoing blogging and apologetics oriented engagements. I once wondered why many of the real scholars do not get into blog or forum debates, this is the reason why.

This guy named Sirach2 on the Catholic Answers forum has slandered me telling everyone on the forum that I have rejected the Church's teachings and the validity of Vatican II, which I have never done. Rather than debate the text of the YouCat he chose to slander me instead. I entered into the discussion forum on the YouCat by posting links to my two blog articles that I have written on the subject. Immediately after I countered Sirach's initial rebuttal, the character attacks came. Here is a series of the posts back and forth. I have underlined for emphasis.

Sirach2-responds after my initial post of the two links.
Since you are the author of the links to your blog, Matthew, I think there may be some bias, yes?

You trivialized Youcat's definition, i.e., "The Church does not demonize self-abuse," and applied your lesser meaning to infer that the catechism was erroneous.
I quote your words: "Demonize is generally defined as "to mark out or describe as evil."

It seems the catechism had a truer grasp of the word's meaning in line with the dictionary, and their definition was most appropriately used. It is defined:
-verb (used with object), -ized, -iz·ing.
1. to turn into a demon or make demonlike.
2. to subject to the influence of demons.
1821, "to make into a demon" (literally or figuratively), from M.L.dæmonizare , from Gk. daimonizesthai "to be possessed by a demon;"

I disagree with your interpretation. The YouCat was correct in saying the Church does not wish to demonize those who indulge in self-abuse. Haven't we seen thread upon thread where people are besides themselves with guilt, coupled with addiction that seems impossible to break? How would you prefer the Church teaches truth to young people caught in this dilemma?

You stated that other nonCatholics were quoted and gave page numbers. While I may agree in theory, I cannot indiscriminately accept your private opinion just because you say so, particularly without referencing these quotes and showing the context.

I believe we should let this matter rest and await the rightful teaching of the Church. In my effort to review official examination of this work, there is nothing to be found in the most reputable websites at this time. I have every confidence that as time goes on and the hierarchy have examined the contents fully, we will be informed accordingly.

My First Response.

First of all the text does not say anything about demonizing individuals. Prove that it does, you cannot, because the text does not say that. It says that the Church does not demonize the act itself, which is absolutely incorrect. The act in its very nature is evil. When an act is evil, it is also known to be demonized, or defined as being evil in itself. This Catechism tell us something that is not true.

Sirach2 responds with personal unsubstantiated character attack.When you do not have an argument these days, this is what you get instead.

Matthew, I'm not going to debate you for your hard-line views expressed in your blog. As I scanned a few of your entries, it is clear that your views on the Church are radical traditionalism, some of which would be against forum rules for posting here.

As Roman Catholics, we believe there are mitigating underlying motivations to every evil, including suicide. The Church formerly denied burial to any Catholic who committed this final act. Would you have preferred the catechism to say that the Church DOES demonize masturbation? How does this provide pastoral care for those individuals caught in that particular web to tell them the act is demonic? The very next wording clearly expresses the mind of the Church, "but she warns against trivializing it." We must remember the audience is youth who should never form their conscience with a picture of demon possession in grappling with this evil. That is not pastoral care and would do a lot of harm psychologically.

Nevertheless, whenever the person is in the confessional or spiritual direction, their confessor will give all the explanation necessary to impress upon them the serious evil and grave consequnces of it. You need not fear that everyone who reads that particular Q/A is going to have their faith destroyed.

My words hold from the last post. It is not productive to pick the work apart with one's own traditional biases.

My 2nd Response showing that he is now not dealing with the actual YouCat text, and how his focus now was to paint me as a "radical traditionalist." 

Sirach, I would prefer to deal with the YouCat text rather than use ad-hominems, as you have done here. There is nothing that I have said that goes against Church teaching, so cut it with the traditionalist nonsense. Is this Mark Shea in disguise? You seem unprepared, or unwilling to discuss the issue rationally. What I would prefer to see the Catechism say, is that the act is evil, instead of saying that it is not. You cannot have it both ways. Self abuse is not like applying for a credit card. It is an act which goes against the natural law, period. Which makes it one of the most grave sins. The YouCat fails to convey that truth. I also find it appalling that you would try and twist the words of the text to say that it is talking about demonizing people, rather the act itself. It is clear that you are not comprehending the text. The text says, "The Church does not demonize masturbation, but she warns against trivializing it." Deal with the text, rather than wishing it away.

Sirach2 keeps with the personal attacks...

Again, you have your opinion, and I have mine, but what really counts is what the Church has to say, rather than private interpretations.

BTW, I used no ad hominems. Truth is truth, and the forum rules are explicit in limiting what traditionalists are permitted to say concerning the new mass, V-II and the Magisterium. If that offends you, well, so be it. 

My 3rd Response below pointing out that I have not violated any of the forum rules regarding the New Mass or Vatican II. As we can see he has clearly taken the entire thread off topic to keep from discussing the issue at hand. He has now turned it into a personal attack on my character.

Sirach writes, "Truth is truth, and the forum rules are explicit in limiting what traditionalists are permitted to say concerning the new mass, V-II and the Magisterium. If that offends you, well, so be it." Again, all unsubstantial claims. You labeling me a traditionalist and then dismissing my argument is nothing more than saying you have no argument to the contrary. I have not broken the forum rules. You on the other hand have proven that you cannot counter the text that is in the YouCat, which contradicts everything the Church has previously said on the matter. Again, lets discuss the text, and not your fallacious opinion on whether or not I am some fringe traditionalist. This is typical however for those who cannot substantiate their claims. Attack the person, not the arguement. Nice.

Sirach2's response after I have tried to bring the thread back on topic. Again we can see how he is trying to wrangle the text to make it mean something that it never says. The YouCat text never says anything about it being personal in nature. It says that the act itself is not demonized. Then immediately after that comes the real slanderous statement, which I must admit really ticked me off.

While self-abuse is intrinsically evil, RC, abortion is so heinous an actl that it cannot be compared on the same scale. I would never imply that a person is demonic if they indulged themselves and I uphold the catechism's position that the Church will not do so either, in view of the particular audience being catechized. The explanation given is suitable to said audience. Hopefully, we don't anticipate a theological treatise in a brief work such as Q&A's...
Nothing in my posts indicated you broke forum rules, but I did note that your blog articles are of a nature that would preclude your views from being posted here. To an outside reader, these articles color your opinion of the Youcat as tending to be extremist. If you cannot accept Church's teachings post-VII, then there is little point in my making an effort to counter your statements. My points were made earlier in the thread, and I have nothing more to say, given the tone of your post. It would not be productive. 
My response, clearly indicating that I have never denied a teaching of the Church. I also ask again for him to cut it with the character attacks. You can see how he has moved the entire thread off topic now.

Sirach, you are now engaging in character assassination, and for one do not appreciate it. Nothing on my blog indicates that I do not uphold the Church's teachings, and nowhere have I said anything to the effect that I do not accept the Second Vatican Council. You are at this point making assertions that you have not proven. You seem to be the type who is afraid to actually argue the subject matter and you are now delving into the sin of slander. If I were you I would watch it. Do not make these absurd accusations again. If you are not equipped to argue the topic then just admit it and move on, rather than trying to demonize me. Your tactic is not working.
Sirach 2 now tells me that I have made allegations, which we can clearly see is a lie. All I have done is asked for him to cut it with the character attack. Now my blog has become the target of attack. What about the YouCat text? Who is being uncharitable at this point?

Your allegations are completely unfounded, unwarranted, and uncharitable. Do you expect me to derail this thread to prove to you the issues I saw on your blog?
Your opinion was expressed, as was mine. Now let this drop.
I responded trying to get the topic back on the rails, or to drop it all together.
I'll let it drop, but don't you dare ever accuse me of such a thing again. You are the one derailing the thread, not me. Either debate the issue at hand or close down your keyboard.
Sirach then brings up some of the posts I have written in the past after another guy, probably his buddy, went trolling through my blog to find some shread of evidence to back his absurd claims. You guessed it, they found nothing.Just a couple of posts where I actually debate particular topics and argue for  particular positions, which are Thomistic in nature.
Melchior, thank you for posting this.
I did not notice this on his blog, but I found arrogant comments about Fr. Robert Barron and Germain Grisez. He is quick to condemn very eminent, orthodox persons if their opinion does not coincide with his views. Is it any wonder why Father Barron did not approve his post?
My Response: As we can see, all they can come up with are what they consider to be arrogant comments where I actually debate particular topics, none of which I go against any Church teaching, nor Vatican II. I had finally had it with his foolishness and called a final time to stop the slander.

Again, nothing I have said goes against Church teaching. I can certainly prove that Germain Grisez has erred in his view of the natural law. This is a proven fact, supported by Catholic theologians. It can also be proven that Fr. Barron's view on the death penalty is not that of a classical Thomist position, which was my argument in that particular post. I am also free to support which Catholic writers and apologists that I choose. If this is the best you have to substantiate your fallacious claims of being a radical enemy of Vatican II and the New Mass, then again, you have been proven to make false accusations against me.
Nothing that you have quoted here even implies that I have not accepted the second Vatican Council as being a valid council, or that the New Mass is not valid. In fact, my articles say quite the opposite. I will warn you once more, and then further legal action may be taken. If you cannot be honest and respond to my argument, and you continue to make false accusations, I will be forced to find out who are and then use legal action to stop your slander. Isn't it a wonder why so many people choose not to convert to the true faith? It is because of people like you Sirach, who come onto blogs and forums like this anonymously and make false accusations against people. This is the last time I will warn you. I will then be in contact with Catholic Answers
As you may have guessed, I had to contact the forum, but of course I doubt little will be done. I have since calmed down and I have no real interest in making it a legal issue. I did ask the forum to make the idiot remove the attacks. At this point it really doesn't matter. But as we can see, these "Catholics" are more sinister and nasty than most of the secular atheists I have met. This is what Catholic apologetics has become in recent years. It is largely a cesspool of anonymous sub-defectives who would rather attack you than debate an issue. You can read the entire thread here, and share your thoughts if you please. This is not the reason why I am thinking of quitting the blog, but it surely shows the type of individuals that you get on these types of websites and forums. It gets really old after awhile. There is little intellectual honesty in Catholic apologetics at this point.

Taking a Blog Sabbatical

I will be taking a blog sabbatical for awhile to determine if I should keep this blog going or retire it. I have been writing on this blog for over three years now, and it may be time to move on to other things.

Matthew J. Bellisario