Saturday, June 30, 2007

When Was I Canonized?

As a protestant christian am i a Saint, or is that title reserved for special, really holy, canonized people like Saint Nicholas?
The Church uses the word "saint" just as the Bible does, both for Christians on earth who are in a state of grace and for the souls in heaven. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 823 says in part, "The Church, then, is 'the holy People of God,' and her members are called 'saints.'"

"Her members" would be anyone (even from other denominations) who is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and who believes in Christ. From the Catechism we read [again, in part]:
838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter." Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."
Pax Christi,

Saints and the Communion of Saints

This is serious although it sounds sort of you belive she hears your prayers? I mean, in order for her to hear all the prayers she would have to be omnipotent and omnipresent right?
Well, not necessarily. I don't really know how it works, but I do know that, in virtue of being spirits in heaven, they are aware of our prayers. I say "aware" because, technically speaking, words like "seeing" and "hearing" are inaccurate. A soul without a body (and thus without eyes and ears) can neither "see", nor "hear." Really, these words just reflect an awareness that the saints have of our prayers.

There are various passages of Scripture that show that the angels are indeed aware of and respond to what happens to us on earth:

Psa 34:7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Mt 18:10 "See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.

Lk 15:7-10 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. 8 "Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.' 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

1 Cor 4:9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men.

Heb 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us
[note: the image here is one of a round colloseum where the spectators of a race appear as a cloud surrounding the runners]

If they can "see" us all, then there's nothing to keep them from "hearing" us all either. I think the most striking evidence that the saints are aware of, or "hear" our prayers comes from the book of Revelation:

Rev 5:8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints;

Rev 8:3-4 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; 4 and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God.

Angels are seen here taking our prayers, which rise up to heaven like incense (Psa 141:2), and presenting them to God. When a saint prays for us (which is also called "interceding for us") that is what he does. He brings to God the needs of his people expressed through prayer.

We also see intercession of the saints in the following passages:

Jer 15:1 Then the LORD said to me, "Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them out of my sight, and let them go! [note: at the time of Jeremiah, Moses and Samuel were already dead].

Job 33:23-24 If there be for him an angel, a mediator, one of the thousand, to declare to man what is right for him; 24 and he is gracious to him, and says, 'Deliver him from going down into the Pit, I have found a ransom;

Rev 6:9-11 is another possible example.

All of this shows that the angels and saints in heaven are aware of our lives and our prayers and are interceding for us. Whether this is in virtue of their "omnisience" or "omnipresence" I do not know.

Perhaps they are aware of our prayers because, after physical death, the soul enters into a place and a state that is beyond our laws of physics, laws that govern space, and place, and time. Angels often just appear and then disappear. After Jesus's death and resurrection, he was able to do the same thing, even appearing in a room although the door was shut (cf. Jn 20:19).

Or, perhaps it is because the saints in heaven are not actually separated or shut off from the saints on earth. Catholics believe that the saints in heaven and the saints on earth make up one mystical Body of Christ. In grace, we are all connected to Christ. This is a no-brainer. But, in grace we are also connected to each other:

Rom 12:4-5 For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

1 Cor 12:13,26 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

2 Cor 2:5 But if any one has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure--not to put it too severely--to you all.

Eph 1:9-10 For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Eph 2:19-21 So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord;

Eph 4:15-16,25 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love. 25 Therefore, putting away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

Col 2:18-19 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

Heb 13:3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them; and those who are ill-treated, since you also are in the body.

So, by grace, we are connected to Christ and to each other, and together this connection makes up one Body of Christ. There is no reason why death should destroy this unity, especially since Jesus conquered death and because the saints in heaven are actually more alive than we'll ever be on earth. Is not God after all, "the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not God of the dead, but of the living" (Mt 22:32). Thus, communication amongst all the members is maintained. As a result, I can ask a saint in heaven to pray for me just as much as I can ask a saint on earth, and a saint in heaven can intercede for me just as you can.

These are two possible reasons for why the saints are able to hear our prayers. But, to me, why they are able to hear our prayers is not as important as the fact that they can......and Scripture supports this saintly awareness.

Pax Christi,

Who Needs Mary When We Have God?

Here is a question about praying to Mary, from the HCR forum. In my next two posts, I will give my answers to some follow-up questions on the communion of saints.
I read the explenation of why you pray to Mary, but why pray to her instead of praying to God. I pray to the Father, in the name of Jesus, as the Holy Siprit guides me. I see the explanation of the qualities of Mary, caring and understanding, but God is the reason we know the qualities, he revealed them to us. So why pray to Mary instead of praying directly to God as nonCatholics do?
Well, there's no "instead of" in the prayer life of the Catholic. We pray to God and to Mary. Note however that this does not mean they are on the same level. A prayer to God is different from a prayer to Mary.

We "pray to" God in the common sense of the phrase. In other words, a prayer to Him is an act of adoration and humility, and an acknowledgement that He alone is God. We "pray to" Mary in the Shakespearean sense of the phrase. In traditional usage, to "pray" can mean to make a request, for example when someone says, "What pray tell is going on?" So, a prayer to Mary is a request that she will pray for us, like when we ask our friends and relatives to pray for us.

As Catholics, we use the phrase without specifying which sense we mean, and our devotional language regarding Mary often makes it appear as though we actually "pray to" Mary in the common sense of the phrase. But, as Catholics, we know what we mean. We pray in ways befitting of our tradition and in line with time-honored ways of speaking and praying. We pray as the saints prayed. I know that this can be confusing to Protestants, but I think this requires explanation by informed Catholics, not a change in how we speak and pray.

I hope that helps.

Pax Christi,

Friday, June 29, 2007

Cover Your Eyes!

I know, I know, I'm supposed to be working, but I just had to share this. According to the Mingle2 Blog Rating tool:

When did I use the word "breast"?!?! Haha, anyway, it looks like "death" and "hell" are taboo topics now. God forbid we talk about the afterlife [sarcasm] Thankfully, "Hades" is safe. I wonder what it takes to get an NC-17 rating....

Just So You Know....

I won't be posting today (well, besides this post). I'll be spending the day making sure all the links in my sidebar are active and adding tags to all of my old posts. Eventually, I want to provide a list of subjects that I've covered, but I can't do that until I tag everything.

Thank you for your patience.

Pax Christi,

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Updates to the Sidebar

I added two new things to the sidebar, just on a trial basis: my facebook badge and a messenger (or tagboard). I'm still messin with the colors for the messenger. Anyway, leave a comment and let me know what you think about each one. Keep it or ditch it?

Pax Christi,

UPDATE: It appears that after a few posts to the tagboard, an ad appars at the top. I have no control over that, unless I pay for the Premium service.

St. Peter Julian Eymard on Hearing the Mass

Check out this YouTube video I found, thanks to the YouTube Summer Project. It's on the method of hearing Mass by meditation on the Passion. I realize that St. Eymard has in mind the Latin Mass, but there's no reason why his words can't apply to the Novus Ordo Missae either. I particularly enjoy the meaning given behind the various vestments of the priest.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think. For more on St. Peter Julian Eymard, go here and here.

Pax Christi,

God Is Good

I like that little guy, so I think I'm going to use him any time I have good news to share :D.

Anyway, several things have happened recently that have been really great! First of all, the wedding last weekend was awesome. Everyone said I did a good job reading. The wedding reception was one of the funnest things I've done in a loooong time. I feel closer to Ben's new wife now, which is huge because there's been a distance between us for as long as I've known her. It's just good to feel better about the woman my brother is going to spend the rest of his life with.

Most importantly, I walked away from that weekend which a strong awareness of how blessed I am to have such an amazing family. I can't even describe how awesome my family is. My dad has 11 siblings. Most of them have at least two children. That's a huge family. What's great is that we all get along. We all love each other. There is no fighting. No estrangement from that one uncle who no one talks about. Just an intense love and comraderie. I was talking to my cousin Alex at the reception and he said something to me that I had never realized. He said that what's so great about our family is that we could go months or even years without seeing a particular relative, but we still know that if we ever needed anything we could call that person up and he would be there for us. He's right. We'd do anything for each other.

What's also great is how much freakin fun we have when we're together. All of the guys in the family are really tight with each other. A lot of my uncles and my cousins and my brothers have an insane sense of humor. When we all get together, I pretty much laugh until I hurt myself. It's contagious too. We have various friends of the family who love hanging out with us so much that wish they were related....and we treat them like they are. Hell, it's all family, ya know? I'd die for anyone of those guys too. I love them.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph..........thank you.

I have some other good news too. I got that job with the Social Security Administration :D I'm really happy about it. We all just need to pray now that they will keep me on past September. What's also good is that my current employer was willing to keep me on-file so that if the SSA lets me go after September then I can just come back to my old job. Sweet!! That really worked out well, and I praise God for it.

Finally, my family vacation in Hilton Head Island begins July 6th, which is right around the corner. I can't wait!! My girlfriend Amy gets to come with us too, which really makes me happy because I've always wanted to share that awesome place with her. The other day we found modest bathing suits that we're going to wear so that we won't be a stumbling block to each other (and whoever else is around). I'm very relieaved to have those.

So, yea, a lot of good things have happened in my life here recently. I thank God for that and I hope that I can always live my life in a way that shows how thankful I am for everything that He has done for me. Praise God! He has blessed you too.

Pax Christi,

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Update on the YouTube Summer Project

I updated the YouTube Summer Project to contain all of the videos that you all have submitted so far. As many of you know, my plan was to slowly catalogue all of the orthodox Catholic videos on YouTube and make a website with these videos categorized and embedded. Well, Travis Boudreaux already made the website, but that doesn't mean I can't still do the cataloguing! A directory of links to YouTube videos would still be very helpful, so that's what I'm going to do. Don't steal my freakin idea!! This one is mine.

Keep it coming with the submissions. Remember, check the list before you submit a video. To submit a video, just leave a comment to this post. Also, I know that the list would be easier to read if I would just hyperlink all of the titles, but honestly, it's easier for me to compile the list if I can just copy-and-paste the title and the url for each video right beside each other. It's too time-consuming to type out the "a href" tags.

Pax Christi,

On the Canonicity of the Deuterocanonical Books: Part 4

After my last response, "seal" clarified himself and said that he never intended to endorse the argument "Redeemed" made against the book of Sirach, that it should be rejected because it shows "cruelty to slaves & low and oppressive views of women." So, Sirach is now vindicated, as far as cruelty and oppression is concerned. Seal is more interested in the doctrinal elements that Redeemed mentioned. Once we cleared that up, seal responded to my evidence for almsgiving to atone for sin and prayers for the dead in the canonical books. Here is my engagement of that response.
- - - - - -
Before we go any further with this, I need clarification as to where you stand regarding two points of mine:
  1. Do you agree that the NT references the DB's, as well as the Septuagint, which included the DB's?
  2. Do you agree that, if it is a rule for canonicity that a book be referenced in the NT, then the DB's should be included?
You also haven't given your evidence for why Wisdom, Judith, Baruch, 1 Macc, and the additions to Daniel and Esther should be rejected.

That said, on to your most recent responses:
Hmmm.... Now this is clearly redherring right here Phat.
You are either using the term "red herring" incorrectly, or you are accusing me of something I did not do. A red herring is an argument that distracts the audience from the topic at hand by introducing an irrelevant topic.

For example, many people try to refute papal infallibility by bringing up the sins of various popes (when in all actuality infallibility has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not a pope will sin). The introduction of such an argument is a red herring. Of course, Catholics who don't know better latch on to this argument and begin trying to vindicate the popes' behavior instead of sticking to the topic of infallibility. When this happens, they have fallen for the red herring and the opponent has been given the luxury of not having to respond to the actual evidence for papal infallibility.

It is clear that I have not used the "red herring" logical fallacy because the topic is prayer for the dead and all I did was give examples of this in your canon.
Peter, Elijah and Jesus first of all did Miracles of the Divine. [. . .] From [2 Mac 12:40-45] we see clearly that they prayed for the dead to have their sin removed unlike anyone quoted in the scriptures you mentioned above. They also made reconciliation for the dead that they might be delivered from sin. This is a no-no. The alms and sin offering given in scripture are for people who are alive not dead. The prayers of Jesus, Peter, and Elijah was for Life not that the persons sin be removed. Please just take the thought a little further for the Truth. Just saying that they prayed for the dead and stopping there will leave you in error unless you articulate their results. It's clearly not the point of the prayers offered there in 2 Mac., their intentions was clearly something different, and the remission of sin after (physical) death isn't founded in the Holy Scriptures.
So let me get this straight, you think that it's ok to pray for the dead, as long as you are praying for them to come back to life (and not that their sin would be removed)? I thought protestants believed that all forms of praying for the dead are prohibited.

Secondly, as far as almsgiving to atone for sin is concerned, lets stick to the original passages in question. You said earlier that you were concerned with Tobit 12:8-9 and Ecclus. 3:30 because they teach that one can atone for sin via almsgiving. But, just now you seemed to say that atoning for sin via almsgiving was ok as long as it was for the living and not the dead. Is that what you're saying? If so, then we can also drop that argument against Tobit and Sirach (that they should be rejected because they endorse atoning for sin via almsgiving).

Thus, if my assumptions are correct, we have now dropped Redeemed's arguments against Sirach and Tobit. This leaves only the argument against 2 Macc, that it should be rejected b/c it endorses prayers for the dead.
Your quotation of Paul is surely a redherring. Is Onesiph'orus dead or his household? This therefore can in no way be compared to the teaching or the intention of Paul's letter. Neither did Paul pray for his sins to be removed as if Onesiph'orus was in a intermediate state, and as is well known of the Theology of Paul, he asked for Mercy. No payment.
You misapplied the term "red herring" again, but I'll let it slide ;)

Also, since the original charge is that praying for the dead is prohibited, let's first establish whether or not Elijah, Peter, Paul, and Jesus are praying for the dead. After that, we can establish the legitimate reasons for doing so.

It's obvious to me that they are all praying for the dead in the passages I cited. As for Paul, he says two prayers in 2 Tim 1:16-18, one for the household of Onesiph'orus (vs. 16) and one for Onesiph'orus himself (vs. 18). The prayer for Onesiph'orus is that he will find mercy from the Lord "on that Day." The "day" in question is Judgment Day, as evidenced by Paul's usage of the word in his other letters (cf. Rom 2:5,16; 1 Cor 1:8; 3:13; 5:5; 2 Cor 1:14; Phil 1:6,10; 2:16; 1 Thes 5:2,4,5,8; 2 Thes 2:2,3; 2 Tim 4:8). But, the implication is that Onesiph'orus is already dead. Thus, Paul is praying for the dead, specifically Onesiph'orus, that he will find mercy upon his judgment.
Intermediate state huh. Well I see that you may have a point in that people are in intermediate states for a few minutes or longest 4 days in scripture, but is this consistent with the intermediate state defined by Catholics.
Well, in the case of Elijah and Jesus, the intermediate state was Hades, because at that time Jesus had yet to defeat Hades and open the gates of Heaven. But, in the case of Peter, the intermediate state is Purgatory. There's really no other explanation for it, since Peter brought Tabitha back to life after Jesus' victory over Hades.
So these are teachings clearly rejected by the Reformers and Luther's quote shows that he still had some growing to do....LOL...
HAHA!! I see.
This is no evidence but more like indictment that the DB's are in opposition to Holy Writ.
This you have yet to prove.

Pax Christi,

Monday, June 25, 2007

In Defense of Pope Pius XII

Check out this YouTube video on the role of Pope Pius XII and the Church during the Holocaust. The impact is made more by the images than by the content, but it is still an effective witness.

For more information in defense of Pope Pius XII and the Church during the Second World War, go here.

Pax Christi,

This and That

Also as promised, some cool stuff I've found browsing the internet:
  • Go to Maria Lectrix and you can download audio files of a woman named "Maureen" reading excellent works of fiction and non-fiction from the public domain. Her collection of completed religious works is great. It's not every day that you can listen to St. Cyril's Catechetical Lectures on the way to work! For all of the Christian works that she has recorded or is currently recording for your enjoyment, go here. For the Fathers, go here.
  • Speaking of the Fathers, I found another great website for information on and works from the early Church Fathers: The North American Patristics Society: Internet Resources. It's basically a directory of links, which I always enjoy.
  • Jeffrey Robert Adams has two great podcasts: The Summa Cast and Blendedfolk. In the Summa Cast, Adams reads from Aquinas' Summa Theologiae. In Blendedfolk, each episode consists of Catholic apologetics, Catholic trivia, a conversion story, and reviews of other Catholic podcasts and websites. He hasn't posted since June 6, but there's still a lot of great stuff there.
  • The Population Research Institute has a new video on YouTube on forced abortions in China. Check it out. I think it was well done.
  • St. Augustine has his own myspace page, thanks to the Augustinians of the Province of Saint Thomas of Villanova. He puts the "hip" in Hippo.
  • Check out these YouTube videos in promotion of the movie Bella: Trailer 1 -- Trailer 2 -- Story Behind Bella. This movie is A-W-E-S-O-M-E. I saw a special screening at FUS, and got to hear the director and the leading actor talk about their passion for Catholicism and the pro-life cause. Bella has already won the People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, which is usually a precursor to an Oscar. Do everything you can to support this movie. It does an excellent job of speaking out against abortion without scaring people away. For more about Bella, go here and here.
  • Trinity Communications, the folks who brought you Catholic Culture, just released a new website: It's home to the online version of Fr. John A. Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary. Great resource to finally have available online.
  • Finally, it looks like someone ran with my YouTube Summer Project idea and created CatholicTube. It's not quite as exhaustive as what I envisioned, but it's a start.
That's all for now. Enjoy!

Pax Christi,

On the Canonicity of the Deuterocanonical Books: Part 3

As promised, here is Part 3 in my debate with "seal." Also see Parts 1 and 2.
I'm sorry Phatcatholic that you feel that way about my speech towards you. And I won't call you cookie again. The word cookie means cookie by the way
It's all good.
I thought that you were following the thread so maybe you overlooked redeemed's post....
I remember reading his post earlier, but I thought you would have examples of your own. I can respond to these though.
Please account for these passages from the DB's... Canonical Scripture and verse please.
You got it. Redeem's first objection was with Second Maccabees:
"II Macc. 12:41-45 offers prayers and offerings for the dead"
Believe it or not, there's evidence for this in your canon too:

1 Ki 17:20-22 And [Elijah] cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, hast thou brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?" 21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, let this child's soul come into him again." 22 And the LORD hearkened to the voice of Eli'jah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.

Jn 11:41-43 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 I knew that thou hearest me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that thou didst send me." 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, "Laz'arus, come out."

Acts 9:40 But Peter put them all outside and knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body he said, "Tabitha, rise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.

2 Tim 1:16-18 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiph'orus, for he often refreshed me; he was not ashamed of my chains, 17 but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me eagerly and found me-- 18 may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day--and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

In these passages, Elijah, Peter, Paul, and Jesus himself all pray for the dead. It is true that in the cases of Elijah, Peter, and Jesus, the prayer is for the person to come back to life. But, that doesn't change the fact that the soul of a dead person is still being prayed for, which according to Protestants is strictly prohibited. Note also that, in order for these souls to return to their bodies, they must have been in an intermediate state, since heaven and hell are irrevocable and eternal judgments. This is what "prayer for the dead" is: prayer for souls in this intermediate state.

As an aside, it appears that even Martin Luther approved of prayers for the dead:
"As for the dead, since Scripture gives us no information on the subject, I regard it as no sin to pray with free devotion in this or some similar fashion: 'Dear God, if this soul is in a condition accessible to mercy, be thou gracious to it.' And when this has been done once or twice, let it suffice." (Luther's Works, vol. 37, p. 369)
Just something interesting I found.

Redeemed's second objection was with Tobit and Sirach:
"Tobit 12:8-9 & Ecclus. 3:30 teach that one can atone for sin via almsgiving"
Atoning for sin via almsgiving and sacrifices is all over the Old Testament. Here are just a few examples of when money in particular is given, instead of animals for sacrifice or grain offerings:

Exo 30:14-16 Every one who is numbered in the census, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the LORD's offering. 15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, when you give the LORD's offering to make atonement for yourselves. 16 And you shall take the atonement money from the people of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tent of meeting; that it may bring the people of Israel to remembrance before the LORD, so as to make atonement for yourselves."

Num 31:50 And we have brought the LORD's offering, what each man found, articles of gold, armlets and bracelets, signet rings, earrings, and beads, to make atonement for ourselves before the LORD."

2 Ki 12:16 The money from the guilt offerings and the money from the sin offerings was not brought into the house of the LORD; it belonged to the priests.

For more examples of almsgiving to atone for sin, go here and here.

Redeemed's final objection was again with Sirach:
Ecclus. 33:25-27 & 22:3 endorse cruelty to slaves & low and oppressive views of women ["the birth of a daughter is a loss"]--42:14 "better is the wickedness of a man than a woman who does good"
This attitude towards women isn't exclusive to the DB's. The same type of thing can be found in books you consider canonical:

Exo 21:2-4,7 When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing. 3 If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. 4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's and he shall go out alone. 7 "When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.
[Note: A male slave is free after 6 yrs but a girl slave is a slave forever. Note also that if the master gives his male slave a wife and she bears children, he can be free but the wife and children have to stay.]

Lev 12:2,5 "Say to the people of Israel, If a woman conceives, and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean. 5 But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her menstruation; and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying for sixty-six days.
[Note: If she bears a son, she is unclean for 7 days, but if she bears a daughter she is unclean for 14 days and her purification lasts 66 days.]

Lev 27:2-7 "Say to the people of Israel, When a man makes a special vow of persons to the LORD at your valuation, 3 then your valuation of a male from twenty years old up to sixty years old shall be fifty shekels of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary. 4 If the person is a female, your valuation shall be thirty shekels. 5 If the person is from five years old up to twenty years old, your valuation shall be for a male twenty shekels, and for a female ten shekels. 6 If the person is from a month old up to five years old, your valuation shall be for a male five shekels of silver, and for a female your valuation shall be three shekels of silver. 7 And if the person is sixty years old and upward, then your valuation for a male shall be fifteen shekels, and for a female ten shekels.
[Note: Women are obviously valued less than males here.]

Deut 25:11-12 "When men fight with one another, and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him, and puts out her hand and seizes him by the private parts, 12 then you shall cut off her hand; your eye shall have no pity.
[Note: Apparently, a man's private parts are worth more than a woman's hand.]

There are many more examples, but you get the idea. Remember that whatever apologetic you may use to validate these examples can be equally applied to the examples found in the DB's. In other words, if you don't rule out canonical books for discriminating against women, then u can't rule out the DB's for discriminating against women either. The point of all this is to show that, if you are going to reject Tobit, Sirach, and 2 Maccabees b/c they mention prayers for the dead, almsgiving to atone for sin, and ill-treatment of women, then you have to reject canonical books as well.

Now that Second Maccabees, Tobit, and Sirach have been addressed, what about Wisdom, Judith, Baruch, 1 Macc, and the additions to Daniel and Esther? You have yet to point out anything contradictory in those books. I look forward to your evidence.

Pax Christi,

Poll-Release Monday #20

Here is this week's poll:
  • How long has it been since you went to Confession?
    • Less than 1 week
    • 1 week
    • 2 weeks
    • 1 month
    • 6 months
    • 1 year
    • More than 1 year
I was thinking today about my own need to go to Confession and I thought it would be interesting to see how often my readers avail themselves of this sacrament. I usually go every Saturday, but I was unable to go last weekend because of all the wedding craziness. Vote in the poll (see my sidebar) and tell me how often you go to confession. There is also an "Other" option for those who haven't been in 3 weeks, or some other timeframe that I didn't include. If you choose "Other", make sure you type in your answer in the space provided at the bottom of the poll. Also, don't forget to click the link below the poll and tell me why you voted the way you did.

As for last week's poll ("What do you think of the new background image?"), here are the results:

It looks like most of you like it, so I'll keep it. But, for those who voted "No," don't worry, this background is just for the summer. I'll return to the foggy forest everyone knows and loves when it starts getting cold outside again.

Pax Christi,

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Back to the 'Boro

I'm going home to Owensboro, KY tonight for my brother's wedding. Please pray for me that I return home safely (it's a 7.5 hr drive), and pray for my brother and his future wife that their marriage will bring them each closer to God and His Church. Since this weekend promises to be pretty busy, I doubt I'll have time for blogging. But, I'll be back on Monday with Part 3 of my debate with "seal" on the deuterocanonical books (see Part 1 and Part 2), as well as a list of cool websites for you to check out.

Stay tuned!

Pax Christi,

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Mary Poppins and Christology

In light of today's Daily Catholic Quotation ("The world trembled and groaned to find itself Arian."), check out this song on the Christological controversy of the early Church, set to the tune of "Supercalafragalisticexpialadocius." I LOVE IT!! Too bad it took more than a spoon full of sugar to get rid of the Arians.

Patristic Melody
Lyrics by Dan Idzikowski

Um diddle diddle um diddle ay
Um diddle diddle um diddle ay

Superchristological and Homoousiosis
Even though the sound of them is something quite atrocious
You can always count on them to anathemize your Gnosis
Superchristological and Homoousiosis

Um diddle diddle um diddle ay
Um diddle diddle um diddle ay

Now Origen and Arius were quite a clever pair.
Immutable divinity make Logos out of air.
But then one day Saint Nicholas gave Arius a slap--
and told them if they can't recant, they ought to shut their trap!

[chorus] Oh, Superchristological and Homoousiosis...

One Prosopon, two Ousia are in one Hypostasis.
At Chalcedon this formula gave our faith its basis.
You can argue that you don't know what this means,
But don't you go and try to say there's a "Physis" in between!

[chorus] Oh, Superchristological and Homoousiosis...

Um diddle diddle um diddle ay
Um diddle diddle um diddle ay

Now freedom and autonomy are something to be praised,
But when it comes to human sin, these words must be rephrased,
For Pelagius was too confident that we could work it out--
And Augustine said *massa damnata* is what it's all about.

[chorus] Oh, Superchristological and Homoousiosis...

Heresies are arguments that you might find attractive,
But just remember in this case the Church is quite reactive.
So play it safe and memorize these words we sing together,
'Cause in the end you'll find, my friend, that we may live forever.

[chorus] Oh, Superchristological and Homoousiosis
Even though the sound of them is something quite atrocious
You can always count on them to anathematize your Gnosis
Superchristological and Homoousiosis.
- - - - - -

Hat tip to "Halfling.Steve", from the comment box at Singing in the Reign.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

On the Canonicity of the Deuterocanonical Books: Part 2

I guess I should have expected seal's second response to me. Notice how condescending he is. He's practically talking down to me like I'm a three-year old. I started out by addressing his approach, which probably wasn't wise because that sort of thing tends to derail a debate, but I felt like I had to say something. He deserved correction at least once. From now on, I'm not going to say anything more in the debate about it. You have to let that sort of thing roll off, ya know? [phatcatholic wipes the dirt off his shoulder]
- - - - - -
Seal, why do you have to be so condescending when you respond to me? You're practically belittling and making fun of what I believe in. Plus, you're talking down to me like I'm some kid. Try to be more charitable dude, and please, stop calling me "cookie."
Let's not short change the kid now.... I clearly made more points then this. Such as Christ calling the Sandhedrin Children of the Devil which you cleverly left out. Also that Christ is the LOGOS become flesh so should Undivine Books that contradict clear scriptural teachings be considered a foundation of where the Christ quoted from. You didn't address the Trinity of the Egyptians b/c they did have one, Osiris, therefore should they be devotionals as well. I mean a lot of my points debunk your points, which is why I believe you set me up on your own little paradox of what I said. However, I'll fill you in.
You really believe I "set you up"? Believe it or not, not everyone is out to get you. And I'm not that dishonest. Ask anyone who's been here a while and they'll tell you I'm one of the most thorough posters here. I always try to cover everything. I said at the beginning of my post that I had trouble following what you were saying and that the list of your arguments was only what I was able to figure out. I knew when I was writing it that it probably didn't cover everything you said. I wasn't trying to be malicious.

As far as the Sanhedrin is concerned, I never mentioned them in my last post so I don't know what that whole argument is all about. Maybe that part was for someone else. All I'm interested in are the arguments that I actually made, and your response to them. As for "undivine books" that "contradict clear scriptural teachings", you have yet to prove this, so I'll wait and respond to your evidence. As for using Egyptian works for devotional purposes, or inserting such works into the canon, I agree with you that neither should take place. After all, everyone knows that those works aren't Christian, or Godly. In order for the same rule to apply to the deuterocanonical books, you have to prove that they aren't Christian or Godly books either.
Okay, I never said that the apocryphal wasn't an Historical document, therefore events of the times would be recorded through it would it now? This is something inferred into what I rendered the Books. Clearly there are areas in the NT that show that the apocrypha had accurate statements in it (Jude and Hebrews). Yet this doesn't give it authoritative qualifications. Like I said in my earlier point it must be 100% Objective (Meaning no Contradictions to Scriptural teachings) and Divinely inspired which it isn't. Paul says that all scripture is inspired and good for teachings but to books that contradict fit this description? C'mon now cookie.
If you'll recall, my whole point there was to show that the NT quotes from deuterocanonical books. People try to use that as a rule for what is inspired and what's not, so I was showing that, by their rule, the deuterocanonical books would be inspired. You'll have to show me which parts in the DB's you feel contradict Scripture before I can defend their "100% Objectiveness."
Uh no it wouldn't. John 10:34... All of Old Testament Scripture is considered the Law, unless you say Christ quoted scripture wrong and I don't think you want to do that . If there is any reason to believe the apocrypha is cannonical prove to us that the Sovereign God has chosen to contradict himself and also divinely inspire a group of folks his son would later call the Children of the Devil.
First of all, I could really care less about what the Sanhedrin said about the canon. All I know is that Greek-speaking Jews used a canon that included the DB's (the Septuagint) and that Jesus and the NT writers used this canon. One scholar estimates that, of the approximately 300 OT quotes in the NT, about 2/3 of them came from the Septuagint, which included the DB's (you can see 76 such examples here). It's no big leap in logic to deduce from all this that Jesus regarded the DB's to be part of the Jewish scriptures.
Once again, I believe you clearly skimmed over my post by making this statement or saying that I made the statement that Truth isn't found throughout the apocrypha. If you go back and re-read my friend you'd see that I said that I've heard Fred C. Price give an okay message but he doesn't expose the word 100%. So yes there may be some Truth in the apocrypha, but anything that isn't the whole Truth and Divinely Objective is a Big Fat LIE. Therefore, I don't have to go and quote the Church History like Turtellian and others who dismissed the apocrypha as being canonical. I can read it for myself and see why 2nd Temple writings and the apocrypha shouldn't be used to interpret scripture nor included in it.
Like I said, I didn't purposefully ignore stuff or try to undcut your arguments. Believe it or not, your posts aren't always very easy to understand. You seem to have a little trouble with getting out on paper what you're thinking in your head. Your logic isn't always very easy to follow. Sometimes I'm like, "What the hell is he talking about?!?!" So, you'll have to excuse me. I'm trying my best to understand you, bro.

That said, let's see the passages from the DB's that contradict objective truth and we'll see who's telling the "BIG LIE." Also, try to be more respectful next time. I would appreciate it.

Pax Christi,

On the Canonicity of the Deuterocanonical Books: Part 1

This is one of the debates I mentioned in my last post. The deuterocanon (ie. "second canon") is a set of seven books--Sirach, Tobit, Wisdom, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, and Baruch--as well as additions to Daniel and Esther. This debate was well underway when I arrived. Usually, I don't like to get into debates that are already well-developed, but I noticed that a few people were using the "quotation equals canonicity" fallacy so I wanted to at least post the tract I had written on this subject (make sure you read that first). Of course, that drew out "seal", who is always trying to refute me whenever he gets the chance. Here is my first response to him.
- - - - - -
I'll chime in on the convo. What I have gathered thus far is that Cruz, Jnorm, and Phat Catholic are proponents for the Apocrypha to be used as devotion and the latter two may perhaps include it in Canon. Now I've read through all of Phat Catholic's side by side quotes of Christ and the teachings of the Aprocrypha and I don't correllate the teachings "Perhaps he can explain some of them." Christ is the Logos become Flesh (John 1:14) and therefore which word should we consider the Divine. Do teachings from books I think most were saying aren't Divinely Inspired to be considered the foundation drawn upon by the Christ? Christ said he came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, Matthew 5:17-19, notice the Apocrypha isn't mentioned. Also the Sandhedrin (Including Pharisees) was referred to by Christ as the Children of Satan. John 8:44 (John 8 really gives this notion a serious punch and so does Josephus<--even though he's wack as well). Now as far as the Apocrypha having some Truth in it b/c it's inspired by the Torah, well this is a very weak point. I've heard Fred Price preach a not terrible message but that doesn't mean I join his church or go to Sunday school. Why is this? B/c he's not consistent which expository preaching. Heck, there are Egyptians and Pagans (who had a trinity themselves) that had some of the same laws found in Torah, but they didn't serve YHWH. Should they be in devotion as well? Uh no. So if there is no 100% consistent objective which is Divine Truth throughout the books then it's not worth being a devotion and especially not included in Canon. Just some thoughts off the top of my head... I'll try and fill in later...
Your train of thought was a little hard for me to follow here. It seemed like maybe you were trying to type too fast. Anyway, from what I can tell, here are your basic arguments:

The apocryphal (or "deuterocanoncail") books should not be considered devotional or canonical because:
  1. the quotes I provided are not actually quotes of deuterocanonical books
  2. Jesus doesn't mention them in Mt 5:17-19
  3. having elements from the Torah does not mean they are inspired
  4. truth is not found throughout them.
I would like to respond to each one in turn.

I don't know how you can make your first argument. You don't think there was a correspondance in any of the connections I made? Not one? I just find that hard to believe, considering how similar those deuterocanonical passages were to their NT counterparts. Jesus' life and his passion are clearly seen in Wisdom 2, perhaps moreso than in any other book of the Bible. Also, the mention in the letter to the Hebrews of women who receive their dead through resurrection because they chose to suffer torture (Heb 11:35) can only be a reference to 2 Mac 7. Such an incident is not found anywhere else in the Bible. Note that if you concede even one of the examples I provided, then your argument is debunked.

As for #2, "the law and the prophets" is simply a phrase used to describe the Scriptures. There's no reason to believe that the deuterocanonical books couldn't be included in that, especially since it is very clear that Jesus quoted from the Septuagint (see here), which contained the deuterocanonical books. If you take Jesus literally as saying "only the law and only the prophets" then you would have to discount Psalms and the other wisdom literature, and I don't think you want to do that

As for #3, I agree

Finally, #4 will be hard for you to prove. I find much truth throughout these books, and the ECF's did too, which is why they quoted from them so frequently and read from them in the churches (see here).

Pax Christi,

Monday, June 18, 2007

Poll-Release Monday #19

Here is this week's poll question:
  • What do you think of the new background image?
    • Keep it
    • Ditch it
I wanted to try something different, something a little more "summery". I like it. I think it matches my blog colors pretty well too. Let me know what you think (the poll is towards the top of my sidebar). Also, click the link below the poll and tell me why you voted the way you did.

As for last week's poll ("Which anti-Catholic claim is the most difficult one for you to answer?"), there was a decent turn-out. Here are the results:

It looks like most of my readers have a hard time vindicating the Church's role during the Holocaust. It definitely takes a lot of scholarship to figure out what actually took place, and there are a lot of books and bogus websites out there that accuse the Church of either directly aiding in the killing of Jews, or of standing by and watching it happen. Thankfully, many scholars have risen up within the last few years to defend Pope Pius XII and the Church's actions during World War II. They have provided a wealth of information which shows that the Church actually did a great deal to save as many Jews as possible without simultaneously harming the thousands of Catholics who lived in the various German-occupied countries during this time.

If you're ever in a debate about this, you can get a lot of mileage out of the following two words: prove it. A lot of people say a lot of things, but they usually have very little to back it up with. When they give you something, check their sources. Are they credible? Did the person or author in question actually say that? Is their another side to the story? You'll be surprised how dishonest and unscholarly people get when they talk about the Church. Finally, point them to scholarship that defends the Church. I have 80 links to articles on the Church and the Holocaust compiled here. I've never seen a more extensive online collection of info on this topic. You should have more than enough there to defend the Church.

It looks like the "Whore of Babylon" charge is another sticky subject for some people. This requires logic and Scriptural exegesis. Basically, the whore is either Rome or Jerusalem. Either interpretation is acceptable, and there are valid arguments for each. But, the whore is definitely not the Catholic Church, and to say otherwise is pretty absurd once you look at the Scriptural data. Go here for a collection of links that will be very helpful in that regard. It will also be beneficial to read some articles on the book of Revelation. The genre of the book and the way it was written effect the way in which it should be validly interpreted.

In my opinion, the hardest claim was the fourth one: "Catholics believe that you can work or buy your way into heaven." The reason this one is so difficult, at least for me anyway, is because it requires you to be very familiar with Scripture. There is just an amazing amount of Scriptural data that bears on this topic, particularly in the writings of Paul, and it can be difficult to figure it all out. Here is my crack at it. You can find some other great articles on this topic here. The big thing to keep in mind is this: whenever a passage of Scripture appears to refute works, it is actually refuting "works of the law", which are either circumcision or various customs and dietary restrictions. The Bible never condemns good works done by the grace of God.

The Catholic Church simply believes that a saving faith is one that informs every action of a person's life. So, naturally, it will manifest itself through a variety of good works. If it does not manifest itself in this way, or if a person stands before God with only evil works to give Him, then he will not be saved. What you'll find is that a lot of protestants actually believe this, it's just that they have such a knee-jerk reaction to the word "work" that they don't realize it.

For articles that respond to the other claims in the poll, see the following: I pray that this post will equip you all to better defend the Church. St. Michael the Archangel...pray for us.

Pax Christi,

Friday, June 15, 2007

Perfect Timing

When I made the Catholic quotations widget that is in my sidebar, I just put in quotations one after the other, without giving a whole lot of thought to whether or not the quotations matched up with feast days, or holydays, or anything like that. Except for Christmas, the whole process was entirely random.

That's why I was really happy to see today's quotation, on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:
The heart has it's reasons of which reason knows nothing
--Blaise Pascal, Pensees
How perfect is that!?!? The scandal of the Cross is unreasonable to a great many people, yet the Sacred Heart of Jesus has its reasons. It intended to endure unspeakable suffering so as to pour out blood and water for the salvation of all mankind.

Sacred Heart of Jesus...have mercy on us.

Pax Christi,

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Mark Shea and Our Crybaby Culture

Props to Mark Shea for his cover story in the June 2007 issue of Crisis Magazine, which hit the shelves today. It's about our insecure, cry-me-a-river, woe-is-me culture that whines and moans every time the wind blows --and I wish I could sign my name to it. I mean, really, Mark, can I take credit for your article because you totally nailed my stance on the subject.

All of the "Professionally Aggrieved Grievance Professionals" get called out: African Americans, homosexuals, Native Americans, Irishmen, feminists, environmentalists, animal rights activists, atheists, and yes, Christians too. But, "When it comes to sheer childish inability to cope with a world not to their liking, nobody does it like Muslims." AMEN. This part on profiling is particularly good:
This peculiar conviction that, “If you’ve seen one Abrahamic religion, you’ve seen ‘em all,” also apparently governs much of our policy in transportation safety. Alloyed with our peculiar fear and shame over the possibility of giving offense, it has yielded the wondrous policy of acting as though absolutely everybody is at equal risk of being a terrorist, just as, 20 years ago, grievance activists in the homosexual community persuaded everyone we were all at equal risk for AIDS.
[. . .]
In much the same way, it turns out that not everybody is at equal risk for being an Islamic terrorist. Studies are well on the way to showing a strong correlation between Muslim terrorists and a condition known as “being Muslim.” Though the data are still being analyzed, it’s probably not rash to say that every Islamic terrorist is a Muslim, though of course not all or even most Muslims are terrorists. But given that the Muslim community does seem to be the locus of the problem of Muslim terrorism, it would seem prudent for security officials to focus their efforts there and not spend a great deal of time scrutinizing nuns, six-year-old farm boys, and Lutheran Bridge Club members for their ties to al-Qaeda or similar Islamic organizations.
Of course, looking for Muslim terrorists among the Muslim is just way too logical, hence the desparate outcry from the Grievance Professionals.

In times like this we don't need sensitivity training, we need insensitivity training. Mark is gracious enough to provide us with tips on how to be more insensitive (most of these tips refer to examples of crybaby-ness provided earlier in the article--make sure you read the whole thing).
  1. Ask yourself, “Am I an idiot?” There are three basic kinds of idiots: intellectual, emotional, and moral. An intellectual idiot is too stupid to know or find out what a word means. An emotional idiot is too stupid to care what a word means if it stands between him and a good temper tantrum. A moral idiot may be intellectually and emotionally sound, yet still be willing to sacrifice the happiness of others simply to file a lawsuit on behalf of intellectual or emotional idiots who don’t know what, say, “picnic” or “niggardly” mean. If you are any of these kinds of idiot, proceed immediately to step two.
  2. Consider the possibility that you just need to get a life. Signs of this need include spending all day in a sweat of irritation because religious people exist, hallucinations that you are being raped by classical music, constant convulsive outrage over words like “history” and “master/slave” or “outing,” and a gasping sense of oppression at the thought of urinals. Wigging out over leprechauns and tomahawk chops is another “get a life” indicator. Still other signs include loss of sleep and anger-management issues over presidential greeting cards, cartoons, ice cream lids, and books with pigs in them. If these symptoms persist, proceed to step three.
  3. Grow up. Failure to grow up could result in becoming a human toothache and constituting a transmission vector for ulcers, psychological and physiological ailments, and a whole host of complex societal disorders including an overburdened diaper-laundering industry.
  4. Finally, find something useful to do with your time, such as learning to laugh, particularly at yourself. You’ll be happier. So will the rest of us.
Brilliant. Simply Brilliant. Hat tip and a bow to Mark Shea.

Pax Christi,

A Holy Card for Every Day

I found a new blog today called Holy Cards for Your Inspiration. It is hosted by "Micki", who has an extensive personal collection of holy cards. Each day a new card is posted from the collection, along with whatever message happens to come along with it.

I'm pretty sure I could spend all day looking at these holy cards. This one is one of my favorites:

There is something very startling about this image. It's not every day that you see a young boy peaking out from inside a tabernacle. But, the boy is Jesus, and so in an extraordinary way we are reminded of His Real Presence in the Eucharist. It's one of those images that jolts you out of your glazy-eyed expression and wakes you up to the reality of the Eucharist and of Eucharistic Adoration.

There are other great cards too. Check it out!

Pax Christi,

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Update on Torture Debate

I was tired and frustrated when I made my earlier post on torture, so I didn't have the time or the energy to find all of Zippy's posts in the debate. But, this has now been remedied. See my post on torture again for Zippy's contribution. I felt like the only fair thing to do was to go back and add them in. Plus, this will keep you all from having to look up his posts on your own. Also, I do realize that I am relying heavily upon Christopher's round-ups for everything that took place up to Nov. 14, '06, so if any of the participants involved feel that I have left something out, please let me know. It was really difficult for me to get a handle on the flow of the debate so far after the fact.

Pax Christi,

Art as Servant: St. Michael the Archangel

Check out the following drawing of St. Michael the Archangel by David Myers, along with his explanation of the drawing:

"I have wanted to do this drawing for a long time. It is my answer to every bad representation of Saint Michael that I have ever seen. I mean, is it just me, or shouldn't someone known as "the general of the armies of the Lord" look like someone who can stomp a hole in the devil's hind quarters? Most of the traditional images of St. Michael leave me with a bad taste in my mouth, like I've eaten something with too much sugar in it. I don't want to see some androgynous fairy dancing a ballet on the head of a more manly looking satan, but a butt-kickin' Prince of Angels glorious in his victory over evil!

I don't claim that my version is the definitive image of the incorporeal, beautiful Archangel Michael, but I think that it does convey a little more of the strength given him by his Creator. Incidentally, in a funny spiritual exposition, I modeled for both Michael and his nemesis."

As should be blatantly obvious by now, I love St. Michael, and the image of him stomping a mud-hole in Satan has always been very encouraging to me. After all, why despair when St. Michael and his legion of angels are fighting an invisible war beneath the surface of our everyday struggles? An angel and a demon could be fighting in the very room that you are sitting in! It's just something interesting to think about.

I've also seen many images of St. Michael. I like to see the many ways in which he is represented. Sometimes the spear is in his left hand, sometimes in his right. Sometimes he holds a sword instead of a spear, sometimes a scale, sometimes a chain, sometimes a shield. He always appears angelic.

Personally, St. Michael's angelic appearance doesn't bother me as much as it bothers Dave. I have always enjoyed the tension that is maintained in images of Michael, a tension between the beauty of his face and the strength and physicality of his action. He is wielding immense power over Satan, and in a way that could even be described as violent, yet not at the expense of the utter happiness and joy he always experiences as a soldier beholding the face of God. There is no gritting of the teeth, no anger, no frustration, no clinched fist. He doesn't even seem to be exerting very much energy, which I think is a testiment to his power.

In the end, Satan is no match for God and his angels, and nothing he does will cause them to be unsettled, nervous, or angry. This is the promise for us as well. If we persevere, we too can have the power and contentment of the angels, and at the end of time, the devil and his minions will be utterly and definitively defeated, cast aside, never to harm God's creation ever again.

St. Michael the Archangel...pray for us.

Pax Christi,

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Archdiocese of Louisville Finally Gets a Bishop

I lived in the Archdiocese of Louisville for almost two years before I moved to Steubenville to go to FUS. My twin brother Matt is a seminarian for the Archdiocese. Needless to say, I have been very anxious to see who the next bishop will be, ever since the retirement of Archbishop Thomas Kelly last July. Well, the rumors are true. Bishop Joseph E. Kurtz of the diocese of Knoxville, TN will be the new bishop for 200,000 Catholics in the Archdiocese of Louisville, KY. The following article is from Spero News. Also see Whispers in the Loggia, the last several posts from The School of Mary, and the biographical information on Bishop Joseph E. Kurtz from the Diocese of Knoxville website.
- - - - - - - - - -
Spero News -- Tuesday, June 12, 2007

This morning the Holy Father announced that he has appointed a new archbishop for the Archdiocese of Louisville. The new head of the archdiocese is Bishop Joseph Kurtz who has been the bishop of Knoxville, Tennessee for the past seven years.

Bishop Kurtz accepted Pope Benedict’s appointment by placing his trust, “in the grace of Jesus Christ and in the Providential Plan of our Heavenly Father.” In a statement on the archdiocesan website, the new Archbishop said that he will look to the leadership of the Holy Father as his model—a model of “unity in truth and charity.”

The former bishop of Knoxville said that he is looking forward to his new role as pastor of the Archdiocese of Louisville. “I am eager to meet all the priests and all those who minister to the faithful of the archdiocese and to love and serve with them, seeking the unity in truth and in charity that echoes the prayer of Jesus as well as the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s motto: ‘United we stand; Divided we fall.’”

Both Archbishop Kelly, the retiring head of the archdiocese, and Bishop Kurtz have mentioned how they have enjoyed working with each other over the past seven years.

Archbishop Kelly said, “I have valued working with him since his appointment as Bishop of Knoxville, and I know how much the people of his diocese will miss him. I wish him all the best as he pastors this wonderful local church; I cannot imagine a better match for the Archdiocese of Louisville.”

Bishop Kurtz will be installed as the head of the Archdiocese of Louisville on August 15th 2007, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Noting how appropriate this date is, Bishop Kurtz pointed out that it is, “the Patronal Feast of the Cathedral and coincides with the Thirtieth Anniversary of Archbishop Kelly’s Episcopal Ordination.”

The Torturesome Debate on Torture

A reader emailed me the following question, and I cringed when I read it:
As a member of a military family I'm concerned about the issue of torturing enemy combatants, could you please tell me whether it is a sin or not.
Allow me to explain. I used to think that this was an open-and-shut case: torture is wrong. After all, the Church seems rather clear on this point:
  • CCC 2298: "In times past, cruel practices were commonly used by legitimate governments to maintain law and order, often without protest from the Pastors of the Church, who themselves adopted in their own tribunals the prescriptions of Roman law concerning torture. Regrettable as these facts are, the Church always taught the duty of clemency and mercy. She forbade clerics to shed blood. In recent times it has become evident that these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order, nor in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person. On the contrary, these practices led to ones even more degrading. It is necessary to work for their abolition. We must pray for the victims and their tormentors."
  • Gaudium et Spes: "Furthermore...whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as...torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself...all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed. They poison human society, but they do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are supreme dishonor to the Creator."
  • Veritatis Splendour: 'Consequently, without in the least denying the influence on morality exercised by circumstances and especially by intentions, the Church teaches that "there exist acts which per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object".131 The Second Vatican Council itself, in discussing the respect due to the human person, gives a number of examples of such acts: "Whatever is hostile to life itself, such as any kind of homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and voluntary suicide; whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; whatever is offensive to human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution and trafficking in women and children; degrading conditions of work which treat labourers as mere instruments of profit, and not as free responsible persons: all these and the like are a disgrace, and so long as they infect human civilization they contaminate those who inflict them more than those who suffer injustice, and they are a negation of the honour due to the Creator'.132
But, after diving into the extensive debate that took place in the Catholic blogosphere about the legitimacy of torture a couple of years back, I see now that it is oh-so-much more complicated than that. I tried today to come to my own conclusion on this matter and I simply was not able to. Maybe I need more time to read and digest all of the arguments. Maybe I don't know enough about moral theology to ever figure this one out. I don't know. The only thing I know right now is that I don't know. So, that's my answer.

I don't know.

And that is why I cringe. I would like to be of more help here, but I simply can't. The best I can do is provide the posts that comprised the debate. Start first with two articles: this one by Fr. Brian Harrison, which concludes that torture may be acceptible in some circumstances, and this one by Mark Shea, which concludes that torture is always morally objectionable.

Next, see the following posts from Against the Grain that attempt to compile all of the arguments that were made in the debate. Read them in this order:
  1. On Torture, "Aggressive Interrogation" and the Military Commissions Act of 2006
  2. The Torture Debate: Part II
  3. The Torture Debate: Part III
  4. The Torture Debate: Part IV
  5. So What Do I Think about Torture?
  6. Mark Shea, Jimmy Akin, Fr. Harrison and the "Torture Debate"
That outlines the extent of the debate up to Nov. 14, 2006.

For posts in the debate after that time, see the following from Jimmy Akin, Mark Shea, and Zippy Catholic:

Jimmy Akin:
  1. Nov. 27: Torture Day
  2. Nov. 27: Defining Torture: Two Parameters
  3. Nov. 27: Defining Torture: An Initial Exploration
  4. Nov. 27: Defining Torture: Proposing a Definition
  5. Nov. 27: Defining Torture: One More Thought
  6. Nov. 29: Tormenta Corpori Mentive Inflicta
  7. Dec. 2: All Is Forgiven!
  8. Dec. 6: Making Torture Discussions Less Torturous
It doesn't appear that he has posted anything more about it.

Mark Shea:
  1. Nov. 28: Jimmy Akin and Torture
  2. Nov. 30: Argh! No Time!
  3. Dec. 2: You Said It, Brother!
  4. Dec 13: Why I've Spent So Much Time on Bush's (and Defenders) Atrocious Attempts to Justify Prisoner Abuse
Mark Shea doesn't seem to have written anything more about it either.

Zippy Catholic:
  1. Nov. 14: Outsourcing Torture
  2. Nov. 17: Content=Object, Motivation=Intent
  3. Nov. 18: Choosing that Another Person Will Suffer
  4. Dec. 1: Differences in Kind
  5. Dec. 3: Another Heuristic
  6. Dec. 5: The Object of an Act of Torture
  7. Dec. 6: Proportionalism's Lex Orandi
  8. Dec. 7: The Lesser of One Evil
As far as I can tell, Zippy's posts on this topic stop there. Zippy and Mark hold that torture is intrinsically evil (thus in no circumstance is it permissible) while Jimmy and Christopher Blosser (from Against the Grain) hold that it is not intrinsically evil, thus permitted in some circumstances, however limited those may be.

I hope that all of this will be of help to someone.

Pax Christi,

Monday, June 11, 2007

Infallibility and the History of the Church

What follows are my answers to a series of questions that I recently received on the infallibility of the Church and how this squares with the low moments in her history. It does seem odd at first that a Church filled with sinners could still make authoritative and incorruptible statements about faith and morals, but this is in fact what Jesus willed for his people.
Does the Catholic Church today view Catholic Authority as infallible?
If it does, how can you justify evil acts by Popes?
Infallibility doesn't mean "never sinning." It "means protection from error when speaking authoritatively." The biblical authors wrote inspired Scripture, which is a far greater act, yet they were still sinners. Jesus did not promise that the leaders of the Church would never sin. Instead, He promised that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth --and that's a very different thing.
How can you reconcile the shift of power throughout Catholic History between Counsel and the Papacy? -at times there even being more than one Pope at the same time.
I am not aware of a "shift of power" in the history of the Catholic Church. Perhaps you can give me an example. I could possibly see where different time periods emphasized one more than the other, but both have always coexisted and they are not dichotomous or mutually exclusive. Popes usually consult their brother bishops before making infallible statements, and the statements of a Council are not considered infallible until they receive the approval of the pope.
And finally, how can you justify things like the Crusades and/or the Spanish Inqiusition?
There is no easy answer to this question because you can answer it from so many different angles.

First of all, you have to look at these events with as much honesty and genuine scholarship as possible. Some people put the death counts up to the millions when that many people weren't even alive then. You have books like Foxe's Book of Martyrs that basically list every story of persecution available w/o worrying too much about factual accuracy. And of course, you have accounts of the crusades and the inquisitions that are agenda-driven and intended to disparage the Catholic Church. Before you can assess what happened you have to get down to the actual facts of the matter.

Secondly, you have to understand the mindset of all Christendom during these times. Truth was not treated so cavalierly then as it is now. Riots took place when heresy was proclaimed. Conversely, the entire town of Ephesus errupted with joy when the council that was held there maintained that Mary was "Mother of God." Nowadays, we can't imagine responding to truth that way, but that's how crucial it was to Christians who lived before the Enlightenment.

Thirdly, during the times of the crusades and inquisitions, there was not the severe separation of Church and State that you find today. In times where the two are interconnected, an act of heresy becomes an act against the welfare of the state. Today, we execute murderers and rapists for this reason. Back then, perpetuating heresy and revolt against Church leaders was just as serious.

Fourthly, it's unfair to paint these events as singular to the Catholic Church. In the 16th century, Protestant England severely persecuted Catholics. The Salem Witch Hunts in the U.S. obviously got way out of hand. Essentially, no Christian denomination is immune to the coersion and undue zeal for the truth that is so often presented as a singularly Catholic trait.

Fifthly, no one denies that abuses took place during the crusades and the inquisitions. As a Catholic, that's something that I just have to accept. Even in times so foreign to us now, much of the killing was unwarranted. What comforts me is the knowledge that none of the crimes committed by the Church throughout her history were truly imbued by Catholic teaching. Instead, they were motivated by sin, or by the distortion and/or abuse of Catholic principles. We have to keep in mind the fact that the weeds and wheat will exist together until the end of time and that any Catholic who acts in a way that is not in accordance with the Church cannot be said to be a true representative of Her.

Finally, there has to come a time when Christians forgive each other for the faults of the past. How long are we going to continually fling mud in each other's faces? Many popes, bishops, and laymen have apologized for the genuine abuses of the Catholic Church (for example, here). Yet, some people are simply unwilling to forgive.

I hope that answers all of your questions.

Pax Christi,

Poll-Release Monday #18

Here is the new poll for this week:
  • Which anti-Catholic claim is the most difficult one for you to answer?
    • "Catholics worship Mary."
    • "The Catholic Church did nothing for the Jews during the Holocaust."
    • "The Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon."
    • "Catholics believe that you can work or buy your way into heaven."
    • "Catholics worship statues."
    • "The Catholic Church was founded by Constantine in 313 AD."
    • "The pope is the anti-Christ."
The inspiration for this poll is a series of questions that I answered recently about the Catholic Church (I will be posting them here shortly). It made me wonder how many Catholics are able to answer the various questions and claims that are often lofted against the Church. Vote in the poll (in my sidebar) and then click on each option for more information. "Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you..." (1 Pet 3:15). Equp yourself so that you "may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it" (Tit 1:9).

As for last week's poll ("Which category of posts on my blog do you like the most?"), the results were the same as they were when I used the same poll 4 months ago:

Just like last time, only 19 people voted. The Q&A category won again too. But, there were some differences. More people liked the Blog Updates this time around, while less people liked the Personal posts. I was surprised by that last statistic because it was the popularity of the various posts about my life that made me want to incorporate that into my blog more in the first place. But, I do realize that it could be that those who like my Personal posts simply like some other category more.

That's fine. I was just trying to see if maybe you all had a better idea of what you liked the most about my blog. It seems to me from the lack of votes that the answer to that question is still up in the air. Why didn't you vote? Leave a comment and let me know.

Pax Christi,
Related Posts with Thumbnails