Tuesday, July 31, 2007

In Case You Didn't Know....

Pope Paul VI representin'

Don't make Pope Paul VI put the smack down on you.

Pax Christi,

NFP Is Waaay Cooler

Check out these three YouTube videos on the differences between contraception and NFP. They are patterened after the popular Apple commercials. The script is great. I even laughed when I was supposed to, which is hard to accomplish when you're making a skit. Look at the nerdy guy and his stupid contraception. NFP is waaay cooler.

For more on contraception, go here. For more on NFP, go here.

Pax Christi,

Saving Your Brother: Part 3

As usual, Bro. Thomas, OP does not disappoint. Here is his comment on Part 2 of our discussion on fraternal correction. I think he says in a much better way what I was trying to say about this.
  • The virtue of prudence is what's needed. Prudence is the cultivated ability of knowing and doing the appropriate action at the right time in the right way.

    This particular virtue is cultivated alongside the other virtues, but needs extra attention. It requires, for example, a certain amount of past experience. In this case, past experience of offering fraternal correction. Some of those experiences may have ended well while others may have made things worse. Being able to evaluate past action--what worked and what went wrong--is key to the virtue.

    This is why, incidentally, we generally offer respect to our elders who, presumably, have much more experience than we do ourselves. We learn from their success and their mistakes, and we esteem the ones we find to be the most prudent and the most wise.

    Additionally, prudence requires a certain imaginative talent, which is to say one must be able to reasonably prognosticate the results of the various options for action one is discerning. This, once again, requires reflection on past experience and the type of results attained. The prognostication need not be absolutely certain, but simply reasonable.

    Prudence is the queen of the virtues precisely because it is the ability to know the right thing to do and to do it with ease.

    Much of morality depends on prudence because, as St. Thomas says, the more concrete a moral situation is, the more difficult it is to provide an absolute rule for action. In this case, what is the nature of the offense that needs correction? What kind of person is giving the correction? What kind of person is receiving it? How is it delivered? When is it delivered?

    Bottom line, we will likely make many mistakes in fraternal correction as we grow in prudence and learn how to do them right and well.

Thanks Brother Thomas!

Pax Christi,

Monday, July 30, 2007

Saving Your Brother: Part 2

Cain and Abel -->
As a follow-up to my short answer about keeping our fellow brothers from sin, "the dude" asked the following question:
I understand the obligation to correct others when necessary, but do I have an obligation to do it right away or can I wait for a good opportunity (even if it means the person continues in a sinful behavior in the meantime)? I am also wondering how far we have to go in correcting others. I know we don't have to go around preventing evil everywhere but where is the line drawn?
A lot of this is a judgment call. I don't know if there are necessarily hard and fast rules regarding this sort of thing. I don't think anyone is asking you to be a super-hero. I think you just combat evil whenever you come across it: at school, work, home, anytime or place where you are interacting with people.

If you're in a conversation with a friend and he reveals to you that he likes to steal candy bars from the store down the street, then you tell him (in a way that will connect with him) that stealing isn't cool. If you see a person in Mass who lives an openly homosexual lifestyle but is receiving the Eucharist, you let him know as soon as you can that what he is doing is a grave sin. Do you tackle him in the middle of Church? I can't really answer that. Some would say that protecting the Eucharist trumps any sense of manners or reserve that we are supposed to uphold during the Mass. Others say that you wait until your earliest convenience so as not to draw attention to the spectacle and away from the Eucharist that everyone else is trying to participate in.

God doesn't necessarily give us a rule book for every particular situation in which a Christian may find himself. If we are trying to always inform our decisions by the teachings of the Church and if we are trying to be as faithful and well-intentioned as we possibly can be, then I don't know if anyone can ask anymore from you than that. You're trying your best, ya know? You're not a moral theologian. I'm not either. We're going to make mistakes

All I know is that sin is a very serious matter and that we should have a zeal for souls, for saving them and keeping them from sin. This means telling people things they don't always want to hear. This means approaching people you may not even know that well. Of course, there are ways to have conversations like this that aren't automatically offensive to people. You don't necessarily want to stand on a stool and start yelling at everyone. Use tact, and charity, and humility, and respect. Speak the truth in love. That's how we win people and give glory to God.

I hope that helps.

Pax Christi,

"phatcatholic" meets "Super Dave"

This weekend was bitter sweet. I stayed up late Thursday night cleaning up the apartment in preparation for Friday, the day I meet THE David Amrstrong. I went to bed that night expecting everything to go according to plan. I would go to work, as usual, and then come home and meet Dave on campus. Well, Friday morning brought a rude awakening.

When I opened my eyes, I turned my head to the left and the entire room started spinning. I mean, the ENTIRE room. I couldn't believe it! I put my hand over my eyes and thought to myself, "What the hell is going on?" I opened my eyes and tried again. Same result. I decided to sleep an extra 15 minutes and try a third time. Same result. Once that happened, work was totally out of the question. I fumbled around (I'm surprised a didn't puke) and managed to find the right phone number and call in sick.

I went back to bed and decided to sleep for a couple of hours, praying to God that all would be well when I opened my eyes again. Same result. Eventually, I decided to go downstairs and sit on the couch. I thought that maybe the cooler temperature, and sitting instead of laying down will help me. Unfortunately, it got worse.

So, I'm sitting there, trying to keep it together. I even tried to eat something, but I couldn't. Then, I thought to msyelf, "Maaan, this is eerily similar to the panic attack I had a few years ago. Disoriented? Check. Hot? Check. Fearful for my well-being? Check. Anxious? Check. "Oh crap, I'm about to have another nervous breakdown!"

Once that thought hit me, it all went downhill. I started breathing faster. My fingers started tingling. I started shaking. I kept feeling like I needed to cry. It was awful. Eventually, I called some friends and they took me to the hospital. The day I'm supposed to meet the man who was very instrumental in my conversion, and I'm taking a trip to the hospital! Pretty crazy.

I was so dizzy and disoriented when I got to the hospital that when they tried to push me in a wheelchair I fell out of it. Literally. I was laying on the ground. I don't know if the nurse was on speed or if I was just too far gone, but when she pushed me in that God-awful thing I felt like I was on a rollercoaster!

Eventually they got me in bed, and after checking my blood pressure several times, testing a blood sample, and giving me a shot, they determined that my inner-ear was messed up. It seems like a guess to me, since I don't know how one would come to that conclusion based on how they examined me. They never even addressed the panic attack symptoms (shaking, crying, saying irrational stuff). I still don't know exactly why that happened. My guess is that the inner-ear problem reminded me too much of what happened before and that triggered it again. But, that is just a guess.

Anyway, when I got home from the hospital, I still wasn't great, but I was well enough to walk on my own. So, I got dressed and walked down to the campus to meet Dave. He's a cool dude. A lot of fun and even a little quirky :D Even though I slept a lot more than I normally would have, we managed to have some great conversations, and he was very generous, giving me a free signed copy of his new book The One-Minute Apologist and a discount on his CD of e-books. Depsite my dizziness, I was happy to have him as my guest and I am thankful for the opportunity to meet him in person.

Thanks Dave!

Pax Christi,

ps: Unfortunately, we were unable to take any pictures. Someone buy me a digital camera!!

Poll-Release Monday #23

Here is this week's poll question:
  • What does the recent CDF document on the Church actually say about Her?
    • "Only visible members of the Catholic Church can go to heaven"
    • "Protestants aren't Christians"
    • "The Church of Christ is the Catholic Church"
    • "Truth is only found in the Catholic Church"
    • "The Second Vatican Council changed the Catholic doctrine on the Church"
    • "Christian communities born out of the Reformation cannot be called 'Churches'"
This is more a trivia question than an opinion poll. I want to know how many of you are able to tell a lie from the truth regarding this document. Even though discussion about it has largely died down, someone asked me a question about it just last Thursday. This CDF document has made an impression on people, and a lot of Protestants still don't understand it fully. As Catholics, it is imperative that we understand what the CDF is teaching us in this document and to be able to explain this to people. If you haven't read it yet, READ IT! (well, vote first and then read it).

When I get home I'll update this post with last week's poll results.

Pax Christi,

The Truth of Religion?: Part 2

As I suspected, the video I reviewed in my last post had some astrological errors along with the errors in logic that I already pointed out. Christina left a great comment addressing these errors, and it was just to good to leave in the combox:
The Astronomy isn't terribly bad (at least not as bad as most of these "religion is all star based" claims). Sirius does lines up with those three stars every day of the year, which I've heard called "The Three Kings" once - and not by someone in astronomy. Orion and Sirius are early Fall constellations, which means on December 25 they are setting as the sun is rising. However it is true that if you look at the stars at their rising and follow the line from those three stars through Sirius, you get a specific point on the horizon and 12 hours after these stars pointed to that point on the horizon, the sun will rise at that point.

He does misrepresent a point later, about the sun being "in the vicinity of the southern cross" on December 25 when it stays put for "three days". Cute. I suppose if you consider "vicinity" half the sky away, sure! The southern cross is a, ahem, southern constellation and although the sun is close, it's closest to it near the end of January (in the year zero - in the year 2007 it's February). I certainly wouldn't consider it in the vicinity as it's practically 40 degrees away.

He would have done better to point out that it was "between the southern and northern cross (the norther cross is another name for the constellation Cygnus the Swan)". But even then it's more directly in between those in January and it wouldn't have had the same effect of putting the sun ON the cross (which it never is). You would think someone who studied astrology would know which constellations the sun was in. In December the Sun rises in the constellation of Sagittarius (the teapot or archer), or if you go back to the time of Christ it will be in Capricorn. The Sun rises in Virgo around August (when most Virgo's are born).

I also loved how he reduced the "astrological sign" to the cross with the halo then went through painstaking care to only show crosses with the halo around it. See it's the same! Oh and the part about the crown of thorns was great - he would have done better to point out that the sun's "crown of thorns" or halo is most visible during a solar eclipse, when "darkness is prevailing over the light." That would have been a cool touch.

It would be interesting to know how much of his history is correct about those other religions. I liked your point about how other pagan religions would by nature prefigure Christianity. I personally would be more worried if there was no evidence for Christianity in nature or in other religions, for if something is totally new, then it is almost guaranteed to be false.

Thanks Christina!

Pax Christi,

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Truth about Religion?

Angela left a comment on my previous post asking me how I would respond to this YouTube video:

To review, this video is basically about the Egyptian sun-god Horus and how his life (and the lives of many other pagan and mythological deities) parallels the life of Christ. The claim is that, like these many deities, the story of Jesus Christ is simply a contrived personification of the placement and movement of various stars, particularly the sun.

It's interesting (funny?) how the narrator takes his time introducing the pagan gods, but when he gets to the life of Jesus he rushes through it. You can tell by the tone of his voice that he is practically bored by it. "He raised the sick, walked on water, blah blah blah." I imagine he's thinking to himself, "Let's hurry up and get this stupid Jesus story over with so I can debunk it with my my immense knowledge of astrology." Whatever.

It's obvious here that "religion" broadly speaking is not the target, but specifically the Christian religion. We'll see if his star-gazing actually amounts to anything.

The narrator offers various astrological explanations for the characteristics of Jesus and different events in his life. The "star in the East" is Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, which aligns with the three brightest stars in Orion's belt on Dec. 24th. These three brighter stars are commonly referred to as "The Three Kings" (with special emphasis on "Three Kings", as if that's really going to freak us out). Together they point to the sun when it rises on Dec. 25th. This is why it is said that the "three kings" follow the "star" to the "sunrise" or "the birth of the sun."

The Virgin Mary is the constellation Virgo, or "Virgo the Virgin." Virgo is also referred to as the "House of Bread," which is what "Bethlehem" is literally translated to mean. So, it follows (according to the twisted logic of the narrator) that "Bethlehem" refers to stars in the sky, not a place on Earth.

As for the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, this too is explained by the movements of the sun (Sun = Son). From the Summer Solstace to the Winter Solstace (Dec. 25th), the days become shorter and colder, and from the perspective of the northern hemisphere the sun appears to move south and become smaller and more scarce. This chill in climate and the resultant loss of crops signals death.

By Dec. 22nd, the sun itself reaches its final death. After all, it is on this day that the sun sinks to its lowest point, and every day since the Summer Solstace it has appeared to shrink and take a more southern route. However, from the 22nd to the 24th (3 days) the sun appears to stop moving south. It is also during these 3 days that the sun lies within the vicinity of the Southern Cross, or "Crux" constellation. Finally, on the 25th, it moves 1 degree north. Spring, which is begun by this first move northward, brings new life, or "salvation." This, apparently, is the inspiration for the death on the Cross, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

However, the narrator points out that the resurrection of the sun is not celebrated until the Spring Equinox, which is, you guessed it, Easter. This is because it is on this day that the sun officially overpowers the evil darkness as daytime becomes longer than night and the revitalizing conditions of Spring emerge.

Finally, the 12 apostles are "obviously" the 12 constellations, which Jesus, as the "sun", would travel about with. The narrator points out that 12 is a number found often in the Bible (12 tribes of Israel, 12 brothers of Joseph, 12 judges of Israel, etc.) and then finally concludes that the Bible has more to do with astrology than with anything else. Even various icons of Christ can be explained by the zodiac chart, since the middle portion of the zodiac shares a similarity with the halo of Jesus on the Cross.

Pretty interesting, huh? Almost uncanny even! ... that is, until you take a step back from the spectacle and look at the actual logic involved here. The narrator's reasoning is basically this:
  1. The life of Jesus, and the characters and events involved in this life, share a similarity with stars and their placement and movement.
  2. Many other religions share these same parallels.
  3. Therefore, all religion, and especially Christianity, is a load of carp contrived by ingenious men who were inspired by the skies to create a vast mythology. None of it really took place.
Gimmie a break.

First of all, while no one contests the purely mythological nature of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman religion, it is a historical fact that Jesus existed. That he performed miracles, had a major following during his lifetime, and was crucified is also historical fact. The rest of the elements of his life can be checked by the Bible, which also has historical veracity, and the witness of those who lived shortly after his death, resurrection, and ascension. If you want to gather the facts of an individual or an event, you go back and read testimony from that time. That's just how you do history, and doing history verifies the historicity of Jesus.

Secondly, there is a logical fallacy at work here called the "genetic fallacy." This fallacy improperly judges a thing based on its history or origins rather than on its own merits (e.g., "No one should read this book because it was written by a drunkard" or "I believe that there is no God because my parents told me so"). In other words, none of the claims of Christianity are actually directly addressed. There is no attempt to analyze or discredit the reasons why Christians believe that Jesus is God, that He was born of a Virgin, that He died and rose again. Instead, an astrological origin is created for Christianity and then Christianity is discredited based on that supposed origin.

What's interesting (funny?) is that this makes the argument twice as weak! After all, the stance of the narrator is based on a fallacy that discredits something based on its origin, and the origin upon which the fallacy is based is itself an error! A similarity between two things does not automatically prove a cause-and-effect relationship between them, and a genetic fallacy does nothing to refute a thing based on it's own merits.

Well then, how do we explain the similarity between various astrological phenomena and the common themes found in the major world religions? I respond with another question: Could it not be that the Creation of God bears witness to His Divine Plan? Whenever someone sets out to create, the fruit of his labor will evidence the creator and the plan that he had in mind. That's a no-brainer.

And so it is with the life of Christ. Before all time, God knew that the Son would become man in the womb of a virgin and that this man would suffer, die, and rise again, conquering death and saving the world. This knowledge, this plan and destiny for the world, is seen in the stars, in nature, and everything that He created because it all comes from Him and bears His mark.

What about the similarities between Christianity and the many pagan religions? This too can be explained, not by the pagan-influence fallacy but by this evidence in creation and the yearning for God and for truth that is placed on the heart of every man. If in fact creation bears witness to God and his plan for the world, it makes sense that men throughout the ages would interpret this creation and come to a knowledge of God that is very similar to the Christian mystery. Human beings themselves share a lot in common, and they often live in similar environments and have similar life circumstances. Thus, they are likely to express their mutual religiosity (human beings are inherently religious people) in similar ways.

Of course, this is just one way to address the similarities between Christianity and pagan religions. However, since my main focus here is that of the video (the relationship between astrology and Christianity) I point you to Karl Keating's article for a thorough treatment of the pagan-influence fallacy.

All of this works to refute the claims of the narrator, and this before we have done any checking to see if his statements about the movement of the sun and the placement of the stars are actually true. One thing you have to always keep in mind is that, when people work in fallacies like this, you can hardly ever trust that what they claim is actually verifiable fact. So, a little scientific research may expose even more holes in the argument put forth in this video.

I hope this helps.

Pax Christi,

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sin, Ghosts, and Mary

Pretty interesting title, huh? Hehe, anyway, what follows are two short and unrelated Q&A's, followed by an update on an old tract that I wrote.
Because we cannot judge culpability and knowledge, are we guilty of omission for not saying anything to those who have committed sins that would otherwise be mortal but still receive the Eucharist?
We should take every precaution to ensure that the Eucharist is not received unworthily. Even the suspicion that someone is receiving the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin or without belief in the Real Presence is enough to warrant saying something to that individual. Of course, this responsibility to our brothers and sisters in Christ goes beyond the sin of receiving unworthily. Anytime we suspect that a person is sinning in any way, it is our responsibility to correct them with humility and charity. "Whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins" (Jas 5:20).
I was talking to a friend today and she told me that she had seen her great aunt's ghost and could talk to her, saw lights flicking on and off when she asked her aunt to, and things like that. She was thinking about going to a psychic and asking what was going on, and her friend said that going to a psycic was a sin and not to go. She asked me the same thing, so bluntly I told her not to meddle in stuff like this, that Satan is most apt to attack in these situations, and that it could be a demon that she's seeing. I told her to talk to her pastor about it, and I think she is going to, to pray the Rosary and St. Michael's Chaplet. I'm also going to send her some holy water that I have on hand. Is there anything else that I should have told her? Do you think I said anything that I shouldn't have? I also warned her against trying to research this on her own.
From what I can tell, you acted correctly. It is true that Satan can deceive us by appearing as loved ones. It is true that we should avoid consulting psychics. It is true that St. Michael, the rosary, and holy water can all protect us from evil spirits. It is true that a person should consult their pastor with things like this. It is true that researching this topic without a strong faith in and knowledge of the Church can be dangerous.

Now, all appearances like this are not necessarily evil. Angels and saints do appear to human beings. They did in the Bible and they do still today, although this is extremely rare. So, the appearance could be good. But, then again, it is always important to consult a priest or bishop. Sometimes, with things like this, you can never really know for sure.
- - - - - -
As for the updated tract, I just wanted everyone to know that I extensively updated my two-part defense of Mary's sinlessness. See Part 1 and Part 2. I may even update it again, since the parallel between Mary and Eve can be a helpful argument that I did not include. I'll let you know if I make any more changes.

Pax Christi,

Monday, July 23, 2007

Poll-Release Monday #22

To make up for a week-long haitus, I have two polls for this week:
  • How often do you go to the Latin Mass?
    • Every Sunday
    • Once a Month
    • Once a Year
    • I've never been to the Latin Mass
    • Other
  • What was your reaction to the motu proprio?
    • "Hey, that's pretty cool"
    • "Ehh" [shrugs shoulders]
    • "Why was THAT necessary?"
    • "Way to turn back Vatican II"
With the recent release of the motu proprio I was curious to see how acquainted my readers are with the "extraordinary form" of the Mass and what their reaction was to the Apostolic Letter that allowed for even wider use. I regret that I wasn't home, in front of my computer, waiting for the clock to strike midnight so I could celebrate with everyone else. I also regret that I've been so out of the loop when it comes to the reaction from the blogosphere and the media regarding the release.

When I heard about the motu proprio, I was pretty excited. My actual acquaintance with the extraordinary form of the Mass is minimal (I've gone to the Latin Mass about half a dozen times), but I still recognized the magnitude of what had taken place, and I already knew how truly invaluable the extraordinary form was (and still is) to the life of the Church.

Now that I've had time to ponder it a little bit, I think what I look forward to seeing the most is not how faithful our pastors will be to the pope's words or how many parishioners will request the Latin Mass. The big question on my mind is this: What impact will the extraordinary form have on the ordinary form? How and to what extent can greater sacrality be brought to the former?

In my opinion, the most intriuging part of the pope's letter accompanying the Apostolic Letter is when he briefly addresses the potential for the two forms of the Mass to enrich each other:
"It is true that there have been exaggerations and at times social aspects unduly linked to the attitude of the faithful attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition. Your charity and pastoral prudence will be an incentive and guide for improving these. For that matter, the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The 'Ecclesia Dei' Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the 'usus antiquior,' will study the practical possibilities in this regard. The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage. The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal.
Somehow, by the celebration of the two forms in the same parish, "The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage." Perhaps the Latin Mass will introduce a heightened since of awe and reverence to churches that are otherwise bereft of it. Perhaps it can foster within the laity a greater since of the glory of the Mass and of the Real Presence in the Eucharist. Perhaps it will give priest and laity alike a greater awareness of the fact that the Mass is heaven on earth (not hell, or purgatory, but HEAVEN!).

Of course, besides the possibilities for mutal enrichment by the two forms, I also believe, with the pope, that when the ordinary form of the Mass is celebrated in strict observance of all the liturgical directives and with a full knowledge and intense love of what takes place in the Mass, it can demonstrate the sacrality previously mentioned. I sincerely believe that, and I have witnessed it myself.

Ultimately, I suppose my hope is that the combination of...
  1. the presence of the extraordinary form, and
  2. obedience to the norms that govern the ordinary form
...will finally bring to Catholic churches all over the world a celebration of the ordinary form as it was truly intended. Paul VI, I haven't given up on you yet......

As for last week's poll, I want to briefly go over the results:

Of course, this poll had more time than usual to collect votes, but I was still impressed with the results. It appears that more people go to Adoration than to Confession! Pretty interesting. Is that the case with you? Leave a comment and tell me why.

Pax Christi,

The "Gourmet Next Door" Becomes a Star

Anyone watch the Food Network last night? For some reason, I've been obsessed with finding out who the Next Food Network Star is going to be. I can't explain it really, I just know that I like the competitive nature of it. I like seeing what they're going to make. I like seeing who does good and who screws up. I like picking my favorite and then rooting for them through the whole competition. It's kind of like March Madness for stay-at-home moms :D

Anyway, guess who won..................Amy Finley! You should have heard me "hoopin-n-hollerin." I was pretty psyched about it, since my girlfriend and I have been rooting for her from the beginning. On the second to the last episode, it looked like she had lost (I was fixin too disown the Food Network), but they brought her back because "Jag" is a moron (praise God). So, to see her win was pretty sweet.

She has a myspace profile if you want to add her as a friend. You can also watch videos of her here and here. Catch up on past episodes here.

Hooray for Amy! I'm happy. That is all.

Pax Christi,

The Epiphany of Dave Armstrong

As mentioned on his blog, Dave will be coming to Steubenville for the Defending the Faith Conference this weekend and I am honored to have him as my guest. Actually, I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty psyched about it. For one, it gives me a reason to finally clean my apartment. But, more importantly, it gives me the opportunity to speak in person with the man who was integral to my own conversion of faith in and love for the Church. Of course, James White may consider a visit by Dave to be a curse of epic proportions, but I am very happy to welcome him to my humble abode. Dave's dope, I don't care who you are.

I set up a countdown in my sidebar so that we can all anticipate his arrival together :D

Pax Christi,

ps: Polldaddy is blocked at my work, so I'll post the new poll for this week when I get home tonight.

Friday, July 20, 2007

This and That

Just a few quick notes:
  • Fr. Tom Euteneuer of HLI will be celebrating the televised Masses for EWTN every day this coming week, from Sunday the 22nd of July through and including Saturday the 28th. I look forward to his sermon on the 25th, which is the 39th anniversary of the Humanae Vitae. Also, the day before that, Tuesday, July 24th, he will celebrate his 19-year anniversary of his ordination and will be preaching on the Holy Priesthood.
  • Looks like I get another free book in the mail: Unborn Jesus Our Hope by George A. Peate. It turns out that his wife is a big fan of my blog :D I'm really looking forward to this one.
  • I threw down 20 chucks and upgraded my cbox (see the messenger in my sidebar), so now you don't have to worry about those stupid ads anymore. I have also gained some more functionality, such as the ability to register your username so that no one else uses it. Just click the "Profile" link in the bottom, right-hand corner of the cbox.
  • My car currently makes the loudest grinding sound you've ever heard in your life whenever I break. I'm taking it to the mechanic today, so please pray that I can get it fixed without totally breaking the bank.
  • Poll-Release Monday was postponed because of my vacation, but it will be back again this coming Monday, so stay tuned.
That's all for now. Have a great weekend!

Pax Christi,

Defending the Immaculate Heart

"The_Expositor" (from the HCR forum) asked a question about consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which initiated the following short exchange:
Can one of the Catholic forum members please explain this to me?:
A Solemn Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world.
Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world.
O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully.
We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home.
--Venerable Pope Pius XII
What exactly do you not understand?
Well, this particularly stood out to me:
Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world.
Can you explain to me what Mary's designs for the world are and how would one come to know this? Is their any biblical support for Mary even having any designs for the world?
Mary's designs are Jesus' designs. Since she is without sin, her will is perfectly aligned with His will. She will never want anything for us that Jesus does not want for us. So, as you come to know Jesus' will for your life, you come to know Mary's will too. We are all called to unite our wills to Christ. Mary is a prime example of a creature fulfilling this task (as are all the saints in heaven).

As for proof of Mary having designs for the world, this is more a logical deduction than anything that comes from an explicit Scripture passage. If Jesus' has designs for the world, and Mary's will is aligned with His, then it follows from this that Mary has these same designs for the world.
Where does the title Queen of the World come from? Who bestowed such an honor upon Mary? Outside of the Catholic tradition, creeds, etc., what support would one have for calling Mary the Queen of the World?

And why ask her to rule over man? And if she is the Queen, and Christ is the King, how does that work. Usually the Queen's son would be the prince, right?
The following excerpt from an article by Wibisono Hartono answers your question:
In the Davidic kingdom (or Judah), the gebira [Hebrew word for "queen mother"] played an important role and she had power and influence. King Solomon, the bible recounts, was the first King to seat his mother, Bathsheba, at his right hand (1 Kings 2:19). Solomon's half brother, Adonijah, requested Bathsheba to speak on his behalf to King Solomon (1 Kings 2:13-18). The verse indicates the role of the gebira as mediator to the King. King Asa removed Maacah, his mother, because she abused her power (1 Kings 15:13). On the death of her son (King Ahaziah), Athaliah did not want to lose her power and had all her grandsons murdered (2 Kings 11:1). One survived and later became King Joash (2 Kings 11:2, 12). The name of most Davidic kings' mother is always mentioned after that of the king (1 Kings 14:21; 15:2, 9; 22:42; 2 Kings 8:26; 12:2; 14:2; 15:2, 33; 18:2; 21:1, 19; 22:1; 23:31, 36; 24:8, 18). From Jeremiah 13:18 we know that both King and Gebira had crowns, indicating their power.

The New Testament tells us that Jesus will be given the kingdom of David and his Kingdom will have no end (Luke 1:32-33). His Kingdom is in heaven and it exists on earth in His Church. Therefore, it logically follows that Mary, His mother, naturally becomes the Gebira of the New Testament. This is the reason why Catholics believe that she is the Queen of Heaven. Like the Gebira in Jeremiah 13:18, she also has crown in heaven. Furthermore, the Church understands that the woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and crowned with twelve stars (Revelation 12:1) refers to Mary.

One of the Messianic Psalms applied to Christ is Psalms 45:6-7, which is cited in Hebrews 1:8-9. Coincidentally, Psalms 45:9 also mentions the Queen who sits at His right hand in gold of Ophir. While the Hebrew word for queen in this verse is shegal, to Catholics this verse also refers to the Queenship of Mary in heaven.
We see from this that the queen had a type of rule in the kingdom too, and that it was actually the mother of the king who was the queen in the Davidic kingdom.
I also hear a lot that Mary's conception was immaculate, and that she remained sinless her entire life. I think this is echoed throughout this prayer. If that's the case, then why did Mary call Jesus her saviour?
Luk 1:46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
Luk 1:47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
Why would a sinless woman need a Saviour?
Because it was God who saved her from the stain of original sin and, consequently, any actual sin. If it were not for His intervention, Mary would have been a sinful creature like the rest of us.

I hope that helps.

Pax Christi,

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thank You for a Wonderful Year

(The pope is here to celebrate, hehe)
Today is the one-year anniversary of phatcatholic apologetics. I'm really happy to finally reach this milestone. For a long time I didn't want to do a blog. I didn't think I really had anything new to offer. But, I finally went for it because I thought it would be cool to have in one place all the substantial posts I've written at Phatmass and other Protestant message boards in defense of the faith.

Of course, once I set my mind to something I tend to obsess over it, and this blog is no different. Since I finally started blogging regularly in August, I have spent every day trying to make this one of the best Catholic blogs in the blogosphere. I'm not content to have my own little hole somewhere where I can set up a shrine to myself and blab on and on about every little thought and feeling that I have. I want to change people with this blog. I went to set people free with the Truth. I want to ignite within others the same fire that was enkindled in me when I first started learning more about Catholicism almost 5 years ago. I know it sounds overly-ambitious, but I don't really give a damn.

Unfortunately, I don't have very good statistics with which to gage my footprint on the internet and my impact on people. I didn't have a counter on my blog until October and Blogger didn't always provide the ability to label your posts (and thus keep track of what you write on different subjects). Since labels were possible, I've been trying to go back and label my posts, but I still have about 100 or so left to go. That said, here are my stats for the year:

Total posts: 376

Posts by topic:
100th Post (3)
Anti-Catholicism (4)
Baptism (6)
Bioethics (4)
Blog Updates (49)
Catholic Daily (48)
Christianity (1)
Church Authority / Papacy (9)
Communion of Saints (23)
Confession / Reconciliation (4)
Conversion (2)
Current Events (7)
Debates (39)
Early Church Fathers (4)
Education / Catechetics (12)
End Times / Eschatology (11)
Feast Days and Holydays (31)
God (11)
Holy Eucharist / Sacrifice of the Mass (18)
Jesus / Christology (29)
Mary (14)
Miscellaneous (17)
Papers (17)
Personal (28)
Poetry (4)
Polls (23)
Prayer / Devotion / Spirituality (12)
Priesthood (2)
Questions and Answers (108)
Resources (43)
Salvation (12)
Scripture (19)
Sin / Morality (27)
The Church / Ecclesiology (5)
Tracts (13)
Poll-Release Monday Results:
  • Which, if any, of the Catholic Blog Awards do you think I should win?
    • Total Votes: 45
    • Winning Option: "Best Apologetics Blog" (20)
  • Which category of posts on my blog do you like the most?
    • Total Votes: 19
    • Winning Option: "Questions and Answers" (9)
  • Which Catholic belief is the most difficult for you to defend?
    • Total Votes: 45
    • Winning Option: "Mary's Perpetual Virginity" (10) and "The Assumption of Mary Into Heaven" (10)
  • Which one of these warrior saints is your favorite?
    • Total Votes: 48
    • Winning Option: "St. Michael the Archangel" (29)
  • Who is the most quotable Catholic personality?
    • Total Votes: 51
    • Winning Option: "G. K. Chesterton" (19)
  • Which "Lady" Do You Love the Most?
    • Total Votes: 33
    • Winning Option: "Our Lady of Guadalupe" (13)
  • Who is your favorite Catholic author?
    • Total Votes: 29
    • Winning Option: "G. K. Chesterton" (14)
  • Which of the four Gospels is your favorite?
    • Total Votes: 25
    • Winning Option: "John" (15)
  • Who do you think is our best modern-day Catholic apologist?
    • Total Votes: 120
    • Winning Option: "Scott Hahn" (80)
  • Who is your favorite early Church Father?
    • Total Votes: 27
    • Winning Option: "St. Augustine" (14)
  • Which Apostle do you identify with the most?
    • Total Votes: 34
    • Winning Option: "St. Peter" (17)
  • What do you think I should add to my blog?
    • Total Votes: 32
    • Winning Option: "Thoughts about my everyday life and struggles" (8)
  • What is our nation's best Catholic university?
    • Total Votes: 52
    • Winning Option: "Franciscan University of Steubenville" (22)
  • Should I keep the music player (at the bottom of my sidebar)?
    • Total Votes: 25
    • Winning Option: "Yes" (18)
  • What is your favorite religious order?
    • Total Votes: 41
    • Winning Option: "Dominicans" (17)
  • Which Catholic prayer/devotion do you like the most?
    • Total Votes: 35
    • Winning Option: "Praying the Rosary" (20)
  • Which category of posts on my blog do you like the most? (Part 2)
    • Total Votes: 19
    • Winning Option: "Questions and Answers" (6)
  • Which anti-Catholic claim is the most difficult one for you to answer?
    • Total Votes: 27
    • Winning Option: "The Catholic Church did nothing for the Jews during the Holocaust" (7)
  • What do you think of the new background image?
    • Total Votes: 27
    • Winning Option: "Keep it" (19)
  • How long has it been since you went to Confession?
    • Total Votes: 27
    • Winning Option: "1 month" (10)
  • How long has it been since you went to Eucharistic adoration?
    • Total Votes: 42 (and counting)
    • Winning Option: "Less than 1 week" (12)
The total votes for these polls has always been really low, but I want to keep doing it. I like knowing what you all like, and I think that these polls add some interactivity to the blog. Feel free to root for the option you want to win and get your friends to come and vote.

More statistics:

I know that these numbers aren't exactly the best you've ever seen, but I am very proud of what I have been able to achieve with this blog in such a short amount of time. Thank you all so very much for everthing you have done to make this blog a success. You all have showed me that you appreciate learning about the Catholic Church and you even like to hear about the skinny dude who writes all this stuff. I am humbled and blessed.

Pax Christi,

Latin Lovers Unite

Thanks to the Summorum Pontificum Contact Database, people who want the Latin Mass in their parish can connect with each other and priests can connect with these people in order to determine how many people want the Latin Mass in his parish.

It's an awesome idea because sometimes you never really know how many people feel the same way you do about the extraordinary form of the Mass. This database is also helpful because trying to organize a petition or a list of people who want the Latin Mass can be difficult to organize, especially if your particular pastor is hostile to the Latin Mass. With the database, you can connect with your fellow Latin Lovers anonymously and you can send each other messages through the database.

A wider celebration of the extraordinary form of the Mass is not going to happen over night. But, this database is a step in the right direction. Sign up. Search for people in your area. Spread the word.

Pax Christi,

FOCUS on a Friend

I want to pass along an email I received from a good friend of mine who recently graduated from FUS:
Hi, my name is Travis Todd and I am a campus missionary with FOCUS, the Fellowship Of Catholic Univeristy Students. FOCUS is an organization that takes college graduates like us--trains us, and puts us right back onto campus where we help bring students closer to Christ and the Catholic Church. We do this primarily through evangelization and holy friendships, Catholic Bible Studies, and one-on-one peer mentorship, which we call discipleship. For more information about FOCUS, check out our website at http://www.focusonline.org/.

The Lord has blessed me with an opportunity to serve at the University of Illinois in Urbana/Champaign with my wife-to-be and six other missionaries. As my fiancee and I prepare to receive the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony on August 4th, we also have the responsibility of raising our salaries by asking people to partner with us in our mission by their prayers and financial support before we head to campus on August 14th.

If you would like to partner with me in the mission of bringing Christ and the Church to campus, here's what to do:

If you would like to give online go to
http://www.focusonline.org/, and click on "support FOCUS," then click "support a missionary" and look for my name, "Todd, Travis." Fill out the information and that's it.

If you would like to give by mail, please send your mailing address to ttodd AT focusonline DOT org and I will send you my most recent newsletter and information on how to give. Also, if you would simply like to receive my newsletter, send me your mailing address.

Finally, if you have any questions, or would simply like to correspond with me further, my e-mail address is ttodd AT focusonline DOT org.

A special thank you to Nick for assisting me in this mission of bringing Christ to campus.
Note that when he said he had to "raise" his salary, that doesn't mean that he's asking for money to supplement what he's already making. Fundraising IS his salary. So, if you don't donate, he don't eat. He's a recent convert to the Church and he loves sharing the Truths of the Faith with others. I can't imagine stepping out into the deep the way that he has. I hope that you will help him out in any way you can.

Pax Christi,

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Free Stuff Is Pretty Cool

Just a couple weeks ago I received 50 Periucundum est Catholicum esse wristbands. Now, today I found out that in a couple of days I will be receiving a free copy of Light in the Dark Ages: The Friendship of Francis and Clare of Assisi. Anyone heard of this book or know anything about it? It's written by Jon M. Sweeney. For some reason his name sounds familiar, but I'm not sure why. Anyway, I'm always down for a free book and it will be cool to see if it's any good or not. I'll keep you posted.

Pax Christi,

The Church at the End of Time

"WhyMe" asked the following question in the HCR forum:

What is the general eschatology position in Catholicism?
The Catholic position is amillennial, post-trib, and no "rapture" (at least as most fundamentalist protestants understand it). In other words, the "millennium" of Rev 20 is actually the current age of the Church. We are living in the last days, which Jesus inaugurated with his coming into the world. All Christians will suffer a tribulation, after which Jesus will come again. The "rapture" is not the wisking away of the faithful so as to avoid the tribulation. Instead, it is the Last (or "General") Judgment, when all the bodies of the dead will rise and the justice and mercy of God's Judgment upon every human being will be vindicated.

For more on the Church's eschatological position, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 668-682 and 1020-1050.

Pax Christi,

Why Is the Pope So Special?

"Crossover" asked the following question in the HCR forum:
I guess I shouldnt say this because its a question and andwer thread, but elders are very biblical. but what you said does bring up a question, what makes you think the pope is holy (manifestly perfect)...or are you just using that in the context as in we are all made holy to God?
"Holy Father" and "Your Holiness" are formal greetings for the pope. These are the traditional ways of referring to him. Granted, not every pope in the history of the Church has lived up to the title, but the vast majority of them have, and our present pope definitely has. Regardless, the greeting is used not so much because the pope deserves it but because he holds a position in the Church that demands respect. Just like we respect the position of a judge in our judicial system by greeting him as "Your Honor," we greet the pope by saying "Holy Father" or "Your Holiness."

The pope in particular, in virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders he has received, was forever changed by God. An indelible mark was placed on his soul and he was set apart by God to be a minister to His people. In Scripture we see that men are constantly commanded to respect and obey the elders (Gk. presbuteros, or "priests") of the church (1 Thes 5:12-13; 1 Tim 5:17; Heb 12:9; 13:7,17; 1 Pet 5:5), and those who reject their authority are looked down upon and judged harshly (2 Pet 2:10-12; 1 Jn 4:6; 3 Jn 1:9-11; Jude 1:8-10). He who takes up Korah's rebellion will perish in it (Jude 1:11; cf. Num 16:30-35).

Pax Christi,

Back in the Saddle Again

Well, I'm finally back and able to post again. Hilton Head was......bitter sweet. It's tough to see my grandmother's struggle with Multiple Sclerosis, and in a vacation destination, the custody of the eyes that one has to maintain every second of the day can be tiring. But, the pool, the ocean, and the jacuzzi were all very relaxing. Food was great. Beer was great. Plenty of cool little outlet malls and places to walk and just chill. It was good to hang out with my dad and my grandfather. And, of course, it was really nice to have Amy there to share it all with.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures. Oddly enough, no one had a camera. Kinda sad, but what can you do. I did manage to scan a caricature of myself that one of the local artists drew for me:

I think it was pretty dope. Amy was really happy with it. I like how the artist emphasized certain features while still making it look like me. It's kinda funny too, haha.

Of course, everything happens while I'm away. In case you've been living in a cave, two important Church documents were released: The HCR forum blew up when these documents came out. So, ever since I've gotten back I've been over there trying to clear up some misconceptions and resolve all the confusion. I've never seen a document as misconstrued and misunderstood as the CDF document. It's crazy what people have been saying. While I was at my aunt and uncle's house in Atlanta (we always stop there on our way to Hilton Head), his neighbor came over and was like, "Did you hear about what the pope just said? He came out with a new document saying that if you're not Catholic you're going to hell."


Someone please find me where it says that, especially in light of this paragraph:
“It follows that these separated churches and Communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation. In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church”
It appears that a lot of people are spouting off about what the CDF said without actually reading the document first. How about some intellectual honesty, people? Try reading a document before you make conclusions about it. And for crying out loud, never trust ignorant, biased media sources.

In the next few days I will be posting some of my dialgoues over at HCR about the CDF document. I also have some Q&A's in store for you. Stay tuned....

Pax Christi,

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Out to Lunch

....for a week (what can I say, I'm hungry). I'll be MIA until next Monday. I'm in Hilton Head Island, vacationing with my family. I may post again, but I doubt it. It's time for me to take a break from the internet.

Pax Christi,

Thursday, July 05, 2007

What's Wrong with Contraception?

"JARZJR" asked the following question in the HCR forum:
Whats wrong with contraception? As long as it's purely contaception and non abortifacient then it's not taking a human life. Are your objections to it the "spilling seed" argument or the "be fruitful and multiply" argument?

Contraception is wrong on many levels, my friend. The relationship of Adam and Eve before the fall should be seen as our model b/c it shows us how God intended man and woman to interact. There, we see that man and woman are to be "one flesh" and they are to "be fruitful and multiply."

The idea of two becoming one envisions a total and complete giving of oneself to the other. Two can become one only when there are no barriers between them and no witholding anything from the other. The seed of man and the womb of woman are precious because it is by these that man is able to participate in the work of the Creator. By these God brings his greatest work of art into the world: a human being, who bears the very image of God Almighty.

But then we come along with our condoms, creams, birth control pills, and RU-486 clouding the vision that God had in mind for his people. Now two become about a half, with only partial self-giving and always holding a little something back. It's as if we say to Him, "I don't care that you have made me to participate in your work. I want it my way." It's as if we say to each other, "I don't love you enough to share with you my procreative power."

Besides Adam and Eve in the garden, we can also look to the design with which we were created. Look at the human body and the functions that each part is intended to play. Look at how human beings are supposed to be created. God gave us our "private parts" for a reason, and intended a particular use for them. Whenever we use our bodies for something other than what God made it for, we sin.

To put it another way, the use of contraception is a violation of the natural law of our bodies. Our human sexuality is supposed to be unitive and procreative. Contraception denies both of these ends. Thus, it is a grave sin.

Finally, I have never seen any proof from Scripture that contraception is morally acceptible. I've only seen passages that speak against it, the sin of Onan being only one. There are many others (here). For more on the immorality of contraception, go here for a list of 37 articles on the subject. You can also read about Natural Family Planning here.

Pax Christi,

"Just Men Made Perfect": White as Snow, or Snow-Covered Dung?

"Lady Mo," from the HCR forum asked me the following question:
Could you explain infused righteousness and how you may or may not believe it is supported biblically? and what is your interpretation of imputed righteousness and how you may or may not believe it is biblical?
This is a difficult question to answer because it requires that several terms be defined (such as justification, sanctification, salvation, regeneration, righteousness, infused, imputed, etc.) and because different Protestants understand "imputed righteousness" in different ways. I will try to be as faithful to the Protestant doctrine as possible, but I'm sure that despite this someone out there will feel that I've misrepresented their position. I am sorry about that. Also, this is my first time really digging into this debate, so please forgive my rookie mistakes.

First off, here is the Catholic definition of the various terms in question (as I understand them):
  • Justification: Act of being put in right relationship with or status before God. It is a return to friendship with him.
  • Sanctification: Act of being made truly clean by the grace of God. Sanctification makes us a "new creation."
    [Note: Justification and sanctification are co-extensive. In other words, one naturally includes the other.]
  • Salvation: Eternal beatitude with God. Salvation is only obtained when the soul dies and enters heaven.
  • Regeneration: Another name for "sanctification" or being "born again."
  • Righteousness: Another name for "justice." To be made "righteous" is to be made "just." Also, justification makes us righteous.
  • Infused righteousness: The righteousness of Christ "infused" or burnt deep into us, in a way that penetrates our very being and changes us.
  • Imputed righteousness: The righteousness of Christ declared to be ours in a legal sense, without making us intrinsically and substantially righteous as he is righteous. This righteousness covers our sin but does not eradicate it.
Catholics believe in infused righteousness and consider it the biblical doctrine, as opposed to imputed righteousness. We belief that justification, although it does have a legal component in that a declaration is made regarding the status of a person before God, is such that he who is declared clean is actually made clean by the declaration. In other words, he who is justified is sanctified.

This is, first, because God said about his word, "it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it" (Isa 55:11). In other words, his word is active and effective. David Linden, a Protestant theologian, says that "in justification, God declares the sinner righteous; in this forensic doctrine, God does not make the sinner righteous, but gives him first a standing with Himself" (here). But, if God's word is active like Isaiah says it is, then when God declares someone righteous that person is actually made righteous by the declaration. Otherwise, God's word would return to Him empty.

Besides this, I wonder about two verses that I think may show that when a man is justified, he is likewise cleansed of his sin:

1 Cor 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Heb 12:23 and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

In the verse from Corinthians, Paul seems to be speaking of 1 event with three results. In my opinion, the event is baptism, since Paul speaks of baptism in other places in this letter (cf. 1 Cor 1:14-16; 10:1-4) and in his other letters too (cf. Rom 6:4; Gal 3:27; Col 2:12; Tit 3:5-6; Heb 10:22). But, regardless of the cause, washing, sanctification, and justification are the result and they go hand-in-hand here, so that if you received one you also received the other two. Paul even seems to use these words interchangeably, as if each word is a different way of speaking of the same result. It appears from this that he who is justified is also sanctified. Paul's point here is to remind them of the Spirit of Christ that they have received. They should be above the actions he is condemning them for.

In the passage from Hebrews, we see that he who is just is also perfect. Now, is anyone perfect who is simply declared clean yet remains dirty? Is that perfection? If you read the context, the image is of heaven. We know of heaven that no unclean thing shall enter it (cf. Rev 21:27), yet just men are found there. It follows from this that the just are also clean, and in the truest sense of the word.

Now, I the response to this could be that justification, which is forensic, does not clean, but sanctification, which comes later, does clean. But can we really say that there's a time in a man's life when he is justified before God yet still sinful? Justification and sin are mutually exclusive. Does God simply turn a blind eye to man's sin and pretend it's not there, or does He actually eradicate sin, washing us with his blood and making us white as snow?

Everything I know about his grace tells me that when we receive it, we are cleansed by it. This quote from the New Advent article on sanctifying grace sums it up well [with slight alteration to fix the Scripture citations]:
This [the Catholic] view is entirely consonant with the teaching of Holy Scripture, for the Biblical expressions: "blotting out" as applied to sin (Isa 43:25; 44:22; Acts 3:19), "exhausting" (Hebrews 9:28), "taking away" (2 Sam 12:13; 1 Chron 21:8; Mic 7:18; Psa 10:15; 103:12), cannot be reconciled with the idea of a mere covering up of sin which is supposed to continue its existence in a covert manner. Other Biblical expressions are just as irreconcilable with this idea, for instance, the expression of "cleansing" and "washing away" the mire of sin (Isa 1:18; Ezek 36:25; 1 Cor 6:11; Rev 1:5), that of coming "from death to life" (Col 2:13; 1 Jn 3:14); the removal from darkness to light (Eph 5:8). Especially these latter expressions are significant, because they characterize the justification as a movement from one thing to another which is directly contrary or opposed to the thing from which the movement is made. The opposites, black and white, night and day, darkness and light, life and death, have this peculiarity, that the presence of one means the extinction of its opposite. Just as the sun dispels all darkness, so does the advent of justifying grace drive away sin [. . .].
It appears from all this that infused righteousness is the biblical doctrine, and imputed righteousness is not. I hope that this will suffice as an introductory response to your question. Thank you for your patience. If you would like to read more about the Catholic position on infused vs. imputed righteousness, see the following articles: Pax Christi,

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Okay, Let's Start Over

So, I realized today that when I changed the poll options I also changed what people had originally voted for. So, the poll is all jacked up now. Let's just start over. If you voted before, please vote again. Next time, I'll try to get this right to begin with. I never know how to do these stupid time ranges....

Pax Christi,

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Updated Poll Options

I added some more options to the poll. Hopefully that will work better for everyone. REMEMBER: If you choose "Other" there is a space right below "Other" where you type in your answer. Please type in your answer.

Pax Christi,

RSV-CE Is Now Online

I apologize if I'm "Johnny-come-lately" on this one, but I just found the RSV-CE online, which is pretty cool. I've always wanted to be able to use this version in my blog posts and in my conversations and debates with Protestants, but have had to resort to the RSV instead (which is still a lot better than most other bible translations). I don't know if it's legal or not to publish the RSV-CE online, so it may not stay up for very long.

Enjoy it while it lasts!

UPDATE (10/23/10): It appears that the site I originally linked you to is no longer available. Here are two other sites: http://jmom.honlam.org/rsvce/ and EWTN Bible Search.

Pax Christi,

Monday, July 02, 2007

Poll-Release Monday #21: Updated

Here is the new poll for this week:
  • How long as it been since you went to Eucharistic adoration?
    • Less than 1 week
    • 1 week
    • 2 weeks
    • 1 month
    • 6 months
    • 1 year
    • More than 1 year
My intention with this question, like last week's question, is to get a better understanding of the spiritual life of my readers, and perhaps to emphasize the importance of Confession and Eucharistic adoration to those among you who do not regularly avail themselves of these fountains of grace in the Church.

Eucharistic adoration is very important. "Public and private devotion to the Holy Eucharist outside Mass also is highly recommended: for the presence of Christ, who is adored by the faithful in the Sacrament, derives from the sacrifice and is directed towards sacramental and spiritual Communion" (Inaestimabile Donum, no. 20). Jesus' question to Peter is one posed to all of us: "Could you not watch with me one hour?" (Mt 26:40). Jesus stands, in the consecrated Bread, poised to reveal himself to us. We need only to approach him in prayer and adoration. "Jesus waits for us in this sacrament of love. Let us be generous with our time in going to meet Him in adoration and in contemplation that is full of faith and ready to make reparation for the great faults and crimes of the world. May our adoration never cease" (Dominicae Cenae, no. 3). When we adore Him as he deserves to be adored, we perfect the image of God that we bear within us. "As we thus become adorers of the Father 'in spirit and truth,' we mature in an ever fuller union with Christ, we are ever more united to Him, and--if one may use the expression--we are ever more in harmony with Him" (Dominicae Cenae, no. 5).

If it has been a while since the last time you knelt in prayer before your Lord and Savior, please consider going to meet Him in Eucharistic adoration. May Jesus never say to you: "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me?" (Jn 14:9).

As for last week's poll, here are the results:

The answers in the "Other" category were "3 weeks" (1) and "1.5 weeks" (1). The other 4 voters forgot to type their answer in the space provided. At any rate, the winning answer was "1 month," with 10 votes. Honestly, I was suprised by this. I can't imagine going 1 month without Confession. I know that every time I have gone that long, when I finally go, I arrive with A LOT to tell and in a sorry spiritual state.

I go once a week, on Saturday, and that's usually what I recommend to people. I do realize that everyone's spiritual life is different and that some people may not feel that this is necessary, but we are encouraged to confess frequently (even venial sins), and we can always stand to receive the grace poured out on us by the Sacrament:
1447 [. . .] During the seventh century Irish missionaries, inspired by the Eastern monastic tradition, took to continental Europe the "private" practice of penance, which does not require public and prolonged completion of penitential works before reconciliation with the Church. [. . .] This new practice envisioned the possibility of repetition and so opened the way to a regular frequenting of this sacrament.

1458 Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church.59 Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father's mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful [. . .].
Of course, in the case of mortal sin, one is required to receive sacramental absolution before receiving the Eucharist, and all Catholics are required to go to Confession at least once a year (cf. Can. 916, 989)

The effects of this Sacrament are great:
1468 "The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God's grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship."73 Reconciliation with God is thus the purpose and effect of this sacrament. For those who receive the sacrament of Penance with contrite heart and religious disposition, reconciliation "is usually followed by peace and serenity of conscience with strong spiritual consolation."74 Indeed the sacrament of Reconciliation with God brings about a true "spiritual resurrection," restoration of the dignity and blessings of the life of the children of God, of which the most precious is friendship with God.75

1469 This sacrament reconciles us with the Church. Sin damages or even breaks fraternal communion. The sacrament of Penance repairs or restores it. In this sense it does not simply heal the one restored to ecclesial communion, but has also a revitalizing effect on the life of the Church which suffered from the sin of one of her members.76 Re-established or strengthened in the communion of saints, the sinner is made stronger by the exchange of spiritual goods among all the living members of the Body of Christ, whether still on pilgrimage or already in the heavenly homeland:77
It must be recalled that . . . this reconciliation with God leads, as it were, to other reconciliations, which repair the other breaches caused by sin. The forgiven penitent is reconciled with himself in his inmost being, where he regains his innermost truth. He is reconciled with his brethren whom he has in some way offended and wounded. He is reconciled with the Church. He is reconciled with all creation.78
1470 In this sacrament, the sinner, placing himself before the merciful judgment of God, anticipates in a certain way the judgment to which he will be subjected at the end of his earthly life. For it is now, in this life, that we are offered the choice between life and death, and it is only by the road of conversion that we can enter the Kingdom, from which one is excluded by grave sin.79 In converting to Christ through penance and faith, the sinner passes from death to life and "does not come into judgment."80
Flee to His forgiveness!!

Pax Christi,

Check Out My New "Cuf"-links

Catholics United for the Faith (CUF) has just released a new blog, appropriately titled "Catholics United for the Faith." Check it out.

I have always been a fan of CUF, particularly because of their Faith Tracts, which have been very helpful in my own learning and as ammunition for the Catholic Defense Directory and for my own apologetical endeavors with protestants. Their Lay Witness magazine is pretty dope too. CUF is entirely faithful to the Magisterium and everything I've ever seen from them is well-done and theologically sound.

Their headquarters is here in Steubenville, so I've always thought it was pretty cool that I could literally just walk in their front door if I ever had a question about Catholic doctrine. You can also call them if you have any questions. For more from and about CUF, go here or check out their blog. Today's post about seatbelts and abortion was particularly good.

Pax Christi,
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