Thursday, July 29, 2021

Scripture of the Week

 I stopped doing this for a while because my previous instructor stopped posting a Scripture of the Week, my current one, my Chair, has been very regular so I hope to continue this again.


Verse: I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first (Revelation 2:2, New International Version)

Translation: Our love and grace will continue to grow through hard work.

Application: We may continue to lean on Him throughout the hurdles or challenges that the dissertation journey brings.

My response:

I must say when I read a verse like that the apologist in me jumps up! Not only does love and grace increase, but so does faith! So many times anti-Catholic "apologists" (a contradiction in terms, in my humble opinion) attack Catholics with the "faith alone" argument, then I have to respond with "saving faith is never alone" and if they would take a closer look at the verses they point to it is "works of the law" that scripture condemns as unable to save you. Many more modern non-Catholics, starting with Martin Luther and more precisely stated by John Calvin make the statement "One is justified by faith alone, but not by a faith which is alone" (Bauer, 2015). From someone else in that same article/response who goes by "Mr. Toodle-Ood," several other quotes and citations are made, including one from a Mr. James Swan, whom I have had many direct debates with - and also whom I would concur is a genuine authority on quotes from Martin Luther. For one such response to Swan on this very topic, I wrote a blog article (Windsor, 2016). Perhaps the chief argument I have with the statement "faith alone justifies, but not a faith that is alone" is that it is a contradiction of terms or double-speak. However, I believe the bottom line here is that non-Catholics, especially anti-Catholics, get stuck in a mantra and end up talking past Catholics and not engaging what is actually said. At one point I believe I too engaged in that sort of "debate" - but in recent years it has been my goal to hear what they have to say, and then if I can, point out the flaws in the arguments so that we can continue a dialog and learn and grow from each other.

Cordially,

Scott<<<

References

Bauer, S. (2015). Is Luther really the originator of “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone”? Stack Exchange: Christianity. https://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/42366/is-luther-really-the-originator-of-we-are-saved-by-faith-alone-but-the-faith-t  

Windsor, S. (2016). The fatal flaw in sola fide [blog]. Qui Locutus. http://quilocutus.blogspot.com/2016/02/the-fatal-flaws-in-sola-fide.html (For more discussions between Windsor and Swan, see this list: http://quilocutus.blogspot.com/search/label/James%20Swan).

 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Is the Extraordinary Rite (Latin Mass) Abrogated?


Pope Francis, on July 16, 2021, issued Moto Proprio traditionis custodes, (Custodian of Tradition) and in it he abrogates "previous norms, instructions, permissions, and customs that do not conform to the provisions of the present Moto Proprio." So, does that mean that the extraordinary rite is abrogated? No, it does not! The current Moto Proprio allows for the extraordinary rite BUT - newly ordained priests who have been ordained after this date should (not must) submit a request to the local ordinary (diocesan bishop) who shall consult the Apostolic See (the Pope) before granting this authorization (Art. 4). Priests who already celebrate according to the 1962 missal again "should" (not must) "request from the diocesan bishop the authorization to continue to enjoy this faculty."

What Does This Mean to SSPX?

In reality, not much. One of the things SSPX feared was precisely what Pope Francis has just done and thus "normalization" has not yet happened. Pope Francis is, most certainly, attempting to dissuade and end "the Mass for all time" as it was called by Pope Pius V, under whom the so-called Tridentine Rite was codified. That Mass which was codified under Pope Pius V had existed since the time of the Apostles, but some variants had worked their way in through the centuries and Modernism was having its effect on the Mass - so it was codified in such a way that novel additions or changes would be prohibited. Back to the question, since SSPX has been celebrating the "extraordinary rite" since the society was canonically founded back in November of 1970 when the decree of erection of the Society was approved by Bishop Charriere of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg. Though this was a six year experiment, it was never abrogated and as testified by recent talks between Popes Benedict XVI and Francis, their organization is recognized - but their status remains "irregular." 

What Does This Mean to FSSP?

Well, maybe nothing - maybe everything? FSSP is at the mercy of the local ordinary (diocesan bishop) and thus if said bishop decides they need to cease practicing in their diocese, FSSP is obliged to do so. To the possible advantage of FSSP, they would not enter a diocese without the bishop's explicit permission so where ever they exist, they do so under the blessing of that local bishop - unless he has a change of heart.

Time Will Tell

Only time will tell as to how much effect this latest Moto Proprio will have on the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass.

Monday, July 05, 2021

Scandals and The Catholic Church


 Last week, June 29th, was the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul and in the sermon for last Sunday we were reminded about the nature of the Church. Jesus Christ founded His Church to be the guide for us, but more importantly to be the dispenser of grace from Him. That is the nature of the Church! We need to not be so focused on the scandals which the secular media keep bringing up, as well as those who are haters of the Church - including Satan. Satan rejoices when he can draw our attention away from Jesus Christ, His Church and the Sacraments. The more we sow discord, the more we are doing the work of Satan. Our focus needs to be on what nourishes our souls and that which builds up His Church, not rips it apart.

Now, does that mean we just turn a blind eye to those who have been criminal in the Church? By no means, but those who have done wrong need to be turned over to the civil authorities and let the chips fall where they may. Do your duty and move on, it is not our duty to be inquisitors and go out looking for trouble. It is also not our duty to stand on the street corners and hold up signs. Sure, it lets everyone know you care - but it is also rekindling the flames of discord that many non-Catholics love to stir up - and again - Satan loves to see disharmony among God's people. Ask yourself, "Whom do I serve?"

Bring your focus back to the Eucharist, the Mystery of Faith, the Mass, Confession, and all the Sacraments. Look to Christ for His Grace and BE the example of Christ to others.

 

Rembrandt's painting of Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee

 Such a learning tool! Note that those in the front of the boat are focused on the storm and worried for the boat to come apart - but those in the back of the boat are focused on Christ. They are still worried, but their trust is in the Lord to get them through this - and He does. The lighting of this painting is interesting too, those being more illuminated, even attention brought to them, are not those focused on Christ. The back side of the boat is in darkness, but Jesus is the Light, and His face is the Light in that darkness. When Jesus awakes, He scolds the Apostles - "Oh ye of little faith!"

When our ship is rocked by the storm of scandals - remember Who is in control - and do not lose faith.


Saturday, July 03, 2021

The Dissertation Journey

 The dissertation process, which all my coursework up till now has been building toward, takes the next step, next week as I being the 900 level courses which are all about the dissertation. I have my committee in place (Chair, Content Expert, and Methodologist) so now we embark upon the finalization of the prospectus, proposal, research, and the writing of the report (the dissertation itself).

Image by Mario Zucca https://dribbble.com/shots/337654-Dissertation-Journey-Map/attachments/337654-Dissertation-Journey-Map?mode=media

I am completing my final 800 level course this week, which was a little out of order. I am in PSY-827, which should have preceded PSY-855 (where you get your committee assembled), and this was unknown to me (that it was misordered) until I was finished with 855. So, I had to take a break from my newly assembled committee and do one more course of "regular coursework" prior to jumping back into my dissertation courses. In the picture (above) by Mario Zucca, I have been on the Island of Isolation, of sorts, being disconnected from the committee, but again - that changes next week (July 8th, 2021, to be precise).

If all goes well, the process should be over by late December 2021 or perhaps by February 2022.

I will keep any interested readers posted as to how the process is going. Stay tuned!

AMDG,

Scott<<<


Sunday, June 20, 2021

 


I am playing a bit of catching up... My instructor posted:

Psalm 36:5-6 MSG "God's love is meteoric, his loyalty astronomic, His purpose titanic, his verdicts oceanic. Yet in his largeness nothing gets lost; Not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks."

Psalm 36:5-6 MSG, tecartabible.com

How has God's love been manifested in your life?

This theme goes with the previous week’s theme – “count your blessings.” Psalm 103:2 “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”

I am blessed with nearly 40 years of marriage, 6 wonderful children, one of which has passed, but we were given 22 years after the doctors told us we would only have six months. We have a roof over our heads, gainfully employed and my wife and I are both pursuing terminal degrees in our chosen studies.

I could go on and on, and even attempt to list 100 blessings from just today, as I mentioned in the previous Scripture of the Week posting, but I think you get the point. God has given me so much, I cannot begin to give back to Him as much as He has given to me – but I will bless the Lord always, His praise shall continually be in my mouth (Psalm 34:1).

In Christ, 

Scott<<<

Sunday, June 06, 2021

Scripture of the Week: You are wonderfully made - Psalms 139:13 – 16


In my current course our instructor shares something from Scripture each week, here is her posting for this week (and my response).

Scripture for the week to remind you that every each one of you is special.

Psalms 139:13 – 16: You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knitted me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

You are wonderfully made and are God's creation. Remember God loves you, and all your days are recorded in his book. (1) In what ways are you wonderfully made? (2) Do you count your blessings, and (3) can you name them one by one?

Source: https://www.mindonjesus.com/bible-verses-to-start-the-week/#:~:text=Below%20are%20Bible%20verses%20to%20start%20the%20week.,and%20don%E2%80%99t%20take%20your%20Holy%20Spirit%20from%20me.

 Being reminded of how much God loves us is always welcome!

Counting our blessings is something we inherit from our Jewish brethren. It comes from the Talmud (Menachot 43b) and according to Jewish tradition you are to count, actually recite at least 100 blessings per day. This sounds a bit daunting at first, but they can add up quickly if one is observant. 

  1. Thank the Lord for the new day, 
  2. for the breakfast on your table, 
  3. for the water you clean and groom with, 
  4. for the clothes you have to wear, 
  5. for the house you live in, 
  6. for your health (or recovery if you are sick), 
  7. for the air we breathe 

We have seven right there, and we have not even left the breakfast table yet! 

There is also the Shema, a blessing every Jewish male is to recite twice every day, morning and night. The Shema begins, “Hear, O Israel: G-d is our Lord, G-d is one” (Kriegel, 2021). The full Shema is three paragraphs from the Torah (the first 5 books of our Old Testament), from Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Deuteronomy 11:13-21; and Numbers 15:37-41 (Rich, 2020).

So, to answer the questions:   

  1. I am wonderfully made in the image of my Lord and God (Genesis 1:27), how much more wonderful can that be?! I am reminded here of the fact that we are creations in His image, and the complexities of our very being, as well as the world in which we live, are testimonies to “order-creation science” (McKelvey, 2001).
  2. Do I count my blessings? To be honest, not nearly as often as I should!
  3. Can I name them one by one? Along with my answer to #2, while I have tried this a few times (to count at least 100 blessings per day), this is a lesson I am still learning from our Jewish roots.

References

Kriegel, L. (2021). THE SHEMA: A MONTHLY JOURNAL OF RELIGION AND PUBLIC LIFE. First Things, , 1-4. https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.lopes.idm.oclc.org/scholarly-journals/shema/docview/2492712967/se-2?accountid=7374

McKelvey, B. (2001). What is complexity science? Is it really order-creation science? Emergence. 3(1). 137-157. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.330.5792&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Menachot 43b: The William Davidson Talmud. https://www.sefaria.org/Menachot.43b.17-18?lang=bi

Rich, T. (2020). Shema. Judaism 101. https://www.jewfaq.org/shemaref.htm




Monday, May 31, 2021

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The Catholic Debate Forum


The Catholic Debate Forum, CDF, is coming back! After a long hiatus when Yahoo shut down all yahoogroups (and Scott was too busy with school!) it is coming back! We're trying Free Forums, so come on over - give it a shot!

https://catholicdebateforum.freeforums.net/ 

Help bring back our old membership and invite new friends and challengers!

AMDG,

Scott<<<

aka: CathApol


Sunday, May 23, 2021

Pentecost Sunday - The Birth of the Catholic Church

 


It was on this Sunday, in 33 A.D., the Catholic Church is born! The Apostles gathered together to celebrate the Jewish Festival of Weeks (50 days after Passover - which is where we get the name "Pentecost" as in pente = 50) and the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary, witnessed as tongues of fire upon their heads.



So Why Red Vestments for Pentecost?

It is widely known that red is the color of martyrdom, and is the color of the vestments for the feast day of a martyr, but why red on Pentecost? Well, there are at least two reasons red is the appropriate color for Pentecost, first and foremost - red is also the color for fire, and the fire of the Holy Ghost is represented in the red vestments. Secondly, it is truly an apostolic holy day (holiday) and since most of the 12 Apostles (all but St. John) died as martyrs, the red color of martyrdom is also appropriate.

Happy Birthday to the Catholic Church! 
Nearly 2000 years strong!

Monday, April 05, 2021

He Is Risen!

He is risen!  

He is risen indeed!

In the Ukrainian (my wife and I were married in the Ukrainian Catholic Church) this is stated:

Khrystos voskres!

And the response is:

Voistynu voskres!

It is now Eastertide! 

 
The stone is rolled away!

We begin this season with the First Mass of Easter (about half-way through the Easter Vigil) and it lasts through Pentecost Sunday, which begins the next (and longest) season in the liturgical year.

A reminder to Catholics: One of the precepts of the Catholic Faith is every Catholic must receive Holy Eucharist at least once during Eastertide. We commonly call this precept our "Easter Duty." This will typically be preceded by participating in the Sacrament of Penance (aka: Reconciliation or Confession). This is not to be confused with another precept, that of the so-called "Sunday obligation," wherein every Catholic is obliged to participate in the Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. While attending Mass is required, every Sunday, reception of the Eucharist is not mandatory every Sunday.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Patron Saint of Ireland - Patrick

BUT!  Then you hear or read of those who proclaim that St. Patrick was never officially declared a Saint by the Catholic Church - and most of us then say, um, WHAT?! While it is true that St. Patrick was not declared a Saint, in the same manner, most other Saints have been so declared - one must look at the REASON his canonization was different. The fact is, in the first millennium the formal canonization process had not been fully developed. However, to proclaim he was never officially canonized is simply NOT TRUE! The fact of the matter is, in ancient times, starting about 787 A.D., a new church had to have a relic from a Saint before it could be consecrated.

In 1177, a knight named John de Courcy built a new monastery and he, with Bishop Malachy, applied to Pope Urban III for permission to have the remains of Sts. Patrick, Brigid, and Columcille moved to the new monastery. An investigation was conducted and a Solemn Translation (elevato corporis) was approved. Pope Urban sent Cardinal Vivian with his official commission for the verification of the sanctity of the persons (Patrick, Brigid, and Columcille), followed by an all-night vigil prior to moving the remains. For the day, this WAS an official declaration of sainthood by and through the Catholic Church (McCormick, 2011). 

The process of declaring one a saint has changed many, many times throughout the ages, most recently in 1983 and 1997 (McCormick, 2011). So, while St. Patrick's official canonization was not according to the modern means - he was most definitely recognized as a Saint of the Catholic Church and BY the Catholic Church in 1177 A.D.



References

McCormick, M. (2011). St. Patrick IS a Saint! Ancient Order of Hibernians.                https://aoh.com/2011/03/01/st-patrick-is-a-saint/ 

Saturday, February 06, 2021

Choirs of Angels


Did you know there are nine (9) Choirs of Angels in Heaven?

So, what are the names of these choirs, and is there a scriptural reference?

The Seraphim: Isaiah 6:2; Hebrews 12:22.

The Cherubim: Genesis 3:24; Hebrews 12:22

The Thrones: Colossians 1:16

The Dominations or Dominions: Colossians 1:16

The Virtues: Ephesians 1:21

The Powers: Ephesians 1:21 and Colossians 1:16

The Principalities: Colossians 1:16-17

The Archangels: Tobit 12:15; John 5:4; Revelation 12:7-9

The Angels: (Including Guardian or Personal Angels): Daniel 3:28, Daniel 6:22; Matthew 18:10

Additional Reading (and credit for sources):

The Nine Choirs of Angels: https://whoislikegodblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/the-nine-choirs-of-angels/ 

The Nine Choir Hierarchy of the Angels in Scripture and Tradition: https://taylormarshall.com/2014/10/nine-choir-hierarchy-angels-scripture-tradition.html 

What are the categories of Angels (archangels, thrones, dominions, seraphim)? https://catholicstraightanswers.com/categories-angels-archangels-thrones-dominions-seraphim/ 

Explanation and Hierarchy of the 9 Choirs of Angels: https://soulpainter.com/2015/09/explanation-and-hierarchy-of-the-9-choirs-of-angels-infographic/ (source of the image below):












Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Candlemas - February 2nd

Candlemas - February 2

Christmas IS Over!

Candlemas Eve

Down with the rosemary and bays,
Down with the misletoe;
Instead of holly, now up-raise
The greener box, for show.   
 
The holly hitherto did sway;
Let box now domineer,
Until the dancing Easter-day,
Or Easter’s eve appear.   
 
Then youthful box, which now hath grace
Your houses to renew,
Grown old, surrender must his place
Unto the crispèd yew.

When yew is out, then birch comes in,
And many flowers beside,
Both of a fresh and fragrant kin,
To honour Whitsuntide.   

Green rushes then, and sweetest bents,
With cooler oaken boughs,
Come in for comely ornaments,
To re-adorn the house.

Thus times do shift; 
Each thing his turn does hold;
New things succeed,
As former things grow old.

The poem takes us from Christmastide, taking down our Christmas decorations, to Easter and then Pentecost (Whitsunday) and into summertime - and back to when "cooler oaken boughs..." and it is time again to re-adorn the house for the next Christ Mass celebration.
 
Today's readings are from the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple - and is the last lectionary reference to the infancy of Jesus for the liturgical year.