Bishop Olmsted Urges All Catholics to Oppose Rule

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix has become one of the first Roman Catholic bishops in the nation to openly defy the Obama administration over new rules forcing employers to include access to contraceptives and sterilization procedures in health-insurance coverage.
Although the Catholic Church itself is exempt from the proposed regulations, Olmsted believes the federal government's decision is an attack on religious liberty. He is encouraging church members to actively oppose it.

Read more:

Phoenix Catholic Diocese Bishop Thomas Olmsted says an Obama administration rule requiring health insurance plans to cover contraception and sterilization procedures is wrong, especially as it affects Catholic-related institutions.
While the Catholic church itself is exempt from the provisions of the law, Olmsted says other organizations, such as charities and hospitals, that are Catholic in belief but not directly related to the Catholic Diocese.
He urges all Catholics to oppose the rule.

Phoenix radio station, KFYI:

Free Exercise of Religion

“Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn’t happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights,” Archbishop Dolan.

Papal Authority

In a recent discussion which began at BeggarsAll - Mr. John Lollard responded to some of what I said.  His response to me was not really the topic of that discussion so I am responding here under the subject title of what he said.
Mr. Windsor,
You had said:
So, based on this fact it is our position that St. Peter was indeed our first pope AND he was contradicted, as recorded in Scripture, by St. Paul. Thus, I have fulfilled the request to demonstrate from OUR TEACHING and OUR PERSPECTIVE how even a pope can be contradicted.
We read in Scripture"When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong... The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabbas was led astray." Galatians 2:11-13
So we see, your first pope was not only contradicted, but he was clearly wrong and through following him many - even Barnabbas - were led astray.

I have never held a position that a pope could not ever be wrong.  It seems like so many Protestants are of the opinion that papal infallibility equates to papal impeccability - and that is simply not a valid equation.  The point of the episode in Galations 2 is only partially about St. Peter being wrong on that point - but also that not only was he contradicted by St. Paul, but CORRECTED by St. Paul.  St. Peter did not remain in error.
It's a strange situation, you insisting that popes can be wrong and induce their followers to moral error according to Scripture, the Protestants that you "are bound to submit to this power" as per Vatican I.
There seems to be a word or phrase missing in that sentence, but I believe I'm following what you're saying here.  You're saying it is strange that I insist the popes can be wrong (and induce their followers to moral error) AND that I also insist that Protestants are "bound to submit to this power" per Vatican I.  You can correct me if I'm wrong in restating what you said.  Now for my response:

1) Yes, popes can be wrong. 
2) Catholics are followers of Jesus Christ.  The pope is simply the current successor of the one whom Jesus empowered to "Feed My sheep" in John 21.  Jesus, the Good Shepherd, as He was departing this world, gave St. Peter that command in threefold manner - making it clear that St. Peter would be His vicar in His absence. 
3) That Protestants are bound to submit to this "power" - is a truism.  Yes, Protestants are indeed bound to submit to the will of the Shepherd and therefore be shepherded by the one whom Jesus "empowered" to be his stand-in.
How did we end up in opposite world(s)?
I would not say we're in opposite worlds!  We both have a love and fervor for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We're separated primarily by a movement which represents only a portion of 25% of the history of Christendom.  That movement, primarily started by Martin Luther (though I would say he was more of a political pawn of the German princes) is not "opposite" of Catholicism - just separated from it.  An "opposite' world would be one of atheism or perhaps one which follows a different god or gods.  So, while we are not opposites - we're also not "one" as is the Will of Jesus - that we may be one, just as He and the Father are One (John 17:21).
All the same, I'm glad that you apparently no longer believe in the authority of the pope; 

Now hold on a moment!  I have not rejected the authority of the pope!  Just because popes MAY be wrong and even HAVE been wrong many times throughout history - starting with our first pope - does not mean popes do not have authority given to them by Jesus Christ!  You're making quite the non sequitur here!
he's just some guy saying stuff, and whatever, who cares what he says if he doesn't make any sense with it.
He's more than "just some guy saying stuff!"  He DOES have authority and all faithful Christians are bound to obey him so long as he's not asking us to do something immoral - and in the example from Galations 2 we're not talking about a matter of morality, but of discipline.  St. Peter was asking Gentiles to ACT like Jews - and St. Paul corrected him and insisted he (and by default "we") not expect everyone, especially converts from non-Jewish faiths, to act like Jews.  Again, DiSCIPLINE not MORALITY.
He doesn't have any more authority to teach than you do, or than anyone does, 'cause he's just some German guy living in Italy. 
Well, as I've already said, he's much more than "just some guy" and he was empowered by Jesus Christ Himself to a position of authority - and his successors have that same authority.  
You should really look at whether what he's teaching is right, not on the office of the person teaching it.
Oh, I AGREE!  We should ALWAYS be mindful of what he's saying!  However, that does not change the fact of the matter relating to the office he holds.  Similarly, though not identically (as no analogy may be exactly equivocated) the President of the United States holds an office - and whereas I may not AGREE with him in everything he SAYS - once he signs a law into effect, as a citizen of the United States, I am obliged to OBEY that law.  Failure to do so will have consequences.
Bravo! I'm glad you're willing to make such an admission! :P

Likewise, I'm glad you're willing to admit that St. Peter was our first pope and that this "German guy living in Italy" is the successor of that "Jewish guy who lived in Jerusalem, Antioch and died in Rome!"  ;-)



What, exactly, is Transubstantiation?  If you break down the word it is not too difficult.  The first part, "trans" means "change" and the next part "substantiation" comes from the word "substance" and the "tion" part indicates it is an act or action.  Putting it all together, it means a "change of substance" or the process of changing a substance from one thing to another.  The change may not be in what you "see" - but in the "substance" which truly "is" what something "is."  

This is what happened when Jesus took bread, and blessing it He said, "This IS my body;" and with wine He declared, "This IS My blood."  Sure, it still looked like and tasted like bread and wine, but upon the declaration of God Almighty Himself, it became His body and blood!  Who are we to disagree or argue against the very Word of God?  He also didn't stop there!  He added, "Do THIS as often as you partake in THIS."  That command was given to the Apostles, the first bishops of the Catholic Church and they, in turn, pass on this authority to their successors and give faculties to local priests to "Do THIS" as well.  Any "church" which does not profess THIS is NOT the Church which Jesus Christ built.

The Empire Barks Back

A hopefully not-so feeble attempt at humor for James Swan...

God Changed His Mind?

In many confrontations with Calvinists they will argue the "Sovereignty of God" and that God does not "make up His mind" based on the actions of men - arguing that this would put the Will of God "hostage" to the will of Man.  Let the objective reader then consider Jonah 3: 

8 But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. 9 Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.”
 10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it. (NASB)
8And let men and beasts be covered with sackcloth, and cry to the Lord with all their strength, and let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the iniquity that is in their hands.
9Who can tell if God will turn, and forgive: and will turn away from his fierce anger, and we shall not perish?
10And God saw their works, that they were turned from their evil way: and God had mercy with regard to the evil which he had said that he would do to them, and he did it not.  (DRB)

8But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
 9Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
 10And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. (KJV)

8 People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence.
9 Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.”
10 When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.  (NLB)

Was God "held hostage" -OR- is it according to His Sovereignty that He GAVE mankind the ability to choose and to repent and that IF man does repent, He is able to "change His mind?"


Faithful Catholics May Disagree

To which extent may faithful Catholics disagree with each other - or even disagree with a sitting or past pope?  This post is in response to one which began over on BeggarsAll.

A blogger who goes by the name of Constantine said...

I'm curious about the “freedom to discount” claimed by EA and John.
In 1879 Leo XIII writes in his encyclical Aeterni Patris, “Let carefully selected teachers endeavor to implant the doctrine of Thomas Aquinas in the minds of students, and set forth clearly his solidity and excellence over others. Let the universities already founded or to be founded by you illustrate and defend this doctrine, and use it for the refutation of prevailing errors.” (Paragraph 31)
Earlier in this letter – paragraph 21 – Leo quotes half a dozen of his predecessors in support of Thomism as the official Catholic philosophy. One indicative example is Urban V, who Leo quotes as having written, “"It is our will, which We hereby enjoin upon you, that ye follow the teaching of Blessed Thomas as the true and Catholic doctrine and that ye labor with all your force to profit by the same." (emphasis added). I take it to mean that when a pope “enjoins” something, it is necessarily official doctrine – not “semi-official”. (And Leo is here reaching back into 500 years of Catholic history for support.) Is it fair to consider these writings as mere opinions?So were one to feel free to discount Thomism as I take EA and John to mean, they would be undermining not just the opinions of one or another pope, but a whole series of them. And that, I think, casts some doubt on the idea of “Tradition”, no?
I wrote:
That one may disagree with the opinions of previous popes does not undermine "tradition" - and especially not "Sacred Tradition." Would it be wise to reject sound Catholic teaching in favor of more modernist views? Probably not! But so long as what is being disagreed with is not dogmatically defined (ex cathedra) statements from popes, then Catholics may disagree with them.

[January 22, 2012 addendum]
Constantine said...
Hi Scott,

So, if the language was right and the audience was right, then you could disregard papal bulls, right? I think that is your point. My question remains – where is that taught?
1) I never said one can "disregard papal bulls," but I will say some of THAT would depend upon the language and to whom the bull was addressed/intended.

Earlier you wrote,

“But so long as what is being disagreed with is not dogmatically defined (ex cathedra) statements from popes, then Catholics may disagree with them.”
Peace. So, the 60+% or Catholics who disregard the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae's teaching on contraception or the nearly 50% of Catholics who do not affirm the doctrine of transubstantiation are perfectly within their rights, according to your standard. Do I understand that correctly?
I respond...
You can see below where I point out even our first pope is disagreed with, so "where is that taught?" is answered in Scripture for you.  As for disregarding the Church's CURRENT declarations upon contraception - this is a precept which is binding upon ALL Christians, even non-Catholics (whether they choose to accept this binding is not relevant to the fact that it IS binding upon them!).  A faithful Catholic cannot pick and choose which current precepts they will accept or reject - and based on the FACT that most forms of contraception are abortificants, the premise of this precept is "Thou shalt not kill."  Those who participate in artificial birth control/contraception cannot be considered "faithful Catholics."

As for the alleged 50% who do not affirm the doctrine of transubstantiation, again, this teaching is quite clear and explicit for Christianity!  Those who reject the teaching cannot be considered faithful Christians/Catholics. 

Now, to the specifics you mention here, THIS discussion is not about contraception or transubstantiation, so let us not be distracted into tangential topics in THIS discussion.
[End of January 22, 2012 addendum]
A blogger who goes by the initials EA responds:
"But so long as what is being disagreed with is not dogmatically defined (ex cathedra) statements from popes, then Catholics may disagree with them."
Lumen Gentium (III,25):
In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.
So there's a bit of an issue here. Pope Pius X insisted in some very assertive language that Thomism is the bedrock of and essential to Catholic teaching. But Cardinal Ratzinger stated that Thomistic philosophy needed to be discarded in order to save Catholicism.

In order to give some assent to both of these statements, somehow they need to be reconciled. Good Luck.
Constantine states:
I think Scott has to show where it is taught that the Roman Catholic in the pew has the authority to disregard papal bulls - ex cathedra or not.
I respond:
The most obvious evidence to present would be where our FIRST POPE was contradicted and corrected by St. Paul!  St. Paul chided St. Peter for although being a Jew, he lived as a Gentile and was expecting the Gentiles to take on Jewish traditions, this is recorded in Galations 2:14-21.  If even our first pope can be disagreed with - then why would you question our position of being able to disagree with later popes?  Now I understand non-Catholics do not accept that St. Peter was a pope at all - but the objective reader must understand as well that it is the Catholic position that he was indeed pope and thus this confrontation of St. Paul was against our first pope!  From the very beginning of what we recognize as the papacy we have faithful Catholics confronting them!

As for then Fr. Ratzinger disagreeing with Pope Pius X (a pope nearly 100 years prior) said about teaching - which is where this discussion stemmed from, allow me to retrace a bit.  James Swan found a couple of blog entries from "Catholic Champion" which intrigued him.  One was "A Warning to Those Who Oppose St. Thomas and Scholasticism" and the other, in Swan's words "a real gem" was: "Contradictions, You Decide..."  My guess would be that Swan is impressed with the perceived contradictions put forward by Matthew Bellisario (aka "Catholic Champion"). 

First off, I'd like to say that the encyclicals from Pope Leo XIII and Pope St. Pius X are essentially stating that the scholasticism of St. Thomas Aquinas should be used by Catholic schools and universities.  While they use some pretty strong language to "exhort" such to use St. Aquinas' works, it is not "demanded."  In fact, Pope St. Pius X says in Doctoris Angelici: "We renew and confirm them and order them to be strictly observed by all concerned."  This sounds very forceful, and the document is even a "moto proprio" - BUT - it is directly addressed to "Italy and the adjacent islands," therefore is specifically NOT binding upon the whole Church! 

The next thing I'd say is that the quote from then Fr. Ratzinger is an obscure quote from an obscure source making it very difficult to check on the context.  Therefore, without being able to see the context, I reject this quote from Fr. Ratzinger.

Now, the above being said, it is clear that Catholics CAN disagree with papal statements - and I reiterate that we Catholics see St. Peter as our first pope - and Scripture provides evidence that faithful Catholics can contradict and confront even the sitting pope.

I'm not sure that those over on Beggars All will be satisfied with these answers - but clearly I have presented the case where we CAN contradict a pope - within reason.  Below I provide opinions of other Catholics and I will respectfully consider further challenges by those who have initially challenged me.

Faithfully yours,

Scott Windsor<<<

Roman Catholic theologian, Ronald L. Conte Jr.

Marcus Grodi offers his opinion:

Prayers for Scott Hahn

Prayers for Dr. Scott Hahn, underwent emergency surgery for perforated bowel, his recent FB entry was:
Came out of successful two hour surgery with lots of gratitude and pain. Will be in hospital for next 3-5 days; 2-4 weeks in recovery. Your prayers are greatly appreciated. AMDG

UPDATE 1/26/2012:
Dr. Hahn is recovering well and has already returned to teaching!  Here is what he wrote on his Facebook page last night:
What a joy to launch my new course, The Theology of the New Evangelization, on the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul. Two hours and forty minutes never went by so fast. I got to re-discover what St Paul taught and lived so well: "My grace is sufficient for you." One week ago it didn't seem possible.
Praise the Lord!  

A Catholic Rap

Answering the rap... "I love Jesus, but hate religion..."

Untitled from John Hollowell on Vimeo.

I found this through Patty... had to share! Thanks Patty!

Be Careful How You Ask Questions!


Q1. In which battle did Napoleon die?
*His last battle.

Q2. Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?
*At the bottom of the page.

Q3. River Ravi flows in which state?

Q4. What is the main reason for divorce?

Q5. What is the main reason for failure?

Q6. What can you never eat for breakfast?
*Lunch & dinner.

Q7. What looks like half an apple?
*The other half.

Q8. If you throw a red stone into the blue sea what it will become?
*It will simply become wet.

Q9. How can a man go eight days without sleeping?
*No problem, he sleeps at night.

Q10. How can you lift an elephant with one hand?
*You will never find an elephant that has only one hand.

Q11. If you had three apples and four oranges in one hand and four apples and three oranges in other hand, what would you have?
*Very large hands.

Q12. If it took eight men ten hours to build a wall, how long would it take four men to build it?
*No time at all, the wall is already built.

Q13. How can you drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it?
*Any way you want, concrete floors are very hard to crack.

Foreknowledge of God

Often we find Calvinists among us complaining that Catholics do not understand the scriptural concept of predestination and that when we use the property of "foreknowledge" we're detracting from God's sovereignty. I've been engaged in such a conversation with a Calvinist on the CatholicDebateForum - feel free to read the discourse between us - and several others - there.  For the purpose of this article I will focus upon a sermon prepared by Barry Hoffstetter, which can be found here: 

Where Barry first gets into trouble is in his statement:
There is absolutely no hint whatsoever that God's foreknowledge is conditional upon the actions of men (and hence, that the crucifixion itself would be conditional upon the actions of men) -- in fact, the vocabulary and structure of the passage strongly indicates the opposite.  
Let us consider what he's saying here.  The root of Barry's argument is foreknowledge is not related to the actions of men and he goes so far as to say "the crucifixion itself would (then) be conditional upon the actions of men."  Well, the crucifixion IS conditional upon the acts of men, or more precisely, the acts of the first man and woman who brought upon all of mankind sin and the need for a Savior and Redeemer to come!  It was due to God's love and mercy that He promised the remedy for the fall into sin.  That promise is first implied in Genesis 3:15 when God is speaking to the serpent (Satan) stating that since he deceived her that it would be her offspring which would crush his head.  This promise is followed up by dozens of other Old Testament references to the Messiah, but the point is - the Messiah would not even be necessary without the fall.  The foreknowledge of God did not stop the fall of mankind, nor the first murder, etc., I could go on and on - but again, without man falling into sin - there would be no need for a Messiah, there would have been no crucifixion.

Barry goes on to say:
The other occurence of the word is at 1 Pet 1:2, where it is the object of the Greek preposition κατά,(according to). Now, as has been pointed out, "according to" does not mean "because of" -- it again emphasizes, not causality, but that which characterizes a particular action in a variety of ways, or that which may show a relationship between two ideas or objects.
First off, I'm not familiar with where this "has been pointed out" that "according to does not mean because of," it's not part of this article/sermon.  However, fundamentally I agree - 'according to' does not mean 'because of,' but therein may lie the folly of Barry's premise.  The Catholic position is not that predestination is not due to foreknowlege "because of" - but predestination IS "according to" foreknowledge.  Since it is quite scriptural the so-called "Golden Chain of Redemption" (Rom. 8:29-30), and Barry himself has agreed to the "order" of this chain as you can see by the following exchange:
> > BH: Again, I am not arguing against the order here. The ordo salutis presented in the passage is clear. But don't you see that you are reading your definition of foreknowledge into the text?  The issue is not the ordo but the nature of foreknowledge.
> sw:  No, I see that I am reading in order. If foreknowledge comes first, then it "follows" that predestination comes "after" it.  To think He does not "see" this "prior" to predestining them would be to limit God's Omniscience.
BH:  There is a logical order to these things, and in that order, 
foreknowledge precedes election and predestination  (Source)
So here we are in fundamental agreement, however Barry argues that I am not coming from a proper perspective of the nature of foreknowledge.  So, what IS foreknowledge, exactly?  It is knowledge one has BEFORE something else.  Thus, as we see in the ordo of the "Golden Chain," foreknowledge precedes predestination and election.  All these tenets are related to each other, as they are all part of the same "chain."  Now, this "ordo" or "order" is something for our benefit.  We live in and according to time.  God, on the other hand, is eternal - and thus outside of our concept of time.  God is not limited to our view/perspective on time.  Being outside of time He sees eternity all at once - what is past, present or future just IS from the perspective of the Eternal God.  Therefore, the concept of "foreknowledge" is something from the human perspective which precedes predestination and election.  To surmise that such foreknowledge does not weigh in on the predestination of mankind would be rather illogical.

Continuing from Barry's article:
Here, the claim is made that the elect possess a particular relationship to the foreknowledge of God. Essentially, election is "in line with" or "characterized by" God's foreknowledge. Again, the claim cannot be made that God's choice is dependent on the actions of men. While the statement here is not quite as strong as that made at Acts 2:23, it still implies that God's foreknowledge simply means that he knows whom he is going to choose, and so chooses them. The choice is internal to God, and not based on any external criteria.
And where is this implication?  The text give no such clue that Barry (or Calvin) would have us to blindly accept.  Barry states that "the claim cannot be made that God's choice is dependent on the actions of men," but if that is God's plan - then the claim not only can be made, it must be made and accepted on faith!  Now, of course, it is my position that this is God's plan, that it is by His design and through His justice that any man who goes to Hell goes there of his own accord.  Likewise, if a man has accepted God's Gift of faith and accepts His Son as his Savior and Redeemer, and lived accordingly - then God in His justice will not refuse him.   Before I continue I must remind the reader of what was said earlier about our perspective and time - for this non-refusal of God is in our lateral view of time as it unfolds - not God's view of eternity.  In God's view He's already seen what choices each of us will make and whether or not we will persevere in His Truth.  He knows already from our perspective and to think He does not act upon what He already knows would be quite illogical, to say the least.

Barry concludes:
And even if we did find the preposition διά here (because of, due to) the passage still would not imply that God's saving work is conditional upon what he knew men would do -- that would have to be determined from context, and nothing in the context even remotely suggests such a possibility.
Well to begin with here, the context of Scripture includes Romans 8:29-30, and with that in mind we cannot say that Scripture (the context) does not even remotely suggest such a possibility when this "Golden Chain" literally screams not only the possibility, but the reality.  Whether or not the "because of" or "due to" preposition is present is irrelevant - for Scripture clearly states that predestination and election is preceded by foreknowledge.  The passage also puts "firstborn" into the picture - as though there is an "order" to those who will be conformed to the image of His Son.  For those who have ears to hear, let them hear.
The Golden Chain of Redemption/Salvation
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.  Romans 8:29-30 (KJV).

Addendum, January 14, 2012 - Scott's response to Barry's response on CDF.  Both responses appropriately linked to their sources on CDF.  Since my response contains most of Barry's, I am posting mine here - again, Barry's is linked above and here as well.

On Tue, Jan 10, 2012 at 7:16 PM, Barry H. wrote:

sw:  skipping a bit of redundancy and getting to the main point....
>> BH: There is a logical order to these things, and in that order,
foreknowledge precedes election and predestination (Source) [link re-added]

>sw: So here we are in fundamental agreement, however Barry argues that I am not

>coming from a proper perspective of the nature of foreknowledge. So, what
>IS foreknowledge, exactly? It is knowledge one has BEFORE something else.
>Thus, as we see in the ordo of the "Golden Chain," foreknowledge precedes
>predestination and election. All these tenets are related to each other,
>as they are all part of the same "chain." Now, this "ordo" or "order" is
>something for our benefit. We live in and according to time. God, on the
>other hand, is eternal - and thus outside of our concept of time. God is
>not limited to our view/perspective on time. Being outside of time He sees
>eternity all at once - what is past, present or future just IS from the
>perspective of the Eternal God. Therefore, the concept of "foreknowledge"
>is something from the human perspective which precedes predestination and
>election. To surmise that such foreknowledge does not weigh in on the
>predestination of mankind would be rather illogical.
BH: Ok, you still are not getting.

sw: Oh, I "get it" just fine!  I get that you are blinded by your indoctrination to Calvinism and cannot logically consider alternatives to Calvinism because you approach anything which contradicts Calvinism as dogmatically wrong - as do most, if not all Calvinist apologists.  What you're NOT SEEING is that the very concept of "foreknowledge" is based upon a "BEFORE" and "AFTER" in a "LINEAR VIEW OF TIME."  Foreknowledge, therefore, is terminology for MANKIND.  Foreknowledge is something WE use to describe God's Nature from OUR linear view of time.  God, being and Eternal Being, is outside our conceptual view of "time" and is not LIMITED by OUR VIEW/PERSPECTIVE of time.  It is not I who is limiting God's sovereignty here - but Calvinism!  Your Calvinist arguments attempt to put the Catholic view into a limited box which you can dismiss - but it's not quite that easy, my friend.  My position is, and has been, that we cannot limit God or His sovereignty to OUR VIEW, for to God "time" is just a human invention to look at history, live in the present and consider the future.   For the Eternal God, "time" just "is."  Step outside your limited human (and Calvinist) perspective and consider that God is beyond such.
BH: I don't know how to get you to see this.

sw: I "see" it just fine!   I "see" that you want to forget that the "fore" part of "foreknowledge" not only implies, but SCREAMS in a LINEAR VIEW (which is OURS) that knowledge is beFORE the predestination.  Again, God is not limited to OUR VIEW. 

sw: Calvinism essentially states that the "decision" of God to predestine is NOT based in foreknowledge - thus foreknowledge becomes an irrelevant link in that "Golden Chain."  So, either that FOREknowledge MEANS something, or it does not.  Calvinism reduces that word to insignificance - and therefore DETRACTS from the context of Scripture.
BH: You are simply assuming that foreknowledge means that God will look down the
corridors of time,

sw: No, I am saying that if you are looking at TIME then there is a before and after - and FOREknowledge comes beFORE all else.
BH: observe that Scott is going to be a really faithful
fellow (he's got this blog, you see), and therefore, since God has foreseen
that Scott is going to be that kind of fellow, he chose him as one of his
own. Do you agree that is what foreknowledge means to you?

sw: In a sense - but since my life - from OUR VIEW is not over - I may or may not persevere in the state of grace.  I could fail at any point in TIME from now till the end of my life.  I hope and pray that I am given the strength and wisdom to remain in that state - but God already knows what decision(s) I will make in my life and has predestined me based upon this.  Now, this is NOT God being held hostage to my decisions (that's the typical Calvinist response) but rather God being consistent in His Divine Justice.  It would not be consistent of Him to have laws and punishments based upon the failure to follow those laws if those laws did not matter in the least and He had already predestined everyone in a reality devoid of Free Will.  It is precisely why folks like me see the Calvinist view of God as being merely a puppetmaster who controls His puppets and predetermines who they are and what they will become.
> sw: The Golden Chain of Redemption/Salvation

> For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to
the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called,
them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Romans 8:29-30 (KJV).
BH: Now, in this "golden chain" passage, and in any other passage where
foreknowledge is either explicitly mentioned or implied, does it say that
God looked ahead and based his actions on what the person was going to do?
IT DOESN'T SAY THAT. You are reading that definition into it.

sw: I'm sorry Barry - but words DO mean things - and "FORE" in the word "FOREknowledge" means that it is knowledge which comes beFORE.  Again, to speak of beFORE and after - implies a statement of TIME and as such - FOREknowledge PRECEDES predestination, as you concur, in the logical scheme of things.  I'm not reading into the words anything which is not there already - because FORE in FOREknowledge IS a statement of TIME. 

sw: The above being said, God is not responding to decisions of men, per se, but is responding in accordance to His Divine Law.  As has been said before "Law" itself is meaningless if the enforcement of said "Law" is not based in the actions of men either abiding BY the Law or going AGAINST the Law.  If you remove the acts of men from consideration then you're left with God as a puppet master - and that is NOT the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants, whom I might add - were blessed and cursed based upon THEIR actions!  The Calvinist view of predestination is not only not scriptural - it is ANTI-scriptural for it TAKES AWAY from the Justice of God and the fact that He is a "Jealous God," etc.  These terms make absolutely NO SENSE in a Calvinist form of predestination.
BH: The logical order of foreknowledge/predestination does not imply that in any way.

sw: If it is "logical" at all, then yes - the order not only implies it - it DEMANDS it.
BH: Calvin simply didn't make that up (neither, for that matter did Augustine,
who was very influential in Calvin's conception of the doctrine). Instead,
the doctrine is framed from the nature of God as omniscient and omnipotent,
and in the specific actions that God takes to accomplish redemption.

sw: St. Augustine, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Hippo, did NOT present Calvinism in his teachings on predestination.  Did Calvin usurp out-of-context statements from St. Augustine and invent an anti-Catholic/Christian viewpoint?  Perhaps, but St. Augustine (after his conversion) became a faithful Catholic and bishop in the Catholic Church.
BH: What does foreknowledge and election look like in particular terms? Consider Jeremiah:
Jer 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were
born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."

Upon what actions of Jeremiah was this decision made by God dependent?
sw: Consider the ORDER in which Jeremiah states it!  What came first?  KNOWLEDGE!  Before God formed him, He ALREADY KNEW him!  That's FOREknowledge!  He KNEW Jeremiah and then according to that FOREknowledge, God appointed him to be a prophet to the nations.  You have provided a passage which reinforces MY argument and continues to destroy your own.

Cheeseburger Friday!

Today being a Friday, is usually a day of penance observation for Catholics (though many Catholics are unaware of this requirement).  The traditional penance is to abstain from meat, but that has been changed in the post-Vatican II era.  It doesn't HAVE to be meat anymore - but must be something equivalent AND per approval from ones episcopal conference - but it CAN still be meat!  Since the rule was relaxed a bit many Catholics have assumed there is no more requirement - but they would be wrong here AND it is a mortal sin to fail to properly observe this precept.

What is involved here?

The USCCB says:
Fridays Throughout the Year In memory of Christ's suffering and death, the Church prescribes making each Friday throughout the year a penitential day. All of us are urged to prepare appropriately for that weekly Easter that comes with each Sunday.

While that's a bit vague, even weak in merely "urging" us, the Code of Canon Law is not so weak:

Canon 1251: Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday.

And, keeping in mind that Canon 1251 has never been abrogated:

Canon 33 §1 General executory decrees, even if published in directories or other such documents, do not derogate from the law, and any of their provisions which are contrary to the law have no force.
§2 These decrees cease to have force by explicit or implicit revocation 
§2 These decrees cease to have force by explicit or implicit revocation by the competent authority, and by the cessation of the law for whose execution they were issued. They do not cease on the expiry of the authority of the person who issued them, unless the contrary is expressly provided.

So, enjoy that cheeseburger today - but do keep in mind WHY you would normally NOT have that cheeseburger and that a solemnity is a "gift" as every Sunday is.

Epiphany 2012

With today being Epiphany and the Twelfth Day of Christmas, Christmas is over for many traditions.  I say "many" because some still celebrate the Holiday through Candlemas - Feb. 2nd.  

The Solemnity of the Epiphany is what we call it in the Latin Church, in the Eastern traditions it is called "Theophany" and is one of the oldest Christian feast days celebrated - and has, from the earliest dates, been celebrated on January 6th.

Originally Epiphany/Theophany actually celebrated four different feasts:  The Baptism of our Lord, the First Miracle of our Lord at Cana, The Nativity of our Lord and the arrival of the "Three Kings" or "Three Wisemen."  Eventually in the West, the celebration of the Nativity became the celebration of the Christ Mass, or Christmas, on December 25th.  In many parts of the world the tradition of giving gifts, like the Wise Men, is practiced on Epiphany.

Did I mention this is a "solemnity?"  Being that this solemnity which falls on a Friday - for all you Catholics who observe Canon Law (which should be ALL of you!) you don't have to offer up your Friday Penance (which traditionally is the abstaining from meat)!  Yes, it is STILL a mortal sin to NOT observe SOME sort of penance EVERY FRIDAY THROUGHOUT THE YEAR - EXCEPT when a solemnity falls on a Friday (just as every Sunday is a solemnity, no penance is required on solemnities).  Please see the articles I wrote on this earlier (click here or here for another one).

Days of Christmas

First off - MERRY CHRISTMAS!  (Reminding the readers that it is STILL the Christmas season - which lasts minimally till Epiphany (Jan. 6th) and in some traditions until Candlemas (Feb. 2nd).

While on the plane back to AZ I was pondering whether or not there was any given day of the week that Christmas could not fall on...  counting on my fingers, I seemed to be coming up with a pattern which eliminated Mondays and Saturdays due to leap years - but that made absolutely no sense!  Leap year is every 4 years and there are 7 days, so there should be no such pattern which would skip any given day.  While my finger counting was off (I blame this on thinking that as we're approaching February 29th that 2011 was the "leap" because I was still IN 2011 at the time) my logic was not!

In the first years of the new millennium Christmas fell on the following days:
2000 - Monday
2001 - Tuesday
2002 - Wednesday
2003 - Thursday
2004 - Saturday
2005 - Sunday
2006 - Monday
2007 - Tuesday
2008 - Thursday
2009 - Friday
2010 - Saturday
2011 - Sunday

And will fall on:
2012 - Tuesday
2013 - Wednesday
2014 - Thursday
2015 - Friday
2016 - Sunday
2017 - Monday
2018 - Tuesday
2019 - Wednesday
2020 - Friday
2021 - Saturday

Christmas can fall on any day...

Feast of the Assumption

 The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - another example of "not-so-ordinary" days! These are COUNTING days - and...