The Real Presence, Part 4

“A type is a person, thing, or event in the Old Testament that foreshadows something to come later in time.  It is like a taste or hint of something that will be fulfilled or realized.  Types are like pictures that come alive in a new and exciting way when seen through the eyes of Christ’s revelation.”  The type is always lesser than the anti-type.  The anti-type (New Testament event) is always greater than its type (shadow of an event in the Old Testament).  And both are independent of each other.

Many of the first Christians used this method to find new insights in the Scriptures.  We see these ‘types’, or ‘figures’ or examples in many places in Scripture like in 1 Cor 10:11 and Heb 11:19 for example.

One of these instances can be found in the Gospel of Matthew where we see that the Egyptian Exodus told in Hosea 11:1 is quoted exactly in Matt 2:15 when speaking of Jesus’ return to Israel from Egypt: “where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."”

What Matthew has done here is he took an historical event and interpreted it as a shadow of something greater to come in the future, which he sees as ‘fulfilled’ in the person of Jesus the Messiah.

Other examples of Jesus Christ type/antitype pairs are: 

A) Jonah in the belly of the whale is a type of Christ in the tomb.  For Jonah stayed in the belly for three days as did Christ stay buried for three days until His resurrection as Jesus explained Himself “In the same way that Jonah spent three days and nights in the big fish, so will the Son of Man spend three days and nights in the depths of the earth. “(Matt 12:40)


B)  The deadly bites of serpents are healed by the brazen serpent, which was lifted up that those bitten might look at it and live (Num 21:9).  Jesus Himself gives the explanation of this: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believes in Him may not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:14)


C)  In God’s request that Abraham sacrifice his son Isaac (Gen 22:2) we find another type of Christ.  The birth of both was supernatural (remember, Abraham was a hundred years old and Sarah an elderly woman when she bore Isaac).  Both are sons of promise.  Both were called “the only begotten son.” Both carried the wood of their own demise up the same mountain, Moriah.  Both consented to endure death.  Both were bound.  Both were offered by their fathers.  Both were laid on the wood.  Both were in the vigor of life, and both live again after the offering.


D)  Melchizadek is another type of Christ.  We see evidence of this in Heb 6:20 “On our behalf Jesus has gone in there before us and has become a high priest forever, in the priestly order of Melchizedek.”  and “Melchizedek, who was king of Salem and also a priest of the Most High God, brought bread and wine to Abram [whose name was later changed to Abraham] and blessed him, and said, "May the Most High God, who made heaven and earth, bless Abram!”(Gen 14:18)

In the Paschal lamb which the Israelites were commanded to eat as part of the Passover celebration is another strong foreshadowing of Christ.  Each family is commanded to take a lamb without blemish and to sacrifice it (Exo 12:7-8).  The lamb was to be roasted and eaten with unleavened bread and wild lettuce.  The Paschal Lamb prefigured symbolically Christ, “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

We can agree that Jesus is a priest forever of the order of Melchizedek (Heb 6:20), and that he is also the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29) because we find these statements in Holy Scripture.  By putting these to types together we see that Jesus is a priest forever but also the sacrificial lamb to atone for our sins.  Jesus as priest offers up to God a perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins, Himself.  That sacrifice, as in the Passover sacrifice of the lamb, we are to EAT the lamb.  Now, how are we to eat the lamb when the sacrifice is in the form of bread and wine?  We find the solution in Jesus’ own words in the Last Supper when He raises up the bread and then the wine and says: “this is my body…this is my blood”.  The bread and wine presented and consecrated is transformed into the body and blood of our Lord but in keeping the same form of bread and wine!  A perfect fulfillment of both types including a third type where Jesus calls Himself the true bread of Heaven which gives eternal life! John 6:48-50 states “I am the bread of life.  Your ancestors ate manna in the desert, but they died.  But the bread that comes down from heaven is of such a kind that whoever eats it will not die.”

The difference between Christ’s death on the cross – the event- and the Eucharist – the sacrament – is the difference between history and liturgy.  The historical event happened once and it will never again be repeated (Heb 9:25-26).  The liturgical sacrament, however, not only keeps the past from being forgotten; through it the Eucharist of history – Jesus’ passion and death – is made present again.  While his act of physical death will never be repeated, Jesus’ act of total self-giving to the Father for us (Rom 8:32) continues eternally in Love – that is, the Holy Spirit.

This moment in salvation history is the culmination of all of Scripture.  As the Israelites were to sacrifice and eat the Passover lamb, so now are we to re-present His sacrifice forever in the form of bread and wine and eat His body and drink His blood because HE is the perfect sacrificial Lamb that we are to eat for our salvation (John 6:51).  As the first Isrealites had to eat the sacrificial lamb, so too must we do the same.


God Bless

Necessity of Baptism for Salvation

Has Catholic Teaching Changed with regard to the Necessity of Baptism?
In recent discussions with "John" (that's all I know him by) I have insisted that no dogma has ever been changed.  He challenged with the teaching on the necessity of the Sacrament of Baptism, and he points to the Ecumenical Council of Florence for the "definition" put forth by that council:
Ecumenical Council of Florence, Session 6, 1439 AD:
With regard to children, since the danger of death is often present and the only remedy available to them is the sacrament of baptism by which they are snatched away from the dominion of the devil and adopted as children of God, it admonishes that sacred baptism is not to be deferred for forty or eighty days or any other period of time in accordance with the usage of some people, but it should be conferred as soon as it conveniently can; and if there is imminent danger of death, the child should be baptized straightaway without any delay, even by a lay man or a woman in the form of the church, if there is no priest, as is contained more fully in the decree on the Armenians.
Also (defining), the souls of those who have incurred no stain of sin whatsoever after baptism, as well as souls who after incurring the stain of sin have been cleansed whether in their bodies or outside their bodies, as was stated above, are straightaway received into heaven and clearly behold the triune God as he is, yet one person more perfectly than another according to the difference of their merits. But the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains.

So, while not exactly the formula we expect from an infallibly defined dogma, this does appear to be a "definition" of the necessity of the Sacrament of Baptism - and those who die without Baptism "go downward straightaway to Hell."  Then we come to modern teaching:

CCC 1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

Now, before I continue - keep in mind, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is not an infallible document - and NO "catechism" ever has been.  That being said, the keys here in the modern teaching are: 
a) the Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude and 
b) God Himself has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but He Himself is not bound by His sacraments.
And for another modern teaching:

29. The Catholic Church's belief that Baptism is necessary for salvation was powerfully expressed in the Decree for the Jacobites at the Council of Florence in 1442: “There is no other way to come to the aid [of little children] than the sacrament of Baptism by which they are snatched from the power of the devil and adopted as children of God”. This teaching implies a very vivid perception of the divine favour displayed in the sacramental economy instituted by Christ; the Church does not know of any other means which would certainly give little children access to eternal life. However, the Church has also traditionally recognized some substitutions for Baptism of water (which is the sacramental incorporation into the mystery of Christ dead and risen), namely, Baptism of blood (incorporation into Christ by witness of martyrdom for Christ) and Baptism of desire (incorporation into Christ by the desire or longing for sacramental Baptism). During the 20th century, some theologians, developing certain more ancient theological theses, proposed to recognize for little children either some kind of Baptism of blood (by taking into consideration the suffering and death of these infants), or some kind of Baptism of desire (by invoking an “unconscious desire” for Baptism in these infants oriented toward justification, or the desire of the Church). The proposals invoking some kind of Baptism of desire or Baptism of blood, however, involved certain difficulties. On the one hand, the adult's act of desire for Baptism can hardly be attributed to children. The little child is scarcely capable of supplying the fully free and responsible personal act which would constitute a substitution for sacramental Baptism; such a fully free and responsible act is rooted in a judgement of reason and cannot be properly achieved before the human person has reached a sufficient or appropriate use of reason (aetas discretionis: “age of discretion”). On the other hand, it is difficult to understand how the Church could properly “supply” for unbaptised infants. The case of sacramental Baptism, instead, is quite different because sacramental Baptism, administered to infants, obtains grace in virtue of that which is specifically proper to the sacrament as such, that is, the certain gift of regeneration by the power of Christ himself. That is why Pope Pius XII, recalling the importance of sacramental Baptism, explained in the “Allocution to Italian Midwives” in 1951: “The state of grace is absolutely necessary for salvation: without it supernatural happiness, the beatific vision of God, cannot be attained. In an adult an act of love may suffice to obtain him sanctifying grace and so supply for the lack of Baptism; to the child still unborn, or newly born, this way is not open”.  This gave rise among theologians to a renewed reflection on the dispositions of infants with respect to the reception of divine grace, on the possibility of an extra-sacramental configuration to Christ, and on the maternal mediation of the Church.

101. “As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: ‘Let the children come to me, do not hinder them’ (Mk 10:14; cf.1Tim 2:4), allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism”.
Again, this commission is not infallible - and is expressing compassion for grieving parents that they MAY have hope in God's mercy.  This is not a "change" in the dogma, for even the commission goes on to stress the importance of the Sacrament of Baptism as well as stressing that no one should delay the sacrament from any child.   The fact that there is theological speculation on how God MAY have mercy on those whom He chooses does not change the fact that "the Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude."

Now, to answer the question this article asks...  no, the Church has not changed the teaching on the necessity for the Sacrament of Baptism.  The only way any such speculation would have the affect of "changing dogma" is if another definition was made, using the proper formula, which would be contrary to the initial dogma - and THAT has never happened.


Everything We Think and Do is a Caused Thing?

If you've been following the CathApol Blog you've seen the recent postings regarding predestination and foreknowledge between myself and Barry Hoffstetter.  Well, another has thrown his hat into the ring, a fellow who goes by "Tobiah" - or perhaps Roy Tobias (I've asked for clarification, none has been forthcoming as of this writing), I'll refer to him as "RT."

RT, though he claims to not be a Calvinist, presents a very Calvinist position on predestination. He opened our discussion with this challenge:
Everything we think and do is a caused thing. I'd challenge you to demonstrate otherwise.
Now, before I go much further, let me state - I am not really in disagreement with that statement! However, RT goes on to say:
The apostle Paul said God created man to search for him, and ordered all things towards that purpose. He said we love God because *He first loved us*, and that even when we were dead in our trespasses and sin *He*(God) brought us to life-so that we could respond. And yes, there are grounds for judgement regardless-since we are all children of wrath by nature *until* that awakening comes from God via His mercy.
And again, fundamentally, I would agree with this.  RT goes on to ask:
Explain to me how you make decisions free of influences that push you in certain directions.
I'll get to answering that in a moment here.  In his fourth response on this topic he states:
I asked you from the beginning to demonstrate the mechanisms of free will. Describe it, where does it arise, how is it free-and just what is your definition of 'free will'? How do you make any decisions at all free of all the influences shaping them and the causality that led you to the decision?
Sounding a bit more Calvinist?  I think so!  

First off, to be clear here, "from the beginning" all RT did was make an assertion and issue an open ended challenge.  "From the beginning" he did not ask me to "demonstrate the mechanism of free will," nor did he ask me to "describe it" nor show "where does it arise" and neither did he ask "just what is (my) definition of free will?"  He did not ask, "How do (I) make any decisions at all free of the influences shaping them and the causality that led (me) to the decision?"  All he did was assert "everything we think and do is a caused thing" and then challenged, "I challenge you to demonstrate otherwise."  So, from the beginning of his involvement we began on a false premise.  That being said, I am overlooking the false statement and will deal with his questions.  

If the previous was not enough to convince the semi-unbiased reader that RT holds a Calvinist position on predestination, read this from him:
God has predetermined who will come to Him, as well as the how/why of it. You want to understand my answer, you need to think outside of your box-this is why I've tried to get you to answer about free will. It does not exist. Only causality exists-and the statement you quoted is part of that causality. So is everything else that causes people to come to Christ. What's to fear? Losing your salvation-which is a goad for those chosen to respond to this call of God in a manner that keeps them on the path. I'm showing you the nuts and bolts of how determinism works, Scott. We can go deeper of course-but the same principle is there every step of the way. Every step of the way causality is leading you along your predetermined path by predetermined means to a predetermined end result.
Catholicism and Predestination
Now, before we continue can Catholics believe in predestination?  The answer is yes!  Is it the same way of thinking which Calvinists express and teach?  No!   So what are Catholic teachings on predestination?
To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of "predestination", he includes in it each person's free response to his grace: "In this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place." For the sake of accomplishing his plan of salvation, God permitted the acts that flowed from their blindness.  
Catechism of the Catholic Church 600

What Catholics Cannot Believe Regarding Predestination
We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema. 
If anyone says that it is not in man's power to make his ways evil, but that the works that are evil as well as those that are good God produces, not permissively only but also propria et per se, so that the treason of Judas is no less His own proper work than the vocation of St. Paul, let him be anathema.
That which God has predestined, He has done so through His foreknowledge of how men will respond to the free gift (grace) He has made available to mankind.  Romans 8:28-30 lays out this "order" quite clearly.  Many Protestants even use the example of the "Golden Chain of Salvation" as seen here:
Predestination does not come before foreknowledge.  Foreknowledge does not affect the free will God has given to man, it just means that God knows what choices man will make and based upon that, He can predestine those whom will be called "the Elect."

Back to RT...   RT states that nothing happens which God did not cause to happen.  Man, in RT's paradigm, is not responsible for his actions - for he makes no act without God.  We have a real problem here, well, "we" don't, but RT does.  In RT's theology, God is justified in the condemnation of all men, for mankind has a fallen nature due to Original Sin and it is only through God's grace that any man is saved.  God, therefore, can choose whom He will save and who will remain condemned - because, again, all men are condemned by Adam's sin and this is due solely to His mercy and grace.   

The problem the Christian Church has with this Calvinistic view is that it really removes all judgment from mankind, for in that view - man is already judged and condemned and it is only by God's grace that man can be pulled from that condemnation - no judgment, just grace.  The Christian Scriptures clearly state that all men (not just the elect) will be judged according to his works (Romans 2:6; 1 Corinthians 3:14-15). 

The Calvinist will argue that only those who are drawn can be saved, and those whom He takes in His hands will not be lost (John 6) but who is drawn?  According to John 12:32 "all men" will be drawn to Him - when He is lifted up.  Was Christ lifted up?  Yes!  On the Cross!  You could even say that lifting happened when He ascended into Heaven - either way, He HAS been "lifted up" and thus "all men" are drawn to Him!  Now the Calvinist knows full well that the true Christian Faith does not believe that all men will be saved - in fact "many are called, but few are chosen," (Matt. 22:14) another implication that more are drawn than will actually make it, so where does this leave us?  It leaves the free gift of grace as freely given to all - but clearly not all will accept the gift.  If all are drawn and/or many are called - but few are chosen - this leaves the Calvinist form of predestination with God failing to accomplish the drawing and/or calling.  The only way this drawing/calling works is if man is given the choice to accept or reject God's free gift. 

Can We Make Decisions Free of Influences?
Getting back to RT again, his position is that God influences all acts of men - no act is then autonomously man's.  He challenges:  "Explain to me how you make decisions free of influences that push you in certain directions."   To be wholly free of influences is not possible, but those influences do not make the decisions.  Influences CAN affect decisions, but that does not mean they always do.  Men are tempted, all the time, to do what is wrong - but men can CHOOSE to do what is right or wrong.  If we choose to do what is wrong, we must be prepared to suffer the consequences.  If I choose to go over the speed limit on the highway, I must be prepared to pay the fine if I'm caught.

Spring-Wound Watch 
You've probably heard the adage that a watch needs a watchmaker to exist, right?  Suppose I found a watch.  I pick it up and look at it, and it does not appear to be running as the second hand is not moving.  I decide to wind it up and it starts ticking!   But it is the spring which is causing the watch to turn, and it's the mechanisms of the watch which allow it to keep time.  The second hand is now moving, the watch is ticking away.  I am not the designer or the creator or even the spring of this watch, but my action has caused it to start working again.  Who is the Prime Mover in this scenario?  Answer:  the Prime Mover would be the Watchmaker - but that watch didn't start "moving" until I wound it up.  The Watchmaker made the watch, but it was my action which enabled it to have its own action (of keeping time).  So, is everything we do a "caused thing?"  Yes, but who does the causing?  Just because there is a "first cause," (the Watchmaker) that does not mean the "first cause" causes every other action (like the watch mechanism actually moving or the winding of the spring - or even the choice to NOT wind the spring).

RT has responded here:


The Principle - Update

On Wednesday, May 28, 2014, at 8pm Eastern, on Michael Voris' "Mic'd Up" show streaming worldwide on ChurchMilitant TV,  the Executive Producer and Producer of "The Principle" will officially announce the release date and additional particulars concerning the upcoming theatrical distribution.

Addendum, May 21, 2014:
(Changed a few words from "our" to "the" as originally this announcement appeared to be saying The Principle was "our" production).

The Real Presence, Part 3

Third reason to believe:  Scripture

For Scriptural verses supporting the Real Presence I will reference only two sections of our Bible.  John chapter 6, verse 51 and 1 Cor 11. 

JOHN 6 (Bread of Life Discourse)
Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.

-- Jews grumble at this.--

 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Many Disciples Desert Jesus60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[e] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”

66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

1)       The first thing to notice is “what else could Jesus have said to make it any more plain?”  Six times He tells them that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood.  6 times!


2)       Second, He doesn’t correct those that leave Him for misunderstanding Him since they thought He spoke literally while He supposedly spoke only symbolically.  My question is: why didn’t He say so before they left Him?


3)       Thirdly, the apostle John recounts Jesus using two different words when speaking of ‘eating’ His flesh.  In the beginning of His discourse He uses the word “PHAGO” which is defined as ‘eat’ and which can sometimes be taken symbolically.  But when the Jews have difficulty accepting Jesus’ second attempt at clarifying His teaching Jesus switches to the word “TROGO” in verse 54 when speaking of ‘eating’ His flesh, a word which is NEVER used symbolically in Scripture and means to ‘munch, gnaw or crunch’ His Flesh making it extremely clear that Jesus was speaking literally.

And so Jesus let the Jews leave because they understood Him correctly, they just couldn’t accept this ‘hard teaching.’

My favorite verse of the whole ‘Bread of Life’ discourse is verse 51.
Verse 51 of John 6 says this: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven.  If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.

Jesus is the living bread.  We are to eat this bread.  This bread that He gives for us to eat is the flesh that He will give for the life of the world.    If the bread is symbolically His flesh then the flesh that He gives for the life of the world must be symbolic as well.  That’s how Jesus describes it.  Was the flesh on the cross symbolic? Or real?  The flesh that we are to eat, is it symbolic or real?  If the flesh on the cross is real then the bread that we are to eat is that same flesh.

In 1 Corinthians 11, verse 27.  Paul writes to the Corinthians about eating the bread and drinking of the cup unworthily, to do that is to be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.  Paul explains it this way: “Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.”  How can one sin against the body and blood by eating and drinking unworthily of the bread and wine UNLESS the bread and wine are now the body and blood of the Lord.

Two verses later, verse 29, Paul explains how it can be a sin to eat and drink unworthily.  It’s a sin because: “…anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.  How can one DISCERN the body of the Lord in the bread if its NOT the body of the Lord?  To discern it as the body of the Lord means that the bread is, in fact, the body of the Lord.

And the last Scriptural verse that I want to bring to prove the Real Presence in the Eucharist are from the words of God Himself at the Last Supper.  Jesus raised the bread and said “This IS my Body.  He didn’t say that the bread was just a symbol, a sign or a figure of His body.  He lifted up the bread and said “this IS my Body”.  He never pointed to a door and said “This is my body”.   God Himself said “Let there be light.  And there was light”.  God the Son said “This is my body” and so, no matter what our senses might tell us, we are obliged to believe Him.  That His Word has power.  For God, to say it is so…makes it so.

God Bless

UN Committee Accuses RCC of Torture

The Committee Against Torture (CAT) has accused the Catholic Church's stand on abortion as "torture!"  In a statement I heard on the radio this morning (Phoenix, KFYI) the CAT says that the Church's position on abortion amounts to torture in countries where abortion is completely illegal because it forces young girls and women to go through with an unwanted pregnancy, even those due to rape or incest.  The Washington Examiner reports the CAT as saying the Church position "amounts to torture" and that it also leads women to seek out "unsafe abortions" reports Ashley E. McGuire of the group Catholic Voices USA (ibid), McGuire continues: "The church doesn’t believe there is anything as a safe abortion."

What is really taking place here is a coordinated effort by the CAT, and others who share the pro-abortion and anti-Catholic bigotry, to get the Vatican removed from the United Nations.  The irony of their position is they are allegedly against torture and yet abortion is one of the cruelest forms of torture which can be forced upon an innocent life, and they don't even consider the psychological affects abortion has on the would-have-been mothers when they come to realize they murdered their own child (or children, in cases of multiple abortions).  Being Pro-Life is what a committee like the CAT should be all about supporting!  No, what is really going on here is anti-Catholic bigotry - but will anyone (besides Catholics) stand up to the bullying bigots?

Addendum, May 12, 2014:
I was accused of "hyperbole" because I posted this article, so let me demonstrate that it was not merely me seeking some sort of sensationalism...

( - The Center for Reproductive Rights, a non-governmental organization that advocates for legalized abortion, is urging the United Nations Committee Against Torture to tell the Catholic Church that “the freedom of speech and of religion” do not give the church the right to advocate against abortion.
When the committee met in Geneva on Monday for a hearing on the Vatican’s compliance with the Convention Against Torture, Vice Chairperson Felice Gaer, an American, said in her opening statement that laws that ban all abortion—which is the position of the Catholic Church--may violate the convention. - Vatican officials are blasting the Untied Nations after a UN panel made wild-eyed claims that the Catholic Church’s pro-life teachings “promote torture.” The UN panel is expected to release its report on the Catholic Church at the end of the month.

NCR: GENEVA — The Holy See’s representative to the United Nations in Geneva is hoping for a “sense of moderation and respect” in the final conclusions of a U.N. committee after it questioned the Holy See May 5-6 on clerical sex abuse in the context of torture.

Wall Street Journal:  The United Nations committee that monitors compliance with the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment is being urged by several influential nongovernmental organizations to condemn the Vatican when the committee meets this week in Geneva. These groups, including the Center for Constitutional Rights, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and the Center for Reproductive Rights, claim that the Catholic Church's handling of child-sexual-abuse accusations against priests and the church's stand on birth control and abortion amount to violations of the Convention Against Torture.
If the U.N. committee were to grant the groups' request and conclude that the Vatican has violated the Convention Against Torture, this would represent a legally insupportable and perverse interpretation of the treaty, actually weakening its effectiveness. It would also represent a blatant attack on religious freedom.

The Real Presence, Part 2

Last week we learned that we do in fact have extra-ordinary events, by that I mean unexplainable by scientific means, that prove the message of the True Presence of our Lord in the Eucharist. But as the Lord said to ‘doubting’ Thomas when he finally touched the wounds of Christ and believed: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

Many have done just that, they have believed even when their senses tell them otherwise.   And so I come to my second reason to believe, its history.  We find in the writings of the early Christians, people throughout history who believed in the actual presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.  This belief is a continuous belief from the very first generation of Christians to today.  Those writings where they speak of others who do not believe in the True Presence are the beliefs of those who no one from today would even consider being Christians.  For 1500 years, until the Reformation, all Christians believed in the True Presence.  Here are a few quotes for your consideration…

A quote from St Ignatius of Antioch who heard the Apostle John speak and was the second successor of the Apostle Peter at Antioch.  He wrote in c.110 AD:

Consider how contrary to the mind of God are the heterodox in regard to the grace of God which has come to us.  They have no regard for charity, none for the widow, the orphan, the oppressed, none for the man in prison, the hungry or the thirsty.  They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness raised from the dead.” (Letter to the Ephesians, par. 20)

Here is a second quote from Ignatius:

I have no taste for the food that perishes nor for the pleasures of this life.  I want the Bread of God which is the Flesh of Christ, who was the seed of David; and for drink I desire His Blood which is love that cannot be destroyed.”

St Justin Martyr was born a pagan but converted to Christianity after studying philosophy.  He was beheaded with six of his companions some time between 163 and 167 A.D.  He said:

This food we call the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake except one who believes that the things we teach are true, and has received the washing for forgiveness of sins and for rebirth, and who lives as Christ handed down to us.  For we do not receive these things as common bread and common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God’s Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from Him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus.”(First Apology, Ch. 66, c. 150 AD)

Cyril of Jerusalem at 350 AD said:
He once in Cana of Galilee, turned water into wine, akin to blood, and is it incredible that He should have turned wine into blood? 

Here’s another by Cyril:
Then having sanctified ourselves by these spiritual Hymns, we beseech the merciful God to send forth His Holy Spirit upon the gifts lying before Him; that He may make the Bread the Body of Christ, and the Wine the Blood of Christ; for whatsoever the Holy Ghost has touched, is surely sanctified and changed.

I could go on but in the interest of time I will give you one last quote from an early Christian considered a saint and hero by many in the Protestant community.  St Augustine lived in the late fourth century at a time where great discussions were under way in determining which books actually belonged in our Bible.  He had no small part in cementing the canon of Books for the whole Christian community.  What he said on how he understood the words of our Lord at the Last Supper when He said “This is my Body” is my favorite quote on the Eucharist by an Early Church Father.  He said: “And was carried in His own hands: ‘how was He carried in his own hands’?  Because when He commended His own Body and Blood, He took into His hands that which the faithful know; and in a manner carried Himself, when He said: ‘This is my Body’” (Augustine, on the Psalms, 33:1, c. 400 AD)

We can find this belief in the Real Presence of our Lord in the Eucharist in all 2,000 years of written Christian history from its first years after the Apostles to today.  No one can make that claim for a symbolic presence only.  In fact, you can’t find this understanding of a symbolic presence only about the blessed bread beyond 500 years ago.  Why is that?   Could it be because it simply wasn’t a belief the early Christians entertained, let alone accept in the early years of Christianity?  If that is the case then the belief in a symbolic presence only in the Eucharist should be rejected as the invention of man that it is.  Let us keep to the teachings of the early Christians who learned the faith from the Apostles and ultimately from God incarnate, Jesus Himself.


God Bless

The Real Presence - Part 1

The Real Presence
First reason to believe, The miracles…
Yes it’s a miracle in the change from bread and wine to the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord but I’ve always wondered why such a miracle is not visible as all the other miracles our Lord did like those described in the Bible as the lame walk and the blind could see. Why is it that the greatest miracle of all, our Lord and God making Himself present to us in such a way as being visible and concrete to our senses, is only seen as ordinary bread and wine? To answer this, I guess we’ll first need to have a closer look as to why miracles happened in the first place.
A miracle was most commonly performed by God for the purpose of convincing the listeners of the authority of the message. That the message does indeed come from God. The splintering of so many different denominations believing differently on key salvific issues is an important factor in showing the most obvious problems of finding the one who is truly speaking God’s Word (In this particular case whether the consecrated bread and wine turns into the actual Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ).
One possible solution to this dilemma in determining who’s got it right is by recognizing that the individual that is being sent directly by God will perform miracles so as to authenticate his message. You see, because there is a definite possibility that many will be deceived into believing that they, themselves, were sent by God, there must be a way to verify their ‘pedigree’, as you can appreciate the difficulty in finding someone teaching God’s Word amidst a sea of different ideologies and beliefs. Indeed, we find many examples of these in the Bible where these individuals, who are sent directly by God, performing supernatural signs to prove they were speaking God’s Word.
Examples like in the Book of Exodus where we find Moses performing miracle upon miracle to convince the Pharaoh to release the Jewish people.
Or in the first Book of Kings, chapter 19, verses 36 through 39 we read:
“Then at the time of the offering, Elijah the prophet came near and said, O Lord, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, let it be seen this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things by your order. Give me an answer, O Lord, give me an answer, so that this people may see that you are God, and that you have made their hearts come back again. Then the fire of the Lord came down, burning up the offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and drinking up the water in the drain. And when the people saw it, they all went down on their faces, and said, The Lord, he is God, the Lord, he is God.”
But most notably in the Gospel of John, specifically in John 10:37-38 where even Jesus admitted “Do not believe me, then, if I am not doing the things my Father wants me to do. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, you should at least believe my deeds, in order that you may know once and for all that the Father is in me and that I am in the Father."
So why am I speaking of miracles to prove that a message is from above? Because throughout history, our Lord has shown us that he is really present in the Blessed Sacrament. Catholics believe that the consecrated Host is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord, under the appearance of bread and wine. Therefore, Jesus, through many Eucharistic miracles, manifests His Presence in a more tangible way through visible and undeniable miracles. So, in the case of Eucharistic miracles, the miracle itself is the message.
Miracles like in Sienna, Italy on August 17, 1730 where the consecrated Hosts remain unprotected and yet perfectly preserved for over 250 years.
Or in Amsterdam, Holland in 1345 where a Eucharist is thrown into fire overnight and is miraculously unscathed.
Or in Blanot, France on March 31, 1331 where the Eucharist falls out of a woman’s mouth unto an altar rail cloth. The priest tries to recover the Host but all that remains is a large spot of blood the same size and dimensions as the wafer.
Or in Bolsena-Orvieta, Itatly. A priest has difficulties believing in the Real Presence, and blood begins seeping out of the Host upon consecration. Because of this miracle, Pope Urban IV commissioned the feast of Corpus Christi, which is still celebrated today.
As a last example we can look at the Eucharistic miracle which happened in the eighth century in Lanciano, Italy. Again, a priest has doubts about the Real Presence; however, when he consecrates the Host it transforms into flesh and blood. This unexplained event has undergone extensive scientific examination and can only be explained as a miracle. The flesh is actually cardiac tissue which contains arterioles, veins, and nerve fibers. The blood type as in all other approved Eucharistic miracles is type AB!
The analyses were conducted with absolute and unquestionable scientific precision and they were documented with a series of microscopic photographs. These analyses sustained the following conclusions:
The Flesh is real Flesh. The Blood is real Blood.
The Flesh and the Blood belong to the human species.
The Flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart.
In the Flesh we see present in section: the myocardium, the endocardium, the vagus nerve and also the left ventricle of the heart for the large thickness of the myocardium.
The Flesh is a “HEART” complete in its essential structure.
The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB
In the Blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of fresh normal blood.
The preservation of the Flesh and Blood, which were left in their natural state for twelve centuries and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon.
To read further about these and other Eucharistic miracles please go to
So we do in fact have extra-ordinary events, by that I mean unexplainable by scientific means, that prove the message of the True Presence of our Lord in the Eucharist. But as the Lord said to ‘doubting’ Thomas when he finally touched the wounds of Christ and believed: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
Many have done just that, they have believed even when their senses tell them otherwise. And so I come to my second reason to believe, its history.
Next week, we will look at the history of this belief.
God Bless

Part 2 - St. Augustine on Free Will and Foreknowledge

Mr. Hoffstetter responded to my previous posting in the Catholic Debate Forum (use linked text to see the original).  Since there would be too much for a combox response, I'm posting Barry's reply and then my response to it will follow (Barry's posting is shown with yellow background):

    On 5/3/2014 12:52 AM, Scott Windsor, Sr. wrote:
    > Dear Barry,
    > Thank you so much for recommending St. Augustine on this topic! This is
    > really wonderful stuff!

You citing this as though it in anyway contradicts anything I'm saying simply shows that you do not have a clue as to what Augustine is saying.

    > sw: (Yes, I've read it before - just thanking you for bringing it to our
    > attention again).
Here is another quote directly from Augustine. Maybe St. Ferde will  break it down for us and show what's wrong with it?

The following is taken from Augustine's The Enchiridion on Faith, Hope and Love:
Chapter 98. Predestination to Eternal Life is Wholly of God's Free Grace.

    And, moreover, who will be so foolish and blasphemous as to say that God
    cannot change the evil wills of men, whichever, whenever, and
    wheresoever He chooses, and direct them to what is good? But when He
    does this He does it of mercy; when He does it not, it is of justice
    that He does it not for "He has mercy on whom He will have mercy, and
    whom He will He hardens." And when the apostle said this, he was
    illustrating the grace of God, in connection with which he had just
    spoken of the twins in the womb of Rebecca, "who being not yet born,
    neither having done any good or evil that the purpose of God according
    to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calls, it was
    said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger." And in reference to
    this matter he quotes another prophetic testimony: "Jacob have I loved,
    but Esau have I hated." But perceiving how what he had said might affect
    those who could not penetrate by their understanding the depth of this
    grace: "What shall we say then?" he says: "Is there unrighteousness with
    God? God forbid." For it seems unjust that, in the absence of any merit
    or demerit, from good or evil works, God should love the one and hate
    the other. Now, if the apostle had wished us to understand that there
    were future good works of the one, and evil works of the other, which of
    course God foreknew, he would never have said, "not of works," but, "of
    future works," and in that way would have solved the difficulty, or
    rather there would then have been no difficulty to solve. As it is,
    however, after answering, "God forbid;" that is, God forbid that there
    should be unrighteousness with God; he goes on to prove that there is no
    unrighteousness in God's doing this, and says: "For He says to Moses, I
    will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on
    whom I will have compassion." Now, who but a fool would think that God
    was unrighteous, either in inflicting penal justice on those who had
    earned it, or in extending mercy to the unworthy? Then he draws his
    conclusion: "So then it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs,
    but of God that shows mercy." Thus both the twins were born children of
    wrath, not on account of any works of their own, but because they were
    bound in the fetters of that original condemnation which came through
    Adam. But He who said, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,"
    loved Jacob of His undeserved grace, and hated Esau of His deserved
    judgment. And as this judgment was due to both, the former learned from
    the case of the latter that the fact of the same punishment not falling
    upon himself gave him no room to glory in any merit of his own, but only
    in the riches of the divine grace; because "it is not of him that wills,
    nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy." And indeed the whole
    face, and, if I may use the expression, every lineament of the
    countenance of Scripture conveys by a very profound analogy this
    wholesome warning to every one who looks carefully into it, that he who
    glories should glory in the Lord.

N.E. Barry Hofstetter

Opinions in private email do not reflect those of any institution with
which I am affiliated

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And now my response to Barry:

    On 5/3/2014 12:52 AM, Scott Windsor, Sr. wrote:
    >> Dear Barry,
    >> Thank you so much for recommending St. Augustine on this topic! This is
    >> really wonderful stuff!
    > BH: You citing this as though it in anyway contradicts anything I'm saying
    > simply shows that you do not have a clue as to what Augustine is saying.

sw: You saying that about what I cited shows you either didn't read it, or enjoy reading St. Augustine out of context.  Keep in mind, Barry, which church calls him both Saint and Doctor.

    >> sw: (Yes, I've read it before - just thanking you for bringing it to our
    >> attention again).
    > BH: Here is another quote directly from Augustine. Maybe St. Ferde will
    > break it down for us and show what's wrong with it?

sw: Wow, "St. Ferde!"  Congratulations Ferde!  Of course we all strive for sainthood, it's nice to see Barry has recognized this in you.  :-)

    > BH: The following is taken from Augustine's The Enchiridion on Faith, Hope
    > and Love:
    > Chapter 98. Predestination to Eternal Life is Wholly of God's Free Grace.

sw:  I'll not requote the citation again, but would add that it's not really "Chapter 98" but "98" refers to a paragraph numbering and this passage is actually found within Chapter 25 which includes paragraphs 98 and 99 from the overall document.

sw: Now, what we see here is that Barry chooses (again) to make his point out of the context of the whole document.  If we read just a few paragraphs further down we see that what St. Augustine is teaching is that condemnation is "just" for all men due to Adam's fall.  We all have lost the first gift of immortality which was for Adam and Eve to receive, but through Free Will, they lost that gift and lost it for all of us - as we are born into that fallen nature.  God allowed for man's Free Will to go on unchecked until the time of Noah - at which time He "rebooted" mankind.  Still, the promise of the redemption of mankind was made to Adam and Eve.

sw: While mankind was "rebooted" with Noah, man's Free Will was continued to be allowed by God, and is immediately evident in the acts of even Noah's sons.  It would also not be long after Noah's time that man would build the "Tower of Babel" where God again confounds the Free Will of men - dividing them into what would become different nations.  Still, the promise of redemption is with us and going according to God's Will for mankind.  With that in mind, let us read a few paragraphs down from where Barry snipped his quote:
106. Human nature lost the former kind of immortality through the misuse of free will. It is to receive the latter through grace--though it was to have obtained it through merit, if it had not sinned. Not even then, however, could there have been any merit without grace. For although sin had its origin in free will alone, still free will would not have been sufficient to maintain justice, save as divine aid had been afforded man, in the gift of participation in the immutable good. Thus, for example, the power to die when he wills it is in a man's own hands--since there is no one who could not kill himself by not eating (not to mention other means). But the bare will is not sufficient for maintaining life, if the aids of food and other means of preservation are lacking.
Similarly, man in paradise was capable of self-destruction by abandoning justice by an act of will; yet if the life of justice was to be maintained, his will alone would not have sufficed, unless He who made him had given him aid. But, after the Fall, God's mercy was even more abundant, for then the will itself had to be freed from the bondage in which sin and death are the masters.  (Emphasis added)
Source:  Enchiridion on Faith, Hope and Charity, Chapter 28, Paragraph 106, St. Augustine.
sw: One can see how, if St. Augustine is taken out of context, a Calvinistic interpretation can be made - which is why I encourage people to READ THE CONTEXT.  In virtually every situation where the Calvinist claims victory, context defeats him, and so is the case again here.

Accendat in nobis Dominus ignem sui amoris, et flammam aeternae caritatis. Amen.

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St. Augustine on Free Will and Foreknowledge

In a discussion on Predestination and Foreknowledge in the Catholic Debate Forum, Barry Hoffstetter, while declining to get further into the discussion asked us to "read (St.) Augustine on the topic."  To which I answer, PLEASE DO!  As much as the Calvinists love to claim St. Augustine - he was not of a Calvinistic (as anachronistic that might be) mindset.  On the contrary, he was quite a Catholic!  Keep in mind, this man was the Catholic Bishop of Hippo.  After his many defenses of the Catholic Church, he was named a DOCTOR of the Catholic Faith!  This simply doesn't happen if one is a denier of the Catholic Faith, like Calvin was.  Now, on to what Barry recommended us to read - and please note how he shatters the argumentation of Cicero...
Chapter 9.—Concerning the Foreknowledge of God and the Free Will of Man, in Opposition to the Definition of Cicero.
The manner in which Cicero addresses himself to the task of refuting the Stoics, shows that he did not think he could effect anything against them in argument unless he had first demolished divination.  And this he attempts to accomplish by denying that there is any knowledge of future things, and maintains with all his might that there is no such knowledge either in God or man, and that there is no prediction of events.  Thus he both denies the foreknowledge of God, and attempts by vain arguments, and by opposing to himself certain oracles very easy to be refuted, to overthrow all prophecy, even such as is clearer than the light (though even these oracles are not refuted by him).
But, in refuting these conjectures of the mathematicians, his argument is triumphant, because truly these are such as destroy and refute themselves.  Nevertheless, they are far more tolerable who assert the fatal influence of the stars than they who deny the foreknowledge of future events.  For, to confess that God exists, and at the same time to deny that He has foreknowledge of future things, is the most manifest folly.  This Cicero himself saw, and therefore attempted to assert the doctrine embodied in the words of Scripture, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”  That, however, he did not do in his own person, for he saw how odious and offensive such an opinion would be; and therefore, in his book on the nature of the gods, he makes Cotta dispute concerning this against the Stoics, and preferred to give his own opinion in favor of Lucilius Balbus, to whom he assigned the defence of the Stoical position, rather than in favor of Cotta, who maintained that no divinity exists.  However, in his book on divination, he in his own person most openly opposes the doctrine of the prescience of future things.  But all this he seems to do in order that he may not grant the doctrine of fate, and by so doing destroy free will.  For he thinks that, the knowledge of future things being once conceded, fate follows as so necessary a consequence that it cannot be denied.
But, let these perplexing debatings and disputations of the philosophers go on as they may, we, in order that we may confess the most high and true God Himself, do confess His will, supreme power, and prescience.  Neither let us be afraid lest, after all, we do not do by will that which we do by will, because He, whose foreknowledge is infallible, foreknew that we would do it.  It was this which Cicero was afraid of, and therefore opposed foreknowledge.  The Stoics also maintained that all things do not come to pass by necessity, although they contended that all things happen according to destiny.  What is it, then, that Cicero feared in the prescience of future things?  Doubtless it was this,—that if all future things have been foreknown, they will happen in the order in which they have been foreknown; and if they come to pass in this order, there is a certain order of things foreknown by God; and if a certain order of things, then a certain order of causes, for nothing can happen which is not preceded by some efficient cause.  But if there is a certain order of causes according to which everything happens which does happen, then by fate, says he, all things happen which do happen.  But if this be so, then is there nothing in our own power, and there is no such thing as freedom of will; and if we grant that, says he, the whole economy of human life is subverted.  In vain are laws enacted.  In vain are reproaches, praises, chidings, exhortations had recourse to; and there is no justice whatever in the appointment of rewards for the good, and punishments for the wicked.  And that consequences so disgraceful, and absurd, and pernicious to humanity may not follow, Cicero chooses to reject the foreknowledge of future things, and shuts up the religious mind to this alternative, to make choice between two things, either that something is in our own power, or that there is foreknowledge,—both of which cannot be true; but if the one is affirmed, the other is thereby denied.  He therefore, like a truly great and wise man, and one who consulted very much and very skillfully for the good of humanity, of those two chose the freedom of the will, to confirm which he denied the foreknowledge of future things; and thus, wishing to make men free he makes them sacrilegious.  But the religious mind chooses both, confesses both, and maintains both by the faith of piety.  But how so? says Cicero; for the knowledge of future things being granted, there follows a chain of consequences which ends in this, that there can be nothing depending on our own free wills.  And further, if there is anything depending on our wills, we must go backwards by the same steps of reasoning till we arrive at the conclusion that there is no foreknowledge of future things.  For we go backwards through all the steps in the following order:—If there is free will, all things do not happen according to fate; if all things do not happen according to fate, there is not a certain order of causes; and if there is not a certain order of causes, neither is there a certain order of things foreknown by God,—for things cannot come to pass except they are preceded by efficient causes,—but, if there is no fixed and certain order of causes foreknown by God, all things cannot be said to happen according as He foreknew that they would happen.  And further, if it is not true that all things happen just as they have been foreknown by Him, there is not, says he, in God any foreknowledge of future events.
Now, against the sacrilegious and impious darings of reason, we assert both that God knows all things before they come to pass, and that we do by our free will whatsoever we know and feel to be done by us only because we will it.  But that all things come to pass by fate, we do not say; nay we affirm that nothing comes to pass by fate; for we demonstrate that the name of fate, as it is wont to be used by those who speak of fate, meaning thereby the position of the stars at the time of each one’s conception or birth, is an unmeaning word, for astrology itself is a delusion.  But an order of causes in which the highest efficiency is attributed to the will of God, we neither deny nor do we designate it by the name of fate, unless, perhaps, we may understand fate to mean that which is spoken, deriving it from fari, to speak; for we cannot deny that it is written in the sacred Scriptures, “God hath spoken once; these two things have I heard, that power belongeth unto God.  Also unto Thee, O God, belongeth mercy:  for Thou wilt render unto every man according to his works.”  Now the expression, “Once hath He spoken,” is to be understood as meaning “immovably,” that is, unchangeably hath He spoken, inasmuch as He knows unchangeably all things which shall be, and all things which He will do.  We might, then, use the word fate in the sense it bears when derived from fari, to speak, had it not already come to be understood in another sense, into which I am unwilling that the hearts of men should unconsciously slide.  But it does not follow that, though there is for God a certain order of all causes, there must therefore be nothing depending on the free exercise of our own wills, for our wills themselves are included in that order of causes which is certain to God, and is embraced by His foreknowledge, for human wills are also causes of human actions; and He who foreknew all the causes of things would certainly among those causes not have been ignorant of our wills.  For even that very concession which Cicero himself makes is enough to refute him in this argument.  For what does it help him to say that nothing takes place without a cause, but that every cause is not fatal, there being a fortuitous cause, a natural cause, and a voluntary cause?  It is sufficient that he confesses that whatever happens must be preceded by a cause.  For we say that those causes which are called fortuitous are not a mere name for the absence of causes, but are only latent, and we attribute them either to the will of the true God, or to that of spirits of some kind or other.  And as to natural causes, we by no means separate them from the will of Him who is the author and framer of all nature.  But now as to voluntary causes.  They are referable either to God, or to angels, or to men, or to animals of whatever description, if indeed those instinctive movements of animals devoid of reason, by which, in accordance with their own nature, they seek or shun various things, are to be called wills.  And when I speak of the wills of angels, I mean either the wills of good angels, whom we call the angels of God, or of the wicked angels, whom we call the angels of the devil, or demons.  Also by the wills of men I mean the wills either of the good or of the wicked.  And from this we conclude that there are no efficient causes of all things which come to pass unless voluntary causes, that is, such as belong to that nature which is the spirit of life.  For the air or wind is called spirit, but, inasmuch as it is a body, it is not the spirit of life.  The spirit of life, therefore, which quickens all things, and is the creator of every body, and of every created spirit, is God Himself, the uncreated spirit.  In His supreme will resides the power which acts on the wills of all created spirits, helping the good, judging the evil, controlling all, granting power to some, not granting it to others.  For, as He is the creator of all natures, so also is He the bestower of all powers, not of all wills; for wicked wills are not from Him, being contrary to nature, which is from Him.  As to bodies, they are more subject to wills:  some to our wills, by which I mean the wills of all living mortal creatures, but more to the wills of men than of beasts.  But all of them are most of all subject to the will of God, to whom all wills also are subject, since they have no power except what He has bestowed upon them.  The cause of things, therefore, which makes but is not made, is God; but all other causes both make and are made.  Such are all created spirits, and especially the rational.  Material causes, therefore, which may rather be said to be made than to make, are not to be reckoned among efficient causes, because they can only do what the wills of spirits do by them.  How, then, does an order of causes which is certain to the foreknowledge of God necessitate that there should be nothing which is dependent on our wills, when our wills themselves have a very important place in the order of causes?  Cicero, then, contends with those who call this order of causes fatal, or rather designate this order itself by the name of fate; to which we have an abhorrence, especially on account of the word, which men have become accustomed to understand as meaning what is not true.  But, whereas he denies that the order of all causes is most certain, and perfectly clear to the prescience of God, we detest his opinion more than the Stoics do.  For he either denies that God exists,—which, indeed, in an assumed personage, he has labored to do, in his book De Natura Deorum,—or if he confesses that He exists, but denies that He is prescient of future things, what is that but just “the fool saying in his heart there is no God?”  For one who is not prescient of all future things is not God.  Wherefore our wills also have just so much power as God willed and foreknew that they should have; and therefore whatever power they have, they have it within most certain limits; and whatever they are to do, they are most assuredly to do, for He whose foreknowledge is infallible foreknew that they would have the power to do it, and would do it.  Wherefore, if I should choose to apply the name of fate to anything at all, I should rather say that fate belongs to the weaker of two parties, will to the stronger, who has the other in his power, than that the freedom of our will is excluded by that order of causes, which, by an unusual application of the word peculiar to themselves, the Stoics call Fate
It is the opinion of this writer that Barry chooses not to engage the discussion because he knows it is a debate he cannot win.

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...