Happy New Year!

Yes!  It is the "New Year" liturgically speaking!  Today is the First Sunday of Advent.  Like the Last Sunday After Pentecost (Traditional lectionary) last week, we are again drawn to think upon the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. 

Our priest reminds us today that Advent is NOT the season of celebration - Christmas is!  During Advent we are to PREPARE for the coming of our Lord and Savior.  While the culmination of Advent is the Christ Mass - Advent is not a celebratory season, it is more a time of "cleaning house" that is, our heart.  Preparing the way for the Lord to be in our hearts, our minds and our soul.   Let our celebration begin and be properly done starting with the Christ Mass (first Mass of Christmas) and continue through at least Epiphany, if not all the way to Candlemas. 

Traditional Lectionary:
Epistle:  Romans 13:11-14
Gospel:  Luke 21:25-33

On this First Sunday of Advent the readings remind us first... "our salvation is near and that we are to cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us walk honestly as in the day, not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurity, not in contention and envy, but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ." (Epistle)  And then (in the Gospel) we are again reminded of His Second Coming - of the signs in the sun and the moon and the stars, and as when the fig tree is shooting forth its fruit, you know that summer is near - so also shall be the signs of His coming again in the clouds with great majesty.  When these things are happening - do not be dismayed, but lift up your head because your redemption is at hand! 

Fondly, our priest remembered a hymn sung in his native Australia during Advent, he does not recall hearing it since he has been in the United States.  I hope we can bring some joy to him by sharing this hymn next Sunday at Mass:


1. O Jesus Christ, remember,
when thou shalt come again,
upon the clouds of heaven,
with all thy shining train;
when every eye shall see thee
in deity revealed,
who now upon this altar
in silence art concealed.

2. Remember then, O Saviour,
I supplicate of thee,
that here I bowed before thee
upon my bended knee;
that here I owned thy presence,
and did not thee deny,
and glorified thy greatness
though hid from human eye.

3. Accept, divine Redeemer,
the homage of my praise;
be thou the light and honour
and glory of my days.
Be thou my consolation
when death is drawing nigh:
be thou my only treasure
through all eternity.

Upon researching this hymn I found a couple things - 1) This hymn was written by Edward Caswell in 1878, a Catholic but 2) hearing the tune, I recalled it from my Lutheran upbringing - and always thought that "The Church's One Foundation" was a tune by Martin Luther - and it is not.  The tune, also known as "Aurelia," was written by Samuel Sebastian Wesley, an Anglican - and "The Church's One Foundation" is a hymn also written by an Anglican, Samuel John Stone.  It was commonplace to use the melody from another hymn and put your own words to it - and that is what Caswell did - and his hymn is truly wonderful.

Fr. Robinson also speculated in today's sermon... What if King Henry VIII, who was once named "Defender of the Faith" by the pope for his defense of the Catholic Church against the heresies of Martin Luther, had not allowed lust and dynasty distract him from the One, True Faith?  Imagine a world where the empire of Great Britain was all Catholic!  The United States, Canada, Australia, to name but a few of Britain's colonies - could all have been great Catholic states! 

And remember!

Novena to the Immaculate Conception

It is time to pray the Novena to the Immaculate Conception - I hope you will join me in praying this for the next 9 days, culminating on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (on December 8th):

O most pure Virgin Mary conceived without sin, from the very first instant, you were entirely immaculate. O glorious Mary full of grace, you are the mother of my God – the Queen of Angels and of men. I humbly venerate you as the chosen mother of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Prince of Peace and the Lord of Lords chose you for the singular grace and honor of being His beloved mother. By the power of His Cross, He preserved you from all sin. Therefore, by His power and love, I have hope and bold confidence in your prayers for my holiness and salvation.

I pray first of all that you would make me worthy to call you my mother and your Son, Jesus, my Lord.

I pray that your prayers will bring me to imitate your holiness and submission to Jesus and the Divine Will.

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

Now, Queen of Heaven, I beg you to beg my Savior to grant me these requests…

(Mention your intentions)

My holy Mother, I know that you were obedient to the will of God. In making this petition, I know that God’s will is more perfect than mine. So, grant that I may receive God’s grace with humility like you.

As my final request, I ask that you pray for me to increase in faith in our risen Lord; I ask that you pray for me to increase in hope in our risen Lord; I ask that you pray for me to increase in love for the risen Jesus!

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.


Jesus Is God

Last weeks Mass readings on Christ the King reminded me of a discussion I had with a close relative who doubted Jesus’ divinity because Jesus Himself never claimed to be God in the Scriptures. At the time I was ill-prepared to respond but I was able to at least point to the place where Jesus said: “Before Abraham was, I am.” in the Gospel of John, Chapter 8, verse 58. You see when Moses asked the Lord God what His name was, God answered him: I am who I am. Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’”(Exo 3:14) Therefore when Jesus said“Before Abraham was, I am” He was in fact calling Himself God.

In reality, many times did Jesus make it plain to his listeners that He was claiming to be God and we know this because these listeners tried to stone and kill him. For a clear example of this see John 10:31-33 where it says: “--"I and the Father are one." The Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, "I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?" The Jews answered Him, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God."

If Jesus was not God then being a good Jew, Jesus would’ve stopped anyone from worshipping Him as God and yet we find the Apostle Thomas, at seeing the risen Christ in front of him and touched his wounds, said: “My Lord, and my God.” (John 20:28) with no rebuke from Jesus.

Are these verses enough evidence? No, you say? Well then how about we look at a few more. We find in the Old Testament that the Lord said: “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.” (Isaiah 44:6) and we find in the New Testament that Jesus said: “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades.”(Rev 1:17-18) We know with certainty that the one speaking here must be Jesus since he says that he was dead. And yet he calls himself by the same title as the Lord God “the first and the last”.

Still not enough? Alright, here’s one final proof which can be found in the last two chapters of the book of Revelation. According to Revelation 21:6-7, the Almighty God reveals himself in plain terms: “And he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the fountain of the water of life without payment. He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son.’”

But then, in Revelation 22:6, 13, 16, we find Jesus revealing himself to be “the Alpha and the Omega . . . the beginning and the end.”:

And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place . . . I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end . . . I Jesus have sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.”

Therefore Jesus Is God.
God Bless

End of the Year As We Know It

It's the end of the year as we know it!  That's right, last Sunday was the Last Sunday After Pentecost - the final Sunday in the Liturgical Year.  This coming Sunday will be the First Sunday in Advent.  The traditional music for this day might include the Dies Irae, which comes from the Requium Mass.  From one of the first lines of the song we hear of how the testimonies of David and Sibyl ("Teste David cum Sibylla") come together in prophecying the "End Times" or "Parousia."  Now I have heard of the Old Testament prophecies (those "of David" - which does not literally mean David's prophecies, but from the line of David), but I had not heard of this testimony of Sibyl before last Sunday's sermon with Fr. Robinson.  Sibyl is in reference to the Greek/Roman oracles - which also fairly closely fit the prophecies of the Old Testament, and those from Christ in the New Testament regarding His Second Coming and the end of the world.  The end of the Liturgical Year is to remind us of the end of the world and the Second Coming of Christ.  As an aside, from the last line of Dies Irae, Andrew Lloyd Weber wrote Pie Jesu.

Another interesting note is that the traditional readings for the Last Sunday of the year are very close to the First Sunday of the year - also reminding us of the Second Coming of Christ as we begin the season celebrating His First Coming - Advent.

It's time for my annual campaign too!  This is NOT the Christmas season!  Christmas begins with the First Mass of Christmas - the Midnight Mass - and lasts through Epiphany (more modern tradition) or through Candlemas (the more ancient tradition).  Either way, the Christmas season begins ON Christmas Day.  Advent, the season we enter this Sunday, is a time of penance and anticipation - and it is a similar season to Lent.

And remember....

A video/slideshow with the above information (and a year in quotes from Pope Francis)...

And a sermon from "Fisheaters:"
Today we've almost completed the liturgical cycle, which starts over again with Advent next Sunday. Our focus now is on the Second Coming of Christ (the "Parousia"), the Last Judgment, and the Heavenly Jerusalem. Today's Mass readings will include the frightening "Olivet Discourse" (Matthew 24:15-35).

What does the Church teach about the Parousia? That Jesus will come in glory and unexpectedly and that no man knows when this will be. That when He comes, the bodies of the dead -- who've already been judged in what is called the "particular judgment" that takes place just after death -- will be raised and united with their souls. That all who have ever lived will be judged in what is called the "Last Judgment" which will happen in such a manner that everyone will know Who Christ is and that His judgments are just.

This world will be destroyed, and a new world will take its place. Christ will reign forever and ever with His saints.

    Apocalypse 21:1-5, 22:1-5
    And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth was gone, and the sea is now no more. And I John saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying: Behold the tabernacle of God with men, and He will dwell with them. And they shall be His people; and God Himself with them shall be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away. And he that sat on the throne, said: Behold, I make all things new. And He said to me: Write, for these words are most faithful and true...

    ...And He showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street thereof, and on both sides of the river, was the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, yielding its fruits every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no curse any more; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall serve him. And they shall see His Face: and His Name shall be on their foreheads. And night shall be no more: and they shall not need the light of the lamp, nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall enlighten them, and they shall reign for ever and ever.

It is interesting that the readings from Matthew for today's Mass are almost duplicated in next week's Mass's readings from Luke 21:25-33. On the first Sunday of Advent, we hear again of the destruction of Jerusalem, but this time with an eye toward His Second Coming -- even as we ready ourselves to remember His First Coming at the Feast of the Nativity. The first and last Sundays of the year meet and together remind us to prepare.

Prayer Request from Dave Armstrong

I humbly ask the readers of CathApol to pray for Dave Armstrong's mother.  She is very ill and has undergone risky surgery today.  Here is the request he posted to Facebook yesterday:
I made a request a few days ago. Things keep getting worse. First it was dehydration, then a small heart attack and heart surgery, then another surgery to drain fluid from her heart, and discovery of cancerous tumor. We're still waiting to see what kind of cancer and how bad it is.
Then we were told she needed another operation around the heart (Saturday morning), with a danger of 20% of something seriously going wrong. Without the operation, we were told she would likely die in a few days. Meanwhile I have the worst stomach and vomiting of my entire life. I ate something wrong around noon and it's gotten worse and worse: either food poisoning or a bug, or just the extreme stress and shock. So I ask for prayer for my stomach. I threw up over and over, with gaps in-between, and now I think I will again, but can't, and still have the stomach ache. Terrible blood sugar, too, from no food for 12 hours.
Please HELP dear friends with prayers and passing the word. ! This is one of the worst days of our lives. All our four kids had to find out today.
Dave's Mom in 2011
Now thirty minutes after he posted this, Dave's stomach issues resolved!  Continue to pray for his mom, as I am, that she be given comfort and strength to endure this trial and that God's Will be done in her life.  Amen.

Ice Bucket Challenge

I just saw this on Facebook and had to share!

Windsor on Swan on Brumley on Bouyer

James Swan, in a recent article, presents a critique of a posting in the Catholic Answers Forum on Martin Luther or more specifically Louis Bouyer's book The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism.  In my humble opinion while I do appreciate that Swan appears to be attempting to find at least some "good" in the Catholic position, he is relying upon (what appears to me to be) modernistic and even revisionist theology, and totally dismissive of what he calls "pre-conciliar works on Protestantism," naming Grisar, Denifle and O'Hare in particular.  Ironically the book in question here was written ten years prior to Vatican II!  If Vatican II is the dividing point between pre- and post-conciliar, then Bouyer's book is pre-conciliar!

While I accept that at times the polemics of the other pre-conciliar authors named above, especially O'Hare, can be quite confrontational, but are or were they really "wrong?"  Why, after 490 some years of Protestantism do we NOW think Luther's ideas weren't so bad?  How can we think his several "solas" could somehow be acceptable and even aid in healing the rift between Catholicism and Protestantism?  I like the summary Bouyer uses:  "The break between Catholics and Protestants was either a tragic necessity (to use Jaroslav Pelikan's expression) or it was tragic because unnecessary."  I'm still on the side of the former - it was unnecessary and I would add, it opposes the Will of God.

If God desires that we be one, (John 17:21-23), as Scripture clearly states He does, then breaking away from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church is wholly contrary to His Will.  True "reform" does not happen from without, it happens from within.  That which Luther, Calvin, et al, did divided God's People and thus spits in the face of God and His Will to claim such separation is good and/or holy.  Yes, that is polemical, but it is true - and undeniable to anyone who believes the Scriptures are true and truly God's Word.  If Luther and Co. were truly interested in "reform" then they would have stayed within the Catholic Church and worked toward that reform within God's Will, and not without it.

Swan closes his commentary with the following challenge:

If the infallible Word of God is found elsewhere beyond the Scriptures (say, in Tradition or the Magisterium), scriptura is not sola.
My response to this is, as it always has been, that when Scripture itself points to other infallible sources - then those issuing such a challenge as Swan has made must reject the notion of sola scriptura. Where does Scripture itself point to these other sources? In Matthew 16:18-19 (infallible authority given to one man, who would later become the corypheaus (head) of the Apostolic choir) and in Matthew 18:18 (infallible authority given to a group of men, specifically the Apostolic choir, our first bishops in the Catholic Church). If error cannot be bound or loosed in Heaven, then the authority given above is necessarily infallible authority. So according to Swan, scriptura is not sola.

Pope Francis To Come To USA in 2015

It has been announced and confirmed by Pope Francis that he will attend the Eighth World Meeting of Families.  As reported in the National Catholic Register, Pope Francis said:
I wish to confirm, if God wills it, that in September of 2015 I will go to Philadelphia for the Eighth World Meeting of Families,” he announced at Vatican City's Synod Hall Nov. 17 during his remarks at an international colloquium on the complementarity of man and woman.
The World Meeting was begun by Pope St. John Paul II in 1994 and is held every three years.  

It will be interesting to see what plays out at this meeting, especially after the controversies which came from the recent Synod on the Families, especially the interim report (links found here), which was rejected by most bishops - and the final report (full document here) was quite different.

Works Part of Salvation Process?

Are we justified by faith alone, works alone or a combination of the two? What do the Holy Scriptures alone have to say about the subject? This idea that all truths of Christian right-living is found in Scripture through a plain reading of the text, a Protestant Christian doctrine of Sola Scriptura, will be used in this endeavor. Plain texts of Scriptures will be used to support the idea of justification(salvation) by faith or by works.

Let’s look at a few verses supporting the idea of salvation by faith alone…
Gal 3:11 “Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.”

Gal 3:24 “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.”

Rom 3:28 “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.”

Acts 16:30-31 “He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Eph 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

There are quite a few more verses I could bring to your attention but these are a good sampling of verses pointing to faith for salvation. And yet, did you notice anything curious? Not one verse mentions salvation or justification by faith alone. In fact there is not one verse in all of Scripture that states that salvation is found in faith alone. Faith is definitely required but nowhere can we find a verse of Scripture stating that faith ALONE is required for salvation. In fact whenever we find the criteria of salvation when we are judged we find that we will be judged by our WORKS, not on whether or not we had faith. Here are some examples of this…

Rom 2:6-8 “God "will give to each person according to what he has done."To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.”

James 2:12-13 “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!”

Rev 20:13 “The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.

1 Tim 5:8 “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

And of course Matthew 25 where faith is only assumed and ones final destiny is determined by what we did or failed to do.

“‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ […] ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Mat 25:34-41)

Knowing that all of Scripture is inerrant we must find a way to merge the two ideas together. From the first set of Scriptures we know that faith is required for salvation. We also know from the second set of Scriptures that we will be judged to be worth salvation or damnation by what we do or have failed to do (works). Therefore we can rightly assume that salvation is NOT found through faith alone but through faith AND works. In fact there is only one place in all of Scripture where we find the words ‘faith’ and ‘alone’ together and it is to negate it (James 2:24) and just a few verses later we find that faith, if it is alone (ie without works) it is dead. Does a dead faith save? Defining or explaining how this relationship between faith and works mesh together goes beyond the scope of this paper. What we have found is that salvation is dependent on BOTH our faith and our willingness to carry our cross daily (works) because of that faith. And so we find that Scripture clearly teaches that salvation through faith alone is most definitly unscriptural.

God Bless

Married and Catholic Priests

Well, yes indeed!  Many may know that Eastern Rite Catholic priests could be married - however, NOT in the United States!  There has been a "ban" in place since 1929 prohibiting Eastern Rite Catholic priests from serving in the United States.  The "ban" states: Greek-Ruthenian Catholic priests “who wish to go to the United States of North America and stay there, must be celibates.” (Article 12, last sentence).

It would appear this "ban" is virtually dead, according to word leaked and reported here and here.  However, there has been no official pronouncement that married, Eastern Rite priests can be priests in the United States.  Now, there have been some exceptions to this "ban," one such is now Fr. Akiki, who was ordained into the priesthood - with Pope Francis' approval - on February 28, 2014 (pictured here giving the Eucharist to his daughter on the day of his ordination).  According to this article, he is the first married Maronite to be ordained to the priesthood in the United States.  It seems strange that there are actually MORE married Catholic priests in the Latin Rite in the United States than there are in all the Eastern Rites, combined!

Another discussion of the subject of married Eastern Rite priests can be found here.

The Irish Central reports:
Does that mean we can soon expect the end of celibacy for Roman Catholic priests? The short answer is “no,” because even Pope Francis has dismissed this. But we tend to forget that we already have married Roman Catholic priests. Less than 100, true, the vast majority of them former Protestants who were married, then converted.Still, given the various crises enveloping Roman Catholicism these days, who knows what small open door will lead to a kind of reform that even Pope Francis could not envision?
So, are we on the doorstep of a married clergy in the Latin Rite of Catholicism?  Only time will tell.  It is the opinion and hope of this writer that the pope could, without scandal, allow for the complete abrogation of this ban on married Eastern Catholic priests and also, while he's at it, establish an order to which Latin Rite priests could belong to and be married and serve in diocese throughout the world - including the United States this time.  Call it an experiment, if you will, and see how it goes!  I would predict that there would be no shortage of candidates for the priesthood in that order! 

Mystic Monk Coffee - Say No to Starbucks!

More reasons to by Mystic Monk Coffee and to shun Starbucks

So, Starbucks has a concert supposedly to honor veterans.  They invite people to perform whom they knew would do an anti-war song from era when vets were scorned and they invited a rapper whose lack of class is demonstrated through the foulness of his language… during a televised event that families and children could watch.
Starbucks, in addition, also has a commercial featuring a cross-dresser in an effort to mainstream, even more, open perversion.
Buy Mystic Monk Coffee.
Help the Wyoming Carmelites build their new monastery.
They have their Thanksgiving Blend (ground) right now.  In K-Cups too!
Their Christmas Blend is available.
Mystic Monk Coffee!
It’s swell!

On Your Knees - Please!

Repeating an article from here:  http://www.creativeminorityreport.com/2014/06/on-your-knees-punk-bishop-says-ditch-bow.html?m=1
(I'm not real sure about the use of "punk" - but I understand the humor....)

On Your Knees, Punk! Bishop says Ditch The Bow

Bishop Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield has issued a pastoral letter in which says that a bow before the tabernacle is only appropriate if you cannot genuflect. So if you are in reasonable health, get on your knees, punk!!

To bend the knee
28. In recent years, there has arisen the practice of bowing to the Lord present in the tabernacle, rather than genuflecting before him. Such a profound bow — made purposefully and reverently from the waist — can be a fitting way to reverence the Divine Majesty, but only if one cannot genuflect, which is not always the same as having some difficulty genuflecting.

29. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal provides that "if, however, the tabernacle with the Most Blessed Sacrament is situated in the sanctuary, the Priest, the Deacon, and the other ministers genuflect when they approach the altar and when they depart from it, but not during the celebration of Mass itself. Otherwise all who pass before the Most Blessed Sacrament genuflect, unless they are moving in procession. Ministers carrying the processional cross or candles bow their heads instead of genuflecting."17

30. To genuflect means, literally, "to bend the knee." In the ancient world the knee symbolized the strength of a man. If a man is struck in the knee, he stumbles and falls; his strength is taken from him. When we genuflect before the Lord, our strength is not taken from us; rather, we willingly bend our strength to the Lord and place ourselves humbly in his service. When we bend our knee to the Lord of heaven and earth we should hear the words of the Psalmist ever in our hearts, "Lord, I am your servant," remembering that before the Lord every knee must bend (Psalm 116:16; cf. Philippians 2:10).

31. I must note here, that as important as the Eucharist is to the Church, and that the proper reverence to the Blessed Sacrament is "to bend the knee," to genuflect, it does not replace another reverence made by all between the opening and the closing processions. During Liturgy between these processions, all who enter or leave the sanctuary, or who pass before the altar, make a deep bow, a bow from the waist toward the altar. Neither a deep bow or a genuflection is made to the tabernacle within the Mass between the opening and closing processions.18

32. In order to keep these words in our hearts and put them into practice, it is helpful to be purposeful and deliberate in the moment of genuflection. One may avoid a hasty and irreverent slide through an attempted genuflection by consciously touching the right knee to the ground and humbly pausing momentarily before rising again. In doing so, we not only pay proper respect to the Lord, but we also remind ourselves in whose presence we are.
Amen and amen. Thank you, Your Excellency.

Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran - Nov 9

My son and wife during our trip to Italy in 2010 in front of St. John Lateran, "The Pope's Cathedral."
Today we celebrate the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome on 9th November 324 AD by Pope St. Sylvester.  Every bishop has a cathedral, and the Pope’s cathedral is the Basilica of St. Johns Lateran, not the Basilica of St. Peter. Hence it bears the title Omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater, et caput (the mother of all the churches in the city and in the world – and their head). The Laterani palace was donated to Pope by Constantine, the first Christian Roman Emperor. The first church built in that property was called the Basilica of the Savior. Later the Church was dedicated to St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist and so it was called the Basilica of St. Johns Lateran. The central theme of today’s readings is the warning that, as baptized Christians, we are the temples of God where the Spirit of God, the real Source of all spiritual blessings, dwells and that we should not desecrate the temple of God by sin. 
Read more here...

Why Was Luther Wrong - Part 7 - Sin

This is Part 7 of a series of 8 presenting "Why Was Luther Wrong" using Exsurge Domini from Pope Leo X.  This section deals with Luther's errors on sin.

31. In every good work the just man sins.
If it is a "good work" then there is no sin, especially if the work is done by a "just man."  The assumption is made that the man is justified, like Abraham was justified when he did not withhold his son when God instructed him to sacrifice Isaac (James 2:21-24) and it was by his works that Abraham was justified; by his works Abraham's faith was perfected.  There is no sin in the just man doing good works!
32. A good work done very well is a venial sin.
My response is much the same as the previous.  Speaking as a former Lutheran myself - I know that Luther's point here is sola fide (faith alone), the concept of which is utterly thwarted in James 2:24 - the ONLY place in Scripture where the words "faith" and "alone" are used together - and it is DENIAL of sola fide!
33. That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit.
One must recall the time/period of Luther and this statement.  There was no separation of church and state at this time and heresy was seen as treason.  To this day treason is punishable by death in many countries.  It was most often the state which tried and put persons to death - but not always.  There were also cases (many of them, like Servetus) where Protestants put persons to death for heresy too.  To be fair, I am not aware of Lutherans doing this, but Calvinists and Anglicans of Luther's day have their share of blood on their hands.  My point here is that society in general supported capital punishment of heretics - regardless of which "side" they were on.  I would add too, there is this place called "Hell" which has an "eternal fire" (Jude 1:7) set aside for heretics from the Faith - so this would also make Luther's statement contrary to what God has in store for the heretic.
34. To go to war against the Turks is to resist God who punishes our iniquities through them.
If there is a cause for a just war then it is the responsibility of the country to protect herself.  That God might use an enemy force to punish iniquities is not an excuse not to defend ones self and country.
35. No one is certain that he is not always sinning mortally, because of the most hidden vice of pride.
In order for a sin to be a mortal sin it has to be done with full consent of the will, thus if there happened to be some "hidden vice" then it would not be with full consent and thus not a mortal sin.
36. Free will after sin is a matter of title only; and as long as one does what is in him, one sins mortally.
Without free will there would be no just cause for God to condemn actual sin (mortal or venial).  Since our God is a Just God, free will is necessary for God's justice.  We should also remind the Lutheran that there are indeed two types of sin, one which is unto death (mortal) and one which is not unto death (venial).  See 1 John 5:16.

See the Indices Page for the complete listing of these articles.

Why Was Luther Wrong - Part 6 - Councils

This is Part 6 of a series of 8 presenting "Why Was Luther Wrong" using Exsurge Domini from Pope Leo X.  This section deals with Luther's errors on Church councils.
29. A way has been made for us for weakening the authority of councils, and for freely contradicting their actions, and judging their decrees, and boldly confessing whatever seems true, whether it has been approved or disapproved by any council whatsoever.
This statement is completely contrary to Matthew 18:18.  Jesus gave to the group of the Apostles, our first bishops, the authority to bind or loose whatsoever they chose and there is no "weakening" of this authority.  To claim there is such a "weakening" denies the authority of Jesus Christ!
30. Some articles of John Hus, condemned in the Council of Constance, are most Christian, wholly true and evangelical; these the universal Church could not condemn.
None of the Errors of John Hus, condemned in the Council of Constance, are as Luther labels them.  There are thirty errors listed by the council, which I have linked here.  As this series is not about John Hus, rather Martin Luther, I will not enumerate those errors at this time.  It is good to see, however, that Luther would use the term "universal Church" in reference to the Catholic Church; while "catholic" does mean "universal" it is just interesting to note that Luther still recognizes this truth.

The next section deals with Luther's errors on sin.

See the Indices Page for the complete listing of these articles.

Pope Declares There is No Conflict Between Big Bang, Evolution and The Catholic Faith... In 1951

This post was originally published on uCatholic.  I had heard about this statement and was going to write my own article, but Ryan Scheel has done an excellent job so I have copied and linked his article here.

The secular media has grasped on to a recent speech that the Holy Father Pope Francis gave to the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences. In the speech which was given on the occasion of the unveiling of a bust of his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis gave remarks concerning the theories of Evolution and The Big Bang.

“The Big Bang, which nowadays is posited as the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine act of creating, but rather requires it. The evolution of nature does not contrast with the notion of Creation, as evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve” the Pope Said.

In the typical fashion that we have gotten accustomed to, the media has presented this as novel approach for a Pontiff, a new direction, a break from his unenlightened, firmly planted in the dark ages, predecessors on the Chair of St. Peter. It is presented as though past Catholic teaching was similar to American Fundamentalism, and it’s scientifically awkward defense of “Young Earth” creationism.

But this is simply not the case.
Pope Pius XII receives Msgr. Georges Lemaître, the Belgian priest who proposed the Big Bang theory.
Pope Pius XII and Msgr. Georges Lemaitre

The Church and the Popes have long been patrons of the sciences, from the earliest developments of the scientific method by Roger Bacon, OFM, a Franciscan Friar to Monseigneur Georges Lemaître, the Belgian Priest/Astrophysicist/Cosmologist who developed the theory of the Big Bang. To assert that Pope Francis’ remarks on these scientific theories is novel is simply a gross, and likely wanton, inaccuracy.
In fact, Pope Francis’ venerable predecessor, Pius XII gave an address to the very same body to which Francis gave his remarks, stating that there was NO conflict between Evolution, the Big Bang and the Catholic Faith… in 1951

The speech, given on November 22, 1951, was titled “The Proofs For The Existence Of God In The Light Of Modern Natural Science“. In this speech, Pius XII gives a graceful and learned spiritual grounding to the, at the time, new theory of the “Expanding Universe”.
“True science discovers God in an ever-increasing degree—as though God were waiting behind every door opened by science.” “It is undeniable that when a mind enlightened and enriched with modern scientific knowledge weighs this problem calmly, it feels drawn to break through the circle of completely independent or autochthonous matter, whether uncreated or self-created, and to ascend to a creating Spirit. With the same clear and critical look with which it examines and passes judgment on facts, it perceives and recognizes the work of creative omnipotence, whose power, set in motion by the mighty “Fiat” pronounced billions of years ago by the Creating Spirit, spread out over the universe, calling into existence with a gesture of generous love matter busting with energy. In fact, it would seem that present-day science, with one sweeping step back across millions of centuries, has succeeded in bearing witness to that primordial “Fiat lux” uttered at the moment when, along with matter, there burst forth from nothing a sea of light and radiation, while the particles of chemical elements split and formed into millions of galaxies.”
Just a year earlier, in his encyclical “Humani Generis“, Venerable Pius XII wrote concerning the theory of Evolution
“For these reasons the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter — for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God. However this must be done in such a way that the reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness, moderation and measure, and provided that all are prepared to submit to the judgment of the Church, to whom Christ has given the mission of interpreting authentically the Sacred Scriptures and of defending the dogmas of faithful[11] Some however rashly transgress this liberty of discussion, when they act as if the origin of the human body from preexisting and living matter were already completely certain and proved by the facts which have been discovered up to now and by reasoning on those facts, and as if there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution in this question.”
Subsequent Popes, particularly Saint John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, have made similar statements about the harmony between true religion and true faith. So when the media presents Pope Francis’ recent statements as a novelty that changes Catholic teachings or breaks with past popes, do not put stock in it and remember the long standing patronage and acceptance of science by the Bride of Christ.

Fides Et Ratio!

Anti-Catholic Bigotry in Politics is Back in Style

In Washington state, the state I hesitate to say is where I was born and lived in until I was 24, the elections were being tainted by anti-Catholic bigotry.

I didn't know anything about Mark Miloscia or his politics.  Obviously, from the above he must be Catholic.  But really, "he has best represented the people of The Vatican."  What is this the 17th century, when Catholics were not only not welcome in the Colonies but were actively blocked from participating in any type of politics and had few rights under the "law?."  Is this the 18th century, when the only state were there was actual freedom of religion-Maryland, which was founded by Catholics-was taken over by protestants and it became illegal to practice Catholicism in the open?  Is this the 19th, were Irish Catholic immigrants were indentured servants with no rights and no freedoms as citizens?  Is it the 20th century where the public was told a Catholic candidate (including John F. Kennedy) would mean the U.S.A. would become a vassal of the Vatican?  To think that our country had not evolved past such prejudices is almost unthinkable and bodes no good for the future of our country.

The website listed at the top of the cartoon goes to a webpage that lists all of Mr. Miloscia's "sins."  From what I can gather from this list, Mr. Miloscia voted his conscience.  For instance, he voted against forcing Catholic Charities to pay for voluntary abortions and forcing all insurance carriers to cover contraception.  He voted against same sex "marriage" and "domestic partner" "rights".  He voted for a tax on adult entertainment materials which the web page author calls a "sin tax" on "playboys and marital aids."  He voted against the "Death with Dignity Act" (which unfortunately passed) which gives terminally ill and elderly people the right to "choose their time of death" in other words, giving people the right to kill themselves if they are suffering.  All of these issues are morally repugnant and against Catholic teaching.  Instead of berating him for voting "Catholic" they should be applauding him for voting his conscience.  After all, that is what the other side says there doing.

The irony is that Mr. Miloscia was a Democrat but left the party over these very issues.   He became a Republican candidate to put forward a more conservative agenda than the Democrats are willing to hear.  Washington state has become a liberal bastion and an embarrassment to all moral thinking and acting voters.  If I still lived in Washington state, I'd feel very ashamed at this campaign.  Portraying a Catholic as a nut case and a vassal of the Vatican because he votes his conscience is barbaric and the epitome of the smear campaign.  None of the things listed in the anti-Catholic smear ad seem to be "sins" at all, let alone deal breakers as far as a politician should be concerned.  I pray that Mark Miloscia stands his ground and votes his conscience despite the smear campaign, despite pressure, and despite election.

Also ironic are all the inconsistencies on the website.  The website says that Miloscia voted against forcing pharmacies to provide emergency contraceptives, voted against forcing employers to carry insurance for contraception and abortions but then accuses him of lobbying for large pharmaceutical companies, because of campaign contributions.  Says he "lobbies for the Vatican" yet sets up a page pitting his alleged record against out-of-context quotes by the pope which appear to oppose Miloscia stand on the pet legislation.

Go here to read Miloscia's side of the campaign.

While Catholics are only about 7% of the population in the state in which I now reside, at least this type of campaign hasn't happened here--yet.  However, much of the nation saw the "Black Mass" debacle in Oklahoma City on the news.  At least only 42 people (reportedly) attended the performance (in an 80 seat auditorium)  that was pointedly done to ridicule a true Mass and the Catholic Church.  Our Archbishop stood up for Christ and got an legal injunction for the return of the supposedly blessed Host that was to be used that night.
One of the few prejudices that are still politically okay--Catholic bashing. But while I can understand why people who hold completely morally opposite views might attack a candidate like Mr. Miloscia, I don't understand why other Christians wouldn't speak out.   Catholic entities such as Catholic Charities and abbeys that refuse to pay for contraception and abortions on moral grounds are being attacked.  Many other Christian organizations don't believe that affects them.  How about the pastors in Texas?  Does the fact that the new, openly gay attorney general is ordering pastors, under threat of criminal prosecution, to turn over copies of all sermons that speak out against homosexuals in general or her in particular get anyone's attention?  Our country is slowly but surely turning into a country that no longer believes in freedom of religion or a right of any Christian to have his beliefs affect his public life and decisions.

[Note: The above cartoon, although it can be found elsewhere online, has been taken off the original website by the anonymous author at the request of the Democratic opposition]



This article is strictly the opinion of the post author--Cathmom5.


Reflecting on Fr Kyle’s homily last Sunday, I thought I’d say a few words on Purgatory.  Recall that last Sunday was November 2nd , the feast of All Souls Day, the Commemoration for all the faithful departed.  The day before we celebrated the feast of All Saints Day, celebrating all those faithful servants that have “attained the victory of Heaven.”

What’s the difference between ‘All Souls Day’ and ‘All Saints Day’ you say?  The fundamental difference is that the Saints we are celebrating on Nov 1st are in heaven and therefore when we pray to them we are celebrating their accomplishment and asking them to pray for us and with us to Jesus.  On Nov 2nd though, we are celebrating those souls that are destined for heaven but may be in the final process of being sanctified, ie Purgatory.  We pray to God for their early release and/or to ease their suffering.

Paul said: “11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. 14 If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire.(1 Cor 3:11-15)

You’ll notice that Paul is speaking of the Day of one’s particular judgment where his works will be tested through fire on the day of his death, the Day.   Paul is describing the method of purifying gold and precious metals and tying it to burning impure works and leaving behind the true works of God.   There is a lot of other metals and impurities in raw gold.  To remove these impurities we heat the nugget and its impurities so that the impurities burn away leaving behind pure gold.  Paul describes the removal impurities from our works.  This process is a painful one since the one who goes through this “will suffer loss.”  This state of being cannot be Heaven since this process is painful and there is no pain and suffering in Heaven.  This state of being cannot be Hell either since we know that he “is saved”.  This process is neither Heaven nor Hell, it is what we call Purgatory.  It is how we become clean from all our sins and attachment to sins.  This is how we are ‘purged’ from our impurities and become worthy of heaven (Rev 21:27).
God Bless

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...