Keep Mass in Christmas!

While we're quick to remind others to 
"Keep Christ in Christmas," 

Do not forget to 
keep Mass in Christmas!  

It is the Christ Mass!

Fourth Sunday of Advent

This is the Fourth Sunday in Advent - and this year it is also the LAST DAY of Advent!  Tomorrow is the Christ Mass!  Joy to the world! Peace unto men of goodwill (not the mistranslation of "goodwill, peace to men").

Today marks the closing of the shortest possible Advent Season, and tomorrow starts the Christmas Season. The "Twelve Days of Christmas" start on December 25th, Christmas Day, and go through January 5th. January 6th begins Epiphany (which is also a Christmas Season). Christmas can actually be celebrated all the way to February 2nd which is Candlemas - and in the lectionary Candlemas is the last time for the liturgical year that the Nativity of our Lord is mentioned in the readings. So, don't be in too much of a hurry to take down your Christmas decorations!

Don't forget!  While every Sunday is a holy day of obligation, so is tomorrow!  The Christ Mass is one of the highest of all the feast days - second only to Easter Sunday. The way we explained this to our children when this happens is "You don't HAVE to go to Mass two days in a row, you GET to!"

The Third and FINAL Week of Advent

"What?"  You say?  "Advent has FOUR weeks, not THREE!"

Well, yes - but not THIS year, nor several more to follow. This Sunday is the Fourth Sunday in Advent - but Monday is Christmas!  This means that the "Fourth Week of Advent" is really just a single day! Monday begins the Season of Christmas! I say several more years to follow because the Fourth Week of Advent will only gain a day per year (excluding Leap Year) eventually getting us to a full week after the Fourth Sunday of Advent - which, of course, will put Christmas on a Sunday and that won't happen again until 2022.

Many of you may be scratching your heads over the statement that Monday begins the Season of Christmas. Many think the Christmas Season begins when Santa Claus rides in on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and lasts until Christmas Day.  Well - they are wrong!  The current season, which begins four Sundays before the Christ Mass, is Advent. The Season of Christmas begins on Christmas Day and lasts through at least Epiphany (January 6th). The older tradition is that Christmas lasts through Candlemas - in which the Nativity is read about for the last time in the liturgical year. Candlemas is on February 2nd and is the 40th day of the Christmas/Epiphany Season.

Naked Man Nativity Scene

Well, that's what many are calling the Vatican Nativity Scene shown below:
Click on for larger view
At first glance this scene does not even appear to be a Nativity Scene. If you look a bit more closely though, you can find the Baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary, the Three Wisemen, the Angel and the Star - but what of all the other "noise" around the scene? I have to agree with Patrick Madrid in his Tweet:
Who's in charge of designing/approving Vatican manger scenes? This year's naked-guy rendition is just bizarre. Jarring, discordant & chaotic, it's not even Baby Jesus-centered. Yes, the extra bits are meant to depict works of mercy, but why? They don't belong in a Nativity scene. 

Certainly the Season of Advent is a good time to practice Corporal Works of Mercy and we should incorporate these into our Advent penance - but the Nativity Scene should be centered on the Incarnation, the Baby Jesus. Traditionally, all the figures in the Nativity Scene - even the animals, are looking at the Baby Jesus -  in the Vatican Nativity Scene can you find ANY of the figures looking at the Baby Jesus? Not the Angel, not Joseph, not even the Blessed Virgin are looking upon the newborn Christ-child. See a traditional example below:

For those reading who may not know, or know all the Corporal Works of Mercy, here's a list:

So yes, there is a time and place for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) and the Corporal Works of Mercy are good to meditate upon, or more importantly DO, but to clutter up the Nativity scene with these other figures detracts from the Nativity. I can certainly see where it can be argued that one of the reasons Jesus came into the world was to not only preach, but DO Corporal Works of Mercy, but again there is a time and place for everything. What are your thoughts? Please share them below this article. Should the Nativity Scene be used to promote the Corporal Works of Mercy?


This is a great little video putting the Palestinian, Jewish, Arab conflict over a small patch of land in the Middle East which several religions refer to as "The Holy Land."

Second Week of Advent

The Second Sunday of Advent - and our theme for this week is FAITH.  The Traditional Lectionary has for today's Gospel Matthew 11:2-10 - where St. John the Baptist, from prison through some of his disciples, asks Jesus if He is the Messiah - or are we waiting for another.  Strangely, in my opinion, Jesus does not give a direct answer to St. John's disciples. He merely states: 
"Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in me." 
Then after they leave, He turns and confirms He is the One in whom they have been waiting when He says: 
"What went you out into the desert to see? a reed shaken with the wind? But what went you out to see? a man clothed in soft garments? Behold they that are clothed in soft garments, are in the houses of kings. But what went you out to see? A prophet? Yea I tell you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: 'Behold I send my angel before my face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.' " (Giglio, 2017)
So, St. John the Baptist was the one who prepared the way for the Messiah. Blessed are those who are not scandalized by the truth of our Faith in Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

I hope you're having a wonderful Advent Season and if one of your traditions is an "O Tree" (for the O Antiphons, see below), then don't forget to get your tree out this week!  The traditional remembrance of the O Antiphons (and the verses in the Advent Hymn, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel") begins next Sunday, December 17th.


Giglio, Deacon John. Second Sunday of Advent. Retrieved            on December 10, 2017 from:  

O Antiphons:

Lead Us Not Into Tempation

Pope Francis Asking For A Change to the Our Father?

Pope Francis has stated that the words we say, "...lead us not into temptation," is a poor translation. He favors what the French, Spanish and Italians have already begun changing to, "Do not let us fall into temptation" (Spanish), "Do not abandon us to temptation" (Italian), "Do not let us enter into temptation" (French).

The key word here in the Greek is "eisenènkes" - which literally translates to "do not take us inside." So, while what Pope Francis is proposing may be theologically desirable - it would not be quite accurate to say "lead us not into temptation" is a poor translation - literally speaking, "lead us not into temptation" is the more literal translation. (Kington, 2017).

Found on, (n.d.) we find these translations:

The Lord's Prayer 











Pater hêmôn ho en toes ouranoes;
hagiasthêtô to onoma sou; 
elthetô hê basileia sou; 
genêthêtô to thelêma sou,
hôs en ouranô, kae epi tês gês. 
ton arton hêmôn ton epiousion dos hêmin sêmeron; 
kae aphes hêmin ta opheilêmata hêmôn, 
hôs kae hêmeis aphiemen toes opheiletaes hêmôn;
kae mê eisenenkês hêmas eis peirasmon, 
alla rhysae hêmas apo tou ponerou. 
hoti sou estin hê basileia kae hê dynamis kae hê doxa eis tous aeônas; 

While we can speculate on what an original Aramaic, primary source, may look like - the fact is, we do not have any Aramaic autographs available to us. Eusebius does quote there was such a version in the Early Church, we just have no copies of an original Aramaic version.

From Catholic Answers we find these quotes:

Around 180 Irenaeus of Lyons wrote that
Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon his breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia. (Against Heresies 3:1:1)
Fifty years earlier Papias, bishop of Hieropolis in Asia Minor, wrote, 
"Matthew compiled the sayings [of the Lord] in the Aramaic language, and everyone translated them as well as he could" (Explanation of the Sayings of the Lord [cited by Eusebius in History of the Church 3:39]).
Sometime after 244 the Scripture scholar Origen wrote,
"Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism and published in the Hebrew language" (Commentaries on Matthew [cited by Eusebius in History of the Church 6:25]).
Eusebius himself declared that
"Matthew had begun by preaching to the Hebrews, and when he made up his mind to go to others too, he committed his own Gospel to writing in his native tongue [Aramaic], so that for those with whom he was no longer present the gap left by his departure was filled by what he wrote" (History of the Church 3:24 [inter 300-325]).
The bottom line here, while the existence of an Aramaic original for the Book of Matthew is quite likely, the oldest extant versions of Matthew we have are in Greek. Speculation on what an Aramaic original might say is purely that - speculation.  According to the Greek, the more literal translation, where St. Jerome translated the Latin "Pater Noster" and the word in Latin is  “inducere,” which means “bring in.” It is from here that we get the English translation we're most familiar with:
Matthew 6:9-13Douay-Rheims Thus therefore shall you pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.11 Give us this day our (daily) bread.12 And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.13 And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. Amen.  (BibleGateway, n.d.)
The Douay-Rheims was first published in 1582 and the popular King James Version (KJV) came out 29 years later in 1611. The two versions are virtually identical, except the KJV adds "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever" which was actually a copyist/scribe addition, not found in the Greek (modern and more accurate versions leave this part out).

Taking this all into consideration - one of the reasons stated, "in a TV interview this week, Pope Francis said that the line asking God to “Lead us not into temptation,” or in Italian, “non indurci in tentazione,” should be changed because it has been translated badly" (Kington, 2017). This is not really a good justification for the translation we're all accustomed to is quite literal and accurate.

Another reason Pope Francis gives is the theological meaning. "It is Satan who leads us into temptation - that's his department" (Kington, 2017). I can handle that sort of rationalization, but why? Why would we change the wording which is so widely accepted throughout Christendom (Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant)? 

Can the Pope Unilaterally Change the Mass?

Does the pope have the right/authority to change the wording used in the Mass?  Certainly he does. Wording has been changed many times throughout history, most recently under Pope Benedict XVI where the wording of the Consecration and the Credo were changed (back) to the more literal, accurate and traditional translations (The Consecration went back to "for many" instead of "for all" in the Consecration of the Blood of Christ; the Credo went back to "I believe..." instead of "We believe..."). There were other changes too under Pope Benedict XVI. Even the Novus Ordo Missae itself was not a product of the Second Vatican Council, rather it was a product of Pope Paul VI, several years after the council had concluded. There are several debating points here which I will not get into at this time - the point is, the pope does have the authority to make changes to the liturgy. That being said, local bishops still have authority within their respective jurisdictions to determine which form of the Mass has their licit permission to be said. 

My concluding thought here...  

Even though the pope does indeed have this authority, should he invoke it here on the widely accepted form of the Our Father?

And from a fellow apologist, Jimmy Akin, he has a few choice words on this subject too...  that the media has blown this all out of proportion and that Pope Francis is not calling for a change to the Our Father - it was simply a comment he made in a television interview (in Italian, and he has it linked on his site). Jimmy's point is that we don't need to be all worked up about this. It is largely (false) media hype. (Akin, 2017). I will add though, while Pope Francis may not have made a call to change the Our Father, he has stated his approval for such a change and, as it has been pointed out, the Italian, French and Spanish have already implemented the change he approves of.


Akin, Jimmy. (December, 2017). No, Pope Francis is Not
        Changing the Lord's Prayer. Retrieved December 10, 
        2017 from 

BibleGateway. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2017, from

Catholic Answers, (August 4, 2011). Was Matthew's Gospel 
         First Written in Aramaic or Hebrew? Retrieved on 
         December 9, 2017 from                     

Kington, Tom. Pope Francis suggests rewording the Lord's
         Prayer. The problem? 'Lead us not into temptation'. 
         LA Times, December 8, 2017. Retrieved on December 
         9, 2017 from, n.d.. The Lord's Prayer. Retrieved 
         on December 9, 2017 from 

Cheeseburger Friday

This Friday, December 8, 2017, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Since this day is a solemnity, the required Friday penance is waved - for there is no penance on a solemn feast day.

It's a Cheeseburger Friday!

Wait, you say? There is no longer a requirement for abstaining from meat on Fridays, right? Well, yes and no. ALL Catholics are still bound by Canon Law to observe penance on ALL Fridays throughout the year, but it doesn't HAVE to be meat anymore. IF you're not going to abstain from meat, then you MUST give up something else equivalent -OR- do a corporal act of mercy, in accordance to what your local ecclesial authority has set forth for your jurisdiction. 

On my pulpit again...  While it doesn't HAVE to be meat that we abstain from on ALL Fridays, it still HAS to be something equivalent. For some cultures fish is more of a staple than other forms of meat, so to give up meat for them is no real penance - and while fish is an acceptable alternative, for such a culture - there is no penance at all in eating fish over beef (or pork, or chicken, etc.). Now, while our penance does not HAVE to be from meat anymore, I say WHY NOT MEAT?! Meatless Fridays have LONG been a badge of honor for Catholics - and pretty much something only Catholics did or do, so unless you have a good reason to abstain from something else, then it should still be abstinence from meat that we observe - EVERY FRIDAY... well again, not THIS Friday, due to the solemnity.

1983 Code of Canon Law (currently in force)

Can 1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
Can 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Can 1252 The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.
Is It a Mortal Sin to NOT Do Penance on ALL Fridays (except when there is a solemnity on Friday)?

The answer here is quite simple - YES!  It is a mortal sin!  Now before you read this article you might be able to claim ignorance, and for it to be a mortal sin you have to first KNOW it is a sin and second, do it anyway. To knowingly and willfully reject a precept of Canon Law IS a mortal sin. Well, now you have read the article - there's no way around this - so for the sake of your own soul, if you have not been observing the Friday penance EVERY Friday, it's not too late to start - and start with meat - but again, not THIS Friday.  Enjoy a cheeseburger, or steak, or pork chops, etc. this week, but NEXT week, be sure to observe that which is REQUIRED of ALL Catholics (those over 14 and under 60).

Happy New Year!

Yes!  It is the First Sunday of Advent - and the first day of the liturgical year!  So, Happy New Year!

This is the the season we prepare for Christmas which was the First Coming of the Messiah... the readings for Mass prepare us for the Second Coming of Christ.

Advent is not Lent, but it is still a time of penance and offering up and mortification. As we make little sacrifices we draw our minds to Christ and can meditate on both the First and Second Coming.

Sacrament and Sacramental

This can be a confusing topic...


What is a Sacrament?  That's a fairly easy one to define as Catholic theology books and catechisms cover it quite well. One such definition we find in the Baltimore Catechism:
Q. 574. What is a Sacrament?
A. A Sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.
(Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, Lesson 13, 1891)


However, when it comes to a Sacramental, the definition is a bit harder to pin down. Using the same source as above, we find:

Q. 1052. What is a sacramental?
A. A sacramental is anything set apart or blessed by the Church to excite good thoughts and to increase devotion, and through these movements of the heart to remit venial sin.
(Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, Lesson 27, 1891)

However, the modern Catechism of the Catholic Church gives us this definition:

1667 "Holy Mother Church has, moreover, instituted sacramentals. These are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments. They signify effects, particularly of a spiritual nature, which are obtained through the intercession of the Church. By them men are disposed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions in life are rendered holy."
(CCC 1667,  1992)

Vatican II (1963) puts it this way:

These are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments: they signify effects, particularly of a spiritual kind, which are obtained through the Church's intercession. By them men are disposed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions in life are rendered holy.

And a more traditional view:

The sacramentals were not instituted by Our Lord, like the Sacraments, but by the Church in order to increase our respect for the latter or to give us special favors. The sacramentals do not produce grace by themselves, but they prepare our spiritual dispositions to receive it.
(Fitzgerald, n.d.)

We can take a bit of an issue with this one since some sacramentals clearly were divinely instituted (by Christ), such as the use of objects/things such as the hem of his garment was used to heal the sick (Matthew 9:20) and exorcism - while the full rite was not explicitly defined by Christ, clearly He did exorcise demons (Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-17).

Perhaps the best way to define is to go to the Latin. A Sacrament, according to the Council of Trent, the Latin phrase is: "ex opere operato." The literal translation being, "the work, worked." In other words, it is agent independent for its efficacy - it works automatically (Byrne, 1990, p. 134). Whereas with a sacramental the Latin phrase is "ex opere operantis," which literally means "from the work of the doer." In short, a Sacrament is not dependent upon the state of the recipient. If the proper matter, form and intent is used through the appropriate minister - the Sacrament happens. On the other hand, a sacramental is based on the act of the doer. Blessing ones self with holy water, for example is efficacious, but not necessarily sprinkling someone else with holy water who is not accepting of it (you can chase those "door knockers" all you want and sprinkle them with holy water - the "effect" in that case is - they get wet).

The Sacramentals - a St. John's University Film Strip


Byrne, E. F. (1990). Work, Inc.: a philosophical inquiry.
        Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

CCC 1667. (1992, October 11). Paragraph 1667. 
        Retrieved November 27, 2017,  from  
        Promulgated by Pope St. John Paul II

Fitzgerald, C. (n.d.). Don't Forget Sacramentals. 
        Retrieved November 27, 2017, from

Sacramentals - a 1960's Film Strip from St. John's 
        University, retrieved from: 

Third Plenary Council of Baltimore. (1891). BALTIMORE        CATECHISM - ON THE SACRAMENTS IN GENERAL. 
        Retrieved November 27, 2017, from    
        and from

Vatican II. (1963, December 4). SACROSANCTUM 
         CONCILIUM Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy,
         Chapter III, Paragraph 60. Retrieved 
         November 27, 2017, from  
         Promulgated by Pope Paul VI


No Photos During Mass, Per Pope Francis

Pope Francis expresses his displeasure with those who insist upon taking pictures during Mass.

OK, have I ever taken a photo during Mass?  Yes, I have, but I also try to do so discreetly, and not flaunt my cell phone or camera my head.  Pope Francis has a point. So many times when we should see hands held high in praise of our Lord - we see cell phones held high, snapping pictures or taking videos. Like Pope Francis said, "the Mass is not a show, it is to go and meet the passion and resurrection of our Lord."

Now, I can understand if you're in an historic church and you want to get a picture documenting your trip - but we should refrain from doing so during Mass. Take a picture or two before or after Mass, but during Mass - remember why you are there. If you really want a video of the Mass, there are hundreds of places you can get those. No, it likely will not be THE Mass which you participated in, but it will be the Mass in that same church - and the video was taken discreetly and professionally (and likely not as shaky or out of focus as cell phone videos often are!).

Will you go to hell if you take pictures during Mass? No, not likely, at least not for that reason. However, if your actions are distracting and perhaps even causing another to sin (because now they are angry you for the distraction). In that way, you may be a near occasion of sin for others - which may be a sin for yourself - especially if you are knowingly distracting and/or continue after someone makes you aware of the distraction you're causing.

Article from Catholic Apps: 

The New Star Trek - Discovery

Inside the lines below is a review of the new Star Trek Discovery program which I began after watching Episode 5...  I'll comment more below...

As many of you may know, I'm a Trekkie - so yes, I paid for CBS All Access in order to watch it. After this week I'm likely to do as many others on the CBS Facebook page said they are doing - and cancel my subscription.


In this week's show, Episode 5, one scene drops the "F-bomb" not once, but twice. Did you ever think you'd hear blatent profanity on a Star Trek television show?  It was completely unnecessary. Star Trek television shows have always been a bit on the controversial side - but also have always been something the whole family can watch.

Then, at the very end of the show we're confronted with an openly homosexual conversation with two of the actors brushing their teeth together and expressing their concerns and relationship, and while they didn't show anything sexual - they didn't have to. Then in watching the "After Trek" show, the writers stated that we'll be "seeing a lot more of this relationship." Why? Again, completely unnecessary.

Clearly, the homosexual agenda is rampant at CBS.

Well, even though I threatened not to, I continued through the "first half of Season One."  The show is taking a break until January (2018). While the homosexual agenda was not as rampant in the weeks following, it was not totally absent either. I'm sure some of my critics at this point are thinking me a "homophobe" which is not a very accurate term. The word literally means "man fear" or "fear of man," as the homo prefix means "man" and "phobe" or "phobia" means a "fear" - typically an "irrational fear." I also found it a bit interesting that while doing an online dictionary search for these words in order to document the epistemology, when looking up "homosapien" the epistemology is listed as "homo = man, sapien = wise" however the epistemology is not listed for "homosexual" or "homophobe" or "homophobic," I wonder why? Homosexual literally means "man-sexual" and while this could be considered accurate for male on male sexual acts or desires, it would have nothing to do with female on female sexual acts or desires. But I digress... let me just state that I have no "fear" of "man" - I am a man, both in the sense of specie (mankind) and in the sense of being male. I do not fear myself or others like me. By the same token, I do not "fear" the less than 4 percent of society whom have chosen to act upon homosexual desires - which God sees as an abomination and condemns those who willfully participate in homosexual acts (Lev. 18:22; Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 1 Tim. 1:10-11). I will not get into the "born that way" argument at this time, as I believe it is ultimately irrelevant. There is no sin until one acts. It is not "sinful" to have homosexual desires, but it IS sinful to act upon those desires.

While Star Trek Discovery did get "better" as Season 1 progressed, from a Christian perspective, I cannot recommend the series. What "Hollywood" needs to realize is that while we, Christians, are not "afraid" of homosexuality, nor do we deny that there is a homosexual community (less than 4% of the population), what we DON'T want is to have that agenda forced upon us especially so disproportionately by a very vocal minority.

The above being said, Star Trek, in all of its variations, often got (and now gets) into social and social-economic controversies which can stir a healthy discussion of said topics. I am in favor of such a healthy discussion and invite it here and now, so long as we can remain civil and refrain from violence (verbally or otherwise). To that end, I believe Gene Roddenberry would approve too.

Image source:

Name Change!

I am renaming the CathApol Blog.  Why?  After all these years, why change? Well, simply put - I am "CathApol." This is a nickname I've used for years, starting with my days on IRC (Internet Relay Chat). That being said, while I did start this blog - I am not the only blogger here on the CathApol Blog. 

Then, today, being the 24th Sunday after Pentecost (extraordinary rite) with the readings taken from the 6th Sunday after Epiphany (click link here for the readings) I was a bit convicted by the readings and the sermon Father gave. The Epistle readings spoke of humility and the Gospel was about the mustard seed and the woman who took leaven and hid it in three portions of meal (flour) until all was leavened, these being comparisons to the Kingdom of Heaven. Father spoke of St. Therese of Lisieux - whom stated that she could never be like one of the great saints, such as St. Augustine, or Aquinas, they were more like great trees in the forest, whereas she was more like a "little flower," and thusly she became known as St. Therese of Lisieux, The Little Flower. The theme of St. Therese' life is "The Little Way," and not thinking one's self to be great. The point being - BE SMALL. Don't strive for greatness or think yourself bigger or better than someone else - but be like the mustard seed, which is a very small seed - but it becomes a great tree and is considered to be the greatest among the herbs. This and, it only takes a little bit of yeast to leaven a whole loaf of bread. BE SMALL. 

So, rather than continue this blog carrying my own nickname - I am renaming it to Qui Locutus - which while some may think of "Locutus of Borg" - a Star Trek reference to when Captain Piccard was assimilated by the Borg and became "The Voice of the Borg" or one who speaks for the Borg, this is NOT the reference I refer to!  I refer to the Credo - where the Holy Ghost "Who has spoken through the prophets," which in Latin is: qui locutus est per prophetas. So, let the Holy Ghost speak through the bloggers and comments here - on the Qui Locutus Blog - and let us be reminded of the "Little Way" of St. Therese of Lisieux.

Moral Status of a Fetus?

Wow!  Listen to the "logic" of the liberal defense of early term abortion...

James Franco and Eliot Michealson discuss with Liz Harmon.

Faith in Absolutely Nothing

I happened upon The Lutheran Hour ( @LutheranHourMinistries ) again this morning and heard Rev. Ken Klaus reciting a sermon on Absolutely Nothing. He spoke of how one day when he was a junior in high school, his grandfather passed away leaving his father as executor of his estate. There was a box of what was important papers. "The greatest number of papers in that box was stock certificates from various companies. The one thing those stocks had in common was this: they had been issued before the stock market crash of 1929." As it turned out, there was one set of stocks from a company which was still in business - and that stock was valued at a couple hundred dollars. Then there was a huge stack of other stocks for which all of the companies had ceased to exist after the stock market crash... the were worth "Absolutely Nothing." Rev. Klaus tells a couple other stories about "Absolutely Nothing" and then gets to his point.  "As a believer, I have absolutely nothing to believe in. Yes, you heard that right. I have absolutely nothing to believe in. Please, allow to me to explain."  Rather than me paraphrasing, allow me to quote the next section verbatim:
                       Nowadays, most believers and unbelievers who have studied history agree that there was a man by the name of Jesus who was crucified under the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate. Most don't have any difficulty with the events after Jesus' death. 
                        Here's what the evangelist Matthew wrote: "The chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and, referring to Jesus they said, 'Sir, we remember how that imposter said while He was still alive, 'After three days I will rise.' Therefore, order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples go and steal Him away and tell the people, 'He's risen from the dead.' The last fraud will be worse than the first.' Pilate said to them, 'You have a guard of soldiers go, make it as secure as you can.' So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard."
                           Those Jewish leaders knew Jesus had promised that He would rise from the dead. They also knew that if the Christ's body disappeared things could get a bit dicey for them. People might believe on Him. They might trust Him. They might even claim He was the promised Messiah. To prevent that, these civic leaders asked for and received the Roman ruler's permission to lock down Jesus' grave. A great stone at the entrance of the grave made it difficult for Jesus' body to be stolen. The guards outside the tomb made any attempt a suicide mission. 
                          A guarded and inaccessible tomb is what the women should have found that Sunday dawn when they went to finish preparing Jesus' body for His final rest. As they progressed to that borrowed grave, they would have had absolutely nothing to comfort them. Their Rabbi, their Friend, their Teacher was dead. Yes, He had talked about repentance, forgiveness, and salvation, but that kind of talk had ended on Friday's cross when a Roman spear had ripped into His heart. They had heard Jesus say "It is finished." They had watched when He breathed His last. All that was left for this sorry funeral procession is for them to pay their final respects to the memories, the hopes, and the dreams of what once had been. Yes, that's the way it should have been. Now, let me tell you the way it really was. 
                         Sometime before the women's arrival, an angel from heaven came down to earth. Fear of his presence threw the armed guards to the ground after which they ran away to report to their bosses. Shortly after, the women arrived and were taken aback to see an angel sitting on the stone. Knowing what was in their hearts, the angel began: "Do not be afraid for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here for He has risen as He said. Come, see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He is also risen from the dead."
                        For the first time that Resurrection Sunday, people poked their heads into Jesus' borrowed tomb. Not long after, two disciples, Peter and John, also ran to Jesus' grave to see if there was any truth to what the ladies had told them. John waited at the entrance to the grave, but Peter raced right on in. John soon joined the big fishermen, and together they looked at-well, there's no other way to say it-they looked at absolutely nothing. Oh sure, the embalming cloths, which had wrapped Jesus' body and face were still there. Yes, they were there, but Jesus was gone. If there had been a traffic cop there that day, he probably would have said, "Move along. Move along. There's absolutely nothing here to see." That cop would have been right. On Resurrection Sunday there was absolutely nothing to see. 
So, Rev. Klaus, using a clever play on words, justifies the sentiment that the Christian Faith is based on "Absolutely Nothing." 

What I found a bit disturbing was a couple of things. First off, I used the word "reciting" earlier because I don't believe this sermon to be Rev. Klaus'. He made it sound like this sermon was his own creation - but I heard almost the exact same sermon at Our Lady of Mount Carmel (OLMC) in Phoenix, Az at least ten years ago! I don't recall the exact date - but I do recall it was Easter Sunday and Fr. Bonavitacola had a guest priest celebrating Mass that day and the guest priest also gave this sermon. The point here is, in an open letter to Rev. Klaus, I've heard this sermon before. I recall being a bit offended then too - this priest was preaching that our Faith is built on nothing. I realize he was saying this for shock value, much like Klaus is too, I'm sure, but, it's simply not a true statement.

While it is a somewhat clever play on words - it is simply NOT TRUE! Well, it IS true that on that first Easter morning the women and then Peter and John, found the empty tomb, but the didn't find "Absolutely Nothing!" What the DID find was Jesus' burial cloth - but no Jesus. Also remarkable was the fact that the Roman guard had fled their post. For them to leave their post would mean death to them, for their orders were to stand guard, period, and abandoning their post would result in capital punishment. Their absence is a significant "something." Then, over the next 40 days, Jesus would appear to His Apostles first and then to many others.  That again is not "Absolutely Nothing." We have their testimonies on this. St. Paul too has an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Paul, previously known as Saul, was a persecutor of Christians - doing whatever he could do to destroy the Church which Jesus had built.

This brings us to the key point which Rev. Klaus (and sadly, that guest priest at OLMC) missed completely. The Resurrected Jesus was there, walking and dining with others for 40 days and teaching them how to build His Church. Most of what went on during those 40 days is not recorded in Scripture - but it is clear, Jesus was instructing them. This is far from "Absolutely Nothing." They were to - and DID build His Church.

Now what we have "Absolutely Nothing" to show - for over 1500 years - is a "Lutheran" church! Okay, it is a bit anachronistic to expect a Lutheran church to exist before Martin Luther, but the point is - there was no "church" which held the Protestant beliefs - like "the Five Solas" or "once saved, always saved," no Calvinism or Baptist or Methodist, etc. The FACT is, for over 1000 years after Christ, if you were a true Christian - you were Catholic. In 1054 AD, the Eastern Orthodox split with Catholicism - but Catholicism continued and continues to this day! 

Likewise, in the Lutheran church there is "absolutely nothing" for the forgiveness of sins since their clergy separated from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Forgiveness of sins is a charism given ONLY to the bishops (originally given ONLY to the Apostles, our first bishops).  
John 20:22-23 And with that he breathed on them (The Apostles) and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Thus ONLY those whom the bishop has given faculties can hear confessions and grant absolution. Outside the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church - there is absolutely nothing for the forgiveness of sins.

So, while there is some truth in what Klaus and that guest priest preached - the bottom line is, they missed it "by that much" (to quote Maxwell Smart).
Missing it, even "by that much" can have serious and eternal consequences.

Scott Windsor<<<

You can hear Rev. Klaus' entire sermon here: 

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