Bare Minimum For Salvation

April 30, 2009

Comment: As I read the questions addressed on this website I understand that I indeed can/must “work” my way to heaven and Christ did not pay the whole price for my sin. And I am reminded of people all around us like my own mother (now deceased) who could read but there is no way on this earth my dear uneducated uncomplicated mother could have gotten to heaven in the Catholic church. She could not have understood all this..your info on this site sounds like “hopelessness” for a mere human being….am at a loss for words-satan couldn’t defeat me today but I daresay your website has come near to doing just that.
Response: I am sorry you felt defeated after reading my website. But let me assure you, you have misunderstood. The Catholic Faith does not teach that we must work our way to Heaven. That is what some who are misinformed say we teach. But they are wrong.

The minimum requirements for salvation in the Catholic Church are very easy and full of mercy and grace with the safety net of Confession. They are called the Precepts of the Catholic Church. CCC


2041 The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the indispensable minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor:

2042 The first precept (”You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.”) requires the faithful to participate in the Eucharistic celebration when the Christian community gathers together on the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord.[82]

The second precept (”You shall confess your sins at least once a year.”) ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.[83]

The third precept (”You shall humbly receive your Creator in Holy Communion at least during the Easter season.”) guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.[84]

2043 The fourth precept (”You shall keep holy the holy days of obligation.”) completes the Sunday observance by participation in the principal liturgical feasts which honor the mysteries of the Lord, the Virgin Mary, and the saints.[85]

The fifth precept (”You shall observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence.”) ensures the times of ascesis (exertion/eercise) and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts; they help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.[86]

The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his abilities

The hardest one is to actually get to Mass each Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. The good works required of us, (“Faith without works is dead” James 2) help in our purification and reparation for our sin. But you don’t have to understand all the theology to follow the precepts and do good works. It is really pretty easy. We are not saved by how much theology we know but by our Obedience of Faith as St. Paul opens and closes Romans. This website is to explain Catholic theology to those who are interested. But it is not necessary to be saved.

Our Heavenly Father is full of mercy and desires that every single person would come to Heaven with HIM.


April 30, 2009



I for one am glad that CDs and Ipods etc. have taken over from records for personal music entertainment. There are songs that to this day when I hear them I tense up waiting for that part of the song that has been seared into my mind as having a skip that used to plague the records I had when I was very small.

“Does your chewing gum lose its flavor
on the bedpost over night?
And you mother says, “Don’t chew it,”
Do swallow it, (click) Do you swallow it, (click) Do you swallow it”
“in spite.”

Sometimes people come into the confessional and say, “Father, it’s the Read the rest of this entry »

April 29: Blessed Maria Maddalena dell’Incarnazione

April 29, 2009

Blessed Maria Maddalena dell’Incarnazione, 1770 –1824 Read the rest of this entry »

Catholics In Need: Ivory Coast

April 28, 2009

One Bread Delivers Bibles to St. John the Baptist Mission in Mandallah

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Africa:


This summer our African Missionary in the Ivory Coast, West Africa, travelled north in his country to the city of Mandallah, and the St. John the Baptist Mission to delivery 688 bibles in two native languages spoken by the villagers.


Above, at a special Mass at which the bibles were presented to the congregation, the altar servers carried some of the bibles to the altar.

The grant to purchase these bibles for the mission was provided by a Catholic foundation in Raleigh, North Carolina. The congregation was most grateful and will use these bibles in their catechism classes.

Below One Bread’s African representative, Bekoli Boika, presents the bibles to the priest in front of the congregation.


The Congregation of St John the Baptist Mission at the start of the Mass at which the bibles were presented.


To request materials for use in Africa, please contact:
Mr. Boika Bekoli Louis
One Bread Lay Apostolate-Africa
25 BP 1100 Abidjan 25
Ivory Coast, West Africa
(+225) 07845050


April 28: Saint Gianna Beretta Molla

April 28, 2009

Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, 1922 – 1962 Read the rest of this entry »

Deep In History Conference 2009 – Mark Your Calendars!

April 27, 2009

Deep In History Conference 2009 – Mark Your Calendars!

Since the Deep in History Conferences began we have journeyed together from the time of the Early Fathers to the beginning of the Catholic Church here in North America. October 23rd 2009 marks a new beginning in our journey to the past as the Deep in History Conference turns to the theme of the History of Catholic Doctrine.
Once again the focus of these weekends is to assist both Catholics and non-Catholics in their understanding what it means to be Deep in History, Deep in Scripture and Deep in Christ. In 2009, we will begin on the “rock” looking to understand the question of Authority: The Pillar and Bulwark. Read the rest of this entry »

Catholic Opposition to Contraception Not Sensible

April 26, 2009

Q. I also would like to raise the question of a person continually reproducing offspring that they cannot afford to clothe and feed. Do you think that God would approve of us conceiving a child that we cannot feed, clothe, or nurture?

A. Regulation of family size is completely under the control of the parents. It is very simple–abstinence. That is how responsible people have since the beginning of history have been able to regulate their family size when necessary. Self control/self mastery is a Christian Virtue. It is our post-Christian culture that has come to believe that having sex is an inalienable right!

Q. I believe that every child is a precious gift from God, but do you believe that God intentionally allows a child to be born to drug addicts or child abusers?

A. No. He created our fertility. Our job is to seek to live virtuous and holy lives and love Him. Drug Addicts and child abusers and children born to them are the result of the sinful choices man makes with his free will. Does God intend these choices? Absolutely not. But He does allow it. You will have to take that up with God.

Q. I believe this becomes a question of our free will. Yes he wants us to be frutiful and multiply. Yes he wants us to have children and teach them about God, but he would want us to use our brain and not create children that may be loved from the depth of our heart, but cannot be provided for.

A. I could not agree more. So, self denial is called for in order to regulate family size.

Q. More often than not, this actually leads to a family having more children than they can possibly afford and can lead to money issues which can lead to abuse of an innocent child.

A. It is not cause and effect. Yes, poverty can stress parents. But I live in Southern California and travel down to Mexico where there is a lot of poverty due to government corruption. And, yes, a friend of mine and her family left their father in Mexico because he was abusive…but they were NOT poor. Although, of course, I don’t doubt it can happen in poor families also. But do you know what I see in Mexico and here in the US among poorer Mexicans? Love and celebration of family. Because of their poverty they value that which is eternal –people/family and friends. No doubt this will change, unfortunately the longer they are here. But poverty does NOT cause abuse, sin does that. Poverty oddly enough gives better clarity about what has lasting value.

Happy Birthday Sister Joan!

April 26, 2009

Join me in wishing everyon’s favorite Erie Benedictine a Happy Birthday! The same birthday as the Shi’a Muslims ascribe to Mohammed… A year after the founding of the Gestapo, and a year before the bombing of Guernica… What are the odds?

For your birthday I would love to buy you a habit.

Say a prayer for her.

Blessed Stanislaus Kubista, April 26

April 26, 2009

kubista1Blessed STANISLAUS KUBISTA, SVD – Priest
Kostuchna, 1898- Sachsenhausen, April 26, 1940
Mission Animator and Communicator

It was very cold the morning of April 26, 1940, when the “capo” entered the barracks where Fr. Stanislaus Kubista and other priests were held. Since his arrival at the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen Fr. Stanislaus had been sick with pneumonia and diarrhea. He was getting weaker every day. Despite this he was forced to do a full workload, which included shoveling snow for long hours while exposed to the cold wind. On one of the last evenings of his life another priest, Fr. Dominic Jozef, covered him with a blanket. Fr. Stanislaus whispered to him: “This will not go on much longer. My God, I am so weak. May His will be done.” Although it was prohibited, Fr. Dominic heard his confession. When the capo entered the barracks and looked at the sick and exhausted prisoner, he told him, “You have no reason to live any more.” Then he began to stomp on Fr. Kubista’s throat and chest. Another prisoner later said: “We heard the breaking of bones and the last choked rattling. We knew Fr. Kubista was dying.” He was 42. He gave up his life without knowing why his tormentor was so cruel. But in dying he maintained his dignity. He could do so because his whole life was one of quiet dignity.
Read the rest of this entry »

I Live yet do not Live in Me, by St. John of the Cross

April 26, 2009


I live yet do not live in me,
am waiting as my life goes by,
and die because I do not die.

No longer do I live in me,
and without God I cannot live;
to him or me I cannot give
my self, so what can living be?
A thousand deaths my agony
waiting as my life goes by,
dying because I do not die.

This life I live alone I view
as robbery of life, and so
it is a constant death — with no
way out until I live with you.
God, hear me, what I say is true:
I do not want this life of mine,
and die because I do not die. Read the rest of this entry »

Friday’s Flannery: Parker’s Back by Flannery O’Connor

April 25, 2009


Friday’s Flannery is an occasional series of commentary from a Catholic point of view on the short stories of Flannery O’Connor.

In her last work, completed shortly before her death, Flannery O’Connor depicts the great clash of the two principles of Creation: the Spirit and the Flesh and their only resolution in the Incarnation represented by an icon.

Sarah Ruth is the epitome of the iconoclastic tendencies of a puritanical Calvinism. She negates the body, pleasure, the material, and every attempt to represent God who is as she says, “pure spirit.” Preoccupied with the wrath of God on Judgment Day, she is a cold and fearsome character–lean, gaunt, colorless, with piercing eyes:

“She was plain, plain. And the skin on her face was thin and drawn tight like the skin on an onion and her eyes were gray and sharp like the points of two ice picks.”

Parker, on the other hand, is a man of the flesh, made graphic in his pursuit of body art. He is a man of lust attracted to women with plenty of meat on them. He is a denier of God and seeks to live fully in the material world.

There are forces stirring in Parker. The twin forces of wonder and sacrifice began with seeing the tattooed man at the circus and the day of his first tattoo: Read the rest of this entry »


April 25, 2009

“It is the grimmest of ironies that one of the most savage, barbaric acts of evil in history began in one of the most modernized societies of its time, where so many markers of human progress became tools of human depravity: science that can heal, used to kill; education that can enlighten, used to rationalize away basic moral impulses; the bureaucracy that sustains modern life, used as the machinery of mass death, a ruthless, chillingly efficient system where many were responsible for the killing, but few got actual blood on their hands.”

–Barack Obama April 24, 2009

Reported in the Chicago Sun Times

Natural Family Planning Contradicts Scripture

April 24, 2009

Bread From Heaven: “Because the pleasure of the marital embrace was created by God for babies & bonding.”

Q. If the “marital embrace” is only for babies and bonding and and “Anytime the pleasure of the sexual act is obtained while actively, purposely or incidentally excluding either of these goods, it is a grave sin.” Is it a sin to have the “marital embrace” if there is no chance of conception such as after a woman has reached menopause?

A. No. That is natural and a part of God’s created order. It is still open to conception, although highly unlikely. But, don’t forget Sarah and Elizabeth both conceived in their old age by the will of God.

Q. But according to the statement, sexual activity after menopause would be “purposely or incidentally excluding either of these goods” since “incidentally” means not intentionally.

A. That is a very good point. Then, perhaps, incidentally is the wrong word but I used it with homosexual activity in mind. Because they are not engaging in the activity in order to avoid conception but only pursuing pleasure, the act prevents conception b/c it is unnatural. I am open to suggestions. And I will think about how to reword that. Thank you very much.

Q. So, that would cause all sexual intercourse between husband and a wife that does not work towards conception a sin.

A. No, that is not what the Church teaches at all. If it were, then infertile couples, women with necessary hysterectomies, women in menopause, men with no or low sperm count etc. would have to be celibate. This is not the case. The purpose of the marital embrace is for babies and bonding, both. Conception must not be removed from it for selfish reasons.

Q. Family planning or abstaining from sex during the fertile times which is written as ok, contradicts these scriptures because you are not to deny your spouse sex except when both have agreed for prayer.

1 Corinthians 7:3 The husband should not deprive his wife of sexual intimacy, which is her right as a married woman, nor should the wife deprive her husband. 4 The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband also gives authority over his body to his wife. 5 So do not deprive each other of sexual relations.

A. In our culture the right to sex is deemed to be absolute. Self-denial of sexual pleasure is thought to be ridiculous (except perhaps beastiality, incest, and pedophilia -the last taboos) At one time, not too long ago we had many more taboos -pre-marital sex, adultery, homosexuality, masturbation, oral sex, pornography, even contraception in addition to beastiality, incest, and pedophilia. How much longer before these also become normative in our culture?

What translation are you using? Most of the respected translations do not interpret the Greek as “not deprive”. The negative is nowhere in the sentence. Rather it is stated positively.

The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. (NASB)

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. (NIV)

Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. (KJV)

Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. (NKJV)

Husbands and wives should be fair with each other about having sex. (Contemporary Eng. Version)

To the wife, the husband the debt let him pay and likewise also the wife to the husband. (Literal Greek)

The Husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. (RSV)

should not deprive” should not be interpreted “as all demands for sex should be met lest one feel deprived

Your interpretation of I Cor. 7:3 is influenced by our culture. Because, the Protestant churches began to accept contraception in the early 1900’s they have lost the Christian perspective of sexual intimacy–Total Self-Giving. When a married couple indulges in the pleasure while practicing contraception they cannot be totally self-giving to their spouse. One or both are saying, with their bodies, while using a contraceptive, “I reject your fertility.” This subtle spiritual reality plays itself out in various subtle ways. For instance, the one with the strongest sex drive is freed to be more demanding of having sexual needs met and the other can begin to feel used. This is not conducive to a long and happy marriage.

For the difference between NFP and Contraception please click HERE

To read Humanae Vitae click HERE

April 24: Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Counter-reformationist Martyred By Calvinists

April 24, 2009

Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, 1577 – 1622

Born in 1577, at Sigmaringen, Prussia, of which town his father Johannes Rey was burgomaster; died at Sevis, 24 April, 1622. On the paternal side he was of Flemish ancestry. He pursued his studies at the University of Freiburg in the Breisgau, and in 1604 became tutor to Wilhelm von Stotzingen, with whom he travelled in France and Italy. In the process for Fidelis’s canonization Wilhelm von Stotzingen bore witness to the severe mortifications his tutor practised on these journeys. In 1611 he returned to Freiburg to take the <!––>doctorate<!––> in <!––>canon<!––> and civil law, and at once began to practise as an advocate. But the open corruption which found place in the law courts determined him to relinquish that profession and to enter the Church. He was ordained priest the following year, and immediately afterwards was received into the Order of Friars Minor of the Capuchin Reform at Freiburg, taking the name of Fidelis. He has left an interesting memorial of his novitiate and of his spiritual development at that time in a book of spiritual exercises which he wrote for himself. This work was re-edited by Father Michael Hetzenauer, O.F.M. Cap., and republished in 1893 at Stuttgart under the title: “S. Fidelis a Sigmaringen exercitia seraphicae devotionis”. From the novitiate he was sent to Constance to finish his studies in theology under Father John Baptist, a Polish friar of great repute for learning and holiness. At the conclusion of his theological studies Fidelis was appointed guardian first of the community at Rheinfelden, and afterwards at Freiburg and Feldkirch. As a preacher his burning zeal earned for him a great reputation.

From the beginning of his apostolic career he was untiring in his efforts to convert heretics nor did he confine his efforts in this direction to the pulpit, but also used his pen. He wrote many pamphlets against Calvinism and Zwinglianism though he would never put his name to his writings. Unfortunately these publications have long been lost. Fidelis was still guardian of the community at Feldkirch when in 1621 he was appointed to undertake a mission in the country of the Grisons with the purpose of bringing back that district to the Catholic Faith. The people there had almost all gone over to Calvinism, owing partly to the ignorance of the priests and their lack of zeal. In 1614 the Bishop of Coire had requested the Capuchins to undertake missions amongst the heretics in his diocese, but it was not until 1621 that the general of the order was able to send friars there. In that year Father Ignatius of sergamo was commissioned with several other friars to place himself at the disposal of this bishop for missionary work, and a similar commission was given to Fidelis who however still remained guardian of Feldkirche. Before setting out on this mission Fidelis was appointed by authority of the papal nuncio to reform the Benedictine monastery at Pfafers. He entered upon his new labours in the true apostolic <!––>spirit<!––>. Since he first entered the order he had constantly prayed, as he confided to a fellow-friar, for two favours: one, that he might never fall into mortat sin; the other, that he might die for the Faith. In this Spirit he now set out, ready to give his life in preaching the Faith. He took with him his <!––>crucifix<!––>, Bible, Breviary, and the book of the rule of his order; for the rest, he went in absolute <!––>poverty<!––>, trusting to Divine Providence for his daily sustenance. He arrived in Mayenfeld in time for Advent and began at once preaching and catechizing; often preaching in several places the same day. His coming aroused strong opposition and he was frequently threatened and insulted. He not only preached in the Catholic <!––>churches<!––> and in the public streets, but occasionally in the conventicles of the heretics. At Zizers one of the principal centres of his activity, he held conferences with the magistrates and chief townsmen, often far into the night. They resulted in the conversion of Rudolph de Salis, the most influential man in the town, whose public recantation was followed by many conversions.

Throught the winter Fidelis laboured indefatigably and with such success that the heretic preachers were seriously alarmed and set themselves to inflame the people against him by representing that his mission was political rather than <!––>religious<!––> and that he was preparing the way for the subjugation of the country by the Austrians. During the Lent of 1622 he preached with especial fervour. At Easter he returned to Feldkirch to attend a <!––>chapter<!––> of the order and settle some affairs of his community. By this time the Congregation of the Propaganda had been established in Rome, and Fidelis was formally constituted by the Congregation, superior of the mission in the Grisons. He had, however, a presentiment that his laborers would shortly be brought to a close by a martyr’s death. Preaching a farewell sermon at Feldkirch he said as much. On re-entering the country of the Grisons he was met everywhere with the cry: “Death to the Capuchins!” On 24 April, being then at Grusch, he made his <!––>confession<!––> and afterwards celebrated Mass and preached. Then he set out for Sevis. On the way his companions noticed that he was particularly cheerful. At Sevis he entered the <!––>church<!––> and began to preach, but was interrupted by a sudden tumult both within and without the <!––>church<!––>. Several Austrian soldiers who were guarding the doors of the <!––>church<!––> were killed and Fidelis himself was struck. A Calvinist present offered to lead him to a place of security. Fidelis thanked the man but said his life was in the hands of God. 0utside the <!––>church<!––> he was surrounded by a crowd led by the preachers who offered to save his life if he would apostatize. Fidelis replied: “I came to extirpate <!––>heresy<!––>, not to embrace it”, whereupon he was struck down. He was the first martyr of the Congregation of Propaganda. His body was afterwards taken to Feldkirch and buried in the <!––>church<!––> of his order, except his head and left arm, which were placed in the cathedral at Coire. He was beatified in 1729, and canonized in 1745. St. Fidelis is usually represented in art with a <!––>crucifix<!––> and with a wound in the head; his emblem is a bludgeon. His feast is kept on 24 April.

Publication information

Written by Father Cuthbert. Transcribed by Joseph P. Thomas.

Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad, April 24

April 24, 2009

blme-hesselblad-apr-24Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad
Faglavik, Sweden, June 4, 1870 – Rome, April 24, 1957

Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad was born in the village of Faglavik, Sweden on June 4, 1870, to a Lutheran family. At seventeen, she sailed for New York to seek employment, but once arriving there was hospitalized in an institution for the terinally ill. She prayed, If the Lord heals me, I will become a nurse. Elizabeth recovered, and was taken to Roosevelt Hospital. Her conversion was a reon August 15, 1902, she received baptism in the Catholic Church. In 1903, she went to Rome where she discovered the house of Saint Brigida, Piazza Farnese and realized that the Lord was calling her for a special mission. Undertaking a series of trips to Europe to make known her intention to resurrect the Order of St. Bridget, which numbered few who were scattered. Encouraged by S. Pius X, in 1911 she was able to begin her work, which was finally approved in 1940. Mother Elizabeth died in Rome at age 87, on April 24, 1957. An extraordinary pioneer of ecumenical dialogue, she was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 9, 2000.
Read the rest of this entry »

Blessed Sebastian de Riccafont, April 23

April 23, 2009

blessed-sebastian-of-riccafont-apr-23Blessed Sebastian de Riccafont, Mercedario
April 23

Indefatigable missionary, Blessed Sebastian de Riccafont, who fought the devil spadroneggiavva idolaters among the Indians converted an incalculable number. He destroyed the idols, planted the Holy Cross, founded several monasteries and, full of holy works, he left a good name, dying in the kiss of the Lord.

The Order celebrates him on April 23.

Pope Saint Caius, April 22

April 23, 2009


Pope St. Caius
Martyred 296
Pope from 17/12/283 to 22/04/296

We have little definite information about Pope St. Caius. Iit was said that he was a relative of the Emperor Diocletian and was also an uncle of an unidentified holy Susanna. He also made up the final structure of the lower orders. The information is not verifiable, but seems to preclude his martyrdom, because – on the threshold of Peter from 283 to 296 – he died before the Diocletian persecution was unleashed.

Roman Martyrology: At Rome in the cemetery of Callistus on the Via Appia, the deposition of St. Caius, pope, who fled from the persecution of Diocletian, dying a confessor of the faith.

Legend has it that Caius was born in the Dalmatian city of Salona (nda: Solin is about 5 km NE of Split), to a noble family related to the Roman emperor Diocletian.

Pope Caius was consecrated on December 17, 283. However, during his pontificate, the anti-repression was much attenuated. There were concessions for the construction of new churches and the expansion of cemeteries.

At the same time, on the home front, heresies multiplied. The last in chronological order was that of “Mitra” (nda: manicheistic type of heresy, of Asian origin, for which God assumed the heavenly contrast of light and of darkness).

His remains were first placed in the cemetery of San Callisto, in 1631, in what was his house in Rome, which then became a church. In 1880, when the church was demolished to build the Ministry of War, in via XX settembre, his relics were transferred to the chapel of the Barberini family.

Author: Franco Prevato

Source: Santi e Beati

Purifying Fire or Fire of Judgement?

April 22, 2009

Comment: According to the Catholic explanation we are purified through fire and not through Christ.

Response: No, you are misunderstanding. All purification is “through Christ” in a universal or global theological sense. But He uses various methods to purify or discipline us. We are not making this up. The idea of fire as a purifier comes directly from Sacred Scripture.

Below are scriptures supporting the idea of fire as a purifier and the commenter’s interpretation to the contrary.

Matthew 3:11 “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Baptism and fire are cleansing)

Commenter‘s Interpretation: Matthew 3:11 baptism of fire is Jesus’ judgment on the unjust cast into the lake of fire

Matthew 3:12“His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Commenter‘s Interpretation: Matthew 3:12 also refers to judgment of fire

Mark 9:49 “For everyone will be salted with fire.

Commenter’s Interpretation: Mark 9:49 once again God’s eternal judgment

1 Corinthians 3:13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.

1 Corinthians 3:15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Commenter’s Interpretation: 1 Cor. 3:11, 15 refers to the testing of the genuiness of our faith on earth as to whether it is true or just mirage (see 1 Peter 1:7 below)

Response: That is your interpretation but the problem with it is that faith is not what is being talked about in the context of these verses. What is tested is: works.
I Cor. 3:13 specifically says,”his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.

I Corinthians 3:3- 14 Are you not acting like mere men? 4For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men?

5What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

10By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

1 Peter 1:7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

Jude 1:22-24 Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy mixed with fear–hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

Commenter’s Interpretation:Jude 1:22-24 refers to how we are to witness to others. Whether it be with mercy or with drastic measures.

Response: I agree with your interpretation here but in addition to that, we see it as aiding those in Purgatory with our prayers.

Commenter’s Interpretation:None of the above verses you listed refer to a purification by fire, on the contrary they refer to a judgment by fire.

Response: But you see, that is your interpretation. We interpret it differently. So, both of our interpretations support our theology. The difference is that our interpretation has a much more ancient pedigree than yours. I want to follow Jesus and His apostles and what they taught. And for me the best way to do that is to find out what the very first Christians believed and how they might have interpreted these verses.

Notable Quotables

April 22, 2009

Monday, April 21, 2008

Popular Catholic Quotations

5 bob to: Phat Catholic Apologetics


Listen Up: Mike Aquilina

April 21, 2009


Monday, April 21, 2008

Mike Aquilina

From Spirit Catholic Radio in Nebraska comes a series of programs from perhaps the foremost patristics scholar in America today. Mike Aquilina’s work has been rather exhaustive and he’s exceedingly good at making the early Fathers accessible. If you’ve ever been confronted by someone who claims that the Early Church wasn’t Catholic or that the Catholic Church was invented by Constantine (ala Dan Brown), be sure to be prepared by having listened to at least a few of these programs.

Mike is author or editor of more than a dozen books on Catholic history, Read the rest of this entry »

Matt Barber: ‘”Gay” Sex Kills’

April 21, 2009

“Gay” Sex Kills

“In light of the irrefutable medical facts, it should be considered criminally reckless for educators to teach children that homosexual conduct is a normal, safe and perfectly acceptable alternative form of sexual expression (or ‘sexual orientation’). “


Commentary by J. Matt Barber

April 21, 2008 ( – Can you imagine officials at a middle school, junior high or high school setting aside a day to promote “tolerance” for heavy smoking and drinking among children?  How about a day where teachers encourage kids to “embrace who they are,” pick up that crack pipe and give it a stiff toke? 

Neither can I.  The public would go ballistic, and for good reason.   

But that hasn’t stopped officials in thousands of schools across the country Read the rest of this entry »

Vocations Crunch?

April 21, 2009
1. I’ve said it since I was 12, and someone touched on it above: “There is no shortage of priests; just an overabundance of false Catholics.” We have have hundreds of people filling pews and going to Communion, yet dozens in line for confessions–if a parish is lucky. Polls show that, for example, over 90% of US Catholics say contraception is OK.

2. Archbishop Curtiss of Omaha has said outright that there is no shortage of priests: liberal bishops intentionally put good priests in “administrative” and “teaching” jobs so they can justify giving “pastoral administrator” jobs to divorced women and liberal nuns. He also talks about the intentional rejection of good candidates because of their orthodoxy.

3. Deacons can be married, and the restoratino of the diaconate by Vatican II was meant to help the priest shortage *that was already underway well before the council*. Has that helped? No.

4. Ordination has always been considered an impediment to marriage. However, ironically, the Vatican will allow Latin deacons to remarry if they meet certain conditions of necessity (for example, the deacon has young children and is widowed), and get case-by-case approval from the bishop. However, the result of this exception is that bishops pre-screen deacon candidates for these “conditions”. So, if you’re a Roman Catholic father with 8+ kids, you’re not likely to be considered for the diaconate unless your kids are already out of the house. if you’re an RC who”s contracepted and has 2 kids, you’re all set for the diaconate.

5. I think that the main reason why mandatory celibacy will be lifted–if it ever is–will be none other than _The Theology of the Body_. The main reason for celibacy was anccient rules about fasting from marital relations before Communion (it was also a reason for the infrequent Communion of laity). From what I’ve read, a married priest in the first 1000 years of the Church had to coordinate his sacramental life and his sex life, or just practice complete continence, anyway.

Those fasting requirements were lifted a long time ago. If celibacy is lifted, it’s because JPII has finally opened up a new level of theological appreciation for human sexuality which has been suggested by many before him (he specifically gave credit to Dietrich von Hildebrand and C. S. Lewis for inspiring “the theology of the body”), and even having its roots in Scripture and such ascetic-minded theologians as St. Augustine, but has existed only in a very germinal state until now.

April 21: Saint Apollonio Of Rome, Martyr

April 21, 2009
Saint Apollonio Of Rome, †175

Don’t Catholic Beliefs Oppose Scripture?

April 20, 2009

Q. But Catholics believe things that are un-Scriptural. We can’t believe things that oppose scripture.

A. I agree. Nothing the Catholic Church teaches opposes anything in Scripture.

Our beliefs only oppose the Protestant INTERPRETATION of Scripture. That is different than opposing Scripture itself.

But then, this is exactly why there has to be some way to determine which interpretation is accurate. Since the writings, contained in the Bible, are very voluminous all kinds of interpretations are possible, as evidenced by +40,000 Protestant sects. But, there is NO final authority in all of Protestantism that is able to infallibly define what any scripture in particular means or what must be believed. And everything in the Bible MUST be interpreted/understood to create doctrine. It doesn’t explain itself in every instance.

In order to clarify how interpretations of words alone can vary without underlying background or history for those words, take this one seemingly simple sentence.

I never said I stole the money.

The meaning of this sentence seems simple enough. But I can show you how it can actually be interpreted in several different ways. All using the same words. Italics
is for emphasis.

I never said I stole the money.

Meaning: I didn’t say that, someone else did….

I never said I stole the money.

Meaning: I wrote it, used sign language, implied it etc.

I never said I stole the money.

Meaning: I said someone else stole the money.

I never said I stole the money.

Meaning: I embezzled it, I lost it, the accounts didn’t balance etc.

I never said I stole the money.

Meaning: I stole something else.

These are perhaps, other interpretations possible with these words. Obviously the Bible doesn’t use emphasis as I have done. But a similar problem occurs because in Hebrew this sentence would be


So someone has to decide where one word ends and another begins…..for millions of sentences in the OT. What is a tremendous help to translators is the Greek Septuagint, the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek by the Jewish scholars, according to the Traditional readings of these scriptures in Judaism.

Also, there was no punctuation in the Greek and punctuation can change the meaning of a sentence by grouping words into a phrase that otherwise might be read differently.

For instance, in my Protestant RSV I have:

Luke 23:43: And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

The comma placement indicates that the thief would go to Paradise on Friday, the day of his death, thus seeming to provide Protestant evidence to discount the Doctrine of Purgatory.

But, if the comma is moved it could be:

Luke 23:43: “Truly, I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise.”

In this sentence, with the comma moved, Jesus is not saying when the man will enter Paradise, He is simply emphasizing what He is saying TODAY—on this day. Which aligns better with the fact that we know Jesus did not go to Paradise/Heaven on Friday b/c He tells Mary Magdalene on Sunday morning that He hasn’t ascended to the Father yet. So, presumably, neither has the Good Thief.

So, since the Bible cannot interpret itself it must be interpreted. And there must be a final authority able to determine: Yes, this interpretation aligns with the FAITH. or No, that interpretation does not align with the Faith. If every man interprets scripture according to “what is right in his own eyes” there can be no unity.

April 20, 2009

Locations of visitors to this page

Fr Zuhlsdorf did this on his blog.

Even if you only read and do not leave comments, I would like to know where you call home. Leave a comment with the town and country.

Where in the world are you?

April 20: Blessed Chiara Bosatta

April 20, 2009

Blessed Chiara Bosatta, 1858 – 1887

Blessed Anastazy Jakub Pankiewicz, April 20

April 20, 2009

blessed-anastazy-jakub-pankiewicz-priest-and-martyr-apr-20Blessed Anastazy Jakub Pankiewicz, Priest and Martyr
Nagórzany, Poland, July 9, 1882 – Linz, Austria, April 20, 1942

Jakub Pankiewicz was born in Nagorzanach, Poland, July 9, 1882. He was accepted by the Friars Minor in the Province of the Immaculate Conception in 1900. He made his solemn profession of vows on February 24, 1904, taking the name Anastazy. Ordained a priest in 1906, he was Guardian in various fraternities, built the minor seminary in the industrial city of Lodz and was among the founders of the Congregation of the Sisters of Christ the King Antoniana. Arrested on October 10, 1941, he was interned in Dachau. He died April 20, 1942, on the road leading to the crematorium of Hartheim near Linz in Austria. Preparing himself for death with the Sacrament of Reconciliation, he helped a fellow prisoner on board the car after a German soldier closed the door of the car cutting both his hands. His body was burned and the ashes were scattered. John Paul II beatified him in Warsaw on June 13, 1999 with 107 other Polish martyrs.
Read the rest of this entry »

4 Years Ago Today

April 19, 2009

Time flies!

April 19: Pope Saint Leo IX

April 19, 2009

Pope Saint Leo IX, 1002 – 1054

Blessed Bernard of Sithiu, Penitent, April 19

April 19, 2009

blessed-bernard-of-sithiu-apr-191Blessed Bernard of Sithiu, Penitent
+ 19 April 1182

Roman Martyrology: At the monastery of Saint-Bertin in the territory of France in Thérouanne, transit of Blessed Bernardo, penitent, who, eager to atone for the sins of his youth with an austere penitence, voluntarily chose exile, and, barefooted, with wearing garments of wool and happy just a park board, was a tireless pilgrim to the holy places.

The few reports received about the life of Blessed Bernard of Sithiu are those handed down in the writings of John of Sithiu, abbot in 1187, a source of extraordinary interest and value to deepen the knowledge of the character. I also mention Bolland October 1170 a letter with which the Archbishop of Narbonne condemned Bernard package. There was also handed the Office composed in his honor and in 1465 an inventory of his remains are cited Quli “relics of St Bernard, penitent. ” Read the rest of this entry »

What is Lacking Christ?

April 18, 2009

Bread From Heaven: But how can “what was lacking in Christ’s afflictions” possibly refer to a “lacking of time”? Can you support this with scripture?

Comment: Yes, Christ’s time on this earth was limited. His ability to walk and spread the gospel was limited.

Response: Of course I agree that His time on earth was limited. But I fail to understand how, limited time = what was lacking in Christ’s afflictions.

Comment: Lets put it in context:

Col 1:24-29 Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church….of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. to this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.

Paul is referencing His sacrificial service of spreading the gospel of Christ.

Response: I agree. And all that Paul suffered in this worthy endeavor, even simply the giving of his time rather than spending it upon his own desires was “filling up what was lacking”. This life was a concrete life of self denial, of taking up his cross and following Christ. This is a very good image of what we mean by beginning our purification in this life.

Comment: Paul is not saying that Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary was lacking.

Response: Well, what Paul says is,

Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.

If what you mean, is that Jesus’ death on the cross accomplished all that God planned for it to accomplish. I agree. Absolutely. Amen! We do not in any way mean that His death fell short of what God planned. Or that Jesus somehow failed in His mission, goofed up, gave up too soon, blew it, fell short or anything like that. NOT AT ALL.

We say that, by the sovereign PLAN of God, Jesus would die to accomplish the forgiveness of the ETERNAL consequences of sin. He did that. Mission completed… perfectly.

But, the Catholic Church teaches, ALSO, that by the sovereign PLAN of God, all people, in order to enter into the presence of HIS GLORY, have to accomplish the forgiveness of the TEMPORAL consequences of sin, in order to be totally purified. Only God knows exactly what this entails for each individual. But, we do know we can begin the process of our purification by:

  1. Resisting sin so we don’t continue to pile on more and more of that which we will need purification.
  2. Self denial-Acts of charity, prayer, evangelization, acceptance of crosses from Christ, good works

Comment: IF that were the case, it would have been stated at least one more time in God’s word, and it just isn’t there.

Response: But surely you don’t mean that:

if something is in scripture only one time we can safely ignore it


it is not true


something like that.

I am sure you do not know what the ramifications of this kind of hermeneutic is. Below are events, parables, etc. that are only mentioned once in Scripture. I am sure there are thousands more if we look at the OT or the other books of the NT:


  1. Visit of the wise men (2)
  2. flight into Egypt (2)
  3. Much of the Sermon on the Mount is only in Matthew (Ch 5-7)
  4. Healing two blind men (9:27)
  5. The hidden treasue, dragnet, and pearl parables (13:44 ff)
  6. Shekle in the fish mouth (17:24)
  7. Parable o the laborers (Mt 20)
  8. Parable of the two sons-lazy and obedient (21:28)
  9. Parable of the 10 virgins (25)
  10. Last Judgement (25)
  11. Parable of the sheep & goats(25)
  12. Soldiers when tomb opens(28)
  13. Report of the soldiers to the Jewish authorities (28:11)

And these are just the ones we find in the Gospel of Matthew. Large sections of Luke and John would also be excluded if we reject, as scripture, that which is mentioned only one time.

Divine Mercy Comes To Tajikistan

April 18, 2009


Divine Mercy Enthroned in Former Soviet Nation


Mission Director Says Devotion Proves Love Stronger Than Hate

By Nieves San Martín

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, APRIL 8, 2008 ( A former Soviet nation in Central Asia has a renewed opportunity to grow in devotion to God’s mercy after two images were enthroned in the “sui iuris” mission. Read the rest of this entry »

Divine Mercy Sunday, 2nd Sunday of Easter

April 18, 2009

divine-mercy1Divine Mercy Sunday

In 1931, Our Lord appeared to Saint Faustina in a vision. She saw Jesus clothed in a white garment with His right hand raised in blessing. His left hand was touching His garment in the area of the heart, from where two large rays came forth, one red and the other pale. She gazed intently at the Lord in silence, her soul filled with awe, but also with great joy. Jesus said to her:

“Paint an image according to the pattern you see with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You … I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory” ………“I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature: ‘Jesus, I trust in You’ “

Blessed Father Michal Sopocko, Saint Faustina’s confessor and spiritual director.

Blessed Savina Petrilli, April 18

April 18, 2009


Blessed Savina Petrilli

Siena, August 29, 1851 – April 18, 1923

Roman Martyrology: In Siena, Blessed Sabina Petrilli, virgin, who founded the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena to meet the needs of girls in need and the poor.

Savina Petrilli was born in Siena on August 29, 1851, the second daughter of Celso and Matilde Venturini. At age 15, she was enrolled in the Congregation of the Daughters of Mary and was elected president. Two years later, she issed her first vow of virginity for a year. In 1869 she was received by Pope Pius IX, who urged her to walk in the footsteps of St. Catherine. On August 15, 1873 in the chapel of the family home, with five others, she issued her vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, in the presence of her confessor and with the consent of Archbishop Mgr. Enrico Bindi, who granted permission to begin work for the benefit of the poor. Read the rest of this entry »

Worth Revisiting One Year Later: “Peter, Rock of Ages”

April 18, 2009

“Need I mention that the Catholic Church long antedated the US government, and there will be a pope long after there is no US president?” rhetroically asks Lew Rockwell — Pope and President. Mr. Rockwell then quotes this remarkable piece of rheortic from “the great 19th century classical-liberal (and Protestant) historian, Thomas Babington Macaulay:”

    There is not, and there never was on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church. The history of that Church joins together the two great ages of human civilisation. No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre. The proudest royal houses are but of yesterday, when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiffs. That line we trace back in an unbroken series, from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the eighth; and far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends, till it is lost in the twilight of fable. The republic of Venice came next in antiquity. But the republic of Venice was modern when compared with the Papacy; and the republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains. The Papacy remains, not in decay, not a mere antique, but full of life and youthful vigour. The Catholic Church is still sending forth to the farthest ends of the world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustin, and still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila. The number of her children is greater than in any former age. Her acquisitions in the New World have more than compensated for what she has lost in the Old. Her spiritual ascendency extends over the vast countries which lie between the plains of the Missouri and Cape Horn, countries which a century hence, may not improbably contain a population as large as that which now inhabits Europe. The members of her communion are certainly not fewer than a hundred and fifty millions; and it will be difficult to show that all other Christian sects united amount to a hundred and twenty millions. Nor do we see any sign which indicates that the term of her long dominion is approaching. She saw the commencement of all the governments and of all the ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all. She was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch, when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s.

My jaw dropped when I first came across and pondered that phrase “before the Saxon had set foot on Britain” a few years ago.


Friday’s Flannery: The Life You Save May Be Your Own, by Flannery O’Connor

April 17, 2009


One of a series of occasional commentaries on the short stories of Flannery O’Connor, Friday’s Flannery.

This is one tough story, but it cracks open fresh like a newly laid egg when read with an eye for classic Catholic imagery which surrounded Flannery O’Connor and which, as a devout Catholic, inhabited her soul.


It begins with a scene under the setting sun.  Lucynell, the mother, sitting on her front porch with Lucynell her deaf-mute daughter, sizes up a character coming up her long dusty farm drive.  Mr. Shiftlet is a drifter;  he’s one-armed and harmless.  He admires the setting sun and says he’d like to stay in a place that had such a vista every night.  She assured him her place did, every night.

Among their introductory small talk, he asks about an old jalopy in the yard.  She explains it hadn’t run in years, since her husband died.  He, trying to make agreeable small talk and sound profound at the same time, gives a little lecture on a doctor in Atlanta who had removed and held in his hand a human heart.  Mr. Shiftlet declares that no matter how a doctor may cut up a human heart he would not know more about it than he or the old woman did.  She agreed.  He assured her he was a man of moral intelligence, but she is less than convinced at this point. Read the rest of this entry »

Scripture and Purgatory

April 16, 2009

Bread From Heaven: God could have decided to save us in the way the Protestant Churches teach. Christ’s death COULD have sufficed completely, in the way Protestants believe and reject the necessity of absolute, real, material, holiness and perfection and purification…GOD COULD HAVE CHOSEN TO DO IT THAT WAY. And we admit that He certainly could have chosen to let us into Heaven putrid with sin but accept Jesus’ covering. But scripture would have been written very differently then, in that case.

It is not that we trample the scrifice underfoot. We simply submit to what the Church has always taught and believed.**

Comment: God DID choose to purify us through Christ’s death.

Response: So, you are completely pure? and sinless now? If not, then you have not been completely healed of the effects of original sin. You are still wounded.

Comment: I am concerned for your emphasis on what the “Church” teaches. You should truly focus on what God has taught us. The word of God which I have quoted mulitple times CLEARLY states that we are cleansed through the blood of Christ. Christ’s death has completed erased our sins and continues to do so.

Response: When we say, “The Church teaches….” It is no different than when someone says “The Bible teaches…” or “The Bible says…” The implication is clearly what we believe God is teaching.

Comment: If you say that we are not covered by his blood after our salvation, then you deny Gods omnipotence. For God is the same yesterday as he is today and remains for all eternity.

Response: I am denying God’s omnipotence only in your own imagination. It is uncharitable for you to denigrate my reverence for God just because I don’t interpret scripture the same way as you do.

Comment:1 John 1:7-9 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son CLEANSES us from ALL sin…..If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Response: OK, wonderful verse. But we both know that it does not intersect with reality as we know it, if we interpret it your way. The fact remains that, in spite of the fact that we sincerely believe in Jesus…we simply are not actually cleansed from ALL unrighteousness. We still sin.

But this verse does intersect with reality as we know it in ourselves when we examine the Catholic interpretation. Rather than absolutely ALL, the all in this verse must be talking about ALL (ETERNAL) CONSEQUENCES OF SIN/UNRIGHTEOUSNESS.

Comment:1 John 2:1-2 And if anyone sins, we have an ADVOCATE with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

Response: I can only agree with this verse.

Comment:Romans 8: 1 There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Response: Again I agree. The CCC even says the purification of Purgatory is entirely different than the punishment of the damned/condemned.

Comment: Trust God, trust God’s word, Trust in His Holy Spirit to guide you. If anything goes against His word(the Bible), it is in error and is not to be trusted.

Response: I could not agree more. And there is nothing in the Catholic Faith that contradicts one thing in Sacred Scripture. NOTHING. What the Catholic Faith contradicts in NOT Scripture but Protestant Interpretation of Scripture. That is something different.

But, this is so hard for Protestants to grasp because they are convinced that they are able to infallibly interpret scripture, even though they would never make this claim for themselves. That is what it boils down to. So, they also think they can infallibly judge the Catholic Church and any number of other churches, to be in error according to their private interpretation of scripture. I was a die hard sola scriptura Protestant. I could never have become Catholic if there were blatant contradictions of scripture. Catholic interpretation of Scripture is more credible because the writers in the very first century interpreted scripture the same way as the Church does today. The Protestant Churches have new and modern interpretations and there are so many variations among the Protestant sects it makes one dizzy.

Comment: Catholic tradition is unscriptural, and therefore blasphemous.

Response: Do you reject the verse below?

2 Thessalonians 2:15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

Where in Scripture does it say that we can only believe things about the faith that are in scripture?

Friday’s Flannery: A Late Encounter with the Enemy by Flannery O’Connor

April 16, 2009


After a long hiatus, I have decided to take up again Friday’s Flannery, beginning with the wonderfully odd story of the “General” whose death is told in “A Late Encounter with the Enemy.”

Flannery’s stories often concern death. She herself was slowly dying throughout most of her writing career owing to a case of lupus which at an earlier age she had watched as it inevitably, painfully took her father’s life. Flannery was long and intimately familiar with death and its impending visitation.

The “General” was no general at all. At 104 most of his life he had already forgotten. Memory having failed him and his body as well, he had little to look forward to other than brief moments when he had his picture taken with festival parade queens and some Hollywood models. He had little to look back upon, little to look forward to except the brief occasions when he served as a prop recalling a fading collective memory of a South long since past and quickly losing its significance in the modern world except as a subject for movies. It was not the Confederate Army, nor the Federal Army that had made him a General, but Hollywood. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Birthday

April 16, 2009

Ratzinger & Ratzinger.
See: “When your little brother is Pope”

April 16: Saint Benedict Joseph Labre

April 16, 2009

Holy Spirit Leads us Into All Truth

April 14, 2009

Commenter: What the teachings of R.C have done is put God in a box, they have single handedly taken away His grace and His omnipotence. This removal of his grace and power is only limited to the confines of R.C.

Response: If the Catholic Church could do that wouldn’t it be more powerful than God?

Commenter: I know that God is big enough, powerful enough and loving enough to offer me all of His grace, and through His Holy Spirit I am taught.

Response: Yes, God can do anything He chooses to do. I assume your meaning is that you do not need the Catholic Church b/c God can work outside of it if He wants to. And I agree. However, when the Israelites were in the wilderness and the LORD sent serpents to bite them He also prescribed a remedy for the deadly snakebites. Moses lifted up a bronze serpent on a pole and told the people to look at it and they would be saved. What would have happened if Moses had said, “That is not necessary. God can heal them without me going to all that trouble.” Or what if some of the people dying of snake bite said, ” I don’t need to look at the snake Moses is lifting up. God can heal me without it.”

God is not bound by anything He does not bind himself by. But it is wise for us not to disobey through philosopy and empty deception. Col. 2:8. I hope you would follow the Truth even if it led you to the Catholic Church.

Q. Do you really believe that God would leave the world with the most important set of documents which teach us about Him, and not give us the ability to understand?

A. Of course we can understand. But understanding scripture as we read it and accurately interpreting it are two very different things. What I am saying is that individuals are not free to make up their own beliefs and Christian religion based on their own private interpretation. 2 Peter 1:20-21

We believe God provided for His people an even greater safeguard than merely being able to understand Sacred Scriptures. He gave us Scripture and the gift of an infallible authority to ensure the correct interpretation of those Sacred Scriptures according to the Faith of the Apostles.

Commenter: 2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”

Response: This is Paul an apostle and bishop writing to Timothy bishop of Ephesus. Based on the context this is not an absolute command for everyman. It is good for all of us to do but not incumbent upon us as it is upon the Shepherd of the Church of Christ.

Commenter: John 16:12-15… All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.

Response: Jesus is speaking to the Apostles. This is not meant for everyman based on the context.

Commenter: 1 Cor. 2:10 & 12 but God has reveled it to us by his Spirit…..We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.

Response: Of course.

Commenter: 2 Peter 1:20-21 Above all you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Response: I agree completely that Scripture is not a matter of private interpretation.

Commenter: John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13…But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into ALL truth.

Response: In a general sense of course the Holy Spirit guides us. But the HS does not guide every single individual who prayerfully sits down to read scripture into ALL TRUTH. If He did all Christians who base their faith solely upon the Bible would believe EXACTLY the same thing. Protestant see themselves as heirs of the Apostles and nothing less and so take these verses to apply to themselves, absolutely. But the reality of this belief is doctrinal chaos +40,000 different sects.

Catholics, on the other hand see the Pope and Bishops only, as direct the heirs of the Apostles. Therefore, this promise is to the Shepherds of the Church NOT to every single individual. And this has brought unity of doctrine. And anyone is able to see what the Church officially teaches in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Comment: It is by the authority of God’s own word and his Holy Spirit that I claim the ability to interpret scripture for myself. You, if you are in Christ and Christ is in you, are also able to do so.

Response: I assume you would use some of the above verses, with which I would have to disagree. But I wonder, then do you then believe that anyone who interprets Scripture differently than you must not be led by the Holy Spirit, since our God is NOT a God of confusion? I Cor. 14;33

Happy Easter!

April 12, 2009

Miracle of Yom Kippur–>Miracle of the Eucharist

April 10, 2009

Several years ago I read Roy Schoeman’s book Salvation is from the Jews. He tells the story of his conversion to the Catholic Faith. He was formerly a devout Jew. I was struck with his story about the Jewish Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur. I had never heard of this before and I was skeptical. So I contacted a university library and paid for copies of the references in the Talmud (Yoma 39) and Zohar ((Vayikra, Section 3). Mr. Schoeman’s quotes were absolutely accurate. I would like to share it with you on this Good Friday.

Excerpted from:Salvation is From the Jews by Roy Schoeman pp. 130-132.

Both the Talmud and Zohar contain accounts of how in the days of the Temple, the High Priest would once a year–on Yom Kippur, or the “Day of Atonement”–enter the Holy of Holies and offer sacrifice for the atonement of the sin of all Israel. Both mention the “miracle of the scarlet thread, in which a scarlet thread would miraculously turn white as the sign that God had accepted the sacrifice. From the account in the Zohar (Vayikra, Section 3, condensed)

All the sins are (taken) away…. on this day, the defilement of the soul and of the body…All that day…God makes atonement for Israel and purifies them from all their sins and they are not accused before Him…On this day the priest….makes atonement for himself and his house and the priests and the sanctuary of all Israel…They used to know by a certain thread of scarlet if the priest had been successful…It was known by the thread changing its color to white, when there was rejoicing above and below. If it did not, however, all were distressed, knowing that their prayer had not been accepted.

The scarlet thread turning white would be the sign that God had accepted the sacrifice and forgiven the Jewish people their sins (“though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; though they be crimson red they may become white as wool”–Isaiah 1:18) Yet the Talmud itself reports that forty years before the Temple was destroyed, this great miracle, which gave divine confirmation that the High Priest’s sacrifice had been accepted taking away the sins of the Jewish people, ceased to occur. The passage from the Talmud reads (Rosh Hashanah 31b):

Originally they used to fasten the thread of scarlet on the door of the Temple court on the outside. If it turned white the people used to rejoice, and if it did not turn white they were sad…For forty years before the destruction of the Temple the thread of scarlet never turned white but it remained red.

The Temple was destroyed about 70 A.D.; hence the miracle ceased to occur at about 30 A.D., which is precisely when the crucifixion took place—the crucifixion that replaced the sacrifices of the Old Covenant with that of Jesus on the Cross. According to the New Testament at the very moment that Jesus died on the Cross the curtain of the Temple that separated off the Holy of Holies was rent in two, symbolizing the end of the efficacy of the sacrifices of the Old Covenant. It is the Talmud itself that unwittingly confirms this when it recounts that from that time on—forty years before the desruction of the Temple in 70A.D.–the scarlet thread never again turned white.

And in the New Covenant we have the miracle of transubstantion at every celebration of the Sacrifice of Christ.

Below are two online sources of this practice and it’s extinction.

Tabernacle in Branson
Later on in Temple history a certain ritual was added to all of this, using three scarlet woolen ropes. One scarlet rope was tied to the horns of the sacrificial goat, one was tied to the horns of the scapegoat and one hung from the front of the temple. After all the Yom Kippur sacrifices were completed by the High Priest a mighty miracle took place. The scarlet rope hanging from the temple supernaturally turned “white”. This was God’s sign to the Israelites that their sins were forgiven, conforming to Isa. 1:18, “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow”.

However, immediately after the crucifixion of Yeshua (Jesus) and for the next 40 years until the Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., the scarlet cord never turned “white” again. This, too, was God’s answer to the Israelites – that there was no need for that to happen any longer because the sacrifice of Yeshua, the “blood of atonement” that He shed on the tree of sacrifice, put an end to the Mosaic sacrificial system.

Wild Olive
The Talmud, the Jewish sacred writings second only in importance to the Tanach, record that one of the sacrificial animals had a scarlet cord tied around its neck, which turned white when GOD had accepted atonement for the people. This miracle occurred every nearly every year for around 1500 years but did not occur again from the year Jesus was crucified until the Temple was destroyed and all Temple worship ceased. (Talmud yoma 39a)

Good Friday

April 10, 2009

Divine Mercy Novena – Starts TODAY

April 10, 2009

How to pray The Divine Mercy Chaplet

Today is the day that we remember that Christ died for our sins. We are going to watch the movie, The Passion of the Christ. It is a good way to visually focus on what Our Lord did for us. I have to also say that I love how as Catholics we have the corpus “body” on our crosses, known as a crucifix. It is yet another visual reminder of what Christ did for all of us. A cross is nice, but a crucifix is even better…in my opinion. Read the rest of this entry »

Worth Revisiting One Year Later: What Is Orthodox Theology?

April 9, 2009

What is Orthodox Theology?

“What almost always passes for ‘Orthodox theology’ among English-speaking Orthodox these days is actually just a branch of the larger Orthodox picture. Indeed, it tends sometimes to be rather sectarian.

The Orthodox Church is an ancient castle, as it were, of which only two or three rooms have been much in use since about 1920. These two or three rooms were furnished by the Russian émigrés in Paris between the two Read the rest of this entry »


April 8, 2009

Q. What is the point of saying Jesus quoted from the Septuagint version of the Hebrew Scriptures ? He didn’t quote from the “Apocrypha” so it doesn’t mean anything if He quoted from legitimate OT books. He still did not quote from the Apocrypha so why should they be in the Canon of Scripture?

A. The purpose of pointing out that Jesus quoted from and accepted the Septuagint version of the Hebrew Scriptures is for the very reason that that version CONTAINED the seven books disputed by Protestants.

But where does it say in scripture that the only acceptable books in the OT are those that Jesus quoted from? Please see my post on this very topic HERE

You will find several passages from the so called “apocrypha” that are definitely echoed in the NT.

If you read the whole post you will find that there are many other books accepted in the Protestant OT that Jesus and the apostles did NOT quote from.

And other pagan writings that they DID quote from.

So, I am afraid there is just no consistency for determining the Canon of Scripture using this hermenutic.

For more on the Canon click–>Five Myths about the Seven Books

Meditation on a Meditation: At the Foot of the Cross

April 8, 2009


At the foot of the cross, we were so much the object of thought of both mother and Son that the Savior looking down on her with love as he was dying spoke to her a last time. He spoke, not of himself, nor of her, but of us only. … He presented us all to Mary in the person of John as he said to her: “Woman, behold your son.” — Blessed Basil Moreau (JTC p. 129, Sermons)

It is a common wisdom that at times of physical or emotional suffering there is a kind of relief that comes when we focus on the suffering of another—when we minister to others in need. The Works of Mercy are offered for the sake of another but also have the effect of lessening our own suffering.

There are several devotions which help focus this sympathetic response in us. I first experienced the power of these meditations while on a day-long Stations of the Cross which passed through the neighborhoods of Canto Grande, Peru. Arriving at the fourth station where Jesus meets his mother, an image of Mary was brought out to meet our traveling image of Christ crucified. An outbreak of tears throughout the crowd released countless burdens as the people witnessed the power of a mother’s sorrow at the suffering of her son.

In my own life, the contemplation of Mary’s sorrows at the foot of the cross has many times relieved blinding physical pain no medication could touch. Read the rest of this entry »

1 Year Later: Paola Brenda sacrifices life for “gift of motherhood, the gift of having children”

April 8, 2009

Paola Brenda sacrifices life for “gift of motherhood, the gift of having children”

By Michael Baggot

PIEVE DI SOLIGO, Italy, May 1, 2008 ( – In an act of sacrifice comparable to that of pro-life patroness St. Gianna Beretta Molla, Italian mother Paola Breda recently died after having declined potentially life-saving cancer treatment that could have harmed her unborn child.

Breda was diagnosed with breast cancer six months into her pregnancy with her child Nicola, but postponed treatment until after Nicola’s birth.

During her funeral, Vittorio Veneto Bishop Corrado Pizziolo called Breda an exemplification of Jesus Christ’s Gospel call “to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

“What Jesus did – the Gospel which He lived for us – this is what we see carried out in the life of our sister,” said the Bishop according to the Italian newspaper Avvenire.

Father Giuseppe Nadal told Radio Vaticana that Breda was disappointed that she and her husband Loris Amodei were unable to have a child until a decade into their marriage.

Both Breda’s first child, Illaria, and her second child, Nicola, brought their mother great joy, said the priest. Fr. Nadal also recounted a teary-eyed Breda coming to him during her second pregnancy.

“‘I’ve been diagnosed with cancer, and they are suggesting chemotherapy, but that would hurt the baby. I absolutely don’t want that, because I always asked for the gift of motherhood, the gift of having children,” said Breda.

St. Molla was a Milanese pediatric doctor pregnant with her fourth child when she learned of a fibroma in her uterus and declined either the abortion or complete hysterectomy that would have saved her life.

Before surgery to rescue her unborn child, St. Molla told doctors, “If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child – I insist on it. Save him.”

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Paola Breda.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Prayer Intentions for April; a key Component for Receipt of Indulgences

April 8, 2009


BENEDICT XVI’S PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR APRIL VATICAN CITY, 31 MAR 2009 (VIS) – Pope Benedict’s general prayer intention for April is: “That the Lord may bless farmers’ work with an abundant harvest and sensitise the richer populations to the drama of hunger in the world”. His mission intention is: “That the Christians who operate in the territories where the conditions of the poor, the weak and the women and children are most tragic, may be signs of hope, thanks to their courageous testimony to the Gospel of solidarity and love”. BXVI-PRAYER INTENTIONS/APRIL/… VIS 090331 (100)