Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ANTI-CATHOLICISM IS ALIVE AND WELL ON THE NET

I just had the pleasure of seeing a great example of anti-Catholic writing on another blog (http://jezebel.com/5051207/the-vatican-vote-against-abortion-or-be-damned#c7817647). Sad how so many can distort the teaching of the Church. It is the typical nonsense that claims the Church is telling candidates and politicians how to vote. The Church does not deny the right of any particular politician to vote his conscience. The Church has just clearly stated that for a Catholic to publicly support a "woman's right" to abortion puts one in opposition to the clear and consistent teaching of the the Church, and therefore, that person should not receive the Eucharist. Catholic politicians are certainly free to take any position on any particular issue, but, when a position is taken that puts them at odds with what the Church has clearly defined as a grave moral evil, then they have several options. They can leave the Church, reform their belief, or not receive the Eucharist. One can choose to not be a Catholic. But the nature of Catholicism is that one does not by himself have the option of deciding what actions are sinful. Perhaps Joe Biden (and Pelosi) would be happier as a Methodist.

OBAMA AND THE CATHOLIC VOTER

I am not sure how a faithful Catholic can justify a vote for Obama. He is a man that is clearly pro-abortion. He does not know if a child in the womb is entitled to the rights of a person. Apparently the subject is above his pay grade. His votes and actions and his support of abortion tell us otherwise. He believes the child in the womb has no rights. If he is unsure, then why would he not err on the side of caution and say that until we can answer the question of whether the child in the womb is a person, we must not permit abortion. For if the answer is determined that the child is a person, then to do anything to destroy that life would be a great evil. Even if one is sympathetic to Obama's politics, his abortion position should make it obvious that no Catholic in good conscience can support him.

CATHOLICISM AND AUTHORITY

The beauty of the Catholic Church is her authority. The pope and the magisterium protect the Christian from falling into error. It is clear that Peter had a place of primacy when one reads the gospels. He is the one that Jesus renamed from Simon to Peter. He is truly the rock. His confession in Matthew 16 is more than a confession of faith. Some of our separated brothers and sisters fail to read the relevant passages as a whole. It is Simon (soon to be Peter) that correctly answers the question of Jesus' true identity. After his identification Jesus confers the power of the keys. The promise of the keys is given to Peter alone, to no one else. The pope as the apostolic successor of Peter has those keys today. The notion of apostolic succession is not an invention of the Church. We see apostolic succession clearly demonstrated in Acts 1, 15-26. The reason we Catholics are so excited at times when in the presence of the pope is not because of him but because of who he is. He is the apostolic successor of Peter.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

CATHOLICISM AND LOGIC

There is a logic to Catholicism. While the innumerable protestant denominations struggle with issues such as embryonic stem cell research, abortion, same sex marriage, the Catholic Church has the advantage of the papacy which can speak to these and other issues by virtue of the apostolic authority of the successor of Peter. Even if one denies the notion of that succession, one must admit that the appeal of the apostolic succession and authority is a plus if true. Christ established the Church and said the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, that He would be with it always. Did He desire that the Christianity would be split into countless factions, each with their own monopoly on truth? I am convinced the answer is no. I think if one reads the earliest fathers of the Church, he or she will see that the primacy of Peter and his successors is evident. It is one of the reasons intelligent men and women throughout history have embraced the Church (Augustine, Edith Stein, G.K. Chesterton, Malcolm Muggeridge, Thomas Merton, John Henry Newman: converts all).

CATHOLICISM AND JOE BIDEN

But will Biden even read the statement?





WASHINGTON - Cardinal Justin F. Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William E. Lori, chairman, U.S. Bishops Committee on Doctrine, issued the following statement:
Recently we had a duty to clarify the Catholic Church’s constant teaching against abortion, to correct misrepresentations of that teaching by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on “Meet the Press” (see: here). On September 7, again on “Meet the Press,” Senator Joseph Biden made some statements about that teaching that also deserve a response.
Senator Biden did not claim that Catholic teaching allows or has ever allowed abortion. He said rightly that human life begins “at the moment of conception,” and that Catholics and others who recognize this should not be required by others to pay for abortions with their taxes.
However, the Senator’s claim that the beginning of human life is a “personal and private” matter of religious faith, one which cannot be “imposed” on others, does not reflect Catholic teaching. The Church teaches that the obligation to protect unborn human life rests on the answer to two questions, neither of which is private or specifically religious.
The first is a biological question: When does a new human life begin? When is there a new living organism of the human species, distinct from mother and father and ready to develop and mature if given a nurturing environment? While ancient thinkers had little verifiable knowledge to help them answer this question, today embryology textbooks confirm that a new human life begins at conception (see www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/bioethic/fact298.shtml). The Catholic Church does not teach this as a matter of faith; it acknowledges it as a matter of objective fact.
The second is a moral question, with legal and political consequences: Which living members of the human species should be seen as having fundamental human rights, such as a right not to be killed? The Catholic Church’s answer is: Everybody. No human being should be treated as lacking human rights, and we have no business dividing humanity into those who are valuable enough to warrant protection and those who are not. Even this is not solely a Catholic teaching, but a principle of natural law accessible to all people of good will. The framers of the Declaration of Independence pointed to the same basic truth by speaking of inalienable rights, bestowed on all members of the human race not by any human power, but by their Creator. Those who hold a narrower and more exclusionary view have the burden of explaining why we should divide humanity into the moral “haves” and “have-nots,” and why their particular choice of where to draw that line can be sustained in a pluralistic society. Such views pose a serious threat to the dignity and rights of other poor and vulnerable members of the human family who need and deserve our respect and protection.
While in past centuries biological knowledge was often inaccurate, modern science leaves no excuse for anyone to deny the humanity of the unborn child. Protection of innocent human life is not an imposition of personal religious conviction but a demand of justice.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

SARAH PALIN

I am not sure how the Sarah Palin choice as McCain's running mate will work out but I am happy with the choice. At first blush she seems intelligent and good on the podium. I am glad he selected someone so strongly pro-life. I think anything less than a pro-life choice for McCain would have been problematic. My preferred choice would have been the governor of Louisiana. Maybe that is my Catholic prejudice. Regardless this choice may bring the abortion question more to the forefront as the campaigns continue. It certainly is a contrast to the Biden selection. While he portrays himself as a Catholic, questions dog him regarding his pro-abortion reasoning. With Sarah Palin we have someone that has walked the talk when it comes to her faith and her pro-life stance. I pray for the success of the McCain/Palin ticket.

A PROTESTANT EMBRACES THE TRUTH OF CATHOLICISM

I just finished reading Steve Ray's book "Crossing the Tiber." Great book. Many protestants will not agree with him but he presents many rational reasons for his conversion to Catholicism. The book gives his reasoned response to questions many protestants have regarding the faith. He does so with the use of scripture, history, and the official teachings of the Church. Even if one does not agree with Mr. Ray, one can not argue that his conversion is not rational. The book underscores Fulton Sheen's belief that protestants do no hate the Catholic Church, they hate what they wrongly perceive and wrongly understand as Catholic teaching. I highly recommend this book as a starting point for someone investigating the Church.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

PELOSI, CATHOLICISM, AND ABORTION III

Some in in congress get it right. They even said, "John Paul the Great."


Catholic House Republicans to Pelosi: Correct the Record
08/27/2008
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Nineteen Catholic House Republicans led by Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) signed a letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking her to correct comments she made on NBC’s Meet the Press regarding the Catholic Church’s stance on abortion. In the letter, the Catholic representatives said Pelosi misrepresented Church doctrine and quote from Pelosi’s exchange with Tom Brokaw on the issue. The letter asks for Pelosi to apologize and correct the public record.The text of the letter is below.

August 26, 2008The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Speaker of the House of RepresentativesH-232,
The Capitol Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Pelosi,

On the Sunday, August 24th, broadcast of NBC’s Meet the Press, you stated “as an ardent, practicing Catholic, [abortion] is an issue that I have studied for a long time.” As fellow Catholics and legislators, we wish you would have made a more honest effort to lay out the authentic position of the Church on this core moral issue before attempting to address it with authority.Your subsequent remarks mangle Catholic Church doctrine regarding the inherent sanctity and dignity of human life; therefore, we are compelled to refute your error.In the interview, Tom Brokaw reminded you that the Church professes the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death. As stated in the *Catechism of the Catholic Church*: “Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being” (2274).To this, you responded, “I understand. And this is like maybe 50 years or something like that. So again, over the history of the Church, this is an issue of controversy.” Unfortunately, your statement demonstrates a lack of understanding of Catholic teaching and belief regarding abortion.From the Apostles of the first century to Pope John Paul the Great “the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law” (*Catechism *2271).Thus, your erroneous claim about the history of the Church’s opposition to abortion is false and denigrates our common Faith. For example, during the reign of Pope Innocent XI in 1679, the Church unequivocally stated it is an error for Catholics to believe a fetus does not have a soul; and confirmed the teaching that abortion constitutes an unjustified taking of innocent human life.To reduce the scandal and consternation caused amongst the faithful by your remarks, we necessarily write you to correct the public record and affirm the Church’s actual and historical teaching that defends the sanctity of human life. We hope that you will rectify your errant claims and apologize for misrepresenting the Church’s doctrine and misleading fellow Catholics.

Respectfully,
Thaddeus McCotter
Steve Chabot
Virginia Foxx
Phil Gingrey
Peter King (NY)
Steve King (IA)
Dan Lungren
Devin Nunes
John Sullivan
Pat Tiberi
John Boehner
Phil English
Jean Schmidt
Jim Walsh
Jeff Fortenberry
Michael McCaul
Paul Ryan
Walter Jones
Mike Ferguson

PELOSI, CATHOLICISM, AND ABORTION II

Good for you Cardinal Egan. The statement below is what Catholics needed to hear from their bishops. I hope more will speak out as forcefully.



August 26, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 26, 2008
STATEMENT OF HIS EMINENCE, EDWARD CARDINAL EGAN CONCERNING REMARKS MADE BY THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Like many other citizens of this nation, I was shocked to learn that the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America would make the kind of statements that were made to Mr. Tom Brokaw of NBC-TV on Sunday, August 24, 2008. What the Speaker had to say about theologians and their positions regarding abortion was not only misinformed; it was also, and especially, utterly incredible in this day and age.
We are blessed in the 21st century with crystal-clear photographs and action films of the living realities within their pregnant mothers. No one with the slightest measure of integrity or honor could fail to know what these marvelous beings manifestly, clearly, and obviously are, as they smile and wave into the world outside the womb. In simplest terms, they are human beings with an inalienable right to live, a right that the Speaker of the House of Representatives is bound to defend at all costs for the most basic of ethical reasons. They are not parts of their mothers, and what they are depends not at all upon the opinions of theologians of any faith. Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being “chooses” to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.
Edward Cardinal Egan
Archbishop of New York
August 26, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

PELOSI, CATHOLICISM, AND ABORTION

Good stuff

US Bishops: Pelosi Got Church Teaching WrongHouse Speaker Misrepresents Catholic Understanding of LifeWASHINGTON, D.C., AUG. 26, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The chairmen of the U.S. bishops' Committees on Pro-Life Activities and Doctrine affirmed that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi misrepresented Church teaching on abortion during an interview on national TV.Pelosi was asked on NBC-TV's "Meet the Press" on Sunday to comment on when life begins. She responded saying that as a Catholic, she had studied the issue for "a long time" and that "the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition."Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U. Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William Lori, chairman of the Committee on Doctrine, said her answer "misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church against abortion."They noted that the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law."And the prelates explained: "In the Middle Ages, uninformed and inadequate theories about embryology led some theologians to speculate that specifically human life capable of receiving an immortal soul may not exist until a few weeks into pregnancy. While in canon law these theories led to a distinction in penalties between very early and later abortions, the Church's moral teaching never justified or permitted abortion at any stage of development."These mistaken biological theories became obsolete over 150 years ago when scientists discovered that a new human individual comes into being from the union of sperm and egg at fertilization. In keeping with this modern understanding, the Church teaches that from the time of conception -- fertilization -- each member of the human species must be given the full respect due to a human person, beginning with respect for the fundamental right to life."For the recordOther bishops also released statements clarifying Church teaching. Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., noted that bishops are entrusted with the responsibility to interpret and teach Catholic doctrine."We respect the right of elected officials such as Speaker Pelosi to address matters of public policy that are before them, but the interpretation of Catholic faith has rightfully been entrusted to the Catholic bishops," he said in a statement. "Given this responsibility to teach, it is important to make this correction for the record. […]"From the beginning, the Catholic Church has respected the dignity of all human life from the moment of conception to natural death."And from Denver, Archbishop Charles Chaput and Auxiliary Bishop James Conley addressed an online letter to their faithful, titled "On the Separation of Sense and State: a Clarification for the People of the Church in Northern Colorado."The letter affirms: "Ardent, practicing Catholics will quickly learn from the historical record that from apostolic times, the Christian tradition overwhelmingly held that abortion was grievously evil. In the absence of modern medical knowledge, some of the Early Fathers held that abortion was homicide; others that it was tantamount to homicide; and various scholars theorized about when and how the unborn child might be animated or 'ensouled.'"But none diminished the unique evil of abortion as an attack on life itself, and the early Church closely associated abortion with infanticide. In short, from the beginning, the believing Christian community held that abortion was always, gravely wrong."Cardinal Edward Egan released a statement this morning saying he was "shocked to learn" of Pelosi's remarks. He said her statements were "misinformed."The cardinal affirmed that the unborn have "an inalienable right to live, a right that the speaker of the House of Representatives is bound to defend at all costs for the most basic of ethical reasons.""Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being 'chooses' to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason," he added, "should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name."--- --- ---

CATHOLICISM AND TRADITION

There is often confusion when non-catholics hear us speak of the tradition of the Church. Sometimes when we speak of tradition we are speaking of practices that do not relate to belief per se but to practices. An example is the choice of vestments the priest is to wear at specific times of the year. We also understand a different use of the term tradition. It often referred to as tradition with a capital T. We can almost always substitute "history" in place of tradition in that case. An example is the Trinity. Though the word trinity does not appear in the Bible, it is the traditional understanding of the Church that God is the Blessed Trinity. In other words the history of the Church teaches that fact. It is reliable not because it is tradition, small t, but because it is part of the tradition, capital T. It helps if one realizes that the Church is the pillar of truth and that Christ will be with it always.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Catholicism and Objections

I often realize some of the things I like about Catholicism are the things that many non-Catholics find objectionable. I love the communion of saints and asking the saints to pray for me and for others, much as I would ask friends here on earth to do the same. The sacrament of confession is another. There is such a feeling of renewal after making a good confession. The papacy is another thing that I love. In spite of some truly sinful popes throughout the Church's history the truth of the faith continues. We are fortunate today that we are blessed with such a fine pontiff in Benedict XVI. There is a beauty and wisdom in the Church. When one reads the early Fathers the truth of the Church becomes much more reasonable. To paraphrase John Henry Newman, when one knows history, he ceases to be protestant. Easier said than done.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Catholicism

I was watching the 3ABN channel on cable and it is sad that so much anti-catholic nonsense is on the air. 3ABN is a Seventh Day Adventist cable network. The shows almost always are concerned with the endtimes and distorting history and Catholic teaching. This is nothing new for Seventh Day Adventists. Their earliest history in the nineteenth century is full of the same nonsense. The problem with the Adventists is same as the problem with so many protestant denominations. They lack the authority to proclaim the truth. Truth is defined by their particular interpretation scripture. Truth in many denominations is arrived at by the consensus of their leadership, often by vote. What so many seem to forget is that before there was a new testament, there was the Church. It was the Church that gave us the new testament. The Church had and has the authority that is apostolic which preserves and presents the true faith established by Christ.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Abortion and Joe Biden

Finally the guessing is over. Obama selected Joe Biden as his running mate. Senator Biden is a pro-choice Catholic. Just what the Church needs, another Catholic politician that brings scandal to the faithful. I actually find Biden intelligent and likable. If only he would not present himself at the altar to receive the Eucharist, I would respect him even more. Certainly he knows that his pro-abortion position puts him at odds with his professed faith. He must know that his public support of abortion requires that he not receive the Eucharist and yet he does and does so publicly. The Church teaching on the matter has never been clearer than it has been in recent years. So why does he continue the receive the Eucharist? Has he found some loophole that allows him to support the destruction of innocent human life which would allow him to receive. No such loophole exists. Perhaps his reason is the true hunger that a believing Catholic has to receive the Body of Christ. Perhaps his motivation is political. Whatever the reason, I am sure he knows that without a change in his support of abortion, he should not receive. If the democratic party had a strong pro-life candidate, they would be unstoppable. I pray that the day comes when the party finds that candidate.