Thursday, July 31, 2008

Japan's Fake Catholic Weddings

Ok. I saw this on CNN today. I'm very disturbed by it, but hopefully God is working in some mysterious way to bring these people into a full faith.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

St. Basil and the Poor

For those of you who do the Liturgy of the Hours, yesterday was the memorial of St. Martha. I did the first reading (from II Cor. 9:1-15) and I was so interested in the topic that I went ahead and did the regular second reading (that you normally skip this day, and don't worry I did the real second reading later). Anyway, I just wanted to share a little excerpt from this sermon by St. Basil because I found it so interesting and so up to date with our modern culture. He's talking about giving money to the poor and helping them. Before he gets to this point, he makes the note that we waste our money on theatrical performances, boxing contests, mimes, and fights between men and beasts - you can make the modern application. He has this to say:

But you are now ill-humored and unapproachable; you avoid meeting people, in case you might be forced to loosen your purse-strings even a little. You can only say one thing "I have nothing to give you, I am only a poor man." A poor man you certainly are, and destitute of all real riches; you are poor in love, generosity, faith in God, and hope of eternal happiness.

Think about this the next time you cross the street to avoid a homeless person (which I'm guilty of many times) or spend 10 dollars to see a movie when someone is starving to death down the street.


I'm slightly irritated, so if this post comes off as too harsh, I don't mean for it to be. First of all, I know that not everyone is like what I am about to describe, and people like Matt, Mel, etc. who post on here occasionally are good examples of the exceptionally wonderful people I have met from other religious backgrounds. But, I'm going to tell you the typical thing I have been experiencing lately, especially from people who are members of the Church of Christ (what I came out of).

They generally start with a nice dialogue. This will quickly degenerate into throwing around some sort of excuse for why I left the CoC in order for them to mentally cope with the fact that someone would leave. Generally, these are one of the following (all that I have really heard):

1) Your wife was Catholic and converted you (obviously silly if you take the time to read my journey)

2) Your wife's parents are Catholic and converted you (obviously silly since they didn't even know I was becoming Catholic until after I had been in RCIA for 2 months, and had spent every second of their life trying to avoid talking to me about religion up until then).

3) You decided being Catholic was easier (Yeah, even though I attend Church more, read the scriptures more, pray more, study more, spend more time in meditation, and do more volunteer work......that really makes sense).

4) You had "your conscience seared with a hot iron" or "were sent strong delusions".

These are what I hear over and over, and they make you wonder if people actually listen to what you say or if they just ignore all information that doesn't suit their beliefs. I think we have to remember that people will make different choices about religion based off of truly good motives (trying to please God). Part of my journey was coming to this realization. By studying with individuals, I would many times ask them to go read a book of the Bible and then we would come together to discuss it. I was amazed to find that 10 honest people would come to 10 different conclusions on so many issues. That's what led me to the authority of the Catholic Church, but I still respect, love, and want to have discussion with people who come to different conclusions, and I wish them all the best. Why should I try to impose a motive on their own spiritual journey?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

7 Things - Religious Twist

So I was tagged at Catholic Notebook to do this post where I tell 7 random facts or habits about myself. Since I vowed that I would only use this blog to talk about the Catholic Faith and my personal journey, but I still want to do this, I'm going to put a religious twist on it, and give you 7 religious facts about myself.

1) I grew up in the Church of Christ (Institutional) and later converted to the Church of Christ (Non-Institutional)

2) I was confirmed as a Catholic at the Easter Vigil (This year, 2008).

3) I get irritated because I am not allowed to kneel after the Agnus Dei.

4) I am a lector.

5) I have a weird mental issue that prevents me from taking the Body of Christ by hand - I kept feeling like I had little pieces left over even though my hands were clean, so now I take Communion by mouth.

6) I love old-style and architectured Churches, and I hate the modern styles, especially "Mass in the Round".

7) I seriously wish my parish had a pipe organ, and if I won the lottery that would be one of my first purchases.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Important to our prior discussions?

Nunblog had an interesting thought about Biblical inerrancy, something that I think is at least slightly important to conversations we've had in our comments before (Matt, Greg, etc.) As part of arguments for sola scriptura (see the article in a previous post from Apologetics Press), sometimes Protestants argue that they can know what books are "inspired" because of historical or scientific accuracy. If this is true, we might have to throw out the book of Matthew, because the mustard seed, indeed, is not the smallest of all seeds. Whether or not someone can make an excuse for this discrepancy is irrelevant. Anyone can twist anything to make it sound good with enough thought. More importantly is that we shouldn't be reading the Bible like a science text book. Remember that we should be looking for the theological arguments and the issues of faith and morals, on which it will be infallible (much like the Church and Sacred Tradition).

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Today in mass, I was meditating on the Trinity during parts of the Eucharistic prayer. The Trinity is something that seems so simple on the surface, but the more you dig into the idea, the harder it seems to comprehend. During today's meditation, like so many times before, I came to a point that it felt like I just hit a brick wall that kept me from going any deeper into what I was thinking. Sometimes, it felt like touching the bottom of a swimming get to the bottom and briefly touch it, but immediately begin to be pulled back up to the top just to get fresh air.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Interesting Research About the Exorcist

Keeping in mind, that we just have to trust this guy is telling the truth, unless we want to do the same kind of investigation that he did, he's done a marvelous job of uncovering as much as possible about the true story behind the Exorcist.

The Exorcist - A Review

So, as mentioned earlier I was reading the book "The Exorcist". Since it has at least tangentially involves the Catholic Church (at least it's portrayal in the media), I'll talk about it a bit.

First, it should be noted that The Exorcist has scenes that are intensely lewd, grotesque, and sacrilegious. Maybe that should be obvious since the subject matter is demon possession. People who are deeply disturbed by violence or sexuality really should not read this book, and young people should stay away from it as well.

Secondly, it is very hard to tell exactly what the author's opinion of the Catholic Church is. He is very positive about many aspects of it, but also negative about some (homosexuality in some priests, lack of faith among clergy, etc.) Now, one might counter and say that he did a good job of balancing the Church, because we would probably be liars if we tried to claim that these things don't exist in the Church, no matter how limited.

As for the story itself, again, who really knows? While I believe in exorcism and demon possession (I think the gospels are pretty clear about it), I have very little understanding of what it actually involves. I've never met an exorcist, to my knowledge never met anyone who is/was possessed by a demon, and I've never witnessed an exorcism in person. Obviously the Church keeps pretty tight wraps on that. So, is it a realistic story or is it purely speculative fiction?
Some would argue that it was more realistic than not:

"According to Rev. Father William O'Malley (who played Father Joseph Dyer in the film), the events depicted in the film are approximately 80% true. He claims the major differences between the movie and the actual event were the gender of the subject (a boy in the case and girl in the novel) and that the possession occurred just outside DC in Cottage City, MD and not in Georgetown proper. Also, in the actual event, the boy's head did not rotate 360 degrees, though he claims that nearly everything else in the movie actually occurred." - From the bastion of truth, Wikipedia.

Whatever the case might be, it was an above average horror novel. Better than most that I have read, and will keep you up late gripping the book with your white knuckles until you collapse in exhaustion. Worth a read if you are mature enough to handle it. Now I just need to convince Seraphina to watch the movie with me.....

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Works of Mercy

Corporal Works of Mercy:
  1. Feed the hungry
  2. Give drink to the thirsty
  3. Clothe the naked
  4. Shelter the Homeless
  5. Visit the imprisoned
  6. Visit the sick
  7. Bury the dead
Spiritual Works of Mercy:
  1. Warn the sinner
  2. Instruct the ignorant
  3. Counsel the doubtful
  4. Comfort the sorrowful
  5. Bear wrongs patiently
  6. Forgive all injuries
  7. Pray for the living and the deceased
Here's an easy challenge. Take a look at these and try to do one act of mercy from each category over the next week. Obviously the corporal works of mercy might take more effort to accomplish, but one might argue that the spiritual works of mercy are actually the harder ones to do with a good conscience. It's very hard to do these things sometimes in the spirit that God wants us to have.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Romans and Wisdom - The Legend Continues

For those of you who know where the title comes from (if you saw Kung-Fu, the old show from the 60s about a Shaolin Monk, there was a version in the 90s that supposedly took place called "Kung-Fu: The Legend Continues". Hopefully we'll make this post better than that show could ever be....

Two new scriptures to compare and contrast. The first one is weaker. I'll just post the two references and leave you to read it on your own:

Wisdom 12:20-21, Romans 10:22

The second one I'll post the entire text:

Wisdom 12:12 "For who can say to you, "What have you done? or who can oppose your decree? Or when people perish, who can challenge you, their maker; or who can come into your presence as a vindicator of unjust men?"

Romans 10:19: "You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can oppose his will? But who indeed are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Will what is made say to its maker Why have you created me so?"

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Am I Stretching?

OK. I've been reminded about my pursuit on links between Romans and the Book of Wisdom, which I'm still extremely interested in and want to read a good discussion of. Again, the books are just too similar (Paul draws heavily from Wisdom in Romans, from what I can see) to be coincidence. In my research, I ran across two sets of verses.....maybe I'm stretching but bear with me:

Wisdom 7:
for Wisdom, the artificer of all, taught me. For in her is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, Manifold, subtle, agile, clear, unstained, certain, Not baneful, loving the good, keen, unhampered, beneficent,
For she is the refulgence of eternal light, the spotless mirror of the power of God, the image of his goodness.
Hebrews 1:
who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word. When he had accomplished purification from sins, he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
One, this could be solid evidence of the authorship of Hebrews by the Apostle Paul (what is the Catholic thought on that authorship anyway?). Especially if I am right that he likes to use Wisdom as a source of material in his letters. That would make sense because Paul obviously liked to quote Greek philosophy and thought, and common scholarship today believes Wisdom was composed by a Jew or Jews in Greek-speaking countries (Hellenistic Jews) just before Christ.

Secondly, notice the parallels here. especially that Paul is talking about the "Word of God (Christ)" in Hebrews and Wisdom is talking about Wisdom, both being a "mirror of God" in some fashion.

Does anyone have a problem with Wisdom being given a feminine pronoun in the book of Wisdom? I don't because that's extremely common in the Old Testament, and I think we would be short sighted to make that a reason to ignore this as a description of Christ in some fashion.

Did I go too far? :)

Private Interpretation - From the Scriptures

Somehow I forgot about a verse that overwhelmingly began my journey to the Catholic Church, made me question what I believed, and eventually, I believe, led me to Christ in His Fullness. I totally forgot about this verse during my immediate conversion to Catholicism. As a matter of fact, I havn't even read it since my studies almost 2 years ago (a year before I made the journey to Rome). It was tonight's Liturgy of the Hours reading. The verse:
I Peter 1:
Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation,
for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God.
Now, we know that this verse is talking about prophecy, but notice what Peter says. This type of personal interpretation is the wrong way to go about our lives. When we go in this direction it leads to, in the words of St. Paul "wrangling over words". The New American Bible has a very good footnote on this text: "[20-21] Often cited, along with 2 Tim 3:16, on the "inspiration" of scripture or against private interpretation, these verses in context are directed against the false teachers of 2 Peter 2 and clever tales (2 Peter 1:16). The prophetic word in scripture comes admittedly through human beings (2 Peter 1:21), but moved by the holy Spirit, not from their own interpretation, and is a matter of what the author and Spirit intended, not the personal interpretation of false teachers. Instead of under the influence of God, some manuscripts read "holy ones of God."

Notice the point here. False teachers use "personal interpretation" as a way to get their points across. Hence the fallacy of Sola Scriptura.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Well, my wife and I will be traveling with her parents to her brother's graduation at the beach in a couple of weeks. Since I expect her to be doing a lot of stuff (getting sun) that I don't want to do, I'll have a lot of free time for devotions. I expect to do my liturgy of the hours very consistently at both sunrise and sunset if possible (How beautiful to do morning prayer at sunrise at the beach!) I'll also be attending daily mass as much as possible and swimming in the ocean. Any other ideas of good reflections to do while we are down there?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Book of Wisdom

The more I read the book of Romans, the more I see connections between Paul's writings and the book of Wisdom. It seems as though Paul is using Wisdom as his source to thresh out theologically what that book was talking about in light of the resurrection of Christ. So many passages are parallel to each other, that you can't ignore that Wisdom had to be a source and Paul was writing from familiarity and love for the book. I know that somewhere out there a Catholic Theologian or Church Father wrote extensively about the links between these two books. Anyone know where it is or notice the same things I have?

Wisdom 14 and Romans 1
Wisdom 2:23 and Romans 1:
Wisdom 2:24 and Romans 5

These are just a few off the top of my head.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Once again...

Please read this blog and pray for Melissa. A lot of people have been praying hard for her, and she really needs it. At least take a couple seconds and say a prayer for her.

Another related blog post...

Maybe this is getting ridiculous, but I found yet another blog discussion related to the ones I've had on here on the canon of scriptures.

History of the Mass by Robert Cabie

I recently finished the book History of the Mass by Robert Cabie and translated by Lawrence J. Johnson. I highly recommend this book to people who want to learn more about our mass and it's roots in history and tradition. This book cannot be completely divorced from Mike Aquilina's wonderful work "The Mass of the Early Christians" because there are a lot of similarities. Mike's book I would suggest for those who are interested in Apologetics, while Cabie's book is better for a straight up history and for your own benefit. "Early Christians" also deals almost exclusively with the first 300 years or so of the Mass (33-400 A.D) while Cabie's breaks down each time period from the the scriptural evidence on to today.

One of the highlights is his discussion of various incidents in the Bible and how they related to the liturgy of the early Church. Another is his exhaustive look at various writings over the last 2000 years and how they described the mass at the time they were living, from the Didache, Pliny the Younger, and St. Justin Martyr on to Vatican II documents. Probably one thing I realized while reading this book (and this book may come off as being apologetic about Vatican II), but many of the changes in the Novus Ordo took us back to the early Church and how they practiced the liturgy.

Probably the biggest problem is that Cabie at times tends to look down upon some changes in the mass (Priest with his back to the parish, the fact that at times in history certain laity did not take the Eucharist every Sunday, etc.) Unfortunately, I would have to say that he presents only the negative side of these developments and ignores some of their positive attributes.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Principium Unitatis has a post that is very relevant to the discussion I have been involved with here on this blog today. It's a Catholic Encyclopedia article on Protestantism.

A Response - Part 2

One more thing I thought of when considering the arguments below and that others have given. If we are to take the fact that a New Testament book quoting something else gives it validation as being inspired, The Book of Enoch (Jude 14), and sacred tradition as found in II Tim 3:8 (Jannes and Jambres), and Jude's discussion of the disputation of St. Michael the Archangel and Satan are also infallible and inspired.

A Response

In the comments on the Bible study I had earlier this week I was asked to read an article by Apologetics Press (an Institutional Church of Christ non-profit group who generally pushes the ideas of Intelligent Design and Young Earth Creationism.) This article claims to explain (at least in a basic form) why Protestants believe the books they have in their hand are the complete and total revelation of God, the full Canon of Scriptures. I suggest you read it before continuing on with this post, but I will reference page numbers and quotations on my thoughts while I was reading it.

  1. On page 1, Dr. Kearley asserts that some books "lay claim" to being a part of Canon. Very few of our books of the Bible make any kind of claim that they are the inspired word of God and many books claim to be inspired that are not really (Book of Mormon). This is really shoddy evidence.
  2. On page 2, he comments about Jerome, Origen, and the Jews at the time. Jerome originally questioned the authenticity of these books but after careful study and consideration decided they were inspired and included them in the Vulgate. Origen quotes extensively from these books in his writings as being inspired. The list he leaves them out of was what the "Hebrews" used at that time. For a discussion of this and why the Jews stopped using these books, see this informative post and read his link off it. Perhaps the best information that these books were accepted by the Jews in Christ's time and by the early Church is all the references about these books in the New Testament. For an extensive list, see here. (Note that the lower portion of that will deal with early Church Fathers and their opinions on the other books of the Old Testament that Protestants want to neglect.)
  3. On page 3, (and used in later arguments), he asserts that a) books must contain "holy and pure doctrines" to be canonical and b) they must have "accurate geograpy, astronomy, science, etc.". We'll deal with a in point number 4. Along with b, he is going to reject certain things he picks out of the so called "Catholic books" by saying they have bad science. Unfortunately for him, many of the books in his Old Testament make reference to the world being flat, the history presented even in the Protestant version of Daniel of the kingdoms of the time is sketchy at best, and Joshua "makes the sun stand still" even though it is already standing still. Sometimes the list of kings and enemies isn't consistent between Chronicles and Kings. All of this I am not saying to attack the integrity of the Bible. I know a lot of these things can be explained in a satisficing way for me, but we have to remember that the Bible is not a history book, a science book, or an astronomy book. Sometimes things are said in poetic or symbolic ways to make a theological point (see Job, the Psalms, Matthew's gospel, the Apocolypse , etc.)
  4. As per doctrine, take this example. This is exactly what Martin Luther does. He will reject certain books just because they don't synch with his interpretation of scriptures and the doctrine that his Church teaches. For instance, Maccabees teaches prayers for the dead, Baruch teaches that God can hear the prayers of the dead, Maccabees teaches about purgatory, etc. etc. etc. These are rejected because they don't fall in line with doctrines that their individual Church teaches, thus they cannot be inspired by definition. Talk about putting tradition OVER the Bible!
  5. On page 9, we begin to see the circular logic that traps so many sola scriptura thinkers. It says "The Old Testament bears witness to itself of being inspired". This can be lumped in with statements about Jesus quoting scriptures from the Old Testament, that using a book that you havn't proven to be inspired to prove the inspiration of other books! That's exactly what I experienced in my study when I was told that Paul's epistles were inspired because Peter said so!
  6. Page 9: Here the good doctor points out that a canon is really a "recognized standard of faith and action". Assuming that his point is that the Jewish tradition was to reject those books (again I believe to be fallacious), he asserts that this tradition dictates in some way which OT books are inspired. So if I get this straight, Christian tradition and history (that the Church has consistently used all the "Catholic" books since the canon was formally decided for the first time) are put on a side burner because of what Jewish tradition dictates?!
  7. Page 11: "The earliest Christians had no need to list the inspired books. They knew because they knew the writers." First, is he saying that somehow if the early Christians did list the books that would be binding? Because they did much closer to 400 A.D. Secondly, he's wrong here because most people didn't have most of the books. There were no printing presses, and even the four gospels themselves (with the exception of John) were not even present in all the Churches. Most had one gospel and if they were lucky one or two letters to work with. The teachings were passed down (as well as traditions about who wrote them, when they were written, etc.) orally through Sacred Tradition of the Church and settled in finality close to 400 A.D.
  8. The discussion of the New Testament and why books are taken as inspired is so pitiful that I don't even think I need to comment on it.
  9. So, after reading this article, I don't believe anything was said to convince me (distorted historical facts, appeals to Jewish Tradition, and circular logic) that Protestants have a good understanding of why they use certain books. I should say that at least groups like Lutherans and Anglicans have some solid reasons for what books they read, but these too all boil down to Traditional holdings of their Church and the Roman Catholic Church.


I think sometimes one of the things we need to work on the most is humility. We go into talking with others about our faith with very good intentions, but we tend to want to push them into what we believe without understanding where they are coming from. We also tend to beat up on ourselves if our goals are not accomplished. We need to step back and realize that the Holy Spirit will be the one doing a lot of the work we are trying to do, he just uses us as instruments. When we begin to insert our own opinions or work from our own inherent intelligence or knowledge, we are bound to fail. Don't fall into that trap, put your trust in God and His Church and everything will work out for the best.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Nadab and Abihu

One of the most powerful arguments that I believed growing up in the Church of Christ was about Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10). These two gentlemen, the argument goes, added to God's worship. They did this by using incense that God did not tell them to use (unauthorized, as many translations have it). Now, according to this argument, they were punished for adding to worship in a matter where God had previously been silent. Thus, if you add instruments to your worship services (as they claim everyone did long after the Church was established), you are doing something not authorized by God, thus non-pleasing to him and can be punished severely for it (hell anyone?). All this is a very strong case that God is very displeased when you try to worship him in a way that he did not command. Note the strength of this argument is not trying to tell you that you can't do something against God's command, but rather that you are doing something that he was silent on, and therefore are in the wrong.

Again, a strong argument. That is, until you read Exodus 30:9. This law was given to Israel before the story of Nadab and Abihu takes place. It says "You shall not offer unauthorized incesnse on it". This was clearly a direct statement telling them not to do what they later sinned and did. There goes one "good" argument down the tubes.

Bible Study - Afterthoughts

So, last night I had a Bible study with a Protestant from my former denomination, the Church of Christ Non-Institutional. It went fairly well, although kind of heated (not screaming or anything). I think only two points were impressed upon him, which I will talk about here.

The NI CoC believes that you cannot use money from the Church treasury to help non-Christians. This belief is based off their understanding of passages that say "collection for the needy saints". "needy saints" limits them from giving to non-saints. The problem that lies here is that they use this "collection for the needy saints" for all kinds of other uses, buildings, lawn mowers, gasoline, televisions, bibles. While these things are important (and obviously I think we can buy them), no one would argue that is under the term needy saints as Paul uses it. Instead, they are using extra-Biblical tradition to argue these things are "expedients to worship". I think that point bugged him quite substantially.

Secondly, he admitted that he could tell that we still had a love for the people we used to know. That meant a lot to us because we were slandered pretty heavily after leaving.

He definitely could not fathom the idea of the real presence of Christ and some of his off the cuff comments (which I know he did out of ignorance) about the blessed sacrament were what caused me to get a little overworked at times.

One of my favorite discussions was on Sola Scriptura where I asked him how he knew which books were part of inspired scripture. As for the Old Testament, he looks at Jewish oral tradition (ironic). As for the New Testament, he knows Paul's writings are inspired because Peter said so (VERY ironic), but he wasn't sure why he had faith that Peter's writings were inspired.....I hope he thinks about it some more.

He indicated that he would read "Christ in His Fullness" by Bruce Sullivan. Let's pray that he does. All in all, it was fairly a positive discussion.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bible Study

Hello everyone, we haven't posted this weekend because we are preparing for a Bible study with a Protestant tonight (an honest and open one this time). Please pray for us and him to open our hearts, minds, and mouths to the Spirit.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Some Thoughts...

I just lost my entire post since my browser crashed...*sigh*

First, I'd like to speak a little on Joseph's post on The Second Coming of Christ.
Although Paul expressed his grief over Israel's failure to accept Christian messianism (9, 1-8), he remained unsympathetic toward both Jewish and Gentile unbelievers (2 Thes 1, 8ff). This need not seem startling if Paul in fact considered the parousia or second coming of Christ to be a distinct possibility in his own lifetime. His attitude could thus reflect the urgency of conversion and the imminence of the judgment of the world. See notes on 1 Thessalonians 4, 13-18, and on Mark 13, 1-37.
-Introduction to Romans from The St. Joseph Ed. New American Bible

When I originally read this I was a chord in me was struck so strongly - not about how Paul felt, but rather how we would react with the same urgency. I think after almost 2,000 years we have become rather complacent. After all, do we not act rather frantically to get what they can see in order with unannounced guests, or even planned ones? Christ, who can see all things in all facets of our life, can come any second! The early church would give up everything...could we do the same?

My second comment is in regards to one of Joseph's posts today about a man who desires to desecrate our Holy Eucharist. Whilst talking to Joseph I began thinking back to my rebellious (and confused) days as an agnostic. During this time, I had felt that religion was a development of man to need a coping element for those that have gone before us, and for times where we feel situations are beyond our control - but nothing more than that. However, even though I was naive I was never malicious to religion. In fact, I had more of a "live and let live" perspective - after all, if religion was something that helped people, then more power to them! I just did not desire religion myself... I wonder, why this man desires to be so harmful and malicious though. Agnostics and atheists can argue that religion is the cause of much war and suffering (never mind all the good from religion), but why does it help for them to just add to that?!

Thus, I implore all of you to pray with me:

Lord God, our Heavenly Father,
We pray now in regards to PZ Myers,
that your Holy Spirit may soften his heart,
and he see your true glory in the most Holy Eucharist.
We pray for all aesthetics and agnostics,
that through your beautiful creation
they may reconcile themselves with you and
your most Holy Son Jesus Christ, who died
for all for our Sins to be forgiven.
We pray that all anomosity towards any religion,
any race, any sex, any disability, any aspect
of Man that you have made in your image stop,
and for the world to live in peace as your
heavenly will desires.



I found the most magnificent art site I've ever seen in my life in my bookmarks. I vaguely remember seeing it posted on someone's blog a while back, bookmarking it and never looking at it. Let me know if it was you and I'll give you credit.

Part of my journey to Catholicism is enjoying the rich traditions that as an evangelical Protestant we didn't have the beauty of. One of these is Catholic (Eastern Orthodox, other High Church groups) art. Viewing images puts me in a place that I feel closer to God in prayer, study, etc. In the Middle Ages since many could not read, this is how they were exposed to a lot of the Bible and it's stories, through art. Take some time and look over some of the religious art on this page. Pray and meditate on the mysteries that are being presented there.

What should we do?

Read this blog post and it's subsequent follow up. I have to say that the behavior of this "professor" is extremely disgusting, whether you are an atheist or not. I can't even imagine desecrating something that he owns or something that another religion would hold dear to themselves, even if I totally disagreed with it. It's sick, twisted, and in my humble opinion as an academic he should be fired from his position for bigotry and hate crimes. That being said, what should we do? Burn him? No.

Let's all pray for him and for others involved here that they have a change of heart and allow God into their lives. Ask the Lord to have mercy on him and on us all, because we all need it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

SSPX, etc.

Recently, Seraphina wrote to the Society of Saint Pius X asking for more information. They responded with a set of four books and multiple tracts, all free of charge without asking for any donations whatsoever. I'd like to blog briefly on my thoughts on all of this:

1) I'm impressed with the amount of information they sent and the quality thereof. It would be nice if anyone who wanted more information about the Catholic Church would be able to request and receive such a wealth of information and apologetic material.

2) There are various things that I definitely agree with. They mention some things that the Novus Ordo does to "invite" abuses, such as taking the body by hand. Note that this doesn't mean that I disagree with the Novus Ordo, as actually I'm a fairly strong proponent of it.

3) They go to great lengths to prove that they are not schismatic, mostly by showing that prior Popes have not forbidden the Latin Mass. They ignore, however, some statements that both the Catholic Church and themselves have made about submission to Papal authority.

4) They stretch problems with the new Mass, sometimes ignoring beautiful things that take place within it and downplay it as Protestant. Many times what they say is either a) not taking place in all parishes (most of them don't apply to our parish) or b) outright wrong about what the new Mass says or doesn't say.

5) They ignore the fact that the early Church did many of the things that the new Mass reinstituted, such as taking communion under both species, having Mass in the common vernacular, etc. They falsely claim that the Tridentine Mass has "2,000 years of venerable usage"

6) The material is also somewhat outdated because it does not mention fairly what Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has said about the Latin Mass in recent years.

7) They falsely attribute the decline in conversions and vocations to the Novus Ordo.

8) They are very wishy-washy on what, if any, they believe the Pope's authority now is.

Those are just the thoughts of my browsing the material. I pray for them to have a change of heart and come back into full communion with us. Let's all pray for that and unity among all Christians.

2nd Coming of Christ

Last night, my wife (who I hope will add more to this in another post) and I began reading through St. Paul's letters in honor of this jubilee year. We started with Romans and were reading the commentary about the book in the St. Joseph edition of the New American Bible. It mentioned that common speculation says that Paul may have thought the 2nd coming of our Lord would be very soon, maybe even within his lifetime. Because of this possibility, Paul saw the urgency of converting others and spreading the gospel of our Lord. This became one of his main focuses in life, worried that time was running short. So, Seraphina asks me, "Do you think the Catholic Church has lost sight of his coming in glory? Do we not worry about it enough today?" I think that's a mixed bag answer. On one hand, no we do not. Most of us have lost our urgency to evangelize and convert others. We don't see the reasons to quickly get our lives in order so that we will be found prepared at his coming. We are like the 10 virgins who forget their oil until the last minute, then are unprepared when the groom shows up.

On the other hand, there are some very interesting things that the Catholic Church does which do indicate that we have not forgotten. First, we pray about his coming in at least two places during the mass as a community (one when we proclaim the mystery of our faith and the other during the Our Father). I tend to believe what Pope Benedict said in his book Jesus of Nazereth, that many times when we mention the "Kingdom" we are talking about the person of Christ. (I won't go into too much detail about this now). Also, there are convents and monestaries that keep watch all the time with things like perpetual adoration. I believe this idea is steeped in tradition of watching for his coming. Likewise,the liturgy of the hours makes many references to his second coming and our being watchful, and so does the idea that we have "Vigil Masses". Pretty interesting.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

15 things you always wanted to know about confession

I really enjoyed this article and thought I would share it.

Why I don't like Politics and Religion

Before you go cramming down my throat why I should vote for one candidate over another, let me say this much. Every candidate that is running for election for U.S. President has major flaws, and yes both of them have issues relating to pro-life issues (including not only abortion but also the war, death penalty, euthanasia related issues, birth control, etc.). Until the Vatican announces that we should hold to one candidate or the other, I know good Catholics on both sides of this election who can balance and think about issues according to their own conscience and vote accordingly. The next time someone tells me to vote for Obama or vote for McCain I might scream!!! We could be discussing more important things like building up the faithful, converting the faithless, and bringing others into full communion with Rome. Pray about the election, think about it, and vote according to your conscience. For a good guide, I suggest you start here.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Road to Emmaus

I'm going to credit Robert Cabie (History of the Mass) for getting me thinking about this as well as my wife and her grandmother who asked me an excellent question. But, think about the story in Luke of the disciples on the road to Emmaus when they do not recognize the Lord but he talks with them. I believe these early Christians were trying to describe the order of the mass and the real presence of Christ through a real historical event (all the Gospels include accounts of their either not recognizing Christ or at least their doubt of his ressurection). These early Christians divided (like we do) the mass into two parts, Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Eucharist. In the first part, the scriptures (Old Testament mostly at the time) were read to the congregation. Likewise in the first part of our Gospel here Christ expounds to them on the law and the prophets. The entire Old Testament points to Christ, but sometimes we do not recognize him in those readings. Likewise, they did not recognize Christ when he was teaching them Old Testament. We do get to directly experience him in the form of the Eucharist, however. He is fully present as both God and Man here. That's when we see the disciples "recognized him in the breaking of the bread". Behind the tabernacle in the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Washington D.C., there is a beautiful mural representing this occasion, where the disciples are adoring the host and it says "they recognized him in the breaking of bread" around it.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

What's in a name?

Names - in my opinion - are a funny thing. We're given a name at birth and (in most circumstances) keep it until we are gone from this world, though sometimes it passes on to another generation.

Being Catholic in America, we have first names, and middle names, and sometimes an additional baptismal name, and later on perhaps a confirmation name (of our choosing finally!)...and of course the obligatory last name we inherit from our parents.

Thus, I pose the question to you parents and parents-to-be: What influences what you have or will name your child?

My husband and I have already struck the deal that he will name all male children, and I will name the females. Currently, I am rather fond of the name Faustina Josephine...but my preferences tend to sway frequently.

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Separate Human Being

I absolutely love this story. I must admit that I don't know all the details and maybe there is something bad lurking beneath the surface, but from what I can see this is wonderful, at least in the sense that we are requiring some moral culpability for terminating a life. Let's pray that everyone thinks about what they are actually doing here. Also, let's pray for forgiveness and the ability to forgive and embrace those who have had abortions in the past.

Luther?! HUH?!

Yes, my title is bizarre. Yes, I am up at 2:30 in the morning blogging on Catholic thought........ Anyway,

I just read this website discussing the topic of Martin Luther and the Canon of scripture. First, I must admit that they do make a good point about James Akin (although he should not be singled out) making bold statements about Luther that we all make, such as him "removing scripture from canon". Maybe Akin could make a better response if allowed to see these challenges to what he said. However, I do want to make a few points that the author of this work seems to neglect:

1) Luther, while he did include the so called "Apocrypha" books in his translation of the Bible, did indeed dismiss several Old Testament Books (especially Maccabees, as this site touts) as lesser books of the Old Testament. This in fact did lead to the removal of them totally from the Protestant "canon", and whether or not the author wants to admit, did relegate them to a substandard work than the other works of the Bible. He did, in essence, remove them from the Canon simply by downplaying their significance.

2) The discussion of the Epistle of James tickles me, because try as you might to defend Luther's intentions, even if he is comparing this epistle to other New Testament works, his comments clearly indicate that it is at the very least not of the same quality as other books. This was obviously a Lutheran ploy to reject theological and historical doctrines of the Church (at least to me).

So, although Luther might not have "formally" removed books from his translation, I believe Catholic Apologists and even this article itself clearly indicates how Luther undermined the Canon of scripture.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Catholic Reading List

A Catholic Notebook is compiling a list of everyone's favorite spiritual reading. Please head over there and add some of your titles before Sunday! This could be quite a useful list.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Reversing Roles

Today I was contemplating something that I find very strange. When I was a Protestant, we were in what would probably be considered by most as an evangelical, fundamentalist denomination. Evangelism was something pushed heavily on everyone regardless of gifts, talents, or other good works that people might be doing. In some ways, this is good, it is our duty to defend the Faith. In other ways, people do have different roles and skills that they can put to use in different ways for God.

Now for the paradox. As an evangelical, I was very uncomfortable (to say the least) in talking about or defending my faith from others. It wasn't that I didn't do it (although I did avoid it from time to time), but it was that I was very uncomfortable about it. Now that I've converted to Catholicism (who most would say do a very bad job about evangelism, sharing our faith, etc. at least at the individual parishioner level) I am completely comfortable with my Faith and share it with everyone, answering their questions, and spreading it to others that I meet. I wonder why that is? It's obviously no more socially acceptable (at least here) to be Catholic than it is to be CoC. I think it has to do with the consistency of our Faith and length of time that our beliefs have been around. Perhaps when I was Protestant, I was somewhat put off when I couldn't answer a question, or had to take time to shape it into the theology that I had. I don't feel that pressure anymore, and it's wonderful!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Different Tone

Interestingly enough (see the next two posts below if you havn't seen the rest of this discussion), my email discussion with him suddenly took a different tone into one of him actually asking seemingly honest questions. I hope he isn't (which I'm afraid he probably is) trying to save up and catch something else to leech onto. Anyway, he asked a fair question, I gave a fair answer, and we'll see how he responds. Pray for him!

Round 3

This must be just going to be a 3 round "fight". (Just using boxing terminology, I didn't really see it as a fight.) I'm very pleased that at least he isn't trying to debate the theology of the issues anymore and maybe he has a better understanding of the Faith. Let's all pray for him and ourselves. His comments in Red.

Wow, wow. I know the J. witnesses keep changing their Doctrine, but I'd never heard of this one before. When did the catholic Denomination sneak this one in ? Is that ever sly. No kidding.

Read the early Church Fathers. I think you might be surprised how consistent our teaching is now to what it was in the early Church! Thanks for chatting with me though, and may Christ have mercy on us all.

Love in Him,

Anabaptist Theology hits a new low

So, from what you have gathered, I came from the Churches of Christ denomination, which gets it's theology mainly from Anabaptist development. Thomas and Alexander Campbell along with Barton W. Stone derived their doctrines from Baptist and Presbyterian theologies, but I'd say that if you compare the old Anabaptist movement, you can see the most similarities. That being said, I received this email from someone who obviously didn't know I'm not in the CoC anymore. It demonstrated the low point to which this theology is beginning to devolve, although if you were familiar with what they teach, I can almost understand how he could logically come to these conclusions if you based their teachings on authority and scripture as truth. His email will be in red:

"church of Christ MOST IMPORTANT

If you don't share this (or if you hinder people from knowing it) with any Christian possible, then you are like a person in the first century who saw Jesus do a miracle, and then kept it to themselves. That is the root of Greed.

People have every right to make up their own minds regarding Truth.
To withhold Biblical information from people is exactly the same as the Pharisees wanting to kill Jesus.

To keep information from people is to deny God's plan for this world, that each and every individual study, learn, and choose what " they " determine as being the Truth.

Please do your best to not copy the Pharisees. Thanks so much."

So, of course I wanted to be removed from his list, less he think that I was really into his gibberish. I emailed him, telling him that I was Catholic and that his theology was bizarre. He responded within 5 minutes, with a copied and paste "attack" on the Catholic Church asking for answers. Below will be his questions in red and my quick answers (all this transpired within 10 minutes). Also, I realize that my answers were largely incomplete but I wanted to get the point across to him that some Catholics actually do know what they believe and that he has a very strange and lack of understanding of Catholic teaching and history.

any idea;

1. Why the catholic denomination fabricates 'priests' when the Bible
declares that 'Each' Christian is a Saint and a Priest before God.

Yes, we believe that all Christians are "priests" and "saints". You have a misunderstanding of terminology.

2. Why the catholic denomination says that Mary is a mediator, when God declares that only Jesus is the ONE mediator between man and God.

If I ask you to pray for me, you are a mediator between me and God. That is our English language. We both realize that the role of Christ is different than that, just like Catholics realize the role of Mary is different.

3. Why the catholic denomination believes in the apocrypha when God had the Bible compiled long before the apocrypha was added.

You obviously don't have an understanding of the development of the Canon. The Catholic Church chose the books you chose as the "sola scriptura" at the end of the 3rd century. You can't tell me why you think Philemon should be in the Bible and Maccabees should not. You simply submit to Martin Luther's decision on the Canon.

4. Why the catholic denomination believes Peter was the first pope when
Peter was a married man.

Again, you misunderstand Catholic teaching. We also know Peter was married. Many Catholic priests are also married. That is a disciplinary issue, not a matter of faith and morals.

5. Why the catholic denomination believes that Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit when God declares that apart from Jesus, ALL are sinners.

This question is confusing and the preface to the question does not match the actual question you are asking.

6. Why the catholic denomination believes that the unleavened bread and fruit of the vine become the physical body and blood of Jesus when
they remain physical bread and physical grape juice.

You could read up about transubstantiation if you aren't afraid of what the early church actually believed. Also, try reading John 6.

7. Why the catholic denomination believes in purgatory when there is NO
such thing.

So you answered your own question here? Why don't you prove to me it doesn't exist?

8. Why the catholic denomination sold indulgences to shorten a person's
stay in purgatory when purgatory does not exist, and this teaching is a total SCAM.

Refer to Question 7.

9. Why the catholic denomination forbade people to marry and eat certain meats when God declares that these types of rules would be taught by 'DEMONS'.

I'm afraid we don't forbid anyone to marry or eat certain meats. Please read up on our teaching before you keep accusing us of teaching things we do not. Also, if you copied and pasted this, you should think of a better response.

He never responded to this, which makes me either hopeful that he's reading up on real Church teaching in order to combat me (more than one person has converted from this journey), but more likely he either "turned me over to Satan" or is going to read some more Lorraine Boettner for information. This demonstrates to me the absolute epitomy of where private interpretation of the Bible and "sola scriptura" leads us though.

UPDATE: Sadly, I don't think he did any of the above. Here's the next round of comments. He ignored about half of my questions and didn't really respond to anything said here:

In response to all Christians being saints and priests:
Wow, . . . what catholic church are you with ?

THE Church. Did you even try to research what you are saying? If you mind taking a look at our official teaching (the Catechism of the Catholic Church) you will understand. #1546: "Christ, high priest and unique mediator has made of the Church "a kingdom, priests for his God and Father." The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ's mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, the faithful are "consecrated to be a holy priesthood".

In response to the Canon of Scripture:
Oh sure, and God had nothing to do with getting rid of " un - inspired " words of man.

Are you implying that Martin Luther was inspired by God to get rid of books that had been used since before Christ? Please elaborate. I think you might have a hard time explaining that comment from your doctrine of "sola scriptura"

In response to the confusing question about Mary:

Nice try. You say Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit and was therefore sinless, in order for Jesus to be born of a sinless woman (because of your False "original sin" Doctrine)
So what about Mary's mother ? ? ? hee hee

Again, I'm not sure about the clarity of your question. If you are asking that we belive Mary was born like Christ, of a virgin and the Holy Spirit, no we do not. We believe she had two earthly parents. She was preserved from original sin by the death of her son on the Cross, as his sacrifice flows backwards and the grace of God can accomplish anything.

In response to eating his body and drinking his blood:

God denounces " canabalism ". ;0)

Nice cop out.

In response to proving purgatory doesn't exist:

I don't bounce around refuting ever ridiculous Doctrine just to appease those ensnared by satan's games.
I share the truth with people and we then move forward saving other souls.

I think maybe that means you can't?

In response to forbidding marriage and meat:

Ya, because either you changed your Doctrine, or you don't know catholic teachings regarding fish on Fridays or priests having to give up marriage.

the catholic church is so far from a " living personal God " is head twirling.

Look at the pope's hat, then try to tell me that God's not rolling laughing.


I urge you to repent and pursue Truth.

Best wishes,

Actually I do know our Church's teaching about "fish on Fridays". Obviously you do not. And, obviously you don't know anything about priests and marriage, or the historical development of that discipline or it's exceptions. It's very hard to have a serious discussion with someone who doesn't really have anything serious to add. Why don't you try to explain your doctrine a little better without puns and insults, is it because it has such a weak place to stand?

And perhaps his best one (sadly) in reference to Mary as mediator:

Wrong, a Biblical mediator is a lawyer. When I pray for you I am not your lawyer. Jesus is.

Here you have again twisted what I said. I didn't refer to Mary as my lawyer. When you pray for me, you are a mediator between me and God. That's exactly what Mary does as well. Or, if you like
"To recap, then, Jesus Christ is the sole mediator between God and man. No other person in heaven or on earth can take His place. The role of Mary or any other saint is to lead the believer to Christ. This subordinate form of mediation derives its meaning and efficacy from the Lord Himself and is not something the saints possess on their own."


My wife and I were discussing the concept of love tonight. Part of our problem in the modern world is that we do not understand what that means. Sometimes we think about it as how we get the most out of our relationships. We love things that give back more than we put the effort in. However, we have a perfect example of love. Christ gave himself for us, dying on the cross. Did he really need something back from us? We love and praise and worship him. Did he need to die for us to do that? This reminds me of the Psalms. God says there that he doesn't need our sacrifice of animals, he isn't hungry or thirsty. He owns them all! Also, like Moses said, he could raise up children of Abraham from the rocks! He didn't create us as mindless servants. He died for us because he loved us, each and every one of us at all times. He's with us at all times, even during the darkest hours of sin.

This led us to talking more about sacraments like the Eucharist and Confession. Attending mass or going to confession sometimes seems more like a burden to us than it does a blessing. We should remember that these are graces that God provides for our benefit, not for his own. Let's learn to love Christ as he loves us. And, that might be extra hard, because God doesn't even expect that out of us. He gives us so much that we can't even compare it to what we give back, even if we dedicate our whole lives to him!