The Papists

Apologetics and Evengelization
  • June 3, 2014 8:03 pm
    Anonymous:  Any advice on how to take the sermon on the mount seriously without adopting a pacifist ethos?

    Is there a problem with adopting the pacifist ethos?  I think pacifism, correctly considered can be a legitimate expression of one’s Christian faith.  

    That being said, I don’t think the sermon on the mount demands pacificism to the exclusion of a “just war” or self-defense.  It does say “blessed are the peace makers” and it condemns violence and anger.  However, consider a situation where a dictator is committing genocide against one or more groups of people who are unable to stand up to the dictator themselves.  I don’t think Jesus is saying that we ought to let the dictator do that in order to preserve the peace.  The fact of the matter is that in such a situation, the peace is already broken, and in order to make peace again, it can be necessary sometimes to make war.  I think examples like this one shows that self-defense, or defense of another can be a legitimate reason to be violent, and this does not necessarily constitute a violation of the commandment.

    On the other hand, one should also note that there are legitimate peaceful responses to the situation.  So, violence should always be a last resort, and proportional to the threat presented and goal intended.  

    I hope this helped!  God bless!

    Niko

  • June 3, 2014 2:08 pm
    Anonymous:  What is the Church's stance on body modification (piercings and tattoos to be specific)? I've yet to be baptized (I've just joined the RCIA program on campus), but I also have piercings and one tattoo. My piercings are three pairs of lobe piercings and my left nostril, and my tattoo is an outline of a dove just above my ankle that I got in memory of my father who passed away. They aren't necessarily vulgar, but I do understand that the body is sacred.

    Hi Anonymous,

    First of all, let me say I’m sorry for your loss.  It’s hard to lose a father.

    Regarding your question, there is no problem for a Catholic with tattoos or piercings unless:

    1. They would inhibit the function of that part of the body in some way.  (Not usually a big problem with tattoos or piercings, (unless they are seriously big piercings) but some body modifications inhibit certain functions of parts of the body.  These would be mutilations and would be wrong.)

    2. They are sinful or demonic in nature.  A pretty obvious one, but if for example you wanted to get a “hail satan” tattoo, that would be wrong.

    3.  If the tattoo is done to spite one’s parents or society.  For example, if my parents told me, don’t get a tattoo and I got one anyway, that would be considered wrong.  (Not necessarily because its a tattoo, but because I disobeyed my parents.)  Also, if I got something that would be obviously offensive to a lot of society, like say tattooed a hand with a raised middle finger on my chest, that would be wrong.  

    4.  If the tattoo is otherwise irreconcilable with Catholicism, a Catholic should not get it.  (Or if one gets one before becoming Catholic, they ought to cover it up, or maybe hide it behind another tattoo which is acceptable.)  The best example of this would be if a Hindu had a tattoo of one of the Hindu gods, but then converted to Catholicism, obviously it would be best for them to either remove the tattoo, keep it hidden, or somehow hide it behind another tattoo.

    It doesn’t sound like your tattoos and piercings fall under these categories, so you’re fine.  I hope this helped,

    In Christ,

    Niko

  • May 10, 2014 4:47 am
    Anonymous:  I was brought up in a RC family and taken to the RCC since I was little, however my mom baptized me Presbyterian, and I confirmed Orthodox (I wanted to me officially RC, mom didn't like it, so I went EO.) I'm now in college, leadership in the RC club, and ready to come home to the Church. I'm just worried about telling my Orthodox friends, and breaking from my old Orthodox Church. How should I go about this?

    Just tell your friends that you are joining the Catholic Church because you feel that is where God is calling you to join.  If they ask, you can choose to give other reasons for why your joining the Catholic Church, or not, and instead just say that that’s where you are called.  I am sure your Orthodox friends will understand.  You can also remind them that even though we are separated brethren, we are still brothers and sisters in faith, and that you still hold them in high regard.  You just have a duty to follow what your conscience tells you God’s will is, and if that is to join the Catholic Church, then that is what you must do.  I would also recommend you talking to a priest you know personally.  They can often give better advice than we can over the web.  I hope this answered your question! God bless, and good luck! 

    In Christ,

    Niko

  • March 7, 2014 1:49 am
    layingdownamess:  Hey, guys. Have any of you heard the whole 'Jesus was born in July and Christmas is actually a pagan holiday' thing? If yes, can you explain it to me? Please & thank you!

    There is some debate as to what time Christ was actually born.  While virtually all scholars agree that he existed,* we are not sure about when he was born.  Many scholars argue that given that the nativity accounts claim that shepherds were grazing their flock, a December birth is unlikely, and therefore, a summer birth makes more sense.  Others respond by noting that winters in that part of the world are mild, and that it might have been possible. 

    Christmas Day is also the date of several pagan holidays (probably because of its proximity to the winter solstice,) leading some to claim that Christmas is actually a pagan holiday, and that Christians who celebrate Christmas are actually celebrating the pagan gods.  This is of course silly.  My friends celebrate my birthday on March 4th.  There are hundreds of people who celebrate birthdays on March 4th, but we are not all the same person just because we share a birthday. 

    In the end, does it really matter when Jesus was born?  No, it doesn’t.  All that matters is that He was born, He died for our sins, and because of that, we love Him by obeying Him and His Church because that is what will bring us to heaven, that is union with God.

    Does that help?  God bless!

    Niko

    *Wikipedia

  • January 11, 2014 3:09 am
    Anonymous:  I use to be a very faithful Catholic, I even thought about a vocation to priesthood for a long time. The sad truth is I've fallen in college... And I am not happy. I feel fake and artificial and when I close my eyes I dream of the love I felt from the Father before I ran away from the church. I'm in a sexual D/s relationship with a wonderful girl... But I don't know if I can tell her about my struggles...how can a man come back from something like this...I long for my home, my church

    You fell away from the faith in college.  Guess what, your normal.  More people than not will change in some way in college, and often times, we’re not happy about those changes.  We feel like we’ve fallen.  What defines us, is how we get back up.

    Look at St. Augustine.  He didn’t just fall in college.  He went on rager that lasted around two decades.  He was not exactly a model Christian.  And then, he changed.  He met people who really introduced him to the faith again, he left his former ways, and went on to be one of the most revered saints in history.  And there are a ton of other saints like him.  Moses the black was a murder and adulterer, and he became a saint.  So, God really doesn’t look at how far we fall, he looks at the efforts we take to pick ourselves back up, and really, He does most of the work, we just have to give Him the space to do it. 

    There’s a story called the prodigal son, (Luke 15) but really, it should be called the story of the running Father.  Because the son, when he realized that what he was doing wasn’t working, he prepared a long speech to tell his father, begging him to just take him in as a servant.  But, while the son was still a while off, the Father saw him and ran up to meet him.  The Father immediately called him his son, and prepared a feast for him.  The son didn’t even get a chance to say his speech.  Point is, turn to God, and give Him the space to work.  You want to come back home to the Church, just do it!  Find a priest who you trust, could be at your college or nearby, or back home.  Wherever.  Ask him to talk.  Hang out with a friend who’s faith you admire.  That’s how we give God the space to work.  We surround ourselves with people who God is working through.  Does that make sense?  And always know, that you are truly loved by God, and nothing you do can ever change that.  God bless!

    Your brother in Christ,

    Niko

  • December 28, 2013 9:30 pm
    Anonymous:  If I made a mistake when I am praying, am I required to pray the prayer again?

    No, just recollect your thoughts and continue.  Sometime starting over may help you distance yourself from the mistake, but starting over is not required.  What’s required is that you attempt to maintain a prayerful attitude, speak honestly and reverently, and hopefully, your prayer will move you to a sense of peace and calm in the Lord.  That is the goal, when we pray, we ought to rest in the Lord.  I hope this helps!  God bless!

    -Niko

  • December 11, 2013 2:57 pm
    Anonymous:  Do you have any information on the current demographics of the Church, i.e. which country has the most Catholics, which ethnic group has the most Catholics, etc?

    Wikipedia actually has pretty good statistics on that.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_by_country

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Roman_Catholics_by_nationality

    I don’t know of any statistics on worldwide ethnic groups and Catholicism but I hope this info on nationality helps!

    -Niko

  • December 4, 2013 9:04 am
    Anonymous:  Is it okay to wear sandals during the Mass? I know shorts are inappropriate, I was just wondering if sandals are. I'm a male.

    It depends.  What’s the character of the parish where you go to mass?  Is it generally expected that people come to mass dressed to the nines, or is it more relaxed?  The general rule of thumb is not to draw attention to yourself, so would wearing sandals do that?  If so, then maybe its best to leave them at home.  If not, then it’s not really a big deal.

    I would generally caution against flip-flops, mostly because those can make a lot of noise when one is walking up to receive communion and that’s annoying.

    But really, I wouldn’t sweat the wardrobe too much.  So long as you have a love for the Lord in your heart, and that’s what you focus on at mass, that’s what’s important.

    -Niko

  • November 30, 2013 9:39 pm
    Anonymous:  My husband and I were both raised Protestant and baptized as children. When we married, neither of us was religious so we had a civil ceremony at the justice of the peace, and not a church wedding. I have been attending Mass at a Catholic church for a while and am considering starting RCIA and joining the church next year. If I do, will we need to have our marriage convalidated to make it valid?

    If you are both baptized, you both are attached to the Church’s economy of grace, (albeit imperfectly, unless and until both of you finish RCIA and come into full communion with the Catholic Church,) therefore, presuming that there are no other mitigating circumstances, your marriage is sacramental.  The Canon is clear on this, a valid marriage cannot exist between two baptized people without it being necessarily sacramental. 

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P3V.HTM

    Thus, it does not seem that you would have to get your marriage convalidated or take any other steps.  The only thing that changes once you fully enter the Catholic Church, is that you have a right and obligation to provide a Christian education in accordance with the teachings of the Church to any children you two have.  Does this help?

    God bless!

  • November 9, 2013 5:20 pm
    Anonymous:  The Church doesn't approve the messages given to Maria Divine Mercy. What if I saw a flyer regarding the messages she is "receiving" at Church?

    Bring it up to the attention of your pastor for him to take care of.  If, on the other hand, the pastor is supporting it, this might be something to bring up to the attention of the diocese.  Here’s some info on Maria Divine Mercy. 

    http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/9-things-you-need-to-know-about-maria-divine-mercy