The Papists

Apologetics and Evengelization
  • August 8, 2013 4:12 pm

    The End of Denominations?

    varangoi:

    bannerofthecross:

    myadventuresinoddity:

    A wonderful article. 

    Schism (which is how many denominations came about) never fixes anything.  Disunity is a sin, a very real sin that Christians need to ponder.  This is one of the reasons I am wary of the continuing Anglican movement and have never seriously looked into it.  Though TEC has many problems, I don’t think abandonment is the solution.  

    I like this quote “Jesus didn’t give us many churches. He gave us one Church.”

    So if schism is bad, and Jesus gave us one Church…shouldn’t we try and figure out where that One Church went?

    I think they found it in Russia, Greece, Ukraine, Serbia, Georgia, Romania, and some other countries or something. Something about an Orthodox Church. Idk.

    Funny, you know I heard the same thing about a Church centered in Rome with rites all around the world…something about a Catholic Church? ;)

  • July 29, 2013 2:11 pm

    On Admitting Men with Same Sex Attraction to the Seminary

    bannerofthecross:

    Everyone outside of the Church seems to be celebrating Pope Francis’s “change in teaching” on homosexuality. This post is to show that what Pope Francis said is not anything new. 

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly says, in paragraph 2358, that people with same sex attraction must be “accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” and that “every sign of unjust discrimination should be avoided.” So Pope Francis, in not judging, is doing what Jesus and the Church tells us to do.

    In 2005, the Vatican issued the document Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with Regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in View of Their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders which says:

    It is necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called “gay culture”. 

    Different however would be the case in which one were dealing with homosexual tendencies that were only expression of a transitory problem…Nevertheless, such tendencies must be clearly overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate.

    This means that men with very strong homosexual tendencies cannot be admitted to the Priesthood. In the same way, a man with very strong pornography tendencies will not be admitted to the Priesthood. As a requirement for Priesthood, all men must show a high degree of Sexual Integration where they have overcome their temptations of lust and have developed the freedom to authentically love.

    When the Church talks about the “gay culture”, She is referring to people who promote the idea of gay marriage, which is a direct violation of Church teaching. Pope Francis referred to these type of people as “being part of the lobby.” The Church will not ordain any man who is not in Communion with the Church on any issue. Priests are representatives of the Church and must adhere to all Her teachings; as should every Catholic.

    When Pope Francis says “the problem isn’t the orientation. The problem is making a lobby,” he is repeating that the real issue is when a man openly dissents from Church teaching. That’s when a man cannot be ordained. 

    Father Brett A. Brennan put it this way in his book To Save a Thousand Souls (which was published in 2010):

    The Vatican Instruction indicates that a practicing homosexual or a man with deep-seated homosexual tendencies ought never to be ordained a priest. The Church cannot allow ordination of men who are active homosexuals or who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies.

    But a man can be accepted for study if he has a significantly lesser degree of same-sex attraction which he has completely disclosed. He should completely and enthusiastically embrace the Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality. He should be growing in affective maturity and must have clearly overcome the transitory same-sex attraction, living chastely for at least three years before his diaconate ordination.

    Pg 245

    So yes, a man with Same Sex Attraction can become a Priest, but it’s a case by case basis. There is no solid answer.

    What Pope Francis said is far from a “reversal” of Church Teaching, or a “new sign of openness”. The Church always has and always will welcome anyone, no matter race, gender, or sexuality, who is seeking Truth and seeking to do God’s will.

  • July 27, 2013 9:12 pm

    A Call for Reform in the Catholic Church by an Austrian priest

    existenceandidentity:

    thepapists:

    existenceandidentity:

    Fr. Schüller proposes the following:

    • allowing priests to marry
    • allowing women to become priests
    • allowing lay people to have communion services without a priest present
    • giving lay people much greater control of church policy and practice and local and higher levels
    • allowing remarried Catholics to receive the Eucharist
    • honoring loving committed gay relationships

    Just a warning, it’s late, I’m tired, I should probably gather my thoughts but I feel the need to respond to this article.

    Also, this is not directed explicitly towards existenceandidentity, this is directed towards this article. 

    The need for reform of Church teaching, doctrine, dogma, traditions, and the like is not a need at all. Vatican II already made its reforms, the council is over, the Church has spoken, let’s move on. 

    The crisis in the Church does not call for a reform of the Church; it calls for a reform of the hearts of Her members.

    The reforms of the Mass, from what I’ve understood, was an attempt to re-ignite the Faith of the 20th century. The Novus Ordo was supposed to help the laity become more involved, more active, and to better understand what the Mass is about. 

    What has happened in the last 50 years?

    A decline in Church attendance, poor catechesis, decline in Priestly and Religious vocations, and Catholics are living no different than the secular world. 

    Is this the fault of the Second Vatican Council?  No. It’s because the implementing of Vatican II exploded and people took it and ran with it.

    So what’s my point? Institutional reform without proper instruction results in crisis. Priests and Bishops at times, whether knowingly or unknowingly, veered away from what the Council taught. We have the reform already, now we need the proper instruction.

    Hence the New Evangelization and the Year of Faith; these help us rediscover what it means to be Catholic. 

    We can’t solve this crisis with more reforms. In my opinion, asking for more reforms is showing a lack of faith in Christ. “We are running out of Priests, we need the laity to be able to perform communion with no Priest present, we need Priests to be married, we need women priests”. Why don’t we just ask God to give us more Priests? 

    Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

    Mt 7:7

    How much clearer can Christ be?

    By constantly seeking reform, we continue to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We give into the temptation of the serpent to become like gods, and instead of trusting in God providence, we begin to play god by saying “No, God’s church is wrong about what God thinks.”

    Are the Church’s teachings hard? Yes! Of course they are! Why? Because the Church is our Mother and She challenges us to be more than what settle for. God gives us this challenge because He knows that we’re up for it. 

    All the reforms listed here are based on a misunderstood secular definition of love; that love is tolerance, acceptance, and warm fuzzies. Love is to will the good of the other and to act on it, which often includes being harsh. Denying someone communion who is not in communion with the Church is not meant to be a punishment; it’s meant to protect them from committing a sacrilege. 

    The Role of the Church is to bring Her people to the fullness of Truth and Salvation. Changing Her teachings would be an injustice to us. It’ll be uncomfortable, but as Pope Benedict said: “We are not made for comfort, we are made for Greatness.”

    I’ve written about the lay Catholic equivocation of the clergy with the Church before on this blog, so I won’t go into. Suffice to say that I think it’s a silly view to equate a very small percentage of men with the entirety of the Church. None of the reforms this priest is calling for are really out there. And allowing more lay involvement in church policy and practice is a necessity if the Catholic Church wants to remain relevant. It doesn’t affect teachings or dogma, and it decentralizes power away from the clergy. If the Church needs an example, they can always look at the Anglicans, Presbyterians, Lutherans, or any other Protestant denomination to see how it works.

    Priestly celibacy is a historically recent practice, there’s no reason to keep it for some nostalgic tradition. That level of sexual repression isn’t healthy, and quite honestly it’s probably why the sex abuse scandal is so big among Catholic clergy.

    The prohibition of women from the priesthood is based on a shaky interpretation (of faulty logic, no less) of the fact that Jesus only had men as apostles. The fact that he only had male apostles is not a command to never ordain women. If anything, a look at the Protestant churches that allow female ministers/priests shows that women are often better pastors than men. 

    And affirming gay relationships is a matter of human dignity. On this the clergy/Church is unequivocally wrong.

    Why you see reform as a lack of faith is beyond me. Lack of faith in the clergy, perhaps, but not lack of faith in God, Jesus, or Christianity. Jesus was a reformer. Reform is the entire message of Jesus. In the Gospels, he is always saying, “repent, return to the basics, forgive your enemy, love God and love your neighbor.” In essence he says, “reform yourself”. 

    Of course, I’m not Catholic anymore, so I don’t really care what happens in the Church. But I think if it wants to continue being relevant in the world and retain members, it needs to change.

    But the thing is, some of these reforms are out there. I’ll admit I was a bit harsh on the Priestly celibacy and on Communion services with no Priest. As catholicninja pointed out to me, Celibacy is a discipline, not a dogma, so that can be changed, and Communion services already exist where it’s needed. Celibacy isn’t kept for nostalgic purposes. Practically speaking, a celibate Priest allows him to be more readily available to his parish, not to mention it is in imitation of Christ who was celibate. 

    As for the sex scandal:

    -Philip Jenkins, is a professor of history and religious studies at Penn State University, and has written a book on the topic. He estimates that 2% of priests sexually abuse youths and children.

    -Sylvia M. Demarest, a lawyer from Texas has been tracking accusations against priests since the the mid-1990s. By 1996, she had identified 1,100 priests who had been accused of molesting children. She predicts that when she updates the list, the total will exceed 1,500 names. This represents about 2.5% of the approximately 60,000 men who have been active priests in the U.S. since 1984.

    -Conservative columnist Ann Coulter claimed, without citing references, that there are only 55 “exposed abusers" in a population of 45,000 priests. This is an abuse rate of 0.12%.

    -Various news services reported that 200 Roman Catholic priests in the Philippines have been investigated for “sexual misconduct and abuses" over the past two decades. That would represent almost 3% of the total population of about 7,000 priests. However, it appears that misconduct includes many offenses, from child abuse to rape to keeping adult mistresses.

    And I found some sources, not nearly as authoritative that say less than 1%.

    -  Cynthia Stewart’s “The Catholic Church: A brief popular history.”

    -In England according to  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2011/may/16/catholic-church-vatican-letter-child-abuse , The percentage is less than half of one percent.

    Credit to nikosnature for the stats.

    Also this video.

    Most Priests are good holy men. I think what you said about lay Catholic equivocation of the clergy can be applied here: “it’s a silly view to equate a very small percentage of men with the entirety of the Church.”

    As for women priests, part of it is following the example of Jesus in only ordaining men, but it goes much deeper than that. As human beings we are incarnate spirits; our bodies reflect our souls. I am male both physically and spiritually. When a Priest is administering the Sacraments, he is in persona Christi; "in the place of Christ". In that moment he spiritually becomes Christ. Jesus is male, and only a male body can represent a male spirit. 

    The Catholic Church does acknowledge the dignity of people with same sex attraction.

    The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church 2358

    (emphasis mine)

    Saying no to gay marriage does not mean saying no to the person.

    I agree with you, Jesus does say “reform yourself”. He desires for us to reform ourselves to His Truth, and how do we know what His Truth is? Through the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. The Church’s goal is not to stay relevant but to bring the world the Truth and to bring Her Children to Salvation.

    I’m sorry you decided to leave the Church, but know that we’re always ready to welcome you back. I’ll be praying for you

    In Christ,
    Javi

  • July 11, 2013 9:39 am

    No salvation outside the Church?

    From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, quoted here:

    How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body: Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his Body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

    This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church: Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation.

    The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter. Those who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. With the Orthodox churches, this communion is so profound that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist. (CCC 838)

    Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men. (CCC 846-848)

  • July 1, 2013 10:33 am
    Anonymous:  Would it be bad for me to complain to my parish priest about him not using the proper conclusions to some of the collects used in Mass; and telling him to not sing 'Happy anniversary' and do announcements before the post communion prayer?

    It usually is a good idea to bring up liturgical abuses with the priest and try to have them addressed. However, it must be stressed that proper procedure on the laity’s part be followed: Be respectful; do not accuse; and have documentation.

    Note specific times the abuse has occurred, and if possible, point to where in the rubrics or other appropriate documents where such invention/variation is condemned. Present your concern as a concern for the integrity of the liturgy, not a personal accusation. Not only are you liable to get a better response that way, but it stresses that you respect the priest and his office, and are more concerned about the integrity of the liturgy than “being right.” 

    Inserting “extras” before the final prayers is one my personal Novus Ordo pet peeves, but it’s so ubiquitous you’re not likely to get a very positive response when you bring it up. However, it might help to have alternative suggestions: the best time to do announcements, etc, is at the beginning or end of the homily, but since most parishes do a “welcome to our church” greeting party before Mass starts, that’s an option too. 

    If meeting with the priest does not have the desired result, or you’d rather not talk to him in person, submit an official letter to him. You can also include a list of supporters who also would prefer that the rubrics be followed. (It shouldn’t be a matter of majority opinion, but with some priests, that’s quite effective.) Keep copies of everything.

    If speaking/writing to the priest one on one doesn’t work, submit copies of everything to the bishop, with a cover letter explaining—respectfully—your concerns. 

    The fact is that liberties should not be taken with the liturgy. Inventions, additions, prayer rewording, making things up—all these detract from the essential nature of the liturgy and fly in the face of the just regulations of the Church. Such abuses absolutely should be addressed, through the proper channels. 

    Good luck with it.

    - Q

  • July 1, 2013 8:51 am
    Anonymous:  Today, Pope Francis tweeted that "a Christian is never bored or sad." As a person struggling with depression, I'm often sad. I love Christ, but that doesn't mean I'm alway happy. If I'm sad often is he saying I'm not a true Christian?

    No. It is absolutely not true that being sad or struggling with depression make you “not a true Christian.”

    Pope Francis probably meant something along the lines of worldly boredom and sadness—the kind of ennui that comes from a life of selfishness, mired in sin (especially unrecognized sin,) and focussing on the material world.  When Christians find themselves experiencing those emotions, it is time to re-center our lives on Christ and allow the life of the Church, especially the sacraments, to renew us spiritually.

    To repeat what I said here about happiness, joy, and the Christian life:

    Christian joy has nothing to do with material blessings or smiles and euphemisms plastered across the inevitable, unavoidable, natural sorrows of life. Having Christian joy doesn’t mean not having depression, or not being sad, or not struggling. 

    Christian joy isembracing that suffering because Christ has made suffering redemptive. It’s uniting yourself with Christ on the cross and praying that you pass through your suffering, tempered like metal in fire, to become a stronger, better, more loving person. It’s being able to see through the struggle to Christ who is your bedrock, who will always take care of you. Christian joy is not about external circumstances or superficial emotion. It’s a state of being united with Christ in trust that is stronger than fear.

    True, there are too few living Christians today who exemplify that. This is an age short on living saints. But it’s equally true that non-Christians look at Christians who are doing their daily best to become saints and sneer, “That doesn’t look very ‘joyful’ tome.”

    "Joy" to the world today means “happiness." “Happiness" to the world today means “feeling pleasant." By that definition, no one of any creed or philosophy will ever attain complete happiness on earth. It’s impossible. Happiness to the Christian is knowing the truth—Christ—and living in Him. That kind of happiness, of joy, is the seed of completenes, because it alone is unchanging in any circumstances—indeed it enables you to survive whatever circumstances. And eventually, that joy alone is able to carry you into into an eternity where the fulfillment of complete joy is possible.

    That’s why it’s so important that Christians actually, actively, visibly bring Christ into every aspect of their lives. It’s too easy for onlookers to write off the discernibly Christian elements as “not joyful/happy” and/or attribute any apparent happiness in the Christian’s life to whatever cause suits their preconceived ideas.

    Hope that helps.

    - Q

  • June 19, 2013 8:16 pm

    Resources for Learning About Catholicism

    badwolfcomplex:

    For Protestants and non-Christians.

    Even if you’re not interested in converting, it might surprise you to know that a lot of “pop knowledge” about the Catholic faith is, in fact, dead wrong. Find out what the Catholic Church is really all about.

  • May 22, 2013 11:11 am
    Anonymous:  Is it true that Catholics think only Catholics go to heaven? I have a hard time accepting that God would condemn to hell a good, kind non-Catholic who lived a wonderful life just because they weren't Catholic. I think God is understanding and just and that wouldn't be just.

    Hey Anon!

    Catholic Teaching is that we don’t know who is saved (except for the canonized Saints, we know they’re in heaven) because we don’t know the extent of God’s mercy. If someone, through no fault of their own, does not know Jesus, they can’t be culpable for that.

    As humans, we are bound to the Church but God is not. God can and probably does save many people outside the Church, but the Church is the surest way to salvation. We know this because Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, founded it on St. Peter and gave the Apostles His authority. 

    I’ve always like this quote by Pope Benedict XVI:

    “Agnostics, who are constantly exercised by the question of God, those who long for a pure heart but suffer on account of their sin, are closer to the Kingdom of God than believers whose life of faith is “routine” and who regard the Church merely as an institution, without letting it touch their hearts, or letting the faith touch their hearts”

    -Pope Benedict XVI.

    Also, Pope Francis just had a homily that also touches on this a bit. He basically said that all men, Catholic or not, were redeemed by Christ and thus have an obligation to do good deeds. Check it out here.

    God Bless!

    -Javi

  • March 31, 2013 7:42 pm
    Anonymous:  Why do Catholics believe Mary was born without original sin?

    Check out this video, it’s a little long but very interesting. The video goes into much of what Catholics believe about Mary.

    Peace and Happy Easter :)

    -Javi 

  • March 29, 2013 6:03 pm
    Anonymous:  I am a vegetarian, because I believe that animals are also God's creatures and to eat them would be a sin. It concerns me that that Catholic church does not also view this as a sin and, in a way, condones the consumption of animals. Please enlighten me as to why this is. Thank you!

    Anon,

    Consider Acts 10:9-15:

    The next day, while they were on their way and nearing the city, Peter went up to the roof terrace to pray at about noontime. He was hungry and wished to eat, and while they were making preparations he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something resembling a large sheet coming down, lowered to the ground by its four corners. In it were all the earth’s four-legged animals and reptiles and the birds of the sky. A voice said to him, “Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat. But Peter said, “Certainly not, sir. For never have I eaten anything profane and unclean.” The voice spoke to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.”

    God has given us the right to eat meat. I hope this answers your question.

    Your friend,

    Olivier