The Papists

Apologetics and Evengelization
  • October 11, 2012 9:13 am
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Coepit facere et docere — Jesus began to do and then to teach. You and I have to bear witness with our example, because we cannot live a double life. We cannot preach what we do not practise. In other words, we have to teach what we are at least struggling to put into practice. (The Forge, 694)

With the opening of the Year of Faith today, may we persevere in our efforts to learn more about our God - to know, so that we may love more; to love, so that we may want to know more. And, more importantly, may all our actions always be an outpouring of what is in our hearts - love for Love Himself. 
Have a fruitful Year of Faith!
- Kai
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    Coepit facere et docere — Jesus began to do and then to teach. You and I have to bear witness with our example, because we cannot live a double life. We cannot preach what we do not practise. In other words, we have to teach what we are at least struggling to put into practice. (The Forge, 694)

    With the opening of the Year of Faith today, may we persevere in our efforts to learn more about our God - to know, so that we may love more; to love, so that we may want to know more. And, more importantly, may all our actions always be an outpouring of what is in our hearts - love for Love Himself.

    Have a fruitful Year of Faith!

    - Kai

  • August 19, 2012 4:26 pm

    Catholicism and homosexuality (a very long and feeble attempt to clear up misunderstandings and misrepresentations).

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    Can a homosexual person go to heaven?

    That question has been a highly popular and equally controversial one, especially in the last decade or so. One popular answer I often see goes, “it is impossible to be both Catholic and homosexual,” which is usually followed by a quote lifted from Leviticus condemning men lying in bed with another man as he would with a woman. This, and the refusal of the Church to allow same-sex marriage, are often used as justification in accusing the Church of being homophobic. Many criticize the Church for its “phobia” by arguing that homosexual tendencies are not products of choice, and so a person should not be punished for acting on love. While the first part may hold some truth in it, the latter part is a bit tricky.

    For the first half, we must turn to philosophy for clarity. Sexuality, in the strictest philosophical meaning of the word, is a given. You’re either male or female, and your (ontological) being is affected by your sexuality. On this matter, you have no say. It’s the gender that is closer to control by the person. The tendency or inclination to be attracted to a person of the same sex is involuntary, as are all tendencies and inclinations. Since you did not will this, you aren’t held accountable for it. Free will comes into play when you choose to act on that tendency. Remember, regardless of whether it’s with the opposite or the same sex, entering a relationship or engaging in (consensual) sexual activity is a choice.

    Though I believe that on the philosophical and objective level, the application of these concepts are equal between the hetero and the homo, I acknowledge that this is subjectively more difficult for those attracted to the same sex. I cannot begin to imagine what it is like to have to deal with the personal and social repercussions of being attracted to the same sex.

    Now, since the latter half of the regular argument touches on the idea of punishment for actions, we must segue to doctrine. In Catholicism, man is not to be judged for actions that are not deliberate, so it follows that attraction (romantic or sexual) toward a person of the same sex is not a sin. It’s acting on it that might be. However, I would add an important explanatory note that is often overlooked – it isn’t so much the gender of the person as it is his/her commitment to chastity. Fornication, which is considered a sin, will always be fornication, whether it is done by a man and a woman, two men, or two women.

    On that note, I would like to stress, although homosexuality is seen to be irregular (in a sense that it is unconventional; it digresses from the biological equation), any form of discrimination toward those who are attracted to the same sex is not condoned in Catholicism. So no, there is no justification in addressing them derogatorily, or in not giving them equal opportunity because of their sexual preference, and most especially not in carrying placards condemning them to hell. On the contrary, this is what our Catechism says:

    2358 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.

    Therefore, contrary to popular belief, being Catholic (and by extension, being called to heaven) and being attracted to the same sex are not mutually exclusive characteristics. In fact, it may even be through the difficulties brought about by latter that one can make the Catholic life more meaningful. And so, if you believe in heaven, then the famous LGBT movement slogan does ring true – it gets better. It gets better because whatever difficulties we face in life are not for nought. These difficulties form part of who we are, and it is through the way that we are made that we reach God. As Folco said to Dante as the latter finally reached Paradiso, in Heaven, men do not repent for their weaknesses on earth, but rejoice in the “Power that fashioned and foresaw” the wonderful potential of those faults.

  • August 19, 2012 2:53 pm

    Growing in Faith: Summaries of Catholic Teaching

    To those interested in doing some self-study on the most fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church, this is a 40-day study plan that is used for doctrine formation classes as given by the Opus Dei. :)

    - Kai

  • August 19, 2012 1:57 pm
    Anonymous:  I've been wondering for a while, what's the church's stance on transgenders?

    Hello there!

    I’ve already touched on the topic while answering this question on the Church’s stand on those who believe that they were “born into the wrong sex”. I’ll repeat some point and add new excerpts for you. :)

    Here is an excerpt from the encyclical Casti Connubi by Pope Pius XI

    71. Furthermore, Christian doctrine establishes, and the light of human reason makes it most clear, that private individuals have no other power over the members of their bodies than that which pertains to their natural ends; and they are not free to destroy or mutilate their members, or in any other way render themselves unfit for their natural functions, except when no other provision can be made for the good of the whole body.

    The above excerpt basically says that we are not allowed to have sex transplants as they inhibit us from fulfilling our ends as either man and woman, with the only exception of being in a situation of life or death.

    Here’s another excerpt from another encyclical, Gauduim et Spes by Bl. Pope John Paul II:

    Though made of body and soul, man is one. Through his bodily composition he gathers to himself the elements of the material world; thus they reach their crown through him, and through him raise their voice in free praise of the Creator.(cf. 1 Corinthians 6:13-20) For this reason man is not allowed to despise his bodily life, rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and honorable since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day.

    What this excerpt says is that we are not supposed to hate our bodies because God made us the way we were supposed to be. Now, this doesn’t mean that we should just let loose and not take care of our bodies and use this excerpt as an excuse, but this means that we shouldn’t want to change something so radically because of vanity or other sinful tendencies. This includes sex change.

    Additionally, changing your sexual organs doesn’t actually change your sexuality, thus, if you engage in sexual relations with someone of the same (birth) sex, it would be considered homosexual relations, which is a sin.

    For a more in-depth explanation of why transexuality is considered a sin by the Church, click here. :)

    - Kai

  • August 18, 2012 2:07 pm

    Re, literature on Purgatory

    Although this is not exactly an easy read, Dante’s Purgatorio from the Divina Comedia is a fantastic book explaining Purgatory and other related themes in a Catholic philosophy sort of way. The ebook can be found here, in its original Italian, and English translations by Longfellow and Mandelbaum (which I suggest, for easier reading).

    If you do decide to read it, and maybe discuss it, please let me (us) know! :)

    - Kai

  • August 18, 2012 1:07 pm
    Anonymous:  what is the catholic stance for mediums, like the people who claim to see the our loved ones that have passed away. Is it safe for me to meet one?

    Hi!

    This is what our Catechism says:

    2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future.48 Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

    2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another’s credulity.

    So bottom line, it isn’t safe for your soul to meet with a medium.


    - Kai

  • August 18, 2012 12:56 pm
    Anonymous:  But what about people who think that they were born into the wrong sex? Does the Church/Bible/Catechism say anything about them? I mean, this subject is just SO confusing to me...

    Hi!

    The short of it is this: do you think that God, who is all-knowing, would make as big a mistake as creating you into the wrong sex? We must accept and love the way we were made because the way each man has been created is the way for him to reach God. God made you the way you are supposed to be! :)

    Additionally, this is from the Catechism:

    2333 Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life.

    Furthermore, here is an excerpt from Casti Connubi by Pope Pius XI on when you act on that feeling of being born into the wrong sex (i.e., sex change).

    71. Furthermore, Christian doctrine establishes, and the light of human reason makes it most clear, that private individuals have no other power over the members of their bodies than that which pertains to their natural ends; and they are not free to destroy or mutilate their members, or in any other way render themselves unfit for their natural functions, except when no other provision can be made for the good of the whole body.

    The above excerpt basically says that we are not allowed to have sex transplants as they inhibit us from fulfilling our ends as either man and woman, with the only exception of being in a situation of life or death.

    Personally, though, I think that the fundamental problem with this belief of being born into the wrong sex is that implicit in this is the lack of trust in God and his knowledge of what’s best for you. It’s tantamount to saying that you know better than your Maker about how you were supposed to be made. It’s like a chair saying to the carpenter, “No! My feelings tell me that I was supposed to be a table. Why did you make me into a chair?” Now wouldn’t that be just odd?

    For a more in-depth explanation of why transexuality is considered a sin by the Church, click here.

    - Kai

  • August 1, 2012 5:13 am

    "This is the last and most astounding fact about this faith; that its enemies will use any weapon against it, the swords that cut their own fingers, and the firebrands that burn their own homes. Men who begin to fight the Church for the sake of freedom and humanity end by flinging away freedom and humanity if only they may fight the Church. This is no exaggeration; I could fill a book with the instances of it. Mr. Blatchford set out, as an ordinary Bible-smasher, to prove that Adam was guiltless of sin against God; in manoeuvring so as to maintain this he admitted, as a mere side issue, that all the tyrants, from Nero to King Leopold, were guiltless of any sin against humanity. I know a man who has such a passion for proving that he will have no personal existence after death that he falls back on the position that he has no personal existence now. He invokes Buddhism and says that all souls fade into each other; in order to prove that he cannot go to heaven he proves that he cannot go to Hartle-pool. I have known people who protested against religious education with arguments against any education, saying that the child’s mind must grow freely or that the old must not teach the young. I have known people who showed that there could be no divine judgment by showing that there can be no human judgment, even for practical purposes. They burned their own corn to set fire to the church; they smashed their own tools to smash it; any stick was good enough to beat it with, though it were the last stick of their own dismembered furniture. We do not admire, we hardly excuse, the fanatic who wrecks this world for love of the other. But what are we to say of the fanatic who wrecks this world out of hatred of the other? He sacrifices the very existence of humanity to the non-existence of God. He offers his victims not to the altar, but merely to assert the idleness of the altar and the emptiness of the throne. He is ready to ruin even that primary ethic by which all things live, for his strange and eternal vengeance upon some one who never lived at all."

    Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton

    More than a hundred years later, his observation still holds true.

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  • February 21, 2012 10:47 am
    Anonymous:  Why do we need to attend Ash Wednesday mass? why is it so important?

    Actually, Ash Wednesday is not a Holy day of obligation, which means that you are not required to celebrate Mass on that day. However, Catholics are highly encouraged to do so. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a period of penance and spiritual exercise meant to bring us closer to God in preparation for His resurrection. The ashes on our foreheads are reminders of our mortality (a result of our fallen nature) and the need to repent for our sins to be closer to God through prayer and self-denial.

    Though Catholics are not required to attend Mass, we are required to fast (only one full meal per day for those aged 18-60) and abstain (from meat, for those aged 14+) on this day and on every Friday of Lent. Additional sacrifices may also be practiced.

    Have a blessed Lenten season!

    - Kai

  • February 20, 2012 8:38 am
    doubleplusgoodful:  The Church's norm for reciving Holy Communion is kneeling & on the tongue. Some dioceses (like mine) have applied to Rome for an exception. In those places, it is up to - primarily - the Bishop's discression and - secondarily - the individual's. That is, if the Bishop says it's okay, it's the individual's choice.

    This is addressing the previous question regarding receiving Communion on the hands, I assume? Thank you for your clarification!

    Additionally, and this is just anecdotal, sometimes it might not be possible to receive Communion kneeling down. In my university’s chapel, Communion is received kneeling and on the tongue, but the elderly who are unable to kneel receive it standing up. I suppose there’s that consideration, too. But yes, as far as I know too, such details of the sacraments usually depend on the Bishops’ discretion.

    - Kai