The Papists

Apologetics and Evengelization
  • November 24, 2012 6:35 pm
    Anonymous:  Stem Cells. What can you say about them? What's the official stand of the Church?

    Stem cell research is a noble aspiration in the medicinal, scientific realm. It has many potential applications for cures. However, there are two different types of stem cell research: Adult stem cell and embryonic stem cell.

    The Church only applauds stem cell research that does not violate human life. Embryonic stem cell research does just that, violate human life, being that an embryo is indeed a human. while media and politicians have been insisting that only stem-cells from destroyed embryos can cure the diseases of over 100 million patients, Fr. Pacholczyk pointed out that not one human being or animal has been cured with such research. In fact, since embryonic stem-cells are designed to work in an embryonic environment, their rapid cellular growth have produced tumors called teratoma, and led to death in test subjects (more reason to halt ESCR). Adult stem cells, on the other hand, unlike embryonic stem cells, are derived from adult tissues and pregnancy matter have shown impressive results without carrying any ethical dilemma or risk of tumors and death to patients. Fr. Pacholczyk listed dozens of diseases currently treatable using these stem cells, including sickle-cell anemia, leukemia, spinal cord injury, and heart disease.

    For further reading, check these out

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/catholic-church-not-opposed-to-stem-cell-research-catholic-bioethicist

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2012/01/23/catholic-church-declares-support-for-adult-stem-cell-research/

    CCC applicable to stem cell research:

    2275 “One must hold as licit procedures carried out on the human embryo which respect the life and integrity of the embryo and do not involve disproportionate risks for it, but are directed toward its healing the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival.”83

    “It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material.”84

    “Certain attempts to influence chromosomic or genetic inheritance are not therapeutic but are aimed at producing human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities. Such manipulations are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being and his integrity and identity”85 which are unique and unrepeatable.

    2295 Research or experimentation on the human being cannot legitimate acts that are in themselves contrary to the dignity of persons and to the moral law. The subjects’ potential consent does not justify such acts. Experimentation on human beings is not morally legitimate if it exposes the subject’s life or physical and psychological integrity to disproportionate or avoidable risks. Experimentation on human beings does not conform to the dignity of the person if it takes place without the informed consent of the subject or those who legitimately speak for him.

    2294 It is an illusion to claim moral neutrality in scientific research and its applications. On the other hand, guiding principles cannot be inferred from simple technical efficiency, or from the usefulness accruing to some at the expense of others or, even worse, from prevailing ideologies. Science and technology by their very nature require unconditional respect for fundamental moral criteria. They must be at the service of the human person, of his inalienable rights, of his true and integral good, in conformity with the plan and the will of God.

    :)

    -previewofthoughts

  • October 26, 2012 2:27 am
    Anonymous:  Hi! I just wanted to ask something quick. How can science be proven by religion? Or more to the point ... how can evolution itself be real if there is no prove of it in the bible? How does science relate to the bible at all? (specially genesis?) how can we take the tales of Genesis to show us science? SORRY that was actually a lot of questions... I hope you can answer?

    Hi Anon!

    With regards to religion and science (or faith and reason, to which they are more commonly referred), the Catholic Church has always maintained that they are two sides of the same coin, so to speak. At the beginning of his encyclical, Fides et Ratio (literally Faith and Reason), Pope John Paul says this:

    Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves[.]

    So maybe it’s not so much a question of whether religion can prove science or whether science can prove religion, but rather how these two aspects of our human experience, faith and reason, complement in each other in our discovery of and adherence to the truth!

    Father Barron has two great videos that pertain to your question of Genesis. I highly recommend checking them out.

    In a nutshell, we shouldn’t read Genesis completely literally and therefore assume that because the Bible makes no comment on evolution, that evolution is false. Heck, the Bible makes no comment on differential calculus or Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, but we know that these and mathematical and physical truths and laws are true!

    Another good resource is Catholic.com. I found this post that might help you, too. I hope I was able to help!

    Your friend,

    Olivier

  • July 18, 2012 8:31 pm
    Anonymous:  Say intelligent aliens land on our planet. After a few years, they've decided they want to willingly become Roman Catholics. Do we put them through RCIA and sacramentally initiate them?

    Yes, we do. As long as they are cognizant (have an eternal soul) and want to be baptised, then we baptise, catechise, and minister sacraments to them!

    Brother Guy Consolmagno, from the Vatican’s astronomical observatory, says more in these articles

    (Ignore the part where it says “The discovery of aliens would raise huge theological problems for the Roman Catholic church that would make the debate over women priests, clerical abstinence and contraception pale into insignificance.” I don’t see what “theological problems” there are, and it’s funny that they didn’t point any of them out…)

    Pax vobiscum!

    -Olivier

  • July 14, 2012 9:18 pm
    Anonymous:  What exactly is the Higgs Boson particle? Also, what would you say to people who claim that it's existence disproves the existence of God?

    The Higgs Boson particle is very difficult to describe being that it has to do with quantum physics and particle physics. Essentially, the Higgs Boson is a type of particle that allows multiple identical particles to exist in the same place in the same quantum state. It has no spin, electric charge, or color charge and very unstable, so it decays almost immediately. Scientists believe that this particle is what gives matter its mass. From what I gather, The Standard Model of particle physics lays out how elementary particles and forces interact in the universe, however, it fails to explain where particles get their mass. The Higgs Boson fills that hole. 

    The existence of the boson has not been proven. In the media, we have seen claims of it’s existence as the “God particle.” Factually, scientists have confirmed a formal discovery of an unknown boson whose behavior is, so far, consistent with the proposed Higgs Boson. 

    Though I don’t know the intricate details of the physics of such a particle, nor the reasoning behind such claims that this particle proves the in-existence of God, if said particle did exist, it wouldn’t disprove the existence of God. Nothing of the material world can address anything of the spiritual world. Though a while ago, I explain how science and God are compatible, but not addressable in this post. It’s also important to remember what the Catechism teaches us about faith and reason:

    159 Faith and science: “Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth.” “Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.”

    God Bless :)

    -Justin (previewofthoughts)

  • July 11, 2012 7:31 pm
    Anonymous:  Hi! I'm the one who asked who created God. How do I explain that to someone that doesn't believe in God yet? He isn't smart or knowledgeable in all things sconce and he thinks that's a bad answer considering everything else has a beginning/explanation

    Here’s a good analogy from my Philosophy of Religion class:

    In the same way that it is in the very nature of fire to be hot, so too is it in the very nature of God to be the kind of thing that is self-existent.

    By self-existent, we mean that God exists uncreated, unmoved, uncaused; in other words, “God exists” is a redundant phrase. 

    We can give strong evidence for the fact that God is self-existent (God is a non-contingent ”thing,” as opposed to a contingent “thing,” which relies on something else for its existence) in a few different areas.

    One, we know God is self-existent (or uncaused) because of Scriptural evidence. 

    "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, “the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)

    For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17)

    I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 22:13

    Two, we can use Aquinas’ argument and state that if logically, God is the Creator of this universe, then it would seem illogical to have an infinite regress of Creators (N-1 created our God, N-2 created N-1, N-3 created N-2, all the way to N-infiniy). 

    These reasons are both fine and dandy, but I think the best way that your friend is going to start having faith is when he has a personal encounter with God. We can list our philosophical and biblical reasons till the cows come home, but nothing matters unless the Holy Spirit touches your friend’s heart and opens him up to the gift of God’s love! So for that, I will be praying for the openness of your friend’s heart and you should be praying too!

    Praise God always,

    -Olivier

  • July 8, 2012 7:52 pm
    andrearoxsox:  So I was talking with my boyfriend about religion (he's on the fence still) and he was telling me that it is hard for him to accept religion because of all the scientific stuff, which I replied that Catholics accept science, and theories like the big bang theory and evolution. But in this conversation he asked then why hasn't anyone tried to prove that God exists. Me, I don't know how to sound smart, and I don't have room to explain on here what I said, which confused him, but how do I answer?

    Hey there! I’ll do my best, as a humble science major, to answer this for you. :)

    I’m sure many, many people would be very interested in proving that God exists. Tons of people do not believe in Him because He has not been proven to exist. So how does one going about finding such proof?

    Well, in order to do that, one would need a testable hypothesis. Some sort of experiment must be conducted. So, let me ask you, and everyone reading this: What sort of experiment would you conduct to prove that God exists? To be honest, I can’t think of one. Not even a remote idea. How would you do it?? Like, “If X happens when I do Y, then God exists.” No clue what X and Y should be. 

    Maybe humans can prove that God exists. Maybe we can’t. But another valid question is: Why hasn’t God proven to us that He exists? It would seem to make a lot of sense, wouldn’t it? Then everyone would believe in Him, and everything would be grand, right? But, as little as I am and as incompetent I am to understand the Will of God, I understand why God has not done this. 

    The reason is this: God wants us to love Him. God does not need our love, yet He desires it just the same. Furthermore, He wants us to love Him freely. Love that is forced is no love at all. If God proved to the entire world that He exists, then He would be forcing Himself upon us. People would feel like they had no choice but to believe in Him. That is not what God desires. He wants us to choose to love Him, and to love Him unreservedly, despite all obstacles. 

    Hope that helps! And here’s a little tip: next time you’re having this chat with your boyfriend and you don’t know what to say, just quietly pray, “Come Holy Spirit.” He will give you the words to say. When you ask the Holy Spirit to come, He comes!

    AMGD,

    Kayla

  • July 8, 2012 5:26 pm
    Anonymous:  No, agnostic theist means that I do not believe that it can be proved to all that God exists, but I believe in God regardless. You did not understand me at all.

    The Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy says that 

    Agnosticism is traditionally characterized as neither believing that God exists nor believing that God does not exist.

    So I stand by my original comment, which said that agnosticism is logically incompatible with theism. But if you’re looking to say that you believe in God but do not think He can be proven by reason, then I suppose you’re an agnostic theist. I’m just not super happy with the term ‘agnostic theist,’ because it’s self contradictory if you look at the definition of ‘agnostic,’ then the definition of ‘theist.’

    Praise God!

    -Olivier

  • July 2, 2012 2:24 am
    Anonymous:  I have a friend who is a protestant and refuses to believe in evolution because the bible is apparently against it. Now we all know evolution happened, and we can believe (I do) that God guided it. What can I say to try to get him to understand that, not only that things have evolved and the earth is more than 6000 years old, but that you can rely on science without turning your back on God's lessons?

    Show them this video and this video!

    It’s also important to remember that as the source of both faith and reason, God would never create any situation in which these two aspects contradict each other. If the scientific evidence points to evolution as being the biological mechanism by which humans arose as a distinct biological species, and if faith in the Genesis account of Creation points to God as being the Creator of all things (and note that it doesn’t specifically mention how humans or how anything is created), then it should follow that God used evolution by natural selection to put humans where they are today.

    I’d simply tell them that faith and reason do not have to be opposed, and that there is compelling evidence to believe that the universe is thirteen or so billion years old.

    That’s it, in a nutshell. The Catholic faith is huge on reason, too, so that’s why we are called to accept and embrace leading scientific teaching :)

    Pax Vobiscum!

    -Olivier

    Addendum: Since I’m on a Q-stealing roll tonight, here’s what she has to say about evolution.

  • June 20, 2012 3:28 am
    Anonymous:  What is the Church's view on intelligent design?

    We believe God is the sole, all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving force behind all of Creation. God is the “intelligent designer.”

    However, if the theory of Evolution by Natural Selection is true, we must accept that this is how God intended for human beings to come about. We would not (and currently do not) attribute Evolution to random genetic mutations, but rather believe that God “set up” life in a way that would produce human beings: intimate unions of bodies and souls. 

    On the other side, the Catholic Church does not take the Genesis account of creation 100% literally (We do not believe the universe was created in six days; although it is within God’s power, there is significant evidence to suggest God created the universe 13.7 billion years ago. Apparently there is a literary problem here too, but I won’t touch on that. Father Barron comments on this quite well, actually.). We believe that God created the universe (and for those haters who say that light didn’t exist before the stars are wrong — photons existed before nebulae/stars), and we believe that it’s possible (and currently most probable) that Evolution is the vessel by which humanity came to be. 

    In short, we’re not against science, but rather we believe that faith and science complement each other, for they simply cannot contradict (because God is the efficient cause of both, and God cannot contradict Himself) each other. 

    As Blaise Pascal once said:

    Faith [in God] certainly tells us what the senses do not, but not the contrary of what they see; it is above, not against them.

    (Emphasis mine)

    Pax vobiscum!

    -Olivier

  • June 19, 2012 3:59 pm
    Anonymous:  What is the Church's stance on the theory of evolution (Darwinism; more specifically man evolving from Ape)?

    The Church fully accepts the Theory of Evolution as much as scientists do. When it comes to the sciences, the Church defers the teachings of the subject to scientists. She believes that faith and reason cannot be at ends with each other. 

    Another note, evolution doesn’t teach man evolved from ape, but rather man and the other great apes had a common ancestor :)

    -Justin