The Papists

Apologetics and Evengelization
  • March 4, 2014 10:26 pm
    Anonymous:  What is the difference between a nun and a sister? What about a monk, priest and a brother?

    Nuns are cloistered, meaning they don’t leave their convent. Sisters aren’t cloistered, so they study or teach or do some other work outside their community.

    It’s the same with monks and brothers (also known as friars): monks being cloistered and brothers/friars not. 

    **All of the above terms refer to people who are in a religious order.

    A priest is a man who has been ordained by a bishop, and he has the faculties to celebrate Mass, hear confessions, give homilies, etc. There are both diocesan (or “secular”) priests and religious priests. The religious priests are members of religious orders, and the diocesan priests are not. 

    So, to be clear (with saint examples), a man could be simply a diocesan priest (St. John Vianney) OR a monk and a priest (St. Jerome*) OR a friar and a priest (St. Thomas Aquinas) OR simply a monk (St. Peter Damian) OR simply a friar (St. Francis of Assisi). 

    *St. Jerome wasn’t in any established religious order, but he did live as a hermit, and he was the best example I could think of. So there.

  • January 3, 2013 10:10 pm
    Anonymous:  Doesn't the Vatican have a team of people to investigate supposed miracles to prove their authenticity? And it includes people of all faiths as well as atheists to get all kinds of opinions. Anyway I heard that while investigating Lourdes and the healings that still happen from the water, some atheists converted because there was no explanation other than miracle. Just wondering if you could shed some light on this & maybe know where I can read more about it. I think it's so interesting.

    Yes, there are teams of physicians which investigate medical “miracles” and their job is to say whether or not there is a natural explanation for them.  If not, they are passed to theologians who determine whether there was evidence of divine intercession. 

    I don’t know the story about Lourdes, but I do know the atheist doctor who was investigating Padre Pio converted.

    http://www.npr.org/2011/04/22/135121360/a-boy-an-injury-a-recovery-a-miracle?ft=1

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2003/10/is_mother_teresas_miracle_for_real.html

    This is a book that is supposed to be good on the topic.  (I haven’t read it, but it has gotten good reviews.)

    Making Saints: How the Catholic Church Determines Who Becomes a Saint, Who Dosen’t, and Why by Kenneth L. Woodward

    Does this answer your question?

    -Niko

  • November 16, 2012 8:20 am
    Anonymous:  Hello! I'm sure this is something I need to bring to a priest or someone else, but because I needed some clarity & anonymity I thought I'd ask you guys! (You're doing a great job running this blog btw). OK so here's my question: how can one be sure if they've received inspiration or the voice of Mary speaking to them? This wasn't during prayer or rosary either. It was about something I've had confusion over & am not looking forward to doing. :/ (a positive sign that it was her, I guess.)

    I would definitely recommend bringing this to a priest in person.  This is not something any of us would have qualifications to discern, especially over the internet with so little information. 

    But, you can always pray and ask the Virgin Mary for more information if she desires to dispense it.  And be sure to give thanks to her! 

    -Niko

  • August 5, 2012 5:38 pm
    theincast:  Could you explain the Saint Philomena cord? What it is for, how it is worn, and the duties that come along with wearing it?

    Hey! Thanks for this question.

    The Saint Philomena cord comes from a tradition in the early Church that virgins wore cords as a sign of purity. The Saint Philomena cord came into being under Pope Leo XIII as a sort of “extra” devotion to her, after many graces were obtain after asking for her intercession. It is worn to honor Saint Philomena, and to ask for her protection. 

    The cord is red and white - red, to represent her martyrdom, and white to represent her purity. Traditionally, it is worn around the waist, under clothing, after being blessed.

    When you wear the cord, you are essentially promising to strive to live in purity of mind and heart, all while begging the intercession of Saint Philomena for her protection against evil and sin. You also must daily recite the following special prayer to Saint Philomena:

    Saint Philomena, virgin and martyr, pray for us: that through thy powerful intercession, we may obtain that purity of mind and heart which leads to the perfect love of God.

    As someone who wears the cord daily, I can say, from experience, that the graces that come from wearing the cord are innumerable. Saint Philomena’s intercession, and the witness of her life, have provided me with strength to face sin that I know that I would not have if I were not wearing the cord.

    I hope this helped! Feel free to come back if you have any more questions!

    Grace be with you, sister.

    + Jordan

  • July 11, 2012 10:37 am
    kieranruppert:  Can someone be in heaven if they are not an officially recognized saint? It seems there are lots of people who have lived good lives but who have not been canonized just because the Church can't possibly canonize everyone since there are so many people. If that doesn't make sense, please let me know and I'd be happy to try and clarify.

    Yes!  Canonization is the recognition that because of the post-mortem miracles this person was able to achieve, God must be working through him still, which would require him to be in heaven, so we can be pretty sure he is there.

    For everyone else, we are not sure, but we can hope they are in heaven.

    Just to clarify your language which may be confusing to some people, living a good life is not necessarily required to go to heaven. Many saints for many years lived lives that were quite despicable.  However, it’s through the grace of God and our faith in him that we are saved because of the sacrifice of Christ. 

    -Niko

  • June 9, 2012 4:34 am
    Anonymous:  self-flagellation?

    Some saints have been known to self-mortify for the glory of God (note: self-flagellation, I will assume, refers to the greater subset of self-mortification)

    Saint Teresa of Avila, who self-mortified, noted, “Lord, either let me suffer or let me die.” Saint Francis of Assisi, according to legend, once jumped into a prickly bush to stay pure. Saint Pio of Pietrelcina miraculously received the Stigmata, or the wounds of Christ, so that he could more closely unite himself with the Cross of Christ. 

    These saints, and many others, have self-mortified, either through their own free will, or by accepting the mortification as a miraculous gift from God. I can say that done for the right purposes, mortification does lead one closer to Christ.

    However, I have heard stories (especially recent ones) about men in the Philippines who crucify themselves as self-mortification. I think this is taking things a little too far. I would tell them something like this: “If God wills it, then you will receive Stigmata, and be thankful. If not, then thank God all the more because He’s not making you suffer.” Something like that, at least. If you’re doing self-mortification for show or to appear more pious, then you’re doing it wrong. I think that self-mortification should follow the same rules as fasting:

    "When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you."

    (Matthew 6: 6-18)

    If you can’t help but have a visible sign of mortification (like St Pio and his Stigmata), then obviously you do what you can not to bring attention to yourself. 

    As a penultimate word, I’d like to say that I have deep respect for those who self-mortify for the right reasons. It takes a great deal of strength to unite yourself to the suffering of Christ in a unique way.

    So, to answer your question: 

    self-flagellation?

    Yes, but only if done for the greater glory of God. 

    -Olivier

  • May 31, 2012 2:36 am
  • May 12, 2012 10:21 am

    Recorded by Olivier and Phillip

    Apologetics-a-thon #2: If the Bible is a Catholic book why does it teach against the adoration of Mary? (Luke 11:27-28)

    TL;DW: Adoration is reserved for God alone, though Mary deserves a special veneration for having a unique role in the history of salvation.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church 971: “All generations will call me blessed”: “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship.” The Church rightly honors “the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs…. This very special devotion … differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.” The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an “epitome of the whole Gospel,” express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.

    Read more about Latria, Dulia, and Hyperdulia at Catholic Answers.

    Canon 1186: To foster the sanctification of the people of God, the Church commends to the special and filial reverence of the Christian faithful the Blessed Mary ever Virgin, Mother of God, whom Christ established as the mother of all people, and promotes the true and authentic veneration of the other saints whose example instructs the Christian faithful and whose intercession sustains them.

    Luke 11:27-28 (RSV-CE): As he said this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!’ But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!

    St. Josemaría Escrivá’s commentary: These words proclaim and praise the Blessed Virgin’s basic attitude of soul. As the Second Vatican Council explains: “In the course of her Son’s preaching Mary received the words whereby, in extolling the Kingdom beyond the concerns and ties of flesh and blood, he declared blessed those who heard and kept the word of God (cf. Mk 3:35, Lk 11:27-28) as she was faithfully doing (cf. Lk 2:19, 51)” (Lumen Gentium, 58). Therefore, by replying in this way Jesus is not rejecting the warm praise this good lady renders his Mother; he accepts it and goes further, explaining that Mary is blessed particularly because she has been good and faithful in putting the word of God into practice. “It was a compliment to his Mother on her fiat, her ‘be it done’ (Lk 1:38). She lived in sincerely, unstintingly, fulfilling its every consequence, but never amid fanfare, rather in the hidden and silence sacrifice of each day.

    Read the full Magnificat (or Canticle of Mary) from the New American Bible

    Archbishop Fulton Sheen: God who made the sun also made the moon. The moon does not take away from the brilliance of the sun. The moon would be only a burned out cinder floating in the immensity of space, were it not for the sun. All its light is reflected from that glowing surface. In like manner, Mary reflects her Divine Son, without whom she is nothing. On dark nights we are grateful for the moon; when we see it shining we know there must be a sun. So, in this dark night of the world, when men turned their backs on Him Who is the Light of the World, we look to Mary to guide our feet while we await the sunrise.’

  • May 7, 2012 9:59 pm
    Anonymous:  Hello! I was wondering, is it ok to talk to people in heaven who are not ordained saints? For example, my grandma recently died and I find myself speaking to her. Not praying TO her, just talking. And sometimes (which I think might be wrong, but I'm not sure) I ask her to watch over me. But can she intercede for me if she's not a saint? Thank you!

    Absolutely! 

    Everyone who is in heaven is a saint! Not all of them are canonized Saints (with a capital S), but they are all saints. It is well and good for you to talk to your grandmother and to ask for her intercession.

    It is also good to pray for the dead to assist them in their journey through purgatory. (I’ve always wondered, ‘Well, what if they went straight to heaven??’ but I don’t think it would be a wasted prayer. If anything, I think you would just help another soul through purgatory.)

    As a side note, how would new Saints ever be canonized if no one asked for their intercession before they were canonized?  :)  

    Good question! God bless you!

  • April 21, 2012 4:59 pm
    Anonymous:  My church has a statue of my confirmation saint in the foyer. I LOVE my saint. Would it be weird/wrong to kiss the statue as I walk by it?

    No, it wouldn’t. Despite the prejudice of many Eastern Christians against solid statues, they are just as valid for helping us reverence the saints or worship Christ as icons are (and traditional reverence toward icons often involves a kiss.) There’s a solid discussion of the issue here. It’s long, so you might want to skip straight to the final section, though the rest is fascinating, too.