As I have mentioned before, the Catholic Church is a worldwide institution of over 1 billion members. There are many different Rites, religious orders, cultural diversity and concerns specific to each sector of the Church. Sometimes, we Americans get very local in our view. It helps to remember that there is a big world and a big Church out there. Here’s a sampling from Gloria TV News.
The Gospel for this Sunday is from John 20:19ff clearly shows him bestowing the authority to forgive sins to his first priests, the Apostles. He breathed on them and said, ‘Whose sins you forgive they are forgiven them. Whose sins you retain, they are retained.’ This passage should not be lightly set aside. According to John it is the among the very first things that Jesus did after He rose from the dead. First he says, Peace be with you. Then he commisions them: As the Father has sent me so I send you. Well the Father sent Jesus to reconcile sinners with the Father. So these sent one (Apostles) would have the same power, to reconcile sinners. It is an essential hallmark of the Church that she be able to reconcile sinners through the ministry of priests. If you’re a good Bible believeing Catholic you ought to get to confession frequently. Afterall Jesus set it up this way himself. Now don’t go an reinvent religion. Just practice what Jesus set forth. Central to the practice of the true and Biblical faith is confession.
So here are some other resources to study moreon this:
- I have put together a PDF flyer on the Biblical roots of Confession and you can read it here: Confession in Biblical
- I preached a sermon on today’s Gospel which covers among other things the Authority to forgive sins you can listen or right click to download here: Sermon on Divine Mercy Sunday
- Here is a two minute Video Apologetical primer on Confession:
A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1800)
The Catholic Church puts a lot of emphasis on our conscience. It allows us and even invites us to wonder, question, and disagree. So what exactly are we supposed to do when our conscience disagrees with Church teachings?
The answer again comes from the Catechism:
A well-formed conscience will never contradict the objective moral law, as taught by Christ and his Church. (Catechism, #1783-5, 1792, 2039)
This echoed what a priest said at a retreat I attended two weekends ago. Someone asked the priest what we’re supposed to do if we disagree with something the Church teaches. He said, “Assume the Church is right, first of all. Then ask yourself where in your line of thinking you start to diverge from what the Church teaches. Take that one point, and learn more about it through diligent reading and talking to your spiritual director.”
Does this mean that in the process of forming our conscience and learning about the moral law, Christ and his Church, our disagreement will cease? Yes! We make a pretty bold statement when we say that Church teachings are infallible, that the Church is the fullness of the Truth, and that if we gain knowledge of that Truth we will end up in line with Church teachings, but that’s what we believe!
So if we have questions about and disagreements with what the Catholic Church teaches, we must ask, study, and pray! Obviously, learning our faith and forming our moral conscience is a daily and lifelong process. Thankfully we have the lives of the saints to give us hope and encouragement!
FWI: This website offers a concise and valuable explanation of moral conscience.
The Archdiocese of Washington issued the following statement yesterday concerning an ammendment introduced in the City Council aimed at recognizing “Same-sex Marriage.”
The Archdiocese of Washington is deeply concerned over the amendment introduced today by the District of Columbia City Council to equate same-sex relationships with marriage in the District of Columbia by recognizing these relationships from other states.
Marriage is a natural institution established by God and written in the very nature of man and woman and is therefore endowed with its own proper laws. The equality of men and women and the dignity of their coming together as husband and wife is not merely a fact of religious faith or a creation by civil authorities, but a fundamental reality rooted in human nature and experience. Civil marriage is reserved to the union of one man and one woman because of its unique ability to bring children into the world and its role in forming a stable and secure foundation for our society. By legally equating unmarried couples with married couples, this bill erodes marriage.
It also is of great concern that an issue that has such significance for the families of our city was introduced in a manner that preempts discussion. We would expect differently in a democratic society.
We urge our elected officials to respect the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
If you who read this blog might permit me a couple of quick observations.
- Marriage is fundamentally orientedto the pro-creation and rearing of Children. Hence, by nature it should have special prerogatives and protections, enjoying a unique position in our communities.
- You will note that the statement makes no reference to Sacred Scripture. This is because, when the Church addresses the world which has many pluralistic religious views, she makes use of natural law in advancing her arguments. Discussions must be advanced using shared and agreed upon principles and this explains the lack of reference to Scriptures: chapter and verse.
- However, since I largely presume that the readers of this blog have something of a religious reference or at least read because they seek to further understand the Catholic view I would like to make a few references to Scripture. Note that when God set forth marriage he made Adam and Eve. (cf Gen 1 – 2). Thus his design in marriage is one man for one woman. Neither same-sex relationships nor polygamous situations are in conformity with this design. Further Scripture says that “For this reason a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and the two of them become one flesh(Gen 2:24). From this we have confirmed again God’s plan that marriage is for one man and one woman. Further that it is to be until death do them part. Hence marriage is to be a stable, lasting, life-long union. This makes eminent sense given what else God told Adam and Eve. He said, Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it (Gen 1:28). Here then is another central teaching on marriage: that Children are the expected fruit of every marriage. This indicates the need for stability and for the fact that sexual complementarity is integral to any definition of marriage. (i.e. a man and a woman).
- Ultimately, the attempts of the City Council and other governing bodies throughout the country to overturn the traditional definition of marriage amounts to a rejection of many centuries of human experience. It also disreguards the sincere religious views of large numbers of Christians, Jews and Muslims who hold this understanding.
There are some who say that all this redefinition of marriage stuff is really no big deal and that no one should really care how others live their lives. But, fundamentally Marriage is NOT a private matter. It is a basic pillar of any society and how that society understands and supports this most basic institution has serious and far-reaching implications. The Diocese of Portland Maine recently encountered similar legislative attempts and produced a series of short videos wherein Bishop Richard Malone addressed a number of issues. Among them the claim that this is really “no big deal.”
Another charge is often leveled at the Catholic Church due to our teaching and position on this is that we are “intolerant.” Bishop Malone also spoke to this claim in this brief video:
The following video is a brief (5 minute) history of the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome. It includes a section on the “rediscovery” of Peter’s grave under the High Altar of the Basilica.
Here is another video of an Order of Women Religious that is flourishing: The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of The Eucharist ‘ in Ann Arbor Michigan:
Art and music come together in this video as a meditation on the Resurrection. The Latin Hymn to our Lady is Regina Caeli Laetare Alleluia. Quia quem meruisiti portare, Alleluia Resurrexit sicut dixit. Alleluia (Translation: Queen of Heaven rejoice, Alleluia. For He whom you merited to bear Alleluia has risen as he said. Alleluia).
At the lakeside in Galilee the Risen Lord Jesus told Simon Peter “Feed My Sheep.” So, it’s time to consider vocations to the priesthood and here’s one of the more unusal calls to the priesthood you’ll hear. There’s an old Appalachian Gospel Song (a.k.a. “Stained Glass Bluegrass’) about the call of Simon Peter called “Don’t you Want to Go to Heaven When You Die?” It depicts Peter’s call to “go and feed my sheep.” The song is a toe-tapper and I’m sure you’ll enjoy. Also toe tappers are called for now that Jesus is Risen. 🙂
Men if you’ve been waiting for a bluegrass song to call you to the priesthood there here it is! The song is fun but the call is serious. Think about the priesthood! I hope you’ll pay special attention to the line: “Don’t you want to be a servant for the good God Almighty, Don’t you want to go to heaven when you die?”
Office of Priestly Vocations for the Archdiocese of Washington: 301-853- 4580. Msgr. Rob Panke Director.