One Minute Apologetics

  There is a lot of good apologetics material out there. Apologetics is not the art of apologizing for Catholic teaching but rather is the science of explaing Catholic Teaching and defending it.

One teaching of the Catholic Church that is often attacked is that of the perpetual virginity of Mary, a teaching that goes back as far as we can remember in Catholic Tradition and Dogma. But Scripture does mention “brothers” of Jesus. What are we to do with all this? The following video answers the question. Pay attention it moves quickly but John Martignoni does a pretty good job of tackling the question in just about a minute.

40 Reasons for Coming Home – Reason # 35 – A Fitting Thanksgiving

Reason # 35 – A Fitting Thanksgiving – In the Book of Psalms the psalm writer asks, “What return can I ever make to the Lord for all the good He has done for me?” The very next verse of the psalm answers the question: “The cup of salvation I will lift up and I will call on the name of the Lord (Psalm 116:12-13). So God has already indicated the way in which he would like to be thanked.

For a Catholic this request of the Lord ought to seem pretty stright-forward when we think of the Cahlice being elevated at every Mass and we make our act of faith in the true presence of Jesus. As a proper thanksgiving  God wants us to participate in the Holy Eucharist.

As you may know, the Eucharist means, “Thanksgiving.” It is the perfect act of praise, thanksgiving and worship of the Father by Jesus. We as members of his body participate in that perfect thanksgiving every time we particiapte in Mass. We “take up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord” just as God asks in Psalm 116.

So here is another reason to come home. You owe great thanks to God, you owe infinite thanks to God! How can you ever render your debt? He has told you how: take up the cup of salvation, attend Mass.

40 Reasons for Coming Home – Reason # 34 – Mary

Reason # 34 – Mary. We could go on for a long time about Mary the Mother of Jesus and I could spend pages refuting claims that we worship Mary (we do not – that would be a very serious sin!) or that it takes away from honor due to Jesus (It does not since true devotion to Mary leads us to a better relationship with Jesus). On and on we could go.

But here is the essence of what I want to say as a reason to come home: The Scriptures indicate that every generation would call Mary blessed. Luke 1:48 says of Mary: Henceforth every generation will call me blessed, for God who is mighty has done great things for me.”  Now the last time I checked we’re supposed to fulfill Scripture, not ignore it or oppose it. Thus to those who criticise the Church I can only say that we are following what Scripture says when we call Mary blessed and honor her. And then comes my question for my worthy opponent:

“Why aren’t you fulfilling Scripture in this regard? Don’t you think you ought to honor Mary?Scripture calls her “Blessed,” full of grace,” says “the Lord is with her.” Scripture says she is blessed above all women and calls her the “Mother of my Lord.” Shouldn’t a few of these phrases occasionally escape your lips? Isn’t it a good thing to fulfill Scripture and quote Scripture?”

So here is another reason to come home to the Catholic Church: We are fulfilling Scripture in regard to Mother Mary. We are obeying  and repeating what Scripture says. Almost every other denomination outright refuses such fulfillment. But Scripture says we would and should call Mary blessed. Now don’t listen to all that stuff about Catholics worshipping Mary. We do not do that, it would be a terrible sin of idolatry to do so. But we DO honor Mary and we DO fulfill Scripture. Come home, it’s always good to fulfill Scripture isn’t it?

40 Reasons For Coming Home – Reason # 33 – All the Gifts

Reason # 33 All the Gifts There are many gifts that Christ gave to his Church as he established it. Among these are: Scripture, Apostolic Authority, Seven Sacraments,  Tradition, infallibility (no errors in faith and morals), indefectability (will always be here), Saints, Mary, the Liturgy, and so forth. Only the Catholic Church can claim to have all these. Many of them we have already discussed in some detail. This is not to say that other denominations don’t have any of these gifts, but only the Catholic Church has all these gifts. A certain non-denominational chapel many have good music, and preaching but does not have the priesthood, the Eucharist, devotion to Mary and so on. A certain Protestant Communion may have a lovely liturgy but has not confession, or apostolic authority.

Only the Catholic Church has all the gifts which Christ gave and intended for his Church to have. Now if you have a job to do, don’t you want all the tools? If you have a problem to solve don’t you want all the experts and resources? Come home to the Catholic Church. There’s work to do and and a soul to be saved (yours). You need all the resources you can get. So do I.

Using Your Noggin

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.

http://www.beginningcatholic.com/conscience.html

 

 

Proposed DC Amendment on Same-Sex Relationships

 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).  
  4. 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: