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12 Claims Every Catholic Should Be Able to Answer
Catholic Educators ^ | Deal Hudson

Posted on 01/15/2006 2:37:14 PM PST by NYer

Freedom of speech is a great thing. Unfortunately, it comes at an unavoidable price: When citizens are free to say what they want, they’ll sometimes use that freedom to say some pretty silly things. And that’s the case with the 12 claims we’re about to cover.


Some of them are made over and over, others are rare. Either way, while the proponents of these errors are free to promote them, we as Catholics have a duty to respond.


1.
“There’s no such thing as absolute truth. What’s true for you may not be true for me.”
People use this argument a lot when they disagree with a statement and have no other way to support their idea. After all, if nothing is true for everyone, then they can believe whatever they want and there’s nothing you can say to make them change their minds.

But look at that statement again: “There’s no such thing as absolute truth.” Isn’t that, in itself, a statement that’s being made absolutely? In other words, it applies some rule or standard to everyone across the board — exactly what the relativists say is impossible. They have undone their own argument simply by stating their case.

The other problem with this statement is that no relativist actually believes it. If someone said to you, “There is no absolute truth,” and you punched him in the stomach, he’d probably get upset. But by his own creed, he’d have to accept that while punching someone in the stomach may be wrong for him, it might not be wrong for you.

This is when they’ll come back with an amendment to the original statement by saying, “As long as you’re not hurting others, you’re free to do and believe what you like.” But this is an arbitrary distinction (as well as another absolute statement). Who says I can’t hurt others? What constitutes “hurt”? Where does this rule come from?

If this statement is made based on personal preference, it means nothing for anyone else. “Do no harm” is in itself an appeal to something greater — a sort of universal dignity for the human person. But again, the question is where does this dignity come from?

As you can see, the further you delve into these questions, the closer you come to understanding that our concepts of right and truth are not arbitrary but are based in some greater, universal truth outside ourselves — a truth written in the very nature of our being. We may not know it in its entirety, but it can’t be denied that this truth exists.

2.
“Christianity is no better than any other faith. All religions lead to God.”
If you haven’t heard this one a dozen times, you don’t get out much. Sadly enough, the person making this claim is often himself a Christian (at least, in name).

The problems with this view are pretty straightforward. Christianity makes a series of claims about God and man: That Jesus of Nazareth was God Himself, and that he died and was resurrected — all so that we might be free from our sins. Every other religion in the world denies each of these points. So, if Christianity is correct, then it speaks a vital truth to the world — a truth that all other religions reject.

This alone makes Christianity unique.

But it doesn’t end there. Recall Jesus’ statement in John’s Gospel:

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” In Christianity, we have God’s full revelation to humanity. It’s true that all religions contain some measure of truth — the amount varying with the religion. Nevertheless, if we earnestly want to follow and worship God, shouldn’t we do it in the way He prescribed?

If Jesus is indeed God, then only Christianity contains the fullness of this truth.


3. “The Old and New Testaments contradict one another in numerous places. If an omnipotent God inspired the Bible, He would never have allowed these errors.”

This is a common claim, one found all over the internet (especially on atheist and free-thought websites). An article on the American Atheists website notes that “What is incredible about the Bible is not its divine authorship; it’s that such a concoction of contradictory nonsense could be believed by anyone to have been written by an omniscient God.”

Such a statement is generally followed by a list of Biblical “contradictions.” However, claims of contradictions make a few simple errors. For example, critics fail to read the various books of the Bible in line with the genre in which they were written. The Bible is, after all, a collection of several kinds of writing...history, theology, poetry, apocalyptic material, etc. If we try to read these books in the same wooden way in which we approach a modern newspaper, we’re going to be awfully confused.

And the list of Bible “contradictions” bears this out. Take, for example, the first item on the American Atheist’s list:
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8

Versus...

“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” Romans 14:5
There! the atheist cries, A clear contradiction. But what the critic neglects to mention is something every Christian knows: When Christ instituted the New Covenant, the ceremonial requirements of the Old Covenant were fulfilled (and passed away). And so it makes perfect sense that Old Testament ceremonial rules would no longer stand for the people of the New Covenant.

If the critic had understood this simple tenet of Christianity, he wouldn’t have fallen into so basic an error.

The next item on the American Atheist list is similarly flawed:
“...the earth abideth for ever.” Ecclesiastes 1:4

Versus...

“...the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
So, the Old Testament claims that the earth will last forever, while the New says it will eventually be destroyed. How do we harmonize these? Actually, it’s pretty easy, and it again comes from understanding the genre in which these two books were written.

Ecclesiastes, for example, contrasts secular and religious worldviews — and most of it is written from a secular viewpoint. That’s why we find lines like, “Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything.” (Ecclesiastes 10:19)

However, at the end of the book, the writer throws us a twist, dispensing with all the “wisdom” he’d offered and telling us to “Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.” (12:13)

If a reader stops before the end, he’ll be as confused as the critic at American Atheists. However, since the viewpoint that gave birth to the notion of an eternal earth is rejected in the last lines of the book, there’s obviously no contradiction with what was later revealed in the New Testament. (And this is just one way to answer this alleged discrepancy.)

The other “contradictions” between the Old and New Testaments can be answered similarly. Almost to an item, the critics who use them confuse context, ignore genre, and refuse to allow room for reasonable interpretation.

No thinking Christian should be disturbed by these lists.

4. “I don’t need to go to Church. As long as I’m a good person, that’s all that really matters.”
This argument is used often, and is pretty disingenuous. When someone says he’s a “good person,” what he really means is that he’s “not a bad person” — bad people being those who murder, rape, and steal. Most people don’t have to extend a lot of effort to avoid these sins, and that’s the idea: We want to do the least amount of work necessary just to get us by. Not very Christ-like, is it?

But that mentality aside, there’s a much more important reason why Catholics go to Church other than just as an exercise in going the extra mile. Mass is the cornerstone of our faith life because of what lies at its heart: the Eucharist. It’s the source of all life for Catholics, who believe that bread and wine become the real body and blood of Christ. It’s not just a symbol of God, but God made physically present to us in a way we don’t experience through prayer alone.

Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:53-54). We’re honoring Jesus’ command and trusting in that promise every time we go to Mass.

What’s more, the Eucharist — along with all the other Sacraments — is only available to those in the Church. As members of the Church, Christ’s visible body here on earth, our lives are intimately tied up with the lives of others in that Church. Our personal relationship with God is vital, but we also have a responsibility to live as faithful members of Christ’s body. Just being a “good person” isn’t enough.

5.
“You don’t need to confess your sins to a priest. You can go straight to God.”
As a former Baptist minister, I can understand the Protestant objection to confession (they have a different understanding of priesthood). But for a Catholic to say something like this...it’s disappointing. I suspect that, human nature being what it is, people just don’t like telling other people their sins, and so they come up with justifications for not doing so.

The Sacrament of Confession has been with us from the beginning, coming from the words of Christ Himself:
“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:21-23)

Notice that Jesus gives His apostles the power to forgive sins. Of course, they wouldn’t know which sins to forgive if they weren’t told what sins were involved.

The practice of confession is also evident in the Letter Of James:
“Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:14-16)
It’s interesting that nowhere does James (or Jesus) tell us to confess our sins to God alone. Rather, they seem to think that forgiveness comes through some means of public confession.

And it’s not difficult to understand why. You see, when we sin, we rupture our relationship not just with God, but with His Body, the Church (since all Catholics are interconnected as children of a common Father). So when we apologize, we need to do so to all parties involved — God and the Church.

Think of it this way. Imagine you walk into a store and steal some of their merchandise. Later, you feel remorse and regret the sinful act. Now, you can pray to God to forgive you for breaking His commandment. But there’s still another party involved; you’ll need to return the merchandise and make restitution for your action.

It’s the same way with the Church. In the confessional, the priest represents God and the Church, since we’ve sinned against both. And when he pronounces the words of absolution, our forgiveness is complete.


6. “If the Church truly followed Jesus, they’d sell their lavish art, property, and architecture, and give the money to the poor.”

When some people think of Vatican City, what they immediately picture is something like a wealthy kingdom, complete with palatial living accommodations for the pope and chests of gold tucked away in every corner, not to mention the fabulous collection of priceless art and artifacts. Looking at it that way, it’s easy to see how some people would become indignant at what they think is an ostentatious and wasteful show of wealth.

But the truth is something quite different. While the main buildings are called the “Vatican Palace,” it wasn’t built to be the lavish living quarters of the pope. In fact, the residential part of the Vatican is relatively small. The greater portion of the Vatican is given over to purposes of art and science, administration of the Church’s official business, and management of the Palace in general. Quite a number of Church and administrative officials live in the Vatican with the pope, making it more like the Church’s main headquarters.

As for the impressive art collection, truly one of the finest in the world, the Vatican views it as “an irreplaceable treasure,” but not in monetary terms. The pope doesn’t “own” these works of art and couldn’t sell them if he wanted to; they’re merely in the care of the Holy See. The art doesn’t even provide the Church with wealth; actually, it’s just the opposite. The Holy See invests quite a bit of its resources into the upkeep of the collection.

The truth of the matter is that the See has a fairly tight financial budget. So why keep the art? It goes back to a belief in the Church’s mission (one of many) as a civilizing force in the world. Just like the medieval monks who carefully transcribed ancient texts so they would be available to future generations — texts that otherwise would have been lost forever — the Church continues to care for the arts so they will not be forgotten over time. In today’s culture of death where the term “civilization” can only be used loosely, the Church’s civilizing mission is as important today as it ever was.

7.
“Dissent is actually a positive thing, since we should all keep our minds open to new ideas.”
You might hear this argument a lot today, especially in the wake of the abuse scandal in the Church. Everyone wants to find a solution to the problem, and in doing so some people are advocating ideas that are outside the pale of our Catholic faith (i.e., women priests, being open to homosexuality, etc). A lot of people blame the Church for being too rigid in its beliefs and not wanting to try anything new.

The truth is, a lot of the ideas for reform that are floating around today aren’t new. They’ve been around for a while, and the Church has already considered them. In fact, the Church has spent its entire life carefully examining ideas and determining which ones are in line with God’s law and which aren’t. It has discarded heresy after heresy while carefully building up the tenets of the Faith. It should come as no surprise that there are thousands of other Christian churches in existence today — all of them had “new ideas” at one point that the Church had decided were outside the deposit of faith.

The Church has an important responsibility in protecting the integrity of our Faith. It never rejects ideas out of hand, as some dissenters would claim, but has two thousand years of prayer and study behind the beliefs it holds to be true.

This doesn’t mean that we can never disagree on anything. There’s always room to discuss how best to deepen our understanding of the truth — for example, how we can improve our seminaries or clergy/lay interactions — all within the guidelines of our Faith.

8. “Properly interpreted, the Bible does not condemn homosexuality. Rather, it weighs against promiscuity — whether homosexual or heterosexual. Therefore, we have no reason to oppose loving homosexual relationships.”
As homosexual activity gains greater acceptance in our culture, there’ll be more pressure among Christians to explain away the Bible’s clear prohibition against it. It’s now the standard liberal party line to claim that the Bible — when understood correctly — doesn’t disallow homosexual activity.

But this claim flies in the face of clear passages in both the Old and New Testaments. The first, of course, is the famous story of Sodom and Gomorrah. If you recall, two angels were sent by God to Sodom to visit Lot:
“But before [the angels] lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; and they called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.’ Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him, and said, ‘I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Behold, I have two daughters who have not known man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.’ But they said, ‘Stand back!’ And they said, ‘This fellow came to sojourn, and he would play the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.’ Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door. But the men put forth their hands and brought Lot into the house to them, and shut the door.” (Genesis 19:4-10)
The message of this passage is pretty clear. The men of Sodom were homosexuals who wanted to have relations with the men inside the house. Lot offered them his daughters, but they weren’t interested. Shortly thereafter, Sodom was destroyed by God in payment for the sins of its people — namely, their homosexual acts. This fact is confirmed in the New Testament:
“Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” (Jude 7)
But these certainly aren’t the only passages in the Bible that condemn gay activity. The Old Testament contains another unambiguous condemnation: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22).

And these statements aren’t reserved to the Old Testament alone.
“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.” (Romans 1:26-27)
It’s awfully hard for a liberal Christian to explain this away. There’s simply no mention here merely of gay promiscuity or rape; rather, Paul is weighing against any homosexual relations (which he describes as “unnatural,” “shameless” and “dishonorable”).

Liberal Christians are in a bind. How, after all, does one harmonize homosexuality with the Bible? Their solution, it appears, is to strip the Bible of its moral power, and run in rhetorical circles trying to escape its clear message.

9. “Catholics should follow their conscience in all things...whether it’s abortion, birth control, or women’s ordination.”
It’s true — the Catechism says quite plainly, “Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. ‘He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters’” (1782). This teaching is at the heart of what it means to have free will.

But that doesn’t mean that our conscience is free from all responsibility or can be ignorant of God’s law. This is what the Catechism refers to as having a “well-formed conscience.”

The Catechism assigns great responsibility to a person’s conscience:
“Moral conscience, present at the heart of the person, enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil.... It bears witness to the authority of truth in reference to the supreme Good to which the human person is drawn, and it welcomes the commandments. When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking” (1777).

In other words, our conscience isn’t just “what we feel is right”; it’s what we judge to be right based on what we know of the teachings of God and the Church. And in order to make that judgment, we have a responsibility to study and pray over these teachings very carefully. The Catechism has a section dedicated entirely to the careful formation of our conscience — that’s how important it is in making right decisions.

And in the end, whether right or wrong, we’re still held accountable for our actions: “Conscience enables one to assume responsibility for the acts performed” (1781). When properly formed, it helps us to see when we’ve done wrong and require forgiveness of our sins.

By seeking a fully-formed conscience, we actually experience great freedom, because we’re drawing closer to God’s infinite Truth. It’s not a burden or something that keeps us from doing what we want; it’s a guide to help us do what is right. “The education of the conscience guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart” (1784).


10. “Natural Family Planning is just the Catholic version of birth control.”

Natural Family Planning (NFP) has enemies on all sides. Some believe that it’s an unrealistic alternative to birth control (which they don’t think is sinful anyway) while others think that it’s just as bad as birth control. NFP has had to walk a fine line between both extremes.

First of all, the main problem with birth control is that it works against the nature of our bodies — and nature in general. It aims to sever the act (sex) from its consequence (pregnancy), basically reducing the sacredness of sex to the mere pursuit of pleasure.

NFP, when used for the right reason, is more of a tool used for discerning whether a couple has the means (whether financially, physically, or emotionally) to accept a child into their lives. It involves understanding your own body, taking careful stock of your situation in life, discussing the issue with your spouse, and, above all, prayer. Rather than cutting yourself off from the full reality of sex, you are entering into it with a better understanding of all aspects involved.

People who favor birth control point to those people who can’t afford more children, or whose health might be at risk from further pregnancies. But these are perfectly legitimate reasons to use NFP — situations where it would be perfectly effective — and the Church allows its use.

Other people think that taking any sort of control over the size of your family is like playing God, rather than letting Him provide for us as He sees fit. It’s true that we must trust God and always accept the lives He sends us, but we don’t need to be completely hands-off in that regard.

For example, rather than throwing money around and saying that “God will provide,” families carefully budget their finances and try not to overextend their means. NFP is like that budget, helping us prayerfully consider our situation in life and act accordingly. It’s part of our nature as humans to understand ourselves and use our intellect and free will, rather than passively expecting God to take care of everything. We’re called to be good stewards of the gifts we’re given; we must be careful never to treat those gifts carelessly.

11. “Someone can be pro-choice and Catholic at the same time.”
While this may be one of the most common myths Catholics hold regarding their faith, it’s also one of the most easily dispelled. The Catechism minces no words when talking about abortion: It’s listed with homicide under crimes against the fifth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.”

The following passages make this clear: “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception” (2270). “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable” (2271). “Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life” (2272).

It can’t be stated more plainly than that. Some people might argue, however, that being “pro-choice” doesn’t mean being in favor of abortion; lots of people think abortion is wrong but don’t want to force that opinion on others.

There’s that “what’s true for you might not be true for me” argument again. The Church has an answer to that, too: “’The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin’” (2273).

The sanctity of life is a universal truth that can never be ignored. Advising someone to get an abortion, or even voting for a politician who would advance the cause of abortion, is a grave sin, because it leads others to mortal sin — what the Catechism calls giving scandal (2284).

The Church stands forcefully and clearly against abortion, and we as Catholics must take our stand as well.

12. “People’s memories of their past lives prove that reincarnation is true...and that the Christian view of Heaven and Hell is not.”
As society becomes increasingly fascinated with the paranormal, we can expect to see claims of “past life memories” increase. Indeed, there are now organizations who will help take you through your previous lives using hypnosis.

While this may be convincing to some, it certainly isn’t to anyone familiar with the mechanics of hypnosis. Almost since the beginning, researchers have noted that patients in deep hypnosis frequently weave elaborate stories and memories, which later turn out to be utterly untrue. Reputable therapists are well aware of this phenomenon, and weigh carefully what the patient says under hypnosis.

Sadly, though, this isn’t the case with those interested in finding “proof” for reincarnation. Perhaps the greatest example of this carelessness is the famous Bridey Murphy case. If you’re not familiar with it, here’s a quick outline: In 1952, a Colorado housewife named Virginia Tighe was put under hypnosis. She began speaking in an Irish brogue and claimed to once have been a woman named Bridey Murphy who had lived in Cork, Ireland.

Her story was turned into a bestselling book, “The Search For Bridey Murphy,” and received much popular attention. Journalists combed Ireland, looking for any person or detail that might confirm the truth of this past-life regression. While nothing ever turned up, the case of Bridey Murphy continues to be used to buttress claims of reincarnation.

That’s a shame, since Virginia Tighe was exposed as a fraud decades ago. Consider: Virginia’s childhood friends recalled her active imagination, and ability to concoct complex stories (often centered around the imitation brogue she had perfected). Not only that, but she had a great fondness for Ireland, due in part to a friendship with an Irish woman whose maiden name was — you guessed it — Bridie.

What’s more, Virginia filled her hypnosis narratives with numerous elements from her own life (without revealing the parallels to the hypnotist). For example, Bridey described an “Uncle Plazz,” which eager researchers took to be a corruption of the Gaelic, “Uncle Blaise.” Their enthusiasm ran out though when it was discovered that Virginia had a childhood friend she called "Uncle Plazz."

When a hypnotized Virginia began dancing an Irish jig, researchers were astounded. How, after all, would a Colorado housewife have learned the jig? The mystery was solved when it was revealed that Virginia learned the dance as a child.

As the Bridey Murphy case shows, the claims of past-life regression are always more impressive than the reality. To this day, not a single verifiable example exists of a person being regressed to a former life. Certainly, many tales have been told under the control of a hypnotist, but nevertheless, evidence for reincarnation (like that for the Tooth Fairy) continues to elude us.


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THE AUTHOR

Deal W. Hudson is the former publisher of Crisis magazine. He is now Executive Director of The Morley Institute for Church and Culture. He was associate professor of Philosophy at Fordham University from 1989 to 1995 and was a visiting professor at New York University for five years. He taught for nine years at Mercer University in Atlanta, where he was chair of the philosophy department. He has published many reviews and articles as well as five books: Understanding Maritain: Philosopher and Friend (Mercer, 1988); The Future of Thomism (Notre Dame, 1992); Sigrid Undset On Saints and Sinners (Ignatius, 1994); and Happiness and the Limits of Satisfaction (Rowman & Littlefield, 1996) and his autobiography, An American Conversion (Crossroad, 2003).

Copyright © 2003 Deal Hudson

1 posted on 01/15/2006 2:37:18 PM PST by NYer
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To: american colleen; Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; ...
Something to ponder and reflect upon over this long weekend ... and bring back to the office on Tuesday ... when you meet up with the secularists :-).

Enjoy!

2 posted on 01/15/2006 2:40:28 PM PST by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: NYer

Great article!


3 posted on 01/15/2006 2:44:21 PM PST by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: NYer

I'm bookmarking this thread, thanks.


4 posted on 01/15/2006 2:46:13 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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To: NYer; kerryusama04
Something to ponder and reflect upon over this long weekend .

The example used of the contradictions between Exodus 20 (The Sabbath Day Instituted) and Romans 14:5 is erroneous and makes no sense.

In Romans 14:5 the subject is vegetarianism and fasting. The Sabbath is not mentioned once. The original Greek says [One judges a day to be above a day; Another judges every day to be alike. Each in his own mind let be fully assured.]

The Apostle Paul was attempting to settle a dispute between those who ate meat and vegetables and those who ate only vegetables. Verse 6 says [He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; And he who abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. He is also trying to settle the matter of a particular fasting day.

The early Christians in Rome were sometimes afraid to eat meat because it may have been sacrificed in the pagan temples to the Romans gods before it got to the market.

In 1 Corinthians 8 Paul explains the "Eating Food Sacrificed To Idols" problem and tells the folks not to judge anyone for doing that.....in other words, idols are nothing, so what's the big deal. Do what you want, (my interpretation). Still there were people who felt uncomfortable about eating that food...and not knowing if it had been sacrificed, chose to eat only vegetables. Paul said "That's fine too".

In Luke 18:12 Jesus spoke of a Pharisee who claimed to fast twice a week and give 10% of all he got. In Matthew 6:16 Jesus says, [When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.] So.....fasting among the Jews and early Christians, sometimes twice a week, was very common. It was also, according to the Apostle, a disputable matter, [Romans 14:1]

You can go through the entire chapter in the original Greek and not find mention of the word Sabbath. Paul is telling them if they want to fast this day.... or that day, it is up to them. If they want to eat only vegetables.... that is fine too.

5 posted on 01/15/2006 4:47:07 PM PST by Diego1618
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To: NYer

Yes -I have dealt with and opposed all twelve at one time or another -even here on FR.


6 posted on 01/15/2006 4:47:59 PM PST by DBeers (†)
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To: NYer

Why would someone set up this strawman?

These arguments are no help to anyone of faith.

It is like establishing a set of arguments against a 6 year old.

How sad.


7 posted on 01/15/2006 4:51:03 PM PST by freedumb2003 (American troops cannot be defeated. American Politicians can.)
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To: DBeers

**Yes -I have dealt with and opposed all twelve at one time or another -even here on FR.**

So amazing to do it here on FR too!


8 posted on 01/15/2006 4:51:12 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: NYer

Personally I'm looking for a more detailed response to 5. Just got asked this by a non Catholic.


9 posted on 01/15/2006 5:28:44 PM PST by x5452
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To: Diego1618

Dang, Diego, can't any of these ever be short?


10 posted on 01/15/2006 5:35:38 PM PST by kerryusama04 (The Bill of Rights is not occupation specific.)
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To: Diego1618
Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:14-16) It’s interesting that nowhere does James (or Jesus) tell us to confess our sins to God alone. Rather, they seem to think that forgiveness comes through some means of public confession. And it’s not difficult to understand why. You see, when we sin, we rupture our relationship not just with God, but with His Body, the Church (since all Catholics are interconnected as children of a common Father). So when we apologize, we need to do so to all parties involved — God and the Church. Think of it this way. Imagine you walk into a store and steal some of their merchandise. Later, you feel remorse and regret the sinful act. Now, you can pray to God to forgive you for breaking His commandment. But there’s still another party involved; you’ll need to return the merchandise and make restitution for your action. It’s the same way with the Church. In the confessional, the priest represents God and the Church, since we’ve sinned against both. And when he pronounces the words of absolution, our forgiveness is complete.

That sure doesn't sound like "confess your sins to us so that we can pay off families and victims to keep our sins hidden."

11 posted on 01/15/2006 5:59:52 PM PST by kerryusama04 (The Bill of Rights is not occupation specific.)
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To: NYer

"Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”"

So does your priest confess his sins to you also?



Psalm 32:5
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD "— and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah


12 posted on 01/15/2006 6:03:12 PM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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To: NYer
As a convert to Catholicism I found going to confession to be the most difficult adjustment. As I grew in my faith it began to make sense to me. If I had difficult in telling these sins to my priest I could not image what it must be like to have to someday confess my sins to God.

Confession has helped me on more than one occasion to turn from sin

13 posted on 01/15/2006 6:07:40 PM PST by mware (The keeper of the I's once again.)
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To: mware

"I could not image what it must be like to have to someday confess my sins to God."

Why wait till "someday", what's preventing you from doing so now?


14 posted on 01/15/2006 6:09:37 PM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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To: PetroniusMaximus
I was referring to the final reckoning.

What I was attempting to explain is that to sit down and tell the priest the sins I have committed is a very difficult task. As difficult as it is, can you image what it is going to be like on the final judgment when you have to tell those sins to God.

In my case at least it is an incentive to try harder not to commit those sins again.

15 posted on 01/15/2006 6:14:58 PM PST by mware (The keeper of the I's once again.)
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To: NYer
Thanks for the Post!!

Though I have one question--is the Church's position on Abortion clearly infallible?

16 posted on 01/15/2006 6:19:11 PM PST by rzeznikj at stout (This is a darkroom. Keep the door closed or you'll let all the dark out...)
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To: NYer
Bump. Sending to my lapsed parents.

BTW: Wasn't Deal fired from Crisis due to flirting a little too much with female staffers?

17 posted on 01/15/2006 6:25:37 PM PST by Clemenza (Smartest words ever written by a Communist: "Show me the way to the next Whiskey Bar")
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To: rzeznikj at stout

As to the stance on abortion: Yes, it is to be held by all the faithful. I'm not sure where exaclty you would find the first explicit condemnation of abortion, but it's something that has always been believed by the Church.

To give you an idea of how the Church considers abortion:

"Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the cononical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life..." (CCC, sect 2272)


18 posted on 01/15/2006 6:43:42 PM PST by tlRCta (St. Joseph, pray for us!)
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To: tlRCta
I know how the Church condemns abortion--I was just wondering whether or not it is clearly held to be an infallible teaching.

But thank you for the information nonetheless.

19 posted on 01/15/2006 6:49:43 PM PST by rzeznikj at stout (This is a darkroom. Keep the door closed or you'll let all the dark out...)
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To: NYer

#13 While here at the school, your child will be nearly forced into taking accordion lessons.

Hey, it happened to me anyway!

Umm paa paa my @$$.


20 posted on 01/15/2006 6:52:48 PM PST by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: rzeznikj at stout

You: "I know how the Church condemns abortion--I was just wondering whether or not it is clearly held to be an infallible teaching."

Me (earlier): "Yes, it is to be held by all the faithful."

Sorry: I was not quite clear. "it is to be held by all the faithful" is Catholic-high-falutin-talk for "infallible." You will usually see the longer phrase in an official document, like "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis" (JPII) or "Munificentissimus Deus" (Pius XII) where neither Pope, if I remember correctly, uses the word "infallible," but proclaims "infallibly."


21 posted on 01/15/2006 7:03:13 PM PST by tlRCta (St. Joseph, pray for us!)
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To: x5452
Its actually quite easy to explain this one. Refer to John 20:22-23

"And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.'"

The Apostles were given not just the power to forgive sins but the power to retain them. If it were possible for man to confess directly to God, it renders the power to forgive sins useless as well as denies the power given to them by God to retain it. Therefore, if we are to believe that Christ isn't a liar, the Apostles not only had the power to forgive other people's sins but also retain someone's sins despite their confession directly to God.
22 posted on 01/15/2006 7:12:30 PM PST by mike182d ("Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?")
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To: PetroniusMaximus
Psalm 32:5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD "— and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah

Sure, you can confess your sins to the Lord but, according to John 20:22-23, the Apostles have the power to retain your sins despite your efforts. In order to receive absolution was must receive this Sacrament as ordained by Christ, through the hands of the Apostles.
23 posted on 01/15/2006 7:14:59 PM PST by mike182d ("Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?")
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To: mike182d
Correction to my last post:

It is not necessary to receive absolution from a priest for one's sins, as the mercy of God is without bounds, but Christ most certainly provided us with the proper means to do so on earth and it would do us well to both acknowledge and partake of that.
24 posted on 01/15/2006 7:20:22 PM PST by mike182d ("Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?")
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To: mike182d

Its not that I don't buy it, I do but generally those brought up that 'confessing your sins to a man is some sort of evil pagan idea' I sort of need a brunt evidence.


25 posted on 01/15/2006 8:05:13 PM PST by x5452
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To: tlRCta
Gotcha. Although I always thought that infallibilty had to be invoked when the Pope teaches ex cathedra, and this was last used by Pius XII and the dogma on the Virgin Mary.
26 posted on 01/15/2006 8:44:17 PM PST by rzeznikj at stout (This is a darkroom. Keep the door closed or you'll let all the dark out...)
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To: mware
I found going to confession to be the most difficult adjustment.

Many people never hesitate to pay hundreds of dollars to tell their 'sins' to a psychotherapist ... and not receive absolution :-). For us to hear the priest say: "I absolve you of your sins" - what an awesome and beautiful Sacrament.

27 posted on 01/16/2006 1:06:23 AM PST by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: tlRCta; rzeznikj at stout
I'm not sure where exaclty you would find the first explicit condemnation of abortion

You have to go back to the Jews wandering in the desert. It's one of the 10 commandments: - "Thou shall not kill!"


28 posted on 01/16/2006 1:14:03 AM PST by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: Clemenza
BTW: Wasn't Deal fired from Crisis due to flirting a little too much with female staffers?

Yes.

29 posted on 01/16/2006 1:16:12 AM PST by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: NYer
"1.) “There’s no such thing as absolute truth. What’s true for you may not be true for me.”"

LOL!

30 posted on 01/16/2006 1:17:41 AM PST by spunkets
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To: spunkets
The catholic church is just really starting to see the effects of what vat II has produced. Many people say that the catholic church must adjust to the modern times and that tradition is wrong. I feel that it is tradition that has kept out the very things we are seeing today in our church.
31 posted on 01/16/2006 4:54:03 AM PST by stever5758 (I love the traditional latin mass)
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To: PetroniusMaximus
So does your priest confess his sins to you also?

Priests confess to other priests. When you are behind the screen, a priest generally doesn't know who you are.

32 posted on 01/16/2006 5:33:21 AM PST by Desdemona (Music Librarian and provider of cucumber sandwiches, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary. Hats required.)
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To: stever5758
I feel that it is tradition that has kept out the very things we are seeing today in our church.

Bless you! For those of us who remember pre-VCII days and have watched in shock awe as tradition was stripped from the Latin Mass, only to be replaced with 'novelties', 40 years feels like such a long time. Yet, as you pointed out, it was 'tradition', locked for 500 years, that hindered the flow of fresh air into the Roman Church. In the span of 2000 years, 40 is no more than a drop in the bucket.

33 posted on 01/16/2006 6:33:37 AM PST by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: x5452
Its not that I don't buy it, I do but generally those brought up that 'confessing your sins to a man is some sort of evil pagan idea' I sort of need a brunt evidence.
The authorization is from Christ himself, where he tells Simon Peter, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heavin, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." CCC 1444, Mt. 16:19
Rob
34 posted on 01/16/2006 6:36:30 AM PST by ShihanRob
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To: Diego1618

No. The point to the Romans 14 passage is primarily about people who are "weak in faith" and the obligation of the Christian not to welcome such a person just to have an occasion for "disputes over opinions," as is plain from verse 1. One example about such contentiousness involves dietary concerns, as you have said. But he gives a second example about the dispute over the Lord's Day in verses 5 and 6. At the time, the dispute between the Hebrew Christians and Gentile Christians over which day was to be observed as the Lord's Day was still ongoing. Sure, the Sabbath is not explicitly mentioned, but it is clear enough that that is what is referred to in vv. 5 & 6. St. Paul didn't have to even mention the Sabbath by name, as ALL of his hearers knew quite well what he was talking about.


35 posted on 01/16/2006 6:38:30 AM PST by magisterium
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To: NYer

The answer to #1 doesn't jive with special relativity.


36 posted on 01/16/2006 6:40:10 AM PST by Flightdeck (Longhorns+January=Rose Bowl Repeat)
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To: NYer

I was in an RCIA class, last Tuesday when the leaders of the class said that all religions are pathways for salvation. Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, whatever. Not only that, a sponsor of one of the catechumens spoke up and expressed that all of the other religions are equally valid as far as holding God's truth. I can't begin to express my disappointment. Thank God, that the person I'm sponsoring had done his homework and wrote these people off as sadly misinformed and, in one case, a crank.

Rob


37 posted on 01/16/2006 6:41:06 AM PST by ShihanRob
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To: NYer; rzeznikj at stout

"You have to go back to the Jews wandering in the desert. It's one of the 10 commandments: - 'Thou shall not kill!'"

Of course....how could I forget that one! Thanks :)

I was refering to the Church Fathers though. The Didache, a fairly early text, does specifically mention it. (The Didache, at the Catholic Encyclopedia: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0714.htm).

BTW, that is a great cartoon. The sad thing is some people want "something more progressive."


38 posted on 01/16/2006 6:53:48 AM PST by tlRCta (St. Joseph, pray for us!)
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To: x5452

We all know that you're Orthodox. Don't you confess your sins to the priest before the icon of Christ at the iconostasis? Certainly that's what we all did when I was attending the Melkite liturgy for years before I returned to my "roots" at the indult Tridentine Mass. It's my understanding that the Orthodox use John 20:23 in their theology of the sacrament just as the Catholics do. So nothing could be less "pagan," no?


39 posted on 01/16/2006 6:54:51 AM PST by magisterium
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To: magisterium
Certainly that's what we all did when I was attending the Melkite liturgy for years before I returned to my "roots" at the indult Tridentine Mass.

Interesting! I did not realize you once attended the Melkite Church. We have several Melkite families in our Maronite parish. I'm the one who comes from Indult Tridentine roots :-). We even have a Greek Orthodox family that occasionally celebrates our liturgy because the wife is from Jordan. One big "catholic" family.

40 posted on 01/16/2006 7:00:39 AM PST by NYer (Discover the beauty of the Eastern Catholic Churches - freepmail me for more information.)
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To: tlRCta
I'm not sure where exaclty you would find the first explicit condemnation of abortion, but it's something that has always been believed by the Church.

The Didache was written in the first century AD. While not part of the canon of Holy Scripture, it was used by the early church. It unquestionably condemns abortion. You can find out more about the Didache at http://www.antiochian.org/1135104215.
41 posted on 01/16/2006 7:03:43 AM PST by hispanichoosier
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To: hispanichoosier

Thanks for the help!

(After I posted the first one, I did some research and found the Didache at the Catholic Encyclopedia; see post 38. The Catholic Encyclopedia has a whole host of Patristic texts; you should check it out sometime.)


42 posted on 01/16/2006 7:11:13 AM PST by tlRCta (St. Joseph, pray for us!)
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To: magisterium

In my OCA Parish there is an Icon of Christ on a podium on the left near the Iconostasis, during confession the priest stands there, and you confess your sins.

In one ROCOR church I went to it was a little different. The priest was sitting behind an icon on the right side and there is an open bible and a cross. You kiss both before confession. The other ROCOR church I've been to it was the same scenerio but off to the left.

I generally find that when defending universal apostolic beleifs, such as confession, that the Catholic church has a more detailed answer for protestants than I can find searching only Orthodox sites, so that's why I asked. :)


43 posted on 01/16/2006 7:20:11 AM PST by x5452
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To: NYer
You have to go back to the Jews wandering in the desert. It's one of the 10 commandments: - "Thou shall not kill!"

That's a nice cartoon. Now explain why Rome erased the Second Commandment.

44 posted on 01/16/2006 7:33:05 AM PST by kerryusama04 (The Bill of Rights is not occupation specific.)
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To: rzeznikj at stout

"and this was last used by Pius XII and the dogma on the Virgin Mary."

That is an interesting point. It appears that Pope John Paul II, of blessed memory, pulled out the big guns on the issue of women's ordination. In the Apostolic Letter "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis" on 22 May, 1994, he wrote:

"Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful."

(http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_22051994_ordinatio-sacerdotalis_en.html It's not a long letter.)

The language he uses bears all the hallmarks of infallibility; it is actually quite similar to the language of Pius XII's Apostolic Constitution "Munificentissumus Deus," wherein he formalized as dogma the doctrine of the Assumption. However, I think there is a slight difference in the way infallibility was used. Pius XII settled the issue for once and all; previously most people had believed it, but the belief was not formalized. With John Paul II it seems that the issue at hand was more "re-settled." By this I mean that the Church had always, always taught that only men could be priests as a matter of fact; it seems that JPII wrote the Letter to re-emphasize the point to combat the happy-dappy liberal notion that all (women, non-Catholics, ham sandwiches, etc) have an intrinsic right to priestly ordination. So, it seems (to me) that your assertion that the last pope to use infall. to define a doctrine was Pius XII is true, with some qualifications.

The above are just my observations, and if I have misinterpreted anything, am incorrect, not precise, etc, please correct me.

Not that this has anything to do with the thread at hand, but I thought it was interesting....thanks for listening.


45 posted on 01/16/2006 7:40:23 AM PST by tlRCta (St. Joseph, pray for us!)
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To: magisterium
But he gives a second example about the dispute over the Lord's Day in verses 5 and 6. At the time, the dispute between the Hebrew Christians and Gentile Christians over which day was to be observed as the Lord's Day was still ongoing

I'm afraid you are incorrect. If you read the Greek you will find no reference made to the Sabbath....or "the Lord's day". Not a hint....or implication.

Romans 14:5

Romans 14:6

46 posted on 01/16/2006 8:19:05 AM PST by Diego1618
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To: stever5758; NYer

My comment was based on the quote, which was the number one item in the list. The truth is singular and unique. Even in the case of duals, because the same truth is represented. Alternative truths don't exist.


47 posted on 01/16/2006 8:21:56 AM PST by spunkets
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To: NYer

I was a "refugee" from massive liturgical abuse in my home parish that began in the 70's, and attended the Melkite cathedral from 1980 to early 1990. When the indult Tridentine Mass was allowed into the Archdiocese of Boston at that time, I felt it was important to return to my ancestral roots, so to speak (though, born in 1957, I had to learn the rite from scratch, just like I did with the Melkites!). I have been back to the Melkite cathedral a few times since then, and I'm still on friendly terms with Bishop John, the deacon and many parishioners. This is easy to do, since my wife is half-Syrian in ancestry and we know lots of Melkites socially. Funny, though, while I was hanging with the Melkites, we weren't married yet, and we seldom attended there together.

If the Latin Mass dies in Boston because of the intended closing of the church we're at, and the new site doesn't work out (it won't, for many reasons, a few of which are simply logistical), my family may be slinking back to the Melkites yet! ;-)


48 posted on 01/16/2006 9:39:59 AM PST by magisterium
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To: NYer
It's one of the 10 commandments: - "Thou shall not kill!"

Aha! I knew I left out something ;)

Though I'm wondering where the infallibility of abortion shows up with respect to the early Church.

49 posted on 01/16/2006 9:49:42 AM PST by rzeznikj at stout (This is a darkroom. Keep the door closed or you'll let all the dark out...)
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To: Diego1618

Please. Don't patronize. I had to read the text before I responded, didn't I? I know perfectly well that the word "Sabbath" isn't there. Though the implication of the Sabbath certainly is. Context fills in the gap. Just like it does when treating, for example, issues concerning the Trinity, a word not found in Scripture *at all*. If he wasn't talking about the Sabbath, what was the controversy over "this day or that"?


50 posted on 01/16/2006 9:52:11 AM PST by magisterium
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