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Catholic Doctrine on the Holy Trinity ^ | 2003 | Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Posted on 06/06/2009 8:01:57 PM PDT by Salvation

Catholic Doctrine on the Holy Trinity

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

The mystery of the Holy Trinity is the most fundamental of our faith. On it everything else depends and from it everything else derives. Hence the Church’s constant concern to safeguard the revealed truth that God is One in nature and Three in Persons.

In order to do some justice to this sublime subject, we shall look only briefly at the heretical positions that at various periods of the Church’s history challenged the revealed Trinitarian faith. Our principal intention is to see in sequence the development of the doctrine, with emphasis on how the Church’s authority has contributed to the progress in understanding the plurality of persons in the one true God. 

There is also great value in seeing some of the implications of the doctrine for our personal and social lives, since the mystery was most extensively revealed by Christ during the same discourse at the Last Supper when He taught us the “New Commandment” by which we are to love one another as He has been loving us.

Trinitarian Heresies

There is a certain logic in the adversative positions assumed by those who called into question one or another aspect of the Trinity. Not surprisingly the human mind has wrestled with what God revealed about Himself in His inner Trinitarian existence. And depending on the willingness to recognize its limitations, the intellect has been enlightened by what God says about His mysterious being.

Thus we have, on the one hand, such extensive treatises as St. Augustine’s De Trinitate that show how perfectly compatible is the mystery of the Triune God with the deepest reaches of human intelligence. Indeed, the better the Trinity is understood, the more the human mind expands its horizons and the better it understands the world that the Trinity has created.

At the same time, we have the spectacle of another phenomenon. Minds that are not fully docile to the faith have, in greater or less measure, resisted the unquestioning acceptance of the Trinity. From apostolic times to the present, they have struggled with themselves and in their misguided effort to “explain” the mystery have only rationalized their own ideas of what the mystery should be.

For the sake of convenience, we can capsulize the leading anti-Trinitarian teachings of Christian history. Although given here somewhat chronologically, they are all very current because one or another, or a combination of several, may be found in contemporary writings in nominally Christian sources. There is no such thing as an antiquated doctrinal error, as correspondingly there is no such thing as an entirely new heresy. Error has its own remarkable consistency.


By the end of the first century, certain Judaizing Christians lapsed into a pre-Christian notion of God. According to them God is simply unipersonal. Such were the Corinthians and the Ebionites.

Within the next hundred years these theories were systemized into what has since become known as Monarchianism, i.e., monos = one + archein = to rule, which postulates only one person in God. In practice, however, Monarchianism affected certain positions regarding the nature and person of Christ; and these were the ones that finally had to be countered by the Church’s Magisterium.

If there is only one person in God, then the Son of God did not become man except as the embodiment of an adopted son of God. According to the Adoptionists, Christ was a mere man, though miraculously conceived of the Virgin Mary. At Christ’s baptism, He was endowed by the Father with extraordinary power and was then specially adopted by God as son. Among others, the best known Adoptionist was Paul of Samosata. 

Another group of Monarchians took the view that Christ was divine. But then it was the Father who became incarnate, who suffered and died for the salvation of the world. Those favoring this idea were called Patripassionists, which literally means “Father-sufferers,” meaning that Christ was only symbolically the son of God, since it was the Father Himself who became man. On this hypothesis, of course, the Father, too, is only symbolically Father, since He does not have a natural Son.

The best known Patripassionist was Sabellius, who gave his name to a still popular Christological heresy, Sabellianism. According to Sabellius, there is in God only one hypostasis (person) but three prosopa, literally “masks” or “roles” that the unipersonal God assumes. These three roles correspond to the three modes or ways that God manifests Himself to the world. Hence another name for this theory is Modalism.

In the Modalist system, God manifests Himself, in the sense of reveals Himself, as the Father in creation, as the Son in redemption, and as the Holy Spirit in sanctification. There are not really three distinct persons in God but only three ways of considering God from the effects He has produced in the world.


Unlike the foregoing, Subordinationism admits there are three persons in God but denies that the second and third persons are consubstantial with the Father. Therefore it denies their true divinity. There have been different forms of Subordinationism, and they are still very much alive, though not all easily recognizable as Trinitarian errors in which the mind tries to comprehend how one single infinitely perfect divine nature can be three distinct persons, each equally and completely God.

The Arians, named after the Alexandrian priest Arius, held that the Logos or Word of God does not exist from eternity. Consequently there could not have been a generation of the Son from the Father but only by the Father. The Son is a creature of the Father and to that extent a “son of God.” He came into existence from nothing, having been willed by the Father, although as “the first born of all creation,” the Son came into the world before anything else was created.

The Semi-Arians tried to avoid the extreme of saying that Christ was totally different from the Father by conceding that He was similar to or like the Father, hence the name Homoi-ousians, i.e., homoios = like = ousia = nature, by which they are technically called.

There was lastly the group of Macedonians, named after Bishop Macedonius (deposed in 360 AD), who extended the notion of subordination to the Holy Spirit, who was claimed not to be divine but a creature. They were willing to admit that the Holy Spirit was a ministering angel of God.


At the other extreme to saying there was only one person in God was the heresy that held (and holds) there are really three gods. Certain names stand out.

According to John Philoponus (565 AD), nature and person are to be identified, or, in his language ousia = hypostasis. There are then three persons in God who are three individuals of the Godhead, just as we would speak of three human beings and say there are three individuals of the species man. Thus instead of admitting a numerical unity of the divine nature among the three persons in God, this theory postulates only a specific unity, i.e., one species but not one numerical existence.

In the theory of Roscelin (1120 AD), a Nominalist, only the individual is real. So the three persons in God are actually three separate realities. St. Anselm wrote extensively against this error.

Gilbert of Poitiers (1154 AD) said there is a real difference between God and the Divinity. As a result there would be a quaternity, i.e., three persons and the Godhead.

Abbot Joachim of Fiore (1202 AD) claimed that there is only a collective unity of the three persons in God, to form the kind of community we have among human beings, i.e., a gathering of like-minded persons joined together by their freedom to work together on a common enterprise. Joachim of Fiore is also known in doctrinal history as the one who projected the idea of three stages in Christian history. Stage One was the Age of the Father, through Old Testament times; Stage Two was the Age of the Second Person, the Son, which lasted from the time of the Incarnation to the Middle Ages; Stage Three began about the time of Abbot Joachim and will continue to the end of the world, as the Age of the Holy Spirit.

Anton Guenther (1873) was deeply infected with Hegelian pantheism and proclaimed a new Trinity. Guenther said that the Absolute freely determined Itself three successive times in an evolutionary process of development as thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. So the divine substance is trebled.

Post-Reformation Protestantism

The original Reformers affirmed the Trinity without qualification. Thus Luther and Calvin, and the sixteenth century confessions of Protestant faith uniformly attested to the Trinity of Persons in God. But the subjectivism of the Protestant principles paved the way to a gradual attrition of the faith, so that rationalism has made deep inroads into the denominations. The most common form of this rationalism takes the three persons in God as only three personifications of the divine attributes, e.g., divine power is personified by the Father, divine wisdom by the Son, and divine goodness by the Holy Spirit.

In this context, we may define rationalism as that system of thought that claims that the human mind cannot hold with certainty what it cannot understand. Since the Trinity cannot be fully understood, it cannot therefore be held to be certain.

Teaching of the Church

The history of the Church’s doctrine on the Trinity reaches back to the earliest days of Christianity. Our purpose here is to see in review some of the leading statements of the Magisterium, while pointing out some features of each document.

Pope St. Dionysius in 259 AD wrote a public letter to Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria in which he condemned the errors of Sabellius and the tritheist Marcion. The significance of this document lies in the fact that it paved the way for the Church’s later teaching, notably in the famous councils that dealt with the person of Christ. The popes led the way in defending the revealed mystery of the Trinity and in explaining its meaning, long before ecumenical councils entered the controversy. Even a few sentences from the pope’s letter will show the intransigence of the Church and her sureness of mind about the Trinity:

Sabellius’ blasphemy is that the Son is the Father, and the Father the Son. These men somehow teach there are three gods since they divine the sacred unity into three different hypostases completely separate from one another.
The teaching of the foolish Marcion who divides and separates the one God into three principles is a teaching from the devil, not the teaching of those who truly follow Christ and who are content with the teachings of the Savior.

At the Council of Nicea (325 AD), the Second Person was declared to be consubstantial with the Father, where the term homo-ousios became the consecrated word for expressing perfect numerical identity of nature between the Father and His Son who became incarnate.

But Nicea did not settle the controversy. Speculators, especially in the Near East, insisted on probing and rationalizing the Trinity so that in 382 AD Pope St. Damasus called a council at Rome in which he summarized the main errors up to his time. Called the Tome of Damasus, this collection of anathemas is a series of definitions on the Trinity that to this day are models of clarity. Twenty-four in number, a sample from the collection again reflects the Church’s perennial faith:

If anyone denies that the Father is eternal, that the Son is eternal, and that the Holy Spirit is eternal: he is a heretic.
If anyone says that the Son made flesh was not in heaven with the Father while He was on earth: he is a heretic.
If anyone denies that the Holy Spirit has all power and knows all things, and is everywhere, just as the Father and the Son: he is a heretic.

The most extensive declaration of the Church’s teaching on the Trinity was made at the Eleventh Synod of Toledo in Spain (675 AD). It is a mosaic of texts drawn from all the preceding doctrines of the Church. Its purpose was to assemble as complete a list of doctrinal statements as possible, in view of the still prevalent errors in nominally Christian circles, and (providentially) in view of the rise of Islam which struck with particular vehemence against the Iberian peninsula. Since the main target of Moslem opposition to Christianity was the Koranic claim that Christians were idolaters because they adored Christ as God, it is instructive to see how the faithful were prepared to resist the Moslem Unitarianism by a clear declaration of their own belief in the Triune God. The full text of doctrine at Toledo runs to over two thousand words. Only a few lines will be given to illustrate the tone:

We confess and we believe that the holy and indescribable Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one only God in His nature, a single substance, a single nature, a single majesty and power.
We acknowledge Trinity in the distinction of persons; we profess Unity because of the nature or substance. The three are one, as a nature, that is, not as person. Nevertheless, these three persons are not to be considered separable, since we believe that no one of them existed or at any time effected anything before the other, after the other, or without the other.

Two general councils of the Church formulated the faith in the Trinity in specific creeds, namely the Fourth Lateran and the Council of Florence.

The focus of Fourth Lateran was twofold, to reaffirm the faith in the face of the Albigensian heresy and to defend it against the vagaries of Abbot Joachim.

Since the Albigenses were Manichaens, for whom there were two ultimate sources of the universe, one a good principle and the other an evil one, Lateran declared the absolute oneness of God, who is at the same time Triune:

We firmly believe and profess without qualification that there is only one true God, eternal, immense, unchangeable, incomprehensible, omnipotent, and indescribable, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; three persons but one essence and a substance or nature that is wholly simple.
The Father is from no one; the Son is from the Father only; and the Holy Spirit is from both the Father and the Son equally. God has no beginning; He always is, and always will be. The Father is the progenitor, the Son is the begotten, the Holy Spirit is proceeding. They are all one substance, equally great, equally all-powerful, equally eternal. They are the one and only principle of all things—Creator of all things visible and invisible, spiritual and corporeal, who, by His almighty power, from the very beginning of time has created both orders of creatures in the same way out of nothing, the spiritual or angelic worlds and the corporeal or visible universe.

Abbot Joachim had a plurality of gods. In his effort to explain how the persons in the Trinity are distinct, he made them so separate that he ended up making them separate deities. Joachim’s problem was transferring what happens in human generation, when something of the parent goes over to the offspring, and is thereby distinct. He pressed the analogy too far and fell into error.

In response to this, the Fourth Lateran Council used the most technical language to insist that there is no division in God just because there is a distinction of persons:

The Father in eternally begetting the Son gave Him His own substance as the Son Himself testifies, “What my Father has given me is greater than all.” But it cannot be said that He gave Him part of His substance, and retained part for Himself, because the substance of the Father is indivisible, since it is altogether simple. Neither can one say that the Father transferred His own substance in generation to the Son, as though He gave it to the Son in such a way that He did not retain it for Himself; otherwise He would cease to be a substance.

The situation at the Council of Florence (1442 AD) was different. Here the need was to state the constant teaching of the Church with a view to reuniting the Eastern and Western Churches, separated by the Eastern Schism.

One feature of Florence, however, that needed to be clarified was brought about by the addition to the Nicene Creed of the expression Filioque, i.e. “and from the Son,” which Rome had approved. The Roman Creed now read, “the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son.” The Easterners were uncomfortable with the addition, saying that Rome had tampered with a general council. The issue at stake was the true divinity of the Holy Spirit and the true divinity of the Second Person. Consequently, the Council of Florence, in the long Trinitarian Creed that it issued, stated as follows:

The Father is entirely in the Son and entirely in the Holy Spirit; the Son is entirely in the Father and entirely in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is entirely in the Father and entirely in the Son. None of the persons precedes any of the others in eternity, nor does any have greater immensity or greater power. From eternity, without beginning, the Son is from the Father; and from eternity and without beginning, the Holy Spirit has proceeded from the Father and the Son.

Human language could not be clearer, and there the faith of the Church stands to day and will until the end of time. Since the Council of Florence, popes and councils have simply drawn on the elaborate and absolutely unambiguous teaching of Sacred Tradition to offer the faithful for acceptance what is at once the glory of Catholic Christianity and its greatest revealed mystery.

Principal Implications

As we are learning today, faith in the Trinity is the basic test of our Catholic faith as Christians. This is not merely to say that objectively this doctrine is the most fundamental. It is. But subjectively, from our side, it is also the most crucial because it represents the hardest demand on our creedal assent.

All natural knowledge leads us to see only specific unity among human beings. We have one human nature, indeed, but we are only specifically one as distinct persons. We are really distinct as persons but we are also separate realities. Not so with the Trinity. Each of the divine Persons is the infinite God, and no one Person has only a “share” in the divine nature, a part of it so to speak. Yet they are not three infinities, but only one infinite God.

Relative to generation, all natural knowledge tells us that the parenthood and offspring imply a before and after generation, they imply a producer and a produced, a cause and effect. Not so in the eternal generation of the Son of God by the Father.

All natural knowledge tells us that while love is “outgoing” it does not literally give rise to a third person who is at once distinct from the two who love and numerically one with them in nature. Yet this is the case with God, where the Holy Spirit is declared by the Church as “the Love or the Sanctity of both the Father and the Son.” He proceeds from them without being another god.

But the Trinity is more than a test of our faith. It is also the perfect model of our selfless love. As revelation tells us, within the Godhead is a plurality of Persons, so that God is defined as Love because He has within His own being, to use our language, the object of love which is an Other with whom each of the Persons can share the totality of their being.

We therefore see from reflection on this Triune Love that love by its essence is not self-centered, that love unites, that love gives, and that love shares perfectly within the Godhead. Love is therefore as perfect in us as it approximates the perfect sharing that constitutes the Trinity.

At the same time, we recall that, while perfectly selfless in their mutual sharing of the divine nature, the Persons in the Trinity do not thereby cease to be themselves. Again, this is a lesson for us. We are to give of ourselves generously and without stinting. Nevertheless we are also to give in such a way that we remain ourselves and not become, as it were, something else in the process of sharing. There is such a thing as calculating charity, when a person gives of himself but “not too much” because he fears that his love may be too costly. This is not the teaching of Christ, who told us to love others not only as much as we love ourselves but as much as He loves us.

Saying this, however, is not to say that charity should not be wise. It would be unwise if it deprived us of that which God wants us to be and made us less than we are expected to be. Charity must, therefore, be enlightened; it must be guided by the standard of the Trinity, where each of the divine Persons gives and shares perfectly, yet without ceasing to be what each Person is to be. The Father does not become less the Father in begetting the Son and thus totally sharing the divine nature; nor do Father and Son cease to be themselves although they completely share their divinity with the Holy Spirit.

We thus have a confluence of two mysteries, of the Trinity in heaven and of liberty on earth. The Trinity is the pattern for our liberty. If we use our freedom to love others as we should, modeled on the Triune God, we shall reach that God in eternity. This is our hope, based on our faith, and conditioned by our love.

Father John Hardon, S.J., is founder of The Catholic Faith magazine

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; catholiclist; cult; trinity
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To: Salvation

Excellent. Thank you so much Salvation!

21 posted on 06/06/2009 11:10:28 PM PDT by GOP Poet
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To: hosepipe

You really don’t understand too much about the Catholic Church in my opinion. Please educate yourself.

Every Catholic is born again at their Holy Baptism.

The learning ALWAYS preceeds the Baptism (except in the case of infants.)

22 posted on 06/07/2009 8:54:52 AM PDT by Salvation († With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
[ You really don’t understand too much about the Catholic Church in my opinion. Please educate yourself. / Every Catholic is born again at their Holy Baptism. / The learning ALWAYS preceeds the Baptism (except in the case of infants.) ]

You assume too much.... I quoted Jesus..
So being born again is merely procedural/ceremonial?..

23 posted on 06/07/2009 9:50:59 AM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole....)
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To: Salvation
Every Catholic is born again at their Holy Baptism.

[I John 5:18] Douay-Rheims [18 We know that whosoever is born of God, sinneth not: but the generation of God preserveth him, and the wicked one toucheth him not.]

How do you square your statement with this scripture? Are all baptized Catholics non-sinners?

24 posted on 06/07/2009 12:08:10 PM PDT by Diego1618 (Put "Ron" on the rock!)
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To: Diego1618

Are you trying to say that the born-again don’t sin?

25 posted on 06/07/2009 12:16:06 PM PDT by Petronski (In Germany they came first for the Communists, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist...)
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To: Diego1618


This is whey 1 passage out of context is problematic. For example, St. Paul writes “all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God”, yet here we read “anyone born of God does not sin” (Romans 3:23). In this passage from ST. John, he is repeating something he stated back in chapter 3 verse 9 “God’s seed abides in him and he cannot sin”, which of course has to be seen in the context of the entire epistle from St. John. If you go back to the the fist chapter, St. John states “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (c.f. 1 John 1:8) and then he follows that with “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness’( c.f 1 John 1:9). Shortly after, St. John writes again “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us” (c.f. 1 John 1:10).

So it is obvious that there is at the surface some internal contradictions in St. John’s epistle which is why the Catholic biblical interpretational principle of typology, i.e. reading everything in scripture in relation to the person of Christ can solve this problem and thus as the Catholic Church teaches, this principle allows us to read the scripture as a unified whole.

Thus, Christain sinfulness is based on God’s gift of Grace, which as Catholic Doctrine teaches, transforms and makes humanity holy, (i.e. sinless) and thus is not just a forensic covering of imputed justification, which is the Reformed teaching of Luther and Calvin.

To sinless, as understood in Catholic doctrine (discussed the Cathechism CCC 460) is rooted in “participation of the Divine Nature” or what the Eastern Tradition refers to as “Theosis”, which is a beautiful Doctrine that states that Human beings can have communion with God, and thus become like God to such a degree that humans can “partake in the Divine Nature” (c.f. 2 Peter 2:4). We become united with God by his Grace, through his son Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

The process of “Theosis” starts at Baptism where the CCC states the Baptized person has become a New Creature, (see CCC para. 1265)

So the Catholic Church sees that through the Incarnation and Cross/Resurrection/Ascension, God has given us access to his Mercy and Love and by his Grace, which God gives us through the Sacraments, the inner person becomes renewed and transformed by Grace and through that Grace we become United to God and thus like God by Grace which of course God is by nature. In other words, Christ trough his Grace allows us to “partake in the Divine Nature” (c.f. 2 Peter 2:4). So through the incarnation of Christ, God is now really accessible to us and wants us to be in “communion with him”.

St. Paul in Ephesians speaks of the concept of “Theosis”
where he states “who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, ‘to be holy and without blemish before him’” (c.f. Eph: 1:3-5). He writes “and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the Fullness of God” (c.f. Eph 3:19), and coming to “mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ” (c.f. Eph 4:13).

St. Paul in Chapter 6 of Romans takes up this theme here as well. In verses 1 to 4, he mentions Baptism then he states “For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection” (c.f. Rom 6:5). Later St. Paul writes about being “conformed to the image of his Son” (c.f. Rom 8:29), which Catholics and Orthodox believe happens at Baptism (going back to Romans 6) and restores what was loss before the fall when Man and Woman was created in the Image of God (c.f. Gen 1:26-27).

So Catholic Theology, and The Eastern Orthodox Theology, has much more Theological depth than just being saved by God covering us with Grace, while still seeing us as filthy and Depraved (One of Calvin’s 5 Points of TULIP). While we distorted our Image (Divine Image, as we were originally created in God’s Image) as a result of Adam and Eve’s Sin (The Fall), through Christ, God is going to not only restore our True Image, but through his Grace, bring us into communion with the Holy Trinity, which is Love itself, and thus partake in the Divine Nature.

St Paul further writes “that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth” (c.f. Eph 4:22-23). St Paul writes “to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God…Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (c.f. Rom 12-1-2).

St Paul speaks of May the God of peace himself make our perfectly holy an may you entirely, spirit, soul and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (c.f. 1 Thes. 5:23) and why we are called which was “for obtaining the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (c.f. 2 Thes 2:14). In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul also talks about glory with respect to man as he writes “the Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him (c.f. Rom 8:16-17).

St. John states whoever remains in God’s Love remains in God and God in Him. In this love brought to perfection among us we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world” (c.f. 1 John 4:16-17).

Finally, two other verses alluding to the concept of “partaking of the Divine nature/Theosis” are 1 John 3:2: “We know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” and St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians where he states: Christ will “transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body.” (c.f. Phil 3:21).

So, through Christ’s Incarnation, he joined our humanity and glorified it Himself and by the Paschal mystery, we are to be united with God in a communion of Love, and to live for all eternity. In this context, to partake in the Divine nature is in fact to become like God, which is not to say we become God. We will be in eternity and thus being like God, made perfectly holy by his Grace, but we will be praising God with all the Angels and Saints as Revelation tells us.

pax et bonum

26 posted on 06/07/2009 12:38:48 PM PDT by CTrent1564
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To: CTrent1564


Editing note here. Obviously, the passage “all have sinned and fall short of God’s Glory” is from ST. Paul (c.f. Romans 3:23) and “anyone born of God does not sin” is from 1 John 5:18.


27 posted on 06/07/2009 12:42:09 PM PDT by CTrent1564
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To: Salvation; informavoracious; larose; RJR_fan; Prospero; Conservative Vermont Vet; ...

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

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Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of interest.

Obama Says A Baby Is A Punishment

Obama: “If they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.”

The following is a literal translation of the Greek text of the Constantinopolitan form, the brackets indicating the words altered or added in the Western liturgical form in present use:

We believe (I believe) in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, and born of the Father before all ages. (God of God) light of light, true God of true God. Begotten not made, consubstantial to the Father, by whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven. And was incarnate of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary and was made man; was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried; and the third day rose again according to the Scriptures. And ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of the Father, and shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, of whose Kingdom there shall be no end. And (I believe) in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father (and the Son), who together with the Father and the Son is to be adored and glorified, who spoke by the Prophets. And one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We confess (I confess) one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for (I look for) the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen."

28 posted on 06/07/2009 12:45:00 PM PDT by narses (
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To: hosepipe

“So being born again is merely procedural/ceremonial?..”

You still don’t understand the Catholic Church.

29 posted on 06/07/2009 1:40:06 PM PDT by OpusatFR (Those embryos are little humans in progress. Using them for profit is slavery.)
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To: CTrent1564
Thank you for your explanation....but the scriptures seem to imply it is a two part process.....beggetal, and eventually birth at the resurrection.

Even Our Lord had not yet been born again in [John 3:16] after His baptism. After His resurrection He, was of course referred to as "The First Born". But God called Him His only "begotten" Son while He walked this Earth as a human.

Do you see the difference?

30 posted on 06/07/2009 2:03:24 PM PDT by Diego1618 (Put "Ron" on the rock!)
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To: All
Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy: Principles and Guidelines

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

157. The solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity is celebrated on the Sunday after Pentecost. With the growth of devotion to the mystery of God in His Unity and Trinity, John XXII extended the feast of the Holy Trinity to the entire Latin Church in 1334. During the middle ages, especially during the carolingian period, devotion to the Blessed Trinity was a highly important feature of private devotion and inspired several liturgical expressions. These events were influential in the development of certain pious exercises.

In the present context, it would not appear appropriate to mention specific pious exercises connected with popular devotion to the Blessed Trinity, "the central mystery of the faith and of the Christian life"165. It sufficies to recall that every genuine form of popular piety must necessarily refer to God, "the all-powerful Father, His only begotten Son and the Holy Spirit"166. Such is the mystery of God, as revealed in Christ and through him. Such have been his manifestations in salvation history. The history of salvation "is the history of the revelation of the one true God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who reconciles and unites to Himself those who have been freed from sin" 167.

Numerous pious exercises have a Trinitarian character or dimension. Most of them begin with the sign of the cross "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit", the same formula with which the disciples of Jesus are baptized (cf. Mt 28, 19), thereby beginning a life of intimacy with the God, as sons of the Father, brothers of Jesus, and temples of the Holy Spirit. Other pious exercises use formulas similar to those found in the Liturgy of the Hours and begin by giving "Glory to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit". Some pious exercises end with a blessing given in the name of the three divine Persons. Many of the prayers used in these pious exercises follow the typical liturgical form and are addressed to the "Father, through Christ, in the Holy Spirit", and conserve doxological formulas taken from the Liturgy.

158. Worship, as has been said in the first part of this Directory, is the dialogue of God with man through Christ in the Holy Spirit168. A Trinitarian orientation is therefore an essential element in popular piety. It should be clear to the faithful that all pious exercises in honour of the Blessed Virgin May, and of the Angels and Saints have the Father as their final end, from Whom all thing come and to Whom all things return; the incarnate, dead and resurrected Son is the only mediator (1Tim 2,5) apart from whom access to the Father is impossible (cf. John 14,6); the Holy Spirit is the only source of grace and sanctification. It is important to avoid any concept of "divinity" which is abstract from the three Divine Persons.

159. Together with the little doxology (Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit....) and the great doxology (Glory be to God in the highest), pious exercises addressed directly to the Most Blessed Trinity often include formulas such as the biblical Trisagion (Holy, Holy, Holy) and also its liturgical form (Holy God, Holy Strong One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us), especially in the Eastern Churches, in some Western countries as well as among numerous religious orders and congregations.

The liturgical Trisagion is inspired by liturgical hymns and its biblical counterpart. Here mention could be made of the Sanctus used in the celebration of the Mass, the Te Deum, the improperia of Good Friday's veneration of the Cross, all of which are derived from Isaiah 6, 3 and Apocalypses 4, 8. The Trisagion is a pious exercise in which the faithful, united with the Angels, continually glorify God, the Holy, Powerful and Immortal One, while using expressions of praise drawn from Scripture and the Liturgy.

31 posted on 06/07/2009 2:15:12 PM PDT by Salvation († With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

:) sang this in Mass today (recessional)

32 posted on 06/07/2009 2:38:10 PM PDT by wombtotomb
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To: Salvation

This is my experience, especially with non-Catholic Christians I’ve met online in chats like Paltalk. This is precisely why it is so dangerous to ignore the authority of the Church. It is exactly what St. Peter warned about in his second epistle (2 Pet 3:16-17).

When one is one’s own Pope, it is all to easy to mistake an evil spirit for the Holy Spirit. This is precisely how strange doctrines enter the Body of Christ. The Magisterium is precisely to guard against such errors. It’s much more difficult to bend an entire body against truth, than it is an individual.

This is perhaps the one thing that drives me craziest. In my exact desire to be charitable to people, to help them, I can see the error so easily propigated by this “go at it alone mentality” that Protestantism delightfully encourages.

We are NOT able to come to God alone; and, as I’ve said previously on another thread, this is exactly what the Church is for: it’s to help us keep on the path to Christ.

33 posted on 06/07/2009 3:34:27 PM PDT by FourtySeven (47)
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To: Diego1618


Christ in no sense can be seen as having been born again [John 3:16], which if you go back to John 3:5 is seen as pointing to Christian baptism, i.e. “born of water and spirt” (c.f. John 3:5). The baptism of Jesus is described in all 4 Gospels, each with there own theological perspective and as Pope Benedict notes in Jesus of Nazareth (p.22), all 4 note that CHrist came up from the water and heaven was torn open and the spirit came down upon him. 3 points follow, heaven opening shows Christ communion with his Father [Trinitarian image] and then the sprit coming down we here the Father saying this is my beloved son, etc. indicating who Christ is more than what he is doing. For example, in St. John’s Gospel (c.f. John 1 :29-34), we see John the Baptist identifying CHrist as the “Lamb of God” at Christ’s baptism. As Pope Benedict notes, this is an encounter with the Holy Trinity.

Now, I would encourage you to view Christ as a Divine Person, who was never without a Divine Nature, but through the incarnation, took our human nature in its fullness,but without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Thus, in this sense Christ being baptized points to our Lord identifying himself with humanity and have fallen nature, but hope for God’s Grace. Again, as Pope Benedict notes in Jesus of Nazareth (p. 17), the signficance of Christ’s Baptism could not fully emerge until the Cross and Resurrection and as the Pope points out on p. 18, Christ’s baptism is an acceptance of death for humanity’s sins and the voice of God the Father stating “this is my beloved son over the baptismal waters of the Jordan river is an anticipatory reference to the Resurrection, which as the Pope further notes, is why Jesus uses the word “Baptism” to refer to his death (c.f. Mark 10:38; Luke 12:50).

So to summarize, Catholic doctrine sees through Baptism, we die to old and rise to new life [i.e Death and Resurrection], and thus receive God’s grace and thus have communion with the Most Holy Trinity.


34 posted on 06/07/2009 3:53:09 PM PDT by CTrent1564
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To: CTrent1564; All

The Holy Spirit, Gift of God's Love

St. Augustine

There is no gift of God more excellent than this. It alone distinguishes the sons of the eternal kingdom and the sons of eternal perdition. Other gifts, too, are given by the Holy Spirit; but without love they profit nothing. Unless, therefore, the Holy Spirit is so far imparted to each, as to make him one who loves God and his neighbor, he is not removed from the left hand to the right. Nor is the Spirit specially called the Gift, unless on account of love. And he who has not this love, "though he speak with the tongues of men and angels, is sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal; and though he have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and though he have all faith, so that he can remove mountains, he is nothing; and though he bestow all his goods to feed the poor, and though he give his body to be burned, it profiteth him nothing."

How great a good, then, is that without which goods so great bring no one to eternal life! But love or charity itself,--for they are two names for one thing,--if he have it that does not speak with tongues, nor has the gift of prophecy, nor knows all mysteries and all knowledge, nor gives all his goods to the poor, either because he has none to give or because some necessity hinders, nor delivers his body to be burned, if no trial of such a suffering overtakes him, brings that man to the kingdom, so that faith itself is only rendered profitable by love, since faith without love can indeed exist, but cannot profit. And therefore also the Apostle Paul says, "In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith that worketh by love:" so distinguishing it from that faith by which even "the devils believe and tremble." Love, therefore, which is of God and is God, is specially the Holy Spirit, by whom the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by which love the whole Trinity dwells in us. And therefore most rightly is the Holy Spirit, although He is God, called also the gift of God. And by that gift what else can properly be understood except love, which brings to God, and without which any other gift of God whatsoever does not bring to God? . . .

Wherefore, if Holy Scripture proclaims that God is love, and that love is of God, and works this in us that we abide in God and He in us, and that hereby we know this, because He has given us of His Spirit, then the Spirit Himself is God, who is love. Next, if there be among the gifts of God none greater than love, and there is no greater gift of God than the Holy Spirit, what follows more naturally than that He is Himself love, who is called both God and of God? And if the love by which the Father loves the Son, and the Son loves the Father, ineffably demonstrates the communion of both, what is more suitable than that He should be specially called love, who is the Spirit common to both? For this is the sounder thing both to believe and to understand, that the Holy Spirit is not alone love in that Trinity, yet is not specially called love to no purpose.

On the Trinity XV.18.32, 19.37.

Electronic text (c) Copyright 1997 EWTN.

35 posted on 06/07/2009 4:47:03 PM PDT by Salvation († With God all things are possible.†)
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To: CTrent1564
[John 3:5-13] 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Were you born of flesh?

Have you changed into a spirit being?

Do you remember how the Lord was able to stand before the disciples, suddenly materializing inside a stone building, behind locked doors? [John 20:19][Luke 24:36]

He had been "Born again"....resurrecting as a spirit. We will also..... at our born of the spirit [I Corinthians 15:50-52]. Notice again what He says to Nicodemus [John 3:3-8] 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: "so is every one that is born of the Spirit".

Our Lord was telling Nicodemus about a total change he would experience upon becoming "born again".....from flesh to spirit at the resurrection.

[1 Peter 1:3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

[1 Peter 1:21-23] Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

[1 John 3:9] Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Do baptized, fleshly people sin? Yes, unfortunately, they still they have only been begotten of the spirit, not yet born of the spirit....born again of incorruptible seed.

36 posted on 06/07/2009 6:33:55 PM PDT by Diego1618 (Put "Ron" on the rock!)
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To: wombtotomb

So did we. Recessional

37 posted on 06/07/2009 7:30:55 PM PDT by Salvation († With God all things are possible.†)
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To: FourtySeven

**I can see the error so easily propigated by this “go at it alone mentality” **

It bugs me too. Sometimes I am near tears because I have used all reason available to me and within my skill of words, and nothing seems to penetrate. Only God know the secret. All we can do is continue to lay out the facts.

38 posted on 06/07/2009 7:33:20 PM PDT by Salvation († With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Diego1618


Again, if you believe that Christ is a Divine person, then Christ being “born again/or Born from above” can not be reconciled to what you are saying, that is Christ needed to be born again. Now, if you are a Oneness pentecostal or Jehova’s Witness, then what you are saying is diamaterically opposed to orthodox Christian doctrine and in fact, is objectively not even Christianity.


39 posted on 06/07/2009 8:08:31 PM PDT by CTrent1564
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To: OpusatFR
[ You still don’t understand the Catholic Church. ]

You still assume to much..

40 posted on 06/07/2009 9:02:46 PM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole....)
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