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Posts by magisterium

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  • Celibacy and the Problem of Pornography

    04/26/2010 11:35:16 AM PDT · 23 of 31
    magisterium to SlipStream
    Jesus stopped a woman from being stoned and just said saying “sin no more” after she committed adultery. Now, how can you honestly believe Jesus would say anything remotely that you are saying about porn if he didn’t say anything, remotely as severe, about an adulterer right in front of his face?

    Bad analogy. Jesus did not say that the woman was not guilty of adultery. He merely exercised His mercy and asked anyone there who was without sin to cast the first stone. His mercy trumped His justice, in a way. So it might be with each of us, when we transgress His commandments. But we should not presume on His mercy! He called the woman's adultery a "sin," just as he called the actions in Matthew 5:27 a "sin." As I said in an earlier post, I readily concede that there are gradations to the various "sins" we can commit. Neither direct adultery nor lustful thoughts would be as serious a sin as mass-murder, I suppose. But that certainly doesn't excuse them as inconsequential! Perhaps "looking a someone with lustful thoughts isn't "as bad" as direct, physical adultery, either, but that hardly excuses! It is still sin; Jesus says so directly. As such, it needs to be eradicated. One at least needs to try. Sure, God might take habituation, addiction, etc. into consideration when He judges us. But we don't have a clue to what extent He might do so, if He actually does at all. We only suppose He does to the extent that He judges our "free" actions, and acting under spiritual compulsion of addiction is not really engaging in "free acts." But it is sheer folly to barge on ahead with our objectively sinful acts on this basis! What about the obligation to confront our concupiscent impulses through cooperation with God's grace, as St. Paul more than suggests is necessary in 2 Corinthians 12:9?

    We are not mere animals. We are charged to control the baser things our fallen and wounded nature finds attractive. Our life is a probationary period in which our eternal destiny is determined to the extent we succeed in self-mastery under God's grace. We all fall short of that to some extent over the course of our lives. But our victory is in the battle. If we don't even try, how much can we presume God "excuses"? If everything is "excused" as beyond our strength, how can we make sense of not only 2 Corinthians 12:9, but also 1 Corinthians 10:13, where we are promised that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our strength? It is one thing to fight and occasionally fall short of the ideal through innate weakness, while subsequently repentant; it is another thing to simply not bother to fight at all.

    For non-Christians, especially those who are non-Christians by choice, perhaps this whole business is just nonsense. If Christianity is based in Truth, however, that mindset is the real nonsense, for its implications are eternal. But, again, the author of the article which is the basis for this thread is not addressing them. He is talking to, and about, people striving to be better and more consistent Christians. If you want to snicker, go ahead. But this is the Religion Forum, so please consider that many here will have a less materialistic approach to this issue, and might find the author's POV constructive.

  • Celibacy and the Problem of Pornography

    04/26/2010 11:03:34 AM PDT · 22 of 31
    magisterium to SlipStream

    Who said men are 100% of the problem? I didn’t. But let’s not be coy. Men ARE most of the users of porn.

    Other than your blanket denial of the obvious sense of the wording, what evidence do you have that Jesus is NOT speaking against lustful thoughts with respect to “looking at” women other than one’s wife (or, by extension, women having lustful thoughts “looking at” men not their husbands)? I am hardly taking Jesus out of context. It seems, rather, that you are gutting His context. How is looking at/acting out scenarios in/masturbating to pornography (while with or without one’s spouse) NOT lustfully looking at someone? How does that not fulfill the immediate context of what Jesus is saying in Matt. 5:27? Please be as expansive as you need, while citing authority sufficient to override the obvious and “perspicuous” wording of the text.

  • Celibacy and the Problem of Pornography

    04/26/2010 9:44:53 AM PDT · 17 of 31
    magisterium to strider44

    See post 16, which addresses a similar set of circumstances.

  • Celibacy and the Problem of Pornography

    04/26/2010 9:43:24 AM PDT · 16 of 31
    magisterium to rwfromkansas

    Perhaps it isn’t as bad as an “outright affair.” There are, after all, gradations to sin. But an outright affair isn’t “as bad” as mass murder! Surely, you wouldn’t justify an “outright affair” on those grounds, no?

    This whole business, while perhaps not “as bad” as mass-murder, is still clearly involving sin for any Christian paying even a little attention. One need look no further than Matthew 5:27 to see that.

    In our “culture,” which is increasingly based on a self-absorbed worldview, porn is often excused as “victimless.” But the women involved are often mistreated, nearly always exploited; the men involved have many layers of sinful involvement, even down to the business transactions that are seedy, at best; and the consumers of porn are usually (almost invariably, if given enough time) hooked to the point of clinical addiction, at the expense of fidelity to their wives. And that’s just dealing with the more worldly considerations. The imperilled state of their souls is more important to a Christian, of course, and that is what this article strives to address. Its specific advice to priests is certainly good, by extension, for any Christian to follow. Matthew 5:27, again. And that is a direct quote from Jesus Himself! It should be obvious that quarreling with Jesus in this matter is way “beyond the pay grade” of any Christian whose faith is beyond a mere token.

  • Celibacy and the Problem of Pornography

    04/26/2010 9:18:48 AM PDT · 10 of 31
    magisterium to strider44

    This thread presupposes that, to properly understand it, a Christian worldview is held. If one is not a Christian, it would indeed seem foolish to prioritize this problem above some of the ones you mention.

    But, for a Christian, it is simply undeniable that viewing porn and masturbation are sinful endeavors. Some might consider them very serious sins, some might consider them not so serious. But, as they are, in fact, sins in their essence, they certainly qualify as things we should be striving to avoid, if we are to “follow Christ.”

    In previous threads along these lines, some of the more secular FReepers seem to think they are scoring points for Freedom and Civil Liberties in their zeal to uphold the porn industry and their “personal choice” to utilize pornography. If their worldview is all that secular, no Christian argument is going to disuade them. God will, indeed, respect their free will (their ability to make sinful choices, from His POV) to ignore Him or His commands. They are free, while in this life, to “party hard” if they wish. They are free to make no effort to avoid these modern enhancements of assault on our already fragile state of mind with respect to concupisence. They are free to ignore Him altogether. We believe that is a “bad use of freedom,” and that they’ll be positioned to regret it later. But God’s track record is clear enough: if His quiet calls to repentance are ignored, He will not force the issue.

    But the article isn’t addressing such people! It is addressing people who struggle with this issue in an effort to co-operate with the grace of God and be free of addiction to porn. In other words, it is directed to Christians. If you are not a Christian, you won’t pay attention anyway.

    But, if you are a Christian, how is masturbating to images of women who are not your wife maintaining true faithfullness to her? How is this not cyber-adultery? A Christian will be concerned with squaring his (or her) conduct in these matters with the clear commands of Christ, who is God! He might fail from time to time, or even quite often, but at least he will know what the proper standard of conduct is here, and will make some effort to conform to it. All he has to do, in the end, is truly conform his will to that of Christ, and use that will to consistently co-operate with the grace of God (2Corinthians 12:9). I grant that the road to that goal can be rocky, but the bottom-line I just mentioned is hardly impossible, else St. Paul, under God’s inspiration, would not have mentioned it.

    If you think all of that is mubo-jumbo, there is nothing I or anyone else here can do to persuade you otherwise. But don’t trash the concept while it sits here on the Religion Forum! It’s directed at others with a completely different worldview. Just ignore it, and keep on walking down the wide and easy road.

  • YOU re my signet ring " of my hand " pressed into my will aone \o/

    04/18/2010 7:41:44 AM PDT · 18 of 23
    magisterium to Jedediah

    Once again, you directly assert that the Lord speaks to you, and, in His Name, you assemble semi-random English words as if He uttered them in the order in which they are presented here. These “locutions” make no sense coming from the mouth of anyone, never mind an omniscient God! It doesn’t help your case that “God” seems to speak in English with decidedly poor grammar skills! Putting words into the mouth of God and claiming He literally spoke them is blasphemy, no matter how well intentioned the words might be.

    You are either a false prophet or, as Hamish said to “Stephen, the Crazy Irishman” (who also had two-way conversations with God, BTW!) upon first meeting him in the movie Braveheart: “You’re a madman!”

  • Historic Appointment to LA Archdiocese (more details)

    04/06/2010 8:48:23 AM PDT · 5 of 21
    magisterium to NYer

    Holy Liturgical Trivialization, Batman!

    Wow ... just ... ... ... wow.


    03/16/2010 10:06:35 AM PDT · 132 of 289
    magisterium to Natural Law

    Canon 1040 defines “an irregularity” for receiving orders as a perpetual prohibition. One of the irregularities for receiving orders described in the following canon, 1041, part 4, is “voluntary homicide.” The two canons are reproduced in their entirety below:

    Can. 1040 Those affected by any impediment, whether perpetual, which is called an irregularity, or simple, are prevented from receiving orders. The only impediments incurred, however, are those contained in the following canons.

    Can. 1041 The following are irregular for receiving orders:

    1/ a person who labors under some form of amentia or other psychic illness due to which, after experts have been consulted, he is judged unqualified to fulfill the ministry properly;

    2/ a person who has committed the delict of apostasy, heresy, or schism;

    3/ a person who has attempted marriage, even only civilly, while either impeded personally from entering marriage by a matrimonial bond, sacred orders, or a public perpetual vow of chastity, or with a woman bound by a valid marriage or restricted by the same type of vow;

    4/ a person who has committed voluntary homicide or procured a completed abortion and all those who positively cooperated in either;

    5/ a person who has mutilated himself or another gravely and maliciously or who has attempted suicide;

    6/ a person who has placed an act of orders reserved to those in the order of episcopate or presbyterate while either lacking that order or prohibited from its exercise by some declared or imposed canonical penalty.


    03/16/2010 8:56:49 AM PDT · 51 of 289
    magisterium to Phillipian
    How is it that even the secular world knows that these people can’t be reformed

    Because, back in the timeframe involved - some 30 years ago - that was the course of action that the "experts" were recommending. The Church tended to believe the experts and their belief - naively, as it turns out - that therapy could work sufficiently well that laicization of the offenders wasn't automatically necessary. Do we know this to be incorrect today? Certainly. But such was not the case back then. It is unfair to project current clinical opinion onto the honest - if incorrect - "professional opinions" of former days, in order to paint a picture of deliberate malfeasance on the part of either the Church or the psychiatric community.

  • Beat the clock: welcome to the 15-minute mass (Catholic Caucus)

    02/25/2010 5:25:14 PM PST · 29 of 49
    magisterium to NYer

    Awwwww...that’s nothing! Around about 1970, when the Novus Ordo was still a “New Thing,” I remember going to Boston’s South Station (sort of the local equivalent of Grand Central Station), and there was a sign on an easel in front of the small station chapel that said: “Catholic Mass, 12 Minutes or Less...Guaranteed!” My family needed to take them up with this promise once, and, being the little nudgenick that I was, I decided to time it. They made it! With something like a minute to spare!

    I didn’t think it was possible for anyone to speak that quickly. I’ll bet the priest was an auctioneer or something before he was ordained.

  • Richard Williamson 'Unrepentant' Over Holocaust Denial

    02/02/2010 9:15:44 AM PST · 38 of 51
    magisterium to wagglebee

    His episcopal consecration, like that of the other three bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre, is “valid, but illicit.” In other words, he is a real bishop by virtue of the fact that Archbishop Lefebvre, undoubtedly consecrated validly himself, consecrated him among the four. However, he did so without the pope’s approval, and their consecration was therefore illicit, or “unlawful.” In the event that any or all of these bishops return to Rome, they will not have to be “reconsecrated.” They will, however, have to make some sort of encompassing profession of the Catholic Faith, insofar as they were part of a movement that has self-identified as being outside of Rome’s jurisdiction and has declared the (authentic) Catholic Church to have accreted to itself various beliefs not found in, or substantiated by, apostolic Tradition.

  • 3 Words That Drive "Progressive" Catholics Crazy (Catholic Caucus)

    01/26/2010 6:23:13 AM PST · 80 of 82
    magisterium to AnAmericanMother remissionem peccatorum

  • 3 Words That Drive "Progressive" Catholics Crazy (Catholic Caucus)

    01/25/2010 7:40:33 PM PST · 75 of 82
    magisterium to AnAmericanMother

    Amen! (”So Be IIt!”)

  • 3 Words That Drive "Progressive" Catholics Crazy (Catholic Caucus)

    01/25/2010 11:29:49 AM PST · 36 of 82
    magisterium to NYer

    Follow the rubrics

    A new encyclical

    Not an option

    The Holy Trinity

    Pontifical Biblical Commission

    Increased priestly vocations

    New hermeneutics, bah!

    Peter Kreeft says...

    The Wanderer Press

    Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz

    Swimming the Tiber

    Irrelevant Jadot bishops

    No tie-dyed vestments

    Approved Eucharistic prayers

    Improved English translation

    Catholicism is back!

  • 3 Words That Drive "Progressive" Catholics Crazy (Catholic Caucus)

    01/25/2010 11:13:20 AM PST · 35 of 82
    magisterium to NYer

    Roma locuta est!

  • Mary Daly, Pioneering Feminist Who Tussled With BC, Dies at 81

    01/07/2010 8:59:27 AM PST · 34 of 35
    magisterium to the invisib1e hand
    Actually, she'd probably insist that they be removed. She went toe-to-toe with BC for years in her absolute refusal to allow men to enroll in her courses. Boston College dithered with her on this for quite a while, but finally took some action when several male students filed a discrimination lawsuit. She abandoned her classes altogether at that point, which eventually led to her tenure being stripped away.

    She was a highly disturbed woman who considered men in general to be utterly valueless, and shrieked her message along these lines for decades in classes, as well as in the media. I have no idea what prompted her anti-male hatreds, but anyone claiming - as a foundational justification for theological fulminations against men in general and God in particular - that 9,000,000 women were burned as witches in the Middle Ages clearly must have had a screw or two loose.

    On the basis that she had to have been some sort of (self-inflicted) tortured soul, I hope that God has mercy on her. She sure had none on herself, from what those of us in the Boston area could see all these years.

  • Danish cartoonist attacker suspected of al Qaeda ties

    01/02/2010 2:51:36 PM PST · 9 of 17
    magisterium to Mobties
    Exactly. How do they know there's an al Qaeda connection already? For the present, it would be better to suppose that this was a Lone Nut-job for Allah rather than let the public be stampeded into supposing everything that happens has an al Qaeda connection. Too many of these potential false flags will leave us with no civil liberties at all. If every firecracker that goes off is supposed to have an "al Qaeda terrorist," or, even worse, "someone who has connections with al Qaeda" behind it, you can count on that sort of thing being used to make it virtually impossible to function as a society. The politically-correct incompetents at TSA and "Homeland Security" will see to that.

    Look, guys. It really isn't that hard to maintain security here in the West. To the extent that Muslims are disproportionately prone to attempts to infiltrate and attack - on the individual or small-group scale - American and other Western societies, we deny them access. All immigration (except for the persecuted Christian minorities) from Islamic countries should be halted immediately. All immigrants currently in these countries should be deported immediately. Native-born citizens of Muslim persuasion should be the ones getting the screenings at airports.

    Sounds hard? Not really. It wasn't that long ago (pre-1965, to be exact) that the US itself had immigration quotas that were far more discriminatory than that, and for all the wrong reasons to boot! Western Europe had better think long and hard right now. In the meantime, the US should refuse entry from all Muslim countries for all people but diplomats - with a close eye being kept on them, too. If those countries don't like it...tough. Saudi Arabia, for example, has massive restrictions on just visits - never mind immigration - from non-Muslims. Mere presence of "infidels" in Mecca means death to them. These guys are familiar with the concept, then! They should have no objections to our new-found discriminatory policies that can't be dismissed as rank hypocrisy.

    We should drill our own oil and find other ways to create the energy we need. Then we'll have absolutely no use for these people, and can completely isolate them economically and travel-wise. If they hate us so much, let them solve their own agricultural, medical and technological problems completely cut-off from the West. Not a hair of their heads will be harmed by us (as much as I despise these people, I'm not really into turning the entire Middle East into shocked glass, either; just get out of their part of the world and leave them be). When Islam withers on the vine of its own fanaticism, and reverts to near-Stone Age technology and population levels, then we'll see about helping these people again.

    In the meantime, get these people out of Europe and the US! If the politicians had even cartilage forming their spines, work would already be underway toward that goal right now.


    12/31/2009 5:51:02 AM PST · 11 of 13
    magisterium to Jedediah
    If God speaks the type of gibberish found in the first sentence of, then I believe I will be very disappointed when I meet Him face-to-face. What a letdown that will be! I always thought the omniscience and omnipotence of God meant, among other things, that He could speak in proper and lofty English if He so desires. If Jedediah is receiving these messages verbatim, then I guess I was wrong about God's capabilities.

    Jedediah, this is just nonsense. Stop the pretense, and just admit that these posts are just the products of your own musings and wishful thinking. It is blasphemy to put words into God's mouth that He has not directly spoken to you - no matter how well-intentioned the motive might be behind those words. I'm pretty sure that He hasn't actually been speaking to you, the math on the blasphemy and false-prophet stuff. 'K?

  • Celebrate Your Birthday in the Church

    12/30/2009 7:02:27 PM PST · 10 of 10
    magisterium to NYer
    It's really easy for me to remember the anniversary of my baptism. I was baptized less than a minute after I was born, as "Baby Boy." On a couple of occasions, I have had to combine the "Baby Boy" baptismal certificate with a hand-written letter to my parents from the hospital priest and my birth certificate to demonstrate that the BB and I are one and the same baptized person. My parish supplied the rest of the rite outside of the essentials a couple of months later, after I came home.
  • The Papal Syllabus of Errors. A.D. 1864.

    12/29/2009 6:28:36 PM PST · 29 of 42
    magisterium to HarleyD

    I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking. In post 9, you indicated that you understood that this is a list of “errors.” Number 15, just like the rest, is the text of an error, and not what the Church actually believes or teaches. Given that “Every man is free to embrace and profess the religion he shall believe true, guided by the light of reason” is listed as an error, and would be considered as such by nearly any Christian - at least as it applies to non-Christian religions - I don’t see what you would find wrong with it yourself.

  • The Papal Syllabus of Errors. A.D. 1864.

    12/29/2009 12:32:48 PM PST · 16 of 42
    magisterium to Salvavida

    A proposition which spawned many of the errors that Pius IX felt compelled to enumerate in this very list!

  • The Papal Syllabus of Errors. A.D. 1864.

    12/29/2009 12:31:23 PM PST · 15 of 42
    magisterium to HarleyD
    Number 16 says no such thing. It merely calls it an error to suppose that men may be saved through the tenets of religions outside of Catholicism. It says nothing at all about the possibility that a sovereign God can choose to save whom He will.

    Number 17 comes a little closer to what you are trying to imply. But, here again, the wording is not as exclusivist as you might suppose. Another way of expressing the same thought is to say something like: "It might be possible (though not so well-founded in any given individual's case as to merely presume) that people in other faiths have some possibility of salvation, if they are in some way connected with Christ's Church." This is what Vatican II says.

    Number 18 simply points out that Protestantism is not the system of belief that Jesus personally founded, and therefore is not on an equal footing with the Church He did found. Membership in those bodies, therefore, is not as pleasing to God as is membership in the particular body of belief He did authorize.

    This is quite logical, as the roots of Protestantism only go back to the 16th Century. And it makes perfectly good sense from the standpoint of the Catholic Church, which does, in reality, claim to be founded by Christ personally. If such a claim is true, then, of course, one should belong to it and embrace its doctrines. You obviously don't agree with that, but, if the Church does, in fact, believe it can make a solid case for the claim, what else would you expect it to say?

  • The Papal Syllabus of Errors. A.D. 1864.

    12/29/2009 12:12:25 PM PST · 11 of 42
    magisterium to Gamecock
    The statement is the "error." This is a list of "errors." Number 16, as it reads, is not the view of the Catholic Church, but a proposition the Church condemns. The same situation holds for the rest of the list.
  • Edward Schillebeeckx, Controversial Theologian, Dead at 95

    12/28/2009 7:42:34 AM PST · 13 of 15
    magisterium to marshmallow

    ...and now he “knows”!

    May God be merciful to him. When alive, he was a Regional Manager for Millstone Salesmen. His own was as “ponderous” as Jacob Marley’s chain, no doubt. We should pray for his soul; I hope I can unclench my teeth enough while soing so to muster-up some semblance of sincerity.

  • Passions over 'prosperity gospel': Was Jesus wealthy? (*BARF ALERT*)

    12/26/2009 11:13:55 AM PST · 51 of 230
    magisterium to Venturer

    Carpentry in a tiny hamlet of less than 100 families in an isolated valley was hardly a lucrative job. Wood was scarce in the area, and St. Joseph would have had to pay a good amount for the little wood available just to make it into something. He would have been in no position to mark up his costs a lot to turn a handsome profit. Besides, carpentry was somewhat looked-down upon as a profession: necessary, sure, but kind of like “leftovers” as far as honorable work would go. St. Joseph would have been able to provide in his day, at best, what we would today call a lower-middle-class lifestyle.

  • Woman Knocks Down Pope At Christmas Mass

    12/24/2009 9:35:24 PM PST · 204 of 245
    magisterium to getmeouttaPalmBeachCounty_FL
    Wow! From the back, the hairstyle and the red jacket look the same in this video and the one from last year shown in post 42. I'm thinking it's the same person. If it's that easy to get back in after a previous attack - wearing the same clothes, even! - then they really need to overhaul the security.
  • Controversy continues as more Belleville churchgoers are told to get on their knees

    12/22/2009 1:05:13 PM PST · 10 of 21
    magisterium to spetznaz
    You're right about interior dispositions, of course, but it is often the case that outward actions reflect the inner will. A properly catechized Catholic should have no problem kneeling during the canon. It is the "norm," which should count for something. And it is the natural posture of pretty much anyone I know (myself included) were Jesus to appear in visible, glorified human form. No. Strike that! The "normal" posture for any believing Christian, in such a circumstance, would be to dive flat on one's face!

    Jesus is present before us at Mass, under the appearance of bread and wine. He doesn't look like a physical human being. We accept His true presence as a part of our faith. Signalling that faith by kneeling in front of the worldy "absurdity" of Jesus' presence under the appearance of bread and wine is an excellent reminder, and can't possibly bewrong . Especially when it is the norm, and flouting the norm can indeed be a way of expressing rebellion of the heart, no? A "good hearted" person, physical impossibilties or frailties aside, should want to (at least) kneel before his God at the times He is both present and visible.

    In the old days, many Eoropean churches were built without pews, and only the elderly and disabled would sit on chairs or benches along the walls. That was largely a practical matter. In those days of real, widespread faith, churches were packed to the point where the entire nave was SRO, and both sitting and kneeling were impossible, or at least awkward. This is hardly the case today in nearly every venue outside of a papal Mass or the concluding Mass to some major pilgrimage. The letter of the law might call for more restricted kneeling in favor of the existing architecture, but, in the places I've been in Italy anyway, people seem to have no big problem kneeling on the (uncrowded) floor if nothing else is available. Charis with kneelers folding down from the chair ahead seem to be pretty common.

    It says a lot about this pastor and his congregation when they create such a stir by bucking the bishop's clear and rubrically correct directive. God, as you note, looks at the heart. What kind of heart is betokened by pastors and congregations who will not obey a clear and correct directive from their bishop, in matters where he has both competence and undisputed authority? What kind of beliefs do these people hold about the Eucharist?

    In the end, they should kneel, not to impress their neighbors, or even themselves, but because it is a "right and fitting" posture, as the West understands these things, to kneel before God. They should have the humility to do so, and the wisdom to see that posture as an honor that none other among God's creatures has the station or sense to adopt.

  • Uncovered days before Christmas: Remains of a home in Nazareth that Jesus would have known

    12/22/2009 7:14:25 AM PST · 25 of 28
    magisterium to Iscool

    Wood was scarce in the area, even in St. Joseph’s day. Houses were generally built of stone or brick. About the only wood you’d find would be the support beams for the roof. This wasn’t northern Europe.

  • Vatican guilty of unholy compassion for paedophiles

    12/21/2009 12:44:04 PM PST · 56 of 69
    magisterium to Alex Murphy
    C'mon, Alex. Catholics on FR are much more up-front and willing to air their dirty laundry than just about anyone. Just go through a couple of days' worth of threads, and you'll see at least several.
  • Vatican guilty of unholy compassion for paedophiles

    12/20/2009 7:33:22 PM PST · 13 of 69
    magisterium to MarkBsnr
    Agreed. I only wanted to point-out the single-minded expose of Catholics here, as if only Catholics have this problem. That we need to have our own house in swept and in order is a given. Recent measures undertaken by the Church - even if in an often tardy fashion - are meant to find true and just remedies for the sins of the past.

    That some folks seem to want to dredge up nothing but muck, when remedial measures are more and more in operation, says more about them than the Church scandal they so eagerly want to keep in the headlines.

  • Vatican guilty of unholy compassion for paedophiles

    12/20/2009 6:49:30 PM PST · 10 of 69
    magisterium to MarkBsnr; Alex Murphy

    I suspect it might be the 1917 Code, which preceded the one currently in force. The canon numbers, and subject order, would be different.

    Still, it’s pretty cheesy stuff for you to be bringing up, Alex. Got any of this stuff highlighting Protestant ministers? How about public school teachers? No? Somehow, I didn’t think so, though that stuff is certainly not at all hard to find on the web.

  • Baby Without a Brain : A Miracle Story

    12/19/2009 5:57:46 PM PST · 53 of 57
    magisterium to Scotsman will be Free

    The soul is created directly by God and is united with the body at conception. Among other things, one can consider the soul to be the “life force” that makes us live - from that very first moment of our existence in our mother’s womb until it is separated from the body at our physical death. In any case, it is given to us at our conception, when none of us had a brain of any type at all. Therefore, questions regarding lack of a functioning brain are irrelevant. The child, however incapacitated mentally, is still a human being, endowed by God with an immortal soul.

  • More Archival Footage from the Vatican

    12/18/2009 7:57:34 AM PST · 5 of 6
    magisterium to Androcles
    To the south of the present basilica, extending eastward into the current piazza, was the Circus of Nero, where St. Peter was crucified. North of that, where the basilica itself now sits, was a pagan cemetery. Peter was buried on the west edge of that cemetery. A disguised shrine - the Tropaion - was built over this spot in the early 2nd Century. And, of course, the high altar of the original St. Peter's basilica was built over that in the 4th Century.

    All of this, from an archaeological POV, was rediscovered during the preparations for Pius XI's gravesite in 1939, when the lower church floor was breached for the grave, and the walls of what turned-out to be a pagan tomb were revealed after some digging.

    Long story short, the archaeologists were called in, and it was realized that the ancient pagan cemetery long-believed to be under the church was a fact. Over the course of the next ten years or so, Pius XII gave permission for excavations to proceed under the basilica westward toward the traditional site of Peter's grave. Pagan mausoleums and grave became mixed with Christian ones, the closer one got to the traditional spot. A grave with fairly conclusive clues regarding St. Peter was found, with a multitude of Latin inscriptions carved by 4th Century pilgrims present on an adjoining support wall. The site was directly under the main altar of both the current basilica and the known location of the Constantinian one!

    I got most of this from a book I purchased and read the very day I took the tour under the basilica (highly recommended if you're ever in Rome! Just set it up at the tour office run by the Swiss Guards on the south (left) side of the Basilica.), called "The Bones of St. Peter," By John Walsh. This book is available from Amazon, of course, but it is also available right here: , complete with the original book's pictures! You might want to check it out...

  • College Crucifix Ban Prompts Lawsuit (professor compares it to a swastika)

    12/18/2009 7:32:32 AM PST · 35 of 45
    magisterium to x_plus_one
    Well, the article uses a confusion of terms. Sometimes Mitchell's work is supposed to be making "crucifixes," sometimes it's "crosses." A "crucifix" is a cross with Jesus on it. Forming a corpus to put on each cross would certainly be complex enough to meet the expected challenge of the class, I would think.

    Regardless, I don't think the real issue is that the work Mitchell is producing is too simple. Crosses or crucifixes, the "problem" is that he is making an obvious Christian symbol. The Tolerance Police simply will not tolerate that!

    When will Christians of all types band together and put a stop to this nonsense? All one needs to do is point-out that, at the time of the Constitution's formulation and subsequent ratification, there were still five states with an "established religion." The last of them (Massachusetts) did not formally remove Congregationalism as the Established Religion of the Commonwealth until 1833! This means that, for over 40 years after the Federal Constitution went into effect, at least one state held to things like mandatory Christian belief for office holders, and taxes levied and collected for a specific denomination, and neither Congress nor the U.S. Supreme Court ever intervened. They did not, because they knew that the U.S. Constitution granted them no authority to do so! How, then, can anyone with a straight face say that the logical absurdities brought up in this thread can really find their origin in "Constitutional issues"?

    Mind you, I don't think that states having established religions, religious requirements for office holders, and so forth, is a good idea. But that is not the point. The Constitution only prohibits Congress from establishing religions at the Federal level. Christians need to take the argument back from the relative handful of village atheists and other cranks and insist that all of this controversy based on a manifestly false set of premises come to an abrupt and permanent end!

  • BE FORTHWITH FOR THE MORROW IS UPON YOU ! "[Charasmatic Caucus]"

    12/16/2009 9:05:36 AM PST · 36 of 37
    magisterium to Jedediah
    Now you're just getting plain silly - or blasphemous.

    First of all, I'm not "judging" in the way you imply. Not in the least. I am "discerning," as I am required to do in the face of purported prophecy, and I'm doing that in a fashion which your opening line in this thread invited me to use.

    Next, when you say "My sheep hear my voice, this is a fact," you do not use the quotation marks as I just did. "My sheep hear my voice" is a direct quote from the words of Jesus in John 10:27. Since you do not use quotes, but just make the statement as part of your observations about judging, are you implying that the words are actually yours? Should I infer that you self-identify with Jesus Christ? If you do, this is even worse than merely "putting words into God's mouth," as I have already said I believe you're doing. This is worse, because you are putting God's words into your own mouth, as if God and the FR poster called Jedediah are one and the same being!

    I don't doubt for a second that, at best, you are engaging in wishful thinking at God's expense with these posts. Your language skills betray you every time, insofar as it is impossible that God - whom you are supposedly quoting verbatim - would speak the way you portray. And now, you have maneuvered yourself into a corner with your own imprecision: either you unwittingly make your posts sound like you and God are one and the same, or you do so intentionally. In either case, you clearly show yourself to be no "prophet." In the latter case, you show yourself to be far worse than just a false prophet!

    For the sake of your own soul, and the souls of people you might take-in with this nonsense, I urge you to repent of your folly and stop posting these false "prophecies." They can do no one any good, and definitely can cause great harm.

  • BE FORTHWITH FOR THE MORROW IS UPON YOU ! "[Charasmatic Caucus]"

    12/15/2009 8:14:35 PM PST · 33 of 37
    magisterium to Jedediah
    Only when we come down off our self created thrones and minds and truly enter into the mind of Christ and the Father’s will and ministry are we allowed to enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise

    So, I take it that you judge yourself worthy, then? You are allowed to "enter his gates" to do what, exactly? To make Almighty God appear to be a fool because He can't speak English properly?

    So it would seem! And it would also seem that you might want to contemplate your own advice about "self created thrones" before you cast stones at others for an arrogance that isn't demonstrated. It is not "arrogant" for me to point-out that God should be expected to express Himself in perfect English, whenever and however He might wish to express Himself at all in our language. The words you attribute to Him are, to use your very own words, "counterfeit and strange fire."

  • BE FORTHWITH FOR THE MORROW IS UPON YOU ! "[Charasmatic Caucus]"

    12/15/2009 8:05:18 PM PST · 32 of 37
    magisterium to Jedediah
    It doesn't matter what you say it means. You can't use the imperative to make someone an adverb in English. It makes absolutely no sense. I trust that God knows this. Yet, you have Him doing this not just once, but twice, along with other grammatical and vocabulary gaffes He would be equally unlikely to express.

    You made it clear that the words you were using were "given" by "the Lord." It is not possible that the Lord could mangle grammar and vocabulary in the fashion displayed in this "prophecy" and others you have posted over the last several months. It is not possible that God would so botch the English language!

    Therefore, one is forced to conclude, on just this flow of thought, that these utterances are of your own creation, and that you are putting words into God's mouth - a very dangerous practice, that! That the content of the messages is also theologically ludicrous is somewhat more subjective, so, while I firmly believe that the basis for much of these messages is, in fact, absurd, I won't go on at length about the content. God's apparent lack of understanding of English grammar, syntax and vocabulary should be sufficient to prove these "prophecies" of yours to be false.

    The first line of your post says that the messages is "for your discernment." Well, I "discern" that this, and all of your messages, are, on mangled English issues alone, not imparted by God in any way.

  • BE FORTHWITH FOR THE MORROW IS UPON YOU ! "[Charasmatic Caucus]"

    12/15/2009 6:38:38 AM PST · 18 of 37
    magisterium to Jedediah
    Well, I prefer to "discern" a little bit before I incorporate reputed prophecies into my repertoire. Sometimes, the discernment process is easy, and can even be restricted to objectively verifiable things that are of purely human origin. We have one of those situations before us right now. In fact, the vital clue is in the first two words of the title!

    "Be forthwith"? What, may I ask, does that mean? "Forthwith" is an adverb. It is a synonym for "immediately," which is also an adverb. One cannot "be" an adverb! A sentence employing this pseudo-syntax is meaningless. "Be forthwith" is the same thing as "be immediately." Does that make any least in English? I would say not. It's the same sort of construction as "be gladly," or "be undoubtedly," or "be enormously." You get the idea, I hope. None of those constructions makes any sense.

    The point? The poster directly states in this post's opening sentence that "be forthwith" was uttered by the very mouth of the Lord Himself. It is impossible for any believing Christian to suppose that an omniscient, omnipotent God does not know how to construct grammatically correct sentences in English, or any other language. "Be forthwith" is just the most jarring example. What does "repentive" mean, as in "repentive in heart," found in sentence three? What are "poor and solice people," as found in the opening line of paragraph 4? What's the deal with "be forthwith" getting a repeated utterance at the end of the "prophecy"?

    Look, folks, this "prophecy" alone is replete with grammatical errors and non-existent English vocabulary, and it purports to come from the mouth of "the Lord." Other "prophecies" from this poster are similarly afflicted with botched grammar and mangled vocabulary. There is no way these utterances can be verbatim quotes from God Himself, as the poster alleges!

    It doesn't matter that the individual reader might "agree" with the editorial content of these posts, which generally has to do with the deliverance of believers and the punishment of evil doers. Though specific emphases along these lines might be skewed, such sentiments are predictable enough as the sorts of things any Christian might suppose await the good and the reprobate. But that white-bread predictability does not make them legitimate prophetical utterances in and of itself!

    You deceive yourselves when you think these posts are on the level. God does not speak gibberish! He can construct perfect sentences and employ extraordinarily elegant vocabulary in any language - English included! I refuse to believe these "prophecies" are anything more than the wishful thinking of an individual poster, irrespective of editorial slant (much of which I also disagree with, but that's not the basis of my point here). Anyone trying to put words into God's mouth when they were not pronounced by God is doing "wrong." If God really wants to provide messages along these lines, He can certainly raise up a true prophet to transmit them. If He does not, or does not wish to do so at this time, it is the height of arrogance to presume that we can take matters into our own hands. That is the sign of many things, chief among which would be that such a person is a "false prophet"!

  • The Supremacy of Scripture

    12/11/2009 7:24:34 PM PST · 61 of 127
    magisterium to daniel1212
    Some quick observations:

    You simply do not know what you are talking about when it comes to St. Paul's office. He was an Apostle, which by definition also places him squarely among the bishops. The witness to that aspect of the Apostles' ministry is universal in the Early Church. And, in several places, St. Paul makes reference to his ordaining various people via the "laying on of hands." That's what bishops did, and still do. This laying on of hands transmitted power and authority, an effect not to be trifled with or otherwise disposed of in a trivial manner, as St. Paul admonishes St. Timothy to remember in 1 Timothy 5:22. The basis of "apostolic succession, " shared by Catholic, Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches down to this day (but by no Protestant bodies, as they, or they early-Reformation ancestors, explicitly denied and rejected in their break from Catholicism), rests on the concepts St. Paul makes plain about the laying on of hands.

    Your historical assertions are based on not much of anything. Show me, for example, the continuous trail of existence for this "remnant" you speak of. In order to do this, you must be able to span the entire 2000 year Christian Era, with a demonstrably coherent doctrine that can be said to preserve the Deposit of Faith left to us by the Apostles. Be specific as to groups. If you can only point to a few individual believers in any given lifespan of time, I would suggest that that utterly fails to confirm Christ's promise to be with His Church all days, or His promise to send the Holy Spirit to guide it.

    You also don't connect the dots for logic very well. One example will have to suffice, since it is clear you're not getting my points very well anyway. You say that the Catholic canon was not finally codified until 1400 years after the last book was written. This is at best a half-truth. It is true that no ecumenical council defined the canon until Trent. But several regional councils of the 4th and 5th Centuries had in fact confirmed the canon with papal approbation. These certainly settled the matter to everyone's general satisfaction until the "Reformation" began shredding settled doctrine in the middle of the 16th Century. Trent only confirmed the canon as an official reference standard and rebuke against the "Reformers," who had already, via various of its early leaders, begun to remove books from both Testaments, or declare them "apocrypha" fit for use as an appendix at the end of their Bibles. The canon itself had been long since settled. Trent only declared it dogmatically closed in response to revolution that threatened to make the matter of what books constituted the Bible an "open question" on a level not seen since the 2nd Century.

    Your statement on Jamnia is pretty garbled. It's hard to get a good read on what you're trying to say.

    You make a reference to "mortal sin," and say it does not necessarily damn anyone. This is just displaying ignorance of the basic definition. It is precisely the type of sin that damns someone, insofar as the "mortal" part refers to spiritual death, which is nothing less than damnation.

    Your understanding of Catholic beliefs and practices, as manifested in your posts, at any rate, is nothing more than a shadowy caricature of their true nature. It's hard to properly respond to a set of straw-man arguments. What coherency you do muster is based pretty much on the assumption that Sola Scriptura is a valid concept, though, not being found in Scripture anywhere explicitly, it is certainly self-refuted. You object, on sola scriptura grounds, to many Catholic beliefs and practices, saying the Bible alone does not authorize them.

    This is mostly not true, but, to the extent that some things, such as priestly and episcopal celibacy are not explicitly mandated by Scripture, our response is "so what?" We have never elevated the practice to a doctrine; it is merely a discipline, which could, in theory, change tomorrow. Nevertheless, 1 Corinthians 7 makes a powerful witness to the soundness of the practice, even if there is nothing there that absolutely mandates it.

    But there are some things that the Catholic Church does hold to doctrinally that do not find much in Scripture to explicitly back them up - though nearly every example can show a trail of Biblical inference. Again, we say "so what?" We recognize Sacred Tradition, as do all of the ancient Churches that predate Protestantism. You would do well to explore what authority existed in the "reformers" to throw Tradition out, and why all of the Apostolic Churches have retained it from the beginning. Has it ever occurred to you that people first making an appearance on the Christian scene 1500 years after Acts 2 and radically altering many things tracing back into the mists of the Era just might be lacking in authority to make those changes? Sola Scriptura, as a concept, is biblically bankrupt and internally self-refuting. Everything flowing from it, including the utter rejection of Sacred Tradition, is of similar pedigree.

  • The Supremacy of Scripture

    12/11/2009 11:51:57 AM PST · 51 of 127
    magisterium to daniel1212
    Assuming they're accurate to begin with, all these assertions prove is that modern catholics often do not agree with the tenets of their faith or apply it across the board in their lives. This country is in better shape than most in that regard, but, even here, what knowledgeably Catholic would deny the trend?

    This compilation of assertions proves nothing whatsoever regarding the truths of Catholicism, though. If anything, I'm surprised that, rather than try to wedge this into a "proof" that Catholicism is false, more Evangelicals don't point to these sorts of things as yet another sign of The End they're forever predicting for our own generation. After all, one day, Christianity (presumably the "authentic" kind, however one wishes to define that) will in fact, undergo a general apostasy. Scripture is quite plain on this point. So, without any lack of Scriptural consistency, I could use all of your statistics and demonstrate that Catholicism is "the true Christian faith" because it is undergoing at least the beginnings of the very apostasy foretold! After all, one has to be a real believer before one can apostatize! Same thing with a homogeneous body of believers.

    I'm not at all sure that we are that close to the End really, though I often wonder if we are at the "beginning of sorrows" Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:8. But your stats, again, might provide evidence not only that we are near the End, but that Catholicism is, in fact, entirely true, insofar as an apostasy is blooming within it at this very time. So the inferences we are supposed to make from your posting of this compilation of data fall through. In fact, even if this current falling away is reversed, and we enter another Golden Age lasting 10,000 years, I would expect another apostasy out of Catholicism, truly leading to The End. The fullness of the Deposit of Faith mill be mirrored by the fullness of darkness, and it only makes sense that people will embrace the latter by undertaking a nearly universal falling away from the former.

  • The Supremacy of Scripture

    12/11/2009 8:26:46 AM PST · 47 of 127
    magisterium to daniel1212
    Your use of 1 Timothy 3 is misplaced, when you say "(clergy) who were obviously expected to be married in apostolic times and forward." First of all, your use of "expected to be married" comes across as a virtual command, or at least a qualification for admittance to the clergy. Yet St. paul was clearly celibate and was an Apostle! Further, a historical study of the early Christian communities indicates that, from nearly the beginning, most of the clergy was celibate. Many are explicitly indicated as such, and virtually none are shown to be husbands and fathers in the martyrologies from those times, while many laypeople in the same martyrologies are noted as husbands, wives, fathers and mothers, as their situations warranted.

    To use Scripture alone as a guide in this issue is silly, really, since its accounts of early Church practices only spans the timeframe of Saint Paul, who died by the mid-60s AD. That's really just the middle of the second generation of Christianity at most. Certainly, in the first generation or two, it would be expected that a good number of the bishops and priests would be married. The Church was already growing in such a way that the far greater portion of Christians came from among the Gentiles, who had absolutely no prior emphasis on celibacy among males. Unless one were to ordain no one at all who was an adult former pagan, who would be left to ordain? As time went on, and people were raised as Christians from infancy with greater frequency, it was less and less necessary to have the clergy come from the ranks of the married. It still happened, of course, but with less and less frequency, such that, by the 4th Century or so, it was positively rare in the West, and not even that common in the East.

    Your understanding of 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 is likelwise faulty. You say this: "At the judgment seat of Christ believers are told that carnal works will be burnt up, (1 Cor. 3:11-15) but they themselves will be saved, so as by fire, which does not convey suffering an indeterminate time in purgatory, but of a man who loses everything but himself is saved, the context here being about rewards."

    But, first, understand that the Day in verse 13 is the Judgment Day of God, where the totality of a man's works and life will be laid bare for all to see. Everything about that man's llife will be in the past tense at that point. It's not that he will lose everything, as you say, in some earthly sense. He will need to undergo purification for all of the things he has altready done. The judgment on him is that he will "be saved, but only as through fire" (verse 15). This means that the "judgment" of the man in this scenario St. Paul depicts will, on the one hand, concern the actions of his entire past life, yet will consist of a purification that has yet to happen. That describes the circumstances of Purgatory quite well, without using the word explicitly.

    And do not gloss over 2 Maccabees 12 (and by implication, the rest of the Deuteros) so glibly. It was part of the canon of Scripture every bit in good standing from the codification of the 4th and 5th Centuries down to our own day. Largely because of this very part of 2 Maccabees 12, involving a clear reference to Purgatory, a way had to be found to jettison the entire book. This could not be credibly dne without a wider excuse. The excuse came in the form of citing the Hebrew canon only. But how does Jewish authority exercised at the Council of Jamnia, some 60 years after the birth of the Church, and 20 years after the end of Temple sacrifice and the Jewish priesthood, have any mandatory bearing on what the Christian Church decides is canonical Scripture?

    After all, that same council specifically denied the Scriptural nature of what would eventually constitute the entire New Testament! If the Christian canon of Scripture was a settled matter for over a thousand years before the so-called Reformation, where was the authority found in the upstarts, who deliberately and radically cut themselves off from continuity with the historical Church, to unilaterally reformulate the canon 14 centuries after its components were written and 1100 years after their nature was determined, to the exclusion of a host of other candidates? Since both Catholics and Protestants have the same New Testament canon, and those books, too, were canonized by 4th and 5th Century Catholic councils, why is that authority thrown aside in attempts to meddle with the Old Testament canon those councils also dealt with?

    You would do better to contemplate the fact that all of the historical Churches that have a claim to Apostolic ties (Catholic, Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox) recognize 1 and 2 Maccabees, and have some notion analogous to, or equivalent with, the Catholic concept of Purgatory. A reasonable person might conclude that this notion, then, is part of the Ancient Faith, part of the Deposit of Faith that comes from the very beginnings of Christianity. It might make you want to explore how, and by what authority that connects to the beginning, the heretofore accepted concept of Purgatory was suddenly chucked out the window by certain Christians in the 16th Century! That you assert 2 Maccabees is "is not worthy to be classed with Scripture," being part of the "apocrypha," is your opinion only. That opinion can only piggyback onto other opinions no more than 480 years old, one-fourth of the way back to the Apostolic Era and, thus, utterly removed from the Deposit of Faith.

    Finally, you speak of a "revived church." This implies that, for some interval (I would suppose this is on the order of 1200 years, from the time of Constantine or so, no?), there was no legitimate Church teaching the authentic Gospel to the world, until the "Reformers" showed-up in the 1500s. This betrays a great lack of faith in the providential protection of God for the Church He Himself established, precisely to preach the Gospel to the whole world! Does Jesus say that He will be with His Church all days until the end of time in Matthew 28:20, or not? Does He not promise the protection of the Holy Spirit in the revelation and continued teaching of the Truth through the Church in John 16:3, or not? Does St. Paul maintain in 1 Timothy 3:15 that the Church is the "pillar and ground of the Truth," or does he not? Does not all of this put together form a clear indication that God will preserve His Church from error in order to have it fulfill this fundamental aspect of its purpose as a purveyor of the Truth, from the moment of its establishment until the end of time? Is it not a massive breach of faith for anyone to suppose that there was a "break" in the legitimate exercise of this charism for x-hundred years before the "Reformation" got things back on track? Is there real organic continuity with the early Church to even indicate that, in fact, the Reformation did get things back on track, and that, somewhere, this alleged "authentic Gospel" existed through the whole span of the Christian Era?

    The heart of the matter of our dispute rests in this question: Did Christ mean what He said in Matthew 28 and does the Holy Spirit preserve the Truth through all time since Pentecost? If God intended these things, then He accomplished them through the agency of the Church He established for those ends. Otherwise, He is not only not omnipotent, He evidently had not the foresight to be able to really guarantee His promises. That's what the Mormons believe! it is not something any actual Christian should believe!

    I trust in God, in spite of the acknowledged sinfulness of many of the members of the Church He established. He always said there would be tares among the wheat. But the tares should not scandalize anyone into thinking that the doctrine they have taught since the times of the Apostles is tainted by their sins. The Mystical Body of Christ, which is His Church, is comprised of sinful men, yet its teachings are pure, inspired by God, safeguarded by Him, and will endure until the end of time. You need to ask yourself why you subscribe to a system of belief that, on many points of doctrine, cannot trace itself back more than 1/4 of the way to the Deposit of Faith Christ and the Apostles left us. Many of your teachings appear out of nowhere in the 16th Century or later. "Sola Scriptura" is but one of them.

  • The Supremacy of Scripture

    12/11/2009 7:01:45 AM PST · 46 of 127
    magisterium to CondoleezzaProtege
    Well, first, let me just say that I hope you don't think this is some kind of "gotcha!" question, from which there is no escape. You have cherry-picked the terms, leaving only a New Testament to read. There are a host of other "only one thing" scenarios that would not skew things in favor of your own editorial POV, but let's take what you have.

    If I were left on a desert island with no chance of leaving it, and all I had to read was a New Testament, of course I would be reading it over and over, for major portions of each day! Why would I not? Do you suppose that I do not read the New (or Old) Testament at all now?

    But, as a Catholic, there would be more for me to do. I would first of all find time each day to implore God's mercy, that He would give me the grace to be perfectly sorry for my sins (in other words, sorry for them solely because they offend an all-good, all-holy, all-loving God, and not because of any self-interested fear of punishment for them. I would do that because, absent the ability to obtain forgiveness through the Sacrament of Penance, I know I would have no real chance of salvation otherwise. And I know that my purpose in life is to spend eternity with God in Heaven, and it is not inherently "selfish" to pursue that goal, since it is ultimately only the pursuit of cooperation with God's positive Will. I would, then, hope for the grace to develop a totally pure and selfless relationship with my God, who, apparently, in this scenario, I will ultimately meet unshriven.

    Flowing from that grace, or as a result of additional grace that God may condescend to grant to me, I would cultivate a much stronger prayer life than I currently pursue. I would hope, over time, to be able to wrap my arms around a contemplative state of prayer that I could only dream of now, surrounded as I am by the mundane cares and distractions of day-to-day life in the world. To develop such a state of prayer would be a foretaste of Heaven itself, even while imprisoned on this island your scenario places me on.

    I would offer my life, and my fate on this island, in reparation for my own sins, the sins of those whom I knew in life, and the ongoing sins of the wider world around me, even those sins I will never directly know about in this life due to my being utterly cut off from them. "The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects" (James 5:16). I would pray that God would so construct me, through His grace, to be worthy of that verse!

    So I would hope to submerge my being into the very Will of God, beg forgiveness of my sins, and hope that God would grant me the graces to walk with Him in such a way that I could intercede with Him, along with the very saints and angels in Heaven, for the furtherance of His Kingdom among my fellow men, whom I will never see again.

    In other words, I would embrace my trials and death alone on this island as a vocation to become a living holocaust, submerging it into the One True Holocaust which Jesus was for us all. In this, my life on this island would come to a "purpose" far beyond anything I could likely embrace in my current, "normal" circumstances.

    And, yes, a continued and ever-deepening reading of the New Testament would be a large part of my life in the scenario you suggest. But it would be a part of a greater whole, certainly. Were I left with nothing but a Tridentine Missal, I could offer that to God and achieve a similar end. For it's all about God's grace, not necessarily what I have available in tangible things. I could do as well without any printed word, provided God might be so inclined to enlighten my mind in some of the other ways I have suggested. Do you not suppose that my memory of Scripture and other pious reading would be enhanced by Him over time?

  • The Supremacy of Scripture

    12/10/2009 7:19:29 PM PST · 6 of 127
    magisterium to CondoleezzaProtege
    It's too late in the day to go into massive details now; I'll try to cobble some time together tomorrow to flesh this response out a bit. For now, let me just say that most of these points you say aren't Scriptural merit a mere denial. I will expand a bit at this time on:

    1) Purgatory is entirely Scriptural, particularly when dealing with the total Analogy of Scripture. But to be specific, the allusion to Purgatory is unmistakable in 2 Maccabees 12, which is certainly Scripture to us Catholics, and - long story short, for now - only became "unScripture" to Protestants because of the very allusion I note here.

    3) Have you never read 1 John 5:16-17? A clearer distinction between mortal and venial sin, and their obvious differences in effect, is hard to find.

    5) "Mandatory" celibacy for priests and bishops is only a discipline in the Western - or Latin Rite - Catholic Church. Married priests exist in the various Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church. Only bishops are universally not allowed to be married. And this could change - though there is little likelihood of that - because no one ever said this was doctrine, it is only a discipline based on, among other things, St. Paul's"opinion" found in 1 Corinthians 7:25-39, with reference also to 7:8-9. Notice, particularly, what St. Paul has to say in verse 8! Celibacy is a gift to the Church as a whole in this vein. And these passages alone - and there are others, too - indicate that it is not "mandatory" that a bishop marry. St. Paul himself, as an Apostle, was also a bishop, yet he says plainly in 7:8 of the above text that he is single and has no intention to marry. Yet this does not disqualify him, does it?

    8) You really need to define what you mean by "exclusive sainthood," before this question can even be addressed.

    Also, a general observation. A few things on your list do not have massive Scriptural support in any direct sense, though there is, in these cases, still some indirect evidence. Just the same, the Catholic Church does not recognize "Sola Scriptura" as a principle, since, among other things, the statement is self-refuting. "Sola Scriptura," or "Scripture alone," can be nowhere found in the Bible, therefore, it cannot be a Biblical principle,and to insist on the point is, as I already said, to engage in a self-refuting argument.

    The Catholic Church regards Sacred Tradition to be authoritative like Scripture. So does does every other Church that has a legitimate claim to being "Apostolic" in its roots, that is, the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches, along with Catholicism. Protestants need to ask themselves why this is so. Why do all of the ancient Churches which predated Protestantism and still exist today recognize Tradition along with Scripture as "authoritative"? Upon what authority did they unilaterally decide to jettison Tradition? It certainly wasn't Scriptural authority, since, as already noted, Scripture says nothing whatsoever about Scripture being the only source of authority.

    Neither does plain logic or an understanding of early Christian history, since the Bible was not codified in any real sense till the end of the 4th Century, and it was well into the 2nd Century before most local churches spread throughout evangelized territory could have possibly hoped to have had a significant portion of what would later be known as the canonical books of the New Testament.

    Therefore, since all still-existing Churches that predate Protestantism recognize Scripture and Tradition, it behooves Protestants to explain how, and by what authority, they had the right to fabricate a "Sola Scriptura" principle to justify the removal of Tradition.

    More later tomorrow, if I can.

  • The Truth Is Out There. Extraterrestrials, Probably Not

    12/10/2009 10:26:19 AM PST · 14 of 37
    magisterium to NYer
    A very balanced view overall. There is one wrongly asserted "fact" here, though. The Andromeda Galaxy is not the closest galaxy to our own. It is merely the nearest "large" galaxy. There are at least 15 smaller "dwarf" galaxies that are closer, including the two very famous Magellanic Clouds. But the point I think the writer was making still holds: namely, even the closest dwarf galaxies to us are many tens of thousands of light-years away, and most of the ones closer than the Andromeda Galaxy are several hundred thousand light-years away. That's a long way away for any possible civilization to be bothered zeroing-in on a little blue rock orbiting a nondescript star orbiting in the suburbs of the Milky Way amid 500 billion other stars!
  • Religious image appears to Melrose woman [Mother Teresa appears on a cutting board]

    12/10/2009 9:05:21 AM PST · 19 of 20
    magisterium to Alex Murphy
    Looks more like a 15th or 16th Century guy with one of those squared-off hats with the ear flaps they used to wear.

    That people seem to be sufficiently overwrought (or something) to the extent that they "see" Jesus, or Mary, or some other person/being associated with Christianity in everything from Cheetos to exterior building walls I don't deny. But what is the point to posting these silly things on FR, Alex?

    There are large numbers of religious "seekers" who lurk on this forum. This sort of thing, combined with the snarkiness and ambush-tactics we throw at each other while "discussing" our differnt theological views, can hardly further the Christian cause in their minds. We don't always acquit ourselves very well with our argumentativeness as it is, but at least that is the result of our common zeal for furthering our "positive" beliefs in the midst of honest (usually) disagreement. This sort of thing, however, is just childish, and serves no useful purpose whatsoever.

  • Tennessee woman visits Jerusalem, takes photo of Jesus

    12/10/2009 8:40:14 AM PST · 22 of 47
    magisterium to Alex Murphy
    For the record, and contrary to the "standard" implications these sorts of postings on the FR Religion Forum are expected to deliver, this particular wacky "manifestation" came from a Baptist. Silliness knows no denominational boundaries, these days. To that end, and seeing that you are a believing Christian, why bother posting them? They make us all look a wee bit ridiculous in the eyes of the many fence-sitters who lurk here, no?
  • Can Catholics Be Christians?

    12/08/2009 7:55:54 PM PST · 320 of 753
    magisterium to SnakeDoctor
    You're right: humans are inherently fallible, except when they are fulfilling their role as guardians and faithful teachers of the Faith, and doing functioning in those capacities under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This particular type of infallibility, we recognize, is highly restricted in its nature to matters of faith and morals only, and must be employed only with the explicit acknowledgment that the charism is being invoked. Thus, the pope or an ecumenical council might declare that everyone's favorite color should be blue, and I could respond: "Whatever. That's your opinion. I'm not bound by that. You're certainly wrong in at least my case, since I adamantly maintain my own favorite color to be green, and I will not be persuaded to change. You overstep your authority."

    However, if the same authorities declare, say, that Mary is the Mother of God, as in fact happened at the Council of Ephesus in AD 431, then I must give assent, for defining the Faith in such vein is part of their authentic charism, it is protected from error by the Holy Spirit, and is therefore infallible. The individual men who formulated the definition were all sinners, and therefore not infallible at all regarding their personal conduct. But, within the parameters that are needed to be put in place to make sense of Matthew 28:20, John 16:13-15, and the like, these men exercised "infallibility" in authentically interpreting the true doctrine involved. I would, therefore, be required to give my assent of faith to their decision. And I do. So should you. Perhaps you do already, and you can thank the Council of Ephesus for that. Scripture alone done not answer the question very well regarding issues involving "persons," "natures," "essences" and the like, as they pertain to Jesus. Scripture alone is somewhat ambiguous at, at best. As such, it was a legitimate question to figure out: did Mary give birth to God, or only to Jesus' human nature? "Theotokos" is what they came up with to describe how she fit into the equation: she was the "God-bearer." Amen to that!

  • Can Catholics Be Christians?

    12/08/2009 7:22:09 PM PST · 313 of 753
    magisterium to CharlesWayneCT

    Thank you for your gracious reply and understanding of the POV which formed the basis of my answers. Yours is a tone to which we can all look as a benchmark, and from which many of us often fall short.

    May God bless you during these Advent and Christmas seasons.

  • Can Catholics Be Christians?

    12/08/2009 5:14:43 PM PST · 246 of 753
    magisterium to SnakeDoctor
    The infallibility of the Bible is not rendered useless by the fallibility of its interpreters any more than the Bible’s moral code is rendered useless by the fallibility of its practitioners.

    Yes, it is. Perhaps not in everything, since some parts of the moral law or other aspects of Scripture are quite simple and perfectly plain. But not everything is, and St. Peter warns against the presumption, as one finds in 2 Peter 3:16. Scripture, then, is not as "perspicuous" as some allege. Yet, regardless, it is both inspired and infallible. To that end, its infallibility is only rendered useful in the "difficult" cases, through the agency of an infallible authority. Since Jesus Himself does not instruct each of us personally, that authority is through a human agency that He established, as Scripture makes clear enough in the passages I cited earlier. That agency is the Church. Specifically, that Church which has existed throughout the entire span of the Christian Era, and has kept the Deposit of Faith delivered to it from the Apostles, through the working of the Holy Spirit. There is only one such Church that can claim both the historic continuity required and the intact Deposit of Faith at issue.

  • Can Catholics Be Christians?

    12/08/2009 4:47:51 PM PST · 231 of 753
    magisterium to CharlesWayneCT

    Please don't take anything I say here as intended to be insulting. I am only anzswering your questions.

    I would not presume to judge the eternal destiny of anyone at all. That's God's job alone. However, it seems there are some objective norms that should be followed, even if those norms can admit to "exceptions."

    If Jesus established auricular confession as the ordinary means of seculring God's forgiveness of sin, then it is to be followed, certainly as a norm. As it is, the Church has taught that "perfect contrition" for sin, even outside of confession, can suffice, particularly when the circumstances allow for no alternative at the present time for the person (e.g.: imminent chance of death, no priest available). In other words, there is an "exception" to the standard. But the standard remains, nevertheless, and, should one find himself out of danger, he should avail himself of recourse to that standard means. Issues regarding other Catholic practices and Sacraments, such as the Eucharist, have similar considerations regarding objective "norms" and the subjective "good intentions" of non-Catholic/Orthodox Christians.

    This sort of approach applies in full vigor to Catholics (and Orthodox, of cousre), since these things are available to them. Objectively, it applies to every Christian, but there is a subjective component of complete lack of availability - through invincible ignorance, sheer denial of the requirement based on insufficient understanding, etc. - that we believe God takes into account.

    But, at this point the question becomes: "well, if there's this subjective component involved, I don't really need these Catholic trappings, right?" I would say that is an entirely incorrect stance to take, from a Catholic POV.

    First of all, we Catholics believe that Sacraments are vehicles for God's grace. In fact, they are the primary means through which He dispenses His sanctifying grace, without which no one can be saved. If He dispenses sanctifying grace through other means, He is certainly free to do so. He is God, and, as the old saying goes, "God is the Author of the Sacraments, but He is not bound by them." Fair enough. But He has not been all that explicit about how He does this outside of the Sacraments, too. It is therefore a much more vague and tentative proposition for a Christian to be in receipt of snctifying grace outside of the Sacraments, even while the possibility is acknowledged.

    Second, without the "assurance" of forgiveness of sin through sacramental confession of sins, or the relative assurance that, in the present here-and-now one is objectively in a state of sanctifying grace, and that one is capable of receiving further grace through the worthy reception of the Eucharist, or, as circumstances allow, another Sacrament, one can presume very much regarding how his soul stacks up from God's POV. We reject the notion that one attains salvation in some discrete moment and cannot possibly lose it afterward. This applies to every Christian, not just Catholics, from our POV. So, it is something of a dangerous proposition to go through life - especially in these times fraught with unprecedented temptations to sin - without the assurances of grace through the vehicles that God has appointed for dispensing that grace. It would be very difficult indeed for a Christian to pull himself all the way through a lifetime in any part of the Christian Era without the assured dispensing of His sanctifying grace; it is doubly hard today, no doubt. Therefore, while we don't deny that God "can find a way" to save non-Catholics who do not and cannot receive sacramental grace, we clearly believe is it far more advantageous, and far less speculative, if one can go through life with the "ordinary means" at his disposal.

    Which brings me to a third point. As I said earlier, everyone must die in a state of grace (put simply, without mortal sin - or "deadly" sin, as described in 1John 5:16-17 - in order to enter Heaven. The "mortal" designation refers to the "spiritual death" of damnation for those who die their physical death while in that state of sin. None of us who has lived past the age of reason (generally understood to be around 7 years of age) goes through life free of sin. All of us need forgiveness. If we don't secure it by the normative means that Christ established in confession and/or the anointing James speaks of in James 5:14-15 (or even baptism itself, should we subsequently not sin again, and die in its grace, though this would be a rare occurence unless one old enough to be responsible for his actions is baptized immediately before death), then there is nothing left except to try to make what we Catholics call a "perfect act of contrition." But, that is a very hard thing to do. The contrition is based entirely on sorrow for offending God because of Who He is, and not in any part out of fear of Hell and punishment. Most people approach confession with "imperfect contrition," with perhaps an admixture of sorrow based on repentance for offending God per se, and also fear of punishment. The normative nature of the Sacrament obtains forgiveness anyway. But, in its absence, one must meet a stricter standard, if you will. It is not God's fault that one finds himself at death's door and has not availed himself of the means that God Himself has established.

    As I said, this type of contrition is very difficult. It must be based on sorrow for offending God alone, and even all attachment to sin must be abandoned. That, too, is very hard. So, from a Catholic POV, it is a far riskier and more speculative proposition to suppose that non-Catholics, who have never received the normative means of sanctifying grace outside of baptism, should presume to be in a state of grace at death. If they are not, they cannot be saved by definition, per 1 John 5, as above.

    So, to summarize an answer to your question, based on considerations I've just stated, I would say that, while it is possible for non-Catholic Christians to be saved - because nothing is impossible with God - the normative means of forgiveness and grace He established are still vitally important, for they provide a moral assurance that we have been forgiven, are receiving His grace through worthy reception of His Sacraments, and have a much better "shot" at a favorable judgment if we die availing ourselves of those means, or recently availing ourselves of them and committing no subsequent, serious sin.

    Our bottom-line is: yes, maybe you will die in a state of grace, but, unless God delivers sanctifying grace to your soul and you die truly and perfectly contrite, you will not. And, outside His own established "norms," how will you know?

    Finally, I would just say that your question: "Is there anything we lose in eternity because of our choice of denomination, from a Catholic perspective" is simply too speculative. If anyone gets to Heaven at all, it is because of the mercy and grace of God. Their reward will be based on their relative love of God in this life, and how that motivated them, through His grace, to serve Him faithfully. I don't doubt for a second that some non-Catholic Christians are in Heaven, and that some of them are in a higher state of blessedness and happiness than some Catholics. But, again, it's so much harder to get there in the first place for non-Catholics deprived of the Sacraments, from a Catholic POV. Therefore, to answer what you ask next: "Does the choice matter," I would say: yes, it certainly does.

    Again, I apologize if this seems offensive somehow. I suppose that it could easily be misconstrued that way, but that is sincerely not my intention. I am only answering your question regarding how we Catholics still allow for the possibility of salvation for non-Catholics, in spite of what we say regarding the Sacraments and their necessity.