Tuesday, August 22, 2006

From today's gospel:

[Mt 23-26] Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God." When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

I've heard that "the eye of the needle" was a gate through which the camel had to be unloaded in order to pass, and that the hearers would have understood this. But if they understood it this way, why the astonishment, who then can be saved?

perhaps it is a double entendre, because he doesn't say, "the eye of the needle" (the gate in question) but "the eye of a needle" (a very small thing indeed!)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Permissable disagreement on non-essentials

The protestant doctrine of "permissable disagreement on non-essentials" is an admission that their interpretation of Holy Scripture, on these issues, is not guided by the Holy Spirit, but is personal. If the claim is made that the interpretation of non-essentials is of the Holy Spirit, then they are claiming that the Holy Spirit does not teach the truth, but is self-contradictory. Either the Holy Spirit teaches the truth, which is singular and non-contradictory, or their interpretation is personal and not of the Holy Spirit.

Rather a huge admission!

I will assume a protestant believes he is guided by the Holy Spirit in essentials, while admitteding he is not guided by the Holy Spirit in non-essentials. Because the Holy Spirit teaches only truth, it would follow that all who turn to the scriptures and are guided by the Holy Spirit in understanding them, must come to the same conclusion, otherwise it is their own opinion, rather than the meaning of the word of God.

Now, because protestant A's non-essential always seems to be protestant B's essential, we need to filter out and discover what all protestants believe in common, to see what they all agree to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. It will not do to exclude groups who disagree on their own "essential" because the others are also following the same rule of faith. Therefore, to me, the outsider, all claims have equal validity.

The only doctrinal issue of faith that I observe that seems to be universally held by all protestants, is the rejection of the authority of the Pope and the Catholic Church. Thus, since all protestants agree on this, it would follow that this is the only essential article of faith for protestant Christianity (what is remarkable about this is it is a denial of an article of faith, a negation, rather than an affirmation of anything!).

Yet, by the same rule of faith, to be fair to the outsider looking in, we have to set against this the members of the Catholic Church who do accept this authority. Thus, it logically follows that either this is also a non-essential, and therefore there are no essentials, or it is an essential.

If it is an essential, here are the two choices in how we decide which answer is true.

A. God has given us an authority that can answer infallibly all questions pertaining to what is necessary for our salvation in His Name, or
B. God has left us on or own, with nothing that can be known with certainty of what is necessary for our salvation.

I think the choice is clear!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Happy feast day of St. Dominic!

In honor of Holy Preaching, here is a delightful article by a Catholic layman.

How Do Catholics Hear the Gospel? (Gary Michuta)

I was a Catholic once, said the lady a few yards from me in the parking lot. Now I'm a Christian and you can be one as well. She proceeded to hand a tract to a gentleman standing next to the opened trunk of his car. I couldn't help it.

Excuse me, I said to the lady but could I, too have a tract? The lady's face beamed. Are you saved?, she asked. Of course I am; I'm a believing Catholic, I retorted. She looked at me as if I had bad breath or something.

She continued: I was just telling this gentleman that I too was a Catholic - a Catholic for thirty-some years in fact. Now I've found Christ and I'm trying to tell everyone I know about salvation through Christ.

Wow, that's really something! May I ask why you left the Church? I could tell that, by asking this question, my new acquaintance was getting excited. After all, she had probably been snubbed by dozens of people and now she has someone that she can "witness" to Christ. I didn't mind much either, but I tried not to show it.

You see, she said, I was born Catholic. I attended Mass every week, received the Sacraments and graduated from a Catholic school. Not once did I ever hear the gospel proclaimed. Not once! It was after the birth of my first child that a good friend of mine shared the gospel with me and I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior and became a Christian. Now I belong to a Bible-believing church and I'm sharing the gospel with whomever will listen.

This shocked me. You mean you belonged to the Catholic Church for over forty years and you never heard the gospel?, I said. She was getting more excited. Yes, I never once heard the gospel of salvation preached or taught or even mentioned in the Church. If you don't preach the gospel, excuse my bluntness, but you're simply not Christian. I scratched my head and said, that's strange. I've been a Catholic all my life and I bet I hear the gospel ever week at Church. Her smile quickly faded into a look of curiosity. Maybe, I'm missing something, I continued. Tell me what you mean by the gospel?

The lady reached back into her purse to pull out a little tract and said, This tracts explains the simple gospel of salvation. It can be broken down into four easy steps.

First, we acknowledge that we are all sinners in need of God's forgiveness.

Secondly, we recognize that only God can save us.

The third step is that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for our sins and to bring us to God.

And the fourth and final step is that each individual accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior to be saved.

I thought for a couple of seconds and said, If I could demonstrate to you that Catholics hear the gospel every Sunday, would you agree to take a closer look at the Catholic Church? Now, she knew she had me over a barrel. Prove it, she said. I excused myself for a second and ran to my car to grab a Missal.

(follow the link to read the rest!)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Burial Crypt of the Pasteur Institute, Paris

This is from the Notre Dame student blog
Shrine of the Holy Whapping

A common bit of modern hagiographic folkore, the exact circumstances of which I have been unable to trace, reports that on one day about a hundred years ago, a young brash scientist on his way to a conference shared a train compartment with a quiet old man who looked to be an example of that type once so common in France, that of the wealthy peasant. He noticed the old gentleman was telling the beads of a rosary, and proceeded to hector him, asking him why he bothered with such outdated things in an age of scientific progress.

The old man asked, "What is this science? Perhaps you can explain it to me." He was clearly moved, and had tears in his eyes. The young student, slightly embarassed by the reaction he'd brought about, said he would send him some pamphlets to explain the subject to him, if he'd just give him his address. The old man's stop had come up, and he was about to step out. The old man rummaged around in his coat and pulled out a business card, and just as he left the compartment, the young man realized it read, "Louis Pasteur, Director of the Institute of Scientific Research, Paris."

Whether or not this story is true--and it certainly could be, given Louis Pasteur's very genuine faith--it's a matter of historic record that the great man died with a rosary in his hand, after having had the life of St. Vincent de Paul read aloud to him. The saint was one of his heroes, and an inspiration for his own scientific work, that it might benefit the lives of children as the saint's own charity had.

read the rest at the blog site!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

“When doubts and errors are spread...”

Remarkable document from Spain:

From the pastoral instruction “Theology and secularization in Spain,” March 30, 2006

2. They are not few who, in the shadow of a nonexistent Council, in terms of both letter and spirit, have sown agitation and disquiet in the hearts of many of the faithful.

13. From the denial of one aspect of the profession of faith, one passes to the total loss of the faith itself, in that by selecting some aspects and refuting others one does not respect the testimony of God, but rather human reasoning. When one alters the profession of faith, the entire Christian life is compromised by this.

For excerpts click here: