Wow.. what a morning! I couldn’t have hoped for a better start to the weekend. Can you imagine the fireworks this announcement is going to cause? It will be a resounding boom that will be heard around the world. No doubt Pope Francis’ ratings among liberals will skydive, but among conservatives and others who may have been on the fence on whether or not Pope Francis will hammer modern heresies… this is an explosive YES in answer to those questions. While the world around us crumbles, the Catholic Church stands tall like David standing his ground before Goliath and We Will Conquer and Defeat the Evil Forces that fight against us. Below is the article which was listed on Life Site News:
ROME, July 5, 2013 In his first encyclical letter, released this morning, Pope Francis has reiterated that marriage is a union of one man and one woman for the procreation and nurturing of children.
This lifelong pledge is possible only in the light of a greater plan for marriage, he said: “Promising love for ever is possible when we perceive a plan bigger than our own ideas and undertakings, a plan which sustains us and enables us to surrender our future entirely to the one we love.”
Titled Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith), the encyclical is known to have been authored mainly by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who was still working on it at the time of his abdication and it strongly reflects the theological style of Francis’ predecessor. In his introduction, Pope Francis wrote that he merely “added a few contributions of my own.”
Section 52, on Faith and the Family, calls the family the “first setting in which faith enlightens the human city.”
“I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage,” he said. “This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgment and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24) and are enabled to give birth to a new life, a manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom and loving plan.”
“Grounded in this love, a man and a woman can promise each other mutual love in a gesture which engages their entire lives and mirrors many features of faith. Faith also helps us to grasp in all its depth and richness the begetting of children, as a sign of the love of the Creator who entrusts us with the mystery of a new person.”
Anthony Ozimic, communications manager for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children told LifeSiteNews.com today, “The Pope is linking being pro-life with having a correct understanding of the true nature of marriage. His words will be of great assistance to pro-life organisations who are fighting homosexual ‘marriage’. We know that the homosexual attack on marriage is an attack on the family, which is the best protector of children, both born and unborn.”
Ozimic said that although the section of the encyclical on the subject was short, only a few paragraphs, it is a “significant” aid in the struggle against the global efforts by the homosexual lobby to dismantle legal definitions of marriage.
“The message from Pope Francis in his first encyclical is that the life-bearing potential of heterosexuality is the prerequisite of marriage,” Ozimic said.
The letter has made clear that “the type of love required for marriage” is not that promoted by the modern media or the sexual revolution, “of sexual desire and personal satisfaction, but a complimentary between the sexes leading to total mutual self-giving and thus openness to the responsibility of parenthood”.
Paragraph 53 says, “In the family, faith accompanies every age of life, beginning with childhood: children learn to trust in the love of their parents. This is why it is so important that within their families parents encourage shared expressions of faith which can help children gradually to mature in their own faith.”
I read an article on the Denver post yesterday about the founder of a religious order who is going to be beautified in November due to a miracle attributed to her 14 yrs ago. When I first read the story on Spiritdaily I was delighted in learning about an order I knew nothing about. Upon doing some research into the order, my delight turned to sorrow for an order that seemed in my opinion to be dead as a door-nail, after doing some additional research on google images I found a vibrant young community of Sisters from the same order who are ACTUALLY living their vocation. I’m going to hash this blog out in 3 ways, first I will address the founder of the community, then I’ll present the crazy old sisters who are beyond finding their way back to their original charism, and lastly I’ll present the beautiful new community of Sisters who actually live their charism.
Mother Theresia Bonzel
On September 17, 1830 Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel, one of the great women of the 19th century, was born in Olpe, Westphalia, Germany.
At an early age she wanted to follow Christ. Formed by a very intensive prayer life and a great devotion to the Holy Eucharist, she was aware of the needs of the people of that time. Due to the changes in the social structure and because of the health policy in Germany during the mid 19th century, poverty and the number of unprovided children increased. She wanted to serve the poor and soon found a group of companions with a similar interest. She was asked by Bishop Konrad Martin to found a Congregation. After a restless period of orientation and an intense search for God’s will for her, the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration in Olpe was approved by the Church on July 20, 1863.
The Sisters ministered in the education of children and in the health care field. They also performed various works of charity in response to the needs of the time. On November 25, 1875 the first Sisters were sent to North America because of the Kulturkampf that limited their ability to serve in Germany. In the new foundations they undertook similar apostolates. On February 6, 1905 Mother Maria Theresia died. At the time of her death about 1500 Sisters were active in their ministries and were enthusiastic about her ideals. Today the Sisters are ministering in Germany, the United States, the Philippines and Brazil.
The motto of her life was: All as God wishes. HE LEADS; I FOLLOW.
Pope Francis Approves beautification:
On Wednesday, March 27, 2013, Pope Francis approved his first decrees from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Among them was a ‘Decree of Miracle’ acknowledging a miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God, Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel. This miraculous cure of a young boy from Colorado Springs, Colo. – who is now a young adult — paves the way towards her beatification, which is scheduled to take place on Nov. 10, 2013 in Paderborn, Germany. Beatification is a declaration from the Church of a deceased person as Blessed and worthy of public honor.
A four-year old boy in Colorado Springs had a persistent severe viral illness that normally ran its course in one week but was stretching into months. The Sisters began a novena to Mother Maria Theresia and the young boy was healed without any scientific explanation. His illness originated in 1999 and he was cured after a 14 day novena from the local convent of Sisters. (I can’t help but expect that the Sisters who were praying for this miracle were a remnant of the original ‘good’ sisters in that house that still wore a resemblance of a habit and lived out their vocations to the best of their ability considering the daunting task of having to live with liberal peace-nicks who are more concerned with stopping global warming than with living their vowed and consecrated lives.)
What I found to be another sad story was the fallout of faith in the family of the boy who was cured. The article in the Denver post said that the Mother of the boy was never ‘really religious’, she was born a Catholic, didn’t really practice her faith and taught yoga for a living. She said that her daughter at 8 yrs old had a ‘spiritual renewal’ and became interested in the Sisters whom she met during catechism class one day and it was through that initial contact that the sisters came to know of the suffering her young son was going through and the sisters were then able to pray a novena that ultimately led to the cure of her son. Now that Pope Francis has approved of the miracle and moved the founder to the stage of beautification, what are the fruits of this miracle? Upon further reading in the article I learned that the family no longer practices their faith, the boy who had been healed refuses to talk about or acknowledge his healing. The article goes on to say that the family has suffered terrible illnesses throughout their lives, the mother had breast cancer, the father suffered heart problems, the daughter has heart problems herself and has gone through surgeries.
Did it ever occur to anyone in this family that perhaps since the Mom was into Yoga which is a practice that invokes DEMONS into ones mind and body that her involvement in that maybe led to some of this suffering? Have they thought that their over whelming lack of faith in the family and refusal to pursue a life in Christ after this great miracle maybe led to the wrath of God??? Am I being to harsh in this assessment? It upsets me to think that such a faith lacking family received such a great miracle and refuses to acknowledge it when good Catholic families who actually live their faith are going through so many sufferings and are not receiving major miracles like this one.
Ok. So. After doing reading the background of the miracle and the sisters, now I would like to address the sad state of affairs of the actual province of Sisters that this miracle is attributed to. Here is a picture of the community in Colorado.
Ain’t that just grand? They have LCWR written all over them!!
Just seeing that image tells everything you need to know about their community. They don’t wear a habit, they wear pantsuit and lay clothes. They are all over the age of 75, one of the sisters quoted on their site says that she is the youngest at 75yrs old!!! Where are all the vocations? After going to the ‘vocation’ page I had to laugh really hard.. and I mean actually LAUGH. They had a head shot of a young lady on their discernment page… ya right.. like this young woman is actually going to be interested in THIS community! Here is a screenshot:
Here is a video of the community at large throughout the Province who are talking about ‘womens issues, social justice, and that other liberal junk in the feminazi’s playbook.
I went to the ‘Justice & Peace” page on their site and came across this info… it is truly sad:
Among the many issues that need to be addressed, we have agreed to focus on the following:
Unmet needs of women and children (Womens rights, ordinations, abortions, contraception, ect?? Figures!)
Continue to work towards the closure of the SOA/WHINSEC (This is a Department of Defense Training Facility)
Abolition of the Death Penalty (What about abortion?… oh wait.. killing murderers is bad.. but aborting babies ok?)
Crisis of Water (What the?)
Our on-going ministry involves us in the following six areas:
Collaboration with other groups, such as but not limited to:
Franciscans International (Part of the UN & Human Rights Council.. need I even address this mess?)
Franciscan Action Network (FAN) (More liberal CRAP; global warming, feminazi’s, immigration, ect.)
Amnesty International (Which is anti-Catholic and very liberal!)
Center of Concern (I’m concerned just from what I’ve seen in their mixed up order)
Franciscan Federation (Is that like the Galactic Federation of Star Trek proportions? They sure act like it!!)
Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) (Do I even need to address this? LCWR = Feminazi)
8th Day Center for Justice (8th day? Is this the Marine Corps 8th Day? The Marines quote is “On the 8th day God created the Marines!)
NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby (You can keep your social justice junk)
USCCB Social Services
Interfaith Center on Coporate Responsibility (ICCR) (Interfaith? This is probably why these old ladies are in the trouble they are in)
Pax Christi USA (Just looking at this site made me GAG.. what a bunch of hippie’s!)
Pikes Peak Pax Christi (Another radical spin-off of the Nazi’s who run Pax Christi USA)
United for Diversity (*Sighs*)
After reading all that garbage I am really happy that God is allowing that particular order to die out, or at least in this regard.. the province in question. I mentioned earlier that while doing research for this blog I came across some beautiful pictures of young sisters in this very same Order. After further research I found a different province in Indiana that is not only flourishing, but attracting many new young vocations!
The Provincial House of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Province is located in Mishawaka, Indiana. From there we serve in the Archdioceses of Chicago and Indianapolis, and the Dioceses of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Lafayette-in-Indiana, and Gary.
While the liberal LCWR nuts in Oklahoma are working to stop global warming, disarm americans, stop military training, end the death penalty, fight for womens rights, and save the trees… These REAL Sisters in Indiana are actually doing the work that their Foundress set out for them to accomplish:
We serve the Church through Perpetual Adoration, education, healthcare and other ecclesial apostolates. In so doing, we follow in the footsteps of Jesus who spent His public life praying, teaching, healing and ministering to others.
“Our service of the Church becomes fruitful only when it stems from a living union with God. It is through prayer that our apostolate must receive its dedication and strength and be an occasion of blessing for others.” (Mother Theresia)
Like St. Francis who exhorts his followers not to stifle the spirit of prayer through activity, Mother M. Theresia also sets forth a similar directive: “Do not let your recollection or your union with God be disturbed. Even if Martha’s work is weighing upon you, always seek to preserve Mary’s spirit of prayer. Even with all your external occupations you can pray and your heart can constantly rest in God.” (Mother Theresia)
Since every activity is for us a service of God it is therefore important and calls for our whole-hearted effort. We are aware that everything a person does is also a service to the community, and that our ministry of prayer, work, and suffering is part of the salvific mission of the Church. (Our Form of Life)
Unlike the Colorado Sisters whose youngest member is 75, these good sisters in Indiana are clearly alive and well. Here are some images taken from their vocation page:
Lastly here is a video of these great sisters! If you know of any young lady discerning a vocation, send her the info for these Sisters:
I just read an excellent post over at Fr. Z’s blog. Right now the media is falling head over heels for Pope Francis and his humility. But you will see as Fr. Z so well points out, the media will be screaming shortly for us to crucify Pope Francis because while he is a Pope for the poor people, he isn’t a wishy-washy crackpot that the media is hoping he will be for the world.
We are still a bare few days into the pontificate of Pope Francis. I have therefore declined to gush out lots of entries here, burbling my every half-formed notion about what is going to happen. I have also avoided surfing from site to site, news agency to news agency, to sift the wonky grindings of those who want to be in-the-know.
Today, however, I went to see what the National Schismatic Reporter had to say. John Allen is a well-informed, hard-working analyst, of course, and well-worth consulting, while the rest of the writers over there are good for a laugh.
With amused anticipation I clicked open the remarks on Pope Francis by Jamie Mason, the Yale-presbyterian-educated disciple of Sr. Margaret Farley and lesbian activist darling of the LCWR. Knowing that Pope Francis upholds the Church’s teaching on marriage, I expected a slightly hysterical diatribe against him as a homophobe, and how the Church – in conformity with the world – needs more queering, etc.
I got a surprise!
Jamie doesn’t like Francis, yes, for the obvious reason, but her real dislike seems to come from something else. In her expression of this dislike, she may be ahead of the pack of liberals that are – fairly soon – going to turn on Francis. They will turn on him savagely.
In the meantime, Manson shows what direction they are going to go:
I have been touched by Francis’ clear love of the poor and the images of his bathing the feet of sick children and AIDS patients. [Predictable.] I am troubled by his alleged failure stand up with Argentine dictators during the “Dirty War” [She needs to get up to speed on the facts.] and his harmful words about LGBT families. [The Pope is Catholic, Jamie. Speaking clearly about the Church's teaching, is not "harmful", it is charitable... but let's go on...] I am worried by reports that he was unpopular among his brother Jesuits because of his unfavorable views of base communities and liberation theology. [Because she, of course, would support base communities and liberation theology.]
But what most piqued my interest [Now we get to it...] about Pope Francis is his strong tie to a movement called Comunione e Liberazione, or Communion and Liberation (CL).
There it is.
Now, to her credit, she does a little homework about CL. She didn’t like what she found. To wit…
Much of what I have learned about CL, other than from the organization’s website, comes from the essay “Comunione e Liberazione: A Fundamentalist Idea of Power,” written by theologian and political scientist Dario Zadra. …
In his article on CL, Zadra explains that the movement’s worldview stems from [NB: Whether Zadra is right or not is not the point here. Mason is taking Zadra at his word.] two main ideas: “That Christ is the saving event in human history, and that religious authority is a fundamental element of the human condition.” [Get that? "religious authority".] He continues: “Members place religion at the center of a new worldview and in their evangelistic efforts at transforming the relationship between modern society and religion.” [People like this are viewed as the enemy by the Fishwrap types. Religion, and religion which leans on authority, is at the center of everything? Imagine!]
[...] Zadra explains: “In CL the authoritative character of the event of salvation isdirectly translated into the authority of the Church. … The central event in life is a saving encounter with the communion embodied in the Church.” [Not just any Church, the Catholic Church. Not the catholic Church of theNational catholic Reporter, but the actually Catholic Church, which has a Mass with rubrics and a Catechism with teachings, and a Code of laws and ... all that stuff that you can look up. This isn't the National catholic ... Schismatic Reporter's de-centralized association of self-affirming blobs of vaguely catholic identity. Nope. What NSR/Mason fear is a vigorous and clear reiteration of Catholic morals and doctrine to counteract all the great strides that have been made in reducing the church to an instrument of social justice without any strong voice in the public square contrary to relativistic trends in society.]
[... ] CL’s insistence on “total fidelity and communion with the Succession of Peter” [sic] (a direct quote from Benedict XVI himself) has made the movement particularly popular among members of the hierarchy. [hierarchy (male) = enemy]
[Here it is...]Obedience to the authority of the church seems as crucial to Pope Francis as it did to his predecessor and as it does to CL. [Get that?] In a 2005 profile of Cardinal Bergoglio, Jose Maria Poirier, editor of the Argentinean Catholic magazine Criterio, wrote, “He exercised his authority as provincial with an iron fist, calmly demanding strict obedience and clamping down on critical voices. Many Jesuits complained that he considered himself the sole interpreter of St Ignatius of Loyola, and to this day speak of him warily.” [Papa Bergoglio isn't into interminable text/content distorting dialogue and consensus building?]
[...] CL boldly claims that the Church embodies authoritative truth that is binding on society at large. [Not just Catholic members of society but all members of society.] By claiming the presence of Christ, the Church also claimsdivine authority — a kind of inerrancy, not of the biblical text (as in Protestant fundamentalism) but of the Church.
This belief in the inerrancy of the church influences CL’s understanding of human conscience. “The conscience of the individual is shaped by and beholden to the Church,” Zadra writes, “and the Church ought to be considered the living and legitimate paradigm of society.” [In other words, you can't say "I'm Catholic, but I don't believe the Church's teaching on ___" (e.g., homosexual acts, abortion, contraception, to name a few items). No, we are bound to form our consciences according to the mind of the Church. This is enshrined in Vatican II's Lumen gentium, of course, but those paragraphs aren't generally read by liberals.]
Although CL members are comfortable in the modern, technological and political world, they reject the modern insistence on “a freedom of conscience that excludes the religious attitude at its very root.” [...]
Zadra concludes that “the political rhetoric and vision of the movement seem to continue a long-standing political position in the Catholic world — that of returning the Roman Catholic Church to its traditional role of political power.”
My [Jamie's] purpose in exploring CL is not to demonize the movement or the new pope, but rather to piece together a fuller picture of Francis by exploring in a little more depth an organization with which he has an enduring relationship. ["Not to demonize", eh?]
Manson’s piece is a foretaste of what is to come.
Liberals are all gushy and gooey about Pope Francis right now. Gosh, he’s the Pope of the poor! That means he is going to dismantle everything that John Paul II and Benedict XVI did, those meanies. They somehow manage to imagine that not putting on a mozzetta is the moral equivalent of donning sack cloth and a piece of twine as a belt. Wearing black shoes is the equivalent of wearing tattered sandals. Just like St. Francis of Assisi, right? He’s going to ratchet down all the high liturgy. How wonderful after these horrible years of gold and lace. Hopefully he’ll soon just wear a little wooden cross around his neck and maybe say Mass on a card-table set up in the middle of the Via della Conciliazione. Then he’ll walk down the Tiber River to the card-board box he sleeps in under the Milvian Bridge.
Nope. Pretty soon they are going to see that Pope Francis is hard core when it comes to Catholic teachings. They will become more and more afraid of him as his warm style, yes simpler style, begins to win people over.
Right now Francis is the Pope of El Pueblo. And since NSR is the Voz del Pueblo they are swooning for him… now.
I just read a news article on Fox News about women across the globe that are protesting against the Vatican. I had to read the article… I couldn’t help myself. Upon opening the page it was just as I expected, there was an image of all these women, numbering about 8 with one of them in mock vestments. Typical. The article goes on to state that there are 500 million women worldwide in the Catholic Church who are not being represented at the Vatican conclave. Ok… so your going to try and convince me that out of 500 million angry poed women only 8 showed up for the rally? =) So what is the anger all about? It’s a group of liberal women who have fallen into the trap of progressive theology and believe that somewhere along the lines Christ made a mistake by not ordaining women to be Priests and that women should be ordained in the Catholic Church. I said in my last post ‘Holy Priest‘, if you can’t deal with the Church then get out! Move along, go join some protestant denomination where you can freely dictate what you want to believe in. The article goes on to say that these rebellious ladies decided to hold their own conclave and burnt their own ‘pink’ colored smoke. Pink colored smoke? Are you serious??! While I am laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of it.. I am also very sad for these poor souls who are so diluted and blind they cannot see the truth that is right in front of them.
Have you ever noticed that these groups of angry women who are protesting the Church are always over the age of 60? I have yet to see a picture with beautiful young ladies who are wearing chapel veils. Where are they? Why are the women who are featured in these articles always looking like they have one foot on a banana peel and the other in the grave? You can read the article here: Women Protest Vatican
There is a quote from a movie that I greatly enjoyed as a child that I think adequately applies here: ”Morons! I’m surrounded by morons!” — Carface – All Dogs Go to Heaven
(I would like to apologize for the delay in writing. I have felt so uninspired to write anything for the past week. After coming home from work tonight, I finally felt the needed inspiration to get my thoughts out and put this post together. I have lots of things I want to write on and I promise to write more in the next few days.)
On February 28th our dear Holy Father Pope Emeritus Benedict retired from his position as our 265th Pope. I and the rest of the world were in a state of shock when he announced his retirement. After all it was the first time in over 600 years that a Pope had not died while in office and had instead sought retirement. After the shock had worn off and I had time to reflect on the implications of the Pope’s decision, I came to see just how important his decision was for the Church and why he chose the time to retire that he did. He chose to do so after he had investigated and closed the Vati-leaks scandal and also after reviewing a similar corruption scandal involving some of the important people in the vatican. By waiting until these things were resolved he stopped the media and the rest of the world from speculating that his retirement had anything to do with these scandals (although some people still think that and other wild conspiracy theories).
Lent is a time of penance for our Church. Christ himself chose to enter the desert for 40 days and 40 nights to do penance in preparation for his public ministry. A few nights ago before going to bed I reflected upon our Lord’s time in the desert and the retirement of Pope Emeritus Benedict and I had an inspiring reflection that I hope will I can convey through this blog posting. I found myself thinking of Moses being stripped of all his honor and sent out into the desert to die. Moses was given enough food and water to last at most a few days and after wandering the desert for a long time he came to find his new life as a shepherd. What is also interesting to note is that when Moses encountered God on Mt. Sinai, he spent 40 days and 40 nights in prayer to Our Lord as his commandments were spelled out. Moses also went up the mountain a second time and spent another consecutive 40 days in penance and fasting with our Lord. After many long years in the desert and after receiving the command from God, Moses was given the power to go and release his people from bondage and so the Jewish people were liberated and went out from Egypt. So too, our Pope Benedict, now Pope Emeritus Benedict, left all the power and glory of holding the title of Vicar of Christ and entered into his own desert. The Church too has entered the desert during this Lenten season without a visible Vicar of Christ leading us.
What I find so beautiful is that while our Church is going through this difficult time of transition and the conclave is about to start, we, the people of the Church have been invited by God to enter into the desert with Christ and purify ourselves while the Church is being purified during these next few weeks. Our Lords resurrection is just around the corner and hopefully by Easter we will have a new Pontiff that will be sitting in the Chair of St. Peter and helping to guide our souls to our heavenly home. The liberal media is taking the opportunity of the Pope’s retirement to run the Church into the ground over the past mistakes and abuses crisis. With this cruel beating being executed, we Catholics are being called to suffer for the Church and with the Church. What the media doesn’t see at this moment is that nothing they can do will ever destroy the Church. And while it may seem that they are winning, we Catholics need to remember that at the end of the day Christ will always be triumphant.
Rest peacefully in the grace our Our Lord knowing that in the coming weeks the Holy Spirit is going to impart upon our Church a new leader and Pope that upon his election to the Papacy a great wind from the very nostrils of God will blast through the world proclaiming the good news and everyone in the world will recognize the new Vicar of Christ and await with bated breath for his guidance and direction.
There is a hidden element in the Catholic Church that may come as a surprise to many lay people. The hidden element is the large homosexual movement in the Priesthood and monastic life. I saw elements of this in the short time that I was in the religious life, I would be lying if I said this was not a factor in why I left the religious life.
I would like to relate a story a friend told me of his time in the religious life and what he experienced had a major impact on his decision to leave his religious community. For his own protection I will use the name ‘Joe’. Joe told me that at the end of his postulancy and first year with his former religious order, he and his monastic house were sent on a 5 day retreat at a retreat center located about an hour away from his main house. Joe stated that on the 3rd day of the retreat he and a fellow postulant were driving across the retreat property on a golf cart when they saw a brother who was 4 years into his monastic vocation. Joe stated that this brother was known to be a homosexual and had an official ‘protected’ status in the Order, which meant that he could say and do just about anything and not suffer any reprisals. Joe offered a ride back to the retreat house to this brother and while on the ride back to the house the brother asked if Joe could drive him by the stations of the cross. Joe said this is when things got extremely disturbing and what happened next will be seared into his mind forever. As Joe slowly pulled up to the 10th station this brother exclaimed gleefully “Oh look! It’s STRIPPER JESUS!“… Joe didn’t know what to do or say. He looked over at this brother and was disgusted, shocked, and insulted for the brothers extremely offensive remark. But what Joe didn’t realize was the worse was yet to come. As Joe stomped on the accelerator of the golf cart in an effort to flee the area, the brother stopped him again in front of the 11th station and exclaimed again “Look at that, It’s HOMO-EROTICA JESUS!“. These stations were life-size figurines and these were the thoughts that were coming out of the heart of this brother. Joe said at that point he drove off the path and through the woods as a short cut to the retreat house like a bat out of hell. He was furious and as soon as he reached the retreat house, he called his Postulant Master who was surprisingly on the way to the retreat house with an aspirant (someone looking to enter the order). About 2 hrs later Joe met with his Postulant Master and explained the situation from start to finish. His master was visibly upset at what had happened and when Joe asked what would be done, this is how the Postulant formator responded “I’m sorry Joe, I know and you know this brother is homosexual; however, my hands are tied and I have to tread carefully with this, this brother is protected from higher ranking religious. At this point, I would just ask you to avoid this brother and not mention this to anyone”. It was during that retreat that Joe began to decide on whether or not he was going to stay with the Order. How could he when such behavior was not only condoned but swept under the rug? Similarly I would say this story sounds like the many stories recorded in the book “Goodbye Good Men” which details all the good straight men that were chased out of the Seminaries and Religious houses by the pro-gay movement. Please keep ‘Joe’ in your prayers. The brother with Joe’s old order will be making his final vows this coming July, please pray that the Order will not allow this to happen, the brother in question is a ticking time bomb that Joe believes will cause harm to the Order in the long run.
Pope Benedict and his War on Homosexuality in the Catholic Church
Pope Benedict stated when he took office “Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves”. He was not talking of the wolves outside of the Church, he was talking about the wolves in sheep clothing that are part of the Homo-Mafia in the Church. Soon after his election, Pope Benedict had an instruction issued to strictly forbid ordaining untreated homosexuals. The instruction was preceded by a letter sent from the Holy See to bishops around the world, ordering that priests with homosexual tendencies be immediately removed from any educational functions at seminaries. A letter from the Congregation for Catholic Education issued in 2008 prohibited their admission to seminaries. It says explicitly they may only be admitted after they have been permanently healed. These principles were confirmed in 2010 by a Note from the Vicariate of Rome for the Successor of Saint Peter – a standard for the entire Church.
Lies Promoted by the Media Concerning the Child-Sex Abuse
The media keeps talking about paedophilia among clergymen, while it is most often the case that the problem is ephebophilia, which is a perversion consisting in adult homosexual men being attracted not to children, but to pubescent and adolescent boys. It is a typical deviation related to homosexuality. Basic knowledge about that reality includes the fact that more than 80 percent of cases involving sexual abuse by clergymen reported in the U.S.A. were cases of ephebophilia, not paedophilia! That fact has been carefully hidden and ignored, as it reveals particularly well the hypocrisy of the homolobby in both the world and the Church. It is all the more important that it be exposed. Don’t be fooled, this is NOT a paedophilia problem, this is a homosexual problem. And our dear Holy Father was extremely harassed by this group in his time as the Vicar of Christ. Now we need to pray that the next Pope will continue to eradicate these men out of our Priesthood and cleanse our Church of the filth and stench which stains inner workings.
[pwal id="30813411" description="Share this to unlock the Report Released in Poland 2012 - WITH THE POPE AGAINST THE HOMOHERESY - by Fr. Dariusz Oko, Ph.D."]Homoheresy[/pwal]
Today while in Mass I got annoyed with the ‘hand holders’; those people who choose to hold each others hands during the Our Father and who at the end of the prayer raise up their hands a bit higher when the prayer ‘For the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory are yours”. Not only is it distracting to those who are preparing their souls to receive Christ, it is against the rubrics of the mass to do such nonsense. The Priest is the only one that is supposed to have his hands raised, as it is he who is in ‘Persona Christi’ and not us. I remember as a child when my family attended a Church in the Richmond Virginia Diocese, you may have heard horror stories of that Diocese, it is one that has been the cause of a few scandals throughout the years. Anyways, our Church was in Woodlawn, Va and our Priest was a hippie priest of the 70′s era, he wore gold earrings and had a pony tail (go figure). The masses were in such violation of liturgical abuses that my family finally left and we ended up attending a Catholic Church in Mt. Airy North Carolina which was an hour drive from our house each way. The straw that broke the camels back was a particular Sunday in which the parishioners tried to hold our hands during the Our Father. My grandparents and parents staunchly refused and some people in the mass got so upset at our refusal that after mass was over, they blocked our way when we tried to drive out of the parking lot and then chewed my family out for not being ‘Catholic’ and participating in ‘Unity’. The Priest then got into the furor and also got angry about us not holding hands as well. That was the last time we attended that Church and I haven’t been back in 25 yrs!
A few years ago while attending a mass while on vacation, a parishioner reached out in invitation to me at the beginning of the Our Father to hold their hand. I refused with a smile and continued my prayer. The person then reached out and grabbed my hand and as I pulled my hand away, they slapped my hand with their other hand and then gave me a very dirty look! I was flabbergasted and really ticked off, I think my blood pressure shot to about 240 when they did that and it ruined my reception of Holy Communion because the only thought I had on my mind after that was exacting revenge on the ‘hand holding’ terrorist sitting next to me that attacked me during mass! So where did this phenomena begin and what does the Church have to say about it?
Believe it or not, you might assume that ‘holding hands’ during the Our Father might have originated from the Charismatic movement in the 70′s and many people attribute it to that time period when wacky things were being introduced and forced on the laity. However, you might be surprised to learn that there are people who attribute the practice first beginning at Alcohol Anonymous meetings and then finding its way into the Church. The source for that opinion can be found here.
In all of the liturgical documents for the universal Church or of those particular ones issued by the United States Bishops Conference, no where is the holding of hands during the Lord’s Prayer mandated. Frankly, this gesture arose among the various liturgical innovations in the aftermath of Vatican Council II. Perhaps the holding of hands was introduced with good intentions to highlight the unity of the congregation as they pray, “Our Father,” not “My Father.” Yet, if unity is the key, then should we not be holding hands throughout the entire Mass?
The unity that is sought really comes later and after a spiritual progression: First, we fall on our knees as the priest offers the sacrifice of the Mass: we recall not only our Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection but also our need as individuals to offer ourselves to Him. Second, we pray in the words our Savior taught us, the Lord’s Prayer, in which we ask, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” even the person next to us in the pew. Third, we offer the Sign of Peace, a gesture found in the earliest Masses to show a genuine unity based on peace and forgiveness. Finally, we receive Holy Communion, which truly brings us into communion with our Lord and with each other. Looking at the logic of this spiritual progression to real unity, the holding of hands at the Our Father is extraneous.
What does the Church say on ‘holding hands’ during the Our Father or other prayers?
A question was submitted to Catholic Answers and James Akin had a good response regarding this topic:
It is true that praying with arms outstretched is one of the historic postures of prayer. However, this fact alone does not mean that it is to be used in any and all circumstances. Prostrating oneself on one’s face is also a historic posture of prayer, but neither the priest nor the laity are directed to assume this posture during a regular Mass. During a Mass where ordinations are taking place, the candidates for ordination are directed to prostrate themselves during the Litany of the Saints. However, if people were to assume this posture willy-nilly, in any Mass, the liturgy could be seriously impeded.
There are also symbolic problems associated with their doing so. No matter how the posture may or may not have been used in antiquity, today it is a priestly posture in the liturgy. This is repeatedly made clear in the Church’s liturgical documents. For example, the Ceremonial of Bishops notes: “Customarily in the Church a bishop or presbyter addresses prayers to God while standing with hands slightly raised and outstretched” (CB 104). Similarly, in the Book of Blessings, whenever there is a blessing which can be performed either by a member of the clergy or the laity, the rubrics invariably directs that “A minister who is a priest or deacon says the prayer of blessing with hands outstretched; a lay minister says the prayer with hands joined” (BB 1999). Over and over again, the rubrics direct clergy to pray with hands outstretched and laity with hands joined.
Because of the special association praying with hands outstretched has with priestly office, some dissident elements in the Church have desired to get the laity into the habit of praying in this posture during Mass. This furthers the dissident agenda of continuing to blur the line between the laity and the clergy. Fortunately, the recent Instruction on Collaboration (Nov. 13, 1997)drew the line on this issue and specifically mandated that “Neither may . . . non-ordained members of the faithful use gestures or actions which are proper to the . . . priest celebrant” (ICP, Practical Provisions 6 §2).
What does the USCCB have to say on this subject? I think their response is deafeningly clear:
Many Catholics are in the habit of holding their hands in the “Orans” posture during the Lord’s prayer along with the celebrant. Some do this on their own as a private devotional posture while some congregations make it a general practice for their communities. Is this practice permissible under the current rubrics, either as a private practice not something adopted by a particular parish as a communal gesture?
No position is prescribed in the present Sacramentary for an assembly gesture during the Lord’s Prayer.
What are you thoughts on this? Are you currently a hand holder or have you done so in the past and then stopped?
I know this will be a controversial post for many people, mostly those who do not know the true facts surrounding the origins of ‘Communion in the Hand’. It is my hope that after reading this, anyone who currently receives Our Lord in their hands for communion will rethink their decision and instead receive Jesus on their tongue which is the most reverent way to receive Our Lord.
I have always received communion on the tongue; Mom taught me catechism and told me that it was a sacrilege to receive communion on the hand and thus I never received Our Lord that way. In 2008 while getting my heart checked out at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN, Mom and I went to a Sunday Mass in downtown Rochester. We both knew how liberal the Minnesota Diocese is and weren’t to shocked with the liberal wack-a-doodle antics that occurred during the service, but what we were not expecting was to be yelled at and humiliated by a Priest in front of the whole Church. Mom was in front of me in line to the Priest for communion, we made sure to get in his line as neither of us wanted to receive communion from an old lady. Mom went first and received on her tongue without a hitch, I stepped up to the Priest next and when I stuck out my tongue he yelled “Stick your hand out like everyone else!!“. I was shocked, embarrassed, and feeling really small up there in front of everyone. I held my own and I told the Priest “I’m sorry Father, I cannot receive Jesus with my hands, I never have and I cannot receive him that way“. Father sighed and made another remark before again telling me rather loudly and rudely, “Well then, stick your tongue out!“. He roughly put the host on my tongue and I quickly made my way back to the pew red-faced. Mom and I were in a state of shock. As we left Church we both said “Thank God we are in a conservative diocese that respects the Eucharist“.
Origin of Communion in the Hand
Some people will tell you that Communion in the Hand originated with Vatican II, those who promote such thoughts apparently have not read the documents of Vatican II, no-where in any of the documents is Communion in the hand mentioned. After Vatican II, some ecumenically minded priests in Holland started giving Communion in the hand, in a monkey-see, monkey-do imitation of Protestant practice. But the bishops, rather than do their duty and condemn the abuse, tolerated it. Because Church leaders allowed the abuse to go unchecked, the practice then spread to Germany, Belgium and France. But if the bishops seemed indifferent to this scandal, the laity were outraged. It was the indignation of large numbers of the Faithful which promoted Pope Paul VI to take some action. He polled the bishops of the world on this issue, and they voted overwhelmingly to retain the traditional practice of receiving Holy Communion only on the tongue. And it must be noted that at this time, the abuse was limited to a few European countries. It had not yet started in the United States.
The Pope then promulgated the May 28, 1969 Instruction Memoriale Domine. In summary, the document states:
1) The bishops of the world were overwhelmingly against Communion in the hand.
2) “This manner of distributing Holy Communion (that is, the priest placing the Host on the tongue of the communicants) must be observed.”
3) Communion on the tongue in no way detracts from the dignity of the communicant.
4) There was a warning that “any innovation could lead to irreverence and profanation of the Eucharist, as well as gradual erosion of correct doctrine.
The document further says “the Supreme Pontiff judged that the long received manner of ministering Holy Communion to the Faithful should not be changed. The Apostolic See therefore strongly urges bishops, priests and people to observe zealously this law.”
Communion in the hand – Early Church
Communion in the hand was allowed in some instances in the Early Church. However many councils were heard in which communion in the hand was time and time again banned and people were threatened with excommunication if they were caught taking communion or giving communion in the hand. If the practice was good and holy, why then have so many saints and Church Fathers been against it?
St. Sixtus I (circa 115)
” The Sacred Vessels are not to be handled by others than those consecrated to the Lord . “
St Basil (330 -379 AD)
“The right to receive Holy Communion in the Hand is permitted only in time of Persecution.” He considered Communion in the hand so irregular that he did not hesitate to Consider it a grave fault.
The Council held at Saragozza (380 AD )
It was decided to punish with EXCOMMUNICATION anyone who dared to continue the Practice of Holy Communion in the hand, . The Synod of Toledo Confirmed the Decree.
Pope St. Leo I
The Practice of administering Holy communion on the tongue of the Faithful was energetically defended and faithfully obeyed.
The 6th Ecumenical Council, III of Constantinopolis
It forbade the faithful to take the Sacred host in their hand, Threatening the Transgressors with EXCOMMUNICATION.
St Sixtus I
He Prohibited the Faithful to even touch the Sacred Vessels: “Statutum est ut sacra vasa non ab aliis quam a sacratis Dominoque dicatis Contrectentur Hominbus…”
Pope St. Eutychian (275- 283 AD)
He forbade the faithful to take the Sacred Host in their hand.
The Synod of Rouen (650 AD)
“Do not put the Eucharist in the hands of any layman but only in their mouths.” Thus again Communion in the hand was condemned as an abuse.
St Tomas Aquanis (1225-1274)
“The body of Christ Must not be touched by anyone, other than a Consecrated Priest. No other person has the right ot touch it, except in case of extreme necessity.”
The Council of Trent (1545-1565 AD)
“The Fact that only the Priest gives Holy Communion with his consecrated hands is an apostolic tradition.”
Pope Paul VI (In the Letter Memoriale Domini)
” . . This Method (on the Tongue) must be retained . . .”
Let us note the words of John the Baptist in his speaking of Christ, as he has said that of Christ ” He is the one who comes after me , the thongs of whose sandals I am not worth to untie.”
Pope John-Paul II
“To touch the sacred species and to distribute them with their own hands is a privilege of the ordained” (Dominicae Cenae, 11)
Started in Defiance, Perpetuated by Deception
Not only was Communion in the hand started in disobedience, it was perpetuated by deceit. Space doesn’t allow all the details, but the propaganda in the 1970s that was used to sell Communion in the hand to a trusting, vulnerable people was a campaign of calculated half-truths that didn’t tell the whole story. A quick example will be found in the writings of Monsignor Champlin. His writings:
give the reader the false impression that Vatican II provided a mandate for the abuse when, in fact, it is not hinted at in any Council documents.
do not tell the reader that the practice was started by clergymen in defiance of established liturgical law but makes it sound as if it were a request from the laity.
do not make clear to the reader that the world’s bishops, when polled, voted overwhelmingly against Communion in the hand.
do not mention that permission was only to be a toleration of the abuse where it had already been established by 1969. It was not a green light for it to spread to other countries, like the United States
Communion in the Hand – Protestantism
400 years ago, Communion in the hand was introduced into “Christian” worship by men whose motives were rooted in defiance of Catholicism. The 16th Century Protestant revolutionaries (more politely but undeservedly called Protestant “reformers”) re-established Communion in the hand as a means of showing two things:
1) That they believed there was no such thing as “transubstantiation” and that the bread used at Communion time was just ordinary bread. In other words, the real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is just a “Papist superstition”, and that the bread is just bread and anybody can handle it.
2) Their belief that the minister of Communion is no different in essence from laymen. Now, it is Catholic teaching that the Sacrament of Holy Orders gives a man a spiritual, sacramental power, it imprints an indelible mark on his soul and makes him different in essence from laymen.
The Protestant Minister, however, is just an ordinary man who leads the hymns, reads the lessons and gives sermons to stir up the convictions of the believers. He can’t change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Our Lord, he can’t bless, he can’t forgive sins. He can’t do anything a normal layman can’t do. He is not a vehicle for sacramental grace.
The Protestant’s establishment of Communion in the Hand was their way of showing their rejection of belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, rejection of the Sacramental Priesthood — in short, to show their rejection of Catholicism altogether.
From that point on, Communion in the hand received a distinctly anti- Catholic significance. It was a recognizably anti-Catholic practice rooted in disbelief in the real presence of Christ and the priesthood.
Video’s detailing the great sacrilege’s that occur from people receiving communion in the hand.
This is a very powerful video, it will open your eyes.
Cardinal Burke Speaks about WHY we should only receive communion on the tongue.
Cardinal Arinze speaks on the Eucharist and receiving on the tongue while kneeling
Despite their differences in faith, Pope Benedict and a leading French rabbi see eye to eye on at least one thing: gay marriage. Pope Benedict, indicating the Vatican’s desire to forge alliances with other religions against gay marriage, on Friday said the family was threatened “to its foundations” by attempts to change its “true structure.” The pope threw the full weight of his office behind a study by France’s chief rabbi on the effects the legalization of gay marriage would have on children and society. The pope made his latest denunciation of gay marriage in a Christmas address to Vatican officials in which he blended religion, philosophy, anthropology and sociology to illustrate the position of the Roman Catholic Church. “There is no denying the crisis that threatens it to its foundations – especially in the Western world,” the pope said, adding it had to be protected because it is “the authentic setting in which to hand on the blueprint of human existence”.
The 85-year-old pope, speaking in the frescoed Clementine Hall of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, said the family was being threatened by “a false understanding of freedom” and a repudiation of life-long commitment in heterosexual marriage. “When such commitment is repudiated, the key figures of human existence likewise vanish: father, mother, child – essential elements of the experience of being human are lost,” the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholic said. The Vatican has gone on the offensive in response to gains for gay marriage in the United States and Europe, using every possible opportunity to denounce it through papal speeches or editorials in its newspaper or on its radio.
In some countries, the Catholic Church has joined forces at the local level with Jews, Muslims and members of other religions to oppose the legalization of gay marriage, in some cases presenting arguments based on legal, social and anthropological analyses rather than religious teachings. Significantly, the pope specifically praised as “profoundly moving” a study by France’s chief rabbi, Gilles Bernheim, which has become the subject of heated debate in that country. Bernheim, also a philosopher, argues that homosexual rights groups “will use gay marriage as a Trojan Horse” in a wider campaign to “deny sexual identity and erase sexual differences” and “undermine the heterosexual fundamentals of our society”. His study, “Gay Marriage, Parenthood and Adoption: What We Often Forget To Say”, argues that plans to legalize gay marriage are being made for “the exclusive profit of a tiny minority” and are often supported because of political correctness.
In his own speech on Friday, the pope, leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, repeated some of the concepts in the Bernheim study, including an assertion that children raised by gay couples would be more “objects” than individuals. Last month, voters in the U.S. states of Maryland, Maine and Washington state approved same-sex marriage, marking the first time marriage rights have been extended to same-sex couples by popular vote. Same-sex unions have been legalized in six states and the District of Columbia by lawmakers or courts. Also in November, Spain’s highest court upheld a gay marriage law, and in France the socialist government has unveiled a draft law that would allow gay marriage. . (Additional reporting by Tom Heneghen; Editing by Alison Williams)
I found a great apologetic’s course on how to engage and talk with Atheists. This has greatly helped me in the past when I was confronted with a person calling themselves atheist and not realizing that they themselves really didn’t understand what an atheist was and why they believed the way they did. I think you will all find this very informative and it will help you address those people who tell you that they do not believe in a ‘god’, even though the God they are refuting doesn’t compare to our true understanding of God.
It is not easy to give a simple guide to refuting atheism, simply because the philosophical belief can vary so much between individuals who all identify as atheists. It will be necessary for the Catholic apologist to identify the reasons why the person is an atheist, and then to address those specific issues. As pointed out elsewhere, it is necessary to determine what the person’s real reasons are, rather than that he or she says they are.
Who is this God fellow anyway?
Atheists deny the existence of “gods” – but that necessarily includes a definition of what “god” means. Few atheists realize this logical necessity, and it is up to the apologist to point this out. The word “god” is just a label, and without a definition the atheist doesn’t actually mean anything.
The apologist should ask the atheist, “Tell me about the god you don’t believe in.” Although this might seem totally illogical and impossible, the atheist will usually be able to give some characteristics of the being he does not believe in. These characteristics are normally a simplistic version of the Christian God – so the atheist denied-god is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, all-loving and so forth.
However, very few atheists have a picture of their denied-god which is, in fact, completely in-line with the Catholic definition of God. Atheists may confuse omnipresence with pantheism, or all-loving with being tolerant of evil (or, even, use the infamous “problem of evil” argument). In short, the atheist is rejecting a god which the Catholic apologist doesn’t believe in either!
Technically speaking, Catholics are pagan-atheists, and Hindu-atheists, and New Age-atheists – we deny the existence of these gods! Arguably, we are also Moslem-, Jewish- and perhaps even Protestant-atheists too.
The self-identified “atheist” will deny a particular sort of god – it will be necessary to find out what that god is like and then demonstrate (most likely) that that god is not the real God whom Catholics worship. The atheist can retain his cherished beliefs that a particular being cannot exists because they are not actually incompatible with worshiping the real God.
Lack of direct experience of God
If the person is an atheist because he or she has never had a direct experience of God, then all the Catholic apologist can do is pray and ask the person to pray. It is very difficult (some would say practically impossible) toargue someone to a belief in God through pure logical means – it requires a great intellect (on the part of the apologist and the atheist) and a very solid grounding in philosophy. Saint Thomas Aquinas came up with a number of very good arguments for the existence of God (and also the existence of the human soul) in his Summa Theologica, but these arguments themselves are very complicated and rely on foundational philosophical understanding which is simply beyond or not possessed by most people. Although many atheists claim to be highly educated and clever, this is often simply not the case.
Fortunately, God does not just want those who are intelligent enough to know about Him – He wishes for everyone to come to know and love Him. Most people have an experience of God through prayer – this is the normal method of communicating with God. If the person is an atheist just because he or she has never had any direct experience of God (remember, atheists may not be entirely honest about why they are atheists) then the apologist should ask the person to pray – in their own words, as humbly and genuinely as they can manage.
At that stage, the next phase of apologetics is out of the apologist’s hands – and is firmly in God’s! All the apologist can do is encourage the person to pray and – if they refuse or do not treat the exercise seriously, or have excessive cynicism about it – tell the person that he or she is being intellectually dishonest, and that there are clearly other – emotional reasons – why he or she is an atheist.
Religion hampers science or leads to violence
Many atheists use these arguments, but these arguments are logically flawed, and the apologist should be able to demonstrate this via the use of logic. In order for the argument that God is not real because religion hampers scientific progress / causes violence to be true, the following two points must be true;
Religion actually is a source of violence or hampers scientific progress
The fact that religion causes violence or hampers scientific progress means that it is untrue.
The second point is a logical jump – just because something causes problems does not mean it does not exist, nor does it mean that its claims are not true. It may mean that a person does not want it to be true, but that is not the same thing at all. From a logical perspective, one point does not lead to the other – there are plenty of things which cause violence (human greed etc.) which clearly exist.
In addition, religion when considered as a single phenomena doesn’t cause violence or hamper scientific progress – there are certain religions which do this. A Catholic apologist’s duty is to prove the validity of Catholicism – not to defend the entire notion of religion or every single religion in the world. The fact that certain religions have hampered scientific progress and / or caused violence and suffering can actually work to the apologist’s advantage; in that Catholicism hasn’t (when the historical evidence is examined dispassionately and accurately) and therefore is seen as being “better” than other religions.
The Problem of Evil
This is a predominant theme from atheists – it is exceptionally common and virtually every self-proclaimed atheist uses it in one form or another. It is, however, easily refuted and is – without wishing to sound too dismissive – really Basic Philosophy & Theology 101.
The argument runs as follows; if God is all powerful then He could prevent evil from happening. If God were all-loving, He would want to prevent evil from happening. Evil exists. Therefore, God is either not all-powerful or not all-loving. In either case, He is not worth worshiping (alternatively, God as defined by the Catholic Church does not exist, so I do not worship Him specifically).
Refuting this argument depends on refuting the premises and also refuting the logical structure which forms the conclusion from the premises – both are flawed.
Firstly, God is all-powerful. God could eliminate evil from the world. This is true and accurate.
Secondly, God is “all-loving” or infinitely compassionate. This is true, but there is an implicit third premise in this argument – that infinitely compassionate means that He would wish to prevent “evil” acts and is prepared to take the necessary steps to do so.
Thirdly, the term “evil” is never defined in this argument – what is evil? Asking the atheist will not get a clear answer – given the fact that the only clear definition is “that which is against God” and the atheist denies the existence of God. The atheist will probably give examples of evil – the Holocaust, child rape, murder, war, starvation. All of these things are certainly unpleasant, and many of them are actively evil (some of these things are simply the natural results of evil, selfish actions, and others – like hurricanes and floods – are just natural disasters).
The unspoken premise in this argument is that an all-loving God will intervene to prevent what the atheist defines as unpleasant. This is a key issue – if God interfered prevented everything that was genuinely evil (i.e. what He saw as evil) then no-one would be able to deny His existence, no-one would be able to have premarital sex, no-one would be able to advocate or have an abortion and so forth.
This would result in the complete subjugation of free-will. This is a necessarily logical step – God cannot prevent evil without removing free-will from people (and removing it not just to a degree of coercion – i.e. “Do as I say or you will suffer” – but rather totally removing it so that humanity has no free-will whatsoever and cannot choose to do anything.)
If there is no free-will and humanity cannot choose evil, then humanity cannot choose good either. A rock has no free-will; it is not a moral thing, but neither is it amoral. It simply exists.
So, what does it mean for God to be all-loving? It means that He wants us to choose Him and choose the good. He wants us to reject evil. God’s highest good is the correct exercise of free-will to choose Him. He sees death and suffering as, while very unpleasant for humanity, not evil in and of themselves. Death and suffering are often the results of evil actions, but they are not evil themselves.
God is both infinitely loving and infinitely just; in His love He gives everyone the chance to know Him and respond to Him, the chance to choose good. A person who has chosen God and who is killed by an evil man is in a better position than the evil man; he is going to Heaven. God is interested in allowing humanity to choose Him, not in trampling over their wills and turning them into inert objects who have no ability to choose good or evil.
A similar argument to the problem of evil is the idea that an infinitely loving God would never send people to Hell – this is basically the universalist heresy, but with the additional element that God Himself is denied, rather than just the existence of Hell.
A number of atheists will simply ask “If there is a God, why is there so much evil in the world?” A short and snappy answer (which is also very accurate) is “If there is no God, why is there so much good? Why do we even have the idea of good if there is no source for it?”
Individual scientific / historical / social / moral beliefs “prove” that religion is false
There are wide variety of specific belief systems (such as evolution, the notion that homosexuality is okay, the belief that the Church has been responsible for countless deaths) that atheists bring up as “evidence” that there is no god. Addressing these issues – although different in the details – involves basically the same tactic.
Firstly, determine if the belief being advanced is, in fact, true. Is the theory of evolution being advanced accurate, or are there holes in it? Is homosexuality actually moral from a purely secular standpoint, or does it lead to problems and issues which – even when God is taken out of the frame – are disadvantageous to society? If the initial belief isn’t accurate, then the whole argument falls apart.
Secondly, and most importantly, does this belief mean that religion isn’t true, or does it just mean that the person would find it easier and more appealing if it were not? If a person condemns the Church for forbidding the use of condoms, is that actually proof that God does not exist? Or is it simply proof that the Church (and God) have a different morality to the atheist? Disagreeing with God does not necessarily mean that God does not exist – it means that either you or God are wrong. When this point is reached, it will be necessary to show that the Church’s moral positions are – in fact – valid.
The Church contains corrupt individuals and therefore God can’t exist
There are two ways of refuting this argument – the first is by pure logic. Merely because corrupt people follow a religion does not mean that the religion is a sham! That is a total logical disconnect. It may be that an individual atheist does not wish to belong to a group which contains such members, but that does not prove that God does not exist. This is the argument of infallibility verses impeccability applied to the Church as a whole.
The second method is by simple example; there are many atheists who have killed people (the Chinese government, for example) – does this mean atheism isn’t real? Are Martin Luther King’s ideals untrue because he was an adulterer? Are the values of the Founding Fathers wrong because some of them kept slaves? Or are these people just hypocrites?
The truth of a position is not determined by the morality of those who profess to believe it. If a doctor who says that people must lose weight for their health and then dies weighing 350lbs of a heart attack, that does not mean his science was wrong – it means that he just didn’t practice what he preached!
The Apologist Strikes Back!
The above examples are all reactive not proactive. The apologist reacts to objections raised by the atheist. However, this should not be the only tactic the Catholic apologist has. Below are a number of active methods of refuting atheism – asking questions and raising objections to that belief!
Humanity’s tendency towards depravity
This is an excellent argument to use against evolutionists – not against evolution itself, but rather against atheism.
Most atheists, if asked, will agree that humanity is not morally perfect – there is evil and depravity in human nature. Regardless of what source they ascribe this to (many will ascribe it to “religious men trying to control people!”) the fact remains that it has to have an ultimate source which is external to human consciousness. While people have invented religions to control people and take their money, where did the idea that this could be done come from? Human depravity is not an advantageous trait – it damages the group (because it causes one individual to desire more resources and to hurt others) and is therefore not a beneficial survival trait. It in fact confers no survival advantage to be selfish in terms of resources for a co-operative creature like humanity (although for a lone hunter – like a cat – this would be advantageous.) Most evolutionists think that humanity is genetically predisposed towards a communal living and hunting pattern.
Most theories of evolution maintain that a non-desirable survival trait will rapidly be weeded out of the gene pool – how does this trait (which is not desirable given humanity’s nature as a pack animal) survive?
The only logical answer is that either i) it is external to evolution and genetics (and is therefore attributable to what? The Church tells us that the Fall is responsible) or ii) evolution is flawed (and if evolution is flawed, what made life?)
This is an appealing argument to use, but be warned that a number of atheists will either deny humanity’s depravity, or will state that it is – in fact – a valid survival mechanism (despite all evidence to the contrary!)
Pascal’s Wager is truly effective only against agnostics, although it will work on a number of atheists who haven’t thought their position through. In brief, Pascal’s Wager states that it is better to believe in God than not because the benefit of believing is potentially infinite (Heaven) and the downside of not believing (Hell) is potentially infinite. The actual act of believing requires only a finite expenditure of energy (as we are finite creatures) therefore it is always worth believing and never worth not believing.
Pascal’s Wager sounds exceptionally appealing, but clever people may notice that there is a flaw in it. The wager speaks of belief and it is impossible to act belief through an act of will. What it is possible to do is behave in a certain manner. The hope of Pascal’s Wager rests on the notion that God will judge deeds rather than just beliefs. Fortunately, this is the correct teaching and is supported by Catholic theology!
Pascal’s Wager does not work very well on died-in-the-wool atheists – but it is very effective on genuine agnostics. Agnostics are not sure if there is a god, but generally speaking act as if they are very sure there is not! Pascal’s Wager can be used to suggest to them that – if they are genuinely not sure (as opposed to tied to atheism because of its emotional appeal) – then it is always better to act in a Christian manner. Once someone is praying and conforming their morality to the Christian ideal they are far more likely to actually become a Christian.
Be honest with the atheist
This is perhaps the hardest of all the proactive tactics – be honest with the atheist. You should tell him or her why you think he or she is an atheist; address the emotional appeal of atheism right at the heart. Tell the atheist that he or she is afraid of having to change, of ridicule, of having to waste Sunday mornings. Very often, an atheist will say something like, “So, you think I am going to Hell because I am in a homosexual relationship?” – the primary reason he does not believe is because he would have to change his lifestyle.
The apologist should always be ready to “call out” an atheist – to tell him or her the real reason why he or she rejects God. Very often, this will end the conversation – no-one likes to be called a liar or a coward (which is what this basically is). But the fact remains that unless the real reasons for atheism are addressed they will never be overcome.
Very often, an atheist will be a “fundamentalist atheist” – which means someone who, when presented with any evidence which challenges the position “there is no God”, immediately says that the evidence is flawed, or who says there must be some other explanation. Or, people may be so attached to their lifestyles or so poisoned against religion, for whatever reason, that intellectual arguments will have no effect. With people such as this, apologetics is – sadly – a complete waste of time.
At this stage, the responsibility of a Catholic apologist is twofold;
To pray for the person – the apologist might not be able to get through to the person, but God certainly can!
To ensure that – by using these apologetics techniques against the people the atheist talks to – he or she does not have free rein to spread his or her falsehoods. Apologetics may not be able to convince the atheist to become a Christian, but it might be able to stop Christians from becoming atheists!