Archive for February, 2011

Many non-Catholics wonder why the Pope and most Catholic clergy wear what resembles to be a yarmulke, the little jewish skullcap eventhough Catholics have probably been wearing skullcaps before it became a popular jewish headgear. To be accurate the Pope does not wear a yarmulke or kippah, but a zucchetto, a name which comes from the Italian expression little gourd, as for the vegetable zucchini, since the hat resembles a small pumpkin cut in half.  However, the official Latin name for the Pope’s cap is Pileolus. It is also called Soli Deo, Latin for God alone, to denote that those wearing such hat have consecrated their lives to the Lord.

The skull cap became popular among the Jews, since the XIX century, as the most common form of kippah. The popularization was such that sometimes the skullcap came to have the name ‘Jewish cap’ synonymous with yarmulke. The skullcap is used as a yarmulke in remembrance of divine sovereignty and as a symbol of Jewish cultural identity. There is no standard materials or shape. It is usually made of knitting , silk, velvet or synthetic fabrics and stitched into segments or in one piece.

The Pileolus or Soli Deo became a customary part of the Catholic headgear in the XIII century, when it became widely used by Franciscan Monks; “St. Francis before Honorius III”, painted about 1290 in the upper church of St. Francis at Assisi. It is seen also under the tiara in the effigy on the tomb of Clement VI (d. 1352) at La Chaise-Dieu. The figures on the several tombs of bishops of the fifteenth century in the Roman churches show the zucchetto under the mitre. In the “Ordo” of Jacobus Gajetanus (about 1311) the zucchetto is mentioned in connection with the hat of the cardinals (cap. cxviii), and with the mitre in the “Ordo” of Petrus Amelii (cap. cxliv.), which appeared about 1400.

According to Catholic hierarchy, different color pileolus denote different status within the Catholic clergy, thus the Pope wears a white zuccheto, cardinals wear red ones, bishops wear purple and priests wear black zucchetos. This tradition dates back to the old testament,  in which jewish priests were required to cover their heads in the presence of God as a sign of humility. Moreover, all clerics who have episcopal character retain the skullcap for most of the mass, removing it at the beginning of the canon by placing it on completion of the fellowship. The other clerics can not use it outside of the liturgy. 

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Holy Father in Prayer

Let us Pray with the Holy Father:

February 2011

General Intention: That the family may be respected by all in its identity and that its irreplaceable contribution to all of society be recognized.

Missionary Intention: That in the mission territories where the struggle against disease is most urgent, Christian communities may witness to the presence of Christ to those who suffer.

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According to Wikipedia the “Once Saved, Always Saved”, is a Christian teaching which holds that once a person is saved they can never lose their salvation. This notion was formulated by Calvin in the 1600’s and is shared by most Evangelical and reformed Protestant churches, such as the Church of England, as it is stated in the Westminster Confession of faith. However, there are some variations of the original doctrine of Calvin – no surprise here, protestants must do what they do best: Protest. Those who didn’t entirely agree with Calvin felt they needed to make changes… I believe the Baptist Church holds a non-Calvinistic OSAS doctrine.

Anyhow, Calvin sustained that a true believer can never lose his/her salvation. His doctrine argues that although individuals are free and responsible, they cannot choose salvation of their own accord. Rather, God selected certain individuals before the world began to whom he would draw to faith. According to Calvinism, since faith is not something they choose to do, but rather a work that God performs in them, it cannot be walked away from. Note that this Calvinist notion also denies the gift of Free Will.

Many Protestants, mainly born-again Evangelicals, like to quote verses such as Romans 10:9 which states that if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. They mention other passages where assurance of salvation is made to those who believe in Christ, in order to defend their view:

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:28

There are two main problems with this approach. Most protestants like to think of salvation as a one-time event, not an ongoing process. Also it is tremendously common for Evangelicals to assert on isolated passages without the back-drop of the whole context of the Bible. In the case of John 10:28, which has a similar language to Romans 8:39, Jesus is telling us that no-one can take a person’s salvation away, but He is not saying that an individual can’t refuse the free-gift of salvation offered by God, through his own rejection or refusal to lead a life pleasing to God. In other words, one cannot be snatched away, but one can walk away. It all comes down to free will, which Calvin seems to ignore in his doctrinal formulation.

What else does the bible say?

Here are a few examples that refute OSAS:

New Testament:

Matthew 7: 21-23. Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but the one who shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name have done many wonderful works? And then will I confess to them, I never knew you depart from me, you who work iniquity.

Phi. 2:12 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;”

Matthew 24:13 – But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

1Pe 4:18 Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

Heb 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

Jas 5:19-20 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

Old Testament:

Num 14:11-12 Then the LORD said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them…”

1Sa 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.”

1Sa 28:6 -7 And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her…”

Pro 2:13 …From those who leave the paths of uprightness To walk in the ways of darkness…

Those who believe in the doctrine of eternal security often wonder why Catholics aren’t terrified of the possibility of being lost since we reject the assurance that they believe to possess. I would explain to them that Catholics neither presume God’s grace or despair of it. I would explain we are created in the image and likeness of God, and as a point to demonstrate the reality of free will in our experience and as an attribute that we possess as children of God.”

But what is the Catholic view on Salvation? Read more on the Catholic Doctrine of Salvation.

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On the first day he created a YouTube channel. On the second day he embraced social networking. On the third day, the Pope went mobile.

The Catholic Church has blessed “Confession,” a new iPhone app, according to a report from Reuters. Billed as the “perfect aid for every penitent,” the $2 app from Little iApps helps worshippers track sins and pay penance.

In addition to a step-by-step guide to the sacrament, Confession explores your conscience through a personalized examination of your sex, age, and marital status. Password-protected profiles mean than more than one sinner can confess with privacy.

Despite looking almost as much fun as the real thing, the app doesn’t aim to replace traditional confession—instead, it’s a tool to help users understand their actions before visiting their priest. To this, the church approves: in what appears to be a first, senior officials in America bestowed their seal of approval to a mobile phone application.

Granted, this isn’t the first time the church has embraced technology. In early 2009, the church launched a Vatican YouTube channel. At last month’s 45th World Communications Day, Pope Benedict also urged Catholics to expand their relationships by embracing social-networking sites like Facebook. In this context, the church’s e-embrace of Confession computes.

“Our desire is to invite Catholics to engage in their faith through digital technology,” explained Patrick Leinen, developer at Little iApps. “Taking to heart Pope Benedict XVI’s message from last years’ World Communications Address, our goal with this project is to offer a digital application that is truly ‘new media’ at the service of the word.”

Confession is available now through the iTunes App Store for $1.99. I for one plan to indulge, if only to see if the app scales to the demands of a devout sinner.


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