Archive for June, 2011

  1. “I need time for myself.”Priests,of course,need time for themselves, especially for prayer. Yet, a priest is a priest – always. Apart from the times as recreation,vacation,etc, there is no need to dress as a layman.  The priest should take his personal time as a priest and nothing else. Like a mother is always a mother and cannot take a vacation from her motherly vocation  just by wearing an ‘off-duty’ outfit. She never stops being a mother even when on vacation!
  2. “I want to relax.”Priests make a big mistake when they equate wearing the collar with not being relaxed, and relaxing with being out of the collar. The naturalness of the priest should include wearing the collar without constantly averting to it. We should go about our daily duties,which include relaxing,without feeling uncomfortable about our priestly garb. It should become second nature to us.
  3. “My ministerial and personal lives are separate.”To have a “split personality”is never healthy. No priest can temporarily put his priesthood on the shelf. To hide one’s priesthood may often be symptomatic of a desire to engage in something sinful,or – at the very least – disedifying.
  4. “I need diversion.” If you mean the type of diversion that you would be ashamed to be seen enjoying while in a collar,then forget the diversion,not the collar.
  5. “Those who always wear their collars are insecure and seek to hide behind their uniforms.”The Roman collar is hardly a work uniform which is removed at the end of one’s day. Rather,the tried and true wisdom of the Church has determined that such garb best represents who the priest is. The collar is the established manner in which ordained ministers live out their ecclesial vocations both in the private and public spheres. True,some may think themselves better because of what they wear. But the collar and habit should not be dismissed out-of-hand on that basis. Priests and religious are weak and tempted. Wearing the appropriate clothing can strengthen those who totter on the brink of grave sin. On the other hand,those who do not want to appear in public as they really are seem to be suffering from a type of insecurity.
  6. “I do not want to stand out in a crowd.” This is part of the glory and at times the sacrifice of being God’s chosen servant:priests stand out not because of their own accomplishments or merits,but because they represent Jesus Christ. Priests are different,but not thereby strange.
  7. “The Roman collar erects a barrier between me and my people.” Some priests have publicly stated such. (For example,a priest-tribunal official and another priest involved in ecumenical work both asserted the necessity of not wearing the Roman collar for fear that they would insult non-Catholics and those hostile to Church teaching.) Could it be that some think that what the collar signifies – Jesus Christ,the Catholic Church,the priesthood – are obstacles? Priests must relate to others as priests,never in spite of being priests.
  8. I can’t be one of the guys when I am ‘dressed up.”‘ To which we answer,“Good,because a priest is never just one of the guys.”Furthermore,wearing the collar is not “dressing up.”Rather,a priest wearing lay clothing (apart from legitimate exceptions) is himself constantly dressing up as someone he is not.
  9. “I don’t want to offend non-Catholics or be provocative in our pluralistic society.” Some took offense at Jesus as he walked the streets of Palestine. Are we trying to be “nicer”than he? Are we perhaps afraid to suffer for the sake of his name?
  10. “Clerical clothing is for a clerical Church – I believe in the radical equality of all believers.” There is no such thing as a clerical Church which will pass away. There is just one Church,and the priesthood is a constitutive part of the Church which cannot be abolished. The equality of all believers does not contradict the diversity of vocations and states of life in the Church. For priests to self-exempt themselves from one of the duties of priestly life – the wearing of the Roman collar – is a form of clericalism which denies the faithful their right to know who their priests are in order to call upon them for priestly ministrations whenever necessary.
  11. “My work with young people is hampered by the collar.” Many priests attest that their ministry to youth is enhanced,not hindered,by the wearing of the collar. Young men and women cannot help but detect the priest’s love for and dedication to the Lord and the Church. Since there is no reason for the priest to demonstrate that “I’m just like you”(because he is not) the priest can be content to wear his collar when around young people,knowing that he has nothing to prove or hide. He need only show the love and compassion of the Savior.
  12. “Clothes do not make the man – the people of God can see my priesthood by the way I live,not by the way I dress.” This statement as it stands is true. But the legitimate,Church-sanctioned vesture of the priest does not somehow mask who he is;instead,it highlights that he is indeed a priest who is required by the Church to dress accordingly as he seeks to imitate the First Priest.
  13. External symbols are not my thing – I am who I am,not what other people want me to be.” Exactly. As priests,we should be priests and happily,humbly give that clear message to others. When collars were quickly taken off a few decades ago,the common argument proclaimed was:“What’s really important is what’s inside me . . . I don’t need an article of clothing to define my priesthood.”Our lives should unabashedly display these characteristics;otherwise,we might be simply seeking our own interests and not Christ’s. We use symbols all the time,and need not be embarrassed by them. To obediently and humbly wear the collar expresses one’s submission to the authority of God and his Holy Church.
  14. “Priests who always wear the Roman collar are rigid,arch-conservative,inflexible,elitist,vain and selfish attention-seekers. I am not one of them.” The assertion is made that priests who dress as priests possess an unhealthy desire to be continually needed and recognized;they only wear the collar for adulation and to “lord it over”the laity;they are looking for “clergy discounts”and “freebies”at stores and restaurants. That is an unfair assessment of men who are trying to live as the Church mandates. The collar should mean a simplicity of life and a corresponding humility before Almighty God. For a priest to say,“I’m not like those poor guys who wear this Tridentine-imposed relic of clericalism,”is perhaps a means of easing his conscience when it rebukes him for not doing what the Church demands of her ministers.

Source: Msgr. Charles M. Mangan &Father Gerald E. Murray. “Why a priest should wear his Roman collar.”Homiletic &Pastoral Review (June,1995).

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Many modern Christians vehemently reject the Church as the Teaching authority of the Christian faith. They claim to accept only what is explicitly taught in or can be proven by Scriptures, a doctrine called Sola Scriptura. This, obviously, not only generates friction between the two contrary views, but it poses a threat to the sound teaching of the faith, as more and more groups seem to emerge with their own ‘doctrines’ and beliefs, since they submit to no authoritative body.

I was recently involved in a discussion with a Bible Christian who refused to accept the doctrine of  Infant Baptism, in spite of   the many evidences, both in the Bible and more explicitly in the writings of the Church Fathers, that the early Christians indeed practiced children baptism already in the time of the Apostles. This debate becomes confusing to me when Evangelicals fail to explain why they accept the Church’s authority, for example, in regards to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and not on other issues. 

The Holy Trinity doctrine was not elaborated until later in Christianity because,  although the  Bible speaks of three distinct persons, it does not clearly state that they are One, as we understand the Holy Trinity today. Therefore, since  it was not a doctrine that was literally taught in the Scriptures, it had to be revealed to the Church by the Holy Spirit so as to prevent the spreading of heresies that emerged in the first four centuries of Christianity regarding the divinity of Our Lord.  In other words, the Holy Trinity doctrine was born of the discernment of the early Church Fathers, rather than Scriptures alone. In fact, the Church developed it from the biblical language used in New Testament passages such as the baptismal formula in Matthew 28:19, but it only took substantially its present form by the end of the 4th century as a result of controversies concerning the proper sense in which to apply to God and Christ terms such as “person”, “nature”, “essence”, and “substance”.[5][6][7][8] ( source Wikipedia)

Trinitarianism contrasts with Nontrinitarian positions which include Binitarianism (one deity/two persons), Unitarianism (one deity/one person), the Oneness or Modalism belief, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints‘ view of the Godhead as three separate beings who are one in purpose rather than essence.

Now, going back to the to the topic of  infant baptism; this doctrine was notoriously supported by the early Church Fathers as it was considered an Apostolic Teaching which had been passed on through Sacred Tradition. In spite of many historical evidence for this, many modern Christians uncritically oppose to  it simply because infant baptism is not widely accepted amongst their fellow Bible Christians.

  • Origen’s (185-254 A.D.) view of baptism is direct and transparent:

“For what is sin? Could a child who has only just been born commit a sin? And yet he has sin for which it is commanded to offer a sacrifice, as Job 14:4ff and Psalm 51:5-7 show. For this reason the Church received from the Apostles the tradition to administer baptism to the children also. For the men to whom the secrets of divine mysteries had been entrusted knew that in everyone there were genuine sinful defilements, which had to be washed away with water and the Spirit.”

In the Catholic tradition, infants are baptized because of the stain of the original sin, however children are confirmed at around the age 12 or older, so that they can fully receive the gifts of the  Holy Spirit – same as the Apostles at Pentecost – and become ‘heralds’ of Christ. The Catholic Church sometimes refer to this profession of faith or Chrism as a ‘personal pentecost’, whereby we can clearly see that the element of faith is not merely of secondary importance for Catholics, but a fundamental aspect of personal conversion.

Altogether Christians have many more reasons to accept the Church’s discernment on infant baptism than Bible Christians have to reject it. It was to the Church that the Lord promised to send the Holy Spirit to teach and safeguard the truth.  It is the Church that St Paul called the ‘Pillar and the Ground of the Truth’ ( 1 Tim 3:14,15). It is not for individual believers the task of formulating ‘doctrines’ or interpreting the divine revelation, for this very reason Our Lord conducted an apostolate with the twelve who at Pentecost, empowered by the Holy Spirit, begun the mission of the Church which is to preach the Gospel in truth and with authority to all nations!

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Catholics have grown used to being questioned about their faith and beliefs. We hear all sorts of pre-conceived ideas posed on to us in question format, such as ‘Do you worship statues?’  or ‘Why confess to a priest?’ and so on…  And as many of us know, should one fail to reply to any such questions convincently enough, one better be prepared to be bombarded with bible verses and rhetoric that ‘prove’ our ‘errors’…

Below is a challenged designed for bible Christians that every Catholic should be familiar with:

Please for more of similar material visit The Catholic Knight

Where did the Bible come from? When was it codified? What books were first listed as belonging in the Christian canon? How has the canon changed over time in various groups? What books were included in the first edition of the King James Bible? When did the Council of Jamnia take place, who were its members, and what did it do?

Before the Books of the Bible were canonized, how was the Gospel spread? Before the printing press was invented some one-thousand and five hundred years after Christ, how was the Gospel spread? How do the answers to these questions apply to the concept of “sola scriptura,” or the “Bible alone” as the rule of faith? What does 2 Peter 3:16 warn against? 2 Peter 1:20-21 says Scripture is of ___ ____________ _____________? What does the word “profitable” mean? In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, what does the word “profitable” mean? Does “profitable” mean “is sufficient for” in any dictionary? Was there a New Testament canon at the time Paul wrote that verse? If not, then what Scripture was he referring to?

What do 2 Thessalonians 2:15, 2 Thessalonians 3:6 and 1 Corinthians 11:2 say about Tradition? When did this Tradition stop being in effect? What did Jesus mean when He told his followers to heed those who sat on the Chair of Moses in Matthew 23:2? What does that say about Jesus’ expectations for his followers to obey earthly authority?

What does 1 Timothy 3:15 indicate is the rule of faith? What do you believe is the rule of faith, and why?

The man to whom Jesus is speaking in Matthew 16:18-19: what was his name before those verses? What was his name after those verses? What does that name mean? What language did Jesus speak? What is the name given to this man in Jesus’ original language? What does that word mean? What other people in the Bible were given name changes? What did name changes signify in Hebrew life? What metaphoric object does Jesus give the man in Matthew 16:18-19? What does this symbolize? What did they symbolize in Isaiah 22? What are “binding and loosing”?

If Christ is a High Priest, and we are members of His royal priesthood, what are the offerings of each? If Christ is a High Priest forever, can his offerings have stopped? Did the fact that the Israelites were members of the royal priesthood negate the ordained Levite priesthood? Did the New Testament Church have bishops, elders (presbyteros, priests), and deacons or was it non-hierarchical? What is the rebellion of Korah mentioned in Jude 1:11? (hint: see Numbers 16:3) What does it mean that Jesus is a “High Priest after the order of Melchizedek”? In John 6:52-58, what is the meaning of the word “is”? In I Corinthians 11:23-30, why does Paul say some people become sick — and what does that indicate to you? Since Messiah has come, where today are the incense and “pure offering” offered up as predicted in Malachi 1:10-11? What is the root word of the word “priest”? What is the root word of the word “presbyter”?

How does Paul refer to himself in 1 Corinthians 4:14-15? In what way do the Apostles treat new Christians according to 1 Thessalonians 2:11? How does Paul refer to Isaac in Romans 9:10? How does John address his audience in 1 John 2:13?

What does I Peter 3:18-21 say baptism does? Whom does Acts 2:38-39 say that baptism is for? Whom does it indicate the promise of baptism is for? What does Colossians 2:11-12 compare baptism with? When were people circumcised to enter into the Old Covenant (i.e., at what age)? Did or did not Paul baptize entire households? In John 3:1-7, it says we are to be baptized in the Spirit and _______? In Whose name are we to be baptized according to Matthew 28:19? Do you believe something different about Baptism than what these verses teach? If so, why? How did the earliest Christians baptize according to the non-canonical writings of the earliest Christians (e.g., the Didache, written in about 50 AD)?

According to Acts 8:14-17 and Acts 19:5-6, what did Peter, Paul and John do in addition to baptizing? Do you believe that what they did is unimportant? If so, why?

What do Proverbs 28:13 and 1 John 1:9 say we should do with our sins? What authority was given to the twelve who were with Jesus in the Upper Room in John 20:21-23? What power was given specifically to Simon Peter in Matthew 16:19? What sort of ministry is described in 2 Corinthians 5:18? Do you believe something different than what these verses teach? If so, why?

How does James 5:14 describe how the elders (presbyters, priests) dealt with the sick? What did they use to help the sick? Does the faith community you’re involved with do this? If not, why not?

What does Matthew 19:6 say about marriages that are put together by God? Does your faith community teach something different? If so, why?

Mark 12:26-27 says that God is the God of what three people? What does it say about these three people (i.e., what condition are they in)? Is God the God of Abraham? Is God the God of the dead? How can he be both the God of Abraham but not the God of the dead but the living? What does Revelation 6:9-10 say about what the “souls of them that were slain” are doing? Where are those souls? What does Hebrews 12:1 say we are surrounded by? Who are they? What does this say about those who die in Christ? Does your faith community teach something different? If so, why?

What woman in Scripture gave birth to the man who was to rule all nations? Where does Revelation 12 say this woman is? What does the word “magnify” mean? In Luke 1:46-49, what does “magnify” mean? Who is the “Queen in Gold” of Psalm 45:10-17? In what ways does this Psalm make Luke 1:48 clear?

If Christ is the New Adam Christ (Romans 5:14-15, 1 Corinthians 15:22, 1 Corinthians 15:45), who is the New Eve? Who are the only two people in the Old Testament to have been without original sin from their first moments?

What three things did the Ark of the Covenant have within it (hint: see Hebrews 9:4)? What did Mary carry within her and in what ways are the contents of the Ark similar? Compare Luke 1:39-56 and 2 Samuel 6:2-16: in what ways are the Ark of the Covenant and Mary similar?

What is the Jewish “Mourner’s Kaddish” (or “Quaddish”) and why is it prayed? What is the meaning of 1 Corinthians 3:13-15? What does Revelation 21:27 say about the unclean? If you were to die right now, today, would you be clean enough to stand before Almighty God? For whom was Paul praying in 2 Timothy 1:16-18 and what was his condition at that time?

What does James 2:24 say about how we are justified? What kind of faith is mentioned in Galatians 5:6? Whom does Jesus say will enter the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 7:21? What does Ephesians 2:8-9 say about the possibility of saving ourselves through works? What does that verse say we are saved by? Does your faith community teach either salvation by faith alone or by works alone? If so, why?

What does Hebrews 3:12-14 indicate about the possibility of departing from God? Under what conditions does it say we can be “partakers of Christ”? In what way does Philippians 2:12 say we should approach salvation? Do you approach salvation in this way? If not, why not? Are babies saved? Are 5 year olds saved? 19 year olds? At what point, if any, do the conditions for salvation change and how do your answers affect the concept of “once saved, always saved”?

What does Acts 7:51 say about the ability to resist the Holy Spirit? What does this mean in terms of the existence of free will? Does your faith community teach something different about free will? If so, why?

What does Luke 23:34 indicate about those who act in ignorance? What does Romans 9:15 indicate about the ultimate sovereignty of God?

Revelation 17:15-18 speaks of a whore which is “that great city.” What is this city according to Revelation 11:8? Where was Christ crucified?

How did the Jewish historian, Josephus, describe the Temple in Jerusalem that was destroyed in A.D. 70?

Why does Jesus say He came according to John 12:25-27? What is the nature of the Kingdom according to John 18:36? How long has this been the nature of the Kingdom according to Matthew 25:34? What do those three verses say to those who might believe Jesus came (and will come again) to set up an earthly kingdom? Does Galatians 3:7-29 differentiate between the “seed of Abraham” and the Church? Who is a Jew according to Romans 2:28-29? With whom is the New Covenant made according to Jeremiah 31:31-34? Are there people who say they are Jews but are not according to Revelation 2:9 and 3:9? Given these verses, are people properly referred to as “Gentiles” when they enter the New Covenant? Did God keep His promises to the ancient Israelites concerning the Holy Land according to Joshua 21: 43-45, 1 Kings 8: 56, Nehemiah 9: 7-8? Why did they lose their rights to the Holy Land according to Deuteronomy 28: 58-68?

What are the Talmud and Kabbalah? What does the Talmud say about Jesus Christ and Mary? How is modern Judaism different from the religion of the Old Testament?

What objects are described in 1 Kings 6:29? What about in Ezekiel 41:17-19? What does this mean in light of Exodus 20:4?

Did the religion of the Old Testament have a sense of sacred time, sacred space, and sacred objects? Is there anything in the New Testament that indicates the concept of consecrated things/places/times has changed? What media does God use to effect miracles in:

Joshua 3:15; 1 Samuel 4-6; and 2 Samuel 11-1?______________

Numbers 21:9?______________

2nd Kings 13:21?______________

Mark 5:25?______________

Acts 5:15?______________

Acts 19:12?______________

What is the true relationship of the people described as “brothers” in: Genesis 11:26-28 and Genesis 14:14? In Genesis 29:15? In 1 Chronicles 23:21-22? In 2 Kings 10:13-14? In Deuteronomy 23:7 and Jeremiah 34:9? In Matthew 23:8? In John 20:17-18 and Matthew 12:49? In 1 Corinthians 15:6? Who is the real mother of “James, the brother of Jesus” according to your view of these verses: Matthew 27: 55-56, Mark 3:18, Mark 15:40, John 19:25, and Jude 1? What does “firstborn” mean (hint: see Exodus 13:2, Exodus 13:14-15, Numbers 18:15)?

What is “Easter” called in Latin? In Italy, France and Spain, Portugal or Brazil? What is it called in Germany, Sweden, and Denmark? What do Byzantine Catholics call it? What is the common root word for all these names? What does that root word indicate about the origins of the holy day known in English speaking countries as “Easter”?

Everyone wants to be part of a “New Testament-style Church” — but few are the people who read what the earliest Christians wrote! If worshipping and believing like the Apostles did are, indeed, what you want, then why haven’t you read thoroughly Sacred Scripture, the Didache (the first century “Teachings of the Twelve Apostles”), Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, John Chrysostom, Augustine (all of him, not just the parts that, pulled out of context, seem to support various modern positions!), Hippolytus, etc. Even Origen and Tertullian give witness to what the early Christians believed… How can you know what the earliest Church was like if you don’t look? What is holding you back? If you read these Early Christian Writings, ask yourself: what Church today is like the Church they described? What Church today teaches Bible-based answers to the questions above?

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When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, President Barack Obama has received much flack for his recent policy stand. The president effectively “reversed” U.S. policy on the matter, siding with the Palestinians on return to the pre-1967 borders, much to the chagrin of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with Obama shortly after, and conservative ideologues across the United States. For decades, Israel has been considered America’s closest ally in the Middle East, in spite of occasional clashes between the CIA and the Mussad, along with Israeli spies apprehended in the United States. This close relationship between our two governments has led to the sharing of vital intelligence information and untold billions of dollars in American foreign aid to the Israeli government. The alliance has been more than political. At times it has taken on a religious fervor. American Evangelicals have for decades supported Israel unconditionally. This is because of the purely Evangelical Protestant belief system called Dispensational Theology.

To summarize, Dispensationalism is the doctrine that God has two “chosen peoples” not one. His first chosen people are the Jews and this relationship to them is codified in the Old Testament. Therefore the Jewish people should have their home in the promised land of the Old Testament and should be permitted to occupy all of it (because God wills it) and rebuild their ancient civilization, including their religious temple for sacrificial purposes. God’s second chosen people are the Christians, which is codified by the New Testament, who live within the spiritual entity called “the church” and this is entirely separate to the nation-state of Israel. The job of the church in these latter times, according to Dispensationalism, is to peach the gospel and support the nation-state of Israel. Since preaching the gospel and supporting the nation-state of Israel are virtually synonymous, according to Dispensationalism, they are really one in the same purpose. So as far as Evangelical Protestants are concerned, a good Jew migrates to Israel, while a good Christian supports him. This is God’s plan for the latter times, as far as contemporary Evangelical Protestantism teaches today. For Christians, the motive is to await the “rapture” and Second Coming of Christ. For Dispensationalism teaches that once all the Jews have finally migrated back to the nation-state of Israel, settled all the land, and rebuilt their temple, then Jesus Christ will return to “rapture” the church and usher in the End Times. This is why Evangelical televangelists can be seen every Sunday morning expressing their unwavering support for the Zionist state and proclaiming that failure to do so is tantamount to a lack of Christian faith. 

The Evangelical position on many doctrines clash with Catholic teaching, and in this case, the Evangelical doctrine of Dispensationalism is so much at odds with the teachings of the Catholic Church that no Catholic can subscribe to it in good faith, and any political belief that might even remotely relate to it must be questioned. To build political policy based on a religious heresy is to set nations up for war, and it looks like that is exactly what has happened with America’s unwavering support of Israel to the point of virtually giving them a blank check to do whatever they want.

Two political entities are at work here.

The first political entity is Zionism, and the second is the Republican Party. Neither has the best interest of Evangelical Christians in mind, but both use the Evangelical doctrine of Dispensationalism to their advantage. Zionism is a worldwide political movement. Zionism and Judaism are not the same. Judaism is just a religion. While as Zionism is the political mindset that Jews (both religious and non-religious) should have the right to retake their ancestral homeland and rebuild the glory that once was Zion (ancient Israel). Zionists have been at work to accomplish this goal for about a hundred years, and initially this was against the teachings of their most prominent Jewish rabbis, who had always previously taught that the promised Messiah must come first. The bulk of their dreams were realized in 1948 when Israel was declared a “Jewish nation.” Prior to that, Jews living in the region, were at peace with their Arab neighbors. Conflicts between Jews and Muslims were minimal and insignificant. After the creation of the State of Israel, immediate war followed. Israel has been in a state of perpetual war ever since with no end in sight. A few Jewish rabbis have remained faithful to their ancient teachings regarding the Messiah and their ancestral homeland, and they say the reason why Israel is in a state of perpetual war is because Zionists have thwarted the will of God. They say God does not want the Jewish people to retake their ancestral homeland until AFTER the Messiah comes, and that the Messiah will lead them back to their ancestral homeland without conflict and strife. These Jewish rabbis say the reason why the nation-state of Israel suffers so much conflict today is because it does not have the blessing of God and that Jews in the region should work toward dismantling the “Jewish state” in favor of creating a secular state that is more hospitable to Jews, Muslims and Christians. Of course these few remaining faithful rabbis are virtually ignored by the Zionists, who rely heavily on American support in the Republican Party.

The second political entity of the Republican Party is heavily supported by the oil industry, freemasons and Western globalists. To understand this relationship we need to understand just a bit about “peak oil.” When it comes to the Republican Party it all comes back to money. You see “peak oil” is defined as the time when consumption of oil matches and surpasses the amount of oil that can be extracted from oil reserves. This is not to say the oil reserves are exhausted — far from it. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that these oil reserves are not “fossil fuels” but are in actuality a byproduct of continental plate tectonics. Thus oil may very well be a renewable energy. However, in spite of that, it can only be extracted from the earth so fast, due to limitations in technology. That being said, the United States hit it’s “peak oil” production for American soil back in the 1970s. This is when we heavily shifted to foreign oil consumption, and it is also why we refuse to explore new oil reserves in Alaska. We are saving Alaskan oil reserves for when we hit the worldwide “peak oil” production. When that happens, gasoline will quickly jump to $10/gallon and our politicians hope our Alaskan oil reserves will keep our military operational while the world seeks another source of energy. In the mean time, we hope to exhaust everyone else’s oil reserves. The only problem here is that Russia, Europe and China are competing with us on this. Our close alliance with Europe causes us to help each other in opposition to Russia and China. This explains our foreign policy in the Middle East. It really is all about oil. You see, our corporations in the United States and Europe try to make business deals with Middle Eastern regimes. If they cooperate with us, we make them rich. If they decide to do business with Russia or China instead, we send in CIA operatives to stir up a revolution against that regime. If it works, we deal with the new regime that takes over. If it doesn’t work, then we send in our military under the pretense of “fighting terrorism” and “defending democracy.” We erect a new regime using our military and then cut oil deals with them. It really has little to do with either terrorism or democracy. But it does have everything to do with positioning ourselves for the coming worldwide “peak oil” economy. Now don’t blame the Republicans for this entirely. The Democratic Party plays this game too, as is evidenced by the actions of President Bill Clinton in the 1990s and President Barack Obama today. However, the Republicans are the architects to be sure, as they are mostly aligned with the oil companies. The Bush father-son presidential duo is a perfect example of this. Now if you want to understand American foreign policy in the Middle East, you only need to look at the list of nations we have intervened in either covertly or militarily. For example; Syria is now guilty of all the same human rights violations as Libya, yet it is Libya we bomb with our NATO partners. Why is this? The answer is simple. Syria produces almost nothing in regards to oil, but Libya supplies large quantities of oil to Europe. So the United States helps Europe secure it’s oil supply by helping to orchestrate regime change in Libya, meanwhile Syria slaughters it’s own people left and right, for the exact same reasons as Libya, while the United States does nothing. Again, oil is the reason. Syria doesn’t produce hardly any oil and doesn’t sell a drop to Europe or America anyway. So strategically speaking, it’s useless. Now, all that being said, where does Israel fit into all of this. For nearly four decades Israeli geologists have been telling the United States that a vast oil reserve lies somewhere deep beneath Israeli soil. The massive level of geologic activity in this region seems to confirm this. We know for certain there are large deposits of natural gas in Israel, based on historical accounts of “fireballs” erupting from the Temple Mount when the Jews tried to rebuild the Temple under the reign of Caesar Julian (the apostate) back in the 4th century AD. Where there is natural gas, oil usually follows. Likewise, the Israeli geologists swear it’s there, but getting to it is the trick. We are told Israel may actually have the largest oil reserve in the entire Middle East, and so you can begin to see why American politicians, particularly the Republican Party, back Israel unconditionally. However, when it comes to politics, oil is the last thing American politicians want to talk about. It doesn’t look good you see, when certain groups of Muslim and Christian Arabs are being forced out of their homeland so Israeli Zionists can plunder their land and potential oil reserves. So both the Zionists and the Republican Party turn to religious fervor among Evangelicals, promoting their Dispensationalist theology for the purpose of supporting the Israeli government unconditionally.

The Zionists in Israel know the cat is out of the bag as far as the international community is concerned. They’ve lost the support of the world a long time ago. Only the United States remains as the sole stalwart of Israeli supremacy in the region. The Israeli government has played the race card for decades now, claiming that were it not for the Israeli government, the Jews in the Holy Land would have been driven into the sea. Historical analysis tells a completely different story though. Because Jews lived in peace with their Arab neighbors in the Holy Land for decades prior to 1948. It was only after 1948, when Israel declared independence as a “Jewish state” that Arab forces sought to drive them into the sea. It’s a classic example of cause and effect. The cause was Israeli Zionist independence, the effect was Arab rage against the Israeli Zionists. It was not the other way around. Now, thanks to decades if Israeli actions against Palestinian Arabs, what they say may actually be true. If the Arab Muslims ever do get the upper hand again, they may very well drive the Jews into the sea. This is not because Arabs inherently hate Jews, as many Zionists would like us to believe, but because they have for decades been rallied against the Israeli government and everything the Zionist state represents. Prior to 1948 the Arabs were relatively pacified in the Middle East. After 1948 extremists have been able to rally Arab Muslims into a frenzy that threatens to become a regional caliphate.

So now what?

We know what the Zionists and the Republican Party want. The Republican Party believes there is oil beneath Israel, and they will support Israel unconditionally so long as they believe that. We know the Zionists just want to rebuild their ancestral homeland for idealogical reasons. What we don’t know is if the Israeli Zionists are lying to the Republicans by giving them bogus geological data. We don’t know if oil really exists there or not. Even if it does exist, we have to ask ourselves if our unconditional support of Israel justifies the Israeli mistreatment of Palestinian Arabs (both Muslims and Christians). The United States government has already demonstrated that it doesn’t give a rat’s tail about Christians in the Middle East, and would gladly sacrifice them for access to Arab oil. This is evidenced by the plight of Christians in Iraq and Egypt right now. America caused the regime change in Iraq under G.W. Bush, while it supported the regime change in Egypt under Barack Obama. In both cases, Christians are now being subjected to a bloodbath, while American and European corporations are securing their oil deals.

The position of the Vatican has consistently been one of Christian charity. Regardless of the “peak oil” situation, Western nations should act according to their Christian heritage, by dealing with the Israel-Palestinian problem with fairness and objectivity. This is why the Vatican supports the two-state solution. While it was initially supported by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush (to their credit), the only point of contention has been the borders of this proposed division. The question remains as to whether the CIA had been working with terrorists in Israel to insure this agreement never really took place, and thus give the Zionists reason to take more land away from the Palestinian Arabs. That would be consistent with CIA actions in Egypt, Libya, and other Arab nations. We know that the United States would throw Israel under the bus just as soon as they cut an oil deal with the Palestinian Arabs. Maybe this explains Obama’s recent actions of “switching sides” to favor the Palestinians’ call for a return to the pre-1967 borders. There is no way to know what is really going on in the Whitehouse on this. I suspect the Whitehouse is growing impatient, however, on Israel’s claim to a massive oil production that has not yet materialized.

What we as Catholic Americans should know is that we absolutely cannot trust our own government on this issue. Case in point, we were assured by the G.W. Bush administration that Christians would be safe in Iraq under American occupation and an Iraqi democracy. The opposite has proved to be true. We were given the same assurances by the Obama administration in regards to Egypt. Again, we were lied to. So when it comes to foreign policy in the Middle East, about the only thing Catholics (indeed all Christians) can really trust is the policy of the Vatican.

The Vatican’s position is that in the name of Christian charity to both parties, there must be a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and this solution must be brokered soon. The issue of the borders will be settled by the parties involved, but naturally there is going to have to be some Israeli concession on illegal Jewish settlements. I’m not sure Obama’s call to the pre-1967 borders is the right solution, but I do think he is trying to swing the pendulum in the other direction to compensate for previous American policy favoring Israel. One thing this does signal is that the Whitehouse will support whatever land for peace deal the disputing parties can agree on. That, ironically, puts the Whitehouse more in line with the Vatican’s position than anything previously seen over the last four decades. Now readers of this blog know ‘The Catholic Knight’ is no fan of Obama, but regular readers should also know I always try to give credit where credit is due. On this one, I think Obama is leaning in the right direction, though his proposed pre-1967 solution is probably unrealistic.

This article was originally published here by the Catholic Knight.

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