Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Catholic Church’ Category

Some five years ago Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, as he was confirmed Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, stated that reception of Holy Communion according to the Church’s ancient tradition, kneeling and on the tongue should be encouraged. When asked if this were simply a question of external form, he replied that “it is not just a matter of form,” and went on to discuss the “profound meaning” of a man kneeling before God in adoration.

At the time of his statement, many believed that his concluding words on the subject may have pointed to an alteration in the Church’s current discipline for the novus ordo Mass: “What we have to grasp is that profound attitude of the man who prostrates himself before God, and that is what the Pope wants. (Emphasis mine.) Although Vatican prefects don’t generally say something is “what the Pope wants” unless they are really speaking for the Man in White himself, Pope Benedict at the time. That Canizares Llovera has earned for himself the name he Ratzingerino — the “Little Ratzinger” — is a sign of his like-mindedness with the Pope Emeritus, who was said to be amused by the sobriquet.

Several years on, since the statements above, we continue to witness worldwide triviality of Catholics while receiving Holy Communion. It makes one wonder whether there is an intrinsic problem with the way Catechism has been taught since the II Vatican council. That is, are Catholics still being taught to appreciate that Holy Communion really is the Presence of the Lord at Mass? If so, it is rather puzzling to verify that although most would not hesitate to prostrate before God should anyone be blessed with a ‘burning bush’ like encounter, most Catholics are reluctant to solemnly kneel at communion.

Read Full Post »

The excerpt below was taken from a truly wonderful book I found online on EWTN's website.
I recommend it to all who want to learn what the Catholic Church teaches on marital sexual
relationship, birth-control,etc and why.
  

Contraception is commonly called birth-control; an unfortunate term, since birth-control as such obviously is a reasonable and necessary thing. Catholics would be the last to deny that the human reason should control as far as possible such an important matter as the coming of new life into the world, with its added responsibilities to the parents. In point of fact, the very institution of marriage is a method of birth-control, since it limits procreation to those conditions in which a child will be cared for. Married people are called upon to be unselfish and generous, sometimes even heroic. A child must be regarded as more important than the refinements and luxuries of a social class. But they are not bound to have a child, or children, if reasonable chances of proper education and upbringing are lacking. The health and reasonable comfort of the mother require the spacing of births at intervals to be sanely and sensibly decided, though for the sake of the children themselves there should not be too great a difference between their ages. Clearly procreation cannot be undertaken without thought and control; trust in Providence does not mean banking on a very doubtful future. Let this be made quite clear. The Catholic Church is not opposed to rational birth-control as an end. Catholics, of course, do not agree with the propaganda for birth-control based on the difficulties of present social and economic conditions. Blessings should not be surrendered when the causes making them difficult can be changed. It should be intolerable that in a world of plenty many parents are unable to have as many children as they would like and could have, were the social structure not so unjust. Nor can Catholics admit the disinclination to have children because they are tiresome and worrying. Marriage is not a perpetual honeymoon, but a serious responsibility, and none the less happy for that. The Catholic Church’s condemnation is directed at the means employed for birth-control. What is opposed is not birth-control or the regulation of births, but certain methods of ensuring this. They are generally without qualification called birth control, but more accurately they should be classed under the term of contraception. They consist in altering or interfering with the natural character of sex-intercourse, or its antecedent or consequent processes. They are species of injustice or of impurity: of injustice when the family and social quality of sex is affected; of impurity when the sex impulse itself is disorganized. All wrongful methods of birth-control fall under these heads. Unjust methods may be reduced to sterilization and abortion, impure methods to onanism. (See Fig. 2.) UNJUST MEANS Our bodies are not our own to do with just as we will, they belong completely to God alone who made them; we must take reasonable care of them and administer them according to their nature. As we may not destroy our bodies by suicide, so we may not mutilate them or deprive them of an essential function, unless it be for the health of the body itself, when the part must be removed for the sake of the whole. Leaving aside the question of punitive and curative operations, the Catholic Church teaches that it is unlawful directly to deprive oneself of a bodily power. Thus all methods of eugenic sterilization are ruled out. They include surgical operations on the male or female designed primarily to prevent their having fruitful intercourse; also all mechanical or chemical methods of sterilizing the female for a period. Birth may be prevented after conception by chemical or mechanical or surgical methods, all of which come under the head of injustice when the taking of life is directly intended. Either they go so far as to murder the child in the womb (and without baptism) or they destroy a living thing that is becoming a human being. The unlawfulness of the operation is intensified by the fact that, for all we know, an immortal soul may be present from the moment of conception or soon after. The direct destruction of a fetus is the sin of abortion. IMPURE MEANS Impure methods of birth-control, or those that alter the nature of the sex act itself, are classed under the sin of onanism. Before considering this attempt to secure sex satisfaction without proper intercourse, let us return to the distinction of deed and motive. Two aspects must be separately considered, sex intercourse itself, which is the means, and the generation of a child, which is an end. Two aspects in the action of the married couple correspond to this distinction, namely their deed and their motives respectively. First as regards motives. If a couple decide against the birth of a child at a given time, the rightness or wrongness of their decision must be tested by the question: ought they to try to have a child then? If their decision springs from timidity, selfishness, love of ease and so on, then it is wrong, whatever the means they adopt in carrying it into effect. If the reasons against the birth of a child outweigh those in favour, if they are prudent in a Christian sense, then their decision is just. Up to the present it all hinges on the motives of the man and woman. In the first case, the motives are unworthy; in the second case, they are worthy. The question now narrows down to the nature of the means adopted. The couple may decide to abstain from intercourse. This means is not bad in itself; the moral colouring comes from the motives; bad in the first case, good in the second case. But complete abstinence from intercourse is not easy, nor is it honestly desirable in some cases from a Christian point of view. It is natural that a man and woman living together should strongly desire one another’s bodies, and though grace is always sufficient for proper self-control it does not blanket lawful desire, and the marriage act may be necessary for the real happiness of their lives together. Here is the real problem of contraception. How is it possible to combine the reasonable avoidance of pregnancy with the reasonable exercise of sex relations? The case of really selfish married people may be dismissed. We are concerned with those who decided against a child, not for unworthy motives, but because they feel they are not in a position to have one, for such reasons as ill- health or poverty. Quite decently they feel the need of intercourse. The rightness or wrongness of what they do turns on the means they adopt. If they commit onanism, then the Church judges that they do something wrong in itself, a bad kind of action, leaving aside the question of motives. It may be an act of self-indulgence, it may be an attempt to express human love. In either case, the means is wrong. The noblest end does not justify a bad means. Onanism is that action between the bodies of a man and woman which goes as closely as it can to proper sex union while at the same time attempting to prevent the joining of the male seed and the female ovum from which new human life begins. In old- fashioned onanism the act starts properly, but the man withdraws before his seed can enter the woman’s body. Modern research has invented methods by which the man can remain united to the woman, but his seed is either sterilized or prevented from joining the ovum. By this fact, the natural union of man and woman is not secured, and the climax of sex pleasure is reached without the appropriate act. They do not delight in one another as they really are, they do not commit themselves in confidence and happiness to sex as God has made it. The intercourse is bogus. They are not joined together immediately as man and woman, for an instrument or chemical interposes and destroys the life-giving character of the action. They have contrived to alter the situation and so use their sex powers in an act which is not the generative act of sex intercourse, but the reverse. The attempt to secure sex satisfaction without the complete sex act disorganizes the rational and natural arrangement of powers to their proper ends, the proper purpose of sex powers being the life-offering action of intercourse. With respect to the deed, there is little essential difference between contraceptive intercourse and mutual masturbation, though admittedly the surrounding psychological circumstances make for a different situation. Married people who use contraceptives may love one another decently and humanly apart from this, but whether they use them with an easy or uneasy conscience, the nature of the action in itself is not altered. According to Catholic teaching, moral standards do not entirely depend on individual judgement, and motives need not be considered for a kind of action to be condemned. Contraception is wrong in itself, and no motive can justify it; and it is gravely wrong, because of the importance of the action which is spoilt. It is worth noting that this attitude is not based principally on Revelation or on the supernatural authority of the Church. It is a matter of natural law. An instinctive repugnance to contraception which still exists is an echo of the case against it which can be worked out on purely rational grounds without appealing to doctrinal authority. There are also secondary, though considerable, arguments against contraception. It offers the occasion of sexual indiscipline; it can be responsible for serious bodily and mental disorders; it makes acquiescence easier in unjust social conditions; it is prejudicial to national life. Yet the problem remains unsolved of what is to be done when at the same time there are true and good reasons both against pregnancy and for sex-intercourse. We must go back and stress the necessity of making marriage a relationship of human friendship depending chiefly on the characters of the two persons, who enter the state to share their human lives together, to strengthen one another, to build up their characters together. Their lore is supported by the sacrament, which gives grace to all who try to live up to the ideal it sets. The couple, whether they are in a position to have a numerous family or whether they are not, must love one another with a love stronger and deeper than passion. But it is easier to preach than to practise. There are not a few cases when children cannot be welcomed and at the same time mutual love must be expressed through intercourse. It is possible that recent research has discovered a partial remedy, a providential arrangement existing for the benefit of such cases.

For the full work, please visit EWTN’s page here

Read Full Post »

“And He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and other some evangelists, and other some pastors and doctors, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Until we all meet into the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ; that henceforth we be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the wickedness of men, by cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive. But doing the Truth in charity, we may in all things grow up in Him who is the head, even Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-15)
What kind of church did Jesus intend to establish?

A church that would be universal, united and holy, one that could not teach error and that could not be destroyed.
Which is the only church that has these qualities?

Only the Catholic Church.
What does the word “Catholic” mean?

It means “universal”, embracing all.
Why is the Church of Jesus called “Catholic”?

Because it is:
for all people
of all nations
of all times
it teaches all the doctrines of Jesus.
“Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
When was the name “Catholic” first used of the Church of Jesus?

In the year 110, by St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, who wrote:
“Where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” (Ad Smyrn. 8:2)

“The Church is called Catholic by all Her enemies, as well as by Her own children. Heretics and schismatics can call the Church by no other name than Catholic, for they would not be understood, unless they used the name by which the Church is known to the whole world.” (St. Augustine, 4th-5th Centuries, in De Vera Religione-“Concerning True Religion”)
Is the Catholic Church spread all over the world?

Yes, its approximately 1,000,000,000 members are from all races and all colors and all sections of the world.
The marvelous growth of the Church in spite of great obstacles and fierce persecution, is certainly a sign that it is the Church of Jesus Christ.
What is meant by the unity of the Catholic Church?

This unity means that all Catholics worldwide–
Believe the same things,
Obey the same laws,
Receive the same Sacraments,
Worship at the same Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,
Are all united under the same authority, that of the Pope in Rome.
“And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in Me; that they all may be one, as Thou, Father, in Me, and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us.” (John 17: 20-21)
Why is the Catholic Church holy?

It is holy because–
Its Founder, Jesus Christ, is holy,
It teaches a holy doctrine.
It gives Its members what is needed to lead a holy life,
Thousands of Its members, from every walk of life, from every race and from every period of history, have become Saints.
Why cannot the Catholic Church ever teach error?

Because Jesus Christ promised to be always with His Church to protect it from error.
“Going therefore, teach ye all nations… Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Has the Catholic Church ever changed its teaching?

No, for some 2,000 years the Catholic Church has taught the same things which Jesus Christ taught.
“The Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the Truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15)
Why can the Catholic Church never be destroyed?

Because Jesus promised that…
“The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matt. 16:18)

“The God of Heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed.” (Daniel 2:44)
Has anyone ever tried to destroy the Church?

Yes, as Jesus Christ foretold, many governments have tried without success to destroy the Church, and thousands of Catholics (martyrs) have died for the True Church.
“They will deliver you up in councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues. And you shall be brought before governors, and before kings for my sake…and you will be hated by all men for My name’s sake.” (Matthew 10:17-22)
FALSE SLOGANS
“All religions are good.”

Answer: There is only one religion, as far as God is concerned, since He established only one, not three hundred. All other religions were established by men who had no authority from God to start them. A religion is either true or false, just as a dollar bill is either genuine or counterfeit. Although a religion may have some truth, it is a false religion if it was established by a man.
“It does not make any difference what church you belong to.”

Answer: It certainly does make a difference whether you belong to the one established by God or to one established by a man. It makes a difference whether you belong to the church that has everything necessary to lead you to Heaven, or not.
“All religions teach the same thing and believe in the same God.”

Answer: All religions disagree on the important teachings of Jesus Christ. Some teach that He is God; others say He is not. Some teach that you have to be baptized to get into Heaven; others deny the necessity of Baptism. Some teach that Baptism really takes away sin, while others hold that it is only a symbol. If all religions believed in the same God, they would all have to teach the same things, since God cannot contradict Himself. God is not the author of confusion and contradiction, but of clear, unchangeable Truth.
“Jesus Christ, yesterday and today, and the same forever. Be not led away with various and strange doctrines.” (Heb. 13:8-9)
“It doesn’t matter what you believe; it’s how you act that counts.”

Answer: It does matter, because you act according to your belief. It does matter whether you believe killing a person dying of an incurable disease is a sin or not, or whether marriage is to last until death or not. God has given the human race certain, definite truths to believe, and He expects everyone to believe them.
“He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.” (Mark 16:16)

He told His Apostles: “Going therefore, teach ye all nations… teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19-20)
PRACTICAL POINTS
You have an obligation to join the Catholic Church; otherwise, you cannot go to Heaven. However, joining the Church is a very serious step, because in so doing, you place yourself completely and forever under the authority of the Church in all things concerning religion. This means that you promise to believe everything the Church teaches, to worship the way the Catholic Church worships, and to obey all the laws of the Church.
It is not unreasonable to place yourself under the authority of the Catholic Church, because its authority is from God.
“He who heareth you, heareth Me; and he who despiseth you, despiseth Me; and he who despiseth Me, despiseth Him Who sent Me.” (Luke 10:16)
By joining the Catholic Church, you can be sure of what you have to believe and do in order to save your soul, and you will be able to lead a good life and attain salvation with the graces flowing from the Sacraments and the countless other sources of spiritual strength provided by God’s Church. Besides, you will have the peace of mind that comes only from knowing that you are doing God’s will.
“For you were as sheep going astray; but you are now converted to the shepherd and bishop of your souls.” (I Peter 2:25)

Read Full Post »

It is a bedrock Catholic truth, taught by the Church since the time of the Apostles, that Our Lord Jesus Christ is truly present in the Most Holy Eucharist: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

The Council of Trent defined dogmatically that Our Lord Jesus Christ is present in every part of the Blessed Sacrament. The Council taught infallibly:

“If anyone denieth that, in the venerable Sacrament of the Eucharist, the whole Christ is contained under each species, and under every part of each species, when separated; let him be anathema.”
This means that Our Lord is present even in the smallest particle of the Host, and in the smallest particle that may fall to the ground. Thus the reverence that we owe to the Blessed Sacrament demands that we take every precaution that no particle of the Host — not even the smallest — is left open for desecration in any way.

First of all, Saint Thomas Aquinas taught that “out of reverence for this Sacrament, nothing touches it but what is consecrated.” Thus, he said the sacred vessels of the altar are consecrated for this holy purpose, but also, the priest’s hands are consecrated for touching this Sacrament. And St. Thomas said that it is therefore not lawful for anyone else to touch it, except to save it from desecration. (Summa, III, Q. 82. Art. 3)

This reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, and even for the smallest particles, was incorporated into the traditional Mass — the Old Latin Mass — which contained strict rubrics on this point:

1) From the moment the priest pronounces the words of the Consecration over the Sacred Host, the priest keeps his forefinger and thumb together on each hand. Whether he elevates the chalice, or turns the pages of the missal, or opens the tabernacle, his thumb and his forefinger on each hand are closed. The thumb and forefinger touch nothing but the Sacred Host;

2) During Holy Communion, the altar boy holds the paten under the chin of those receiving Communion, so that the slightest particle does not fall to the ground. This paten is cleaned into the chalice afterwards;

3) After Holy Communion is distributed, the priest scrapes the corporal (the small linen cloth on the altar) with the paten, and cleans it into the chalice so that if the slightest particle is left, it is collected and consumed by the priest;

4) Then, the priest washes his thumb and forefinger over the chalice with water and wine, and this water and wine is reverently consumed to insure that the smallest particle of the Sacred Host is not susceptible to desecration.

Communion in the hand and so-called Eucharist lay-ministers make a mockery of the Divine Truth that Our Lord is truly present in every particle of the Eucharist, and make a mockery of the holy rubrics used by the Church for centuries as a safeguard against desecration.

Because what happens with Communion in the hand?

The Host is placed in the hand, which is not consecrated. The communicant picks It up with his own fingers, which are not consecrated. The sacred particles fall to the ground, are stepped upon and desecrated.

Likewise with so-called Eucharistic lay-ministers, their hands are not consecrated; they should not be touching the Sacred Host. The sacred particles of the Host fall to the ground, are stepped upon and desecrated. The fingers of “lay-Eucharistic ministers” are not washed, so any particle remaining will also be desecrated.

No authority in the Church, not even the highest, can dispense a Catholic from the duty of preserving the necessary reverence owed to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Any Church leader who does so labors under the “diabolic disorientation of the upper hierarchy” warned against by Sister Lucy of Fatima, and is derelict in his duty.

Only forty-five years ago, Communion in the hand was unthinkable in Catholic churches. It was recognized for the sacrilege that it is. Only forty-five years ago, Eucharistic lay-ministers were unthinkable in Catholic churches. It was recognized for the sacrilege that it is.

But now, these abuses are permitted and promoted by a liberal hierarchy who — in this area and in many other areas — suddenly approve what the Church always rightly condemned. This “suddenly blessing what the Church always condemned” is the hallmark of the Vatican II reforms.

The truth, however, is that God does not change, and man’s duty of reverence toward the Blessed Sacrament does not change, even if we have many leaders who in their destructive liberalization of the Catholic Church, seem to care little or nothing for the true reverence we owe to Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.

Thus, anyone who receives Communion in the hand, or who receives Communion from a Eucharistic lay-minister, or who is a Eucharistic lay-minister himself or herself — in the objective order — is committing a sacrilege. It is a misuse of a holy thing. It is a mockery of what the Church has taught and practiced. It is a desecration of the greatest gift that God has given us: the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.

The Need for Reparation

In 1916, a year before Our Lady’s visitations at Fatima, the “Angel of the Eucharist” appeared with Chalice and Host to the children. He administered the Sacred species to the three children saying, “Eat and drink the Body and Blood of Our Lord, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.” The Angel left the chalice and the Host suspended in the air, and prostrated himself before It. The children imitated him. The Angel then prayed repeatedly this act of reparation:

“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I offer Thee the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He Himself is offended. And by the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.”

Let us commit to memory this prayer and say it throughout the day as often as possible. The “outrages, sacrileges and indifference” toward the Blessed Sacrament. Sacrilege is so commonplace that it is no longer recognized as sacrilege. The need for reparation is colossal.

Read Full Post »

Objector: I went to Mass with one of my friends, and I noticed that during the Penitential Rite, Catholics ask for prayers from “the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin.” This is an obvious example of Catholics adding teachings that contradict the clear witness of Scripture.

Catholic: On the contrary, the belief that Mary was always a virgin has been held since the earliest days of Christianity. Many of the early Church Fathers, including Athanasius, Jerome, and Augustine, expressed this belief. To give just one example, Augustine said in A.D. 411 that Mary was “a Virgin conceiving, a Virgin bearing, a Virgin pregnant, a Virgin bringing forth, a Virgin perpetual.”

Objector: Well, I definitely respect Augustine, but just because he said something doesn’t mean that it’s true. He was a great theologian, but he wasn’t infallible. This is one case where I’ll have to disagree with him. By the time Augustine said this, over three hundred years had gone by since Mary had lived.

Catholic: I understand that Augustine was fallible, but I don’t think you should dismiss his testimony so easily, especially because what he says is supported by many other early Fathers. Another source that supports belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity is the Protoevangelium of James . It was written around A.D. 120, when some of those who had known the apostles were still alive. It records that Mary was dedicated before her birth to serve the Lord in the temple, as Samuel had been dedicated by his mother (1 Sam. 1:11). This required perpetual virginity of Mary so that she could completely devote herself to the service of the Lord.

Objector: But if Mary wasn’t supposed to get married, why do we read that that Mary was engaged to Joseph (Luke 1:27)?

Catholic: Again according to the Protoevangelium of James , concerns about ceremonial cleanliness required that Mary have a male protector who would respect her vow of virginity. Joseph was “chosen by lot to take into [his] keeping the Virgin of the Lord.” His duty to guard Mary was taken so seriously that when Mary conceived, Joseph had to answer to the temple authorities. So Mary’s betrothal to Joseph was not in conflict with her vow of virginity.

Objector: This is very interesting, but there were many things written early in the history of Christianity that did not express what Christians actually believed, such as the Gnostic gospels. Like these, the Protoevangelium of James expresses a belief that is contrary to what has been revealed in Scripture.

Catholic: I agree that we should use caution when relying on extrabiblical accounts, but we can also see evidence in the biblical texts that Mary had chosen to be a virgin. When the angel Gabriel tells Mary that she will bear a son, Mary asks, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” (Luke 1:34). At this point, Mary was engaged to Joseph. Why would she then be so surprised at being told she would conceive? If she were planning on having children with Joseph in the usual way, it wouldn’t make sense for her to ask how she would be able to have a child. This question makes sense only if Mary was already planning to remain a virgin.

Objector: Maybe if you read this in light of the Protoevangelium of James , this passage could be read as an indication that Mary was planning on remaining a virgin. But why should we rely on ambiguous biblical passages and extrabiblical evidence when the Bible itself clearly states that Jesus had siblings? For example, Matthew records that “while [Jesus] was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him” (Matt. 12:46). His listeners ask, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?” (Matt. 13:55). Jesus is even advised by his siblings: “So his brothers said to him, ‘Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples may see the works you are doing. For no man works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world'” (John 7:3-4).

Catholic: Although the Bible says that Jesus had brothers, this doesn’t mean that they were necessarily sons of Mary. If we accept the theory put forth in the Protoevangelium of Jamesand accepted by many in the early Church, Jesus’ brothers would be stepbrothers, sons of Joseph but not of Mary. This would explain why Jesus’ “brothers” felt that they could admonish him, as they do in John 7:3-4. In Near Eastern society of that time, it was normally unacceptable for younger siblings to give advice to older ones.

Objector: But not all of the early Church Fathers believed that Joseph had children. St. Jerome said, “I claim that Joseph himself was a virgin.”

Catholic: It is interesting that you quote St. Jerome, who adamantly defended the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity. It is certainly possible for Catholics to believe that Joseph did not have children of his own. In this case, the brothers of Jesus could be other relatives, such as cousins. Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus and his apostles, had no word for “cousin,” so cousins and other close relatives were often referred to as brothers. For example, Abraham’s nephew Lot was called his brother (Gen. 14:14).

Objector: There’s a problem with your reasoning here. Although cousins may have been referred to as brothers, it’s clear that in this case, the word brothers means blood brothers of Jesus — sons of Mary. We read in Matthew’s Gospel that Joseph “had no marital relations with her until she had borne her firstborn son” (Matt. 1:25). This implies that Joseph did have relations with her after she had given birth.

Catholic: The word until here just says what happened up to the time of Christ’s birth. It doesn’t imply anything about what happened after that, although our modern use of the word until seems to imply that. For an example of this, look at 2 Samuel 6:23, which says, “Michal the daughter of Saul had no children till the day of her death.” We’re obviously not supposed to assume that she had children after she died.

Objector: In this case, it’s obvious that Michal could not have had children after her death. The situation of Mary and Joseph is quite different. We see that in the same verse, Jesus is called Mary’s firstborn son. If Jesus is designated as Mary’s firstborn son, that shows that she had other children. My mother wouldn’t call me her oldest child if I were her only child.

Catholic: This is another case where our modern understanding of terms interferes with understanding what the Bible meant at the time it was written. In biblical times, the termfirstborn had great importance. The firstborn was to be consecrated to the Lord (Ex. 13:2); the parents were to redeem every firstborn son (Ex. 34:20). They weren’t supposed to wait until they had a second child to redeem the firstborn, and so the first son born to a woman was called the firstborn regardless of whether or not she had other children later on.

Objector: It seems to me like you’re using a lot of complicated reasoning to ignore the obvious statements in Scripture that show that Jesus had brothers and that Mary therefore could not have remained a virgin. You’re going to the passages with the idea that Mary was a virgin, and you’re reading that idea into the passages instead of drawing it from them. Even if the passages in question could be interpreted the way you see them, I don’t see any evidence in Scripture that they should be interpreted that way.

Catholic: On the contrary, I think there is evidence (even beyond what I’ve shown you already) that it is very reasonable to interpret the texts as showing that Jesus did not have brothers. If Jesus did have brothers, why would he have entrusted Mary to the beloved disciple, John, at the foot of the cross (John 19:26-27)? He would have had surviving siblings who would have taken care of her. It would be surprising for Jesus to release his brothers from their obligation to their mother, especially because he criticized the Pharisees for neglecting the support of their own parents in Matthew 15:3-6.

Objector: But how could Mary and Joseph have had a loving marriage if she always remained a virgin?

Catholic: Granted, a life of complete abstinence is not the recommended way for ordinary married couples to interact. But Mary and Joseph were not an ordinary married couple. They were entrusted with raising the Son of God. This circumstance was so unusual that their marriage could not have been an ordinary one, because the child they nurtured was no ordinary child.

Objector: I still don’t see why the Church requires Catholics to believe that Mary remained a virgin instead of allowing them to have their own opinions. Does it really matter if Mary had other children?

Catholic: Actually, it does matter. Every doctrine about Mary tells us something about Christ or something about ourselves or the Church. Mary’s perpetual virginity demonstrates her purity of heart and total love for God. In 388, St. Ambrose of Milan wrote that Mary’s virginity was “so great an example of material virtue” because it demonstrated her total devotion to Jesus. In Mary, we see an example of the purity our own hearts must have in total dedication to God. Her virginity also tells us something about the Church, which, like Mary, is both mother to the faithful and “pure bride to her one husband” (2 Cor. 11:2)

© Catholic Answers, Inc.

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

Pocket Catholic Dictionary – Fr John Hardon SJ

Justification -. The process of a sinner becoming justified or made right with God. As defined by the Council of Trent.

“Justification is the change from the condition in which a person is born as a child of the first Adam into a state of grace and adoption among the children of God through the Second Adam, Jesus Christ our Savior” (Denzinger 1524)

Etymology of Justification comes from the Latin justus: just + facere: to make, do: justificatio.

A Catholic who is in the state of grace i.e. not in the state of mortal sin is justified. Depending on the sins from which a person is to be delivered, there are different kinds of justification:

1- An infant is justified by baptism and the faith of the one who requests or confers the sacrament.

2-Adults are justified for the first time either by personal faith, sorrow for sin and baptism, or by the perfect love of God, which is at least an implicit baptism of desire.

3- Adults who have sinned gravely after being justified can receive justification by sacramental absolution or perfect contrition for their sins.

SANCTIFICATION. Being made holy. (Etymology from Latin sanctificare: to make holy.

1- The first sanctification takes place at baptism, by which the love of God is infused by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5)…

2- The second sanctification is a lifelong process in which a person already in the state of grace grows in the possession of grace and in likeness to God by faithfully corresponding with divine inspirations.

3- The third sanctification takes place when a person enters heaven and becomes totally and irrevocably united with God in the beatific vision.

The following is from The Salvation Controversy – James Akin.

SALVATION. Salvation basically means being saved.

In the New Testament the focus is primarily on the idea of eternal salvation – salvation from the eternal consequences of sin (hell.)

In the Old Testament the term salvation often used to refer to temporal dangers – war, famine, disease, and death (physical rather than eternal.)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »