Archive for the ‘Catholic Church’ Category

Before you read this press release, please ask yourself these honest simple questions: Whatever happened to humble hearty obedience? How about submission to authority? I can’t help comparing this situation to when Our Lord was falsely accused and condemned to death on the Cross without fighting back. Similarly,  one can think of Padre Pio’s exemplary submission to the Church and his superiors authority…   Maybe intensive prayer and a solid trust in God’s justice would have made all the difference in our beloved  Fr Corapi’s situation….  All those things that he used to preach but seem to have failed to live.

“Pride makes everyone into ‘God,’ and you have no objective truth. The antidote is humility. If God humbled himself, who are we not to humble ourselves? Remember that humility leads to obedience, which leads to life. Pride leads to disobedience and death.” – John Corapi, 1 May 2010, St. Louis


From: Rev. Gerard Sheehan, SOLT Regional Priest Servant Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Robstown, Texas

Fr. John A. Corapi submitted his resignation from the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (“SOLT”) early in June. SOLT is a Society of Apostolic Life of Diocesan Right with its regional office in Robstown, Texas.

While SOLT does not typically comment publicly on personnel matters, it recognizes that Fr. John Corapi, through his ministry, has inspired thousands of faithful Catholics, many of whom continue to express their support of him. SOLT also recognizes that Fr. Corapi is now misleading these individuals through his false statements and characterizations. It is for these Catholics that SOLT, by means of this announcement, seeks to set the record straight.

A woman, well known to Fr. John Corapi, mailed SOLT a signed letter detailing allegations of Fr. Corapi’s sexual activity with adult women, abuse of alcohol and drugs, improper sacramental practices, violation of his promise of poverty, and other wrongdoing.

After receiving the allegation, SOLT formed a three person fact-finding team to ensure that it handled this matter in accordance with canonical norms. The team included a priest-canonist, a psychiatrist, and a lawyer. Two were members of religious orders, and one was a lay Catholic. Two were men, and one was a woman. All three have national reputations and substantial experience in ecclesiastical processes related to priest disciplinary issues.

As the Society was engaging this team, Fr. Corapi filed a civil lawsuit against his principal accuser. He contended that she had defamed him and breached her contract. The contract, according to Corapi’s lawsuit, contained a provision binding the woman to silence about him. He offered the woman $100,000 to enter this agreement.

SOLT’s fact-finding team subsequently learned that Fr. Corapi may have negotiated contracts with other key witnesses that precluded them from speaking with SOLT’s fact-finding team. Many of these witnesses likely had key information about the accusations being investigated and declined to answer questions and provide documents.

When the fact-finding team asked Fr. Corapi to dismiss the lawsuit, to forbear from foreclosing his mortgage, and to release her and other individuals from their contractual obligations to remain silent about him, he refused to do so and, through his canonical advocate, stated: “It is not possible for Father Corapi to answer the Commission’s questions at this time.”

SOLT’s fact-finding team has acquired information from Fr. Corapi’s e-mails, various witnesses, and public sources that, together, state that, during his years of public ministry:

He did have sexual relations and years of cohabitation (in California and Montana) with a woman known to him, when the relationship began, as a prostitute; He repeatedly abused alcohol and drugs; He has recently engaged in sexting activity with one or more women in Montana; He holds legal title to over $1 million in real estate, numerous luxury vehicles, motorcycles, an ATV, a boat dock, and several motor boats, which is a serious violation of his promise of poverty as a perpetually professed member of the Society.

SOLT has contemporaneously with the issuance of this press release directed Fr. John Corapi, under obedience, to return home to the Society’s regional office and take up residence there. It has also ordered him, again under obedience, to dismiss the lawsuit he has filed against his accuser.

SOLT’s prior direction to Fr. John Corapi not to engage in any preaching or teaching, the celebration of the sacraments or other public ministry continues. Catholics should understand that SOLT does not consider Fr. John Corapi as fit for ministry.

Father Sheehan will not be available for comments as he is attending the SOLT General Chapter from July 5-23.

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  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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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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Faint they may be one by one, but at least they are various, and are drawn from many times and countries, and thereby serve to illustrate each other, and form a body of proof. Thus St. Clement, in the name of the Church of Rome, writes a letter to the Corinthians, when they were without a bishop; St. Ignatius of Antioch addresses the Roman Church, and it only out of the Churches to which he writes, as “the Church which has the first seat in the place of the country of the Romans;” St. Polycarp of Smyrna betakes himself to the Bishop of Rome on the question of Easter; the heretic Marcion, excommunicated in Pontus, betakes himself to Rome; Soter, Bishop of Rome, sends alms, according to the custom of his Church, to the Churches throughout the empire, and, in the words of Eusebius, “affectionately exhorted those who came to Rome, as a father his children;” the Montanists from Phrygia come to Rome to gain the countenance of its Bishop; Praxeas, from Africa, attempts the like, and for a while is successful; St. Victor, Bishop of Rome, threatens to excommunicate the Asian Churches; St. Irenaeus speaks of Rome as “the greatest Church, the most ancient, the most consplicuous, and founded and established by Peter and Paul,” appeals to its tradition, not in contrast indeed, but in preference to that of other Churches, and declares that  “in this Church, every Church, that is, the faithful from every side must meet” or ” agree together, propter potiorem principalitatem.”

“O Church, happy in its position,” says Tertullian, “into which the Apostles poured out, together with their blood, their whole doctrine.” The presbyters of St. Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria, complain of his doctrine to St. Dionysius of Rome; the latter expostulates with him, and he explains.

The Emperor Aurelian leaves  “to the Bishops of Italy and of Rome” the decision, whether or not Paul of Samosata shall be dispossessed of the see-house at Antioch; St. Cyprian speaks of Rome as  “the See of Peter and the principal Church, whence the unity of the priesthood took its rise, . . whose faith has been commended by the Apostles, to whom faithlessness can have no access;”

St. Stephen refuses to receive St. Cyprian’s deputation, and separates himself from various Churches of the East; Fortunatus and Felix, deposed by St. Cyprian, have recourse to Rome; Basilides, deposed in Spain, betakes himself to Rome, and gains the ear of St. Stephen. Whatever objections may be made to this or that particular fact, and I do not think any valid ones can be raised, still, on the whole, I consider that a cumulative argument…that the writers of the fourth and fifth centuries fearlessly assert, or frankly allow, that the prerogatives of Roman were derived from apostolic times, and that because it was the See of Saint Peter.

St Augustine: “Many Things Keep Me in the Catholic Church”

For in the Catholic Church, not to speak of the purest wisdom, to the knowledge of which a few spiritual, men attain in this life, so as to know it, in the scantiest measure, indeed, because they are but men, still without any uncertainty (since the rest of the multitude derive their entire security not from acuteness of intellect, but from simplicity of faith) – not to speak of this wisdom, which you do not believe to be in the Catholic Church, there are many other things which most justly keep me in her bosom. The consent of peoples and nations keeps me in the Church; so does her authority, inaugurated by miracles, nourished by hope, enlarged by love, established by age. The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge to feed His sheep, down to the present episcopate. And so, lastly, does the name itself of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house. Such then in number and importance are the precious ties belonging to the Christian name which keep a believer in the Catholic Church, as it is right they should, though from the slowness of our understanding, or the small attainment of our life, the truth may not yet fully disclose itself. But with you, where there is none of these things to attract or keep me, the promise of truth is the only thing that comes into play. Now if the truth is so clearly proved as to leave no possibility of doubt, it must be set before all the things that keep me in the Catholic Church; but if there is only a promise without any fulfillment, no one shall move me from the faith which binds my mind with ties so many and so strong to the Christian religion.

St. Augustine [A.D. 354-430]

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Contemporary Catholics are repeatedly reminded of the horrors committed during the Crusades. The news media and the press make a point of constantly pounding into the Catholic conscience the grievous faults the Church has committed throughout history. That the Crusades were started to defend the holy places that had been desecrated is not mentioned.

The Inquisition is something that every ignorant schoolboy is familiar with. But all they know is that it was horrible and was initiated by the Roman Catholic Church. Then came the Galileo case: Clearly the Church—fearing that scientific discoveries would sap her intellectual and moral authoritarianism—condemned a man who had dared challenge her views based on ignorance and superstition. What about the wars waged against so-called heretics, people who happen to have “different opinions,” and therefore were simply exercising their right to think for themselves? Everyone knows (even those who do not drink cocktails) the one named “bloody Mary.” That the last Catholic queen of England simply tried to reinstate the Faith that had been prevalent in England for centuries is not mentioned. Her reign was very short, but the long one of her half-sister, Elizabeth, who ruthlessly destroyed the Catholic Faith in the Island of Saints, is not branded as cruel.

But the list of sins committed by the Church is not yet finished. What about her attacks on the Albigenses in southern France, and her condemnation and burning at the stake of Jan Huss in Bohemia? A Jewish student of mine openly declared in the classroom that it would have been better for the world if Catholicism—in essence, Christ Himself—had never existed. The story of the Catholic Church, we are repeatedly told, is a dark one, and it is only proper for her to apologize.

Many non-Catholics (and even some so-called Catholics) make no distinction between the Church, the Holy Bride of Christ—without blemish and without stain—and what Jacques Maritain aptly calls “le personnel de l’Eglise” (the staff of the Church, the members of the Church)—many of whom are sinners indeed. There were great sinners in the Old Testament. There were great sinners in the New. There are sinners in every religious community. Judas was one of the privileged twelve, and he was a traitor. If we keep the same proportion, we can assume that today there are plenty of Judases in the Church occupying important positions.

It is an upsetting fact. But recall the words of Christ: “The gates of hell shall not prevail.” The very misery and betrayal of many members of the clergy and many members of the Church, far from shaking our faith, should force us to put our hope in the Savior of the world and His Holy Mother. Dark as the sky might be, the divine message keeps all its joyful validity. In the apocalypse, St. John tells us that the closer we come to the second coming of Christ, the more fearful will be the attacks of the evil one because he knows he is running out of time.

More important for our topic is to examine how this misplaced bad conscience affected the bishops’ draft on women that kept them busy for months in the 1980s. A number of women were invited to share with their excellencies their innumerable grievances against the Roman Catholic Church. It turned out to be a real avalanche of reproaches and recriminations dating back to the very beginning of the Church. Their excellencies were told that the Church has discriminated against half of her children, namely women. Their important contributions to the life of the Church were either not acknowledged, treated as insignificant, or taken for granted. They were meant to be servants. As a result, they felt alienated; the clergy was adopting a patronizing attitude toward them, as if they were immature and unintelligent. They did not feel “at home” in the Church; their concerns and sufferings were treated as trivial. They were always put in the background and treated as inferior. They were “only” women. The machos were in command. Women were never given the dignity that is their right as human persons. Their equality with men was denied.

The very language of the Church expressed this denigration: Man is constantly referred to; women are not mentioned. (Clearly feminists ignore the fact that the word “man” can mean anybody belonging to the human race or the male sex. Such a problem does not exist in Latin, where there is a clear distinction between homo and vir. This is something that any woman knew until the enlightened 20th century.) Worst of all, women were denied one sacrament that is the unique privilege of men: holy orders. Clearly they are considered unworthy of this honor. Why should girls be denied to serve at the altar? Bishops clearly had fallen into a grave sin of sexism.

The rhetoric of the most fanatical feminists makes one believe that the seven capital sins were minor by comparison. The Church was clearly sexist and should not only apologize to women, but repair this crying injustice. Serious reforms are called for. The moment has come for women to claim their rights; to be officially recognized, to be on the same level with men; to be granted the same privileges and the same power in the Church. They had suffered patiently for centuries, and enough is enough.

Every single meeting between bishops and women was a repetition of the previous one. Cowed and intimidated by being put on the hot seat and by this passionate jeremiad they sheepishly listened to, bishops—accustomed as they were to being treated with respect—actually lost their footing. They developed a bad conscience toward all these afflicted sheep so neglected by the Church that claims to be a Church of love. The feminist rhetoric convinced them that the Church had gravely sinned against the female sex for the last 2,000 years, compelling them to acknowledge the validity of these searing criticisms and promise to correct the injustices. Obviously, the Church, being slow-moving, could not be expected to satisfy all their demands. One of them, however, should be attended to urgently: reform of liturgical language, and that merely as a first step—a modest promise of more reforms to come. The re-writing of the Catechism of the Catholic Church was clearly the call of the Kairos. It should be given top priority. This was a Herculean task that was to keep some “experts” so busy for months on end that they had no time left for other duties.

In the meantime, the devil was having a field day laughing at the stupidity of men. While keeping several ecclesiastics glued to this gigantic task, he saw—with diabolical delight—that in the very same diocese satanic attacks against the purity of young men were being launched by some members of the clergy. Clearly the local bishop was too busy to pay attention to these secondary concerns: The revision of the Catechism had to be completed as soon as possible. The bishops—plagued with a misplaced bad conscience—either paid no attention to the horrors that were being perpetrated by priests, willingly ignored the gravity of the problem, or turned to secular help (or just put a Band-Aid on a festering wound by sending the culprits to another diocese).

We know the rest of the story: By the beginning of the 21st century, the scandal had reached such proportions that it made headlines in the secular press. It started in the diocese where “inclusive language” was a top priority. Diocese after diocese was engaged in lawsuits that brought some of them to utter bankruptcy: Churches were closed, Catholic schools could no longer be financed. Church property was sold. The devil had won. The Catechism was “purged” of its “sexism.” But—and this is the enchanting irony of the whole thing—the work done was rejected by the Church.

The devil’s wile had succeeded beyond expectation. The bishops’ bad consciences had totally blinded them from their primary duty: to save their sheep from ravenous wolves. All this came out five years ago with the force of a moral tsunami. I wonder how many shepherds today realize that their misplaced bad consciences might be responsible for their collective failure to extinguish the fire of impurity raging among some of their priests. Humanly speaking, the damage is irreparable. But “all things are possible with God,” and we know that the Church will survive even though the price for many might be martyrdom. She has always sung the praise of those who have washed their garments in the blood of the Lamb. This is the history of the Church. This is why she will always conquer in spite of the mediocrity and treason of some of her shepherds.

Excerpt from original article The Devil’s Distraction: A Misplaced Bad Conscience by Alice Von Hildebrand

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I have a friend who tells me the Catholic Church isn’t Biblically based because they make up rituals and beliefs as time goes on. How do I answer them?

Point 1: 

The first I would ask them if their church hasn’t changed over time. If they are honest with you they will admit it has. The changes may be found in hymns that have been modernized, developments in certain ministries, vestments or the decisions not to use them at all. Let’s look at a couple of verifiable historical facts. The Catholic Church began in the upper room at the Last Supper. The word “Catholic” was first used to describe the Christian Church, believers in Jesus Christ, in 106 AD by St. Ignatius of Antioch. The Protestant Churches didn’t come on the Christian scene until sixteenth century when followers of the Catholic Monk, Martin Luther, established the evangelical churches of Germany and Scandinavia.


 Point 2: 

Problems arise in all churches and need a method of problem resolution. Since Catholicism is Biblically based let’s open our Bibles to the Acts of the Apostles now commonly known as Acts, Chapter 15. We discover this first Church Council took place in Jerusalem. The reason for the council was that many Gentiles wanted to join the church. Legalistic Jews, Mosaic Law followers, converted to Catholicism and were called Judaizers. This group demanded that all converts follow the works of the Mosaic law one of which was to become circumcised. When a problem arises in a church, the military, politics, your office or shop who ever is in charge of those places must resolve the problem by making a decision. The decision by the people in charge becomes the new standard or procedure.


 Point 3: 

The authority for the early church was given to St. Peter by Jesus in both John 21 and, if you understand the original language Aramaic idiom, Matthew 16. Where then had Paul gone for an answers to questions, Jerusalem and the elders (Acts 9)? Who was the authority for the church in charge of making decisions, St. Peter and the apostles, now called Pope and Bishops (Acts 15)? Who was it who had already verified Paul’s teaching as correct, St. Peter and the elders (Acts 9) ?


 Point 4: 

How did the council work? Act 15:6 The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. 7 And after there had been much debate, Peter rose and said . . . Notice the Apostles, now known as bishops, the elders now known as priest, together with Peter the leader, the pope, made the decision that circumcision was not necessary to become a Christian. Further, once Peter, speaking about faith and morals had finished, all accepted his decision as the authoritative and final the resolution to the problem.


 Point 5: 

As you can see a decision was made to change from an old practice to a new practice? It is also worth pointing out to your friend that only Bible, the Catholic Christian Bible, existed uncontested for 1500 years and contained 73 books. The only changes that were made to Catholic Bible were by the Protestant reformer Martin Luther. When he began Protestantism he only accepted 39 of the Old Testament books. Seven books had been removed by Jewish Pharisees at their council of Jamnia in 90 AD. They were removed by the Pharisees because they were upset with the new Christians were using their translation of the Hebrew Old Testament to substantiate Christian beliefs.


 Point 6: 

Going back to the original statement, “the Catholic Church isn’t Biblically based,” is inaccurate. In reality, the Catholic Church is more Biblically based than other forms of Christianity because the canon, list of accepted Biblical books, precedes all other Christian Bibles. The second part of your friends statement, “they make up rituals and beliefs as time goes on,” is also inaccurate.


 Point 7: 

To say just because a ritual isn’t specifically outlined in the passages of the Bible over looks the teachings of St. Paul. “15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thessalonians 2:15). Christianity didn’t start with a “Standard Operating Procedure Manual,” not every thing was committed to writing. St. Paul goes on to say, “I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you.” (1 Corinthians 11:2–3) Again 2 Thessalonians 3:6 “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.


Point 8: 

As you can see not all traditions, rituals, or even the Christian Bible existed when St. Paul wrote these words. Our traditions and rituals existed since the earliest of times and some were even adopted by the newer Christian or Protestant religions.

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For more information on the Divine Mercy Devotion, please visit Divine Mercy 

During the course of Jesus’ revelations to Saint Faustina on the Divine Mercy He asked on numerous occasions that a feast day be dedicated to the Divine Mercy and that this feast be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. The liturgical texts of that day, the 2nd Sunday of Easter, concern the institution of the Sacrament of Penance, the Tribunal of the Divine Mercy, and are thus already suited to the request of Our Lord. This Feast, which had already been granted to the nation of Poland and been celebrated within Vatican City, was granted to the Universal Church by Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the canonization of Sr. Faustina on 30 April 2000. In a decree dated 23 May 2000, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments stated that “throughout the world the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind will experience in the years to come.” These papal acts represent the highest endorsement that the Church can give to a private revelation, an act of papal infallibility proclaiming the certain sanctity of the mystic, and the granting of a universal feast, as requested by Our Lord to St. Faustina.

Concerning the Feast of Mercy Jesus said:

Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. (Diary 300)

I want the image solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it. (Diary 341)

This Feast emerged from the very depths of My mercy, and it is confirmed in the vast depths of my tender mercies. (Diary 420)

On one occasion, I heard these words: My daughter, tell the whole world about My Inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.* [our emphasis] On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will I contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy. (Diary 699)

Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to our neighbours always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to absolve yourself from it. (Diary 742)

I want to grant complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy. (Diary 1109)

As you can see the Lord’s desire for the Feast includes the solemn, public veneration of the Image of Divine Mercy by the Church, as well as personal acts of veneration and mercy. The great promise for the individual soul is that a devotional act of sacramental penance and Communion will obtain for that soul the plenitude of the divine mercy on the Feast.

* The Cardinal of Krakow, Cardinal Macharski, whose diocese is the center of the spread of the devotion and the sponsor of the Cause of Sr. Faustina, has written that we should use Lent as preparation for the Feast and confess even before Holy Week! So, it is clear that the confessional requirement does not have to be met on the Feast itself. That would be an impossible burden for the clergy if it did. The Communion requirement is easily met that day, however, since it is a day of obligation, being Sunday. We would only need confession again, if received earlier in Lenten or Easter Season, if we were in the state of mortal sin on the Feast.

Diary, Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, Divine Mercy in My Soul (c) 1987 Congregation of Marians of the Immaculate Conception, Stockbridge, MA 01263. All rights reserved.

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Should you believe the claims made by Dan Brown in the book ( turned into a movie) The Davinci Code? At the start of the book the reader discovers a “fact page,” which asserts, “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.” In fact, the book and it’s wild claims about Christianity are based on total falsehoods. Here are just a few examples:

1. More than 80 Lost Gospels. Brown claims, “More than eighty gospels were considered for the New Testament, and yet only a relative few were chosen for inclusion—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John among them” (p. 231).

In fact, that is a total lie. Yes, there were other books written later on in the second century which were called “gospels”—The Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Philip, and The Gospel of Judas are three of the most famous. But there were nowhere near 80 of them! Brown appears to have completely invented that number.[1] Furthermore, none of them were ever considered for inclusion in the New Testament. In fact these gospels were written much later and drew much of their material from the biblical Gospels.

2. Constantine and the Bible. The Davinci Code claims: “The Bible, as we know it today, was collated by the pagan Roman Emperor Constantine” (p. 231).

This is utterly false. Constantine died in A. D. 337. Yet, Christians still continued to disagree about which books were Scripture long after he died. This is clearly evident when one reads the lists of the biblical books written by Cyril of Jerusalem (~A. D. 350) and Gregory of Nazianzus (~A. D. 389) which exclude the Book of Revelation. In fact, it seems clear that the question wasn’t fully decided until the list assembled by the Councils of Hippo (A.D. 393) and Carthage (A. D. 397) was finally sent off to be ratified in A. D. 419. Interestingly, the list was not sent off to the Emperor: “Let this be sent to our brother and fellow bishop, Boniface, and to the other bishops of those parts, that they may confirm this canon, for these are the things which we have received from our fathers to be read in church.”

3. Lost Gospels found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. On page 234 Brown writes, “some of the gospels that Constantine attempted to eradicate managed to survive. The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the 1950s hidden in a cave near Qumran in the Judean desert. And, of course, the Coptic Scrolls in 1945 at Nag Hammadi. In addition to telling the true Grail story, these documents speak of Christ’s ministry in very human terms.…”

What was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls is no secret—you can order an English translation of the scrolls from any on-line bookseller. Nowhere in any of the Dead Sea Scrolls is anything ever said about Jesus. Furthermore, while apocryphal gospels such as The Gospel of Thomas were found at Nag Hammadi, they depict a much more esoteric Jesus than the biblical gospels—they do not present Jesus’ ministry “in very human terms.”

4. Mary Magdalene as Jesus’ wife. On page 234 we learn that the Gospel of Phillip describes Mary Magdalene as the “companion” to Jesus—we are told that the Aramaic word used here implies a “spousal” relationship. Brown reveals his ignorance here. The Gospel of Philip was written in Coptic, not Aramaic. Moreover, “companion” means just that—there’s no reason to believe it implies a marital relationship.

The book continues with the following passage from the Gospel of Philip: “Christ loved [Mary Magdalene] more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on her mouth.” What Brown never tells us is that this is a questionable reading of the passage. The original document contains holes in key places—it tells us that Jesus “used to kiss her often on” and then there is a blank. Whether the next word is “mouth” is not clear—it might simply be “cheek.”

Regardless, it is clear that the book of Philip uses the image of the “kiss” as a metaphor for spiritual communion. To read this passage as evidence of a sexual relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene misunderstands what the passage is saying.[2]

5. Leonardo’s Painting of the Last Supper. Of course, one of the major claims is that Leonardo’s picture of the Last Supper contains an image of Mary Magdalene—she is supposedly the figure sitting at Jesus’ right. That this figure is depicted as looking “feminine” supposedly supports this view. In fact, this is not Mary Magdalene but the youngest disciple, John, who was called the “beloved disciple.” The Gospel of John tells us that he sat next to Jesus at the Last Supper (cf. John 13:23). Count the number of people there with Jesus in the picture and you will find that there are exactly 12—they are clearly the twelve apostles.

The “feminine” depiction of John is usually attributed to the attempt to portray his youth. Leonardo’s portrait of the young John the Baptist also depicts him rather as rather “feminine.” Moreover, many medieval painters prior to Leonardo depicted John the Apostle this way. If the figure is not John one would have to conclude that Leonardo left one of the prominent apostles out of the Last Supper scene—and that’s outrageous.

6. The Mona Lisa. The book claims that Leonardo hid his belief in the “sacred feminine”—a belief suppressed by the Church—in his painting of the Mona Lisa. That painting’s name is supposedly a combination of the names of two Egyptian gods: Amon and the goddess Isis. We read that Isis’ “ancient pictogram was once called L’ISA. The title Mona Lisa, then, is really ‘an anagram of the divine union of male and female’ (p. 121).

Really? What Brown doesn’t tell us is that the painting was never named by Da Vinci. Da Vinci died in 1519. It wasn’t until 1550 that the painting was first named. In 1550 Giorgio Vasari lists the work in his Lives of the Artists as “Monna Lisa.” It was later shortened in English to “Mona Lisa.” It simply means Madame Lisa, and refers to the person who most scholars believe it depicts: Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo. Brown’s explanation is completely unfounded and is nothing more than a product of his imagination.

7. The Bloodline of Jesus. The book purports that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were not only married, but that they also had children. Brown writes, “The royal bloodline of Jesus Christ has been chronicled in exhaustive detail by scores of historians” (p. 253). Who are these “historians” who have chronicled all of this? He lists four books, written by Margaret Starbird, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, Henry Lincoln, Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince.

Yet, none of these authors are strictly speaking “historians”—none of them have earned advanced degrees in history. Starbird, for example, has her M.A. in literature. The work Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln co-authored, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, has been thoroughly discredited by scholars—Baigent has even admitted to forging his sources. The last two authors, Picknett and Prince, believe that the ancient pyramids of Egypt were built by aliens from outer space (The Stargate Conspiracy: The Truth About Extraterrestrials and the Mysteries of Egypt [2001])

8. The Priory of Sion. On the “fact page” we read: “The Priory of Sion—a European secret society formed in 1099—is a real organization. In 1975 Paris’s Bibliotheque Nationale discovered parchments known as Les Dossiers Secrets, identifying numerous numbers of the Priory of Sion, including Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo and Leonardo da Vinci” (p. 1).

The Priory of Sion hardly goes back 1099—it was established in 1952 by Pierre Plantard, who was eventually revealed as a hoax and sentenced to prison for Fraud. He admitted so in 1993 in a French Court before Judge Thierry Jean-Pierre. The so-called secret documents that were “discovered” were faked by Plantard and Philippe de Chérisey, who has also admitted his role in the scandal. Full documentation is found at http://www.priory-of-sion.com/. An episode of 60 Minutes which aired on CBS in April of 2006 also exposed the Priory of Sion as nothing but “good old fashioned fraud.”

9. Opus Dei. Throughout the book Brown demonstrates his shoddy knowledge of Opus Dei. The murderer in the book is an Opus Dei monk named Silas. Yet, in the real world, there are no monks in Opus Dei. Anyone who knows Opus Dei knows that the organization seeks to help Catholics who live in the world live their faith. Opus Dei is made up of lay people: doctors, teachers, etc. You will never find a monk in Opus Dei. Moreover, while it is true that a very small number of Opus Dei members practice forms of corporeal mortification, the depiction of Silas whipping himself to a bloody pulp is an outrageous misrepresentation.

10. Jesus as a “mortal prophet.” Brown claims that originally, Christians did not think Jesus was God—that belief was invented at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. He writes, “until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet” (p. 233).

Hardly. The New Testament contains many references to the divinity of Jesus. One of the most clear statements is found in the Gospel of John, written in the first century—long before Nicea. In John 21:28, Thomas addresses the resurrected Lord as “My Lord and My God” (John 22:28). At the beginning of his Gospel, Jesus is described as “the Word”. His divinity and pre-existence is especially clear: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”

For more information I recommend you listen to Matthew Arnold’s wonderful audio set, The Davinci Code Exposed.

Other resources include:

–Darrel Bock, Breaking the Da Vinci Code. Nashville: Nelson, 2004.
–Carl Olson, et al. The Davinci Hoax: Exposing the Errors in the Davinci Code. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004.
–Amy Wellborn, De-Coding Da Vinci: The Facts Behind the Fiction of the Da Vinci Code. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2004.
Although it is not specifically about Dan Brown’s Book, I also recommend Mike Aquilina and Christopher Bailey’s fine book on the Holy Grail, The Grail Code. Chicago: Loyola Press, 2006.
[1] “Add up everything that was ever called a gospel in the first half-millennium of Christianity (most of which are small compilations of esoteric sayings ascribed to Jesus and not narratives of any portion of his life) and you come up with about two dozen documents.” Craig L. Blomberg, Ph.D., Review of The Da Vinci Code in Denver Journal, An Online Review of Current Biblical and Theological Studies.
[2] Darrel Bock, Breaking the Code (Nashville: Nelson, 2004), 23.
This List was originally posted on SACRED PAGE

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I sometimes amaze myself with the amount of acrobatics some pastors force themselves to do in order to avoid preaching about hell and sin. Our good Lord Jesus Christ  preached about Heaven and hell as the two most certain realities of our lives because, in effect,  if there are  two places where one will certainly spend eternity in, these places are either Heaven or hell. And yet, these days we hardly hear the word hell being mentioned at a Catholic Mass as though we’ve done away with it!

It is also common to hear preachers talk about temptation, falling short and making mistakes, but most are reluctant to mention the word sin, let alone the name Devil.  These seem to have become  ‘politically incorrect’ words that will upset people and scare them away from Mass or from the Church altogether.

However, the holy Mother Church, as far I know, has never stopped teaching about hell and the need for constant personal conversion, namely, rejection of sin as means of attaining eternal life.  The Bible is full passages exhorting all believers to turn away from sin and convert their hearts to God, keep the commandments and strive to be holy.  On the other hand, in most parishes we seem to witness a phenomenon in which nearly everything is permissible or should be left to each individual’s conscience. The problem is, not every one has a formed conscious!  According to the Bible, mortal sin indeed leads to the ‘death’ of the soul and with it the death of the individual’s own conscious, which is a gift of God to help us lead a good life.

The Church as whole is in great need of priests that instead of adopting diplomacy would rather be  more committed to preaching the full truth of the Gospel of Jesus! After all, that is still one of the main reasons people go to church, because in spite of the Godless world we live in,  many of us are sincerely seeking the face of the Lord and don’t want to be deceived or mislead. 

Personaly, I find it hard to understand the reasons behind the widespread lukewarmness in the Church of today, for this reason I not only hope but sincerely pray that the Lord may provide us with a good harvest of holy priests to shepherd His brethren.

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