Archive for November, 2010

God Has The Answer…

Posted: November 30, 2010 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

HANDY LITTLE CHART

GOD HAS THE ANSWER:

YOU SAY GOD SAYS BIBLE VERSES
You say: ‘It’s impossible’ God says:  All things are possible ( Luke 18:27)
You say: ‘I’m too tired’ God says: I will give you rest ( Matthew 11:28-30)
You say: ‘Nobody really loves me’ God says: I love you ( John 3:1  6 & John 3:34 )
You say: ‘I can’t go on’ God says: My grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)
You say:  ‘I can’t figure things out’ God says: I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5-   6)
You say: ‘I can’t do it’ God says: You can do all things ( Philippians 4:13)
You say: ‘I’m not able’ God says: I am able (II Corinthians 9:8)
You say: ‘It’s not worth it’ God says: It will be worth it (Roman 8:28 )
You say: ‘I can’t forgive myself’ God says: I Forgive you (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)
You say: ‘I can’t manage’ God says: I will supply all your needs ( Philippians 4:19)
You say: ‘I’m afraid’ God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear ( II Timothy 1:7)
You say: ‘I’m always worried and frustrated’ God says: Cast all your cares on ME (I Peter 5:7)
You say: ‘I’m not smart enough’ God says: I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)
You say: ‘I feel all alone’ God says: I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)

From a Sermon by Saint Augustine, Bishop

Posted: November 29, 2010 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

A truly beautiful sermon that needs to be shared with all….(Catholic Jules)

Let us sing alleluia to the good God who delivers us from evil

Let us sing alleluia here on earth, while we still live in anxiety, so that we may sing it one day in heaven in full security. Why do we now live in anxiety? Can you expect me not to feel anxious when I read: Is not man’s life on earth a time of trial? Can you expect me not to feel anxious when the words still ring in my ears: Watch and pray that you will not be put to the test? Can you expect me not to feel anxious when there are so many temptations here below that prayer itself reminds us of them, when we say: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us? Every day we make out petitions, every day we sin. Do you want me to feel secure when I am daily asking pardon for my sins, and requesting help in time of trial? Because of my past sins I pray: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and then, because of the perils still before me, I immediately go on to add: Lead us not into temptation. How can all be well with people who are crying out with me: Deliver us from evil? And yet, brothers, while we are still in the midst of this evil, let us sing alleluia to the good God who delivers us from evil.

Even here amidst trials and temptations let us, let all men, sing alleluia.God is faithful, says holy Scripture, and he will not allow you to be tried beyond your strength. So let us sing alleluia, even here on earth. Man is still a debtor, but God is faithful. Scripture does not say that he will not allow you to be tried, but that he will not allow you to be tried beyond your strength. Whatever the trial, he will see your through it safely, and so enable you to endure. You have entered upon a time of trial but you will come to no harm – God’s help will bring you through it safely. You are like a piece of pottery, shaped by instruction, fired by tribulation. When you are put into the oven therefore, keep your thoughts on the time when you will be taken out again; for God is faithful, and he will guard both your going in and your coming out.

But in the next life, when this body of ours has become immortal and incorruptible, then all trials will be over. Your body is indeed dead, and why? Because of sin. Nevertheless, your spirit lives, because you have been justified. Are we to leave our dead bodies behind then? By no means. Listen to the words of holy Scripture: If the Spirit of him who raised Christ from the dead dwells within you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your own mortal bodies. At present your body receives its life from the soul, but then it will receive it from the Spirit.

O the happiness of the heavenly alleluia, sung in security, in fear of no adversity! We shall have no enemies in heaven, we shall never lose a friend. God’s praises are sung both there and here, but here they are sung by those destined to die, there, by those destined to live for ever; here they are sung in hope, there, in hope’s fulfillment; here they are sung by wayfarers, there, by those living in their own country.

So, then, my brothers, let us sing now, not in order to enjoy a life of leisure, but in order to lighten our labors. You should sing as wayfarers do – sing, but continue your journey. Do not be lazy, but sing to make your journey more enjoyable. Sing, but keep going. What do I mean by keep going? Keep on making progress. This progress, however, must be in virtue; for there are some, the Apostle warns, whose only progress is in vice. If you make progress, you will be continuing your journey, but be sure that your progress is in virtue, true faith and right living. Sing then, but keep going.

Emmanuel Praise & Worship Session

Posted: November 28, 2010 by CatholicJules in Upcoming Events

In preparation for the coming of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ, Emmanuel will be conducting 4 sessions during Advent on Wednesdays at 8.00 p.m. beginning on 1st Dec ‘10.

We invite you to join us in our desire in making this a spirituallymeaningful season.

Venue

Church of St Anthony
25 Woodlands Avenue 1
Singapore 739064
Thomas Aquinas Room

For Directions Click Here

November 28, 2010 – First Sunday in Advent

Posted: November 27, 2010 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

SUNDAY BIBLE REFLECTIONS BY DR. SCOTT HAHN

In a Dark Hour

Readings
Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122:1-9
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:37-44 “The Gospel of Fulfillment”
)

 

Jesus exaggerates in today’s Gospel when He claims not to know the day or the hour when He will come again.

He occasionally makes such overstatements to drive home a point we might otherwise miss (see Matthew 5:34; 23:9; Luke 14:26).

His point here is that the exact “hour” is not important. What is crucial is that we not postpone our repentance, that we be ready for Him – spiritually and morally – when He comes. For He will surely come, He tells us – like a thief in the night, like the flood in the time of Noah.

In today’s Epistle, Paul too compares the present age to a time of advancing darkness and night.

Though we sit in the darkness, overshadowed by death, we have seen arise the great light of our Lord who has come into our midst (see Matthew 4:16; John 1:9; 8:12). He is the true light, the life of the world. And His light continues to shine in His Church, the new Jerusalem promised by Isaiah in today’s First Reading.

In the Church, all nations stream to the God of Jacob, to worship and seek wisdom in the House of David. From the Church goes forth His word of instruction, the light of the Lord – that all might walk in His paths toward that eternal day when night will be no more (see Revelation 22:5).

By our Baptism we have been made children of the light and day (see Ephesians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:5-7). It is time we start living like it – throwing off the fruitless works of darkness, the desires of the flesh, and walking by the light of His grace.

The hour is late as we begin a new Advent. Let us begin again in this Eucharist.

As we sing in today’s Psalm, let us go rejoicing to the House of the Lord. Let us give thanks to His name, keeping watch for His coming, knowing that our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.

The Gospel of ‘Fulfillment’

With the First Sunday in Advent we begin a new “cycle” (Cycle A) of the Church’s Liturgical Year. Sunday by Sunday for the next year we’ll be reading the Gospel of Matthew.

Matthew’s Gospel is a prime example of what St. Augustine was talking about when he said: the New Testament is concealed in the Old and the Old Testament is revealed in the New.

You can’t read Matthew without having your ear tuned to the Old Testament. He quotes or alludes to the Old Testament an average of four or five times per chapter – or more than 100 times in his Gospel.

Matthew writes this way because he wants his fellow Israelites to see that their Old Covenant with God has been “fulfilled” in Jesus. Get used to words like “fulfill” and “fulfillment” – you’re going to hear them repeatedly in Matthew’s gospel.

On the Fourth Sunday of Advent, for instance, Matthew explains how Mary is found with child: “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Behold the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall call him Emmanuel” (see Matthew 1:22-23).

Again, on Palm Sunday, when He is arrested in the garden, Jesus says: “All this has come to pass that the writings of the prophets may be fulfilled” (see Matthew 26:54,56).

The numerous “fulfillments” Matthew tells us about are intended to signal one thing – that in Jesus, God is finally delivering on the promises He made throughout salvation history.


Judgement & scenes from the Day Of Wrath

Posted: November 26, 2010 by CatholicJules in Holy Pictures

By Aldo Locatelli, Found in the Church Of San Pellegrino

“My flesh is real food; My blood is true drink,”

Posted: November 25, 2010 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

“My Flesh Is Real Food”
Here’s a brief, step by step way to explain the Real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

By Tim Staples

Scenario:

You’re at the annual family reunion barbecue. In the midst of the fun you overhear your cousin Mark (who left the Church in college and now attends a Fundamentalist Baptist church) arguing heatedly about religion with several of your Catholic relatives. He’s got his Bible out and is vigorously explaining why the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist is “unbiblical.” “You don’t really believe that you eat Jesus when you receive Communion, do you?” he rolls his eyes, shaking his head at the very thought. “It’s obvious from Scripture that Jesus was speaking symbolically when He talked about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. He didn’t mean that literally.” Your relatives are no match for Mark’s energy and confidence. And besides, they don’t have Bibles with them, so he’s pretty much in charge of the conversation, that is, until you walk over and with a big smile you ask, “Mark, if I can show you from the Bible that your argument is wrong and that Christ did teach that He is really present in the Eucharist, will you come back to the Catholic Church?” Mark’s sermon stops in mid syllable. He grins and shakes his head. “There is no way you can prove that from the Bible. And besides, you’re a Catholic. Your doctrines don’t come from the Bible, anyway.”

Your response:

“Well, we’ll see about that. But please answer my question. If I can show you from the Bible that the Catholic teaching is true, will you come back to the Church?” “Heck yeah,” he snorts, confident your proposition is one he can’t lose. “Go ahead and try. But first, answer me this: In John 10:1, Jesus said He is a ‘door.’ Do you believe He has hinges and a doorknob on His body? In John 15:1, Jesus said He is a ‘vine.’ Do you take Him literally there? If not, why do you take His words literally in John 6 where He talked about His flesh and blood being like food and drink? You Catholics are inconsistent.”

Step One:

Explain that if Jesus was not speaking literally in John 6 (“My flesh is real food; My blood is true drink,” etc.), He would have been a poor teacher. After all, everyone listening to Him speak those words understood that He meant them literally. They responded, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” In the cases of Jesus saying He is a “door” or a “vine,” we find no one asking, “How can this man be a door made out of wood?” or, “How can this man claim to be a plant?” It was clear from the context and the Lord’s choice of words in those passages that He was speaking metaphorically. But in John 6 He was speaking literally. In John 6:41, the Jews “murmured” about Christ’s teaching precisely because it was so literal. Christ certainly knew they were having difficulty imagining that He was speaking literally, but rather than explain His meaning as simply a metaphor, He emphasized His teaching, saying, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give is My flesh for the life of the world” (John 6:51). Why would Christ reinforce the literal sense in the minds of His listeners if He meant His words figuratively? Now point out how the Lord dealt with other situations where His listeners misunderstood the meaning of His words. In each case, He cleared up the misunderstanding. For example, the disciples were confused about His statement, “I have meat to eat that you know not of” (John 4:32). They thought he was speaking about physical food, real meat. But He quickly cleared up the misunderstanding with the clarification, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, that I may perfect his work” (Matt. 4:34; cf. 16:5-12). Back to John 6. Notice that the Jews argued among themselves about the meaning of Christ’s words. He reiterated the literal meaning again: “Amen, Amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you” (verses 53-54). In verse 61 we see that no longer was it just the wider audience but “the disciples” themselves who were having difficulty with this radical statement. Surely, if Christ were speaking purely symbolically, it’s reasonable to expect that He would clear up the difficulty even if just among His disciples. But He doesn’t. He stands firm and asks, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before?” (Verse 62-63). Did Christ “symbolically” ascend into heaven after the Resurrection? No. As we see in Acts 1:9-10, His ascension was literal. This is the one and only place in the New Testament where people abandon Christ over one of His teachings. Rather than try to correct any mistaken understanding of His words, the Lord asks His Apostles, “Do you also want to leave?” (verse 67). His Apostles knew He was speaking literally. St. Paul emphasizes the truth of the Real Presence: “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord . . . .Whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Cor. 11:27-29). If the Eucharist is merely a symbol of the Lord’s body and blood, then St. Paul’s words here make no sense. For how can one be “guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord” if it’s merely a symbol? This Greek phrase for being “guilty of someone’s body and blood” (enokos estai tou somatos kai tou haimatos tou kuriou) is a technical way of saying “guilty of murder.” If the Eucharist is merely a symbol of Christ, not Christ Himself, this warning would be drastically, absurdly overblown.

Step Two:

Next point out the fact that the “Real Presence” of Christ in the Holy Eucharist was a doctrine believed and taught unanimously by the Church since the time of Christ. The Catholic “literal” sense was always and only the sense in which the early Christians understood Christ’s words in John 6. The “figurative” or “metaphorical” sense was never held by the Church Fathers or other early orthodox Christians. This can be proven not just by appealing to the writings of the Fathers, but also by the fact that ancient Christian traditions such as the Copts and the Orthodox Churches also hold and teach the doctrine of the Real Presence, just as the Catholic Church does. St. Ignatius of Antioch, a disciple of St. John the Apostle and successor of St. Peter as bishop of Antioch, wrote: “They [the heretics] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His goodness, raised up again” (Epistle to the Smyrnaeans 6 [A.D. 107]).

Even Martin Luther himself admitted that the early Church was unanimous in the literal interpretation of Christ’s words in John 6: “Who, but the devil, hath granted such license of wresting the words of holy Scripture? Who ever read in the Scriptures that my body is the same as the sign of my body?. . . It is only the devil, that imposeth upon us by these fanatical men. . .Not one of the Fathers, though so numerous, ever spoke [thus] . . . they are all of them unanimous.”

Step Three:

You can make your case another way. Say, for the sake of argument, that Christ intended His words in John 6 to be understood metaphorically. Even if this were granted, the anti-Catholic argument your cousin Mark is using still falls apart. Here’s why: The phrases “eat flesh” and “drink blood” did indeed have a symbolic meaning in the Hebrew language and culture of our Lord’s time. You can demonstrate this by quoting passages such as Psalm 27:1-2, Isaiah 9:18-20, Isaiah 49:26, Micah 3:3, and Revelation 17:6,16. In each case, we find “eating flesh” and “drinking blood” used as metaphors to mean “to persecute,” “to do violence to,” “to assault,” or “to murder.” Now, if Christ were speaking metaphorically, the Jews would have understood him to be making an absured statement: “Unless you persecute and assault Me, you shall not have life in you. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you do violence to Me and kill Me, you shall not have life within you.” Besides being an absurd understanding of these words, there’s one further problem with the “metaphorical” view: Jesus would have been encouraging- exhorting!- His hearers to commit violent mortal sins. If it were immoral, in any sense, for Christ to promise to give us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink, then he could not have command us to even symbolically eat and drink His body and blood. Even symbolically performing an immoral act is of its very nature immoral. You can see your explanations are hitting home, but you’re not done yet. Mark still has a few arguments left. “Look,” he sighs. “You haven’t convinced me. After all, Jesus Himself said in John 6:63 that He wasn’t speaking literally: ‘It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.’ How do you get around that?”

Your response:

The word “spirit” (Greek: pnuema) is never used anywhere in Scripture to mean “symbolic.” John 4:24 says God is “spirit” (pneuma). Does that mean He is “symbolic?” Hebrews 1:14 tells us that angels are “spirit” (pneuma). Are angels merely symbols? Of course not. You can multiply the examples of the constant use of the word “spirit” as a literal, not figurative, reality. Now point out that sarx, the Greek term for “flesh,” is sometimes used in the New Testament to describe the condition of our fallen human nature apart from God’s grace. For example, St. Paul says that if we are “in the flesh,” we cannot please God (cf. Rom. 8:1-14). He also reminds us that, “the natural person does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God, for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it because it is judged spiritually” (1 Cor. 2:14). Remind Mark that it doesn’t require grace to look at Communion as just grape juice and crackers. It does, however, require faith and “spiritual judgment” to see and believe Christ’s promise that He would give us His body, blood, soul and divinity under the appearances of bread and wine. The one who is “in the flesh,” operating in the realm of mere natural understanding, won’t see this truth. Your cousin has a comeback ready. “But Jesus says, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.’ I believe this means that coming to Him is what He really means by “eating” and believing in Him is what He really means by “drinking.” Not so. Point out that “coming to” and “believing in” Christ are definite requirements for having this life He promises, but not the only ones. It would, after all, be a sacrilege to receive the Eucharist without believing (cf. 1 Cor. 11:27-29). But this doesn’t erase the fact that Christ repeatedly said, “My flesh is real food, and My blood is real drink.” This literal dimension of the passage can’t be explained away by appealing to “coming” and “believing.” To do that would be to make the mistake of focusing solely on just one aspect of the Lord’s teaching and ignoring the rest of it. Mark is starting to look a little uncomfortable. You’re still smiling. He’s not. “Wait!” he says. “Leviticus 17:10 condemns eating blood. There’s no way Jesus would contradict this. He would have been encouraging cannibalism if He really meant for us to eat His body and drink His blood. That would be immoral.”

Step Four:

Acknowledge that Leviticus 17:10 indeed condemns “eating blood.” Then say, “If we’re going to be consistent with the Levitical Law, then we must also perform animal sacrifices – lambs, pigeons, turrtledoves- according to Leviticus 12:8. But as Christians, we are not under the Levitical Law. We’re under the ‘law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus'” (Rom. 8:2). Hebrews 7:11-12 tells us the Levitical Law has passed away with the advent of the New Covenant. A New Testament commandment always abrogates an Old Testament commandment. For example, in Matthew 5, the Lord repeatedly uses the formula, “You have heard that it was said (quoting an Old Testament law), But I say unto you . . .” In each instance, Christ supercedes the Old Testament law with a new commandment of His own, such as the commandment against divorce and remarriage, overagainst Moses’ allowance for it in Deuteronomy 24:1 (cf. Matt. 5:21-22, 27-28, 31-32, 33-34, 38-39, 43-44). This is what we see in John 6. The blood prohibition in Leviticus 17:11-12 was replaced by Christ’s new teaching in John 6:54: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you shall have no life in you.” Eating blood was prohibitted in the Old Testament, “Because the life of the flesh is found in the blood” (Lev. 17:11). Blood is sacred and the life of each creature is in its blood. Many pagans thought they could acquire “more” life by ingesting the blood of an animal or even a human being. But obviously this was foolish. No animal or human person has the capacity to do this. But in the case of Christ, it’s different. John 6:54 tells us that our eternal life depends on His blood: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you shall have no life in you.”

Step Five:

By now Cousin Mark has run out of things to say. Rather than hold him to his promise to become Catholic on the spot, give him a hug, tell him you’re praying for his return to the Church and that he’s always welcome to come home. Then go get another helping of Aunt Mary’s potato salad. You’ve earned it.

Thought Of Day…

Posted: November 24, 2010 by CatholicJules in Personal Thoughts & Reflections

As I was reflecting on why it is so difficult for one to remain holy.

 

For the fascination of wickedness obscures what is good, and roving desire perverts the innocent mind.

Wisdom 4:12

 

And then I was led to this passage….

 

For the lowliest may be pardoned in mercy, but the mighty will be mightily tested.

Wisdom 6:6

 

(Apologetics) John Vs Mike – 6

Posted: November 23, 2010 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

From the website: http://www.pro-gospel.org, by Mike Gendron

Mike Gendron:

The Deception of Purgatory

Purgatory comes from the Latin word “purgare,” which means to make clean or to purify. The Catholic Encyclopedia defines purgatory as “a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.” They must be purified of these “venial” sins before they can be allowed into heaven. Here we see Catholicism perpetuating the seductive lie of Satan by declaring “you will not surely die” when you commit venial sins (Gen. 3:4). The Council of Trent dares to declare that “God does not always remit the whole punishment due to sin together with the guilt. God requires satisfaction and will punish sin…The sinner, failing to do penance in this life, may be punished in another world, and so not be cast off eternally from God.” (Session 15, Can. XI). Those Catholic Bishops had the audacity to declare that the suffering and death of God’s perfect man and man’s perfect substitute was not sufficient to satisfy divine justice for sin.

John Martignoni

He correctly quotes the Catholic Encyclopedia, and then notice what he does: He inserts his own meaning into that quote.  He decides, based on his bias towards, and hatred of, the Catholic Faith, that the Catholic teaching on Purgatory means that we are agreeing with the devil when he told Eve, “You will not die,” if she ate of the fruit of the tree that God told her and Adam not to eat from.

First of all, I am not following the logic here.  How is saying that you need to be completely purified of even the smallest sins before you enter Heaven, the equivalent of telling the same lie as the devil told Eve in the Garden?  That makes no sense.  Is Mr. Gendron saying that we don’t need to be purified of venial sins before we enter Heaven?  If so, then he is saying that something unclean can get into Heaven, which is contrary to Rev 21:27, which states that nothing unclean shall enter it?  Who should we believe, the Bible or Mr. Gendron?

Or, is he saying this because he contends that Catholics are wrong to teach that venial sins will not cause one to lose their salvation?   If so, then again he goes contrary to Scripture which states very clearly, “There is sin which is mortal [unto death (KJV)]…All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal [unto death].”  The Bible makes it very clear that there is sin which does not lead to death, or loss of one’s salvation.  Is Mr. Gendron denying this?  Well, he seems to be.  So, who should we believe, the Bible or Mr. Gendron?

He then goes on to quote the Council of Trent when it said that God does not always remit the whole punishment due to sin along with the guilt of that sin.  And what does he do after he quotes a Catholic source?  He injects his own personal, fallible, biased, and bigoted interpretation into what that source said.  He marvels that the Catholic bishops at the Council of Trent would have the “audacity” to “declare that the suffering and death of God’s perfect man and man’s perfect substitute was not sufficient to satisfy divine justice for sin.”

Uhmm, Mike…that’s not what they said.  Those are your words, Mike, not those of the Council of Trent.  When the Council of Trent said that God does not always remit the “whole punishment” due to sin along with the “guilt” of that sin, all they were doing was verbalizing a pretty obvious fact found in the Bible.  For example, when Moses disobeyed God, he was subsequently forgiven by God, right?  But, was all of the punishment due to that sin remitted at the moment Moses’ was forgiven?  According to Mr. Gendron beliefs it had to have been, but the Bible tells us no, it was not.  Moses was punished by God, even after being forgiven by God, by not being allowed to enter into the Promised Land.  So, even though the whole guilt of Moses sin was fully forgiven, the whole punishment was not remitted at the same time the guilt was forgiven, just as the Bishops at the Council of Trent stated.

Another example is David’s affair with Bathsheba and the murder of Bathsheba’s husband.  We see in 2 Samuel 12:13-18 that God “puts away David’s sin,” which means that David was fully forgiven of his sin.  So, according to Mr. Gendron, the whole punishment due to David’s sin was remitted at the very moment David was forgiven by God.  Yet, in the Bible, we see that the whole punishment due to David’s sin was not remitted at the same time the guilt was forgiven, just as the Bishops at the Council of Trent stated.  Mr. Gendron, do you have these stories in your Bible?

Also, has the full punishment due because of Adam’s original sin been remitted?  According to Mr. Gendron, it has.  Which is why we are all right now back in the Garden of Eden, right?!  Not quite.  Read God’s words to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:16-19.  Is woman still bringing forth children in pain?  Is man still having to toil to eat of the produce of the ground?  Oh yes they are.

Another thing to consider, the New Testament tells us that by bringing someone back from the error of their ways, and that through love, we will “cover a multitude of sins,” (James 5:19-20; 1 Peter 4:8).  I doubt Mr. Gendron has ever considered those passages, or if he’s even seen them.  How can our love “cover a mulitude of sins,” if the whole punishment due to sin is remitted at the exact same time the sin is forgiven?  In what way, Mr. Gendron, can we cover our sins, or “hide” them as the King James Version (KJV) states in James 5:20, if we play no role whatsoever in the remission of the punishment due to our sins?  Hey, that sounds like a good question for my “Questions Protestants Can’t Answer” series.

The Catholic Bishops at the Council of Trent did not teach then, nor has the Catholic Church ever taught, “that the suffering and death of God’s perfect man and man’s perfect substitute was not sufficient to satisfy divine justice for sin,” as Mr. Gendron falsely claims.  Christ paid the full price for the guilt of our sins.  He is the only one who could ever pay that price for our sins.  However, Divine Justice demands that we contribute what we are able, by the grace of God, to the remission of the punishment that is due to those sins, either in this life or in the next.

We do not obtain forgiveness of our sins through our efforts – Jesus is the only one Who can do that for us – but we can contribute to the remission of the punishment due to our sins.  This is why Scripture says that we can indeed cover a multitude of sins through our love, or through bringing someone back from the error of their ways.  And, we can say, as Paul said, that we “rejoice in our sufferings” and that “in [our] flesh we complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the church,” (Colosssians 1:24).  Was something “lacking” in Christ’s suffering?  Not in and of itself, but what is lacking is our participation in that suffering.  That is why we have to pick up our cross daily to follow Him (Luke 9:23).

That’s it for now, I’ve got to go catch a plane.  More on Gendron and Purgatory in the next issue…


BY ROBIN MARK

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found
Was blind but now I see

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear?
The hour I first believed

Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come
‘Twas Grace that brought my heart to fear
And Grace will lead me home

When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Then when we first begun

No not by might
Nor even power
But by Your spirit oh Lord
Healer of hearts
Binder of wounds
Lives that are lost restored
Flow through this land
‘Till every one
Praises Your name once more

Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless?
Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

(To listen click on |> button top left hand side under my pic with the words ‘Play Song while reading’ Will keep it there till maybe end Dec)

November 21, 2010 – Solemnity of Christ the King

Posted: November 20, 2010 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

SUNDAY BIBLE REFLECTIONS BY DR. SCOTT HAHN

Kingdom of the Son

Readings:

2Samuel 5:1-3
Psalm 122:1-5
Colossians 1:12-20
Luke 23:35-43

Week by week the Liturgy has been preparing us for the revelation to be made on this, the last Sunday of the Church year.

Jesus, we have been shown, is truly the Chosen One, the Messiah of God, the King of Jews. Ironically, in today’s Gospel we hear these names on the lips of those who don’t believe in Him – Israel’s rulers, the soldiers, a criminal dying alongside Him.

They can only see the scandal of a bloodied figure nailed to a cross. They scorn Him in words and gestures foretold in Israel’s Scriptures (see Psalm 22:7-9; 69:21-22; Wisdom 2:18-20). If He is truly King, God will rescue Him, they taunt. But He did not come to save Himself, but to save them – and us.

The good thief shows us how we are to accept the salvation He offers us. He confesses his sins, acknowledges he deserves to die for them. And He calls on the name of Jesus, seeks His mercy and forgiveness.

By his faith he is saved. Jesus “remembers” him – as God has always remembered His people, visiting them with His saving deeds, numbering them among His chosen heirs (see Psalm 106:4-5).

By the blood of His cross, Jesus reveals His Kingship – not in saving His life, but in offering it as a ransom for ours. He transfers us to “the Kingdom of His beloved Son,” as today’s Epistle tells us.

His Kingdom is the Church, the new Jerusalem and House of David that we sing of in today’s Psalm.

By their covenant with David in today’s First Reading, Israel’s tribes are made one “bone and flesh” with their king. By the new covenant made in His blood, Christ becomes one flesh with the people of His Kingdom – the head of His body, the Church (see Ephesians 5:23-32).

We celebrate and renew this covenant in every Eucharist, giving thanks for our redemption, hoping for the day when we too will be with Him in Paradise.

GISS – “Witnessing the power of the Holy Spirit”.

Posted: November 19, 2010 by CatholicJules in Upcoming Events

GISS = Growth In The Spirit

Dearest Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

We will be having a praise and worship session followed by a Talk “Witnessing the power of the Holy Spirit”. By Christian Chua this Wednesday 24 Nov 2010 from 8pm to 9:30pm.

All are welcome but kindly let us know if you attending by leaving a message in the comments section so that we can prepare a seat for you by 22 Nov. If you are new to the Church then I can meet you if you like at the foyer to usher you in, again let me know in the comments section.

Venue

Church of St Anthony
25 Woodlands Avenue 1
Singapore 739064
Thomas Aquinas Room

For Directions Click Here

For and on behalf of the Emmanuel Group

 

Some Q & As

Posted: November 19, 2010 by CatholicJules in Questions & Answers

Q : May I have a lozenge before Communion?

I am a newbie so I don’t know if I am doing this “right”. I just wanted to pose a question about reception of Communion. If you start coughing during Mass and have to use a lozenge, can you still receive the Eucharist?

A: Hi,

Yes;  it’s medicine and meds don’t break the fast. However, you should spit it into your handkerchief before receiving.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

Q : Who cares if same-sex marriage is “unnatural”?

How do we answer advocates of same-sex “marriage” when they respond saying: “There are many things humans do that can be considered ‘unnatural’ such as flying planes.”

A: Same-sex “marriage” isn’t “unnatural” for humans in the way that flying is “unnatural.” It is “unnatural” in the way murder is unnatural. In other words, it is opposed to the natural law, which Fr. John Hardon, S.J., defined this way:

As distinct from revealed law, it is “nothing else than the rational creature’s participation in the eternal law” (Summa Theologica, 1a, 2ae, quest. 91, art. 2). As coming from God, the natural law is what God has produced in the world of creation; as coming to human beings, it is what they know (or can know) of what God has created. It is therefore called natural law because everyone is subject to it from birth (natio), because it contains only those duties which are derivable from human nature itself, and because, absolutely speaking, its essentials can be grasped by the unaided light of human reason (source).


Flying is “unnatural” for humans because we do not have wings. Same-sex “marriage” is unnatural not because humans lack a physical attribute that would make it possible, but because it violates the same moral law inherent to every human being that also prohibits murder

Catholic Answers Apologist Michelle Arnold

Book Review: An Invitation To Faith

Posted: November 17, 2010 by CatholicJules in Book Review

Author: Pope Benedict XVI
Length: 110 pages
Edition: Hardcover

As soon as he was elected to the Papacy, Benedict XVI immediately challenged the relativism of our times that rejects God, that sees nothing as definitive, and that, according to the Pope, sets as the ultimate yardstick the individual’s own ego and desires alone. The Pope offers instead an opposing standard: Christ, the Son of God, the true man. The Pope’s words are rousing and demand an examination of conscience. His words are meant for all.

With strong words, Benedict XVI invites us to place God at the center of our lives. Thus, this book is a selection of key words from the teachings of the Holy Father since he began his Pontificate, presented in alphabetical order. Each key word leads to an inspiring and insightful meditation from the Pope on various important spiritual themes and topics. Benedict XVI invites us in these words to become daily actors in the real revolution that comes from God and is called Love.

This volume is a handy little primer on the thought of the beloved Pontiff in which the reader can pick out any key word or topic from the alphabetical order of meditations throughout the book to meditate and focus on.

Review :

I love this book! his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI shares with us his powerful thoughts and insights to our faith in a relatively easy to understand and concise way.  I have personally reflected deeply on some of his teachings and it has opened new windows for me.

So YES I highly recommend this book! It’s only a hundred and ten pages and so for those who have a slight concentration problem as you’ve aged, 😉  know that you’ll only need to read a passage or two a day. The rest of the day can be used for meditation or reflection on those passages.

 

For a Biography of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI Click HERE

The 7 Books and Their Myths

Posted: November 15, 2010 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles

“5 Myths about 7 Books”


Here are the answers to five common arguments Protestants give for rejecting the Deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament


By Mark Shea

People don’t talk much about the deuterocanon these days. The folks who do are mostly Christians, and they usually fall into two general groupings: Catholics – who usually don’t know their Bibles very well and, therefore, don’t know much about the deuterocanonical books, and Protestants – who may know their Bibles a bit better, though their Bibles don’t have the deuterocanonical books in them anyway, so they don’t know anything about them either. With the stage thus set for informed ecumenical dialogue, it’s no wonder most people think the deuterocanon is some sort of particle weapon recently perfected by the Pentagon.

The deuterocanon (ie. “second canon”) is a set of seven books – Sirach, Tobit, Wisdom, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, and Baruch, as well as longer versions of Daniel and Esther – that are found in the Old Testament canon used by Catholics, but are not in the Old Testament canon used by Protestants, who typically refer to them by the mildly pejorative term “apocrypha.” This group of books is called “deuterocanonical” not (as some imagine) because they are a “second rate” or inferior canon, but because their status as being part of the canon of Scripture was settled later in time than certain books that always and everywhere were regarded as Scripture, such as Genesis, Isaiah, and Psalms.

Why are Protestant Bibles missing these books? Protestants offer various explanations to explain why they reject the deuterocanonical books as Scripture. I call these explanations “myths” because they are either incorrect or simply inadequate reasons for rejecting these books of Scripture. Let’s explore the five most common of these myths and see how to respond to them.

Myth 1

The deuterocanonical books are not found in the Hebrew Bible. They were added by the Catholic Church at the Council of Trent after Luther rejected it.

The background to this theory goes like this: Jesus and the Apostles, being Jews, used the same Bible Jews use today. However, after they passed from the scene, muddled hierarchs started adding books to the Bible either out of ignorance or because such books helped back up various wacky Catholic traditions that were added to the gospel. In the 16th century, when the Reformation came along, the first Protestants, finally able to read their Bibles without ecclesial propaganda from Rome, noticed that the Jewish and Catholic Old Testaments differed, recognized this medieval addition for what it was and scraped it off the Word of God like so many barnacles off a diamond. Rome, ever ornery, reacted by officially adding the deuterocanonical books at the Council of Trent (1564-1565) and started telling Catholics “they had always been there.”

This is a fine theory. The problem is that its basis in history is gossamer thin. As we’ll see in a moment, accepting this myth leads to some remarkable dilemmas a little further on.

The problems with this theory are first, it relies on the incorrect notion that the modern Jewish Bible is identical to the Bible used by Jesus and the Apostles. This is false. In fact, the Old Testament was still very much in flux in the time of Christ and there was no fixed canon of Scripture in the apostolic period. Some people will tell you that there must have been since, they say, Jesus held people accountable to obey the Scriptures. But this is also untrue. For in fact, Jesus held people accountable to obey their conscience and therefore, to obey Scripture insofar as they were able to grasp what constituted “Scripture.”

Consider the Sadducees. They only regarded the first five books of the Old Testament as inspired and canonical. The rest of the Old Testament was regarded by them in much the same way the deuterocanon is regarded by Protestant Christians today: nice, but not the inspired Word of God. This was precisely why the Sadducees argued with Jesus against the reality of the resurrection in Matthew 22:23-33: they couldn’t see it in the five books of Moses and they did not regard the later books of Scripture which spoke of it explicitly (such as Isaiah and 2 Maccabees) to be inspired and canonical. Does Jesus say to them “You do greatly err, not knowing Isaiah and 2 Maccabees”? Does He bind them to acknowledge these books as canonical? No. He doesn’t try to drag the Sadducees kicking and screaming into an expanded Old Testament. He simply holds the Sadducees accountable to take seriously the portion of Scripture they do acknowledge: that is, He argues for the resurrection based on the five books of the Law. But of course, this doesn’t mean Jesus commits Himself to the Sadducees’ whittled-down canon.

When addressing the Pharisees, another Jewish faction of the time, Jesus does the same thing. These Jews seem to have held to a canon resembling the modern Jewish canon, one far larger than that of the Sadducees but not as large as other Jewish collections of Scripture. That’s why Christ and the Apostles didn’t hesitate to argue with them from the books they acknowledged as Scripture. But as with the Sadducees, this doesn’t imply that Christ or the Apostles limited the canon of Scripture only to what the Pharisees acknowledged.

When the Lord and His Apostles addressed Greek-speaking Diaspora Jews, they made use of an even bigger collection of Scripture – the Septuagint, a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek – which many Jews (the vast majority, in fact) regarded as inspired Scripture. In fact, we find that the New Testament is filled with references to the Septuagint (and its particular translation of various Old Testament passages) as Scripture. It’s a strange irony that one of the favorite passages used in anti-Catholic polemics over the years is Mark 7:6-8. In this passage Christ condemns “teaching as doctrines human traditions.” This verse has formed the basis for countless complaints against the Catholic Church for supposedly “adding” to Scripture man-made traditions, such as the “merely human works” of the deuterocanononical books. But few realize that in Mark 7:6-8 the Lord was quoting the version of Isaiah that is found only in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament.

But there’s the rub: The Septuagint version of Scripture, from which Christ quoted, includes the Deuterocanonical books, books that were supposedly “added” by Rome in the 16th century. And this is by no means the only citation of the Septuagint in the New Testament. In fact, fully two thirds of the Old Testament passages that are quoted in the New Testament are from the Septuagint. So why aren’t the deuterocanonical books in today’s Jewish Bible, anyway? Because the Jews who formulated the modern Jewish canon were a) not interested in apostolic teaching and, b) driven by a very different set of concerns from those motivating the apostolic community.

In fact, it wasn’t until the very end of the apostolic age that the Jews, seeking a new focal point for their religious practice in the wake of the destruction of the Temple, zeroed in with white hot intensity on Scripture and fixed their canon at the rabbinical gathering, known as the “Council of Javneh” (sometimes called “Jamnia”), about A.D. 90. Prior to this point in time there had never been any formal effort among the Jews to “define the canon” of Scripture. In fact, Scripture nowhere indicates that the Jews even had a conscious idea that the canon should be closed at some point.

The canon arrived at by the rabbis at Javneh was essentially the mid-sized canon of the Palestinian Pharisees, not the shorter one used by the Sadducees, who had been practically annihilated during the Jewish war with Rome. Nor was this new canon consistent with the Greek Septuagint version, which the rabbis regarded rather xenophobically as “too Gentile-tainted.” Remember, these Palestinian rabbis were not in much of a mood for multiculturalism after the catastrophe they had suffered at the hands of Rome. Their people had been slaughtered by foreign invaders, the Temple defiled and destroyed, and the Jewish religion in Palestine was in shambles. So for these rabbis, the Greek Septuagint went by the board and the mid-sized Pharisaic canon was adopted. Eventually this version was adopted by the vast majority of Jews – though not all. Even today Ethiopian Jews still use the Septuagint version, not the shorter Palestinian canon settled upon by the rabbis at Javneh. In other words, the Old Testament canon recognized by Ethiopian Jews is identical to the Catholic Old Testament, including the seven deuterocanonical books (cf. Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 6, p. 1147).

But remember that by the time the Jewish council of Javneh rolled around, the Catholic Church had been in existence and using the Septuagint Scriptures in its teaching, preaching, and worship for nearly 60 years, just as the Apostles themselves had done. So the Church hardly felt the obligation to conform to the wishes of the rabbis in excluding the deuterocanonical books any more than they felt obliged to follow the rabbis in rejecting the New Testament writings. The fact is that after the birth of the Church on the day of Pentecost, the rabbis no longer had authority from God to settle such issues. That authority, including the authority to define the canon of Scripture, had been given to Christ’s Church.

Thus, Church and synagogue went their separate ways, not in the Middle Ages or the 16th century, but in the 1st century. The Septuagint, complete with the deuterocanononical books, was first embraced, not by the Council of Trent, but by Jesus of Nazareth and his Apostles.

Myth 2

Christ and the Apostles frequently quoted Old Testament Scripture as their authority, but they never quoted from the deuterocanonical books, nor did they even mention them. Clearly, if these books were part of Scripture, the Lord would have cited them.

This myth rests on two fallacies. The first is the “Quotation Equals Canonicity” myth. It assumes that if a book is quoted or alluded to by the Apostles or Christ, it is ipso facto shown to be part of the Old Testament. Conversely, if a given book is not quoted, it must not be canonical.

This argument fails for two reasons. First, numerous non-canonical books are quoted in the New Testament. These include the Book of Enoch and the Assumption of Moses (quoted by St. Jude), the Ascension of Isaiah (alluded to in Hebrews 11:37), and the writings of the pagan poets Epimenides, Aratus, and Menander (quoted by St. Paul in Acts, 1 Corinthians, and Titus). If quotation equals canonicity, then why aren’t these writings in the canon of the Old Testament?

Second, if quotation equals canonicity, then there are numerous books of the protocanonical Old Testament which would have to be excluded. This would include the Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Obadiah, Zephaniah, Judges, 1 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Lamentations and Nahum. Not one of these Old Testament books is ever quoted or alluded to by Christ or the Apostles in the New Testament.

The other fallacy behind Myth #2 is that, far from being ignored in the New Testament (like Ecclesiastes, Esther, and 1 Chronicles) the deuterocanonical books are indeed quoted and alluded to in the New Testament. For instance, Wisdom 2:12-20, reads in part, “For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes. With revilement and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”

This passage was clearly in the minds of the Synoptic Gospel writers in their accounts of the Crucifixion: “He saved others; he cannot save himself. So he is the king of Israel! Let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver him now if he wants him. For he said, I am the Son of God'” (cf. Matthew 27:42-43).

Similarly, St. Paul alludes clearly to Wisdom chapters 12 and 13 in Romans 1:19-25. Hebrews 11:35 refers unmistakably to 2 Maccabees 7. And more than once, Christ Himself drew on the text of Sirach 27:6, which reads: “The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had; so too does a man’s speech disclose the bent of his mind.” Notice too that the Lord and His Apostles observed the Jewish feast of Hanukkah (cf. John 10:22-36). But the divine establishment of this key feast day is recorded only in the deuterocanonical books of 1 and 2 Maccabees. It is nowhere discussed in any other book of the Old Testament. In light of this, consider the importance of Christ’s words on the occasion of this feast: “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came – and the Scripture cannot be broken – what about the One Whom the Father set apart as His very own and sent into the world?” Jesus, standing near the Temple during the feast of Hanukkah, speaks of His being “set apart,” just as Judas Maccabeus “set apart” (ie. consecrated) the Temple in 1 Maccabees 4:36-59 and 2 Maccabees 10:1-8. In other words, our Lord made a connection that was unmistakable to His Jewish hearers by treating the Feast of Hanukkah and the account of it in the books of the Maccabees as an image or type of His own consecration by the Father. That is, He treats the Feast of Hanukkah from the so-called “apocryphal” books of 1 and 2 Maccabees exactly as He treats accounts of the manna (John 6:32-33; Exodus 16:4), the Bronze Serpent (John 3:14; Numbers 21:4-9), and Jacob’s Ladder (John 1:51; Genesis 28:12) – as inspired, prophetic, scriptural images of Himself. We see this pattern throughout the New Testament. There is no distinction made by Christ or the Apostles between the deuterocanonical books and the rest of the Old Testament.

Myth 3

The deuterocanonical books contain historical, geographical, and moral errors, so they can’t be inspired Scripture.

This myth might be raised when it becomes clear that the allegation that the deuterocanonical books were “added” by the Catholic Church is fallacious. This myth is built on another attempt to distinguish between the deuterocanonical books and “true Scripture.” Let’s examine it.

First, from a certain perspective, there are “errors” in the deuterocanonical books. The book of Judith, for example, gets several points of history and geography wrong. Similarly Judith, that glorious daughter of Israel, lies her head off (well, actually, it’s wicked King Holofernes’ head that comes off). And the Angel Raphael appears under a false name to Tobit. How can Catholics explain that such “divinely inspired” books would endorse lying and get their facts wrong? The same way we deal with other incidents in Scripture where similar incidents of lying or “errors” happen.

Let’s take the problem of alleged “factual errors” first. The Church teaches that to have an authentic understanding of Scripture we must have in mind what the author was actually trying to assert, the way he was trying to assert it, and what is incidental to that assertion.

For example, when Jesus begins the parable of the Prodigal Son saying, “There was once a man with two sons,” He is not shown to be a bad historian when it is proven that the man with two sons He describes didn’t actually exist. So too, when the prophet Nathan tells King David the story of the “rich man” who stole a “poor man’s” ewe lamb and slaughtered it, Nathan is not a liar if he cannot produce the carcass or identify the two men in his story. In strict fact, there was no ewe lamb, no theft, and no rich and poor men. These details were used in a metaphor to rebuke King David for his adultery with Bathsheba. We know what Nathan was trying to say and the way he was trying to say it. Likewise, when the Gospels say the women came to the tomb at sunrise, there is no scientific error here. This is not the assertion of the Ptolemiac theory that the sun revolves around the earth. These and other examples which could be given are not “errors” because they’re not truth claims about astronomy or historical events.

Similarly, both Judith and Tobit have a number of historical and geographical errors, not because they’re presenting bad history and erroneous geography, but because they’re first-rate pious stories that don’t pretend to be remotely interested with teaching history or geography, any more than the Resurrection narratives in the Gospels are interested in astronomy. Indeed, the author of Tobit goes out of his way to make clear that his hero is fictional. He makes Tobit the uncle of Ahiqar, a figure in ancient Semitic folklore like “Jack the Giant Killer” or “Aladdin.” Just as one wouldn’t wave a medieval history textbook around and complain about a tale that begins “once upon a time when King Arthur ruled the land,” so Catholics are not reading Tobit and Judith to get a history lesson.

Very well then, but what of the moral and theological “errors”? Judith lies. Raphael gives a false name. So they do. In the case of Judith lying to King Holofernes in order to save her people, we must recall that she was acting in light of Jewish understanding as it had developed until that time. This meant that she saw her deception as acceptable, even laudable, because she was eliminating a deadly foe of her people. By deceiving Holofernes as to her intentions and by asking the Lord to bless this tactic, she was not doing something alien to Jewish Scripture or Old Testament morality. Another biblical example of this type of lying is when the Hebrew midwives lied to Pharaoh about the birth of Moses. They lied and were justified in lying because Pharaoh did not have a right to the truth – if they told the truth, he would have killed Moses. If the book of Judith is to be excluded from the canon on this basis, so must Exodus.

With respect to Raphael, it’s much more dubious that the author intended, or that his audience understood him to mean, “Angels lie. So should you.” On the contrary, Tobit is a classic example of an “entertaining angels unaware” story (cf. Heb. 13:2). We know who Raphael is all along. When Tobit cried out to God for help, God immediately answered him by sending Raphael. But, as is often the case, God’s deliverance was not noticed at first. Raphael introduced himself as “Azariah,” which means “Yahweh helps,” and then rattles off a string of supposed mutual relations, all with names meaning things like “Yahweh is merciful,” “Yahweh gives,” and “Yahweh hears.” By this device, the author is saying (with a nudge and a wink), “Psst, audience. Get it?” And we, of course, do get it, particularly if we’re reading the story in the original Hebrew. Indeed, by using the name “Yahweh helps,” Raphael isn’t so much “lying” about his real name as he is revealing the deepest truth about who God is and why God sent him to Tobit. It’s that truth and not any fluff about history or geography or the fun using an alias that the author of Tobit aims to tell.

Myth 4

The deuterocanonical books themselves deny that they are inspired Scripture.

Correction: Two of the deuterocanonical books seem to disclaim inspiration, and even that is a dicey proposition. The two in question are Sirach and 2 Maccabees. Sirach opens with a brief preface by the author’s grandson saying, in part, that he is translating grandpa’s book, that he thinks the book important and that, “You therefore are now invited to read it in a spirit of attentive good will, with indulgence for any apparent failure on our part, despite earnest efforts, in the interpretation of particular passages.” Likewise, the editor of 2 Maccabees opens with comments about how tough it was to compose the book and closes with a sort of shrug saying, “I will bring my own story to an end here too. If it is well written and to the point, that is what I wanted; if it is poorly done and mediocre, that is the best I could do.”

That, and that alone, is the basis for the myth that the deuterocanon (all seven books and not just these two) “denies that it is inspired Scripture.” Several things can be said in response to this argument.

First, is it reasonable to think that these typically oriental expressions of humility really constitute anything besides a sort of gesture of politeness and the customary downplaying of one’s own talents, something common among ancient writers in Middle Eastern cultures? No. For example, one may as well say that St. Paul’s declaration of himself as “one born abnormally” or as being the “chief of sinners” (he mentions this in the present, not past tense) necessarily makes his writings worthless.

Second, speaking of St. Paul, we are confronted by even stronger and explicit examples of disclaimers regarding inspired status of his writings, yet no Protestant would feel compelled to exclude these Pauline writings from the New Testament canon. Consider his statement in 1 Corinthians 1:16 that he can’t remember whom he baptized. Using the “It oughtta sound more like the Holy Spirit talking” criterion of biblical inspiration Protestants apply to the deuterocanonical books, St. Paul would fail the test here. Given this amazing criterion, are we to believe the Holy Spirit “forgot” whom St. Paul baptized, or did He inspire St. Paul to forget (1 Cor. 1:15)?

1 Corinthians 7:40 provides an ambiguous statement that could, according to the principles of this myth, be understood to mean that St. Paul wasn’t sure that his teaching was inspired or not. Elsewhere St. Paul makes it clear that certain teachings he’s passing along are “not I, but the Lord” speaking (1 Cor. 7:10), whereas in other cases, “I, not the Lord” am speaking (cf. 1 Cor. 7:12). This is a vastly more direct “disclaimer of inspiration” than the oblique deuterocanonical passages cited above, yet nobody argues that St. Paul’s writings should be excluded from Scripture, as some say the whole of the deuterocanon should be excluded from the Old Testament, simply on the strength of these modest passages from Sirach and 2 Maccabees.

Why not? Because in St. Paul’s case people recognize that a writer can be writing under inspiration even when he doesn’t realize it and doesn’t claim it, and that inspiration is not such a flat-footed affair as “direct dictation” by the Holy Spirit to the author. Indeed, we even recognize that the Spirit can inspire the writers to make true statements about themselves, such as when St. Paul tells the Corinthians he couldn’t remember whom he had baptized.

To tweak the old proverb, “What’s sauce for the apostolic goose is sauce for the deuterocanonical gander.” The writers of the deuterocanonical books can tell the truth about themselves – that they think writing is tough, translating is hard, and that they are not sure they’ve done a terrific job – without such admissions calling into question the inspired status of what they wrote. This myth proves nothing other than the Catholic doctrine that the books of Sacred Scripture really were composed by human beings who remained fully human and free, even as they wrote under the direct inspiration of God.

Myth 5

The early Church Fathers, such as St. Athanasius and St. Jerome (who translated the official Bible of the Catholic Church), rejected the deuterocanonical books as Scripture, and the Catholic Church added these books to the canon at the Council of Trent.

First, no Church Father is infallible. That charism is reserved uniquely to the pope, in an extraordinary sense and, in an ordinary sense, corporately to all the lawful bishops of the Catholic Church who are in full communion with the pope and are teaching definitively in an ecumenical council. Second, our understanding of doctrine develops. This means that doctrines which may not have been clearly defined sometimes get defined. A classic example of this is the doctrine of the Trinity, which wasn’t defined until A.D. 325 at the Council of Nicaea, nearly 300 years after Christ’s earthly ministry. In the intervening time, we can find a few Fathers writing before Nicaea who, in good faith, expressed theories about the nature of the Godhead that were rendered inadequate after Nicaea’s definition. This doesn’t make them heretics. It just means that Michael Jordan misses layups once in awhile. Likewise, the canon of Scripture, though it more or less assumed its present shape – which included the deuterocanonical books – by about A.D. 380, nonetheless wasn’t dogmatically defined by the Church for another thousand years. In that thousand years, it was quite on the cards for believers to have some flexibility in how they regarded the canon. And this applies to the handful of Church Fathers and theologians who expressed reservations about the deuterocanon. Their private opinions about the deuterocanon were just that: private opinions.

And finally, this myth begins to disintegrate when you point out that the overwhelming majority of Church Fathers and other early Christian writers regarded the deuterocanonical books as having exactly the same inspired, scriptural status as the other Old Testament books. Just a few examples of this acceptance can be found in the Didache, The Epistle of Barnabas, the Council of Rome, the Council of Hippo, the Third Council of Carthage, the African Code, the Apostolic Constitutions, and the writings of Pope St. Clement I (Epistle to the Corinthians), St. Polycarp of Smyrna, St. Irenaeus of Lyons, St. Hippolytus, St. Cyprian of Carthage, Pope St. Damasus I, St. Augustine, and Pope St. Innocent I.

But last and most interesting of all in this stellar lineup is a certain Father already mentioned: St. Jerome. In his later years St. Jerome did indeed accept the Deuterocanonical books of the Bible. In fact, he wound up strenuously defending their status as inspired Scripture, writing, “What sin have I committed if I followed the judgment of the churches? But he who brings charges against me for relating the objections that the Hebrews are wont to raise against the story of Susanna, the Son of the Three Children, and the story of Bel and the Dragon, which are not found in the Hebrew volume (ie. canon), proves that he is just a foolish sycophant. For I wasn’t relating my own personal views, but rather the remarks that they [the Jews] are wont to make against us” (Against Rufinus 11:33 [A.D. 402]). In earlier correspondence with Pope Damasus, Jerome did not call the deuterocanonical books unscriptural, he simply said that Jews he knew did not regard them as canonical. But for himself, he acknowledged the authority of the Church in defining the canon. When Pope Damasus and the Councils of Carthage and Hippo included the deuterocanon in Scripture, that was good enough for St. Jerome. He “followed the judgment of the churches.”

Martin Luther, however, did not. And this brings us to the “remarkable dilemmas” I referred to at the start of this article of trusting the Protestant Reformers’ private opinions about the deuterocanon. The fact is, if we follow Luther in throwing out the deuterocanonical books despite the overwhelming evidence from history showing that we shouldn’t (ie. the unbroken tradition of the Church and the teachings of councils and popes), we get much more than we bargained for.

For Luther also threw out a goodly chunk of the New Testament. Of James, for example, he said, “I do not regard it as the writing of an Apostle,” because he believed it “is flatly against St. Paul and all the rest of Scripture in ascribing justification to works” (Preface to James’ Epistle). Likewise, in other writings he underscores this rejection of James from the New Testament, calling it “an epistle full of straw . . . for it has nothing of the nature of the gospel about it” (Preface to the New Testament).

But the Epistle of James wasn’t the only casualty on Luther’s hit list. He also axed from the canon Hebrews, Jude, and Revelation, consigning them to a quasi-canonical status. It was only by an accident of history that these books were not expelled by Protestantism from the New Testament as Sirach, Tobit, 1 and 2 Maccabees and the rest were expelled from the Old. In the same way, it is largely the ignorance of this sad history that drives many to reject the deuterocanonical books.

Unless, of course, we reject the myths and come to an awareness of what the canon of Scripture, including the deuterocanonical books, is really based on. The only basis we have for determining the canon of the Scripture is the authority of the Church Christ established, through whom the Scriptures came. As St. Jerome said, it is upon the basis of “the judgment of the churches” and no other that the canon of Scripture is known, since the Scriptures are simply the written portion of the Church’s apostolic tradition. And the judgment of the churches is rendered throughout history as it was rendered in Acts 15 by means of a council of bishops in union with St. Peter. The books we have in our Bibles were accepted according to whether they did or did not measure up to standards based entirely on Sacred Tradition and the divinely delegated authority of the Body of Christ in council and in union with Peter.

The fact of the matter is that neither the Council of Trent nor the Council of Florence added a thing to the Old Testament canon. Rather, they simply accepted and formally ratified the ancient practice of the Apostles and early Christians by dogmatically defining a collection of Old Testament Scripture (including the deuterocanon) that had been there since before the time of Christ, used by our Lord and his apostles, inherited and assumed by the Fathers, formulated and reiterated by various councils and popes for centuries and read in the liturgy and prayer for 1500 years.

When certain people decided to snip some of this canon out in order to suit their theological opinions, the Church moved to prevent it by defining (both at Florence and Trent) that this very same canon was, in fact, the canon of the Church’s Old Testament and always had been.

Far from adding the books to the authentic canon of Scripture, the Catholic Church simply did its best to keep people from subtracting books that belong there. That’s no myth. That’s history.

November 14, 2010 – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: November 13, 2010 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

SUNDAY BIBLE REFLECTIONS BY DR. SCOTT HAHN

‘Today’ is the Day

Readings:Malachi 3:19-20

Psalm 98:5-92

Thessalonians 3:7-12

Luke 21:5-19

It is the age between our Lord’s first coming and His last. We live in the new world begun by His life, death, Resurrection and Ascension, by the sending of His Spirit upon the Church. But we await the day when He will come again in glory.

“Lo, the day is coming,” Malachi warns in today’s First Reading. The prophets taught Israel to look for the Day of the Lord, when He would gather the nations for judgment (see Zephaniah 3:8; Isaiah 3:9; 2 Peter 3:7).

Jesus anticipates this day in today’s Gospel. He cautions us not to be deceived by those claiming “the time has come.” Such deception is the background also for today’s Epistle (see 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3).

The signs Jesus gives His Apostles seem to already have come to pass in the New Testament. In Acts, the Epistles and Revelation, we read of famines and earthquakes, the Temple’s desolation. We read of persecutions – believers imprisoned and put to death, testifying to their faith with wisdom in the Spirit.

These “signs” then, show us the pattern for the Church’s life – both in the New Testament and today.

We too live in a world of nations and kingdoms at war. And we should take the Apostles as our “models,” as today’s Epistle counsels. Like them we must persevere in the face of unbelieving relatives and friends, and forces and authorities hostile to God.

As we do in today’s Psalm, we should sing His praises, joyfully proclaim His coming as Lord and King. The Day of the Lord is always a day that has already come and a day still yet to come. It is the “today” of our Liturgy.

The Apostles prayed marana tha – “O Lord come!” (see 1 Corinthians 16:22; Revelation 22:20). In the Eucharist He answers, coming again as the Lord of hosts and the Sun of Justice with its healing rays. It is a mighty sign – and a pledge of that Day to come.

(Apologetics) John Vs Mike – 5

Posted: November 12, 2010 by CatholicJules in Apologetics

From the website: http://www.pro-gospel.org, by Mike Gendron

Mike Gendron:

Purgatory: Purifying Fire or Fatal Fable

Catholics who believe a purifying fire will purge away their sins are deluded victims of a fatal fabrication. The invention of a place for purification of sins called Purgatory is one of the most seductive attractions of the Roman Catholic religion. Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church described this deceptive hoax brilliantly. He said: “Purgatory is what makes the whole system work. Take out Purgatory and it’s a hard sell to be a Catholic. Purgatory is the safety net, when you die, you don’t go to hell. You go [to Purgatory] and get things sorted out and finally get to heaven if you’ve been a good Catholic. In the Catholic system you can never know you’re going to heaven. You just keep trying and trying…in a long journey toward perfection. Well, it’s pretty discouraging. People in that system are guilt-ridden, fear-ridden and have no knowledge of whether or not they’re going to get into the Kingdom. If there’s no Purgatory, there’s no safety net to catch me and give me some opportunity to get into heaven. It’s a second chance, it’s another chance after death” (from “The Pope and the Papacy”).

The Origin of Purgatory

There was no mention of Purgatory during the first two centuries of the church. However, when Roman Emperor Theodosius (379-395) decreed that Christianity was to be the official religion of the empire, thousands of pagans flooded into the Church and brought their pagan beliefs and traditions with them. One of those ancient pagan beliefs was a place of purification where souls went to make satisfaction for their sins.

The concept became much more widespread around 600 A.D. due to the fanaticism of Pope Gregory the Great. He developed the doctrine through visions and revelations of a Purgatorial fire. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia (CE), Pope Gregory said Catholics “will expiate their faults by purgatorial flames,” and “the pain [is] more intolerable than any one can suffer in this life.” Centuries later, at the Council of Florence (1431), it was pronounced an infallible dogma. It was later reaffirmed by the Council of Trent (1564). The dogma is based largely on Catholic tradition from extra- biblical writings and oral history. “So deep was this belief ingrained in our common humanity that it was accepted by the Jews, and in at least a shadowy way by the pagans, long before the coming of Christianity” (CE). It seems incomprehensible that Rome would admit to using a pagan tradition for the defense of one of its most esteemed “Christian” doctrines.

—————————————————————————————————————————————

Mike Gendron:

The Origin of Purgatory

There was no mention of Purgatory during the first two centuries of the church. However, when Roman Emperor Theodosius (379-395) decreed that Christianity was to be the official religion of the empire, thousands of pagans flooded into the Church and brought their pagan beliefs and traditions with them. One of those ancient pagan beliefs was a place of purification where souls went to make satisfaction for their sins.

John Martignoni

I commented on the 1st paragraph of Gendron’s article in the last issue (#141) which you can find on the “Newsletter” page of our website (www.biblechristiansociety.com), so I’ll start with “The Origin of Purgatory” in this issue.

Okay, what’s the first thing wrong with what he says here?  He’s arguing from silence.  He states that there is “no mention of Purgatory during the first two centuries of the church.”  My response is, “So what!?”  First of all, do we have every single thing that was written by Christians during the first two centuries of the Church?  Not hardly.

Second of all, if he is going to offer the supposed silence of the early Church (as found or not found, I assume, in early Christian writings) as proof that the doctrine of Purgatory is a false doctrine, then he would also have to believe that salvation by faith alone (Sola Fide) is a false doctrine, so also Sola Scriptura (Scripture as the sole rule of faith for Christians), so also Once Saved Always Saved, so also individual interpretation of Scripture, so also Baptism as being merely symbolic, and many other doctrines that Mr. Gendron holds near and dear.  Nowhere are any of these beliefs of Mr. Gendron mentioned in the early centuries by the Church (nor in later centuries, either).  Mr. Gendron, I ask you, where in the writings of the early Church do we see the teaching of salvation by faith alone?  We don’t.  That is a dogma formulated by Martin Luther and his “church.”

The next thing wrong with what he says is this: He offers absolutely no back up for his claim that the belief in Purgatory was brought into the Church when “thousands of pagans flooded into the Church” in the late 4th century.  Please Mr. Gendron, can you give us some 4th century source documents that support this claim of yours?  Or, are you relying solely on “tradition” for this belief?  Fact of the matter is, Mr. Gendron is indeed relying on tradition for this statement.  And it’s a tradition that stems from a complete lack of integrity in historical scholarship, or rather, from just a complete lack of historical scholarship period.

Let’s look at a few sources that place the Christian belief in Purgatory before the 379-395 AD timeframe cited by Mr. Gendron.  First of all, we see Tertullian clearly talking about what we call Purgatory, although he called it Hades, in his Treatise on the Soul which was written around 210 AD: “In short, if we understand that prison of which the Gospel speaks to be Hades, and if we interpret the last farthing (see Matt 5:25-26) to be the light offense which is to be expiated there before the resurrection, no one will doubt that the soul undergoes some punishments in Hades….”  Lanctatius offers purgatorial language in The Divine Institutions around 310 AD: “But also when God will judge the just, it is likewise in fire that He will try them.  At that time, they whose sins are uppermost, either because of their gravity or their number, will be drawn together by the fire and burned [Purgatory].  Those, however, who have been imbued with full justice and maturity of virtue, will not feel that fire…”

Also, we have citations of the Christian tradition of praying and offering sacrifices for the dead from before the timeframe cited by Mr. Gendron as to when the “innovation” of Purgatory was first introduced.  These citations are important, because if there is no Purgatory, then Christiian prayers for the dead are useless since if you’re in Hell, prayer is of no avail to you, and if you’re in Heaven, prayer is not necessary for you.  Only if one has a belief in the concept of Purgatory do prayers for the dead make sense.

From the Epitaph of Abercius, who was Bishop of Hierapolis, from about 180 AD: “May everyone who is in accord with this and who understands it, pray for Abercius [after his death].”  But why if there is only Heaven or Hell?

Tertullian, from his treatise, The Crown, around 211 AD: “A woman, after the death of her husband…prays for his soul…And each year, on the anniversary of his death, she offers the sacrifice.”

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, when discussing the Mass in his Catechetical Lectures, around 350 AD, describes the prayers in the Sacred Liturgy: “Next, we make mention also of the holy fathers and bishops who have already fallen asleep, and of all among us who have already fallen asleep; for we believe that it will be of very great benefit to the souls of those for whom the petition is carried up, while this holy and most solemn Sacrifice is laid out.”  How could it possibly benefit the souls of the deceased if there is only Heaven or Hell?

All of which shows, that when one uses actual historical documents, rather than a fabricated history that grows out of bigotry towards the Catholic Church, it is quite easy to show that the Christian belief in Purgatory pre-dates the period that Mr. Gendron claims it was brought into the Church by pagans.  And not only do these actual documents show that Christian belief in the concept of Purgatory pre-dated the timeframe given by Mr. Gendron, but these actual historical documents tend to point to the fact that the belief was widespread and existed in the earliest period of Christianity.

By the way, Mr. Gendron, what Church was it that these “thousands of pagans” came into?  You obviously believe it was the Catholic Church.  So, by your words here, you are, in essence, admitting that the Catholic Church was the original Christian Church, are you not?  So, if the Catholic Church was the original Christian Church, can we not say that it was the Church Jesus was speaking of when He said, “And the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it?” (Matt 16:18).  Yet, you believe that the gates of Hell did indeed prevail against it.

Mike Gendron:

The concept became much more widespread around 600 A.D. due to the fanaticism of Pope Gregory the Great. He developed the doctrine through visions and revelations of a Purgatorial fire. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia (CE), Pope Gregory said Catholics “will expiate their faults by purgatorial flames,” and “the pain [is] more intolerable than any one can suffer in this life.” Centuries later, at the Council of Florence (1431), it was pronounced an infallible dogma. It was later reaffirmed by the Council of Trent (1564). The dogma is based largely on Catholic tradition from extra- biblical writings and oral history. “So deep was this belief ingrained in our common humanity that it was accepted by the Jews, and in at least a shadowy way by the pagans, long before the coming of Christianity” (CE). It seems incomprehensible that Rome would admit to using a pagan tradition for the defense of one of its most esteemed “Christian” doctrines.

John Martignoni

Don’t you love it!?  The “fanaticism” of Pope Gregory the Great.  Again, his claim that this “concept” of Purgatory became much more widespread in the 600’s has already been proven false by the documents I cited earlier.  The concept of Purgatory was already shown to be widespread in the early centuries of the Church.

I also love how he quotes the Catholic Encyclopedia (CE) to show the “fanaticism” of Gregory the Great.  Furthermore, he claims that Pope Gregory “developed” the doctrine through “visions and revelations,” yet offers no source for these claims.  I’m not saying that Gregory didn’t have visions about Purgatory – I don’t know if he did or didn’t – my point is, Mr. Gendron always and everywhere offers no corroboration for his claims.

He then makes the claim that the doctrine of Purgatory is ” based largely on Catholic tradition from extra- biblical writings and oral history,” as if there is absolutely no scriptural evidence for this doctrine.  I ask each of you to go to http://www.newadvent.org, click on the “Encyclopedia” tab, and then look up Purgatory in the Catholic Encyclopedia there.  See if you think Mr. Gendron is being a bit disingenuous in his claim after you read all of the Scripture verses – Old Testament and New – cited in that article.  It’s one thing to disagree with the Church and the Early Church Fathers as to how to interpret this or that Scripture verse, it is something of an entirely different nature to pretend that the Church depends not a whit on Scripture for the certainty of its teaching on this particular doctrine.

Finally, his last sentence above speaks volumes regarding Mr. Gendron’s integrity.  It seems incomprehensible that Rome would admit to using a pagan tradition for the defense of one of its most esteemed “Christian” doctrines. His method of selectively quoting Catholic sources and then offering his own biased and bigoted interpretation of those selected quotes, is disingenous at best, and downright dishonest at worst.  Let me put the quote from the CE that he cites as “using a pagan tradition for the defense” of the doctrine of Purgatory, in context:

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

“Purgatory (Lat., “purgare”, to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.

The faith of the Church concerning purgatory is clearly expressed in the Decree of Union drawn up by the Council of Florence (Mansi, t. XXXI, col. 1031), and in the decree of the Council of Trent which (Sess. XXV) defined:

“Whereas the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has from the Sacred Scriptures and the ancient tradition of the Fathers taught in Councils and very recently in this Ecumenical synod (Sess. VI, cap. XXX; Sess. XXII cap.ii, iii) that there is a purgatory, and that the souls therein are helped by the suffrages of the faithful, but principally by the acceptable Sacrifice of the Altar; the Holy Synod enjoins on the Bishops that they diligently endeavor to have the sound doctrine of the Fathers in Councils regarding purgatory everywhere taught and preached, held and believed by the faithful” (Denzinger, “Enchiridon”, 983).

Further than this the definitions of the Church do not go, but the tradition of the Fathers and the Schoolmen must be consulted to explain the teachings of the councils, and to make clear the belief and the practices of the faithful.
Temporal punishment

That temporal punishment is due to sin, even after the sin itself has been pardoned by God, is clearly the teaching of Scripture. God indeed brought man out of his first disobedience and gave him power to govern all things (Wisdom 10:2), but still condemned him “to eat his bread in the sweat of his brow” until he returned unto dust. God forgave the incredulity of Moses and Aaron, but in punishment kept them from the “land of promise” (Numbers 20:12). The Lord took away the sin of David, but the life of the child was forfeited because David had made God’s enemies blaspheme His Holy Name (2 Samuel 12:13-14). In the New Testament as well as in the Old, almsgiving and fasting, and in general penitential acts are the real fruits of repentance (Matthew 3:8; Luke 17:3; 3:3). The whole penitential system of the Church testifies that the voluntary assumption of penitential works has always been part of true repentance and the Council of Trent (Sess. XIV, can. xi) reminds the faithful that God does not always remit the whole punishment due to sin together with the guilt. God requires satisfaction, and will punish sin, and this doctrine involves as its necessary consequence a belief that the sinner failing to do penance in this life may be punished in another world, and so not be cast off eternally from God.
Venial sins

All sins are not equal before God, nor dare anyone assert that the daily faults of human frailty will be punished with the same severity that is meted out to serious violation of God’s law. On the other hand whosoever comes into God’s presence must be perfectly pure for in the strictest sense His “eyes are too pure, to behold evil” (Habakkuk 1:13). For unrepented venial faults for the payment of temporal punishment due to sin at time of death, the Church has always taught the doctrine of purgatory.

So deep was this belief ingrained in our common humanity that it was accepted by the Jews, and in at least a shadowy way by the pagans, long before the coming of Christianity. (“Aeneid,” VI, 735 sq.; Sophocles, “Antigone,” 450 sq.).”

After citing Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, the Catholic Encyclopedia mentions, pretty much as an afterthought, that even the pagans believed in the concept of Purgatory, “in at least a shadowy way,” and so what does Mr. Gendron focus on as Catholic justification for a belief in Purgatory?  Pagan tradition.  Do you think the people reading his article on Purgatory get a fair, honest, and objective view of why the Church believes as it does on Purgatory?  Absolutely not.  He seems to frequently use tactics that are less honorable than they could be.  He turns a brief mention of pagans believing in Purgatory in a “shadowy way” into Rome admitting that it uses “a pagan tradition for the defense of one of its most esteemed ‘Christian’ doctrines.”  All the CE was saying is that this belief in Purgatory was pretty much recognized as a universal truth.  I have heard Christian apologists, when making an argument for the existence of God, talk about how all ancient cultures believed, in some way, in the concept of a god, in order to merely show that this was a universal truth believed by pagans, Jews, and Christians.  Does that mean that Christian apologists depend on “pagan tradition” as a defense for their belief in God?  What a ludicrous statement!

Finally, what do you want to bet that Mr. Gendron wears a wedding ring?  Odds are that he does.  Problem is, where does the tradition of wearing a wedding ring come from?  Christianity?  Nope.  It comes from Paganism.  Oh my…

Are You Catholic By Name Or By Faith?

Posted: November 10, 2010 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

By Catholicjules.net

Here are some questions for you to help you discern…

  • Is Sunday a day of obligation which you have to attend or do you yearn to attend the Eucharistic Celebration on your own accord?
  • Do you attend Mass to see and be seen?
  • Do you get upset when your usual seat is taken?
  • Do you gossip before,during or even after the Eucharistic Celebration?
  • Do you have a reverence for the Lord our God in that you would not dress inappropriately and immodestly? And that you do not use your mobile phone in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament or the Altar? Also you do not talk as to distract others in prayer?
  • Do you consciously/unconsciously litter in God’s house? Do you see litter and yet not clear it because you did not put it there in the first place?
  • Are you obedient to the Pope our father, to his teaching and council?
  • Do you sing the hymns with vigour?
  • Are you able to understand the Liturgy of the Word? Do you even know what this means?
  • Are you able to draw connections between the New and the Old Testaments in the readings and the Gospel?
  • Do you reflect on the Word said during the Mass for the rest of the week?
  • Do you feel the Lord’s presence and if not do you know that he is?
  • Do you say the Creed with conviction and do you fully understand your declaration?
  • Do you know and understand the Sacraments of the Church?
  • Do you feel love for your brethren?
  • Do you pray for your brethren, especially for the least of your brethren?
  • Are you able to feel constant peace and joy in your life?
  • Have you forgiven?
  • Are you in communion with the brethren (especially the least of)  in your Church and in all the other Churches?
  • Are you able to speak the Truth everyday in your life?
  • Are you able to share your faith with others?
  • Do you make an effort to deepen your faith?
  • Do you have a personal relationship with God, Jesus your saviour and Blessed Mother Mary?
  • Do you pray daily and often enough to strengthen your relationship?
  • Do you know and treat your body as the temple of God? (Do you drink excessively or smoke?, or abuse it in someway)
  • Do you think it is okay to view or treat women /men as objects? ( esp. in Movies,Television,Magazines etc.)
  • Are you Pro-Life or Pro-Choice?
  • “We are a Catholic Family“, Do you know this?
  • Do you try your very best each and every time to see Jesus in others?
  • Do you try your very best each and every time to be Jesus for others?

These two readings, followed by the Gospel was taken from a morning Mass. See how beautifully interwoven it is? Also if you reflect on all three, you will see just how wonderful it is to be Church.

Come, let us worship Christ, whose bride is the Church.

First reading

Ezekiel 47:1-2,8-9,12

The angel brought me to the entrance of the Temple, where a stream came out from under the Temple threshold and flowed eastwards, since the Temple faced east. The water flowed from under the right side of the Temple, south of the altar. He took me out by the north gate and led me right round outside as far as the outer east gate where the water flowed out on the right-hand side. He said, ‘This water flows east down to the Arabah and to the sea; and flowing into the sea it makes its waters wholesome. Wherever the river flows, all living creatures teeming in it will live. Fish will be very plentiful, for wherever the water goes it brings health, and life teems wherever the river flows. Along the river, on either bank, will grow every kind of fruit tree with leaves that never wither and fruit that never fails; they will bear new fruit every month, because this water comes from the sanctuary. And their fruit will be good to eat and the leaves medicinal.’

Second reading

1 Corinthians 3:9-11,16-17

We are fellow workers with God; you are God’s farm, God’s building. By the grace God gave me, I succeeded as an architect and laid the foundations, on which someone else is doing the building. Everyone doing the building must work carefully. For the foundation, nobody can lay any other than the one which has already been laid, that is Jesus Christ. Didn’t you realise that you were God’s temple and that the Spirit of God was living among you? If anybody should destroy the temple of God, God will destroy him, because the temple of God is sacred; and you are that temple.

 

Gospel

John 2:13-22

Just before the Jewish Passover Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and in the Temple he found people selling cattle and sheep and pigeons, and the money changers sitting at their counters there. Making a whip out of some cord, he drove them all out of the Temple, cattle and sheep as well, scattered the money changers’ coins, knocked their tables over and said to the pigeon-sellers, ‘Take all this out of here and stop turning my Father’s house into a market.’ Then his disciples remembered the words of scripture: Zeal for your house will devour me. The Jews intervened and said, ‘What sign can you show us to justify what you have done?’ Jesus answered, ‘Destroy this sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews replied, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this sanctuary: are you going to raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the sanctuary that was his body, and when Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the words he had said.

 

We are the Church of Christ, from Mother Church to Mother Church.”

 

 

Practical Pointers On Growing In Humility By Mother Theresa

Posted: November 9, 2010 by CatholicJules in Memory Book

Q&A – Salvation Has No Conditions?

Posted: November 8, 2010 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys, Questions & Answers

Q I had a discussion with an Evangelical friend on the virginity of Our Blessed Mother. I pointed out that Protestant reformers Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli taught the historic Christian doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity. He didn’t care and said that our salvation doesn’t depend on belief about Mary’s virginity. All we have to do, he said, is believe that Jesus is our personal Lord and Savior and we will be saved. He also said Catholicism isn’t “true” Christianity. What should I tell him?

A – The Reformers indeed taught the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity, but that usually doesn’t impress modern-day Protestants like your friend. Protestants agree with the Catholic Church’s teaching that faith in Christ is necessary for salvation. But faith in Christ includes faith in and assent to what He taught His commandments and doctrines. Your friend’s minimalist attitude toward what is necessary to salvation risks turning Christianity into a mechanical ideology: “Say the sinner’s prayer’ and you’re in, nothing else matters. Just don’t become a Catholic.”

Point out that if there are no conditions for salvation other than faith in Christ as one’s Savior, then not being a Catholic cannot be a condition for salvation. If he says you can’t be a Catholic and be saved, then he’s added a condition and is being inconsistent. This may help him see that there’s more to salvation than mere faith in Christ. Jesus reminded us that faith alone isn’t sufficient: “Why do you say to me, Lord, Lord,’ but do not do the things I command?” (Luke 6:46-47; cf. Matt, 7:21-23). This includes believing in all that He and the Apostles taught. And that includes the truth of Mary’s perpetual virginity. You see, all of revelation is connected. One cannot say, for example, I’m willing to accept this doctrine but I won’t accept that one. That’s completely contrary to Christ’s will. Your friend’s point of view is common among Protestants, who have a tendency to reduce “faith in Christ” to simply the belief that He is our Savior. But let’s remember what “Savior” means. It means that Christ is saving us from something, He is saving us for something, His salvation comes to us in a certain way and under certain conditions (eg. believe, repent, be baptized, etc.). This also tells us who He is: God Himself. You see what a wealth of doctrinal implications are contained in the word “savior”: sin, death, and hell, the commandments, grace, heaven, sacrifice, merit, sacraments, the Church, the Trinity, the Incarnation, His death, Resurrection, and Second Coming. For those who know and love Christ, there is nothing about Him, His life, His friends, His teachings that is not of interest or help to them.

Christ came to “bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37) and to reveal many supernatural mysteries about God and the kingdom of God which we could never have known by the power of unaided human reason. Believing the truths about Christ contained in Sacred Scripture are part of having faith in Him. We can’t separate faith in the person of Christ from faith in His life and message, in the prophets who preceded Him, and the Apostles and their successors who followed after Him. These Apostles the early Church magisterium proclaimed the truth with the teaching authority Christ gave them: “He who hears you, hears Me” (Luke 10:16; cf. Matt. 16:18, 18:18).

And remember what Christ command the magisterium of His Church to do: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). Christ wants Christians to assent to and profess all the doctrines contained in the Deposit of Faith, including the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity. He reminds us that, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in Heaven” (Matt. 7:21).

Answered By Fr. Hugh Barbour, O.Praem

(DVD Review) The Bibile – Jeremiah

Posted: November 7, 2010 by CatholicJules in DVD Review

Product Details

Actors: Patrick Dempsey, Oliver Reed, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Vincent Regan, Leonor Varela
Directors: Harry Winer
Writers: Harry Winer
Producers: Lorenzo Minoli, Luca Bernabei, Paolo Lucidi, Paolo Piria
Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD, NTSC
Language: English
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Number of discs:
 Run Time: 90 minutes

Product Description

Jeremiah tells the story of the prophet who abandons his family and the woman he loves in order to relay God’s message in Jerusalem. Although he is persecuted and branded as a traitor for warning others of the destruction of the Holy City he continues fearlessly with his mission. When his prophecy is fulfilled he experiences first-hand Jerusalem’s destruction by the Babylonians.

Review

Most great stories comes from the Bible and yet the scriptwriters decided to take some liberties in including some fictitious characters such as Jeremiah’s early ‘love interest’ ‘Judith’ (Lenor Varela)  and ‘General Safan’ (Oliver Reed) to make it even better.  Also Jeremiah is somewhat younger in this story but played superbly by Patrick Dempsey.  Well I must say they did an impressive job of even condensing it without compromising the heart of the Biblical story which they kept intact. 

The only thing I didn’t like was the portrayal of God which appeared to Jeremiah in the form of a little girl and an old man.  If one can look past this then this definitely a film worth watching.  Best scene for me was when Jeremiah the gentle looking man does not flinch from forcefully speaking the Word when it is needed especially when he first addressed the people at the temple calling for repentance.

November 7, 2010 – 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted: November 6, 2010 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections

SUNDAY BIBLE REFLECTIONS BY DR. SCOTT HAHN
To Rise Again

Readings:
2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14
Psalm 17:1,5-6,8,15
2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5
Luke 20:27-38

With their riddle about seven brothers and a childless widow, the Sadducees in today’s Gospel mock the faith for which seven brothers and their mother die in the First Reading.

The Maccabean martyrs chose death – tortured limb by limb, burned alive – rather than betray God’s Law. Their story is given to us in these last weeks of the Church year to strengthen us for endurance – that our feet not falter but remain steadfast on His paths.

The Maccabeans died hoping that the “King of the World” would raise them to live again forever (see 2 Maccabees 14:46).

The Sadducees don’t believe in the Resurrection because they can’t find it literally taught in the Scriptures. To ridicule this belief they fix on a law that requires a woman to marry her husband’s brother if he should die without leaving an heir (see Genesis 38:8; Deuteronomy 25:5).

But God’s Law wasn’t given to ensure the raising up of descendants to earthly fathers. The Law was given, as Jesus explains, to make us worthy to be “children of God” – sons and daughters born of His Resurrection.

“God our Father,” today’s Epistle tells us, has given us “everlasting encouragement” in the Resurrection of Christ. Through His grace, we can now direct our hearts to the love of God.

As the Maccabeans suffered for the Old Law, we will have to suffer for our faith in the New Covenant. Yet He will guard us in the shadow of His wing, keep us as the apple of His eye, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

The Maccabeans’ persecutors marveled at their courage. We too can glorify the Lord in our sufferings and in the daily sacrifices we make.

And we have even greater cause than they for hope. One who has risen from the dead has given us His word – that He is the God of the living, that when we awake from the sleep of death we will behold His face, be content in His presence (see Psalm 76:6; Daniel 12:2).

 

GISS – In Cooperation With The Holy Spirit

Posted: November 5, 2010 by CatholicJules in Upcoming Events

GISS = Growth In The Spirit

Dearest Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

We will be having a praise and worship session followed by a Talk ‘In Cooperation With The Holy Spirit’ By Brother Emmanuel Gaudette this Wednesday 10 Nov 2010 from 8pm to 9:30pm.

All are welcome but kindly let us know if you attending by leaving a message in the comments section so that we can prepare a seat for you by 9 Nov. ( Seats are limited)  If you are new to the Church then I can meet you if you like at the foyer to usher you in, again let me know in the comments section.

Venue

Church of St Anthony
25 Woodlands Avenue 1
Singapore 739064
Thomas Aquinas Room

For Directions Click Here

For and on behalf of the Emmanuel Group

For My Home…

Posted: November 5, 2010 by CatholicJules in Life's Journeys

I want to replace my metal altar crucifix, with one I that I can more fully connect with.  In such a way that by merely gazing upon the face of Jesus who died for us would be a prayer in itself.

However for the longest time I couldn’t seem to find one.  In fact it appears they have lots of very beautiful, even handcrafted wall crucifixes but not home altar ones.  So I am going to get a wall crucifix and make a stand for it.

I hope to get this one soon…..


I have been reflecting on this very question for nearly a month now, and it all started with a lady who said this in a prayer meeting.  She said, “If you think about it, Jesus didn’t really have to die but he did so for us to remember.”

She has a point, though it is an overly simplistic and minuscule one.

Upon deep reflection, I have found that to answer this question ,”Why did Jesus have to die.”  You must first ask, “Why did he live?”

And you would have found your answer…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If at the end of your reflection on this, you still have no answer then perhaps we can arrange a sit down and I will share what I have learnt with you.  Else I can always share my very own personal testimony with you (no matter how hard it is for me) and we can go from there….


“Some people need spirituality more than others, right now I am comfortable with where I am at.”

This is a common line or reply whenever one is called to either deepen their faith or relationship with God.  Even before sharing can begin, a full stop followed by an exclamation mark is laid down.  So does it mean we who are trying to share God’s love with our brethren should give up? No, it just means we should pray for the people we are reaching out to and let God soften their hearts. In time if God willing and by their own free will they too will get to experience His love.

Here are some thoughts of our holy Father Pope Benedict XVI

  • A Christian knows when it is time speak of God and when it is better to say nothing and to let love alone speak.  He knows that God is love and that God’s presence is felt at the very time when the only thing we do is to love.
  • We all ask ourselves what the Lord expects of us.  It seems to me that the greatest challenge of our time is secularization: that is, a way of living and presenting the world as if “Deus non daretur”, in other words, as if God did not exist.  There is a desire to reduce God to the private sphere, to a sentiment, as if He were not an objective reality.  As a result, everyone makes his own plan of life.  But this vision, presented as though it were scientific, accepts as valid only what can be proven.  With a God who is not available for immediate experimentation, this vision ends by also injuring society.  The result is in fact that each one makes his own plan and in the end finds himself opposed to the other.  As can be seen, this is definitely an unlivable situation.  We must make God present again in our society.  This seems to me to be the first essential element: that God be once again present in our lives, that we do not live as though we were autonomous, authorized to invent what freedom and life are.



I am going to try my very best to attend this talk , hope to see you there too!

Live guest speaker: world renowned UK evangelist Michelle Moran,
(member of the Pontifical Council of the Laity, appointed by Pope Benedict XVI).Michelle will speak about evangelisation in the global Catholic Church, transforming Catholics in the Singapore context and how the CaFE program can be a powerful tool for revitalising local Catholics.
Event Date : 7 Dec 10, 7:30 pm – 7 Dec 10, 9:30 pm
Location : Church of St Bernadette, 12 Zion Rd
Organised By : Archdiocesan CaFE Promotion Team (ACPT)
Contact : Limited seating. RSVP acptCaFE@gmail.com by 16 Nov.
Contact Email : mel.desilva@gmail.com
Website : http://www.catholiccafe.sg

Michelle Moran – Michelle is President of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services in Rome, the national leader of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in England, and member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. As well as her extraordinary work with the Vatican, she is an inspiring and anointed teacher and preacher, who has ministered throughout the world.

Why Am I Catholic?

Posted: November 2, 2010 by CatholicJules in Videos/Audio

A nicely done Video on youtube which in it’s simplicity more or less summarizes our faith…

(Early Church Fathers) On Baptism…

Posted: November 1, 2010 by CatholicJules in Great Catholic Articles, Memory Book

By Father Hugh Barbour, O. Praem

Baptism = Born Again

The early Church knew how to get born again the “Bible way.”

Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:5, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus was speaking about baptism, the effects of which are eradication of original sin, remission of all actual sins, and an infusion of sanctifying grace.

In spite of the scriptural evidence (Acts 2:14-40, 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; 1 Cor. 6:11; Col. 2:11-12; Gal. 3:27; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 3:21), many if not most Protestants deny that the sacrament of baptism is necessary for salvation and that it has any intrinsic power to take away sin or bestow divine grace. Let’s look at what the earliest Christians believed and taught on this subject.

 Hermas

“Before a man bears the name of the Son of God he is [spiritually] dead, but when he receives the seal he lays aside his deadness and receives life. The seal then is the water; they descend into the water dead and they arise alive. And to them accordingly was this seal preached, and they made use of it that they might enter into the kingdom of God” (The Shepherd 9:16 [A.D. 96]).

“Regarding [baptism], we have the evidence of Scripture that Israel would refuse to accept the washing which confers the remission of sins, and would set up a substitution of their own instead . . . Here he is saying that after we have stepped down into the water burdened with sin and defilement, we come up out of it bearing fruit, with reverence in our hearts and the hope of Jesus in our souls” (ibid. 11:1-10).

The Epistle of Barnabas

 “We descend into the water full of sins and defilement, but come up bearing fruit in our heart, having the fear of God and trust in Jesus in our spirit” (11 [A.D. 138]).

Epistola Apostolorum

Just as in the Gospels, baptism is an indispensable source of forgiveness and salvation, under the condition of faith and good works:

“[Christ says] And I poured out upon them with My right hand the water of life and forgiveness and salvation from all evil, as I have done unto you and to them that believe in Me. But if any believes in Me and does not follow My commandments, although he has confessed My Name he shall have no profit from It” (27 [A.D. 140]).

St. Justin Martyr

This great apologist for the Catholic Faith is worth quoting more than once. He defended the Church’s teachings against pagan attacks.

“Then they [catechumens] are brought by us to where there is water, and they are reborn in the same manner in which we were ourselves reborn. For in the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, ‘Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.’. . . That they may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born again and has repented of his sins, the Name of God the Father and Lord of the universe . . . But also in the Name of Jesus Christ Who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and in the Name of the Holy Spirit, Who through the prophets foretold all things about Jesus, he who is illuminated is washed” (First Apology 61 [ante A.D. 165]).

St. Irenaeus of Lyons

This great defender of the Faith refuted the prominent heresy of his day, Gnosticism (an early version of today’s New Age Movement). He was a disciple of St. Polycarp, who was himself a disciple of St. John the Evangelist. Irenaeus speaks of how Polycarp taught him the truths of the Faith and how he often heard Polycarp reminisce about his personal encounters with St. John.

“Before all else the Faith insistently invites us to remember that we have received baptism for the remission of sins in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of Jesus Christ, Son of God incarnate, dead and risen, and in the Holy Spirit of God, that baptism is the seal of eternal life, the new birth in God, so that we are no longer sons of mortal men, but of God, eternal and indestructible” (Demonstration of the Apostolic Teaching 3 [A.D. 175]).

“The baptism which makes us be born again passes through these three articles of faith (in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), and permits us to be reborn to God the Father through His Son and in the Holy Spirit” (ibid. 7 [A.D. 175]).

St. Theophilus of Antioch

Theophilus, like Ignatius, was bishop of Antioch in Syria. He wrote a treatise to a pagan friend explaining Christianity and answering his friend’s objections. Interestingly, he is the first Christian writer to use the word “trinity” (Greek: triados, the cognate of the Latin, Trinitas) in reference to the mystery of three Persons in one God. Here he discusses the divine life which is at the heart of the doctrine of baptismal regeneration:

“Those three days of creation before the lights in the heavens are an image of the Trinity, of God, of His Word, and His Wisdom (i.e., the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). God blessed the creatures of the water, so that this might be a sign that men would receive penance and remission of sins through water and the bath of rebirth, as many, that is, as came to the truth and were reborn, and received blessing from God” (Ad Autolycum 2:15 [A.D. 181]).

Tertullian

While he was still a Catholic, during the time of persecutions before the legalization of Christianity in the Roman Empire, Tertullian wrote the only complete work on a sacrament of baptism. This treatise, On Baptism, is a powerful defense of baptismal regeneration. Specifically, he refutes those who claim that faith in Christ alone (apart from the sacrament of baptism) is sufficient for the forgiveness of sins and spiritual rebirth described by Christ in John 3:3-5:

“A treatise on our sacrament of water, by which the sins of our earlier blindness are washed away and we are released for eternal life will not be superfluous. . . . [t]aking away death by the washing away of sins. The guilt being removed, the penalty, of course, is also removed. . . . Baptism itself is a corporal act by which we are plunged into the water, while its effect is spiritual, in that we are freed from our sins” (On Baptism 1:1; 5:6; 7:2 [circa A.D. 198]).

“Good enough, but faith means faith in all Christ did and said to do, so it includes being baptized. . . . And so they say, ‘Baptism is not necessary to them to whom faith is sufficient, for after all, Abraham pleased God by no sacrament of water, but of faith.’ But in all cases it is the later precedent that proves the point. Grant, for the sake of argument, that in days gone by, there was salvation by means of bare faith, before the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord. But now that faith has been enlarged, and has become a faith which believes in His Nativity, Passion, and Resurrection, there has been an amplification added to the faith; this is the sealing act of baptism. . . . For the law of baptism has been imposed, and the formula prescribed: ‘Go,’ He said ‘and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.’ The comparison of this law with that definition, ‘Unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven,’ has tied faith to the necessity of baptism” (Ibid. 13 [A.D. 198]).

St. Clement of Alexandria

“When we are baptized we are enlightened. Being enlightened, we are adopted as sons. Adopted as sons, we are made perfect. Made perfect, we become immortal. ‘I say,’ God declares, ‘you are gods and sons all of the Most High’ (Psalm 81:6). This work is variously called grace, illumination, perfection, and washing. It is a washing by which we are cleansed of sins; a gift of grace by which the punishments due our sins are remitted; an illumination by which we behold that holy light of salvation – that is, by which we see God clearly; and we call that perfection which leaves nothing lacking. Indeed, if a man know God, what more does he need? Certainly, it were out of place to call that which is not complete a true gift of God’s grace. Because God is perfect the gifts he bestows are perfect” (The Instructor of Children 1:6, 26:1 [ante A.D. 202]).

St. Cyprian of Carthage

“As water extinguishes fire, so almsgiving quenches sin.’ Here also is shown and proved, that as in the bath of saving water the fire of hell is extinguished, so by almsgiving and works of righteousness the flame of sins is subdued. And because in baptism the remission of sins is granted once only, constant and ceaseless labor, following the likeness of baptism, once again bestows the mercy of God. . . .” (On Works and Alms 2 [A.D. 254]).

“In the baptism of water is received the remission of sins, in the baptism of blood, the reward of virtues,” (To Fortunatus preface [A.D. 257]).

St. Ephraim the Syrian

Outside the Roman Empire, coming from a background that was neither Latin nor Greek, the teachings of this Syrian Father, St. Ephraim, are proof that the Catholic Faith is not some Greco-Roman perversion of the New Testament Church. Here is a passage from one of his hymns for use in liturgical worship, a hymn still used today by Syrian Catholics. It is addressed to the newly baptized:

“Your garments glisten as snow; and fair is your shining in the likeness of angels. . . . Woe in paradise did Adam receive, but you have received glory this day. . . . The good things of heaven you have received; beware of the devil lest he deceive you. . . . The evil one made war and deceived Adam’s house; through your baptism, behold! he is overcome today. . . Glory to them that are robed in the birth that is from the water; let them rejoice and be blessed!” (Hymn for the Feast of the Epiphany: of the Baptized 12 [A.D. 370]).

St. Cyril of Jerusalem

“If any man does not receive baptism, he does not have salvation. The only exception is the martyrs, who, even without water will receive baptism, for the Savior calls martyrdom a baptism (cf., Mark 10:38). . . . Bearing your sins, you go down into the water; but the calling down of grace seals your soul and does not permit that you afterwards be swallowed up by the fearsome dragon. You go down dead in your sins, and you come up made alive in righteousness” (Catechetical Lectures 3:10,12 [circa A.D. 350]).

St. Basil the Great

“For prisoners, baptism is ransom, forgiveness of debts, death of sin, regeneration of the soul, a resplendent garment, an unbreakable seal, a chariot to heaven, a protector royal, a gift of adoption” (Sermons on Moral and Practical Subjects: On Baptism 13:5 [ante A.D. 379]).

St. Ambrose of Milan

“The Lord was baptized, not to be cleansed himself but to cleanse the waters, so that those waters, cleansed by the Flesh of Christ which knew no sin, might have the power of baptism. Whoever comes, therefore, to the washing of Christ lays aside his sins” (Commentary on the Gospel of Luke 2:83 [circa A.D. 389]).

St. John Chrysostom

“How then shall we be able to give an account of the unseen birth by baptism, which is far more exalted than these?… Even angels stand in awe while that birth takes place . . . the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit work it all. Let us then believe the declaration of God, for that is more trustworthy than actual seeing. The sight often is in error, but God’s Word cannot fail; let us then believe it. . . . What then does it say? That what happens is a birth. . . . If any inquire, ‘Why is water needed?’ let us ask in return, ‘Why did God use earth to form man?’. . . Do not be over-curious. That the need of water is absolute and indispensable you may learn in this way” (Homily 25 on John 2 [A.D. 391]).

St. Augustine of Hippo

Baptism is not merely an external sign of faith already possessed by the one to be baptized; it is the power of God cleansing the soul of the sinner, even in the case of infants:

“The cleansing would not at all be attributed to a passing and corruptible element, unless the word were added to it. This word possesses such power that through the medium of him who in faith presents, blesses, and pours it, even a tiny infant is cleansed, although he is as yet unable to believe with the heart unto justice, and to make profession with the mouth for salvation” (Commentaries on St. John 80:3 [A.D. 411]).


References

Additional texts from the Church Fathers on baptismal regeneration:

St. Ignatius of Antioch: Epistle to the Smyrnaeans 7 (A.D. 117); St. Justin Martyr: Dialogue with Trypho 14 (ante A.D. 165); Didymus the Blind: On the Trinity 2:12 (A.D. 391); St. Cyril of Jerusalem: Catechetical Lectures 2:4; Protocatechesis 16 (A.D. 350); St. John Chrysostom: Homilies on John 10:3, 25:2 (A.D. 391); Homilies on Hebrews 5:3,19:2-3 (A.D. 403); St. Ambrose of Milan: On the Mysteries 1-7 (A.D. 390); St. Pacian of Barcelona: Sermon on Baptism (ante A.D. 392); St. Jerome: Letter 69 5-7 (A.D. 397); Dialogue Against the Pelagians 3:1 (A.D. 413); St. Augustine of Hippo: Enchiridion on Faith, Hope, and Charity 64 (A.D. 421); On Marriage and Concupiscence 1:33-38 (A.D. 419); On Adulterous Spouses 2:16 (A.D. 420); On the City of God 20:6 (A.D. 426); On Forgiveness of Sins and Baptism 1:9, 24; 2:27 (A.D. 412); On Baptism 1:12 (A.D. 400); Sermon on the Creed 1:7 214 (A.D. 418?); On the Gospel of John 6:7, 15-16 (A.D. 408); Pope St. Leo the Great: Letter 16 2-7 (A.D. 447).

(Catholic teaching on the sacrament of baptism is explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church #1213-1284.)