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Posts Tagged ‘Church’

A Christian Without Mary is an Orphan

In Uncategorized on 2015/01/30 at 12:00 AM

On Saturday afternoon, in the Lourdes Grotto in the Vatican Gardens, the Pope met with a group of young people from the diocese of Rome embarking on a vocational journey. “This visit to the Virgin is very important in our lives”, he said. “She accompanies us also in our definitive choice, the vocational choice, as she accompanied her Son on his vocational path which was so hard and so painful”.

“When a Christian says to me, not that he does not love the Virgin, but rather that it does not come to mind to look to the Virgin or to pray to the Virgin, I feel sad”, he said, adding that “a Christian without the Virgin is an orphan. A Christian needs these two women, these two mothers, two virgin women: the Church and Our Lady. And to ‘test’ a true Christian vocation, it is necessary to ask oneself, ‘how is my relationship with these two Mothers?”.

The Pontiff went on to remark that in today’s provisional culture, care must be taken not to lose sight of the definitive. “We are afraid of the definitive. And to choose a vocation, any vocation, including vocations that involve a ‘state’ such as marriage, consecrated life, the priesthood, one must choose with a view to the definitive. This is contrary to the culture of the provisional. It is a part of the culture in which we must live in this time, but we must live through this and conquer it”.

In conclusion, the Pope encouraged all present to sing the “Salve Regina” and imparted his blessing to all the young people and their families, asking them to pray for him.

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St. Catherine of Siena

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2014/12/05 at 12:00 AM

St. Catherine  provides us with her single- minded devotion to Christ. From the time she was 6 years old and had her first vision of Jesus, St. Catherine was completely devoted to Him – even bearing His wounds with her stigmata.

Despite the very considerable pressure from her family to marry, despite the persecutions she faced from so many others for her work, St. Catherine never consciously deviated from following God’s will to the best of her abilities. She stayed united to Him throughout her life.

St. Catherine knew that there was no middle ground between serving Christ and serving the devil. She understood well the dangers of vice and the slippery slope of sin it engenders. Her writings reveal that she was ever conscious of avoiding giving our Lord the least offense.

Sadly, so many of us today do not take sin seriously. As St. John Vianney once said, “we play with sin.” This is because we simply don’t realize how terrible and how offensive to our Lord even the smallest venial sin is.
And so many of us carelessly commit sins, excusing ourselves because we think they don’t really matter much. But my brothers and sisters, this is so terribly dangerous, for willfully giving in to sin – even venial ones – makes us playthings of the devil.

In the Gospels [cf. Matt 12:30] Jesus tells us that we are either for Him or against Him. When we sin, even in a venial way, we set ourselves against our Lord. But if we wish to be saved, then we must remain with Him by remaining within the safe pastures of His Body, the Church.

For to be a Christian, to be a follower of Christ, we must be united to His one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church.

Our readings today follow this same line of thought. In the first reading, St. Peter makes it clear we must choose for Christ, who is the stone rejected by the builders, rather than be like the chief priests and elders of the Jewish people who rejected Him, for there is no other name under Heaven by which we can be saved.

Thus we must entrust ourselves to Him, following Him just as sheep follow the voice of their shepherd. For as our Gospel passage for today attests, our Lord is not simply any shepherd; He is the Good Shepherd! And our salvation – not to mention our peace and our joy in this life – is only found in being one of the sheep of His flock.

We become one of the Lord’s sheep through our baptism. But after baptism we must continue choosing to be a member of His flock by humbling obeying Him and the teachings of His Catholic Church, which is the instrument through which God saves mankind.

Unfortunately, there are many wolves in the world today that would lead us sheep astray from the true and fertile pastures of Holy Mother Church.

Not only are there false religions and ideologies that pervert, distort, or obscure the teachings of God’s one true Church, but there is the ever present problem of rampant materialism that tells us that happiness is only found in the consumption of created things.

But perhaps the worst wolf of all is that selfish form of pride that tempts us to believe we can decide for ourselves what is right and wrong, that we can create our own truth by which to live. Ultimately, this wolf in sheep’s clothing leads us to the belief that we don’t need God at all.
This is a terrible lie.

As the Responsorial Psalm tells us today, it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trustmen. For as St. Peter reminds us, there is no salvation in anyone other than our Lord.

This is a truth that St. Catherine and all of the saints understood so well. Indeed, all of thesaints attest by the way they lived their earthly lives that to live one’s life for anyone or
anything other than our Lord is an utter absurdity and a ticket to hell.

And so it is that our choice for or against Jesus Christ is the most fundamental choice each ofus has to make in this life, and herein lays the mystery of human freedom.

God created us to love Him, but there is no true love without the freedom to choose. Thus it is that our Lord gave us this capacity to choose. What we must understand is that this capacity tochoose for or against God is nothing less than the capacity to determine our eternal destiny.

Simply put, we choose heaven or hell by how well we conform ourselves to Christ in this life. The mystery of human freedom is that anyone would ever choose hell over heaven. But some do!

Our Catholic faith teaches us that hell exists, and I think it’s irrational to believe that hell existsand that no one is in it!

But let us be clear about one very important point: the choice for heaven or hell is not a one-time event in our life. We make this choice so very gradually by every moral decision we
make – even the small ones.

Indeed, Heaven is won or lost not so much in the big decisions of life, but rather in the littleday-to-day decisions we make. Every act of the will by which we seek to follow our Lord and
His Church is a step toward Heaven.

Conversely every sin, no matter how big or small, every act of defiance against our Lord, andevery act of disobedience to the teachings of the Church He founded, is a step away from our
Lord and heaven, and a step toward hell.

Truly, as a priest there is nothing sadder to me than seeing a Catholic defiantly or even casuallyturning away from the Church and her teachings. This is because we Catholics have the extraordinary grace and privilege of knowing the fullness of God’s truth through the teachings of the Church.Truly, there is no salvation outside the Church. To live as if there is, is to risk your soul.

Of course in making our daily decisions to sin or not sin, we must fight our passions, ourprejudices, and our pride. We must fight against the spirit of this world, which constantly encourages us to rebel against the ways of God in order to devote ourselves more fully to the false consolations of mammon. At times we must even fight the devil himself.

But our good Lord does not leave us alone in this fight! He is our good shepherd, and He lays down His life for His sheep. Not only has He given us the teachings of the Church to guide us as make decisions, but He also gives us the grace of the sacraments, which strengthen us and conform us ever more closely to Him.

And when we fail, He gives us His mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation – no matter how serious our sins may be. Truly, if you make it a habit to go to confession regularly, you will be saved! But if you don’t use this sacrament, your chances for salvation are iffy.

While our Lord desires us to be perfect, living a perfect life here on earth is not a requirement for salvation. But loving our Lord by being humble obedient is. Being contrite for our sins and confessing our sins is.
Just as the chief priests and elders of the Jewish people rejected him 2000 years ago, our Lord continues to be rejected by our world today. But as Catholics we know that despite the rejection of the world, Jesus is Good Shepherd who alone can lead us to eternal life.

And being one of His sheep is a choice we make every day, most especially in the little decisions to either sin or not sin, to follow His will or turn away from it.

So, brothers and sisters, let us choose to be one of the Lord’s sheep by always choosing to be faithful children of Holy Mother Church. Let us strive to avoid even the smallest of sins so that we may always be pleasing to Him in every way.

May St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church, always intercede for us.
29 April 2012

 

The Church is God’s Call to Be Part of His Family

In Uncategorized on 2014/09/05 at 12:00 AM

 “A mystery,” Pope Francis said, “that we all live and in which we all take part.” The Pope, who will discuss this topic in light of Vatican Council II texts, began from the parable of the prodigal son that illustrates God’s plan for humanity.

In spite of the rain that suddenly fell on Rome this morning, Francis followed his custom of winding through St. Peter’s Square in the Popemobile, greeting the tens of thousands of people present and, before beginning his catechesis, he joked with them, praising their endurance in spite of the inclement weather.

In his teaching, the Holy Father explained that God’s plan is “to make of all of us one family of his children, [a family] in which each one feels close to and loved by him … feels the warmth of being the family of God. The Church—not an organization born out of an agreement between some persons but … the work of God, born of this love and progressively built in history—has her origin in this great plan.”

The Church, the pontiff explained, “is born of God’s desire to call all men and women to communion with him, to friendship with him, even further, to participate as his children in his very divinity. The word ‘Church’ itself, from the Greek ‘ekklesia’, means ‘convocation’. God calls us, urges us to leave selfishness behind, the tendency to be wrapped up in oneself, and calls us to be part of his family. This call has its origins in creation itself. God created us so that we might live a relationship of profound friendship with him and, when sin cut off that relationship with him, with others, and with creation, God did not abandon us. The entire story of salvation is the story of God seeking humans, offering us his love, gathering us to him. He called Abraham to be the father of many; He chose the people of Israel to forge a covenant that embraces all peoples; and he sent, in the fullness of time, his Son so that his plan of love and salvation might be fulfilled in a new and eternal covenant with all of humanity.”

“When we read the Gospel we see that Jesus gathers a small community around him that welcomes his word, follows it, shares his journey, becomes his family. And with this community He prepares and builds his Church.” It is a Church whose origin lies in the “supreme act of love on the Cross, in Jesus’ opened side from which flow blood and water, symbol of the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Baptism. In the family of God, in the Church, the lifeblood is God’s love that is made concrete in loving him and others, all, without distinction or limits. The Church is a family in which we love and are loved.” The Church is made manifest, as on Pentecost, “when the gift of the Holy Spirit fills the hearts of the Apostles and compels them to go out and begin the journey to proclaim the Gospel, to spread God’s love.”

The Pope observed that, even today, “there are some who say: ‘Christ yes, the Church no’. Like those who say: ‘I believe in God, but not in the priests’. But it is precisely the Church that brings us Christ and brings us to God. The Church is the great family of the children of God. Of course it also has human aspects. there are defects, imperfections, and sins in those who make her up, pastors and faithful. Even the Pope has them, and many. But what is beautiful is that, when we realize that we are sinners we encounter the mercy of God who always forgives. He never forgets us. He gathers us up in his love of forgiveness and mercy. Some say that sin is an offence against God, but it is also an opportunity for the humility to realize that there is something better: God’s mercy. Let’s think about this.”

“How much do I love the Church? Do I pray for her? Do I feel part of the family of the Church? What am I doing to make it a community in which everyone feels welcomed and understood, feels God’s mercy and love that renews life? Faith is a gift and an act that has to do with us personally, but God calls us to live our faith together, as a family, as the Church.”

“Let us ask the Lord, particularly in this Year of Faith, that our communities, that all the Church, be ever more truly families that live and bring the warmth of God,” the Holy Father concluded.

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The Siblings of Christ?

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2013/08/09 at 12:00 AM

Converts to Catholicism from Protestantism often experience doctrinal problems with the role of Mary as the Mother of God and the devotion shown to her by the Catholic Church. Part of the reason is that Mary has very little status in the Protestant Church beyond the acknowledgement of her maternity. When Luther started the Protestant religion, he was reacting to the abuses in the Catholic Church at that time. What he failed to understand is that moral abuses cannot be corrected by doctrinal deviations. Thus, he rejected, among other traditional beliefs, the doctrine of the saints. Protestantism today has almost no interest in saints, preferring to put all their emphasis on Christ and the Father. This is not wrong in itself, but it is incomplete. Modern Protestant Sunday practice, with few exceptions, consists of a song and a sermon with emphasis on Christ and little else.

In the matter of Mary, she is just about invisible and unknown except as a typical Jewish woman who had one unusual experience (the birth of Christ) and then went on to make a family with her husband, Joseph. Thus, Protestantism has taught that Mary had other children which meant that Christ had siblings. While the Protestant emphasis has been on the other children of Mary, they failed to see that, if there were other children, there would also be presumably grandchildren and descendants. There is no evidence or even mention of this natural progression in the Protestant world.

The Catholic Church teaches that Mary did not have other children, and that the Biblical word the Protestants translate as “brothers” can be translated as “cousins” just as accurately. “Brother” is a frequently used religious term of address in both the Protestant and Catholic Churches, suggesting in no way genetic family relationships. Baptists often address one another as “brother” or “sister”, and Catholics have a type of religious group known as “brothers”. Priests often address their congregations as “brothers and sisters”. No one understands the words literally.

If Mary and Joseph did have children, they would not be siblings of Christ because Joseph was not the real father of Christ; they would only be half-siblings.

Can we really imagine a house full of children, one of them Divine God Himself, and not be a source of some kind of turmoil? A sinless child among normal children? It would not be a usual household at all.

The Bible is very generous with names of significant persons. It seems reasonable that siblings of Christ would be named as were Mary and Joseph. Lesser personages, than those siblings would have been, were named: the Apostles, Jairus, Pilate, Simon of Cyrene. Why not the literal “brothers” of Christ?

At the time of the Crucifixion, Our Lord designated St. John as the guardian of His Mother. It would have been more normal and reasonable for one of the siblings to have taken that role. Evidently there were no other children to assume that role.

Mary and Joseph were legally married, and there was nothing in law or nature to prevent them from having children. That’s what everyone did normally. But perhaps, since they both had experienced extraordinary events with the Divine, it would seem anti-climactic to produce human children after being so favored by God. They would have known that normal children would create unusual problems for all concerned because normal children would be sinners in a family of three persons unusually close to God. (In fact, one was God, and the other was Mary, who according to the Catholic doctrine, did not have the taint of Original Sin.) Mary and Joseph knew that they were unusually privileged people, and it would be reasonable, understanding that gift, that they knew life for them was not be lived in the ordinary human way. Thus, it can be inferred that after a divine child was born to Mary, a human child would not seem appropriate. Contemporary culture cannot fathom that a couple would choose not to avail themselves of marital rights; therefore, they must have.

In the Gospel story of Mary and Martha of Bethany, there is a lesson to be drawn that experiencing divinity is better than not experiencing it, and that mundane household chores, good in themselves, fade away in comparison to contemplation of the divine. Martha was not told that she was doing anything wrong, but only inferior to what Mary had chosen. Intimacy with God changes a person from merely human to a special relationship with God. Mary of Bethany deemed it better to be with Christ than to do chores, and Christ confirmed her choice. At the same time, he undoubtedly ate the meal that Martha had prepared. So also, Mary, the Mother of Christ, had this special relationship and could not be content with anything lesser.

Consider all the men and women saints of the Catholic Church who had direct, personal and visual interaction with God or His Mother: St. Margaret Mary (devotion to the Sacred Heart), St. Faustina Kowalska (devotion to the Divine Mercy), St. Bernadette (of Lourdes), Sr. Lucia of Fatima, St. Catherine of Siena, St.Teresa of Avila, and many more whose lives were intimately involved with God and the things of God. Once they had experienced God, their lives never went back to “normal” and they devoted their whole life to things divine, the better choice. So, too, it can be implied ever more strongly that Mary of Nazareth would respond in an even stronger way by contemplating God for all of her days.

But does it really make any difference? The Catholics say Mary was a perpetual Virgin, and the Protestants claim she had a normal family life with other children. Modern culture would say, “You believe what you want, and I’ll believe what I want. Everybody’s happy.” That sounds so generous and tolerant, but there is a contradiction involved, and that means one side is wrong. To be willing to live on the wrong side is not a sign of the tolerance our culture so applauds, but a sign of weak thinking or the unwillingness to think.

It does matter, because the things of God MUST be dealt with as He wants them dealt with, not according to the whims of humans. There is an answer.

Christ promised his Church divine protection and guidance until the end of time. There is no way whatsoever to explain the continued existence of the Catholic Church, in spite of all her problems, both internal and external, for 2000 years except by divine protection. The Protestant Church lacks this protection and guidance, and that is why there are 30,000+ sects within Protestantism while there are no doctrinal divisions in the Catholic Church. (This not to imply that the Catholic Church is full of saints … far from it.) The Church has always believed that Mary was a perpetual Virgin. If the Holy Spirit guides the Church, the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity must be true because the Holy Spirit does not make mistakes.

We can be assured that Mary of Nazareth is everything the Church says she is. Therefore, she is worthy of the great devotion shown to her because she is a truly unique woman; veneration (not worship) of her is not uncalled for, but raises poor souls to a higher degree of piety. Most men respect their mothers, and most men favor anyone else who respects them. I doubt if Christ frowns upon the devotion shown to His mother, but He may frown on the lack of it in the Protestant Church.

I’ll grant that I have made inferences based on the Bible narrative of the New Testament. But inferences are not false if they are based on reasonable evidence. The evidence for Mary’s other children is slim to none beyond the dubious translation of a word.

We should embrace devotion to Mary because, as the story of Cana shows, Christ does what His Mothers asks … and she is the holiest of all humans who ever existed. If she is on our side, we are in good hands.

The siblings of Christ? The preponderance of evidence indicates there were none.

Oh, Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Signs For Our Times – Part III: Catholicity of the Church

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2013/04/17 at 1:00 AM

The third  mark or sign of the true Church is CATHOLICITY.  “Catholic” written with a small “c” is a legitimate word, but it is rarely used except in reference to the Catholic Church.  The word itself means universal.  In modern times, universality is a much-coveted trait.  Credit card companies boast that their cards can be used anywhere in the world.  Cell phone companies tell you, that with their phones, you can reach anyone in the world.  The same boast is made for travelers checks.  Universality is then seen as a very positive attribute.

The idea of universality applies to the Catholic Church in different ways.  The Catholic Church is universal or catholic because its founder, Jesus Christ, is universal in that, because He is God, He is everywhere.  There is nowhere in the world you can go where He is not.  Every other religious founder was subject to the limitations of space, place and time.  Christ is everywhere at once, and where Christ is, there is also the Catholic Church.

That the Church be a world-church was a direct command of its divine founder who told His apostles to preach the Gospel to all nations.  This she has done.  There is no place in the world where the term Catholic Church is not known.

The Catholic Church is catholic or universal in that it embraces all races and nationalities without favoring any of them.  All true Catholics the world over believe in the same doctrines and moral code because the Catholic Church does not have denominations or sects.  Practicing Catholics anywhere in the world would recognize the faith of a Catholic from another continent.  All Catholics consider themselves under the religious jurisdiction of the Pope and the local bishop.  Because of this, any particular parish is also a part of the universal church, rather than an independent entity.

Other churches cannot claim universality or catholicity because they do not have a missionary spirit from their beginning.  Buddhism makes no effort to win converts.  (Buddhism is not really a religion because it espouses no Deity.  It is really a philosophy that promotes a certain life-style or way of thinking about life.)  Protestantism is almost five hundred years old, but gave missionary activity no thought until the eighteen hundreds.  The vast majority of Protestant denominations are not large enough to support missionary activity.  Early Islam made converts by the sword.

Thus, only the Catholic Church has consistently, from its founding, set out to spread the good news of salvation to all people and places, thereby making it the only Church that has followed the mandate of the Founder.

Text of Pope Benedict’s Humble Resignation

In 13 History on 2013/02/11 at 9:56 AM

Dear Brothers, I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church.

After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.

I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.

However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.

For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects.

And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff.

With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

A Trilogy of the Unreal: Part 1 – Separation of Church and State

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2012/07/28 at 10:10 AM

Separation of Church and State – Anti-Christian groups such as the ACLU, activist judges and secularists in general have used this mantra to force Christians (rarely do they use it against any other religion) to act against their basic beliefs. No public prayers. No Nativity scenes. No religious symbols. No invocation of the Christian God.

This idea of separation of Church and State is found in no official document of the Founding Fathers of the United States. It is not in the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence or any writings of the early builders of this country. What the Constitution does say is that this country will not have an official, government-approved religion such as the Anglican Church in England.

This idea of separation of Church and State was hijacked from a private letter written by Thomas Jefferson to a friend. It had no official force whatsoever, but the phrase has been treated by Christianity’s enemies as a quasi divine revelation.

The motivation is totally anti-Christian/Catholic because when Muslims celebrate Islamic holidays on public property, not a word is ever said by these advocates of separation. This gross hypocrisy demonstrates the bias in the whole effort.

The next time you hear or read about someone or some group “nobly” defending the people from the “onslaught of religion,” realize that the whole thing is totally fake. They care nothing about Church or State; they just want to “stick it” to the Christians.

Spiritual Icons

In 14 Book Corner on 2011/12/16 at 9:46 AM

The early Christians understood and demonstrated what Pope Benedict speaks of…. The Holy Spirit and the Church.

“God did not create the person so that he might be dissolved but so that he might open himself in his entire height and in his innermost depth-therefore, where the Holy Spirit embraces him and is the unity of divided persons.

“The Church is the icon of the Father, the image of God, and at the same time the image of man, so the Church is the image of the Holy Spirit. From here we can understand what the Church actually is in the deepest part of her nature: namely, the overcoming of the boundary between I and Thou, the union of men among themselves through the radical transcendence of self into eternal love. Church is mankind being brought into a way of life of the Trinitarian God.  For this reason she is not something that belongs to a group or a circle of friends.  For this reason she cannot become a national Church or be identifies with a race or a class.  She must, if this is true, be catholic in order ‘to gather into one the children of God, who are scattered abroad.  (John 11:52)

The Church does not being, therefore, as a club; rather, she begins catholic….The universal Church is not a federation of local churches but rather their mother.”

Pope Benedict XVI, IMAGES OF HOPE.  Ignatius pp.68-69.

Is Any Religion True? Part II

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2011/09/18 at 6:00 AM

In part I, we noted that God has given man certain innate tendencies for which He has provided the means to satisfy these needs. We have food and drink, but we should not eat whatever we put into our mouths; we must be selective. He has given us an appetite for religion, and we can assume that he had something definite in mind rather than the myriads forms of religion abounding today. What did He have in mind?

Recently I came across a phrase that I had not heard or read in many, many years. It is a phrase that used to be quite commonplace in the Catholic world. It is the reference to the Catholic Church as “the one true Church.”  The onslaught of relativism and political-correctness has declared it a matter of bigotry and base intolerance to dare to claim that anything in the non-physical world is truer, better, more moral, immoral, false or worse than something else.  This applies usually to religion, fine arts, morality and philosophy and is the reason we find so much that is utterly base, inane, or stupid being called art, music or literature. “Experts” in these fields dare not criticize what is patently inferior. A work of “art” that consisted of a crucifix in a container of urine was acclaimed and defended by all the “right” people. Such is the sorry state of the transcendent nowadays.

The question is: “Is it reasonable to claim that a particular religion or Church is the only true one and that all others are deficient and defective?” It depends on who is making the claim. Anyone who claims to give the ultimate, final and irrefutable religious truth must be a person of unimpeachable and credible authority because so much is at stake for that individual. Otherwise, we are dealing only with religious opinion and  an opinion is no better than the facts underlying it. Martin Luther was terrified during a storm, and promised that he would enter a monastery if he was saved from the storm. Mohammed’s way of life precludes him from being a credible witness for morality. Joseph Smith, at age 14, claimed to have been given the famous “golden tablets” containing the teachings of Mormon. These tablets have never been seen except by Smith. Buddha abandoned his wife and children to go find Nirvana. Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science, which shuns medical doctors, regularly consulted doctors when she needed them. These, and all other founders of religions, have one thing in common…they are human and only human.

There is one religious founder who does exemplify the ideal religious founder and actually established a Church . . . Jesus Christ. The four Gospels can be viewed as true history. (Some have spent years attempting to disqualify the Gospels as true history, but they all failed.)

There are three aspects of Christ that separate Him from every other religion founder.

The first is His moral character. At one point, he challenged his enemies to declare what sins he may have committed. They had nothing to say because there was no moral fault in Him. Contrast that with the founders previously mentioned.

The second is the fact that He performed thousands of miracles witnessed by thousands of people. No other founder even claims to be a miracle-worker. (Seeing the need for miracles in Mohammed’s life, his later followers, several centuries after his death, attempted to claim he had worked miracles to enhance his image, but they could not be substantiated. There was simply too large a gap in time and, therefore, no witnesses.)

The third is the fact the Jesus Christ is still alive. It is true that he died, but then He brought Himself back to life and continues to live as the eternal God-man. All other founders are long dead, and no one expects them to reappear.

While still on earth, Christ set up a Church (note the word ”Church” is singular). “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church.” If a divine person establishes a Church, it must the one true Church. It, therefore, behooves us to determine which one it is, for if we are in the wrong Church/religion, we are in spiritual danger of not attaining our God-given goal. Finding the right Church will give us intellectual and spiritual peace and contentment. So, we look to the Divine Founder to determine the True religion, the True Church.  Christ, being Divine, established His Church on earth through Peter.  That Church is the Catholic Church.

There are a few points to consider about the Catholic Church, this one true Church.

History:  Through troubled times and profitable times, the Church has endured. Although it has never had a Golden Age, it has always been beset by problems. Persecutions (today is no exception), schisms, heresies, incompetent and immoral members. Sometimes it was more influential than at others times (Middle Ages) but, even then, problems arose.

The human element:  The Catholic Church is both divine and human in that the Church on earth has humans as members and those members have not always acted according to Church teaching. There have been a few despicable popes, priests and bishops who were not faithful.

Let me emphasize this:  No merely human organization could have survived throughout history as the Catholic Church has were it not under the guidance and protection of its living Divine Founder. “I am with you all days, even to the end of the world, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Note the word “prevail.” It means that Satan will always be assaulting the Church, but he will never be able to destroy it.) No other organization of any kind has such a history. The Protestant Church has evolved into 30,000 different sects and denominations, all claiming to be the true Church. The Catholic Church has remained true to the teachings of Christ and the Apostles; if they were to appear on earth, they would easily recognize the doctrine and moral code of the Catholic Church as the same teaching they taught. Nowadays no religion founder would recognize the religion he founded; all have changed so much.

Why one true Church?

Humans like certainty. We don’t like to be unsure of important aspects of life. Finding the one true Church gives us that certainty. The fact that all contemporary religions (except Buddhism and Hinduism) were founded long after the Christ, who is both man and God, established the Church, and the fact that are all man-made tell us that they cannot possibly have come from God.

The teaching of the Catholic Church is based on the doctrine set forth by the divine Christ. The others are merely human opinion, theory or fantasy. Besides, no human can be remotely qualified to set up a divinely-approved religion.

The Magisterium (teaching authority) of the Church was established by Christ, too. “Whatsoever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatsoever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” This statement made by Christ transfers to the Catholic Church the authority to speak in God’s name, an authority which gives Catholics the peace of mind to know that if they follow the Church, they are following and submitting themselves to the Divine Will. That is not a small matter.

Finally, the Church, following the teaching Christ and the Apostles has the means to assure salvation to those who sincerely seek it through the Sacramental system. The seven Sacraments of the Church keep the believer close to God as he treads the dangerous pathways of earthly life. Confession, for the believer, is concrete evidence of forgiven sin. The Holy Eucharist (the Lord’s Supper) for the believer is a concrete expression of Emmanuel, God with us.  Holy Orders guarantee of Apostolic succession and authenticity.

In contemporary life, this whole article is a daring sally into the politically-INcorrect. Bear in mind that the whole concept of political-correctness is based on a lie or an unrealistic view of life. The pied pipers of this attitude do not live in the real world. Years ago, when this nonsense began, the city council of Pawtucket, RI passed an ordinance that a manhole cover was to be renamed a “personhole” cover. They cancelled it when the ridicule became too much. We live in a world filled with wars, hatreds, uncertainties and irrational ideas. The Catholic Church, whether you believe it or not or like it or not, has stood the test of time (2000 years). God is with the Church, and I’d rather be a member in good standing of God’s Church than any human religion I can think of. Wouldn’t you?

Eucharistic Church

In 07 Observations on 2011/04/22 at 3:38 PM

In JESUS OF NAZARETH, Part II, Benedict XVI says that the Protestant theologian, Ferdinand Kattenbusch, was correct when he tried to demonstrate that Jesus’ words at the Last Supper actually founded the Church.  The Pope concurs that through the body of Christ, the Church became one for herself and for the entire world through the ages.  It is from the Eucharist that the Church receives her mission.