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Posts Tagged ‘Doctrine’

“Catholax” by Deacon James H. Toner

In 07 Observations on 2016/09/09 at 12:00 AM

What we think is the right road
I go to Mass every Sunday, usually. But when Mass is over, I have a life to lead as I want. I’m a Catholic, but I’m not a fanatic or a zealot.

But it’s the wrong road

Vice President Joe Biden is Catholic, as are five of the eight current justices of the Supreme Court, about 160 members of Congress, and about a dozen of the 35 (or so) people President Barack Obama has named to his cabinet. One might conclude that U.S. public policy must be well grounded in Catholic moral and social teaching. Not so, of course.

The reason that our public policy often directly contravenes Church teaching is that so many of our “leading” Catholics are, well, “Catholax.”

Laxism (from the Latin for “slackness”) is a 17th-century concept in moral theology that excused Catholics from their moral duties on very slight and insufficient grounds. When Catholic teaching authorities (ranging from parents and priests to college faculties) abandon the inculcation of moral virtue, replacing it with casuistry – case studies and weak-kneed or perplexed ethical “analysis” – laxism results.

Modern laxism dates at least to 1960 when presidential candidate John F. Kennedy declared, “I do not speak for my Church on public matters; and the Church does not speak for me.”

If, as we Catholics believe, Our Lord is head of the Church, then denying the authority of the Church is tantamount to denying the authority of Christ.

So often, all of us – not just politicians – find it much easier to acknowledge the “authority” of a “replacement supreme being.” That replacement may be the idol or mammon of power, prestige, pelf (money) or politics, but the replacement of God or of God’s authority is always at the heart of sin. When we substitute anything for God, we endorse that substitute as divine, and we begin the worship of false gods (see Catechism of the Catholic Church 398).

Worshipping spurious gods invariably leads to treating the world and the things of the world as more sacred than what is truly divine. Wrote philosopher Peter Kreeft: “The Church needs to recover some moxie, some chutzpah. We need to stop being nice and conforming to the world, saying, ‘We’re going to win you by being just like you.’ The Church has got to say, ‘We’re better than you – not better people than you, but we have a better worldview, a deeper truth. Our product’s the best one on the market.’ The Church has been so bedeviled by the American religion of egalitarianism that we are terrified to claim superiority. Only if you believe you have something better can you be enthusiastic about it.”

Having become tepid about Catholic teaching, we find it convenient, perhaps necessary, simply to ignore the admonition found in Revelation: “Because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am going to spit you out of my mouth” (3:16; see also Rom 12:11).

So Catholic enthusiasm may be necessary but, as St. John Paul II told us, enthusiasm alone is not sufficient: “The enthusiastic faith which enlivens your communities is a great enrichment, but it is not enough. It must be accompanied by a Christian formation which is solid, comprehensive and faithful to the Church’s Magisterium.”

“Catholax” may be remiss or negligent about doctrine. They may be vague or slack about the faith. They may be careless or indifferent about the liturgy. The effects of such moral atrophy, however, are well beyond the realm of what may be. The result of lax Catholicism is public policy unmistakably corrupted by “serious errors in the areas of education, politics, social action, and morals” (CCC 407).

Our pre-eminent Catholic duty is always to be witnesses for Christ and for His Church (see CCC 2044). That duty is not minimized – in fact, it is maximized – when one enters the corridors of power and politics. We must speak for Christ and for His Church; and God have mercy upon our souls if we say that Christ and His Church do not speak for us. Courageous public witness requires our being steadfast in the faith: “Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm” (Is 7:9; see also 1 Cor 16:13). No wonder the lax flicker and flutter, slip and slide, and toss and turn in every political wind: they have no moral anchor. So they are “children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teaching of deceitful men, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent” (Eph 4:14; see also Col 2:8, Heb 13:9).

We are called “to be the light of the world. Thus, the Church shows forth the kingship of Christ over all creation and in particular over human societies” (CCC 2105). That is our duty, despite the siren songs of the world. And firmness – not laxity – in the faith is our trust (2 Tm 1:14) and our joy (Rom 12:12).

Deacon James H. Toner serves at Our Lady of Grace Church in Greensboro.

– See more at: http://www.catholicnewsherald.com/104-news/viewpoints/713-deacon-james-h-toner-catholax#sthash.exHxfnqs.dpuf”

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“The charity of Christ should compel you”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2016/02/12 at 12:00 AM
You need interior life and doctrinal formation. Be demanding on yourself! As a Christian man or woman, you have to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, for you are obliged to give good example with holy shamelessness. The charity of Christ should compel you. Feeling and knowing yourself to be another Christ from the moment you told him that you would follow him, you must not separate yourself from your equals – your relatives, friends and colleagues – any more than you would separate salt from the food it is seasoning. Your interior life and your formation include the piety and the principles a child of God must have in order to give flavour to everything by his active presence there. Ask the Lord that you may always be that good seasoning in the lives of others. ( The Forge, 450)

A Christian can’t be caught up in personal problems; he must be concerned about the universal Church and the salvation of all souls.

Concern for one’s own spiritual improvement is not really a personal thing, for sanctification is completely bound up with apostolate. We must, therefore, develop our interior life and the christian virtues with our eyes upon the good of the whole Church. We cannot do good and make Christ known, if we’re not making a sincere effort to live the teachings of the Gospel.

If we are imbued with this spirit, our conversations with God eventually aid other men, even though they may begin on an apparently personal level. And if we take our Lady’s hand, she will make us realize more fully that all men are our brothers — because we are all sons of that God whose daughter, spouse and mother she is.

Our neighbours’ problems must be our problems. Christian fraternity should be something very deep in the soul, so that we are indifferent to no one. Mary, who brought up Jesus and accompanied him through his life and is now beside him in heaven, will help us recognize Jesus as he crosses our path and makes himself present to us in the needs of our fellow men. (Christ is passing by, 145)

Realities

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2014/10/24 at 12:00 AM

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – A 19 October 2014

  • One of the saints who will adorn our new mural is St. Edith Stein, also known as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Edith Stein was a Jewish convert to Catholicism who became a Carmelite nun and was eventually martyred in the gas chambers of Auschwitz in 1942.
  • But unlike her fellow Jews, St. Edith Stein went very willingly and knowingly to her death.
  • Edith’s keen intellect, coupled with a deep and intense personal prayer life, led her to the

    understanding of what was to befall the Jewish people long before anyone else in Germany

    had a clue as to just how evil the Nazis were.

  • And so in imitation of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Edith Stein offered up her life to

    our Lord as a personal holocaust for the sake of the Jewish people, for averting the Second

    World War, and for the sanctification of her Carmelite family.

  • In doing this, Edith prayed that God would receive her life as an act of atonement for the

    terrible atrocities being committed against God’s chosen people, with the hope of converting

    atheists and the Nazis. This is why Edith Stein is a saint.

  • Edith Stein did not wish to be a Christian in name only. She wanted to be totally conformed

    to our Lord by bearing the cross she saw being laid upon the Jewish people. Edith wanted to

    share fully in our Lord’s suffering and death in a supreme act of love.

  • On August 2, 1942, she and her sister, Rosa, were taken by Nazis from the Carmel in Echt,

    Holland, and a week later they were gassed to death in the Birkenau section of Auschwitz.

  • Eyewitnesses who saw Edith during her last week of life all attest that she remained faithful,

    courageous, and impeccably charitable to all up to her last moments.

  • In a very dark and confusing time, St. Edith Stein shone like a bright ray of light. Quite

    selflessly, she offered her life for the sake of others. And as such, St. Edith Stein is a

    remarkable example of Christian heroism and charity in the face of astounding evil.

  • In some ways I wonder if we might be entering into another one of those very dark and

    confusing periods in human history when evil seems to have the upper hand in the world.

  • As we consider the terrible threat posed by ISIS, the fear of a worldwide outbreak of Ebola,

    and the ever-increasing moral confusion surrounding marriage and human sexuality that has

    ambushed our state, our country, and our culture, there is much to worry about.

  • I know, as well, that many of you have been following the confusing media reports coming

    from the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on issues related to

    marriage and evangelization that concluded yesterday.

  • There’s been much media speculation coming from the Synod that perhaps the Church is

    going to permit Catholics who are divorced and remarried without an annulment, as well as

    same-sex couples and those who cohabitate before marriage, to receive Holy Communion.

  • But let me state clearly and emphatically that, despite what you may have heard from the

    media this week, there has been no change in Church teaching on these issues.

  • Our doctrine is based upon the revelation of Jesus Christ, expressed in both Sacred Scripture

    and Tradition. While the Church may come to new and deeper insights about a particular

    teaching, the essence of a doctrinal teaching cannot change because truth does not change.

  • While the Church can change certain disciplines, we must also remember that Church

    disciplines are rooted in our doctrine. Therefore, a practice or discipline of the Church cannot be at odds with the Church’s doctrine. And any effort by a Church leader to knowingly distort, weaken, or change the Church’s doctrine is evil.

  • At the same time we must realize that there are a growing number of people in the Church who live in morally compromised arrangements. In other words, they are engaging in conjugal acts with someone who is not or cannot be their spouse in a sacramental marriage.
  • Setting aside appearances of judgmentalism and condemnation, the Church’s challenge is to really look at the way we engage with these folks so that we can call them to conversion and better help them conform their lives to Christ and His commandments.
  • The fact is that people will have a better chance of knowing God and finding salvation if they have a relationship with His Church, even if they cannot fully participate in the sacramental life of the Church.
  • So our challenge is to welcome these people into the Church without condoning their sin or compromising our teachings. Following the example of Jesus with the woman caught in adultery, we must be forthcoming with mercy while also exhorting people to sin no more.
  • The Church is a hospital for the spiritually sick. But to enter into this hospital, we must desire healing! It’s by being obedient and docile to the Church’s teachings that we find healing for our spiritual ills.
  • Sadly, not all who are invited to the Church will come. While open to all, those who enter the Church must be willing to convert and be docile to Her teachings, rather than arrogantly believing that they know better than Her and trying to force Her to change Her teachings.
  • Those who steadfastly refuse to acknowledge and adhere to the truth, and who try to force the Church to conform to this world with its mixed up morality, have no place in the Church.
  • If you are living in an irregular relationship right now by cohabitating before marriage, by being involved in a same-sex relationship, or by being divorced and remarried without an annulment, I want to say publicly that I’m glad that you’re here.
  • God loves you, the Church loves you, and I love you. Moreover, I am willing to do whatever is necessary to help you get to a place where you can fully take part in the sacramental life of the Church and live a Christian life with full integrity. But there must be some humility.
  • If you do not understand why the Church teaches as She does, come speak with me. My door is open to you – and so is my heart.
  • And I ask everyone else in this parish to be of like mind. While we cannot and must not respect sin, we can and must respect all people, and we must lovingly help others to hear the Gospel and live it in its fullness.
  • At her canonization Mass in 1998, St. John Paul II repeated Edith Stein’s famous quote: “Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks truth!”, to which he added: “One without the other becomes a destructive lie.”
  • As we do our best to proclaim the truth to our fallen world, let us be sure to do it with love.
  • As we consider the darkness in our world today, we must be – like Edith Stein – heroic rays

    of light that shine forth with the truth, goodness, and beauty of our Catholic faith.

  • Moreover, in this time of desperate confusion in our world and in our Church, let us place our hopes and trust in God Himself. Let us not forget that He is omnipotent and, as Isaiah

    says, He grasps us by the hand.

  • Trusting in Him, let us hold fast to the constant and unchanging teachings of His Church,

    confident that our obedience to those teachings will bring us to salvation.

  • Lastly, may we be willing to live lives of true charity by offering sacrifices and penances to

    God on behalf of those who attack and persecute this Church we love so much.

• May each of us cultivate within our hearts a true desire to suffer and lay down our lives for the Church so that all men may be saved. St. Edith Stein, pray for us.

 

© Reverend Timothy Reid, 10/19/2014

Verbum Domini

In 11 Joanna Bogle on 2013/10/17 at 12:00 AM

Been reading…

… Verbum Domini, the new Papal document on the importance of the Scriptures. It is, obviously, centred on the Scriptures themselves, and also on the Second Vatican Council’s important document, Dei Verbum. This interests me very much, because this, almost more than other documents of Vatican II, has been central to our studies at Maryvale.
Throughout the first half of my adult life, I was often told that the Second Vatican Council had produced nothing of real value, that it would one day be regarded as irrelevant, or that it had been a dreadful mistake. There had been so much post-conciliar muddle that it was easy to accepot this view (although I didn’t).
Wiser voices, which urged the reading and study of the Council’s documents, tended to be drowned out – but when you could hear them, they gave good advice and now we are beginning to see the Council’s true fruits. Chief among these has of course been the Catechism of the Catholic Church – another crucial reference-point in Maryvale studies. But we can also note a fresh approach – a logical one, given the development of the Church’s doctrine in this area – to religious freedom and to the relationships between Christianity and other faiths. And the message offered by Benedict XVI on his recent visit to Britain – which proved so attractive, and which won over so many who had thought they were going to haye him – was soaked in the Vatican II approach…John Henry Newman knew that the Church needed an educated laity: people who could give a good account of what the Church taught and why.
It is interesting to see the opportunities for achieving this increasing, not only through the New Movements in the Church with their programmes of study and action, but also through the various educational institutions, and indeed through the Internet. The women who asked for advice and help from Newman as they sought to know more about the Catholic Faith and apply it to their lives were anxious to serve the Church but were limited in the possibilities open to them. Whereas today…

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Has a New Domain

In 07 Observations on 2012/03/16 at 10:20 AM

Vatican City, 16 March 2012 (VIS) – The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has opened a new domain (www.doctrinafidei.va) within the official website of the Holy See. In this way, the congregation hopes to facilitate the consultation of its documents which, having the express approbation of the Holy Father, participate in his ordinary Magisterium as the Peter’s Successor. Attentive reception of these texts is important for all members of the faithful and in particular for those who are engaged in theological and pastoral work.

The major documents are available in eight languages: Latin, French, English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, German and Polish. Certain documents are also available in Hungarian, Slovak, Czech, and Dutch. There is a general list of all the texts organised chronologically, and three subgroups of these texts, divided into doctrinal, disciplinary and sacramental documents.

The new domain also presents information on the Congregation’s series “Documenti e Studi”, which are individual printed volumes presenting a major document of the Congregation together with commentaries by noted theologians. There is also a description of the volumes containing the proceedings of various symposia organised by the Congregation in recent years, as well as speeches and other contributions by cardinal prefects.

A communique by the congregation published this morning explains how “wider distribution of the teaching of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is necessary in today’s world. The documents of the congregation which have been published since the time of Vatican Council II … deal with significant questions for the life and mission of the Church and give important doctrinal responses to the challenges of our times. … The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is convinced that the enhanced availability of these documents will be of significant value in communicating the teaching of the Church to people throughout the world”.

The old domain address of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith remains active within the official website of the Holy See.

THIS IS WHAT YOU WILL SEE WHEN YOU CLICK ON THE SITE:  WWW.DOCTRINAFIDEI.VA

The Holy See

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The Roman Curia Congregations


Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Development of Doctrine

In 14 Book Corner on 2011/11/05 at 1:11 AM

This is Revelation: God’s mysteries opening up gradually . . . whereby little by little God makes Himself known.

St. Augustine wrote  that God in His mercy reveals his mysteries to man gradually in order that the whole world should experience “this saving proclamation, on hearing it should believe, on believing it hope, on hoping in it love.”

In his essay on THE DEVELOPMENT OF DOCTRINE,  John Henry Newman demonstrated that the theology of the Church is no random combination of various opinions, but a diligent and patient working out of one doctrine from many materials.  He explained the slow, painful, anxious taking up of a new perspective into an existing body of belief.

“The integrity of the Catholic development is still more evident when they are viewed in contrast with the history of other doctrinal systems.  Philosophies and religions of the world have each its day, and are part of a succession.  They supplant and are in turn supplanted.  But the Catholic religion alone has had no limits; it alone has ever been greater than the emergence, and can do what others cannot do.

Truth is ever consolidating itself, and, as time goes on, shining into broader day.  For while the devises of adversaries were extinguished at once, undone by their very  impetuosity-on heresy after another presenting its own novelty, the former specimens ever dissolving and wasting variously in manifold and  multiform shapes-the  brightness of the Catholic and only true Church went forward increasing and enlarging, yet ever in the same things, and in the same way, beaming on the whole race of Greeks and barbarians with the awfulness, and simplicity, and nobleness, and sobriety, and purity of its divine polity and philosophy.

Exclusivity, bigotry and intolerance are some of the ordinary charges hurled at the Church by those who hold: that truth and falsehood in religion are but a matter of opinion; that one doctrine is as good as another; that the God does not intend we should gain the truth; that there is no truth; that we are not more acceptable to God by believing this than by believing that; that no one is answerable for his opinions; that they are a matter of necessity or accident; that it is enough if we sincerely hold what we profess; that our merit lies in seeking not possessing; that it is a duty to follow what seems to us true, without a fear lest it should not be true; that it maybe a gain to succeed, and can be no harm or fail; that we may take up and lay down opinions at pleasure; that belief belongs to the mere intellect,not to the heart also; that we may safely trust to ourselves in matters of Faith, and need no other guide.”

Newman, John Henry ESSAY ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF DOCTRINE.  http://www.amazon.com/Essay-Development-Christian-Doctrine/dp/1616402520/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1310080803&sr=1-2