Monday, July 30, 2012

The Passover Lamb

It all started on that fateful night when the Angel of Death came to kill the first-born son of every family whether Egyptian or Hebrew.  The Hebrew people were to sacrifice an unblemished lamb and mark the posts of their door so that the Angel of Death should ‘pass over’ their household. That night marked the birth of the nation of Israel but it also was a picture of a greater birth and a greater sacrifice to come many centuries later; the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and his sacrificial death upon the cross as the true Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  But before going on let’s see what John wrote about the circumstances of Jesus’ death, the death of the Lamb of God (John 1:29).

John is at the foot of the Cross holding Mary, suffering a mothers grief at losing ones son.  John tells us in his account of Jesus’ death that although they broke the legs of the other two being crucified they didn’t break those of Jesus “so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: ‘Not a bone of it will be broken.’” Here John is referencing the requirement that the bones of the Passover lamb were not to be broken as found in Exodus 12:46 “You shall not break any of its bones.”

We can confidently say that John wants us to link the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross to the first Passover because not only does John mentions ‘not breaking any bones’ but even before that statement John still points to this night of the first Passover when he mentions how Jesus was given wine to quench His thirst by using a sprig of hyssop, the same type of plant used to mark the doorframes with the blood of the sacrificial lambs (Exo 12:22).

So what happened at the first Passover that John would bring us back to this point in time while Jesus is being crucified?  Maybe so we see the connection between the sacrificial lamb (John 1:29) who saved us from the bondage of sin with the lamb who saved the Israelites from the bondage of the Pharaoh in Egypt.  Maybe because he believed the same as Paul did when he wrote to Timothy that “All scripture is…useful for teaching… and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16).  So we know that the sacrificial system of the Jewish liturgy of the Passover celebration teaches us, trains us in righteousness.  We also see in Malachi that this liturgy will be changed and fulfilled or brought to fruition through his prophecy that: “For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, my name is great among the nations; And everywhere they bring sacrifice to my name, and a pure offering; For great is my name among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 1:11)

First, we see that at the time the book of Malachi was written, God’s name was NOT great among the nations, therefore this is a prophecy of things to come.  Second, at the mention of “a pure offering”, what is the only pure offering ever brought to His name?  Jesus is the only pure offering.   And finally, “from the rising of the sun to its setting”.  All day long in other words.  Which worship ceremony uses incense and brings a pure offering all day long (from rising to setting of the sun) all around the world?  The Catholic Church is the only church which can claim this. 

But what about the pure offering?  What are we to do with it when we offer it to God?  Well, just look at what John was pointing to when Jesus was dying on the Cross.  Look at what the Israelites had to do at the first Passover sacrifice – they had to kill the lamb and then eat it (Exo 12:7-8 or Exo 12:43-47).  It wasn’t enough to sacrifice the lamb and to put its blood on the door frames.  To save the first-born sons of each household, they also had to eat the lamb as well.  How can we be sure of this?  By listening to Jesus’ own words of John 6 which states I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world(verse 51).  And to confirm this suspicion, the account of the Last Supper as described by Matthew, Mark, Luke and Paul all say the same when holding the unleavened bread once it was blessed.  Jesus says “This IS my body…this IS my blood”.

 Prepared by a St-Denis parishioner

Monday, July 23, 2012

Women's Ordination

Priestly Ordination

There seems to be a lot of controversy nowadays about the Church changing its views on female ordination.  Can women in fact be validly ordained to the priesthood?  That's a question that promotes a lot of debate in the Catholic world but one in which the Catholic Church has always answered NO.  Certain functions can be shared between the sexes but what is innate is unalterable or you would be going against nature itself.   Where there is an absolute difference in the roles the two sexes can play is in the giving of life. By natural law, only women can give physical life by serving as mothers. By supernatural law, only men can give spiritual life to the faithful by serving as priests.”(1)

In fact, Pope John Paul II said that "in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Luke 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the church's faithful" (Ordinatio Scerdotalis 4).

And so we see that it’s not that the Pope doesn't want to ordain women, it’s that the Church has no authority to ordain women.  The Church has had the chance to ordain women for 2000 years and never has it ever attempted to ordain women beginning with Jesus Himself.  Jesus chose 12 apostles, 12 men. It’s true that the culture of the time of Jesus would have made the choice of women apostles very difficult to continue His ministry but Jesus allowed women to join in His mission, to follow and finance his ministry (Luke 7:37-50) elevating them above cultural norms (Mark 16:9, John 8:3-11).  His decision not to ordain women had nothing to do with the culture.  Women have always been held with the highest regard in the church but Jesus only breathed on the male apostles, the first bishops, giving them the authority to forgive and retain sins (John 20:22-23).  What most don't seem to realize is that the male priesthood of Christianity was a distinction from the priestesses of paganism that existed during these times.  A female priesthood would be a reversion to non-Christian practices.

Jesus called whom He willed (Mark 13:3).  Not because the culture demanded it but because He willed it, whose will was perfectly united to the Will of God.  Who are we to decide to know the Will of God better then Jesus Himself?  To try to ordain women is to go against nature and against God Himself.  Here are a few quotations from very early Christian history expressing this belief…

“[A female heretic], lately conversant in this quarter, has carried away a great number with her most venomous doctrine, making it her first aim to destroy baptism. . . . But we, little fishes, after the example of our Icthus [Greek, “Fish”], Jesus Christ, are born in water . . . so that most monstrous creature, who had no right to teach even sound doctrine, knew full well how to kill the little fishes, by taking them away from the water” (Tertullian on Baptism 1 [A.D. 203]).

Similarly, in regard to the deaconesses, as with all who are enrolled in the register, the same procedure is to be observed. We have made mention of the deaconesses, who have been enrolled in this position, although, not having been in any way ordained, they are certainly to be numbered among the laity” (First Council of Nicea, Canon 19 [A.D. 325]).

"[T]he so-called ‘presbyteresses’ or ‘presidentesses’ are not to be ordained in the Church" (Council of Laodicia, Canon 11 [A.D. 360]).

Prepared by a St-Denis parishioner

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Trinity

Trinity Sunday, also known as Holy Trinity Sunday, is celebrated a week after Pentecost Sunday in honor of the most fundamental of Christian beliefs—belief in the Holy Trinity.

As Fr. John Hardon points out in his Modern Catholic Dictionary, the origins of the celebration of Trinity Sunday goes all the way back to the Arian heresy of the fourth century, when Arius denied the divinity of Christ by denying that there are three Persons in one God. To stress the doctrine of the Trinity, the Fathers of the Church composed prayers and hymns that were recited on Sundays as part of the Divine Office, the official prayer of the Church.  For many centuries, the Athanasian Creed was recited at Mass on Trinity Sunday. While seldom read today, the creed can be read privately or recited with your family to revive this ancient tradition.

The Athanasian Creed  is traditionally ascribed to Saint Athanasius (296-373), from whom it takes its name.   Like other creeds, such as the Apostles' Creed, it is a profession of the Christian faith; but it is also a full-fledged theology lesson specifically formulated to solidify the truth of the Trinity.

Since we have the advantage of having our collection of inspired writings in a single book, a book Arius and Athanasius did not have, I thought it would be a good exercise to look in our Bible for proofs that the doctrine of the Trinity is indeed true.  Let’s find out if the Bible does indeed teach three distinct persons in one God.  The Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God.  All three persons are distinct but all are one God.  First we can agree that the Father is indeed God, the Jewish people and us Christians have this in common.

Second, the first verses of the Gospel of John tell us that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) and a few verses later, in the same context we find that the Word, which is God, “became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (verse 14)  An unmistakable reference to Jesus Christ. So we must conclude that Jesus Christ is God.

Third, is the Holy Spirit God as well? An extremely good verse that proves this to be true is found in the book of Acts.  A new convert to the faith named Ananias sells all his possessions and gives half of his proceeds to the Church but tells Peter that he gave everything he had.  Peter knew that Ananias lied to him and to God so Peter tells him “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit…You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” (Acts 5:3-4)  We find that Peter tells Ananias that he lied to the Holy Spirit, he lied to God.  So we find that the Holy Spirit is indeed God.

Fourth,  now we can all agree that God is one but does He show Himself in these different forms as if wearing masks?  Not really because if He did then Jesus would be praying to himself in John 17:5  when He said: “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” Or if God was indeed only one person in one God then this one person would be wearing three different masks at the same time at the baptism of Jesus in John 1:31-32 where the Father speaks and the Holy Spirit descends as a dove while Jesus is standing in water.

Lastly, we have a passage of Scripture which also clearly identifies all three persons but one God at Jesus’ command to His Church to baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matt 28:19)  You’ll notice that the word ‘name’ is in a singular form and yet there are three names.  That’s because although there are three persons, we baptize in the name of One God, hence the singular.

Therefore, we have seen that Scripture does indeed show that although there is only one God, this one God is also three distinct persons. The Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God, all three are persons but there is only one God (Deut 6:4).

Prepared by a St-Denis parishioner

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Written Word of God

Have you ever wondered how the Bible we have today came to be?  In fact, in the mid-fourth century there was a wide range of disagreement over exactly what books belonged in the New Testament.  Certain books, such as the gospels, acts, and most of the epistles of Paul had long been agreed upon.  However a number of the books of the New Testament, most notably Hebrews, James, 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, and Revelation remained hotly disputed until the canon was settled in the late fourth century.

At around 380 AD Pope Damasus I commissioned St. Jerome to translate the Holy Scriptures from the earliest texts available into the language of the times (Latin) which became known as the Vulgate.  But Jerome found that there were many discrepancies in the list of books contained in what some considered was the inspired Word of God.   The Jewish community for example, had two distinct lists of inspired writings, one which contained only 39 books of the Old Testament and a second containing those same books plus seven more.  A different problem also presented itself when Jerome tried to determine which books in contention as inspired truly were inspired.  For example, in around 140 AD Marcion, a businessman in Rome, taught that there were two Gods: Yahweh, the cruel God of the Old Testament, and Abba, the kind father of the New Testament.  So Marcion’s collection of inspired writings eliminates the entire Old Testament as scripture and keeps only 10 letters of St Paul along with the gospel of Luke.

Jerome settled the issue by appealing to the authority of the Church.  Pope Damasus I gave Jerome the list of books to be treated as inspired and therefore to be translated in Latin.  A list which remained unchanged for 1200 years.  In fact it is a verifiable and documented fact that the books of the Bible were compiled by the Catholic Church through its bishops in councils.  Before this compilation in the late fourth century there was much confusion as to what could be read at Mass.  This was also the time when Jerome was trying to determine which books to translate in Latin.  But with confusion remaining many considered the letter of Barnabas, or the first letter of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians as inspired texts and likewise some did not even consider books as suitable that we now accept as inspired, books like the book of Revelation, first and second John and others.  So how did Christians settle the matter?  They convened in councils as they always have since the very beginning (have a look at the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 for an early example of this).

The Council of Hippo, a regional council for some of the bishops in the Diocese of Africa, in 393 AD reaffirmed The Decree of Damasus promulgated a decade or so ago at the time of Jerome naming the books of the Bible that Catholics have today. The third Council of Carthage was far more authoritative than the Council of Hippo. The Diocese of Africa then had its see at Carthage, so Carthage had authority to speak for all of the northwest African bishops. The Council of Carthage in 397 AD also reaffirmed The Decree of Damasus. Carthage, unlike Hippo, sent its decisions to Rome for ratification. Pope St. Boniface I (418-422) ratified the decision and declared the canon settled.

It is ironic that non-Catholic Christians (most Protestants) reject the inclusion of seven Old Testament books included at councils such as Hippo and Carthage, because these are the very same early Church councils that Protestants appeal to for the canon of the New Testament.

Most, if not all Protestants believe that the sole rule of authority in right-Christian living is Scripture.  But since the Bible itself never tells us which books are to be included, it does tell us that we must accept another authority outside of the Bible to give us this infallible list of books that belong in our Bible.    This other authority is the Church.  The written Word of God contains 73 books, don’t miss out, read from the complete list.                                                                                

Prepared by a St. Denis parishioner

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Corpus Cristi

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, previously known as the feast of Corpus Cristi (Latin for Body of Christ) has its origins in France and was extended to the whole Church by Pope Urban IV in 1264 following an instance of a Eucharistic miracle.  A miracle was most commonly performed by God for the purpose of convincing the listeners of the authority of the messenger.  We find many examples of these miracles in the Bible where these individuals, who are sent directly by God where God performs these supernatural signs through the messengers to prove that they were indeed speaking God’s Word.  Examples like in the Book of Exodus where we find Moses performing miracle upon miracle to convince the Pharaoh to release the Jewish people. Convincing the crowds of his authority was significant if they were to listen to him and so Jesus too performed many miracles that they would “believe [his] deeds, in order that [his listeners] may know once and for all that the Father is in [him] and that [he is] in the Father.” (John 10:37-38)

And so this miracle that a doubting priest contemporary to Pope Urban IV proved to this priest that the consecrated bread and wine did indeed become the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ just as Jesus said it was at the Last Supper when he pronounced the words of consecration. He lifted up the bread and said: “Take it; this is my body.” It was no longer ordinary bread and wine but truly His Body and Blood.  So we do in fact have extra-ordinary events, by that I mean unexplainable by scientific means, that prove the message of the True Presence of our Lord in the Eucharist.  But as the Lord said to ‘doubting’ Thomas in John 20, verse 29, when he finally touched the wounds of Christ and believed: “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.  Many have done just that, they have believed even when their senses tell them otherwise.  We find in the writings of the early Christians, people throughout history who believed in the actual presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. 

It makes perfect sense to believe in the True Presence of our Lord in the Eucharist since the words of Jesus himself tells us so.  He raises a piece of bread and says “this is my Body” and earlier on in his ministry Jesus also said of the bread of life that the bread we are to eat is His flesh, he said: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”(John 6:51)  The flesh that Jesus gave up for the life of the world was true flesh and the bread that Jesus tells us that we are to eat is this same flesh, His flesh.

Paul also warns anyone who partakes of the Eucharist in an unworthy manner that he is guilty of sinning against the Body and Blood of the Lord (1 Cor 11:27) because “anyone who eats [the bread] and drinks [the wine] without discerning the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment upon himself.” (1 Cor 11:29)  How can one discern the body of the Lord if it’s not the body of the Lord?  To discern it as the body of the Lord means that the bread is, in fact, the body of the Lord.

And so, if one partakes of the Body and Blood of our Lord in an unworthy manner, ie with mortal sin on his soul then my advice to him  is to abstain from receiving until he has a chance to have his sins forgiven by going to confession.  Otherwise you are bringing judgment upon yourself and putting the salvation of your own soul at risk.  Paul explains it this way: “That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have [died].” (1 Cor 11:30)

Prepared by a St-Denis parishoner

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Authority of the Church

We learned last week that some things that, when done freely and with full knowledge, can separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ. These things must be of a grave matter and done freely knowing that it is indeed wrong to do and yet do it anyway. To do such a thing in those conditions means that one has committed a mortal sin, he has now separated Himself from God and His Church (His Church is His Body, see Eph 1:22-23)

Jesus is also the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by Him (John 14:6). That in knowing the truth we are made free of sin (John 8:32 ff ). We need to go to Him when determining the truth on whether a subject matter is ‘grave’ or not.

But in this day and age, where do we go to have the truth? When one says that the bread and wine that are blessed are mere symbols of His flesh and Blood and another believes that the bread and wine are actually and truly His Flesh and Blood,Soul and Divinity…who do we believe? Who has the final say in determining the truth? The final arbiter and defender of the truth decides what is true. To do this fully then this arbiter must be infallible, that whatever it binds on earth is already bound in heaven (Matt16:19 and 18:18).  What is the defender and upholder of the truth?  Well, Scripture tells us directly that the defender and upholder of the truth is the Church (1 Tim3:15).  Scripture tells us that the last resort that we are to go to settle the matter is the Church (Matt18:15-17) and that is how the first followers of our Lord Jesus Christ understood the matter. We know this because we see the first application of this teaching in the council of Jerusalem as found in the book of Acts (Acts 15:2, 15:28). A council whose decision was binding for all Christians (Acts 16:4).

We can easily infer that the Church Christ founded must be a visible Church, it must be a Church that one can go to settle disputes and have questions answered definitively one way or another. There is only one Christian Church that can be seen throughout history settling disputes between Christians. That Church can only be the Catholic Church. And so, if one has any doubt if a subject matter is ‘grave’ or not then the Catholic Church can answer it definitively for you. Is abortion a grave matter? Yes, and it is always and everywhere wrong. Is it a grave matter to choose not to go to Church on Sunday? Yes. The Church has determined that it is of great importance that every faithful Christian receives the Lord in the Eucharist at least once a week on the day of the week commemorating His Resurrection. This means that if you deliberately, that is both knowing its wrong and willing it anyway without just cause in failing to fulfill your Sunday obligation, then you are in fact rejecting the authority of the Church. That rejection is the sinful act. It’s a grave matter since he who listens to the Church listens to Christ and he who rejects the Church rejects Christ (Luke 10:16). To knowingly and freely reject Christ is the definition of a mortal sin.

Unless one has other mitigating circumstances that would make it very difficult to go (as in taking care of a sick child or on vacation with no Catholic Church in the vicinity) then to purposely avoid performing your Sunday obligation is to commit a mortal sin. It is recommended you go to confession prior to receiving the Eucharist the next time you go to Mass.

Prepared by a St-Denis parishioner

Freedom of Religion

Last week we learned that destroying a growing and living human being is truly against the Will of God.  Therefore all followers of God are obliged NOT to do those things.  Our Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes St. Augustine when defining ‘sin’.  Augustine says: “Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor cause by a perverse attachment to certain goods.  It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity.  It has been defined as “an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.” (CCC 1849)

The Catechism also defines sin thusly:  Sin is an offense against God.  It is a revolt against God through the will to become ‘like gods,’ knowing and determining good and evil.  Sin is therefore “love of oneself even to contempt of God.”” (CCC 1850)

We know there are two levels of gravity of sin, venial and mortal, Scripture is very clear on that point (1 john 5:16).  A venial sin is an act that does not completely cut himself off from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ.  A mortal sin does indeed cut him off from God.  The Catechism defines these terms this way: “Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a great violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God”… “Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it.” (CCC 1855)

For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.” (CCC 1857)  Therefore since we know that contraception  and abortion are of a grave matter (very serious subject) then for one to deliberately (freely) and knowingly perform these or help others in performing these acts is morally evil (ie mortal sin).

It has been a tenant of our Catholic faith since the very beginning that abortion and the use of contraception is always and everywhere gravely wrong.  Whether anyone else believes this to be right or wrong is irrelevant for our purposes today.   If our conscience dictates that it is a great moral evil to use contraception or abortafacient drugs then by virtue of loving our fellow man we are also obliged not to directly help them acquire such products and services.  For example, if it is morally wrong for me to intentionally kill an innocent bystander then it is also morally wrong for me to knowingly supply the gun so that someone else can kill him.  Since 1973, ever since abortion has been legalized, federal law does not protect all of its citizens.  It currently discriminates against a class of persons not yet born and with the Healthcare services being proposed by Obama (ie, Obamacare) the government will force its citizens to pay for these deadly services whether we have religious objections to them or not.  We must make our voices heard.  The voice of reason needs to overcome or our great country will no longer be a country where freedom or religion prevails.  We must prevent our government from trampling on our right to freely exercise our religion in the public square.

Even though “unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense” as well as “the promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders…” we as a society are obliged to defend our constitutional right to freedom of religion.  PLEASE, let us rise up and be heard.

Prepared by a St Denis parishoner

Birth of John the Baptist

Sexual gratification as the ultimate pleasure in our society today, as well as pagan culture from two-thousand years ago has been ingrained in us as an absolute good.  This mentality is so strong in us as a culture that whatever consequences that arrive from this mentality is a problem to eliminate, or get rid of when they should be celebrated.   If John the Baptist or even Jesus Christ been conceived outside of the life-affirming Jewish culture there is a real possibility that one or both could have been prevented from being born through abortion or murdered after birth (infanticide) if contraception failed.  Many individuals in today’s society, as well as outside Jewish culture from 2000 years ago, regard any living being before birth as something other than an actual living human being.  But what does science and the Word of God say on this subject?  Well, let’s see.

John the Baptist was born around 6 months before Jesus, was it at his birth that John can be first thought of as a living human being?  Well , we know that many babies are living human beings even when they are born premature which means that John was a human being in the belly of his mother no matter if he was born a day, a week, a month even up to almost three months premature.  As science advances we find the period of viability, where the baby can survive outside the mother’s womb, to be creeping to even earlier stages of gestation. 

Logic tells us that location does not change the nature of something.  Whether a baby is inside or outside a mother’s womb, it is still a human being.  And since it is growing then this human being, no matter how small, is alive. Logic also tells us that if something is growing then it’s not dead. 

A tumor may be an extension, or an appendage of the mother’s body but from the moment the sperm meets the egg to a full-grown fetus, this particular new entity has its own unique DNA.  Therefore the fetus is not a mother’s ‘appendage’.  It is separate although dependant on someone else to survive.  Just as dependant as newborns are separate and dependant on someone else to feed and protect them.  Just like the government protects the eggs of the endangered bald eagle in the same fashion as the bird itself, so too should we protect this newly formed living human being in the mother’s womb just as much as the newborn baby. 

Scripture is also pretty clear on this matter as well.  Few people would argue that the Bible clearly prohibits taking the life of an innocent person.  Verses like Genesis 9:6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.”  Or even more clearly in Proverbs 6:16-19 which states: “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood…”
In the Bible, the word used to describe a born and unborn baby is the same word.  That’s because the author of those passages, as they were inspired by God, didn’t see any real distinction between the two.  Whether they were born or not, the writers understood them to be persons.  Just a few verses earlier from our Gospel reading for today we see the word “brephos” used to describe the unborn John the Baptist “For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant[brephos] in my womb leaped for joy.”(Luke 1:44) and a little later in the Gospel of Luke, in verse 2:12 we see this same word used to describe a newborn: “And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant[brephos]  wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger.”  So in the eyes of the Scriptural writers, they believed that the living human being is a baby whether inside or outside the womb.

Since the body, without the spirit, is dead (James 2:26) and we know that the baby is alive by the simple fact that it is growing we must accept the fact that if it is alive then it has a soul/spirit.  In fact, the Nicene Creed tells us that “we believe in the Holy Spirit…the giver of life” which means that the baby receives the soul at conception when science tells us that a new human being begins its life.   Therefore we find that there is a new living person as soon as conception occurs which means that an abortion truly is the killing of an innocent person.

 The right to life is the pinnacle of all our rights because any other right is worthless if one does not have life.  To be Catholic then is to be pro-life, not only in belief but in action.  So please do not prevent the giver of life from coming to you through artificial contraception.  Or even worse, turning your back on the Holy Spirit by having an abortion which may ‘solve’ a problem but creates new ones through physical, psychological and emotional sufferings for the would-be mother.  Rachel’s Vineyard is a wonderful organization that helps women deal with most any post-abortion issues.  Please contact them at for help.   No sin is larger than God’s capacity to forgive but please, let us be Catholic when the moment counts.

Prepared by a St-Denis parishioner