Friday, February 22, 2013


The other day I saw a group of Shriners walking down in a parade and vaguely remembered something about the fact that we as Catholics aren’t supposed to be members.  In my research I found that the Shriners are an organization of York Rite Masons, that all Shriners are Master Masons (but not all Masons are Shriners).

The most recent declaration by the Church, issued by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that was promulgated on Nov 26, 1983 states that “the Church's negative judgment in regard to Masonic associations remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and therefore membership in them remains forbidden. The faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.” (1)  A declaration written by a now famous individual, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI).

Moreover, this declaration goes on to say that “[i]t is not within the competence of local ecclesiastical authorities to give a judgment on the nature of Masonic associations.” (1)

Freemasonry is incompatible with Christianity because it promotes indifferentism. Indifferentism is the heretical belief that all religions are equally legitimate attempts to explain the truth about God which, but for the truth of His existence, are unexplainable. Such a view makes all truths relative and holds that God can be equally pleased with truth and error. Because Christians believe that God has definitively revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, and desires that all men come to the knowledge of this truth, indifferentism is incompatible with Christian faith. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me." (John 14:6).

Freemasonry's teachings and practices also result in syncretism which is the blending of different religious beliefs into a unified whole. This is evidenced most especially by Masonry's religious rituals which gather men of all faiths around a common altar, and place all religious writings along side the Bible on the Masonic altar. This is also demonstrated by the Lodge's prayers and its unique names and symbols for God and heaven.

The Shriners have, and are doing, some fine work for the disabled and kids in need.  I am not putting down these stellar works of mercy.  I am simply stating that the ends don’t always justify the means.  Just because they do great work doesn’t mean that they teach the truth.   The truth is a rather important thing to possess.

Major portions of this text taken from by John Salza

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Where’s That in the Bible?

            It’s true the word Purgatory does not come up once in the Bible.  But that’s not a reason for rejecting the idea.  The word Trinity appears nowhere in the Bible but no one denies that it is taught throughout the Holy Writ.  Catholics simply contend the same for the doctrine of Purgatory.

             How do you explain the doctrine of Purgatory to a Christian who confronts you with it?  It seems that the Protestant Christian believes that one is saved once you accept Jesus into your heart as you personal Lord and Savior (the born-again experience).  This born-again experience can be explained as different processes already done in our Catholic life: How much better to accept Jesus then to take Him onto our tongues and into our very beings when swallowing the Eucharist? 

            Jesus’ salvific work was complete once He died on the cross.  He offered Himself up as the perfect sacrifice for our sins.  Jesus’ earthly work is complete, we need only ask with a perfectly repentant heart and our sins are forgiven.  But what happens to our souls when we sin?  Sinning ‘stains’ our soul, or it ‘muddies’ the soul, it becomes harder to see God through those stains, through the mud caused by our sins.  The water in the mud is pure, but the floating dirt dims God’s rays of sunshine.  Whenever you ask forgiveness with a contrite heart, you shall be forgiven, but the soul is still stained, still muddied from that sin.  There is restitution to be done as we see in Luke 12:59 “…I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny”.  To ‘clean’ yourself up you need to do penance (ie. Do good works for the Glory of God, read Scripture, say some prayers, etc…).  These deeds are to be done only to bring you closer to God, they are not technically needed for your salvation.  If you do not ‘cleans’ yourself perfectly in this life, God shall finish the job of your perfectedness by trial by fire on the Day of your death, Day of judgement.  St. Paul describes this provcess in 1 Cor 3:15.  He says on that day we will be judged through fire “But if someone’s work is burned up, that one will suffer loss (pain); the person will be saved, but only as through fire.”  You need to be perfectly ‘clean’ before you can enter into the presence of God (Rev 21:27).  Therefore a need for cleansing for those not perfect when they die but who are still in friendship with God, destined for heaven.

            Most of us will never reach a level of perfect union with God in our lifetimes.  How then can you ensure your salvation?  You are saved!  Nothing can change that short of committing a mortal sin without repenting before the end of your earthly life.  Purgatory is just a way-station to clean up your stained soul before meeting the Father.  There is also nowhere to be read that this process takes time or that it has any duration.  There is no way to deny either lengths of time. 

Both Protestants and Catholics agree that absolute holiness is necessary to enter heaven.  Disagreements arise when the question of duration comes up.  How long does this purification, or sanctification take?  Some Protestants believe it is instantaneous, while Catholics believe that there is a possibility of duration involved in the sanctification process.


God Bless
Prepared by a St.Denis parishioner

Friday, February 8, 2013

Bible Divinely Inspired?

How does one know that the Bible is a collection of divinely inspired Books?


This question poses some serious problems for those who believe in Scripture alone as ones authority in right-Christian living.  Since Scripture nowhere indentifies the Book of James as divinely inspired for example means that one must go to an authority other than Scripture to determine if it is indeed inspired Scripture.  The same applies to any book that one might consider divinely inspired (literally translated as ‘God-breathed’).

If one looks at historical texts of the first century after Jesus’ death and resurrection, even those that are against the Christian church, we find unanimous agreement that the followers of Jesus believed that Jesus actually rose, body and soul, into heaven.  They believed it so deeply that they were willing to die instead of denying it.  Certainly if Christ had not risen his first disciples (the original 12 chosen by Christ Himself) would not have died horrible deaths affirming the reality and truth of the resurrection. The result of this line of reasoning is that we must conclude that Jesus indeed rose from the dead. Consequently, his claims concerning himself—including his claim to be God—have credibility. He meant what he said and did what he said he would do.

Further, Christ said he would found a Church. Both the Bible (still taken as merely a historical book, not yet as an inspired one) and other ancient works attest to the fact that Christ established a Church with the rudiments of what we see in the Catholic Church today—papacy, hierarchy, priesthood, sacraments, and teaching authority.

We have thus taken the material and purely historically concluded that Jesus founded the Catholic Church. Because of his Resurrection we have reason to take seriously his claims concerning the Church, including its authority to teach in his name.

This Catholic Church tells us the Bible is inspired, and we can take the Church’s word for it precisely because the Church is infallible. Only after having been told by a properly constituted authority—that is, one established by God to assure us of the truth concerning matters of faith—that the Bible is inspired can we reasonably begin to use it as an inspired book. 

So we know the Bible is a collection of divinely inspired books because of the established authority of the Church who discerned which books out of hundreds in contention were truly inspired and which weren’t.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Why is believing correct doctrine so important.

Why is believing correct doctrine so important?   Simply put, because Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, no one goes to the Father except by Him (John 14:6). That in knowing the truth we are made free of sin (John 8:32 ff ).  A doctrinal truth is a truth revealed to us by God through Jesus or the apostles. John 14:6 tells us that the only way to go to the Father who is in heaven is by the truth.  Therefore through the truth is the only way to heaven.  If we accept false doctrines we are decreasing our knowledge of the truth and we are therefore in real danger of turning away from the faith (1 Tim 4:1).  That's why Paul reminds Timothy and Titus many times to confront those who teach falsely (1 Tim 4:16, 2 Tim 4:2, Tit 1:9). But in this day and age, where do WE go to have the truth?

When one says that the consecrated bread and wine are mere symbols of His flesh and Blood and another believes that the bread and wine are actually His Flesh and Blood, Soul and Divinity…who do we believe?  Who has the final say in determining the truth?  Jesus instituted a final arbiter and defender of the truth which can decide infallibly what is true.  Scripture plainly tells us that the defender and upholder of the truth, the last resort when searching for the truth, is the Church (Matt 18:15-17) 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) who's decision was binding for all Christians (Acts 16:4). The trick now is to determine which Christian Church out of the thousands of Christian churches out there today, which one has been in existence from day one.  This church is the one Church that Jesus tells us that we are to go to determine the truth with assurance since He promised that the gates of Hell would never prevail against His church (Matt 16:19).  She therefore must be in existence throughout history from its inception to today so that we might go to Her to settle these issues as they did at the council of Jerusalem.  Which Christian church out there claims to be 2,000 years old with evidence to back its claim?  Only the Catholic Church can make that claim.