Friday, August 29, 2014

Explainig Why Abortion is Wrong While Avoiding Religious Terms

Today I would like to show how one can debate, argue, on the merits of being pro-life without using religious texts for support.

Using only science and our own Declaration of Independence we can make a solid argument against any and all abortions.  First we need to understand that a person is a living human being.  The online dictionary Merriam-Webster defines ‘person’ as “a human being.”  Second, our Declaration of Independence tells us that all human beings have an unalienable right to life.  And thirdly, we can know that a new human being begins its life at the moment of fertilization.  As the same online dictionary defines ‘fertilization’ as: the process of union of two gametes whereby the somatic chromosome number is restored and the development of a new individual is initiated.

There you have it.  Everything you need to successfully explain your pro-life position as being well supported by science by applying the fundamental right to life for all human beings from the beginning of its life (at fertilization) to its natural end.

There’s no other conclusion possible.  You see, the only objections to my position of pro-life is to argue that size, level of development, Environment or degree of dependency are points allowing for the destruction of what is growing in the womb, which science tells us that it’s a living human being.

Let’s look at these different objections to see how weak their position really is.  Does size determine if someone has a right to life?  No, of course not.  A baby is much smaller than a teenager but that doesn’t mean that the baby doesn’t have a right to life simply because it’s smaller in size.  The same goes for a newly formed human being, the zygote.  It may be extremely small but it is indeed a human being and alive and therefore it has a right to life just as a baby or a teenager does.  Size does not determine if one has rights.

Does the level of development determine if one has the right to life?  Of course not.  An adult human being is much more developed than a toddler, does that mean that the adult has a greater degree of this right to life than the toddler does?   Just because the level of development might prevent a human being from ‘thinking’ or ‘feeling’ doesn’t mean that our value is based  on our abilities.   Some individuals , like Gabby Gingras, can’t feel pain at all but that doesn’t mean that she has no right to life.

Does ones location determine if one has a right to life?  No.  Just because they are living in the womb at the moment, which is in its proper location for its age, doesn’t change ones nature that they are indeed a human being and the fact that they are growing means that they are alive.  All living human beings have a right to life no matter where they may be at a certain time in their lives.  I have as much a right to life whether I’m in bed or at work; the same applies to the individual whether she is in the womb or in her mother’s arms.

And lastly, the level of dependency.  The fact that the individual who is completely dependent on the mother for survival does not determine whether he has a right to life.  If that were the case then a newborn would not have a right to life either since it is completely dependent on someone else, usually the mother for its survival.  If level of dependency on another for survival determines if one has a right to life means that the killing of newborns would be morally acceptable.  No rational individual would support the killing of newborns.

Again, we can plainly see that if it can be ascertained with a great amount of certainty that a new human being begins its existence at the moment of fertilization, then by virtue of believing in the right to life for all supercedes any ‘rights’ the mother may feel she has to an abortion for whatever reason.  Science has determined with certainty that a human being does indeed begin its life at the moment of conception which means that a mothers ‘right’ to choose to deliberately kill her developing human being should not be allowed by law.

The right to life is to be afforded to all living human beings simply by virtue of them being  human beings.  And that right to life cannot be taken away because of their size, level of development, environment or dependency.  They deserve this right because we believe that the founders had it right; that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights[that cannot be taken away or denied], that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” 


God Bless

Friday, August 22, 2014

Church Authority

Let’s say that my cousin comes to me one day and tells me that his wife is pregnant and she feels she isn’t ready for a child right now.  She’s decided to have an abortion, and failing to convince her he comes to me with another friend to try to convince her not to have the procedure.  But she still wants an abortion.  My cousin then goes to his church (which is Catholic) for help.  Now, since the Catholic church teaches that absolutely, abortion is wrong, we know the church will tell her that she shouldn’t have an abortion.  But she just goes to a differant church (one of many possible ones who do teach that abortion is a personal choice and can even be redemptive).  So now we have come to an impasse, which church are we to listen to?  Which church is actually teaching the truth?

Where can I find the pillar and bulwark of the truth?  Where can I find this Church who received the promise of being guided into all truth by the “Spirit of Truth” (John 14:16)?   Which church is the one who received the power to bind and loose infallibly by being guided into ALL truth by the Holy Spirit?  Where can we find this Church that was founded by Jesus Christ Himself?

Since we know that the Church Christ built cannot officially teach on faith and morals something as true when it is false because what that Church binds on earth is also bound in heaven (see Matt 16:19 and Matt 18:15-18).  My job then is to determine which church is teaching the truth not by what I think is true, but to determine which church Jesus is talking about founding when He says in Matthew 16:18 that “upon this rock I shall build my church”.


This Church should:

A) Claim to teach infallibly in matters of faith and morals.  (Matt 16:19 and Matt 18:18)

B) Claim to be THE church founded by Jesus Christ. 

C) and to be at least 2,000 years old

And, as seen in today’s reading…

D) Have a succession of individuals in possession of the keys of His kingdom for those 2000 years (Mat 16:19).

Only the Catholic Church can make these claims and be supported through historical records. 

Jesus commanded us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  Studying and searching seems to be part of the equation of loving God.  But in 1 John 4:7 we learn that to love Him is to know Him.  And we know Him by knowing the truth since Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6).  Loving God with all your mind involves studying and searching for the truth.  Jesus being the truth means that one way to love God is to know the truth.  And to truly accept this truth is to live by this truth.


God Bless

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Assumption of Mary

The Assumption

The doctrine of the Assumption says that at the end of her life on earth Mary was assumed, body and soul, into heaven, just as Enoch, Elijah, and perhaps others had been before her. It’s also necessary to keep in mind what the Assumption is not. Some people think Catholics believe Mary "ascended" into heaven. That’s not correct. Christ, by his own power, ascended into heaven. Mary was assumed or taken up into heaven by God. She didn’t do it under her own power. 

The Church has never formally defined whether she died or not, and the integrity of the doctrine of the Assumption would not be impaired if she did not in fact die, but the almost universal consensus is that she did die. Pope Pius XII, in Munificentissimus Deus (1950), defined that Mary, "after the completion of her earthly life" (note the silence regarding her death), "was assumed body and soul into the glory of heaven." 

The possibility of a bodily assumption before the Second Coming is suggested by Matthew 27:52–53: "[T]he tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many." Did all these Old Testament saints die and have to be buried all over again? There is no record of that, but it is recorded by early Church writers that they were assumed into heaven, or at least into that temporary state of rest and happiness often called "paradise," where the righteous people from the Old Testament era waited until Christ’s resurrection (cf. Luke 16:22, 23:43; Heb. 11:1–40; 1 Pet. 4:6), after which they were brought into the eternal bliss of heaven. 


No Remains

There is also what might be called the negative historical proof for Mary’s Assumption. It is easy to document that, from the first, Christians gave homage to saints, including many about whom we now know little or nothing. Cities vied for the title of the last resting place of the most famous saints. Rome, for example, houses the tombs of Peter and Paul, Peter’s tomb being under the high altar of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. In the early Christian centuries relics of saints were zealously guarded and highly prized. The bones of those martyred in the Coliseum, for instance, were quickly gathered up and preserved—there are many accounts of this in the biographies of those who gave their lives for the faith. 

It is agreed upon that Mary ended her life in Jerusalem, or perhaps in Ephesus. However, neither those cities nor any other claimed her remains, though there are claims about possessing her (temporary) tomb. And why did no city claim the bones of Mary? Apparently because there weren’t any bones to claim, and people knew it. Here was Mary, certainly the most privileged of all the saints, certainly the most saintly, but we have no record of her bodily remains being venerated anywhere. 


Complement to the Immaculate Conception

Over the centuries, the Fathers and the Doctors of the Church spoke often about the fittingness of the privilege of Mary’s Assumption. The speculative grounds considered include Mary’s freedom from sin, her Motherhood of God, her perpetual virginity, and—the key—her union with the salvific work of Christ. 

The dogma is especially fitting when one examines the honor that was given to the ark of the covenant. It contained the manna (bread from heaven), stone tablets of the ten commandments (the word of God), and the staff of Aaron (a symbol of Israel’s high priesthood). Because of its contents, it was made of incorruptible wood, and Psalm 132:8 said, "Arise, O Lord, and go to thy resting place, thou and the ark of thy might." If this vessel was given such honor, how much more should Mary be kept from corruption, since she is the new ark—who carried the real bread from heaven, the Word of God, and the high priest of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ. 

Some argue that the new ark is not Mary, but the body of Jesus. Even if this were the case, it is worth noting that 1 Chronicles 15:14 records that the persons who bore the ark were to be sanctified. There would be no sense in sanctifying men who carried a box, and not sanctifying the womb who carried God himself! After all, wisdom will not dwell "in a body under debt of sin" (Wis. 1:4 NAB). 

But there is more than just fittingness. After all, if Mary is immaculately conceived, then it would follow that she would not suffer the corruption in the grave, which is a consequence of sin [Gen. 3:17, 19]. 


Mary’s Cooperation

Mary freely and actively cooperated in a unique way with God’s plan of salvation (Luke 1:38; Gal. 4:4). Like any mother, she was never separated from the suffering of her Son (Luke 2:35), and Scripture promises that those who share in the sufferings of Christ will share in his glory (Rom. 8:17). Since she suffered a unique interior martyrdom, it is appropriate that Jesus would honor her with a unique glory. 

All Christians believe that one day we will all be raised in a glorious form and then caught up and rendered immaculate to be with Jesus forever (1 Thess. 4:17; Rev. 21:27). As the first person to say "yes" to the good news of Jesus (Luke 1:38), Mary is in a sense the prototypical Christian, and received early the blessings we will all one day be given. 


The Bible Only?

Since the Immaculate Conception and Assumption are not explicit in Scripture, Fundamentalists conclude that the doctrines are false. Here, of course, we get into an entirely separate matter, the question of sola scriptura, or the Protestant "Bible only" theory. There is no room in this tract to consider that idea. Let it just be said that if the position of the Catholic Church is true, then the notion of sola scriptura is false. There is then no problem with the Church officially defining a doctrine which is not explicitly in Scripture, so long as it is not in contradiction to Scripture. 

The Catholic Church was commissioned by Christ to teach all nations and to teach them infallibly—guided, as he promised, by the Holy Spirit until the end of the world (John 14:26, 16:13). The mere fact that the Church teaches that something is definitely true is a guarantee that it is true (cf. Matt. 28:18-20, Luke 10:16, 1 Tim. 3:15). 

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God Bless

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Homily for August 10, 2014 readings

Take courage, do not be afraid

Readings: 1 Kgs 19:9A, 11-13A • Ps 85:9, 10, 11-12, 13-14 • Rom 9:1-5 • Mt 14:22-33

The world’s attention is unfortunately, but understandably, regularly focused on the destructive force of natural events like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis, as well as on the violent human forces contending in conflicts in Central Europe, in the Middle East, in Africa, and in Latin America. In addition, we cannot help but be disturbed by so many forces intimately at odds with us: the aggression of temptation and sin, the debilitation of illness, the pain of emotional wounds, the intensity of the passions, and the assaults of demons. Indeed, the three enemies of our human nature–the world, the flesh, and the devil–are forces at war with us, striving to turn us away from Jesus and his saving Gospel. Yet, these negative forces are no match for the positive power–the Good News of Jesus. Yes, his grace, his presence with us, his provident love for us, is the greatest power in the universe–and no evil force can overcome him. That is the consoling message of the readings our Mother the Church offers for our meditation this Sunday: “Take courage, do not be afraid!” The power of God’s gentle mercy is greater than any opposing force.

We see this in the experience of the prophet Elijah: God’s presence is not revealed to him in the forceful wind, earthquake or fire, but in the power of his gently whispered word. In contrast to natural, worldly, damaging forces, God’s power is supernatural, otherworldly, life-giving, and so is manifested in tenderness, in calm, in peace.

We see this in the experience of the Psalmist. He proclaims the peace, salvation, glory, kindness, truth, justice, and benefits of God, to those who fear God. That is, those who believe God has the power to give every good gift, and who hope in God’s generous providence towards men, will enjoy the fruits of his Kingdom.

We see this especially in the experience of the Apostle Peter. Peter is fearful of the storm, but with the sight of Jesus walking on the water–so proving his divine power–Peter is emboldened to do the impossible. As long as he faithfully keeps his eyes fixed on Jesus–on God’s power to help him do the impossible–he walks on water; when he looks away from Jesus–at the storms raging around him–he sinks.

We see this in our own experience. When we have faith in the power of God’s grace, and hope in his provident presence with us, while keeping the eyes of our hearts focused on Jesus (especially through a rich sacramental life and by prayerfully meditating his word)–then we can accomplish anything through his grace. We have the courage to weather any storm, to avoid any temptation and sin, to endure any illness, to be healed of any wound, to govern any passion, to conquer any demon, to love our enemies, to lay down our lives as martyrs–to overcome any evil–that is, to do what seems impossible. On the other hand, those of little faith, those who do not acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God with power over the forces of evil, those who have not experienced his forgiveness, healing, salvation–they are fearful, they doubt, they despair of ever overcoming the evils that assail them because they seem impossible to face–and they are sinking.

St. John of the Cross states that: “It is not the will of God that the soul should be troubled by any thing.” May we never be disturbed by the force of the storms around us, but always courageously believe and hope in Jesus’ saving power, with the eyes of our hearts fixed confidently on him.



God Bless