Monday, June 29, 2015

Fortnight for Freedom

ST. LOUIS, MO, June 19, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- If the US Supreme Court decides to redefine marriage in the next couple weeks it will not stop the nation’s bishops from proclaiming the truth, says the archbishop serving as point man on the issue.

“Regardless of what happens at the end of this month, nothing the court says can change what marriage truly is and we will continue to promote and defend it,” said San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, chairman for the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.

The archbishop quoted Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to illustrate the point for his fellow bishops at their Spring Assembly earlier this month in St. Louis.

“Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me,” said Archbishop Cordileone. “The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie.”

“We may have to suffer this lie about marriage in the law,” he continued, “but we must not participate in it or keep silent about it.”

He suggested to his fellow bishops that the faithful can offer up small hardships in this regard for the Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere who are being killed and exiled for the faith.

“Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me. The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie.”

The archbishop knows something about taking heat for the Catholic faith, with the attacks on him over the last several months for working to strengthen the Church’s identity in San Francisco Catholic high schools. His fellow bishops applauded him fervently at the end of his presentation after USCCB President Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz thanked him for his courageous leadership for the Church.

Marriage has been effectively redefined in 37 states and the District of Columbia as consequence of judicial action, Cordileone told the bishops, and a “yes” answer to either question before the high court – whether there is a constitutional right to same-sex “marriage,” and whether states have to recognize same-sex “marriages” performed in other states - will have the practical effect of redefining marriage nationwide.

Archbishop Cordileone warned of more persecution coming for those who believe in God’s plan for natural marriage should the Supreme Court decide to redefine marriage in the law.

“Those who continue to advocate for the true definition of marriage will be increasingly marginalized in law and society,” he said, “and depending on the rationale, could be erroneously viewed as proponents of discrimination and will themselves be targeted for discrimination.”

His department had already been providing material for the bishops and dioceses to educate on the issue, and also filed an amicus brief in the cases before the Supreme Court. More resources will be available on the implications of the court ruling once it is handed down.

“In this atmosphere we continue our efforts to protect the freedom of those who believe and act on the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” said Archbishop Cordileone.

Various recent legislative efforts were supported by the US bishops in defense of marriage, including reintroduction in both Houses of Congress of the State Marriage Defense Act and the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, the latter which protects adoption and foster care providers against discrimination by the federal and state governments for placing children in homes with a mother and father.

The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act will be introduced again soon in the House and the Senate, he said, especially important with it providing protection in the areas of federal employment, contracts, grants, and tax-exempt status.

“The act is particularly relevant,” Archbishop Cordileone stated, “given that when the Solicitor General of the United States was recently asked by a justice of the Supreme Court at oral argument in the marriage cases whether a religious school could lose its tax exempt status for opposing same-sex ‘marriage,’ the Solicitor General did not take the opportunity to deny it, and thereby quell fear about it, but instead said that, ‘It’s certainly going to be an issue.’”

More is expected as well in terms of federal classification of sexual orientation or gender identity. “These categories have come to acquire meanings in law that both reflect an incorrect understand of the human person and protect immoral behavior,” said Archbishop Cordileone, calling out the Obama administration for promoting them.

“Regarding the federal executive branch,” he said, “we have continued to witness efforts to advance what Pope Francis has referred to critically as ‘gender theory’ or ‘gender ideology.’”

The recent OSHA-released dictates compelling employers to allow self-identified transgendered individuals to use the bathroom according to their “gender identity” and not their biological sex, were a perfect example of the Holy Father’s insight on the subject.

“There is the mistake of the human mind – gender theory – creating so much confusion,” the archbishop said, quoting Pope Francis, “and it seeks to cancel out sexual difference.”

“The importance of responding to this challenge with truth and compassion remains paramount,” he said, and shared that the Holy Father has been offering excellent catechesis on marriage in his series on the family during his Wednesday general audiences.

“An essential part of our teaching is and has to be that the difference between man and woman in a positive difference,” said the archbishop. “It’s the difference that makes new life possible, rather than a negative one to be ignored or actively opposed.”

He, along with a few other bishops had signed the Defense of Marriage and the Right of Religious declaration in April along with more than 30 other faith leaders, showing that the Catholic Church is not alone in its witness to marriage.
God Bless

Friday, June 19, 2015

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time_A Reflection_2015

In the Storm:

Scott Hahn Reflects on the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time



Job 38:18-11
Psalm 107:23-2628-31
2 Corinthians 5:14-17
Mark 4:35-41

"Do you not yet have faith?" Our Lord's question in today's Gospel frames the Sunday liturgies for the remainder of the year, which the Church calls "Ordinary Time."

In the weeks ahead, the Church's liturgy will have us journeying with Jesus and His disciples, reliving their experience of His words and deeds, coming to know and believe in Him as they did.

Notice that today's Psalm almost provides an outline for the Gospel. We sing of sailors caught in a storm; in their desperation, they call to the Lord and He rescues them.

Mark's Gospel today also intends us to hear a strong echo of the story of the prophet Jonah. He, too, was found asleep on a boat when a life-threatening storm broke out that caused his fellow travelers to pray for deliverance, and then to marvel when the storm abated (see 
Jonah 1:3-16).

But Jesus is something greater than Jonah (see 
Matthew 12:41). And Mark wants us to come to see what the apostles saw - that God alone has the power to rebuke the wind and the sea (see Isaiah 50:2Psalm 18:16). This is the point of today's First Reading.

If even the wind and sea obey Him, shouldn't we trust Him in the chaos and storms of our own lives?

As with the apostles, the Lord has asked each of us to cross to the other side, to leave behind our old ways to travel with Him in the little ship of the Church.

In their fear today, they call Him, "Teacher." And it is only faith in His teaching that can save us from perishing. We should trust in Christ, and like Christ - who was able to sleep through the storm, confident that God was with Him (see 
Psalm 116:6Romans 8:31).

We should live in thanksgiving for our salvation, as today's Epistle tells us - as new creations, no longer for ourselves but for Him who died for our sake.

Yours in Christ,
Scott Hahn, Ph.D.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Kingdom of God

Jesus Christ Established a Visible Church On Earth
by Fritz Tuttle

Every Christian believes that Jesus Christ established and sustains a community of faith, hope and love for all believers. This community we call His Church. The Church that Christ founded is the Catholic Church which has a formal earthly structure established by Christ and which continues under His authority and protection.

In the Old Testament we see God's continual involvement in the lives of the Israelites through appointed prophets. God delivered, instructed and admonished the Israelites. He made His motions in a visible, specific and formal way. He always did so through human hands, mouths, feet, minds and wills. God established a law and a means for executing it.

In concert with His redemptive act, Jesus did three things that established the framework of His Church. First, He chose humans to carry out His work. He appointed Peter to be the visible head of the Church. Jesus said to Peter, "You are Rock and on this rock I will build my Church." (Matthew 16: 18) Jesus said "build," as in to create a structure. Jesus built His structure on specifically chosen human beings Peter and the apostles.

Second, Jesus gave Peter and the apostles the power and authority to carry out His work. "Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven."(Matthew 16:19; 18:18) "Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven, whose sins you retain, they are retained."(John 20:23)

Third, Jesus gave Peter and the apostles commands as to what that work should be. At the last supper, He commanded, "Do this in memory of Me." (Luke 22:19) He commanded them to "Make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19), and to "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)

The early Church was structured in a hierarchical manner as it is today. We see in Acts, chapter 15 how the apostles and the elders came together under the leadership of St. Peter to decide the question of what was required of Gentiles. We also see how St. Peter was regarded as the head of the Church when St. Paul, "Went up to Jerusalem to confer with Kephas [Peter] and remained with him fifteen days." (Galatians 1:18) There is no Scriptural evidence of independent local churches.

The Catholic Church is the only church that can claim to have been founded by Christ personally. Every other church traces its lineage back to a mere human person such as Martin Luther or John Wesley. The Catholic Church can trace its lineage back to Jesus Christ who appointed St. Peter as the first pope. This line of popes has continued unbroken for almost 2,000 years.

God rules, instructs and sanctifies His people through His Church. Under her teaching office, the Catholic Church preserves the Word of God. She is the custodian, keeper, dispenser and interpreter of teachings of Christ. And she accomplishes this under the protection of the Holy Spirit.

(Fritz Tuttle is active in Catholic apologetics and the Legion of Mary.)


God Bless

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Corpus Christi

Truly the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ

Individuals can make mistakes or misunderstand their teachers BUT the fact that we find a continuous and unbroken chain of Christians believing in the real presence of our Lord in the Eucharist is not only extremely strong evidence that this belief was in existence from the very first moments of Christian history but that it was taught by the Apostles themselves.


I mean, a follower of Jesus could reject what He taught but the others who were taught directly by Jesus would not all teach the same error.


Let’s go back through time to find what Christians believed on the Real Presence.


In our Catechism, the official teaching of the Church on the Eucharist, we find the catechism quoting the council of Trent from 1551 which means that the belief in the real presence to have been existence for at least from 1551 to today:


Paragraph 1376 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: "Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again , that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation."


The Reformation brought on the need for the Council of Trent because many started teaching contrary to the Church on many matters including the Real Presence. But what about before that time?


431 AD

Council of Ephesus

"We will necessarily add this also. Proclaiming the death, according to the flesh, of the only-begotten Son of God, that is Jesus Christ, confessing his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven, we offer the unbloody sacrifice in the churches, and so go on to the mystical thanksgivings, and are sanctified, having received his holy flesh and the precious blood of Christ the Savior of us all.  And not as common flesh do we receive it; God forbid: nor as of a man sanctified and associated with the Word according to the unity of worth, or as having a divine indwelling, but as truly the life-giving and very flesh of the Word himself. For he is the life according to his nature as God, and when he became united to his flesh, he made it also to be life-giving" (Session 1, Letter of Cyril to Nestorius)



c.400 AD

"[Christ] took the bread and the cup, each in a similar fashion, and said: 'This is My Body and this is My Blood.' Not a figure of His body nor a figure of His blood, as some persons of petrified mind are wont to rhapsodize, but in truth the Body and the Blood of Christ." (Marcus the Magnesian)


c. 370 AD

"You ought to know what you have received, what you are going to receive, and what you ought to receive daily. That Bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the Body of Christ. The chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the Blood of Christ. " (St Augustine)


325 AD

Council of Nicaea I

"It has come to the knowledge of the holy and great synod that, in some districts and cities, the deacons administer the Eucharist to the presbyters [i.e., priests], whereas neither canon nor custom permits that they who have no right to offer [the Eucharistic sacrifice] should give the Body of Christ to them that do offer [it] " (Canon 18).


212 AD

The flesh is anointed, so that the soul may be dedicated to holiness. The flesh is signed, so that the soul too may be fortified. The flesh is shaded by the imposition of hands, so that the soul too may be illuminated by the Spirit. The flesh feeds on the Body and Blood of Christ, so that the soul too may fatten on God. (Tertullian)


c.180 AD

“He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be His own Blood, from which He causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, He has established as His own Body, from which He gives increase to our bodies. When, therefore, the mixed cup and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist, the Body of Christ , and from these the substance of our body is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life.” (Ireaneus of Lyons)


c. 150 AD

“For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, is both the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus.” (St Justin Martyr)




“I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the Bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire His blood, which is love incorruptible.” (Ignatius of Antioch)




“They [the Gnostics] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in his goodness, raised up again.” (Ignatius of Antioch)


Now consider this, Ignatius learned from the Apostles themselves. Did he misunderstand them? Isn’t it much more likely that he remembered what he was taught and taught others who would succeed him as Justin Martyr did, and Irenaeus, Augustine even councils speaking for the whole church teaching as the first followers of the original Apostles taught and all speaking with one voice on the matter? The fact of the matter is the belief of the presence of the Body and Blood of being truly present in the Eucharist is a belief found throughout the two millennia of Christian history and without break.  The idea of a symbolic presence only in the Eucharist is a novelty, a tradition of man.


God Bless