Marriage in the teaching of the Catholic Church
The Eighth Article of the Apostles’ Creed
January 31, 2015
” I Believe in the Holy Spirit “
The Eighth Article
In order to properly catechize, certain definitions of words should be expressed. The reason for this, is because many just don’t know what certain words actually mean. Sometimes we may have an idea of what a certain word, or idea is trying to express. However, I have found that it is better to just spell out, definitively what certain words are trying to communicate. I was, and still can be one of those people, who think they know what certain words and phrases mean. I was amazed, when I started to actually look up certain words in my Modern Catholic Dictionary by our founder Servant of God Father John Hardon. I had no idea how wrong I was when it came to certain definitions of words.
The particular word I am thinking of in the Eighth Article of the Apostle’s Creed is ” believe “. What does the word “ believe ” really mean? Well, let’s take a look what Servant of God Father Hardon has in the dictionary he wrote. Quickly, can you believe he actually wrote a dictionary? Here is what is written in his dictionary, ” Belief is the acceptance of something as true on a trustworthy person’s word. It differs from faith only in the stress on confidence in the one who is believed. Moreover, belief emphasizes the act of the will, which disposes one to believe, where faith is rather an act of the mind, which assents to what is believed.” Now, lets be honest, how many of us knew what the word ” believe ” actually meant ? Belief is an act of the will, faith is an act of the intellect. I choose to believe. I make that choice, with God’s grace of course.
Ok, onto the Eighth Article of the Apostle’s Creed. This article teaches us that Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit to sanctify the human race. The Holy Spirit, also known as the Holy Ghost, is the third person of the Blessed Trinity. The Holy Spirit is equal to Jesus, and God the Father. Three Divine persons, One God. The one and only God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. However, God the Father is not God the Son or God the Holy Spirit. I know this can get quite confusing, so I will direct you to Frank Sheed’s excellent book called ” Theology and Sanity “. This particular book, more than any other, helped me to understand the mystery of the Trinity to some degree. This book by Frank Sheed helped my belief in the Holy Trinity to make sense.
Their is one bit of information about the Holy spirit that I would like to communicate with you before we move on. When we we speak of Him, the Holy Spirit, we speak of His ” procession “. We speak of the Holy Spirit as ” proceeding ” from the Father and the Son. Remember that word “ proceeds “. We speak of the Son, as being “ generated ” from the Father. All three Persons of the Holy Trinity are eternal, and outside of time, equal to one another.
The role of the Holy Spirit is to sanctify us, hence the word ” Holy “. The Holy spirit is the Spirit of Christ. The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church. Like the human soul animates the body, the same can be said of the Holy Ghost, who gives life to the Church.
Let us look to St Luke for the many references to the Holy Spirit in Sacred Scripture. In fact, I have heard the Book of Acts referred to as the Gospel of the Holy Spirit. We will look at that in our next post.
May Almighty God protect us from the world, the devil and ourselves,
Confraternities of Catholic Clergy Agreed Statement on Marriage
January 30, 2015
This was article was first seen on Rorate Caeli and now borrowed from the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy website
Marriage was instituted by God, not invented by man (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n.1603). The Creator has built it into human nature, even into the human body, in its two complementary forms, male and female. ‘Male and female He created them’ (Gen.1: 27): man for woman, and woman for man, united in marriage as ‘one flesh’ for the procreation of new life: ‘Be fruitful and multiply’ (Gen. 1: 28).
God has given marriage its essential characteristics and proper laws: unity (one man married to one woman); indissolubility (nothing but death can end a marriage); and openness to procreation (in every act of physical love). No president or religious leader, no senate or synod, nor any government, has the authority to re-define marriage.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God, raised marriage to the dignity of a Sacrament. The marriage of a Christian man and woman is a sacramental sign of His union with His Church (cf. Eph. 5: 32). Since the union of Christ with the Church, His Bride, cannot be dissolved, no power on earth, not even the Pope himself, can dissolve the valid sacramental marriage, once consummated, of a Christian man and woman. ‘Those whom God has joined together let no man put asunder’ (Mt. 19: 6).
The Church’s discipline is built upon the doctrine of the faith, and gives practical expression to it. To introduce a discipline at odds with a doctrine thus implicitly undermines the doctrine. The discipline of not admitting to the Sacraments divorcees who have entered a subsequent civil ‘marriage’ follows directly from the doctrine of Marriage and the Eucharist as the Church has received it from Christ and His Apostles. Unless an annulment has recognized the invalidity of the original marriage, then the state of life of divorced and ‘remarried’ Catholics ‘objectively contradicts the union of love between Christ and the Church signified and effected by the Eucharist’ (Pope St John Paul II, Familiaris consortio, n. 180). However sorrowful for their sins they may be, the divorced and ‘remarried’ remain ‘one flesh’ (cf. Gen. 2: 24; Mt. 19:5) with their original and only spouses. Therefore, their second ‘marriages’ cannot participate in the one flesh union of
Christ and His Church that is signified and effected by the Eucharist.
In the absence of a clear appreciation of marriage and the true meaning of human sexuality, a number of associated moral challenges have arisen. Amongst these is the growth of widespread homosexual activity and the promotion of such behaviour. The Church teaches, as she has always taught, that homosexual activity is gravely sinful, as it distorts one of the most sacred and fundamental dimensions of human life. Even the inclination to homosexual activity is ‘objectively disordered’ (CDF, 1986) in the sense that such a sexual inclination, with its associated tendencies, feelings and expressions, is not properly directed to spousal union, marriage, and procreation. The Church, of course, welcomes all human beings created in God’s image, who by His grace have the power to renounce their sins, live a chaste life and become saints. But the Church cannot bless, or tolerate, sin in any form, nor structures and lifestyles that encourage or promote sin, disorder, and temptation.
The Church in so many ways reaches out to those broken and hurt by the breakdown of marriage in our society and by the widespread confusion of what it means to be male and female. No-one is turned away. The first mercy and true compassion is offering to sinners the truth of Christ as the light by which to live. The greatest help for those who struggle is to point out with charity the way of Christ, the only way conducive to virtue and true joy.
The Church has nothing, can do nothing, is nothing, without Christ, her Head and Bridegroom. She is the servant of the Word of God (cf. Dei verbum, n. 10). Her pastors therefore have no power whatever to change what He taught about the nature and goods of marriage and have the duty to promote and defend that truth for the good of every person and society.
What is Purgatory?
January 24, 2015
The Seventh Article of the Apostle’s Creed
“From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead”
What is Purgatory ?
Purgatory is a state or condition in which the souls of the just who die with the stains of sin are cleansed before they are admitted to heaven. This cleansing is necessary as we read in Revelation chapter 21:27 ” There shall not enter into it any thing defiled, …” this taken from The Question and Answer Catholic Catechism by Servant of God Father John Hardon. Sounds simple, right? For some, not so. Here I will try and explain it as best I can using Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.
Catholics did not just make up this well known Dogma of the Faith. The teaching on purgatory is rooted in the Orthodox Jewish Faith before the time of Jesus Christ. In the Second Book of Maccabees we read in Chapter 12: And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection,  (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,)  And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. We also read in the very next verse about praying for the dead in purgatory. Here is verse  It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins. Ok, I admit that I am not a scripture scholar or exegete by no means whatsoever. But it does not take a scholar or exegete to read this passage of Holy Scripture and understand what is going on. We have text, and we have context here. The Jews prayed for the dead, implying that sins are forgiven in this life, and the life to come as well. Now, if we are in Heaven vis a vis with God we have no need of these prayers and sacrifice. If we die in mortal sin, that is outside of friendship with God, these prayers and sacrifice will also do us no good. Their must be another place, and their is, we call it Purgatory. Hmmmmm, I wonder why Luther removed this book from his own personal interpretation of what the Bible should contain. This particular Book from Holy Scripture has been removed from most protestant Bibles, conveniently because of the fact that it gives tremendous credibility to the Catholic Dogma on Purgatory. I know, this was a long paragraph :-), and yes I still use emoticons sometimes.
Now, the souls in Purgatory are definitely in friendship with God. These souls died in a state of sanctifying grace. The souls in Purgatory have the hope of the Beatific Vision, they just need a little, or possibly a lot of cleaning before standing face to face with God. In fact, the souls in Purgatory still possess the virtues of faith , hope, and charity. Purgatory is a really good, actually, it is a great place to be. If you are in Purgatory, you are on your way to Heaven. Your salvation is assured! This doesn’t mean that the purging or purification process will be easy. In fact, the “purifying fire” of Purgatory will be intense, but necessary.
Praying for the Poor Souls in Purgatory
It is only possible to gain merit with God while you are alive on this earth. Once you die, you lose that ability to gain merit. Therefore, if a soul is in Purgatory it cannot make satisfaction or expiate for their sins while on earth. The process of being in Purgatory will eventually make satisfaction for ones sins, but their is a way in which we can help this process to speed up. We here on earth can assist our brothers and sisters that are in Purgatory. How? We can pray for them. We can have Masses said for the souls in Purgatory, or a particular soul in Purgatory ( Masses said for souls in Purgatory are the most efficacious intercession that we can make for them). Before I go to bed at night I will often pray for family members or friends who have passed away. I will also pray for friends of friends, or friends family members who have passed away. It also a good thing to pray for priests who are in purgatory, some of them may need many prayers to be released also.
One thing to remember, or to be conscious of is the fact that these souls in Purgatory are also interceding and praying for us. These souls are part of the Mystical Body of Christ, also known as the Church Suffering.
I am going to leave you with this writing from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI from the Encyclical Spe Salvi ” 48. A further point must be mentioned here, because it is important for the practice of Christian hope. Early Jewish thought includes the idea that one can help the deceased in their intermediate state through prayer (see for example 2 Macc 12:38-45; first century BC). The equivalent practice was readily adopted by Christians and is common to the Eastern and Western Church. The East does not recognize the purifying and expiatory suffering of souls in the afterlife, but it does acknowledge various levels of beatitude and of suffering in the intermediate state. The souls of the departed can, however, receive “solace and refreshment” through the Eucharist, prayer and almsgiving. The belief that love can reach into the afterlife, that reciprocal giving and receiving is possible, in which our affection for one another continues beyond the limits of death—this has been a fundamental conviction of Christianity throughout the ages and it remains a source of comfort today. Who would not feel the need to convey to their departed loved ones a sign of kindness, a gesture of gratitude or even a request for pardon? Now a further question arises: if “Purgatory” is simply purification through fire in the encounter with the Lord, Judge and Saviour, how can a third person intervene, even if he or she is particularly close to the other? When we ask such a question, we should recall that no man is an island, entire of itself. Our lives are involved with one another, through innumerable interactions they are linked together. No one lives alone. No one sins alone. No one is saved alone. The lives of others continually spill over into mine: in what I think, say, do and achieve. And conversely, my life spills over into that of others: for better and for worse. So my prayer for another is not something extraneous to that person, something external, not even after death. In the interconnectedness of Being, my gratitude to the other—my prayer for him—can play a small part in his purification. And for that there is no need to convert earthly time into God’s time: in the communion of souls simple terrestrial time is superseded. It is never too late to touch the heart of another, nor is it ever in vain. In this way we further clarify an important element of the Christian concept of hope. Our hope is always essentially also hope for others; only thus is it truly hope for me too. As Christians we should never limit ourselves to asking: how can I save myself? We should also ask: what can I do in order that others may be saved and that for them too the star of hope may rise? Then I will have done my utmost for my own personal salvation as well.
May almighty God protect us from the world, the devil and ourselves
ps feel free to leave comments or questions, I can only get so much into a single post.
The Danger of One Mortal Sin
January 7, 2015
Solemn Declaration by Pope Benedict XII in “Benedictus Deus,” Jan 29, 1336
Papal Coat of Arms of Pope Benedict XII
Hi everyone, it is nice to be back posting once again. I hope all my readers and their families had a wonderful and holy Christmas and new year. May God in His mercy and goodness bless all of us this year of 2015, and may He come quickly!
The headlines of the secular news are filled with despair and hopelessness. Our True Faith and Hope rests in One, Jesus Christ our True King and Lord. We must never lose hope and keep our eyes on Him. So many distractions, including Catholic news in many cases can keep us from what’s truly important; readying ourselves for His glorious return! May we keep our souls focussed on Him this year, and pray to praise , reverence and serve our Lord with a great apostolic zeal this year! May we all be “praises of glory,” as Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity states.
The Danger of One Mortal Sin
This topic is not a popular one, but it is necessary and a true teaching of the Catholic Church. This topic also will be covered in detail, so that we cannot plead ignorance when asked, “what merits entrance into eternal hell?”. The short answer is that one mortal sin is enough for us to merit eternal damnation. How do we know this? Simple answer, because it was Dogmatically defined in 1336 by Pope Benedict XII, to set the record straight. One thing about articles of the Catholic faith that are solemnly defined from the Chair of St Peter. They are true, and unchangeable. We read in Matthew Chapter 16 ”  And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.
It is our actual eternal salvation we are talking about here, like, forever and ever. This sounds important , no? So many church men and teachers turn their backs and side-step this teaching or actually don’t even believe it. This is deadly, eternally deadly! Let us take a look at exactly what was Dogmatically defined in 1336 by Pope Benedict XII in case it leaves room for interpretation, which I assure you, it does not. Here is what is written from the edict “Benedictus Deus” . This also can be found in Denzingers book Sources of Catholic Dogma article 531. Here goes :
(On hell and the general judgment)
Moreover we define that according to the general disposition of God, the souls of those who die in actual mortal sin go down into hell immediately (mox) after death and there suffer the pain of hell. Nevertheless, on the day of judgment all men will appear with their bodies “before the judgment seat of Christ” to give an account of their personal deeds, “so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body” (2 Cor. 5.10).”
So, this is definitive. Now we need to ask the question what constitutes a mortal sin. We can also answer that question quickly and easily and will do so, here and now. I don’t want anyone wondering about that question because of its gravity.
What is a Mortal Sin?
First off, the term mortal sin is not used as often these days to kind of soften the blow, but it is the proper term for such a subject. The more popular terms for mortal sin today are “serious sin” or “grave sin”. Do not be fooled by these terms, serious or grave sin, they are still mortal sin. Another word that is used is deadly, which is also very true and appropriate.
Quickly here I will give the three elements that makes a sin mortal in nature
1. the matter involved must be serious
2. one must have knowledge that it is wrong
3. one must freely choose or intend to commit the action or omission
Another disclaimer, this topic will be covered in more detail when posting on the Sacrament of Penance in the near future unless Jesus comes first of course ; which would be super awesome! So, if He does come, we will all be a little more ready for Him , right? Another quick note, if you even think you may have one mortal sin either through thought, word or deed ; proceed directly to your nearest priest and confess your sins to the best of your knowledge! I should have said that earlier, but I didn’t.
Ok, back to the three conditions that constitute a mortal sin. First the particular thought, word, action, or inaction must be serious. Secondly, I must know what I am doing is wrong, seriously wrong. I cannot sin through complete ignorance. If I don’t know it is a mortal sin to miss Sunday Mass and Holy days of obligation, than that would not be a sin for me. However, if I know that not attending Mass on Sunday is a mortal sin and choose to go visit family or play hockey or go to that nephews Birthday party instead….. well, not such a smart move their sunshine . Another note, and it is a biggy. If I personally choose to remain ignorant, for fear that finding out the Truth will interfere with my good times. Ouchhhh, God is smarter than that, He has that base covered to. That person, would be guilty of that sin.
Third, I cannot commit a mortal sin unless I freely choose what God has forbidden. If we know the matter is serious, and we willingly choose to go through with the sin anyways, ouchhh, ouchhhh ouch again. This is indeed a mortal sin.
One last thing. God gives us so much grace through His Church and His Sacraments so that we can deal with these situations and temptations of sin. Temptation is everywhere these days, but so is His grace and plenty of it. I am not here to condemn anyone, I am only laying out the long standing Tradition and True teaching of the Catholic Church. One thing I always try to practice myself is to protect my eyes and ears of possible occasions of sin. I don’t listen to certain types of music because they can make me think of unholy things. Same goes with the internet and magazines, newspapers. I willingly try to avoid pictures or images or articles that may lead me into sinful thinking or action. Also, I try and get to confession at least twice a month. It is so important, especially in the climate we live in today.
Remember, the Truth is the Truth. Peoples “opinions” really don’t matter much when it comes to our final judgement. Hell is just as real as Heaven. Let us choose Heaven, the ball is in our court folks!
May Almighty God bless us and protect us from the world, the devil and ourselves