Thursday, January 31, 2013

Catechism for the Year of Faith

Part of a continuing series.

A selected quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church in honor of the Year of Faith (October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013)

457 The Word became flesh for us in order to save us by reconciling us with God, who "loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins": "the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world", and "he was revealed to take away sins":
    Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again. We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us. Closed in the darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Savior; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator. Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state?
458 The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God's love: "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him." "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

459 The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me." "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me." On the mountain of the Transfiguration, the Father commands: "Listen to him!" Jesus is the model for the Beatitudes and the norm of the new law: "Love one another as I have loved you." This love implies an effective offering of oneself, after his example.

460 The Word became flesh to make us "partakers of the divine nature": "For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God." "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God." "The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods."

464 The unique and altogether singular event of the Incarnation of the Son of God does not mean that Jesus Christ is part God and part man, nor does it imply that he is the result of a confused mixture of the divine and the human. He became truly man while remaining truly God. Jesus Christ is true God and true man.

470 Because "human nature was assumed, not absorbed", in the mysterious union of the Incarnation, the Church was led over the course of centuries to confess the full reality of Christ's human soul, with its operations of intellect and will, and of his human body. In parallel fashion, she had to recall on each occasion that Christ's human nature belongs, as his own, to the divine person of the Son of God, who assumed it. Everything that Christ is and does in this nature derives from "one of the Trinity". The Son of God therefore communicates to his humanity his own personal mode of existence in the Trinity. In his soul as in his body, Christ thus expresses humanly the divine ways of the Trinity:

    The Son of God. . . worked with human hands; he thought with a human mind. He acted with a human will, and with a human heart he loved. Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like to us in all things except sin.
486 The Father's only Son, conceived as man in the womb of the Virgin Mary, is "Christ", that is to say, anointed by the Holy Spirit, from the beginning of his human existence, though the manifestation of this fact takes place only progressively: to the shepherds, to the magi, to John the Baptist, to the disciples. Thus the whole life of Jesus Christ will make manifest "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power."

 488 "God sent forth his Son", but to prepare a body for him, he wanted the free co-operation of a creature. For this, from all eternity God chose for the mother of his Son a daughter of Israel, a young Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee, "a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary":

    The Father of mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined mother, so that just as a woman had a share in the coming of death, so also should a woman contribute to the coming of life.
490 To become the mother of the Savior, Mary "was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role."132 The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as "full of grace". In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God's grace.

491 Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, "full of grace" through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

    The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.135
495 Called in the Gospels "the mother of Jesus", Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as "the mother of my Lord". In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly "Mother of God" (Theotokos).

 499 The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary's real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. In fact, Christ's birth "did not diminish his mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it." And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the "Ever-virgin".

500 Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus. The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, "brothers of Jesus", are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls "the other Mary". They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.

501 Jesus is Mary's only son, but her spiritual motherhood extends to all men whom indeed he came to save: "The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren, that is, the faithful in whose generation and formation she co-operates with a mother's love."

Friday, January 25, 2013

This Week's Headlines

As another week comes to an end, this is your chance to top off your glass with a final helping of news, current events, and just plain interesting stuff that may not have made into the mainstream media. A chance to linger for a few more moments before we close the door on the week. Below are some links to articles, blogs, and miscellaneous happenings that caught my eye over the past few days. Sample what you like. I'll serve up more next Friday...

Pope Tweets Support for March for Life - "I join all those marching for life from afar, and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote a culture of life."

 40 Years, 55 Million Dead: Pro-Lifers Say Roe Must Go - [Amen to that!]

Why Are Americans Outraged by Sandy Hook, Apathetic About Abortion? - "Let me be clear: the problem is not our horror, sadness, and outrage over Sandy Hook. That was appropriate and even morally obligatory. The problem is our pathological indifference to abortion."

From Abortion Worker to Catholic Apostle - "A former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson tells how an ultrasound of an unborn baby’s fight for life eventually let her to the Catholic Church and to a new apostolate."

Woman Behind Roe v. Wade: “I’m Dedicating My Life to Overturning It” - "Back in 1973, I was a very confused twenty-one year old with one child and facing an unplanned pregnancy... At the time I fought to obtain a legal abortion, but truth be told, I have three daughters and never had an abortion.”

What I Saw in Phoenix: Pro-Life Grassroots in Action - "Rallies and marches like this one are taking place across America right now. God bless the efforts of this next generation of pro-life activists!"

Denver Archbishop Says Abortion Encounter Changed Him - Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver said his exposure to abortion as a hospital orderly still haunts him and prompts him to urge penitence and pro-life action."

Nurse Tells of Babies Left to Die After Failed Abortions - "I held a little abortion survivor for 45 minutes until he died, which was obviously life-changing. Then, eventually, I went public and got fired."

Congresswoman: Roe v. Wade Abortion Case “Affirms Motherhood” - [It disgusts me that this passes for an acceptable position in today's political world...and the Democratic Party embraces such rhetoric.]

What Would Martin Luther King, Jr. Have Thought of Abortion? - "African Americans are a prime target of the abortion industry. In analyzing the location of the nation’s abortion centers, some have found a disproportionate number situated in majority-black neighborhoods." See also: Martin Luther King Jr’s Niece: My Uncle Would be Pro-Life

Obama Administration Protects Chimps, No Protection for Unborn - "...those who have pushed so hard over many years to protect research chimps are no more anti-science than those who have pushed to protect embryos in research and wish to prevent human cloning, which are also ethical issues."

Obama’s ‘Gay Rights’ Agenda on Collision Course With Religious Liberty - "As the president ponders his options, religious leaders and religious-liberty advocates will also be reviewing legal and legislative strategies for protecting their freedom to support traditional marriage."

Obama’s Orwellian Marriage Moment - "We live in a strange Orwellian moment when to say “parenting relationships deserve special status” is denounced as bigotry and to say, “I deny that parenting relationships are unique” is hailed as brave and bold."

Eight Reasons Not to Use Graphic Abortion Images at the March for Life - "These images are like a terrible weapon which should be used with fear and trembling, and only as a last resort." However...this may be an appropriate use of such images: Obama Motorcade Forced to Confront Pictures of Aborted Babies

“Reproductive Rights” Run Amuck - "The desire for children is natural (especially for women) and good, but that doesn’t mean we’re entitled to have the children that we so desire."

The New York Times finally realizes Pope Paul VI was right about contraceptives - "For an outlet that has been known to tilt to the left (to say the least), the Times’ decision to publish Williams’ essay is remarkable. It belies everything the media and cultural elites stand for."

Why is Justice Scalia Wearing Sir Thomas More’s Hat? - "The hat is a custom-made replica of the hat depicted in Holbein’s famous portrait of St. Thomas More. It was a gift from the St. Thomas More Society of Richmond, Virginia." [I want one!]

Robert George: Catholic Oppression Coming Over Marriage - "In a Jan. 17 email to Catholic News Agency, Robert George of Princeton University warned of rising oppression against those who oppose a redefinition of marriage."

Deadly Deceit - "Bad law and bad theology have contributed to the deceitful rationale for why abortion would be considered an acceptable choice for a Christian. It is painful that they know God on some level, but their faith is poorly formed, leading them to reject His law when it is convenient to do so."

Catholicism and Free Thought - "Catholicism, rooted and nurtured and flourishing within the Western classical tradition provides a unique and irreplaceable structure in which truly free thought can flourish. "

Waiter hailed as hero after standing up for boy with Down syndrome - [This was just a very heart-warming story.]

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Catechism for the Year of Faith

Part of a continuing series.

A selected quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church in honor of the Year of Faith (October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013)

425 The transmission of the Christian faith consists primarily in proclaiming Jesus Christ in order to lead others to faith in him. From the beginning, the first disciples burned with the desire to proclaim Christ: "We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard."' And they invite people of every era to enter into the joy of their communion with Christ:
    That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life - the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us- that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing this that our joy may be complete.
427 In catechesis "Christ, the Incarnate Word and Son of God,. . . is taught - everything else is taught with reference to him - and it is Christ alone who teaches - anyone else teaches to the extent that he is Christ's spokesman, enabling Christ to teach with his lips. . . Every catechist should be able to apply to himself the mysterious words of Jesus: 'My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.'"

430 Jesus means in Hebrew: "God saves." At the annunciation, the angel Gabriel gave him the name Jesus as his proper name, which expresses both his identity and his mission. Since God alone can forgive sins, it is God who, in Jesus his eternal Son made man, "will save his people from their sins". In Jesus, God recapitulates all of his history of salvation on behalf of men.

436 The word "Christ" comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah, which means "anointed". It became the name proper to Jesus only because he accomplished perfectly the divine mission that "Christ" signifies. In effect, in Israel those consecrated to God for a mission that he gave were anointed in his name. This was the case for kings, for priests and, in rare instances, for prophets. This had to be the case all the more so for the Messiah whom God would send to inaugurate his kingdom definitively. It was necessary that the Messiah be anointed by the Spirit of the Lord at once as king and priest, and also as prophet. Jesus fulfilled the messianic hope of Israel in his threefold office of priest, prophet and king.

441 In the Old Testament, "son of God" is a title given to the angels, the Chosen People, the children of Israel, and their kings. It signifies an adoptive sonship that establishes a relationship of particular intimacy between God and his creature. When the promised Messiah-King is called "son of God", it does not necessarily imply that he was more than human, according to the literal meaning of these texts. Those who called Jesus "son of God", as the Messiah of Israel, perhaps meant nothing more than this.

446 In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the ineffable Hebrew name YHWH, by which God revealed himself to Moses, is rendered as Kyrios, "Lord". From then on, "Lord" becomes the more usual name by which to indicate the divinity of Israel's God. The New Testament uses this full sense of the title "Lord" both for the Father and - what is new - for Jesus, who is thereby recognized as God Himself.

447 Jesus ascribes this title to himself in a veiled way when he disputes with the Pharisees about the meaning of Psalm 110, but also in an explicit way when he addresses his apostles. Throughout his public life, he demonstrated his divine sovereignty by works of power over nature, illnesses, demons, death and sin.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Musings

A few random thoughts and ponderings to start the week...

Today was the public swearing in ceremony for President Obama. That's just depressing... I think of all the poor souls sacrificed in abortion and how blind this Administration has been to the slaughter of innocents and I just don't have anything to say. Add to that atrocity the bureaucratic power that is being centralized in the federal government under his leadership, all of which is shredding the American dream and robbing us of our freedom - especially our religious freedom - and it all adds up to dark days ahead for our country. And then we have the anniversary of Roe v. Wade tomorrow...

Not much to say.

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I really am working on my next post about the priesthood. Hopefully it will be done this week, as planned. But at least by next week.

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To end on a more positive note, I found this meme posted on Facebook...

No matter how much evil there is in the world, there is always hope.

Friday, January 18, 2013

This Week's Headlines

As another week comes to an end, this is your chance to top off your glass with a final helping of news, current events, and just plain interesting stuff that may not have made into the mainstream media. A chance to linger for a few more moments before we close the door on the week. Below are some links to articles, blogs, and miscellaneous happenings that caught my eye over the past few days. Sample what you like. I'll serve up more next Friday...

Pope Asks Christians to Rediscover ‘Beauty’ of Baptism - "The Pope said being a Christian means having a kind of life that involves a rebirth from God by grace. 'This rebirth is baptism, which Christ has given to the Church to regenerate men to new life,' he said."

The State Exists to Serve, Not Usurp, the Family - "If the Church is the soaring pillars and the spire of civil society, holding it together and giving it direction, the family is its foundation."

Here’s What Will Happen if Marriage is Redefined… - "The following are the prepared remarks given by Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. on January 15, 2013 to the Rhode Island legislature during hearings on the proposed redefinition of marriage."

The Marriage Debate II: What States Really Can’t Do - "When a state claims the right to alter the definition of marriage to include same-sex relationships, it is tacitly claiming the right to redefine the number of persons who may make a marriage (why stop at two?); it is also tacitly claiming the right to redefine, by governmental fiat, every other pre-existing free association of civil society."

Andrew Cuomo’s Brave New 'Roe' - "Catholic bishops in New York’s Catholic Conference and pro-life groups are raising the alarm that Cuomo’s proposals are both “radical” and “dangerous” to unborn children, women and religious freedom."

Andrew Cuomo's Patriarchal Bargain - "Simply put, if women cannot fully participate in society without access to abortion on demand, the solution is not to pass out abortions like candy.  The solution is to rewrite the rules of participation in society."

It’s Okay, Catholics – The President Just Declared Religious Freedom Day - [A little tongue-in-cheek piece on the President's attack on religious freedom.]

Hospital Will Stop Delivering Babies, Thanks to Obamacare - "The Obamacare legislation contains no safeguards to stop taxpayer funding of abortions or abortion businesses. Now, a Pennsylvania hospital has indicated it will stop delivering babies thanks to Obamacare."

Integrating Catholicism with Our Work – Five Actionable Ideas - "The challenge is to adopt new practices and strategies, not as a bunch of new 'to-dos,' but as part of a broader, unifying approach to balance and integration. It isn’t easy, but it’s worth the journey."

“So Help Me God” - "Religion of all types, especially Christianity, which has been America’s predominant faith, has promoted and inspired upright moral conduct. Religion fosters 'generosity, law-abidingness, helpfulness to others, civic engagement, social trust,' and other traits that are essential to the flourishing of a republic."

The White House’s Empty Gun Propaganda - "What if, instead of arguing about the instruments used by the killer, we started asking ourselves what possessed them to commit atrocities like Adam Lanza committed in Newton, and why they chose the targets they did."

No, these are not “our kids,” they are their parents’ kids to protect and raise. - "We are not a collective where kids, after birth (should they make it that far in Barack Obama’s Planned Parenthood-saturated America), become property of the state on loan, as it were, to the parents to raise so long as the state allows."

Why 'Time' Magazine 'Pro-Life' Cover Might Be No Big Deal - "I’ll believe we’re winning once I see a culture where individuals consistently live for others and not just for themselves."

The Cause of America’s Declining Birthrate - "The problem to ponder is not about fertility rates and the Great Recession, but about how to chase greed from the human heart once it’s found a home there."

Catholic Dorms at Non-Catholic Colleges - "Building upon the model pioneered at the University of Illinois, the Newman Student Housing Fund creates and operates faith-based housing on a growing number of campuses."

God Isn't Fair - "I'll tell you what is fair:  evil.  Evil doesn't care who you are, how good or bad you are, how important or trivial the thing is that you're enjoying:  evil is perfectly willing to wreck it in any way it can, in a perfectly impartial way."

Praying as a Couple - "And all married couples should try to go to Mass together and to pray with your children, if you have them.  But here are some other ideas for praying together as a couple, especially if you're pressed for time..."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Male-only Priesthood (re-cap)

A few months ago I began a series of posts on the topic of the male-only priesthood. I hope to continue with that theme, but as it has been some time since my last post in that series, I thought I would  recap what I had previously written and link to those posts here. With that in mind, below you will find a brief description of each of the four previous posts in this series...

Part 1 - A brief explanation of why I chose this topic, especially with regard to the term "Father" as applied to Catholic priests.

Part 2 - Not only does the priest represent "fatherhood" for the Church (with the Church being our "mother"), but he also stands "in the person of Christ." This dual reality of fatherhood and Christ as models of the priesthood point a male priesthood - since only men can be fathers, and Christ the High Priest is obviously a man.

Part 3 - The Sacrament of Holy Orders brings about a real change in the person receiving the Sacrament. Just as the Eucharist requires the right "stuff" (bread and wine) for a Sacrament to take place, so too does Holy Orders require the right "stuff"(a man) to bring about the the change that brings about priesthood. The priesthood brings about a real change in the being of a man to conform him to Christ's priesthood.

Part 4 - Some would argue that male-ness and female-ness do not matter for Christian priesthood, that the office is spiritual and as such does not point to a gender-specific reality. But the Church insists that as humans our physical bodies and our souls are inseparable. There is such a thing as male versus female spirituality. Marriage points to this difference in the sexes, and marriage is specifically used in Scripture to describe the relationship between Christ and His Church. A priest, standing in the person of Christ is standing in the male role as modeled by the marriage analogy.

Part 5 - Even when confronted with all of the arguments we have explored thus far, some would contend that women are just as capable as men at performing the task of priest, that Christianity treats the sexes equally when it comes to the other Sacraments, so why not Holy Orders? The strongest argument against this line of reasoning is the witness of history itself... the nearly 2000 years of male-only priesthood, the testimony of the Church Fathers, and the example of Christ Himself.

Part 6 - Here we explore the specific example of Jesus' calling of men to the ministerial priesthood. Just as men and women are called to different roles in the Sacrament of Marriage, so too the Priesthood (Holy Orders) recognizes a distinction in the sexes. Throughout history the Church has honored this example set by Christ.

Part 7 - The best argument presented by those who oppose male-only ordination is the historic office of "deaconess" - female deacons. However, upon closer examination, this example falls short. Terms such as "deacon", "bishop", or "priest" were not as clearly defined in the early Church. The use of these terms in ancient Christian writings do not always denote a Sacramental office. When viewed in context, the historic references to "deaconesses" do not refer to women who have received sacramental "Holy Orders" - rather, it was a ceremonial office meant to ensure modesty when ministering to women.

In Part 8 we will examine further the historic office of deaconess and the development of the priesthood.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Catechism for the Year of Faith

Part of a continuing series.

A selected quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church in honor of the Year of Faith (October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013)

388 With the progress of Revelation, the reality of sin is also illuminated. Although to some extent the People of God in the Old Testament had tried to understand the pathos of the human condition in the light of the history of the fall narrated in Genesis, they could not grasp this story's ultimate meaning, which is revealed only in the light of the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We must know Christ as the source of grace in order to know Adam as the source of sin. The Spirit-Paraclete, sent by the risen Christ, came to "convict the world concerning sin", by revealing him who is its Redeemer.

389 The doctrine of original sin is, so to speak, the "reverse side" of the Good News that Jesus is the Savior of all men, that all need salvation and that salvation is offered to all through Christ. The Church, which has the mind of Christ, knows very well that we cannot tamper with the revelation of original sin without undermining the mystery of Christ.

390 The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.

390 The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.

397 Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.

398 In that sin man preferred himself to God and by that very act scorned him. He chose himself over and against God, against the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his own good. Constituted in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully "divinized" by God in glory. Seduced by the devil, he wanted to "be like God", but "without God, before God, and not in accordance with God".

399 Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness. They become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image - that of a God jealous of his prerogatives.

401 After that first sin, the world is virtually inundated by sin There is Cain's murder of his brother Abel and the universal corruption which follows in the wake of sin. Likewise, sin frequently manifests itself in the history of Israel, especially as infidelity to the God of the Covenant and as transgression of the Law of Moses. And even after Christ's atonement, sin raises its head in countless ways among Christians. Scripture and the Church's Tradition continually recall the presence and universality of sin in man's history:

    What Revelation makes known to us is confirmed by our own experience. For when man looks into his own heart he finds that he is drawn towards what is wrong and sunk in many evils which cannot come from his good creator. Often refusing to acknowledge God as his source, man has also upset the relationship which should link him to his last end, and at the same time he has broken the right order that should reign within himself as well as between himself and other men and all creatures.
404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam "as one body of one man". By this "unity of the human race" all men are implicated in Adam's sin, as all are implicated in Christ's justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state. It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called "sin" only in an analogical sense: it is a sin "contracted" and not "committed" - a state and not an act.

405 Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called "concupiscence". Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ's grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.

410 After his fall, man was not abandoned by God. On the contrary, God calls him and in a mysterious way heralds the coming victory over evil and his restoration from his fall. This passage in Genesis is called the Protoevangelium ("first gospel"): the first announcement of the Messiah and Redeemer, of a battle between the serpent and the Woman, and of the final victory of a descendant of hers.

411 The Christian tradition sees in this passage an announcement of the "New Adam" who, because he "became obedient unto death, even death on a cross", makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience, of Adam. Furthermore many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman announced in the Protoevangelium as Mary, the mother of Christ, the "new Eve". Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ's victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Musings

A few randoms thoughts and ponderings to start the week...

I am slowing getting back into blogging…very slowly…after a long Christmas break. Hopefully by next week I’ll post the final installment of the male-only priesthood series I started months ago. This week I’ll do a brief re-cap of the series, if for no other reason than to jump-start my own brain.

I think I have a few other ideas percolating in the back of my brain, but I won’t make any solid promises just yet…

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So, the new translation of the Roman Missal has been in use for over a year now, and although there are a few mistakes uttered here and there during Mass(like the occasional “And ALSO…with your Spirit?” and the total hatchet job on “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof…”), the one that bothers me most is when people leave out the word “holy” when they say: “…for our good and the good of all His holy Church.”

I guess it bothers me so much because, post-Vatican II, there were so many “liturgists” and “theologians” within the Church who robbed us of a sense of holiness, sacredness, and solemnity. Our worship was dumbed down, and the uniqueness of our Catholic heritage was played down, so that we were seen more as “one denomination among many” rather than the One True Church of God. The Church’s HOLINESS was not spoken of, and this word "holy" was removed from the liturgy when describing the Church.

The new English translation goes a long way to rectify much that was robbed from us in the solemnity and holiness of the liturgy. We should say “HOLY CHURCH” as loud as we can so that those around us at Mass (our fellow Catholics) hear it and believe it again.

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Just wanted to mention that a friend of mine has a new blog. You should check it out here: The Greatest of These - Faith and Modern Life

Friday, January 11, 2013

This Week's Headlines

As another week comes to an end, this is your chance to top off your glass with a final helping of news, current events, and just plain interesting stuff that may not have made into the mainstream media. A chance to linger for a few more moments before we close the door on the week. Below are some links to articles, blogs, and miscellaneous happenings that caught my eye over the past few days. Sample what you like. I'll serve up more next Friday...

I realize that I've been slacking off when it comes to blogging. But now that the Christmas Season is coming to a close, I'll try to get back into it. This will be my attempt to throw together a news round-up...

Why Was Jesus Baptized? -  "This Sunday, the Church celebrates the baptism of Jesus Christ... But there's a question that has puzzled Christians all down through the ages... Why was Jesus baptized?"

Judge Not? - [This is one of those issues that I see come up frequently in general conversation, and needs to be addressed repeatedly so that the truth is made clear.] "Clearly, contrary to what many would prefer to believe, the Bible exhorts us to rightly judge the behavior of others. The Catholic Church teaches likewise but cautions us just as Jesus did the disciples..."

The Pope Was Right All Along - "The disruptive results for individuals and society spawned by the revolution in attitudes and behavior regarding sex, marriage, family, and childbearing that erupted a half-century ago have become too obvious to ignore. These things were predictable–in fact, some people actually predicted them from the start–but by now their impact has grown so painfully apparent that even secular voices are being raised in alarm."

Why The Abortion Industry Thinks They’re Losing - "Whatever people believe about whether the innocent unborn should merit legal protection, the broad mainstream has a deep discomfort about abortion that doesn’t exist about any other health-care procedure. Which is an indicator that maybe deep down they know it’s not health care at all."

Media Working Overtime Getting Ready to Ignore the March for Life - "As hundreds of thousands of pro-life Americans prepare to take part in the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., mainstream media outlets across the country are diligently making their own preparations to not cover the event." [This is kind of a tongue-in-cheek, satirical on though.]

Kudos to the President's Inaugural Committee - [Not what you think from the title...must read to find out.]

A Précis of the Catholic Teaching on Homosexuality and Homosexual Acts - "When the Catholic Church teaches the immorality of homosexual acts, she is not preaching hate or denying anyone’s rights. Rather, she is telling the truth in love, hoping that her message will set all men and women free from their disordered passions, sexual or whatever."

The Costs of Same-Sex Marriage - "The point that conservatives are trying to make, and that many liberal insist on not getting, is that there is no way to “extend” marriage to gays without at the same-time redefining what it is.  And conservatives think this is a step that should give any reasonable person pause, given the fundamental importance of marriage to society."

Defying the Obama Administration on Religious Liberty - "Hobby Lobby gained national attention when its leadership announced they would not bow to the Obama Administration’s violation of their religious liberty. Thousands of Americans pledged to shop at the retailer over the weekend to show their appreciation for this stand—a stand that could cost the company up to $1.3 million in fines per day."

The Devil Witnessing for Christ - "Is there any one thing that explains all of this - all of this persistent bad behavior, which causes suffering and is born of suffering?  Yes, it can all be explained by a single word, a word that only one voice uses consistently.  The voice is the Catholic Church and the single word is SIN."

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Catechism for the Year of Faith

Part of a continuing series.

A selected quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church in honor of the Year of Faith (October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013)

355 "God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them." Man occupies a unique place in creation: (I) he is "in the image of God"; (II) in his own nature he unites the spiritual and material worlds; (III) he is created "male and female"; (IV) God established him in his friendship.

356 Of all visible creatures only man is "able to know a
nd love his creator". He is "the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake", and he alone is called to share, by knowledge and love, in God's own life. It was for this end that he was created, and this is the fundamental reason for his dignity:

    What made you establish man in so great a dignity? Certainly the incalculable love by which you have looked on your creature in yourself! You are taken with love for her; for by love indeed you created her, by love you have given her a being capable of tasting your eternal Good.
357 Being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone. He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons. And he is called by grace to a covenant with his Creator, to offer him a response of faith and love that no other creature can give in his stead.

362 The human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual. The biblical account expresses this reality in symbolic language when it affirms that "then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." Man, whole and entire, is therefore willed by God.

363 In Sacred Scripture the term "soul" often refers to human life or the entire human person. But "soul" also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him, that by which he is most especially in God's image: "soul" signifies the spiritual principle in man.

364 The human body shares in the dignity of "the image of God": it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit:

    Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day.
369 Man and woman have been created, which is to say, willed by God: on the one hand, in perfect equality as human persons; on the other, in their respective beings as man and woman. "Being man" or "being woman" is a reality which is good and willed by God: man and woman possess an inalienable dignity which comes to them immediately from God their Creator. Man and woman are both with one and the same dignity "in the image of God". In their "being-man" and "being-woman", they reflect the Creator's wisdom and goodness.

372 Man and woman were made "for each other" - not that God left them half-made and incomplete: he created them to be a communion of persons, in which each can be "helpmate" to the other, for they are equal as persons ("bone of my bones. . .") and complementary as masculine and feminine. In marriage God unites them in such a way that, by forming "one flesh", they can transmit human life: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth." By transmitting human life to their descendants, man and woman as spouses and parents cooperate in a unique way in the Creator's work.

374 The first man was not only created good, but was also established in friendship with his Creator and in harmony with himself and with the creation around him, in a state that would be surpassed only by the glory of the new creation in Christ.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Catechism for the Year of Faith

Part of a continuing series.

A selected quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church in honor of the Year of Faith (October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013)

326 The Scriptural expression "heaven and earth" means all that exists, creation in its entirety. It also i
ndicates the bond, deep within creation, that both unites heaven and earth and distinguishes the one from the other: "the earth" is the world of men, while "heaven" or "the heavens" can designate both the firmament and God's own "place" - "our Father in heaven" and consequently the "heaven" too which is eschatological glory. Finally, "heaven" refers to the saints and the "place" of the spiritual creatures, the angels, who surround God.

327 The profession of faith of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) affirms that God "from the beginning of time made at once (simul) out of nothing both orders of creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal, that is, the angelic and the earthly, and then (deinde) the human creature, who as it were shares in both orders, being composed of spirit and body."

328 The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls "angels" is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.

331 Christ is the center of the angelic world. They are his angels: "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him. . " They belong to him because they were created through and for him: "for in him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities - all things were created through him and for him." They belong to him still more because he has made them messengers of his saving plan: "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?"

332 Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan: they closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child; stayed Abraham's hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the People of God; announced births and callings; and assisted the prophets, just to cite a few examples. Finally, the angel Gabriel announced the birth of the Precursor and that of Jesus himself.

 336 From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. "Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life."203 Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.

337 God himself created the visible world in all its richness, diversity and order. Scripture presents the work of the Creator symbolically as a succession of six days of divine "work", concluded by the "rest" of the seventh day. On the subject of creation, the sacred text teaches the truths revealed by God for our salvation, permitting us to "recognize the inner nature, the value and the ordering of the whole of creation to the praise of God."

341 The beauty of the universe: The order and harmony of the created world results from the diversity of beings and from the relationships which exist among them. Man discovers them progressively as the laws of nature. They call forth the admiration of scholars. The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man's intellect and will.

342 The hierarchy of creatures is expressed by the order of the "six days", from the less perfect to the more perfect. God loves all his creatures and takes care of each one, even the sparrow. Nevertheless, Jesus said: "You are of more value than many sparrows", or again: "Of how much more value is a man than a sheep!"

343 Man is the summit of the Creator's work, as the inspired account expresses by clearly distinguishing the creation of man from that of the other creatures.

344 There is a solidarity among all creatures arising from the fact that all have the same Creator and are all ordered to his glory: May you be praised, O Lord, in all your creatures, especially brother sun, by whom you give us light for the day; he is beautiful, radiating great splendor, and offering us a symbol of you, the Most High...

May you be praised, my Lord, for sister water,
who is very useful and humble, precious and chaste.
May you be praised, my Lord, for sister earth,
our mother, who bears and feeds us,
and produces the variety of fruits
and dappled flowers and grasses
Praise and bless my Lord,
give thanks and serve him in all humility.