31 May 2014

Faith Comes by Hearing

Among those who do not accept the validity of infant baptism, Romans 10:17 is often cited as a proof text:
“Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ.”

The argument is that if faith must precede baptism and faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ, an infant that cannot understand the Word of Christ cannot be baptized. Such an argument reveals ignorance of what faith is and what hearing the Word of Christ is. Such things are taught by example in the Bible if one reads with the eyes of faith; this faith being the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Faith.

30 May 2014

Public Opinion Poll on Catholic Dogma

Seems some people in Kalamazoo think they can change Catholic dogma by polling public opinion. Of course, changing Catholic dogma is like changing God: It is impossible. Only the Sacred Magisterium of the Catholic Church has the infallibly authority through the workings of the Holy Spirit to define Catholic dogma, so the only opinion that counts is the unchanging and perfect opinion of God. And, once God has inspired His Church to define a dogma, the Church is unable to contradict God and change this definition. Thus, public opinion polls on a defined dogma only encourage rebellion against God.

Now that we’ve established the true objective of such a poll (rebellion against God), lets take a look at whether there is any honesty in this poll, or does it simply present the usual straw man fallacy to encourage uninformed rebellion against God and His Church.

23 May 2014

Do Catholics still believe in purgatory?

Someone asked me the other day, “Do Catholics still believe in purgatory?” While this may seem like a direct question, the implied question is much more important: “Do Catholic beliefs change?” This is a very important question because if a single Catholic belief changed, the Catholic Church would no longer exist. The word catholic is just one marker of the Catholic Church. The four markers are: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Remove one of these markers, and the Church no longer exists. The marker that would be removed if a Catholic belief were to changed is apostolic.

Every belief of the Catholic Church is apostolic. If it were not, it would not be a Christian belief. It is impossible for a single Christian belief to change; however, change is commonplace in Protestantism. This is why there are so many different types of Protestantism with so many different beliefs. Of course, the two essential Christian beliefs remain: Jesus Christ is God Incarnate; and, God is made up of Three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Without these two beliefs, one is not Christian. However, take away any of the other Christian beliefs, and one is not Catholic.

Why Did God Create Evil?

This is something I wrote over ten years ago. My thought has developed and matured, but I think there is some worth in what I had written:

WARNING: Some of the ideas in this article can be misinterpreted as heresy. This article must be read very carefully, and its ideas can only be correctly understood in the context in which they are presented.

The existence of evil in the world has been a major stumbling block for many, both Christians and non-Christians. How can a God who is good create evil? If God did create evil, then He cannot be entirely good. If God didn't create evil, then He didn't create everything. There seems to be no third alternative.

Know the Eucharist

In a conversation I had with the chancellor of the Edmonton Eparchy during the first part of Great Lent, he related a story to me, that may or may not have happened, about the historical meeting in the Holy Land between Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I in 1964. The story goes that when they embraced, Pope Paul said, “At least we agree that there are Three Persons in the Holy Trinity.” To which Patriarch Athenagoras said, “Don’t count. Don’t count.”

This story struck a chord in me and I thought back before I  began a family and was planning to make a living playing drums as a professional musician. After two months of music school, I realized that I didn’t want to spend my Friday and Saturday nights in a smoke filled room encouraging everyone to drink as much as possible so that I could take home a decent amount of the liquor sales. However, during one of my classes in those two months, we had to, in turn, play a particular rhythm with a small ensemble. After the class, a couple of my classmate approached me to find out what it was that I played because it sounded so much better than everyone else. I simply said that I played the rhythm that everyone else played.

What my classmates didn’t understand, and what I just barely grasped, was that there is a difference between playing a rhythm (counting) and being a part of the music (not counting). It could be possible to analyze every note to discover what made the difference, but perhaps the human mind could not comprehend all of the subtle nuances. However, it is possible for the finite human mind to be engulfed in the infinite. With the chancellor’s story, I realized I had a burning desire to experience theology this way, particularly Eastern theology; to be engulfed by the infinite richness and beauty of Eastern spirituality; to not count.

(Incidentally, St. Evagrius of Pontus said: “The one who prays is a theologian; the one who is a theologian, prays.”)

This morning, during Divine Liturgy at St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, I began to not count. I felt as if I were approaching the infinite; like I was between χρόνος (chronos) and καιρός (kairos). I could not describe it in words, but I knew the presence of God in the tabernacle. I knew God hovering over the gifts during the the Holy Anaphora. And I knew God on the altar after the consecration. I approached to receive the Eucharist like never before; and when I had received, I sensed… only bread soaked in wine.

The supernatural that I sensed before was only a thin taste of what awaits in the Heavenly Divine Liturgy, and my natural senses detected nothing but what is natural. I then realized the much truer meaning to what St. Paul was describing to the Corinthians in the 13th chapter of his first letter to them, particularly verse 12: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.”

What we know only in part now has the appearances of bread and wine; then we shall have full knowledge of the Eucharist, spending eternity contemplating the Infinite. The closest we can come now with our natural senses is in marriage. The Greek word for know in the 1 Corinthians 13:12 is γινώσκω (ginosko), which is also found in some translations of Genesis 4:1: “Now Adam knew Eve his wife…”

22 May 2014

Is Ordinatio Sacerdotalis Infallible?

Today is the 20th anniversary of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. In honour of this important document, I am republishing something I wrote around the years 2002 or 2003.. maybe even 2004:

On May 22, 1994, the Solemnity of Pentecost, Pope John Paul II released an apostolic letter titled Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. The objective of this letter was to put to rest the debate regarding the priestly ordination of women, and to affirm that the reservation of priestly ordination for men alone is not merely a custom upheld by disciplinary force, but in fact a part of Sacred Tradition and to be held by all the Church's faithful. This letter leaves no doubt that woman cannot be ordained to the priesthood; however, many believe that this document does not contain infallible teaching, and therefore does not close the discussion of priestly ordination of women. The question, then, is this: was the pope speaking ex cathedra in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis?

09 May 2014

Franciscan Crown Pamphlet

I've taken up the hobby of rosary making. Although I've made the popular rosary promoted by the Dominicans, I like to make and promote the Seraphic Rosary, also known as the Franciscan Crown or Rosary of the Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Franciscan Crown is a seven decade rosary that was given by Our Lady to a young Franciscan novice named Friar James in 1422. It may not be as popular and it may no longer have any indulgences attached to it, but it is still a prayer that is pleasing to God and to Our Lady.

To help teach and promote this venerable Marian devotion, I made this pamphlet. If you find it useful, please do make use of it:
Franciscan Crown.pdf

08 May 2014

Uninspiring Catholics on Pro-Life Issues

I was very disappointed that I wasn’t able to go to the March for Life today because I was feeling a bit under the weather. In lieu of going, I offer this blog post regarding an uninspiring attitude some Catholics have concerning life issues.

I’ve come to expect comments from secular culture to disregard life issues as not all that important or even to have a negative opinion inline with the culture of death. Such comments don’t bother me too terribly much as they are of the world; however, when I hear comments like this from Catholics, I find it very disturbing.