10 science-proven facts that will help you be optimistic about the future  Miriam Diez Bosch: re-blogged

 

I found this interesting and worth sharing. Also know that I will be missing from all Blogging for a week or so, due to a family situation that requires travel. May God guide our paths, Blessings, Patrick

 

I found this interesting and worth sharing. Also know that I will be missing from all Blogging for a week or so, due to a family situation that requires travel. May God guide our paths, Blessings, Patrick

 

10 science-proven facts that will help you be optimistic about the future

 Miriam Diez Bosch

We are living at the best moment of our collective history, says hard data.

We are living at the best moment of our collective history, and nevertheless, there is a widespread belief that the world is going dramatically downhill. This is the main thesis of the book Progress: 10 Reasons to Look Forward to the Future, by Johan Norberg. The book, which aims to open the eyes of society and promote the value of progress, was published in English in 2017 and is now being published in other languages.

According to Juan Ramón Rallo, who wrote the prologue to the Spanish edition, Norbert shows with hard data—contradicting popular opinion and many forecasts—that “our planet is making huge strides on all basic indicators that we use to measure social progress.” The author reviews data, anecdotes, and historical events of great relevance, and their evolution and effects on the present and the future. All of this, he does to remind us that the past wasn’t always better. In fact, the book begins with this quote from Franklin Pierce Adams: “Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.” Starting with that thesis, Johan Norberg develops his arguments focusing on 10 key points:

  1. Nutrition:Norberg reminds readers of the countless famines that have occurred for various reasons, such as bad harvests, and points out that the situation in Asia has been even worse than in the West. He explains that in the past a lack of adequate nutrition held back the intellectual development of society. However, he emphasizes that, according to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), the worldwide malnutrition rate has diminished from 50 percent in 1945 to 11 percent in 2015. Aware that the worst indicators on this scale are from Africa, the author also dedicates part of his analysis to the positive changes that have taken place in countries such as Angola, Cameroon, and Mozambique.
  2. Sanitation:The existence of sewerage, of sources of potable water, and of proper waste management helps avoid illnesses that can shorten the average life expectancy. Norberg points out the global progress that is being made in this area, although he criticizes the phenomena of water pollution and poor water management that leads to waste. The author also studies the progress taking place in this respect on the African continent.
  3. Average lifespan:From 1770 to 2010, the average life expectancy at birth has grown from 29 to 70 years. In this regard, Norberg reminds his readers that “during a good part of human history, life was a difficult and short experience. Not only did we have much fewer commodities; the incidence of diseases, famine, and lack of sanitation was so acute that the lifespan of the average citizen was significantly shortened.” Currently, despite problems that continue to afflict humanity, such as infant mortality or certain diseases, the statistics are improving.
  4. Poverty:In the 18th century, the majority of the population lived in abject poverty. With data such as this, Norberg shows that poverty is “everyone’s starting point” and reviews the historical evolution of poverty on a global scale. The statistics are clear: from 1820 to 2015, according to the World Bank, the percentage of the global population earning less than a dollar a day diminished from 85 percent to 23 percent. Globalization and capitalism are analyzed in depth in this chapter.
  5. Violence:Norberg indicates that the media contribute to the belief that we live in a violent world. Nevertheless, war and violence were much more prevalent in past epochs of human history. In this regard, the author cites cognitive scientist Steven Pinker to assert that “the dramatic reduction of violence could be the most important event in human history.”
  6. Environment:“If our hunger for energy has created a problem of climate change, it will also be our hunger for energy that will solve it.” This is Norberg’s approach to the environmental issues created by progress. According to him, social and economic development also leads to the development of more human talent to deal with problems; in this way, the more eyes are trained to look at a problem, “the more brains will be committed to solving it.”
  7. Literacy:According to the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), 200 years ago only 12 percent of the population knew how to read and write. “Literacy was limited to political authorities, members of religious institutions, and the merchant class,” Norberg explains. The reason was that many of the elite thought that, if poor people had access to education, they would feel dissatisfied with their condition, and there would be greater social unrest. Nonetheless, the author explains how and why societies realized, little by little, that universal literacy was necessary, and it began to be more widespread. Thus, in 2015, the worldwide literacy rate of young people reached 91 percent.
  8. Freedom:In the year 1800, there were still 60 countries with laws allowing slavery. In this regard, the author reviews the history of individual freedoms and of the hierarchies that have been created around the world throughout the centuries in the context of various political systems. Norberg recalls the words of Milton Friedman in 1991: “We are still far from the ideal of a completely free world, but in historical terms, the progress in our lifetimes has been incredible: more has been achieved in the last two centuries than in the previous two thousand years.”
  9. Equality:Minorities are also an important issue. In this regard, Norberg explains that “in almost all corners of the world, there are still prejudices, hostilities, or hate crimes, but there are more and more places in which the government is committed to protecting equality before the law, fighting discrimination against minorities.” Thus, despite the continuing evident inequality of many groups, Norberg invites us to appreciate the steps that have been taken towards equality.
  • The next generation:Humanity has achieved great things with only a part of the population having access to knowledge. Today, the opportunities to develop and access that knowledge are much greater than before; consequently, the author says that “it is easy to predict that we are heading towards a world with fewer limitations, which will unleash an enormous creativity at the service of our wellbeing.”

Despite the undeniably positive perspective of the author, he wisely admits that it would be a mistake to assume that progress is guaranteed. He warns, “We continue to suffer from many problems, and there are more than a few movements and social and political currents that aspire to destroy the pillars of progress: individual freedom, economic openness, and technological progress.” END QUOTES

We are living at the best moment of our collective history, says hard data.

We are living at the best moment of our collective history, and nevertheless, there is a widespread belief that the world is going dramatically downhill. This is the main thesis of the book Progress: 10 Reasons to Look Forward to the Future, by Johan Norberg. The book, which aims to open the eyes of society and promote the value of progress, was published in English in 2017 and is now being published in other languages.

According to Juan Ramón Rallo, who wrote the prologue to the Spanish edition, Norbert shows with hard data—contradicting popular opinion and many forecasts—that “our planet is making huge strides on all basic indicators that we use to measure social progress.” The author reviews data, anecdotes, and historical events of great relevance, and their evolution and effects on the present and the future. All of this, he does to remind us that the past wasn’t always better. In fact, the book begins with this quote from Franklin Pierce Adams: “Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.” Starting with that thesis, Johan Norberg develops his arguments focusing on 10 key points:

  1. Nutrition:Norberg reminds readers of the countless famines that have occurred for various reasons, such as bad harvests, and points out that the situation in Asia has been even worse than in the West. He explains that in the past a lack of adequate nutrition held back the intellectual development of society. However, he emphasizes that, according to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), the worldwide malnutrition rate has diminished from 50 percent in 1945 to 11 percent in 2015. Aware that the worst indicators on this scale are from Africa, the author also dedicates part of his analysis to the positive changes that have taken place in countries such as Angola, Cameroon, and Mozambique.
  2. Sanitation:The existence of sewerage, of sources of potable water, and of proper waste management helps avoid illnesses that can shorten the average life expectancy. Norberg points out the global progress that is being made in this area, although he criticizes the phenomena of water pollution and poor water management that leads to waste. The author also studies the progress taking place in this respect on the African continent.
  3. Average lifespan:From 1770 to 2010, the average life expectancy at birth has grown from 29 to 70 years. In this regard, Norberg reminds his readers that “during a good part of human history, life was a difficult and short experience. Not only did we have much fewer commodities; the incidence of diseases, famine, and lack of sanitation was so acute that the lifespan of the average citizen was significantly shortened.” Currently, despite problems that continue to afflict humanity, such as infant mortality or certain diseases, the statistics are improving.
  4. Poverty:In the 18th century, the majority of the population lived in abject poverty. With data such as this, Norberg shows that poverty is “everyone’s starting point” and reviews the historical evolution of poverty on a global scale. The statistics are clear: from 1820 to 2015, according to the World Bank, the percentage of the global population earning less than a dollar a day diminished from 85 percent to 23 percent. Globalization and capitalism are analyzed in depth in this chapter.
  5. Violence:Norberg indicates that the media contribute to the belief that we live in a violent world. Nevertheless, war and violence were much more prevalent in past epochs of human history. In this regard, the author cites cognitive scientist Steven Pinker to assert that “the dramatic reduction of violence could be the most important event in human history.”
  6. Environment:“If our hunger for energy has created a problem of climate change, it will also be our hunger for energy that will solve it.” This is Norberg’s approach to the environmental issues created by progress. According to him, social and economic development also leads to the development of more human talent to deal with problems; in this way, the more eyes are trained to look at a problem, “the more brains will be committed to solving it.”
  7. Literacy:According to the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), 200 years ago only 12 percent of the population knew how to read and write. “Literacy was limited to political authorities, members of religious institutions, and the merchant class,” Norberg explains. The reason was that many of the elite thought that, if poor people had access to education, they would feel dissatisfied with their condition, and there would be greater social unrest. Nonetheless, the author explains how and why societies realized, little by little, that universal literacy was necessary, and it began to be more widespread. Thus, in 2015, the worldwide literacy rate of young people reached 91 percent.
  8. Freedom:In the year 1800, there were still 60 countries with laws allowing slavery. In this regard, the author reviews the history of individual freedoms and of the hierarchies that have been created around the world throughout the centuries in the context of various political systems. Norberg recalls the words of Milton Friedman in 1991: “We are still far from the ideal of a completely free world, but in historical terms, the progress in our lifetimes has been incredible: more has been achieved in the last two centuries than in the previous two thousand years.”
  9. Equality:Minorities are also an important issue. In this regard, Norberg explains that “in almost all corners of the world, there are still prejudices, hostilities, or hate crimes, but there are more and more places in which the government is committed to protecting equality before the law, fighting discrimination against minorities.” Thus, despite the continuing evident inequality of many groups, Norberg invites us to appreciate the steps that have been taken towards equality.
  • The next generation:Humanity has achieved great things with only a part of the population having access to knowledge. Today, the opportunities to develop and access that knowledge are much greater than before; consequently, the author says that “it is easy to predict that we are heading towards a world with fewer limitations, which will unleash an enormous creativity at the service of our wellbeing.”

Despite the undeniably positive perspective of the author, he wisely admits that it would be a mistake to assume that progress is guaranteed. He warns, “We continue to suffer from many problems, and there are more than a few movements and social and political currents that aspire to destroy the pillars of progress: individual freedom, economic openness, and technological progress.” END QUOTES

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A Brief history of the Catholic Church by yours truly {Patrick}

 

A Brief history of the Catholic Church

My dear friends in Christ. I teach Catholicism, not history, yet I feel it is important to establish early on that Secular History regarding Christ is supportive of Biblical accounts. So towards the end of showing objectivity, I wish to establish a framework from which we can launch this Lesson.

Because our History is now about 2,000 years old, I will be highly selective in culling period historical effects and providing evidence of them. My goal here is to firmly establish Catholicism’s claim to having been; and actually being the One True Church, that Jesus established, guides, and protects, even thru and beyond the times in which we live.

For those who would like a much more detailed account of this history, I suggest you consider looking at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Catholic_Church; which is a non-Christian site, with much good historical information; but they issue a caution that not everything they publish has been tested and proven. So prudent care is the password for use of this site.

Let’s begin this journey with the history of the Birth of Jesus Christ.

Our first evidence is from the Catholic Bible [I use most often the Douay Rheims Catholic Bible … www.drbo.com .

This Book of the Prophet Isaiah dates from 742 BC through 687 BC. For those who may not know; the terms “BC,” before Christ, and “AD” “after death” have for nearly 1,500 years been used on the calendars that we all use, and the fact that Christ Birth and Death are used as the Secular Markers, is itself evidence of the authenticity of the Birth, Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, who is our God.

Isaiah 9:Verses 6 to 7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.”

https://bible.org/article/birth-jesus-christ

 

“Now it logically follows that if Jesus Christ lived {need it be said?}, he must have been born. The Gospels tell us that his birth was shortly before Herod the Great died. Herod’s death can be fixed with certainty.

 

Josephus [a early Jewish historian of record; also quoted below], records an eclipse of the moon just before Herod passed on. This occurred on March 12th or 13th in 4 B.C. Josephus also tells us that Herod expired just before Passover. This feast took place on April 11th, in the same year 4 B.C. From other details supplied by Josephus, we can pinpoint Herod the Great’s demise as occurring between March 29th and April 4th in 4 B.C.

 

It might sound strange to suggest that Jesus Christ was born later than 4 B.C. but “A.D” [and the calendars we have become accustomed to, were not invented until 525 A.D.] At that time a [Catholic] Pope John the First asked a Monk named Dionysus to prepare a standardized calendar for the western Church. Unfortunately, poor Dionysius missed the real B.C./A.D. division by at least four years!

 

Now Matthew tells us that Herod killed Bethlehem’s babies two years old and under. The earliest Jesus could have been born, therefore, is 6 B.C. Though a variety of other time indicators, we can be relativity confident that the one called Messiah was born in late 5 B.C. or early 4 B.C. End Quote.

“Josephus was born in Jerusalem around A.D. 37. He died around the year 101.

https://carm.org/regarding-quotes-historian-josephus-about-jesus

The problem with the copies of Antiquitiesis [the reference source for this testimony] is that they appear to have been rewritten in favor of Jesus and some say too favorable to have been written by a Jew. Add to this that the Christians were the ones who kept and made the copies of the Josephus’ documents throughout history and you have a shadow of doubt cast upon the quotes.

However, all is not lost. First of all, there is no proof that such insertions into the text were ever made. They may be authentic. The “Testimonium” is found in every copy of Josephus in existence.  Second, Josephus mentions many other Biblically-relevant occurrences that are not in dispute. This adds validity to the claim that Josephus knew about Jesus and wrote about Him since he also wrote about other New Testament things. Nevertheless, though there may be some Christian insertions into the text, we can still reconstruct what may have been the original writing.

“At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.”

To summarize, the “Testimonium Flavianum” cannot be so easily dismissed as pure Christian interpolation (insertion into the text). Though it seems probable that interpolation did occur, we cannot be sure what was added. Also, the Arabic version contains very similar information as the Greek one regarding Jesus in His resurrection.

Even if both versions have been tampered with, the core of them both mention Jesus as an historical figure who was able to perform many surprising feats and was crucified, and there were followers of Jesus who were still in existence at the time of its writing” End Quote

My friends, I teach Catholicism, not history, so for those history Buffs, that enjoy debating the historical veracity of this account, I will only suggest that you check this site out: http://www.comereason.org/roman-census.asp

 

Here is additional testimony:

 

http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/is-there-any-evidence-for-jesus-outside-the-bible/

 

Tacitus (56-120AD)
Cornelius Tacitus was known for his analysis and examination of historical documents and is among the most trusted of ancient historians. He was a senator under Emperor Vespasian and was also proconsul of Asia. In his “Annals’ of 116AD, he describes Emperor Nero’s response to the great fire in Rome and Nero’s claim that the Christians were to blame:

 

“Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.”

In this account, Tacitus confirms several historical elements of the Biblical narrative: Jesus lived in Judea, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and had followers who were persecuted for their faith in Christ.

 

Mara Bar-Serapion (70AD)
Sometime after 70AD, a Syrian philosopher named Mara Bar-Serapion, writing to encourage his son, compared the life and persecution of Jesus with that of other philosophers who were persecuted for their ideas. The fact Jesus is known to be a real person with this kind of influence is important. Mara Bar-Serapion refers to Jesus as the “Wise King”:

 

From this account, we can add to our understanding of Jesus: He was a wise and influential man who died for His beliefs. The Jewish leadership was somehow responsible for Jesus’ death. Jesus’ followers adopted His beliefs and lived their lives accordingly. End Quotes

Now to a bit of history of our Catholic Church. Having established legitimacy for the Birth Of Jesus, we now proceed to time after His resurrection, and beyond. As much as possible I will use the Catholic Encyclopedia; which I will identify as [CE] 

 

  1. 34 B.C. When St. Stephan; the first Christian martyr was stoned to death, for defending his Christian Faith. This would have been no more than a very-few years from the time of Christ Resurrection.

“Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God” (vii, 55), they ran violently upon him (vii, 56) and cast him out of the city to stone him to death. Stephen’s stoning does not appear in the narrative of the Acts as a deed of mob violence; it must have been looked upon by those who took part in it as the carrying out of the law.”[CE]

The praying martyr was thrown down; and while the witnesses were thrusting upon him “a stone as much as two men could carry”, he was heard to utter this supreme prayer: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (vii, 58). Little did all the people present, casting stones upon him, realize that the blood they shed was the first seed of a harvest that was to cover the world.” [CE]

See Acts 6: 1-5 & Acts 8:2 and Sacred Tradition holds that St. Paul, then a young Pharisee, witnessed the stoning, approved of it, and guarded the cloaks of those who actually did the stoning. This was before Paul’s own conversion.

c.48: Is the date of the first new Church Council, and this was held n Jerusalem. It was at this council that “Peter” and the “Fathers” decided the question pushed by the Jewish converts; that all of the Gentile had to be circumstanced. http://www.vatican.va/various/basiliche/san_paolo/en/san_paolo/concilio.htm

  1. 100 B,C. St. John the last of the Apostles dies: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=228
  2. 110: Ignatius of Antioch uses for the first time the term ”Catholic”; a name meaning “Universal”, which evolved from the term “the Way”, [Acts 24:14; 19:23; Jn. 14:6] and later “Christians” [26:28; 1 Peter 4:16]
  3. 313: The Edit of Milan is issued by Constantine, which in effect allowed freedom of religious practice; thus freeing Catholicism from their entrenchment in the catacombs. Persecution of the young Church was so severe that it had literally been forced underground. Much information still exist in these early catacombs, which recount our Faith is crude art and writings. Here’s a great site for those seeking more details on the catacombs. A highly significant part of our Church History. Also this edit permitted the Catholic Church to reclaim and own land. Many still exist today in Rome.

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_commissions/archeo/inglese/documents/rc_com_archeo_doc_20011010_cataccrist_en.html

  1. 155: St Justin Martyr; writes to the emperor Antioninus Pius [138-16] and details what is very much similar to today’s Mass. CCC # 1345 [CCC = Catechism of the Catholic Church]
  2. 382 the Council of Rome, under Pope Damasus set the Canon of the Bible at 73 Books. This remains valid today.
  3. 325: The First Ecumenical [a term meaning “worldwide”] Church Council. Established the “Nicene Creed”, still used today. http://newadvent.org/cathen/04423f.htm
  4. 400: St Jerome’s “Vulgate Bible” is published. A bit of historical background is helpful here.

At this point in time, Rome still ruled essentially, the known world. The Common language of Rome was at the time; “Latin,” which effectively had become the new “common language” of the world.

The Bible, although fully authored by the end of the first century, or very early second century existed with different books in different languages. Hebrew, Aramaic, and mostly Greek for the New Testament. Pope Damasus requested Jerome to translate these various books into the then world’s common language; which he accomplished. There remains much debate about translations as Latin itself had differing versions of use.’’

That said; the Latin Vulgate still exist today and the “common language of the Catholic Church remains Latin, which is considered to be a “Deal Language.”

Post Vatican II had seen a significant decrease in priestly formations, even teaching Latin. Pope Benedict XVI reignited the need and use of Latin and demanded that all seminaries teach Latin as a part of their priestly formation. After all; we are the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church. http://www.bible-researcher.com/vulgate1.html  This site accesses both the Latin Vulgate and the Douay Rheims English translation of it.

https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=7470

http://www.bible-researcher.com/vulgate1.html

  1. 431: The Ecumenical Council of Ephesus: Declared Dogmatically that Jesus Christ existed simultaneously as both “God and man,” having two complete and Perfect Natures; one as the Son of God, and one as Jesus the man like us in every way but sin. This Council also declared that the Nicene Creed was a permanent and Dogmatic express of our Catholic Faith beliefs.
  2. 1305: French influence cause the SEE of Peter to be moved to Avignon France. [1305-1378]

http://www.vlib.us/medieval/lectures/avignon.html: once again for those who mght be seeking more information on the “how’s and why’s” of this action, can access this site for more information. In c. 1370: Saint Catherine of Siena prevails upon the Pope to return to Rome, where it remains in current times.

  1. October 31st, 1517: Martin Luther [a Catholic priest and later an Apostate] post his “95 Thesis”, protesting [rightly] the selling of Indulgences. http://www.luther.de/en/95thesen.html
  2. 1521: Luther finally excommunicated form the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Leo X
  3. 1531: Our Lady of Guadalupe [Mother of the America’s, whose shrine is located in La Crosse Wisconsin; and is “home” of the Marian Catechist Lay Apostolate] http://www.patx.us/olgchurch/story.htm
  4. 1545: The Council of Trent is invoked to define again, many of the Roman Catholic Church’s Doctrines and Dogma’s, in response to the Luther lead, Protestant Revolution. [This was far more a revolt than a reform]. Trent remains as one of the most widely referenced Councils in the history of Catholicism. Trent would lead to the first authorized English version of the Bible: the Douay Rheims; still the “go to” bible of choice for a great many Catholics [me included.] This too in response to Luther’s work in progress of the 63 book, and many text alterations; King James Bible.

www.drbo.com

  1. 1789: John Carroll become the first Bishop of the United States

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03381b.htm

  1. 1854: Dogma of the Immaculate Conception Infallibly declared by Pope Pius IX

It would be nearly another 100 years before the next Dogmatic Pronouncement is made

  1. 1869: Pope Pious IX calls for and opens the First Vatican Council. Makes the issue of Papal Infallibility [conditionally] a defied Doctrine:

CIC [Code of Canon Law]

THE ROMAN PONTIFF AND THE COLLEGE OF BISHOPS

Can. 330 Just as by the Lord’s decision Saint Peter and the other Apostles constitute one college, so in a like manner the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, and the bishops, the successors of the Apostles, are united among themselves.

Can. 331 The bishop of the Roman Church, in whom continues the office given by the Lord uniquely to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, is the head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church on earth. By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.

Can. 332 §1. The Roman Pontiff obtains full and supreme power in the Church by his acceptance of legitimate election together with episcopal consecration. Therefore, a person elected to the supreme pontificate who is marked with episcopal character obtains this power from the moment of acceptance. If the person elected lacks episcopal character, however, he is to be ordained a bishop immediately.

Can. 333 §1. By virtue of his office, the Roman Pontiff not only possesses power offer the universal Church but also obtains the primacy of ordinary power offer all particular churches and groups of them. Moreover, this primacy strengthens and protects the proper, ordinary, and immediate power which bishops possess in the particular churches entrusted to their care.

  • 2. In fulfilling the office of supreme pastor of the Church, the Roman Pontiff is always joined in communion with the other bishops and with the universal Church. He nevertheless has the right, according to the needs of the Church, to determine the manner, whether personal or collegial, of exercising this office.
  • 3. No appeal or recourse is permitted against a sentence or decree of the Roman Po Can. 748

Can.748 §1. All persons are bound to seek the truth in those things which regard God and his Church and by virtue of divine law are bound by the obligation and possess the right of embracing and observing the truth which they have come to know.

  • 2. No one is ever permitted to coerce persons to embrace the Catholic faith against their conscience.

Can. 749 §1. By virtue of his office, the Supreme Pontiff possesses infallibility in teaching when as the supreme pastor and teacher of all the Christian faithful, who strengthens his brothers and sisters in the faith, he proclaims by definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held.

  • 2. The college of bishops also possesses infallibility in teaching when the bishops gathered together in an ecumenical council exercise the magisterium as teachers and judges of faith and morals who declare for the universal Church that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held definitively; or when dispersed throughout the world but preserving the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter and teaching authentically together with the Roman Pontiff matters of faith or morals, they agree that a particular proposition is to be held definitively.
  • 3. No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly evident.

[This means that it has to be made by the Pope; who has to make clear that what he is teaching is an Infallible pronouncement; and it must relate Faith beliefs and or Moral matters].

  1. 1917: The Code of Canon Law is published by Pope Benedict XV

This is revised in 1984. And just recently Pope Francis made some changes to it in regard to the process for applying to the Church to determine the validity of one’s sacramental marriage,

  1. 1962-1965 Vatican Council II: Opened by Pope John XXIII, and was closed by his successor, Pope Paul VI

http://www.creighton.edu/vaticanii/historicalbackgroundofvaticanii/

“John XXIII provoked general surprise in the world on January 25, 1959. He announced his intention to convoke a council for the Universal Church. Without having very concrete ideas about the content of the council, Bl. John XXIII identified two objectives: an adaptation (aggiornamento) of the Church and of apostolate to a world undergoing great transformation, and a return to unity among Christians, which seems to be what the Pope thought would happen shortly. The council did not speak so much of the Church fighting against adversaries as it did of finding a way of expression in the world in which she lived and seemed to ignore.”

“Although the council in a sense sharpened and prolonged divisions, it persevered important points in the Christian tradition and will, hopefully, benefit and enrich reunion between churches in the end

These comments, written by Norman P. Tanner, about the Council of Trent

“Instead of beginning with the Pope and working downwards, the approach was humbler and ‘more from below’. The Church is defined primarily as a mystery and as the ‘Peoples of God’ in the first two chapters. The hierarchical church of the pope and bishops is there in chapter 3, but comes after the first two chapters.”  Written by Norman P. Tanner on Vatican Council II.

Primary Documents of Vatican II

The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church: “Lumen Gentium”

Decree on the Apostolate of the Lay People: Apostolicam actusoitatem”

Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World: “Gaudium et spes

Constitution on the sacred Liturgy: “Sacrosanctum concillium”

Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation: “Die Verbum”

The Primary effects of Vatican II

Having lived through this Council [I graduated high school in 1963]; and having read all of the Conciliar and post Conciliar documents of Vatican II [a few, multiple times], it seems to ME, that the comments of Professor Tanner on Trent, aptly apply to Vatican II, where no new Church teachings were evident; yet “through the seemingly ominous-ever-present ‘Spirit of Vatican II’,” spawned a revolt in a duplicitous manner that aimed to make our Catholic churches and our sacred Liturgy much more accommodating, and more similar to non-Catholic faiths, and through the then, USCCB [United States Conference of Catholic Bishops]; now called the NCCB [National Conference of Catholic Bishops], a Booklet entitled “Environment and Art in Catholic Worship”; was widely, and “with authority,”  promulgated as being “a mandate of Vatican II,” when in reality it was released by a sub-committee of the USCCB, and was never even presented for a vote to the entire body of Bishops, and yet it had the force of “I Want” behind it, and the face of Catholic-Worship in America was dramatically changed.  “Innovations” such as the removal of Communion rails, Priest-celebrants facing the people, Mass entirely in English [some Latin was to be retained], Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist [now so  very Ordinary], and Holy Communion, Jesus Himself  being received in our hands rather than on our tongues, are some of these innovations, never pre-approved by Rome, and still in place today; as Rome was forced to issue “Indults,” which are approved by Rome exceptions to the Norms of the Universal Catholic Church, to accommodate changes not desired, and not, as is essential; preapproved by Rome, because they were too wide spread and ingrained not too.

Pope John XXIII desired change in the Liturgy. Exactly what he envisioned is not known, Pope Paul VI had more influence than his predecessor on what Vatican II would be permitted to accomplish; which essentially was minimal changes to the sacred Liturgy,

This position was not popular, as there were many seeking changes far beyond what Vatican II actually proposed, but as all changes that “touch on the Sacred Liturgy,” in an absolute sense “have to be” preapproved by Rome, which were not forthcoming in the manner desired,  by the  “I Want” camp; an internal struggle was to ensue, and innovations ruled the day.

CIC: THE ROMAN CURIA

Can. 360 The Supreme Pontiff usually conducts the affairs of the universal Church through the Roman Curia which performs its function in his name and by his authority for the good and service of the churches. The Roman Curia consists of the Secretariat of State or the Papal Secretariat, the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church, congregations, tribunals, and other institutes; the constitution and competence of all these are defined in special law.

 

CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP AND THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SACRAMENT

INSTRUCTION

Redemptionis Sacramentum

On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist

Chapter I

THE REGULATION OF THE SACRED LITURGY

[14.] “The regulation of the Sacred Liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, which rests specifically with the Apostolic See and, according to the norms of law, with the Bishop.

[15.] The Roman Pontiff, “the Vicar of Christ and the Pastor of the universal Church on earth, by virtue of his supreme office enjoys full, immediate and universal ordinary power, which he may always freely exercise”, also by means of communication with the pastors and with the members of the flock.

[16.] “It pertains to the Apostolic See to regulate the Sacred Liturgy of the universal Church, to publish the liturgical books and to grant the recognitio for their translation into vernacular languages, as well as to ensure that the liturgical regulations, especially those governing the celebration of the most exalted celebration of the Sacrifice of the Mass, are everywhere faithfully observed”.

[17.] “The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments attends to those matters that pertain to the Apostolic See as regards the regulation and promotion of the Sacred Liturgy, and especially the Sacraments, with due regard for the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It fosters and enforces sacramental discipline, especially as regards their validity and their licit celebration”. Finally, it “carefully seeks to ensure that the liturgical regulations are observed with precision, and that abuses are prevented or eliminated whenever they are detected”. In this regard, according to the tradition of the universal Church, pre-eminent solicitude is accorded the celebration of Holy Mass, and also to the worship that is given to the Holy Eucharist even outside Mass.

[18.] Christ’s faithful have the right that ecclesiastical authority should fully and efficaciously regulate the Sacred Liturgy lest it should ever seem to be “anyone’s private property, whether of the celebrant or of the community in which the mysteries are celebrated”.

  1. 1978: Pope John Paul II is elected Pope

He was the first Polish Pope, and the first non-Italian pope elected in 450 year. And upon his death in 2005, millions of pilgrims from throughout the word came to pay their respects to the now Saint John Paul II.

Pope John Paul was a mighty teacher and a prolific author.

  1. 2005: Pope Benedict XVI is elected. [Cardinal Ratzinger]

As a Cardinal, Ratzinger was the “watch dog” Prefect for the “Doctrine of Faith,” under Pope John Paul II.

And like John Paul II, he endeavored to minimize the unauthorized changes inflicted upon our sacred Liturgy. One of the most significant accomplishments was to authorize the now termed “Extraordinary” form of the Mass [The Latin Mass] to be freely said by any priest inclined to do so without, the previous permission of their Bishops.  … In line with this was a mandate to train all future priest in the Latin Language; which had fallen to a state of rare use, and knowledge  of it.

  1. 2013: Pope Benedict, still is reasonably good health, shocked the world by resigning the Papacy.
  2. 2013: Jorge Bergollo is elected as Pope Francis.

He is the first from Latin America, and the first from the “Society of Jesus,” that we call “Jesuits”.

Compiling our 2,000 year history from Jesus to “Francis” in these few pages really does an injustice to our church. However, as I said, I teach Catholicism, not history. I pray that the sites I made you aware of will, to a large degree, correct that shortcoming.

God Bless you,

Patrick

Escaping the Cross: The Ugliest Temptation by JOHN A. PERRICONE: re-blogged  

 

 

Escaping the Cross: The Ugliest Temptation

  1. JOHN A. PERRICONE

 Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Protestants are spending their Sunday mornings in football size stadiums. Not for sports, but to listen to their ministers preach the “Gospel of Success.” This new twist on the holy gospels renders the revelation of Our Lord as a guarantee of prosperity, good fortune, and freedom from pain and suffering. Quite attractive, no doubt, but quite wrong. Without doubting the sincerity or good will of these likely fervent believers, this so-called “Gospel of Success” is as far from the truth of the gospels as astrology is from astronomy. Our Lord did not walk among us and then die on Calvary to save us from suffering, but to save us from sin. No doubt Christ wills the relief of suffering, his miracles attest to that. But those are effusions of his pity, quite accidental to the utterly consuming point of his Divine Mission to redeem us from our sins. Why else would he scold, “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign” (Matt. 16:4)? Christ’s gospel is exquisitely expressed when he cries out, alluding to his being mounted on the hill of Calvary, “And I, if I be lifted from the earth, will draw all things to myself” (John 12:32). Hardly a gospel of the Fortune 500.

A gripping lesson is to be learned from the Domine Quo Vadis Church on the Via Appia just outside of Rome. According to tradition this church is built on or near the place where St. Peter had a brief encounter with Our Lord. St. Peter was fleeing the great persecution of Christians that had been ordered by Nero. As he hurried from the perils of the slaughter, he saw Our Lord walking toward Rome. St. Peter queried the Savior, “Domine, quo vadis?” (“O Lord, where are you going?”), to which Our Savior replied, “I am returning to Rome to be crucified again.” With bitter recollections of his first betrayal, he suddenly appreciated what he was about to do a second time. He turned on his heel and returned to Rome. Soon he suffered his own crucifixion, but only after begging executioners that his cross be planted upside down. He understood his unworthiness to die in the position of his Redeemer.

Escape from the cross runs deeply within the spiritual bones of each of us. Even the best of us. Our life is such that at every turn we find the sacrifice of the Cross, confronting us with the choice of embracing it or not. Struggle against our sins, there we face the wood of the Cross. Honestly addressing our weaknesses and defects without excuse, again, the sacrifice of the Cross. Fulfilling the duties to our state in life with fidelity and love is always a matter of the Cross. Exercising Holy Charity, especially to those who show us none, sorely try our patience or treat us disgracefully, most certainly entails the heroic sacrifices of the Cross. Weariness and complacency invades the souls of all of us, and each time, in each instance, the Cross summons us. Man is capable of devising the most ingenuous strategies to escape the Cross. A simple examination of conscience makes that crystal clear. But escaping the Cross is always escaping Christ.

We take all consolation from the mercy of Christ. To this Divine Mercy we all rush. Nothing less than doom awaits us without our Savior’s mercy. But his mercy is the Cross. Some speak of mercy of Christ as though it is a detour around the Cross. Some kind of supernatural exemption from the agony of having to change our lives and conform to the Holy Will of God. This is a caricature of the Savior’s mercy, robbing it of its infinite richness and depth. Our Lord’s mercy is offered to us as the firm assurance that we need not fear approaching him. Yes, covered in our sins, sometimes even with a lingering affection for them. Still, Our Lord’s arms are outstretched, as if begging. All that is necessary is “O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee” on our lips, knees bent in contrition before the priest, and a heart filled with purpose of amendment. Instantly,{Sacramental Confession} Christ’s mercy covers us like a summer shower, drenching us with the confidence that we can become saints for “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:38). After all, if a thief could steal Heaven, why can’t we?

For the Romans, so expert in the art of grotesque executions, the Cross was the end. For Christ, and for us, it is a beginning. We do not bear its suffering for their own sake, but for the sake of winning a happiness “that eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for them that love him” (I Cor. 2:9).

God does not will suffering for us, but eternal bliss. But for us “poor children of Eve,” burdened by the effects of Original Sin, bliss can only come through the wood of the Cross. Ave Crux, unica spes (“Hail the Cross, our only hope!”) as the ancient prayer of the Church declares.

Yes, we must always be wary of the ugliest temptation: wanting heaven on earth. Happiness without a price. Christ without the Cross. Just recently a prominent Catholic congratulated a celebrity athlete on his public admission of a profound moral disorder. However noble his intention, it left the impression that it is possible to be good without being good. Oh my, Christ without a Cross. How often political systems have tried state programs that would guarantee heaven on earth: happiness without paying the price. Shades of Christ without the Cross. St. Thomas More once wrote a political treatise on a country where everyone was always happy. He titled it Utopia, which is the Greek work for “nowhere.” Few have grasped the irony. Commenting upon the political temptation to creating a state where everyone earns the same, enjoys equal amounts of happiness, and no one ever has to work “too hard,” the political philosopher Donoso Cortes remarked, “Imagined utopias always become real hells.”

Catholics must ever by wary of the ugliest temptation. Christ cannot be loved without the Cross. We must never try to find heaven in this world of ours, the “vale of tears.” The only place we will ever find Heaven is in Heaven. END QUOTES

Editor’s note: Pictured above is a detail of “Domine Quo Vadis?” painted by Giovanni Odazzi, c. 1690-5.

Tagged as CrossLentprosperity gospelrepentanceutopia

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By Fr. John A. Perricone

Fr. John A. Perricone, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York. His articles have appeared in St. John’s Law Review, The Latin Mass, New Oxford Review and The Journal of Catholic Legal Studies

THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS: re-blogged

 

THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS

http://www.jesuschristsavior.net/Sacraments.html

 “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all.”
First Letter of Paul to Timothy 2:5

A sacrament is an outward efficacious sign instituted by Christ to give grace. Jesus Christ himself is the sacrament, as he gave his life to save mankind. His humanity is the outward sign or the instrument of his Divinity. It is through his humanity that the life of the Trinity comes to us as grace through the sacraments. It is Jesus Christ alone who mediates the sacraments to allow grace to flow to mankind.

Christ sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to inspire his Apostles and his Church to shepherd his flock after his Ascension into heaven. “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (John 17:18, 20:21). Jesus is the Head of his Body the Church (Colossians 1:18). The Church itself is a sacrament instituted by Christ to give grace. Jesus gave us his Body the Church to continue the works he performed during his earthly life. Grace given to us through the sacraments will help us lead a good life in this world and help save us for the Kingdom of Heaven.

The sacraments were instituted by Christ and were part of the Tradition of the early Christian Church. The Church celebrates in her liturgy the Paschal mystery of Christ, his Passion, Sacrifice on the Cross, Resurrection, and Glorious Ascension. The Greek word μυστήριον or mystery in the Greek New Testament is translated into sacramentum in the Latin Vulgate Bible, from which we derive our English word sacrament (examples: Ephesians 1:9, Ephesians 3:9, Colossians 1:27). The saving effects of Christ’s Redemption on the Cross are communicated through the sacraments, especially in the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist. The sacraments to this day are called mysteries in the Eastern Churches.

Catholic as well as Eastern Orthodox Churches all recognize the seven sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. The three sacraments of Christian Initiation are Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. The two sacraments of Healing are Penance and the Anointing of the Sick, and the two sacraments of Vocation are Holy Orders and Marriage. Three sacraments, Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, are given once, as they render a permanent seal or character upon one’s soul (2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Ephesians 4:30, Revelations 7:3).

The Gospel of Mark 5:25-34 describes a woman afflicted with hemorrhage who touched the cloak of Jesus and was immediately healed. There is a fourth century fresco painting in the catacomb of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter depicting this event, which serves as an apt symbol of Sacrament – the power that flows out from the body of Jesus, in order to effect both remission of sin and new life in Christ. The fresco image frames Part II of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Liturgy and the Sacraments, The Celebration of the Christian Mystery. St. Thomas Aquinas, in the Summa Theologica, has written the standard exposition on the Seven Sacraments.

Each sacrament consists of a visible external rite, which is composed of matter and form, the matter being the action, such as the pouring of water in baptism, and the form being the words spoken by the minister. Each sacramental rite confers a special ecclesial effect and sacramental grace appropriate for each sacrament. The sacraments occur at pivotal events and give meaning to a person’s life.

The sacraments act ex opere operato, by the very fact of the action being performed, independent of the minister. The effect on the person receiving the sacrament is called ex opere operantis, and depends on the interior disposition of the receiver.

Grace is a favor, the free and undeserved gift from God through Christ Jesus, to help us respond to his call to become children of God, to become partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life. Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is a participation in the life of God and is necessary for salvation.

This page will include a brief introduction and some Scriptural sources for each Sacrament.

“And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.”
Gospel of John 1:14

They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus,
whom God set forth as an expiation, through faith, by his blood,
to prove his righteousness because of the forgiveness of sins previously committed,
through the forbearance of God – to prove his righteousness in the present time,
that he might be righteous and justify the one who has faith in Jesus.
Letter of St. Paul to the Romans 3:24-26

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.
In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions,
in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.
In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery
of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him
as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.
Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians 1:3-10

BAPTISM

Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, as we are born of the water and the Spirit. Baptism is necessary for salvation (John 3:5), and conveys a permanent sign that the new Christian is a child of God. Jesus himself was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist (Mark 1:9-11). The martyr St. Ignatius of Antioch, in his Letter to the Ephesians written about 100 AD, stated that Jesus “Christ was baptized, that by himself submitting he might purify the water.” Baptism is prefigured in the Old Testament through the saving of Noah and his family during the Flood (Genesis 7:12-23, 1 Peter 3:20-21), and Moses crossing of the Red Sea during the Exodus, leaving captivity for the Promised Land (Exodus 14:1-22).

The Greek word baptizein means to “immerse, plunge, or dip.” The infant or candidate is anointed with the oil of catechumens, followed by the parents, godparents, or candidate making the profession of faith. The essential rite of Baptism consists of the minister immersing the baby or person in water or pouring water on his head, while pronouncing “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” The infant or candidate is then anointed with sacred chrism.

What has taken place in Baptism is indicated by the rites that follow it, the clothing in the white garment and giving of the lighted candle: the baptized person has “put on Christ” and has now become light. Here are three Scriptural sources in the New Testament (See also Matthew 3:13-17, Luke 3:21-22; Acts 1:21-22; Romans 6:3-4; Ephesians 4:5; Colossians 2:11-13, I Peter 3:21):

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
Gospel of Matthew 28:19-20

“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee
and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened
and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove;
and a voice came from heaven,
“Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.”
Gospel of Mark 1:9-11

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit,
he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
Gospel of John 3:5

CONFIRMATION

Confirmation (or Chrismation) is the Sacrament of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit whom Christ Jesus sent (John 7:37-39, 16:7). Jesus instructed his Apostles that “you will receive the power of the Holy Spirit” and called upon the Apostles to be his “witnesses” to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). At the Pentecost, the Apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4), and began to spread the Word of God. The Acts of the Apostles is often called the Gospel of the Holy Spirit. St. Cyril of Jerusalem wrote of Baptism, Eucharist, and this sacrament in the mid-fourth century AD.

The rite of Confirmation is anointing the forehead with chrism, together with the laying on of the minister’s hands and the words, “Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.” The recipient receives the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2-3). On occasion one may receive one or more of the charismatic gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).

The ecclesial effect and sacramental grace of the sacrament give the recipient the strength and character to witness for Jesus Christ. The East continues the tradition of the early Christian Church by administering the sacrament with Baptism. Confirmation in the West is administered by the Bishop to children from age 7 to 18, but generally to adolescents, for example, to a graduating class of grade school children. Key Scriptural sources for Confirmation are the following (See also John 16:7, Acts 1:4-5, 2:1-4, 2:38, 10:44-48):

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together
And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.
Acts of the Apostles 2:1-4

“Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God,
they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit;
for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.”
Acts of the Apostles 8:14-17

“While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus.
There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
And they said, “No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.”
And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance,
telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.”
On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them;
and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”
Acts of the Apostles 19:1-6

THE EUCHARIST

Eucharistia means thanksgiving, and the Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life.” St. Justin Martyr described the Eucharistic Liturgy in 155 AD in his First Apology. The Paschal mystery of Christ is celebrated in the liturgy of the Mass (or Divine Liturgy in the East), which consists of the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the principal sacramental celebration of the Church, established by Jesus at the Last Supper, in which the mystery of our salvation through participation in the sacrificial death, Resurrection, and Glorious Ascension of Christ is renewed and accomplished. The word “Mass” comes from the Latin missa, as it refers to the mission or sending forth of the faithful following the celebration, so that they may fulfill God’s will in their daily lives.

The essential signs of the sacrament are wheat bread and grape wine, on which the blessing of the Holy Spirit is invoked during the Sacrifice of the Mass, and the priest pronounces the words of consecration spoken by Jesus at the Last Supper: “This is my body…This is the cup of my blood…” (Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:19-20, First Corinthians 11:23-26).

Jesus died once on the cross in sacrifice for our sins (Hebrews 9:25-28). But Jesus is present for all time, as he is the eternal Son of God. What he did once in history also then exists for all eternity. What happened in time goes beyond time. In the heart of Jesus he is always giving himself to the Father for us, as he did on the Cross. When we celebrate the Mass, the sacrifice of the cross, that happened once in history but is present for all eternity, that same reality is made present in mystery.

The bread and wine through Transubstantiation become the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, and we receive the Real Presence of Jesus when we receive Holy Communion. Our soul is nourished, helping us to become like Christ. The Eucharist is the heart and source of community within the Church. Receiving Holy Communion with others during the Mass brings unity of the Church, the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 10:16-17).

Then he took the bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them, saying,
“This is my body, which will be given for you;
do this in memory of me.”
And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.”
Gospel of Luke 22:19-20

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven;
if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever;
and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
Gospel of John 6:51

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you,
that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread;
and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said,
“This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in My blood;
do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians 11:23-26

CONFESSION

Jesus Christ gave his Apostles the power to forgive sins. The Sacrament is also known as the Sacrament of Conversion, Forgiveness, Penance, or Reconciliation.

During the persecution of the Roman Emperor Decius (249-251), many Christians left the Church rather than suffer martyrdom. The martyr St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, allowed apostates the Sacrament of Confession, as recorded in his Letter De Lapsis(The Lapsed) in 251.

The sacrament involves three steps: the penitent’s contrition or sorrow for his sins, the actual confession to a priest and absolution, and then penance or restitution for your sins. The experience leads one to an interior conversion of the heart. Jesus describes the process of conversion and penance in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-24).

The penitent confesses his sins to the priest in the confessional, and the priest then gives absolution to the repentant soul, making the Sign of the Cross, and saying the words ” I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” It is Christ Jesus through the priest who forgives your sins. As the penitent must make restitution or satisfaction for his sins, the priest gives a penance to the forgiven one, usually prayer, fasting, or almsgiving (I Peter 4:8).

Confession gives one a wonderful sense of freedom and peace from the burden of sin. Sorrow, affliction, and a desire for conversion follow the remorse of sin in those with a contrite heart. Some believe we can confess our sins privately to God. But man is a social being. The humbling experience of unburdening your soul to someone, of exposing your weak nature, and then being accepted for who you are and what you have done by having your sins forgiven brings one an incredible sense of relief! The experience brings a sense of gratitude to our generous Lord for his love, compassion and mercy.

As one is to be in the state of grace before receiving Holy Communion, the child makes his first Confession before his first Communion, generally at the age of reason. Here are three Scriptural references on Penance (See also Matthew 16:18-19, Luke 24:46-47, Acts 2:38):

“When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
“Child, your sins are forgiven…
But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth,
he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”
Gospel of Mark 2:1-10

“Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father who sent me, even so I send you.
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven.
If you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
Gospel of John 20:21-23

“And all this is from God,
who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation.”
The Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians 5:18

THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK

The Anointing of the Sick is the Sacrament given to seriously ill Christians, and the special graces received unite the sick person to the passion of Christ. The Sacrament consists of the anointing of the forehand and hands of the person with blessed oil, with the minister saying, “Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.”

Origen of Egypt in his Homilies on Leviticus described Anointing for healing the sick and forgiveness of sins in the third century. St. Thomas Aquinas stated that Extreme Unction, as the Anointing of the Sick was once called, is “a spiritual remedy, since it avails for the remission of sins, and therefore is a sacrament” (James 5:15). The ecclesial effect of this sacrament is incorporation into the healing Body of Christ, with a spiritual healing of the soul, and at times healing of the body. The sacramental grace helps us to accept sickness by uniting ourselves to the passion and death of Christ (Colossians 1:24) and the grace even to accept death if that is God’s will.

Jesus healed the blind and the sick, as well as commissioned his Apostles to do so, as in the following sources.

“And He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.
… So they (the Twelve Apostles) went off and preached repentance.
They drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.”
Gospel of Mark 6:7, 12-13

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh
I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.”
St. Paul to the Colossians 1:24

“Is any among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters of the Church, and let them pray over him,
anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;
and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up;
and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
James 5:14-15

HOLY ORDERS

The Sacrament of Holy Orders began with the Last Supper, when Christ Jesus commissioned his Apostles to continue the Eucharistic celebration. He also commissioned his Apostles following the Resurrection to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:8). Thomas Aquinas makes the point that only Christ is the true priest, the others serving as his ministers (Hebrews 8:4). St. Ignatius, Bishop of Syria around 100 AD, in his Letter to the Magnesians (6), established the hierarchy of bishop, priest, and deacon for the early Churches, the pattern which still exists today. Bishops are the successors of the Apostles, and priests and deacons are his assistants in rendering service. Men are ordained to the priesthood in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, as the sacrament confers upon the priest the character to act in the person of Christ – in persona Christi.

Holy Orders is the sacrament of Apostolic ministry. As in the Pastoral Epistles, the rite consists of the Bishop’s laying on of hands on the head of the priest-candidate with the consecrating prayer asking God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the gifts of the ministry. There are three dimensions to ministry, that of Bishop, Priesthood, and the Diaconate. See Matthew 16:18-19, John 21:15-17, Romans 10:14-15, 2 Timothy 1:6, and Titus 1:5 as well as the following:

“Do this in memory of me.”
Luke 22:19 and First Corinthians 11:25

“Now be solicitous for yourselves and for the whole flock in which
the Holy Spirit has appointed you as bishops to pasture the Church of God,
which He purchased with his own blood.”
Acts of the Apostles 20:28

“Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you,
which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance
with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.
First Letter of Paul to Timothy 4:14

“Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious;
and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood,
to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
First Peter 2:4-5

MARRIAGE

The union of a man and a woman is natural. The natural language of the human body is such that the man gives to the woman and the woman receives the man. The love and friendship between a man and a woman grow into a desire for marriage. The sacrament of marriage gives the couple the grace to grow into a union of heart and soul, to continue life, and to provide stability for themselves and their children. Children are the fruit and bond of a marriage.

The bond of marriage between a man and a woman lasts all the days of their lives, and the form of the rite consists of the mutual exchange of vows by a couple, both of whom have been baptized. The minister serves as a witness to the couple in the West, but serves as the actual minister of the rite in the East. The matter follows later through consummation of the marriage act.

Sacred Scripture begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God, and concludes with a vision of the “wedding-feast of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:7, 9). The bond of marriage is compared to God’s undying love for Israel in the Old Testament, and Christ’s love for his Church in the New Testament of the Bible.

Jesus stresses the significance of the marriage bond in his Ministry (Matthew 19:6, 8). The importance of marriage is substantiated by the presence of Christ at the wedding feast of Cana, where he began his public ministry at the request of his mother Mary by performing his first miracle (John 2). It is the Apostle Paul who calls matrimony a great sacrament or mystery, and who identifies the marriage of man and woman with the unity of Christ and his Church. The theologian Tertullian, the first Latin Father of the Church at the beginning of the third century AD, wrote on the Sacrament of Matrimony.

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.”
Genesis 2:24

“(Jesus) said in reply:
“Have you not read that He who made man from the beginning made them male and female?”
Matthew 19:4

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church.”
St. Paul to the Ephesians 5:25

“This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.
In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself,
and the wife should respect her husband.”
St. Paul to the Ephesians 5:32-33

END QUOTES

 

 

St. Therese of Lisieux, Pope Benedict & The Miracle at Lourdes V. TURLEY: re-blogged

 

 

St. Therese of Lisieux, Pope Benedict & The Miracle at Lourdes

  1. V. TURLEY

On the night I arrived at Lourdes, I made my way to an English language Mass. Facing the Grotto on the far side of the river Gave was a modern church, concrete and ascetically uninspiring, however, within minutes of walking into its packed auditorium a voice called my name, and turning I saw some familiar faces.

It was a family I had known back in England. They were not vacationing at Lourdes, just passing through, staying over the border in Spain. They were not supposed to have attended that particular Mass but somehow their plans had derailed and had ended up there nonetheless. And so we were reunited.

Afterwards we retired to a restaurant overlooking the Gave. The hostelry was an excellent choice: the food, the wine, the setting – but there proved to be another facet of that evening much more memorable.

The family consisted of two married lawyers with three small boys. He Catholic, she nominally Anglican – I say ‘nominal’ because they were married in a Catholic Church, the boys were brought up Catholic and she had attended Holy Mass faithfully throughout her married life, but still, inexplicably, she was not Catholic. When we lived in the same parish, I watched as she had attempted instruction not once but twice, only for it all to fall apart, and then she had left London to settle with her husband and family in Surrey. And that was that, or so I thought.

Now, reunited again by the river at Lourdes, the same river on whose banks St. Bernadette had had her visions in 1858, slowly and deliberately what had happened next was recounted to me…

***

It had all started with a French woman. She had died young, just twenty-four years old, and one who had barely left her small provincial town in Normandy. Her name: Therese Martin – also known as St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, Doctor of the Church. Her relics came to England in the fall of 2009, and as part of that tour they arrived at a small town in Kent. Our friends decided to go on pilgrimage there, not easy with three boys varying in ages from ten to two years old and combined with a car ride for hours. Inevitably, when they reached the church there was a queue; standing in line, they waited their turn. Hot and tired, the boys became restive. Finally, the family entered the church and there before them was a small casket holding the relics of the Carmelite saint. Whatever the boys’ expectations, it was not this – it appeared an anti-climax. Their mother was having none of it though, and ordered them to kneel down and pray, which they did. And, with that, they made to leave, but as they did so a stranger approached the mother. He had watched it all, and aware of what she had endured and how she had reacted said the following to her:

‘You will be given a gift from God for what you have done today…’

In the fall of 2010, Pope Benedict arrived in the United Kingdom to a nation indifferent if not openly hostile. Nevertheless, come he did, and like another Roman of old: came, saw and conquered — only this time it was the hearts of the British that were won.

For that occasion the boys were bundled onto a train bound for London as the family made its way to Hyde Park for Benediction at which the Pope was to preside.  I was also present that evening, albeit in a different part of the park, but still remember it as a night like no other.  I watched the huge television screens in the park as, past rows of sneering protesters, the Pope travelled serenely towards us as expectancy grew amongst the Faithful then corralled into the park by a heavy police presence. At last when he arrived, there followed the rising of the Monstrance. And as we fell to our knees in adoration of the Holy Eucharist, all London seemed to fall silent as a strange hush descended at that moment upon the city. And, then, as suddenly as he had arrived, he was gone.

The Faithful made their way back to underground train stations past rows of taunting malcontents but the vitriol made little difference such was the supernatural sense of wonder now held in our hearts.  This sense was no more pronounced than with that young mother for she too had watched the Pope arrive and ascend to the park’s temporary altar; she had watched as the Monstrance was taken in his hands and held aloft to London and to the World – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, as real as He who had hung upon the Cross outside another city. She had contemplated this living catechesis present before her eyes, and, with it, her heart dissolved, and as it did so she heard herself say: ‘What am I waiting for?’

A day or so later, a presbytery door was being hammered on. Surprised, the priest opened it.

‘I want to become a Catholic.’

‘Well, we have the RCIA [program for instruction]…’

‘No!’

The woman standing on that doorstep went on to tell him of her years married to a Catholic, the years of faithfully attending Holy Mass with her family, and her two abortive attempts at instruction… No, she wanted to be received into the Church – the Body of Christ: the same Body that had called to her when raised high by the Vicar of Christ himself in Hyde Park.

The priest explained he needed time, at least a little, to sort out practical matters. Nevertheless, a date was set a few weeks hence when the woman was to be received into the Church.

The night before the ceremony, however, something odd occurred. As she reached out for her copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church a card fell from it. Picking it from the floor, she beheld the face of St. Therese staring back at her. It was then she remembered the cryptic words spoken to her when the previous fall she had venerated that saint’s relics. She gazed at the card, then a thought struck her and as it did she glanced up at the calendar…

The date that had been fixed for her reception was one year after that fateful pilgrimage.

***

By now night was falling at Lourdes, and as it did so bells started calling pilgrims to the evening procession at the shrine, and so we too made our way to the Grotto.

Later, as my friends and I walked together in procession with thousands of others – sick and well, disabled and healthy, old and young – with candles held aloft, and the prayer of the Rosary rising ever higher into the night sky, I began to understand anew: this was indeed a place of miracles, and with some more mysterious than others if all the more beautiful for that. END QUOTES

How to Explain Those Ashes to Your Child MICHELE CHRONISTER: re-blogged Tomorrow is “Ash-Wednesday”

 

How to Explain Those Ashes to Your Child

MICHELE CHRONISTER

In the world of millennial Catholics, there is no more highly anticipated annual hashtag than “#ashtag.” (Unless, of course, you have given up social media for Lent.) I live in a very Catholic city, so it isn’t considered strange to walk around town with a smudge of ashes on your forehead. It’s not unusual to have someone see your ashes and remark, “Oh, that’s right! It’s Ash Wednesday! I have to get to church later!”

Even the least religious of adults can admit their failings and need for improvement. Ash Wednesday and Lent isn’t such a huge logical leap for adults, and it’s much easier to explain why adult Catholics need this reminder.

What is harder to explain is why babies and children need those ashes, too. I remember my oldest daughter’s first Ash Wednesday, and the little smear of ashes on her baby head. Of course, I thought it was adorable, but I also remember being struck by the implications of those ashes. Did I really just assent to and publicly declare by that assent that my sweet baby girl was “dust and to dust” she would one day return?

That little baby is receiving First Communion this year, and she understands what Ash Wednesday is now. But seeing those ashes on her little forehead (and on the little foreheads of her four-year-old and seven-month-old little sisters) is still cause for pause. It’s moments like that when I am reminded that we Catholics really are a little bit counter-cultural. Everyone else gushes about how sweet and innocent babies are…but we acknowledge that our babies are stained by original sin and that they will spend their lives struggling with concupiscence (i.e. the propensity to sin). (Of course, we also believe that those same babies of ours are called to be great saints and one day experience perfect union with God in heaven, so there’s that.)

So how do we explain those ashes to our children? “Mommy and Daddy know you need that reminder that you are a sinner from the start.” Nope. “Mommy and Daddy want you to remember that one day you will die and turn into ashes and dirt.” Ummm…not quite. What do we say?

We begin by sharing with our children the story of Adam and his creation by God. God formed him from the clay of the earth, and so Adam is formed of dust and dirt. It isn’t until God breathes life into Adam that Adam becomes human, made in the image and likeness of God.

So, the origin of humanity is dust. Without God we are but dust.

This is what our bodies are destined for. We believe that, one day, Jesus will come again. When he does, he will raise our bodies up and glorify them, reuniting our souls (which can be in heaven prior to that) and our bodies.

But until then, when we die, and our bodies are buried, they will eventually become dust again — just like Adam was before God made him.

But why would we want to be reminded of that? Why would we want to remind our children of that? Doesn’t that sound morbid?

Before I explain that further, let me point you to an old trend in the Catholic world, one that has recently seen a resurgence (on social media, actually!) — the “Momento Mori,” loosely translated “reminder of death/mortality.” This age-old practice usually involves the placement of a skull somewhere – on one’s desk, etc. The idea is that, in acknowledging our mortality, there is a freedom. When we are free to face death, we are free to hope in the resurrection. We are free to say, “O death, where is your victory?!”

So, back to our children and their questions about ashes. Being reminded of our eventual death can seem scary, until we are reminded that Jesus has already conquered death. As we say in our family, “Jesus already defeated the scary things!”

So, we receive these ashes on our forehead to remind ourselves that we are but dust, and that it is God’s life in us that makes us more than dust and ashes. But we also remember that that means that we are little and weak. We are but dust, and we need God’s grace to free us from the ashes.

This is why we begin Lent with ashes, to remember who we are without God’s breath giving us life. On our own, we are but dust and ashes. We need God.

The ashes remind us that we need God’s grace, but they also remind us that one day we will die. However, given to us in the context of Lent, they remind us that death isn’t the end of the story.  With God’s life in us, we don’t need to fear death. We can live in hope of the resurrection. First, there will be the resurrection of our souls, i.e. our souls can go to heaven (and purgatory, but that’s a can of worms for a different day). Then, one day, Jesus will come again and glorify our bodies. When he does this, body and soul will be reunited, and we will live forever.

(On a funny note, ever since losing our third child to miscarriage, my older daughters have been fascinated by the glorification of the body and it factors frequently into their conversation. Of special concern to my four-year-old is whether Jesus will let her have all her stuffed animals in heaven/at the glorification of the bodies. I may have studied theology, but I tell her there are some things we just can’t know.)

 

So, despite seeming morbid, those ashes really aren’t. They are a reminder of who we are without God, but they are also a reminder that we are not without God. As we turn from sin and embrace God’s gift of grace, we can begin to look forward – with hope! – to the resurrection. END QUOTES

(For more on this, here’s a little piece I wrote about teaching sensitive children about Lent, from back when my oldest child was a toddler.)

image: Ash Wednesday by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. / Flickr

Tagged as: ash wednesdayLentParenting

When Jesus Asks: ‘What Are You Looking For?’ by STEPHEN BEALE: re-blogged

 

 

When Jesus Asks: ‘What Are You Looking For?’

STEPHEN BEALE

In context, it’s easy to miss the question.

Jesus is departing, after meeting his cousin John and being baptized by him. He notices two disciples following Him. Jesus turns around and asks what most people would in that situation: “What are you looking for?” (John 1:38).

What are you looking for? What are we looking for today?

The question jumps out at us when we reread the verse. Its position in the opening narrative of John is significant. Preceding it is John’s majestic prologue retelling the genealogy of Christ in cosmic terms, followed by the account of his earthly forerunner, John the Baptist, and concluding with the baptism of Jesus.

So the question Jesus poses to his disciples contains His first words in the entire gospel (as this commentator observes). It marks the very beginning of His ministry.

What are you looking for?

I propose that the entire gospel of John can, in a way, be read as a series of responses to this question.

Are you looking for bread, for the basic needs of life? Jesus is the bread (John 6:35).

In fact, Jesus has a very distinctive way of offering Himself up as the bread. Jesus doesn’t say He will provide bread. He doesn’t say He is like bread. He actually says, “I am the bread of life.” There are up to ten such ‘I am’ statements in the Gospel of John. Each of these can be read in a similar manner:

Are you looking for enlightenment? I am the light (John 8:12).

Are you looking for hope in the darkness of this world? I am the light of the world(John 8:12).

Are you looking for the way to live? I am the way. (John 14:6).

Are you looking for the truth? I am … the truth (John 14:6).

Are you looking for an abundance of life? I am … the life (John 14:6).

Are you looking for meaning in the face of death? I am the resurrection (John 11:25).

Are you hoping for life after death? I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25).

Some of the other ‘I am’ statements must be read more metaphorically, but they nonetheless have meaning for us today.

A sense of belonging

In John 10:14, Jesus identifies Himself as the Good Shepherd. As Pope Benedict XVI notes in his book, Jesus of Nazareth, in the Greek the sheep are identified as belonging to the shepherd. But they belong not in the same way that a possession belongs to its owner. As Benedict explains,

The true shepherd does not ‘possess’ the sheep as if they were a thing to be used and consumed; rather, they ‘belong’ to him, in the context of their knowing each other, and this ‘knowing’ is an inner acceptance. It signifies an inner belonging that goes much deeper than the possession of things (Jesus of Nazareth, 281).

A desire for communion

A closely related set of images comes five chapters later, when Jesus declares Himself as the true vine with the Father as the vinedresser. This metaphor recalls the bridal imagery of Song of Songs and the Eucharistic wine, a recurrent theme of John. Together, these themes combine to drive home the message that just as Christ has identified Himself with humanity through the Incarnation so we in turn are called to unite ourselves with Him. As Jesus says in verse 4, Abide in me and I in you. (I’m again indebted to Pope Benedict’s treatment of this topic in Jesus of Nazareth, 248-263).

Deliverance from evil

In addition to being the shepherd, Jesus is also the gate to the sheepfold. In John 10, this imagery emphasizes the way in which Christ saves us from evil:

So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep.

All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.

I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:7-10).

Here deliverance from evil is paired with its opposite: participation in the good, which Aristotle defined as ‘human flourishing.’ That is clearly promised here: ‘I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.’ (Another source for this section is this outline, which has a breakdown of additional possible spiritual meanings for the ‘I am’ statements.)

Seeking God

Ultimately, of course, what we should seek is God. The above ‘I am’ statements confirm that Jesus is the way to God and is God. These statements do this in a double move. First, they allude back to Exodus 3:14 where God reveals Himself as ‘I am Who I am’—self-existent Being. Second, they also set up a contrast between Jesus and the Egyptian God Isis, for whom a similar set of ‘I am’ statements existed. The point here is that Jesus is the true God, as opposed to the false God of Isis. (For a source on this, see this scholarly introduction to the New Testament.)

Jesus is the destination for all desire because He is God. Not all of us realize that the end of all our seeking is God, but one way or another, all paths lead to God. There is one way—Jesus—but there are many ways to Jesus.

Whatever you are seeking, whether the bare necessities of life, a sense of belonging and meaning, life after death, or the truth about the universe, the answer rests in Jesus, Who is God-made-man. End Quotes

What are you looking for? End quotes

image: Tama66 via Pixabay / CC0 creative commons

Tagged as: Gospel of Johnjesus

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By Stephen Beale

Stephen Beale is a freelance writer based in Providence, Rhode Island. Raised as an evangelical Protestant, he is a convert to Catholicism. He is a former news editor at GoLocalProv.com and was a correspondent for the New Hampshire Union Leader, where he covered the 2008 presidential primary. He has appeared on Fox News, C-SPAN and the Today Show and his writing has been published in the Washington Times, Providence Journal, the National Catholic Register and on MSNBC.com and ABCNews.com. A native of Topsfield, Massachusetts, he graduated from Brown University in 2004 with a degree in classics and history. His areas of interest include Eastern Christianity, Marian and Eucharistic theology, medieval history, and the saints. He welcomes tips, suggestions, and any other feedback at bealenews at gmail dot com. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/StephenBeale1