The Church that Morphed … So what’s up with non-Catholics-lack of understanding? Another: I AM A Catholic Lesson This part assembled by Patrick Miron BEGINNING OF PART 3

 

The Church that Morphed

So what’s up with non-Catholics-lack of understanding?

Another: I AM A Catholic Lesson

This part assembled by Patrick Miron

BEGINNING OF PART 3

[QUOTE] Constantine the Great

Religious policy

Constantine is perhaps best known for being the first Christian Roman emperor; his reign was certainly a turning point for the Church. In February 313, Constantine met with Licinius in Milan where they developed the Edict of Milan. The edict stated that Christians should be allowed to follow the faith of their choosing.[ This removed penalties for professing Christianity (under which many had been martyred in previous persecutions of Christians) and returned confiscated Church property. The edict did not only protect Christians from religious persecution, but all religions, allowing anyone to worship whichever deity they chose. A similar edict had been issued in 311 by Galerius, then senior emperor of the Tetrarchy; Galerius’ edict granted Christians the right to practice their religion but did not restore any property to them. The Edict of Milan included several clauses which stated that all confiscated churches would be returned as well as other provisions for previously persecuted Christians.

Scholars debate whether Constantine adopted his mother St. Helena’s Christianity {Catholicism} in his youth, or whether he adopted it gradually over the course of his life. Constantine would retain the title of pontifex maximus until his death, a title emperors bore as heads of the pagan priesthood, as would his Christian successors on to Gratian (r. 375–83).

According to Christian writers, Constantine was over 40 when he finally declared himself a Christian, writing to Christians to make clear that he believed he owed his successes to the protection of the Christian High God alone. Throughout his rule, Constantine supported the Church financially, built basilicas, granted privileges to clergy (e.g. exemption from certain taxes), promoted Christians to high office, and returned property confiscated during the Diocletianic persecution. His most famous building projects include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Old Saint Peter’s Basilica.

Constantine did not patronize Christianity alone, however. After gaining victory in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312), a triumphal arch—the Arch of Constantine—was built (315) to celebrate it; the arch is decorated with images of Victoria and sacrifices to gods like Apollo, Diana, or Hercules, but contains no Christian symbolism.

In 321, Constantine instructed that Christians and non-Christians should be united in observing the venerable day of the sun, referencing the esoteric eastern sun-worship which Aurelian had helped introduce, and his coinage still carried the symbols of the sun cult until 324. Even after the pagan gods had disappeared from the coinage, Christian symbols appeared only as Constantine’s personal attributes: the chi rho between his hands or on his labarum, but never on the coin itself. Even when Constantine dedicated the new capital of Constantinople, which became the seat of Byzantine Christianity for a millennium, he did so wearing the Apollonian sun-rayed Diadem.

Constantine burning Arian books

The reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the emperor as having some influence within the religious discussions going on within the Catholic Church of that time, e.g., the dispute over Arianism. Constantine himself disliked the risks to societal stability that religious disputes and controversies brought with them, preferring where possible to establish an orthodoxy. The emperor saw it as his duty to ensure that God was properly worshiped in his empire, and that what proper worship consisted would be determined by the Church. In 316, Constantine acted as a judge in a North African dispute concerning the validity of Donatism. After deciding against the Donatists, Constantine led an army of Christians against the Donatist Christians. After 300 years of pacifism, this was the first intra-Christian persecution. More significantly, in 325 he summoned the Council of Nicaea, effectively the first Ecumenical Council (unless the Council of Jerusalem is so classified). [It’s NOT]  Nicaea was dealt mostly with Arianism. Constantine also enforced the prohibition of the First Council of Nicaea against celebrating the Lord’s Supper on the day before the Jewish Passover (14 Nisan) (see Quartodecimanism and Easter controversy).

Definition added  from catholic Dictionary by me….{PJM}

DONATISM. “Originally a schism and then a heresy of the fourth and fifth centuries, claiming that the validity of the sacraments depends on the moral character of the minister; also that sinners cannot be members of the Church, nor can they be tolerated by the true Church if their sins are publicly known. The Donatists came into existence in Africa during the disorders following the persecution under Diocletian (245-313). A man named Caecilian was consecrated Bishop of Carthage in A.D. 311, but a group of rigorists claimed that he was not a valid bishop because his consecrator, Felix of Aptunga, had been a traditor, i.e., an apostate. The objectors were supported by the bishops of Numidia, who proceeded to consecrate Majorinus as a rival to Caecilian. Majorinus was soon afterward succeeded by Donatus (fourth century), from whom the movement took its name. The claims of the sect were condemned by Pope Miltiades (310-14), and by the Council of Arles (314). When civil authority also opposed the Donatists, their churches were seized and many were exiled. Yet Donatism did not disappear until the Moslem invasion of Africa in the seventh century.”

Edict of Milan

The Edict of Milan (Edictum Mediolanense) was a letter signed by emperors Constantine I and Licinius that proclaimed religious toleration in the Roman Empire. The letter was issued in AD 313, shortly after the conclusion of the Diocletianic Persecution.

 

History

The Edict of Milan was issued in AD 313, in the names of the Emperor Constantine, who ruled the western parts of the empire, and Licinius, who ruled the East. The two Augusti were in Milan to celebrate the wedding of Constantine’s younger half-sister Constantia with Licinius.

Versions of the edict’s text were preserved in Eusebius’ Eccesiastical History and, more completely and accurately, in Lactantius’ On the Deaths of the Persecutors, written before 315.

Wherefore, for this our indulgence, they ought to pray to their God for our safety, for that of the republic, and for their own, that the commonwealth may continue uninjured on every side, and that they may be able to live securely in their homes.

Their confiscated property, however, was not restored until the Edict of Milan was signed. The Christians’ meeting places and other properties were to be returned:

…the same shall be restored to the Christians without payment or any claim of recompense and without any kind of fraud or deception…

It directed the provincial magistrates to execute this order at once with all energy, so that public order may be restored and the continuance of the Divine favor may “preserve and prosper our successes together with the good of the state.”

Since the Edict was composed for publication in the east by Licinius, on his hoped for victory over Maximinus, it was expressive of the religious policy accepted by Licinius, a pagan, rather than that of Constantine, already a committed Christian. Constantine’s own policy went beyond tolerating Christianity: he tolerated paganism, but Christianity he actively promoted.

During the reign of the Emperor Constantine the Great, Christianity became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire. Constantine, also known as Constantine I, had a significant religious experience following his victory at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312. Historians remain uncertain about Constantine’s reasons for favoring Christianity, and theologians and historians have argued about which form of Christianity he converted to, a question that bears on the legitimation of religious persecution. He is revered as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodox Church for his example as a “Christian monarch.” END QUOTES

Early Christian {THAT means CATHOLIC} Bibles

Main article: Fifty Bibles of Constantine

In 331, Constantine commissioned Eusebius to deliver fifty Bibles for the Church of Constantinople. Athanasius (Apol. Const. 4) recorded Alexandrian scribes around 340 preparing Bibles for Constans. Little else is known. It has been speculated that this may have provided motivation for canon lists, and that Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus are examples of these Bibles. Together with the Peshitta and Codex Alexandrinus, these are the earliest extant Christian Bibles.

The Elevation of the Holy Cross (also known as the Exaltation of the Holy Cross) is one of the Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church, celebrated on September 14. It is one of the two feast days which is held as a strict fast. The other is the commemoration of the Beheading of John the Forerunner on August 29.

According to Orthodox Church teachings, Saint Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, discovered the Holy Cross on 14 September 325 AD in the vicinity of Golgotha, where it lay buried in the dust of the centuries. On the spot where the Cross was discovered, there was also found a hitherto unknown flower of rare beauty and fragrance, which has been named Vasiliko (Basil), meaning the flower of royalty, out of respect for the Dowager Queen who led the expedition. For the next three hundred years, the Cross stayed in the possession of the Christians in Jerusalem, but the city was captured by the Persians in 614 AD and the Cross fell into their hands. It was later recovered by the forces of the Eastern Roman Empire (or Byzantine Empire).

Christian Emperorship

Enforcement of Church policy

The reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the Christian Emperor in the Church. Emperors considered themselves responsible to God for the spiritual health of their subjects, and thus they had a duty to maintain orthodoxy. The emperor did not decide doctrine — that was the responsibility of the bishops — rather his role was to enforce doctrine, root out heresy, and uphold ecclesiastical unity. The emperor ensured that God was properly worshiped in his empire; what proper worship (orthodoxy) and doctrine (dogma) consisted of was for the Church to determine.

In 316, Constantine acted as a judge in a North African dispute concerning the Donatist controversy. More significantly, in 325 he summoned the First Council of Nicaea, effectively the first Ecumenical Council (unless the Council of Jerusalem is so classified). Nicaea however was to deal mostly with the Arian controversy. Constantine himself was torn between both the Arian and Trinitarian camps. After the Nicene council and against its conclusions, he eventually recalled Arius from exile and banished Athanasius of Alexandria to Trier.

Constantine himself was baptised into Christianity {Catholicism which was the ONLY form of Christianty of significance until the GREAT Easter Schism of 1054 AD} just before his death in May 337 by his distant relative Arianian Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia. During Eusebius of Nicomedia’s time in the Imperial court, the Eastern court and the major positions in the Eastern Church were held by Arians or Arian sympathizers. With the exception of a short period of eclipse, Eusebius enjoyed the complete confidence both of Constantine and Constantius II and was the tutor of the later Emperor Julian the Apostate. After Constantine’s death, his son and successor Constantius II was an Arian, as was the later Emperor Valens.

Constantine’s position on the religions traditionally practiced in Rome evolved during his reign. At first he prohibited the construction of new temples and tolerated traditional sacrifices; by the end of his reign, he had begun to order the pillaging and tearing down of Roman temples.[END QUOTE]

A summation of External, notably Constantine’s influence on the Early Church.

By Patrick Miron

  1. First one must recognize that the Early Church, just as it is perceived to be in our present time, was seen as being unwise and unwanted competition to both already established religious organizations, and most certainly to the various Government’s that existed.

 Forms of Government that felt threated by the very existence of any potentially effective organization outside of their total and direct influence. Governance at that time in history was controlled by threats, force and swift punishments. In our times, there is a “bit” more subtlety. Mandates and laws, rather than direct and open persecution, duplicitousness rather than debate and discussion. If we think that we actually live in a form of democracy, we’re kidding ourselves.

 History itself recounts that for Constantine, the Catholic Church was a “convenient” and established set of eyes and ears that could, and was utilized by Constantine who like the dictator that he was; found effective Governance of his empire to be more difficult than was the conquest of the same.

 So the freedoms granted to the Catholic Church, and every other faith as well {political expediency}, through the Edict of Milan, was at first seen and used to assist Constantine in maintaining orderly control of the world that he conquered, because the Catholic Church already had a system of governance and territorial -control on religious matters, through the greatest level of religious influence at the time. In effect, the Church acted as eyes and ears {spies} for Constantine. It was for Constantine a “marriage of great convenience.” For the Church however, it was the manifestation of Divine Providence.

 As for the level of influence exerted by Constantine. It was a two-way street. Certainly the Church needed his support; but conversely Constantine ALSO needed the organization of the CC to aid his governance, so neither side truly had the upper hand. 

 As history recounts, Emperors were by necessity, astute politically. They often understood that a strong, viable CC was beneficial to THEM personally. Except of course for those still bent of challenging God and His Divine Providence, though religious persecutions, which continued to spring up from time to time, driven by huge egos. The prudent governance stayed away from trying to RUN the CC and its religious beliefs, finding it far more beneficial to support Doctrine, than trying to formulate it. And this is the case of Constantine, aided both the Holy Spirit and his mother {St. Helen}, which led to a very timely pre-death conversion to Catholicism. Constantine seemed to work with Pope Sylvester, rather than oppose him on FAITH matters.

 There simply is no solid grounds supporting the position that Constantine, or any other World Ruler, had great influence on the development of Catholic Church Doctrines. Did some at times exert some level of influence? Perhaps. BUT God remained in charge! End of this portion of this document.

  END OF PART 3

The Dark Night and the Cross by VERONICA ARNTZ

 

The Dark Night and the Cross

VERONICA ARNTZ

Perhaps the most haunting words of the Sacred Scriptures are the following from Jesus as he was dying on the Cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34; Matt 27:46; Ps 22:2, RSV2CE). These words may startle and surprise us—how can Jesus who is perfectly united with the Father say something that sounds like despair? Did not Jesus know the Father was always with Him?

Indeed, in these words, we find not despair, but the expression of the soul experiencing the dark night. Christ said these words for all of us, so that we can unite ourselves with Him on the Cross when we are experiencing a dark night in our spiritual lives, when we feel entirely abandoned by God, even though we know that He is present with us.

Union of the Father and the Son

From the Sacred Scriptures, we know that the Father and the Son are perfectly united. In Psalm 2:7, we read, “You are my son, today I have begotten you.” These words are interpreted in reference to Christ, who is the only begotten Son of the Father, indicating that the Father and Son are united through filial relation. Second, in Christ’s High Priestly prayer from John 17, he expresses the idea that his mission, given to him by the Father, has been fulfilled. “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work which you gave me to do; and now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory which I had with you before the world was made” (John 17:4-5). Moreover, he prays three times for unity among the people that they might be one as he and the Father are one. “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us” (John 17:20-21). He prays that those to whom the Apostles will preach might be one with those who believe, that all might be one with the Father and the Son.

A final example of the unity of the Father and the Son, which we will investigate, is his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, while his soul was sorrowful, even unto death (Matt 26:38). “My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matt 26:39). In these words, Jesus expresses his human fear of his impending Passion and Death, but his will is so perfectly united with the Father that he does not will anything other than what the Father wills.

How, then, are we to understand the words of Jesus on the Cross—“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Indeed, given the Scriptures citations above, we cannot interpret it to mean that Jesus was despairing in the union between himself and the Father. Rather, he was expressing the deepest human loneliness: the feeling of being separated from God. Even though Christ himself was perfectly united with the Father, in his humanity, he was expressing the loneliness of man when he feels separated from God. Christ chose to enter into that suffering so that, when we experience that loneliness in the crosses we carry, we might be able to turn to him and ask for him to remain with us in our sorrow. Christ’s love for men is so profound that he experienced the depths of human loneliness and suffering for our sake, even though he knew no sin (2 Cor 5:21).

The Dark Night and the Spiritual Life

What does it mean for us, when we are in the dark night of the senses or the soul, that Christ has first entered into our sufferings? According to the great spiritual writers, particularly St. John of the Cross, the dark night of the senses occurs when we no longer experience sensible consolations, but deeply desire for a prayer that allows us simply to “dwell” with God. To undergo this purgation of the senses, we must detach ourselves from our vices, bad habits, and the sensible things that are attractive to us. This process might be long, and it could be lonely, because we no longer experience the consolations that we once did. God desires this detachment for us because, while it may seem that our spiritual life is dry, we are actually becoming more attached to Him rather than the consolations He gave to us in the beginning of our spiritual journey. We may feel like Christ on the Cross—that God has forsaken us and forgotten us in our misery. But, we should recall that, just as the Son and the Father are always one, so too is God truly with us, even when we do not feel his presence directly.

The one who has passed from the beginning stage of prayer into that of proficient, after experiencing the dark night of the senses, must undergo the dark night of the soul in order to enter into the way of the perfect. In the dark night of the soul, not only are the sensible consolations removed, but also “the supernatural lights on the mysteries of salvation, of its ardent desires, of that facility in action, in preaching and in teaching, in which it had felt a secret pride and complacency…. This is a period of extreme aridity” (Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, The Three Conversions in the Spiritual Life; available online here).

These souls perhaps feel most keenly what Christ felt on the Cross. Because they are being purged of all their pride and attachments, even attachment to spiritual goods, they will feel most detached from God and separated from him—they will truly feel forsaken. In these moments, these souls can enter into the suffering that Christ experienced on the Cross, and take refuge in the immense love that he had for us. Moreover, like St. Teresa of Calcutta, these souls can follow in her imitation and remain faithful to daily duties and prayer despite long periods of aridity and feeling abandoned by God.

Conclusion

The path described above is the normative way to holiness, which means that all souls are called to be purged in their senses and their souls to attain holiness. Each of us is at a different point in the spiritual life. As we come closer to Holy Week, let us consider our particular attachments. What things are preventing us from uniting ourselves completely to Christ? Are we holding onto sins or material goods, such that we cannot be united with Christ as the Father and Son are one? Are we experiencing the loneliness that Christ did on the Cross?

Wherever we are in the spiritual life, let us recall the great sacrifice that Christ made on the Cross to die for our sins, and let us unite ourselves with him in his suffering and pain—he will grant us the grace to endure the dark nights, and he will ultimately bless us with his abundant joy (John 10:10). END QUOTES

By Veronica Arntz

Veronica Arntz graduated from Wyoming Catholic College with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts, which included courses in humanities, philosophy, theology, and Latin, among others, using the Great Books of Western thought. The title of her senior thesis was, “Communio Personarum Meets Communionis Sacramentum: The Cosmological Connection of Family and Liturgy.” She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Theology from the Augustine Institute

The Church that Morphed … So what’s up with non-Catholics-lack of understanding? Another: I AM A Catholic Lesson This one assembled by Patrick Miron START OF PART 2 of 7

 The Church that Morphed

So what’s up with non-Catholics-lack of understanding?

Another: I AM A Catholic Lesson

This one assembled by Patrick Miron

START OF PART 2 of 7

. A Timeline of Catholic Church History: 1 – 500 A.D.

This timeline is researched and prepared by Suzanne Fortin, Copyright 2003. All rights reserved.  {I have added nothing, but deleted out information to shorten the presentation; and provide the site information for anyone seeking more details.}

   
  *c. 29 AD Our Lord’s Resurrection. The First Pentecost. St. Peter preaches in Jerusalem and converts three thousand people, creating the first Christian community.
  *c. 35 Saul of Tarsus has an apparition of Jesus Christ and is converted to Christianity.

*c. 39 St. Peter baptizes Cornelius. This event marks the beginning of the missionizing to the Gentiles.

  *42 The first persecution of Christians in Jerusalem under Herod Agrippa. Many Christians escape to Antioch, establishing its first community.

*44 Martyrdom of St. James the Great, brother of the Apostle John. He is the first apostle to die for the faith. He was sentenced by Herod Agrippa in 44 AD. Today he is honored at the shrine of Santiago Compostela.

*c. 51 The Council of Jerusalem. It rules that Gentile converts do not have to observe the Moasaic Law.
   

*64 First persecution of the Christians by Nero, who blames them for setting a fire that burned much of Rome. Christianity soon after becomes a capital crime.

*66 Jews revolt against Roman authority. The Christians, remembering the prophecies of Christ, leave Jerusalem, led by their bishop, St. Simeon. A civil war ensues. Nero sends Vespasian and Titus to put down the insurrection.

*mid-60’s Martyrdom of St. Paul.

*67 Martyrdom of St. Peter. Tradition states that he was crucified upside down. St. Linus succeeds him as Pope (-76).

*69 Fall of Jerusalem. The Temple is destroyed. Tacitus records that 600,000 Jews were slaughtered during the siege; Josephus said it was a million.

*76 Pope St. Cletus (Anacletus) reigns(-88).
*c. 88 The reign of Pope St. Clement I (-97). During his pontificate, he issues a letter to the Corinthians, urging them to submit themselves to lawful religious authority. He writes “Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, {HERE means as in 1st. Cor. 11:30; to Die} other God-guided and chosen men should succeed them in their ministry.”
*95 Persecution of Christians in Rome under Domitian.

 

*97 Pope St. Evaristus accedes to the Chair of Peter (-105).

*c. 100 Death of John, the last apostle. The period of Public Revelation comes to an end.

 

*c. 105 Death of Pope St. Evaristus. Pope St. Alexander I replaces him (-115).

 

 

*111 Pliny the Younger, govenor of Bithynia, writes in a letter to the Emperor Trajan that to his surprise, the Christians are not guilty of any of the vices they are rumoured to engage in. He executes Christians who would not apostatize.

 

*c. 115 Pope St. Sixtus I begins his reign (-125).

*125 Pope St. Telesphorus begins his reign (-136).
 

*c. 130 Birth of St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Church Father and bishop. He had heard St. Polycarp in Smyrna. He wrote a famous treatise, Against Heresies, refuting Gnosticism, and intervened in favour of the

*136 Pope St. Hyginus accedes to the see of Peter (-140).

 

140 Election of Pope St. Pius I (-155).

 

*155 Death of Pope St. Pius I. St. Anicetus becomes Pope (-166).

 

*c. 156 Martyrdom of St. Polycarp, disciple of St. John the apostle. First recorded instance of devotion to a martyr and the devotion to relics in the Martyrdom of Polycarp.

 

*166 St. Soter becomes Pope. (-175).

   

*175 St. Eleutherius succeeds as Pope (-189).

*177 St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against All Heresies, a work of apologetics refuting Gnosticism, which claimed salvation through an esoteric knowledge. Irenaeus argues that this belief counters that universal tradition handed down from the apostles, and that the bishops are the successors of the apostles who have the authority to transmit Revelation. To make his point, he lists the succession of Popes beginning with Peter.

 

*189 Pope Victor I takes over the See of Peter. (-199)

*189 Pope Victor I excommunicates the Quartodecimians. The Quartodecimians of Asia Minor reckoned the date of Easter according to the Jewish Passover, as 14 Nisan, regardless of whether or not it fell on a Sunday, contrary to the majority of the faithful in various parts of the Empire. Pope Victor ordered Bishop Polycrates of Ephesus to call a synod and have the bishops of Proconsular Asia submit to the Roman practice. The bishop called the synod, but the assembly refused to submit, citing that the apostles John and Philip followed the same custom. The Pope then excommunicated the bishops and their followers. St. Irenaues protested this action as too harsh, but did not say the Pope had overstepped his authority. This is the first record of an episcopal council in the post-apostolic age.

 

*190 Pope Victor I excommunicates Theodotus for his denial that Jesus is God. The latter gathered together a band of followers, whose teachings would eventually influenced Paul of Samosata, the true originator of Arianism.

 

*199 Pope St. Zephyrinus accedes to the See of Peter (-217). Pope Zephyrinus was not inclined to philosophical speculation and would not either endorse or condemn St. Hippolytus’ attacks against the Monarchian heresy. This made the Pope’s faith appear suspect.

*202 Emperor Septimius Severus persecutes Christians with the aim of establishing one common religion in the Empire.

*c.208 The first record of prayers for the dead in the writings of the Church Fathers. Tertullian writes that a good widow prays for her dead husband’s soul in On Monogamy. {This ignores 2 Maccabees Chpt.12 PJM}

 

*217 Death of Pope St. Zephyrinus. Pope St. Callistus I succeeds him (-222). Callistus was a former slave who was in charge of his master’s bank. He lost a lot of money to bad debts, some of the debtors being Jews. When he attempted to recover the money, some Jews denounced him as a Christian and he was sent to the mines of Sardinia, but survived to return to Rome in 190 AD. During Pope Zephyrinus’ reign, he was a power behind the throne, making his faith appear suspect to the future anti-Pope St. Hippolytus.

*217 Election of anti-Pope St. Hippolytus, Church Father, the first anti-Pope in Church history, and the only one venerated as a saint. He.

*220 Pope St. Callistus I excommunicates Sabellius, a priest who taught that the Son of God did not exist before the Incarnation, and that God exists in three “modes” but not in three persons, therefore the Son and the Father suffered at the passion. This heresy, Sabellianism, would become prevalent in the fourth century.

 

*222 St. Urban I becomes Pope (-230).

*222 Alexander Severus becomes emperor (-235). He lifted many harsh laws against the Christians, and essentially gave them the right to exist as a religion. They now had the right to own property and assemble for worship. He had a personal devotion to Jesus Christ, but he honored him as one among many gods.

*230 St. Pontian succeeds St. Urban I as Pope (-235). In 235, the Emperor Maximian launched a persecution against the heads of the Church. Pontian was banished to the mines of Sardinia. In order to make possible the election of a new Pope, he resigned.

*235 Pope St. Anterus reigns for forty days (-236).

*236 Election of Pope St. Fabian (-250). Eusebius relates in his history of the Church that when it came time to elect a new Pope, the assembly put forward several names of prominent people, but a dove rested on Fabian’s head, whom no one had considered for the office. The assembly took it as a sign of divine favor and selected him as the new Pope.

 
*c. 250 The devotion to martyrs, once a more private practice, becomes widespread after the Decian persection due to the great numbers of martyrs it produced.

*251 Pope St. Cornelius succeeds Pope St. Fabian (-253).

*251 Novatian becomes the second anti-Pope in Church history (-258). He strongly disagrees with Pope Cornelius’ stance allowing those who apostatized during the Decian persecution to return to the fold after a suitable penance. He insisted on permanent excommunication for them. This period is known as the Novatian Schism. The Novatian church will continue to exist up to the eighth century, but will be absorbed by the Catholic Church.

* 253 Election of Pope St. Lucius I (-254).

*254 St. Stephen I is elected Pope (-257). He is the first Pope known to have invoked Matt. 16:18 as evidence for the authority of the Chair of Peter.

*256 Pope St. Stephen I upholds the baptisms administered by heretics.

*257 The Emperor Valerian launches a persecution against Christians (-259). The clergy is summoned to sacrifice to the pagan gods. If they refused, the church property they legally held in the church’s name was to be confiscated and they were to be exiled (a year later, the penalty would be immediate execution). All faithful Christians who met in religious assemblies were punishable by death.

*257 St. Sixtus II becomes Pope (-258). He was arrested very shortly after his election and beheaded for his faith.

*258 Martyrdom of St. Cyprian of Carthage. He defended the readmission to the Church of those who apostatized during persecution, but rejected the idea that baptism by heretics and schismatics is valid. In his writings, he defended the primacy of Peter as the source of unity in the Church. He remained the foremost Latin writer until Jerome. At his execution, his followers placed cloths and handkerchiefs near his place of execution in order to catch his blood and thereby have a relic of him.

*259 Peace of Gallenius. Emperor Gallenius succeeds to the throne, ends the persecution of Christians and legally recognizes their existence. Church property is restored. This peace lasts for forty years. Churches are built, bishops gain social prestige and Christians acquire more social status. Christians serve the regimes of various emperors. Christianity still remains a target for hostility.

*259 Pope St. Dionysius begins his pontificate (-268).

*c. 260 Birth of Eusebius of Caesarea, Church Father, bishop and “Father of Church history.” His Church history is an important source of information about the Early Church. He also wrote the Life of Constantine.

 

c. 265 Three councils held at this time in Antioch condemn Paul of Samosata, bishop of Antioch, for his heretical teachings on the relationship of God the Father and God the Son. He maintained that Jesus the man was distinct from the Logos and became the Son of God through adoption because of his merits, and that God is only One Person. His teachings were a pre-cursor to the Arianist heresies of the fourth century and beyond.

*269 Pope St. Felix I fills the See of Peter (-274).

 

275 Pope St. Eutychian succeeds Pope St. Felix I.(-283).

 

*283 Pope St. Caius is elected head of the Church (-296).

*296 Election of Pope St. Marcellinus I (-304).
*c. 300 Christianity {Catholicism The FIRST Christians} introduced in Armenia.

 

*Constantine re-unites both halves of the Empire, becomes sole emperor.

*303 Persecution of Christians by Diocletian through a series of edicts. All people were to worship state gods. Churches were to be destroyed, Christian books were to be burned. The first act of the persecution was to burn down the cathedral at Nicomedia.

*304 Christians faithful to their religion are now subject to the death penalty. The government commits massacres to terrify the faithful.

*305 Emperors Diocletian and Maximian resign. Galerius, viciously anti-Christian, succedes as emperor in the East. The new emperor in the West, Constantius Chlorus, ceases the persecution in his domains.

*c. 305 The Council of Elvira, Spain approves the first canon imposing clerical celibacy.

*306 Constanine becomes the emperor in the West and continues the policy of toleration towards Christians.

*308 Election of Pope St. Marcellus I (-309). His stance against apostates who demanded immediate re-entry into the Church raised a commotion and led to the Emperor Maxentius exiling him. He died soon after leaving Rome.

 

*309 Reign of Pope St. Eusebius.

 

*311 An edict of toleration is emitted in the names of Galerius, Constantine and Licinius. The emperors come to realize that persecution produced non-believers in either the gods of the state or in the Christian God. Emperor Maximinus of Daza only follows the policy for six months, then continues the persecution in the East.

 

*31l Pope St. Militiades begins his reign (-314).

*

312 Constantine defeats the Emperor Maxentius at the battle of the Milvian Bridge. The night before the battle, Constantine has a vision of a cross in the sky and the words “In this sign you shall conquer.” After the victory, Constantine orders that the cross be put on the soldiers’ shields and standards. Once Constantine enters Rome, he offers the Lateran Palace to the Pope as a residence.

 

*313 Edict of Milan. Toleration of Christians in the Western Roman Empire. All people, not only Christians, have freedom of religion so long as they render honour to “the divinity.” Emperor Constantine returns Church property. In the Eastern Empire, Maximinus continues to persecute Christians until he grants them toleration in a last-ditch effort to gain their favour and keep alive his struggle against his enemy Licinius.

 

*313 Constantine intervenes on the Donatist schism and recognizes the election of Cecillian of Carthage, the orthodox candidate. The churches held by Donatists are handed over to Catholics.

 

313 The Lateran palace makes its first appearance in Catholic history as it is the scene of an appeal of the Donatists in the matter of Cecilia’s election as Bishop of Carthage. Emperor Constantine chose the bishops to sit on the tribunal, but the Pope presided over it. It rules in favour of Cecillian.

 

*314 St. Sylvester I is elected Pope (-335)

*c.314 Constantine agrees to hear a new appeal by the Donatists in the case of Cecillian’s Episcopal election. This time the appeal is brought to a secular court. The Donatists maintained that Felix of Aptonga could not have validly ordained Cecillian because he had apostatized during a persecution. The police books of the persecution were produced, and there was no evidence Felix had ever been arrested. It was also shown that the Donatists had attempted to forge the certificate proving his guilt. Constantine sends this evidence to the Council of Arles, where the Fathers note that the Donatists are “crazy fanatics, a danger to Christianity.” They rule in favour of Cecillian.

 

*316 Constantine hears another appeal of the Donatists in the matter of the election of Cecillian of Carthage. He rules in favour of Cecillian. He rules that the churches held by the Donatists were to be handed over to the Catholics, and that the Donatists were forbidden to meet.

*c. 318 Beginnings of the Arianist controversy. Arius taught: that the Father and the Son were not of the same substance, and therefore the latter was inferior; and that the Word (Logos) is a creature and that the Holy Spirit is a creature of the Logos.

.

*323 Licinius, Emperor of the East launches a persecution against Christians.

 

*323 Constantine and Licinius do battle at Chrysopolis. Licinius dies six months later. Constantine has no rival and is the sole ruler of the Empire. Constantine preserves freedom of religion but his attitude towards paganism becomes contemptuous. Paganism and Christianity enjoy equal status before the law.

 

*325 The Council of Nicea. Presided by Emperor Constantine and Hosius of Cordoba. Pope St. Sylvester I sends papal legates, being too old to make the journery from Rome. Many of the bishops in attendance had been physically injured in the persecutions of previous decades. The Council defines trinitarian belief in God. The Father and God the Son are declared of the same substance against the teachings of Arius. Emperor Constantine considers heresy to be a form of rebellion, and banishes Arian bishops to Illyria.

 

325 Building of Church of Natitvity, Bethlehem.

 

*326 Constantine recognizes the Novatian Church, the parallel Church established under the Novatian schism in the preceding century. It would die out a century later in Rome, but would survive until at least the seventh century in the East.

*330 Building of first St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It was torn down in 1506 and re-built.

 

 

*336 Reign of Pope St. Mark.

 

*336 The earliest record of the celebration of Christmas in Rome. The East kept the Feast of Epiphany, January 6th.

*337 Death of Constantine. He was baptized on his deathbed by bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia, an ally of Arius. The Empire is ruled by his three sons, Constantine II, Constantius II and Constans.

 

*337 Election of Pope St. Julius I (-352).

 

 

*341 Emperors Constants and Constantius II abolish and prohibit pagan sacrifices. Pagan sentiment becomes very anti-Christian.

 

*347 Emperor Constans ends the toleration of Donatists in Numidia. The period of Donatist dominance in Africa had been one of license, including riots and massacres. He exiles the Donatist bishops and hands their churches to Catholics.

 

*352 Reign of Pope Liberius (-366), the first Pope who is not considered a saint. He would not be pressured by Constantius to condemn St. Athanasius.

 

*354 Birth of St. Augustine of Hippo (d. 430), Doctor of the Church. One of the four traditional Doctors of the Latin Church. One of the greatest theologians in the history of the Church. Among his most famous works: ConfessionsCity of GodOn the Trinity.

 

*c. 355 Constantius II kidnaps Pope Liberius to pressure him to condemn St. Athanasius, and thereby approve the Arian creed. The Pope refuses and is banished to Baerea in Thrace. Constantius attempts to replace Liberius with Felix, but the laypeople of Rome would not hear of it.

 

*c. 360 Scrolls begin to be replaced by books.

 

*366 Reign of Pope St. Damasus I (-384). He is most famous for compelling St. Jerome to undertake a faithful translation of the Scriptures, the version known as the Vulgate. St. Damasus condemned Apollinarianism and Macedonianism. He approved the canons of the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople (381).

*c. 381 Emperor Theodosius makes Christianity {Catholicism} the de facto official religion of the Empire by forbidding the worship of the ancient Gods.

 

*381 The First Council of Constantinople. Presided by Pope Damasus and Emperor Theodosius I. It proclaimed the divinity of the Holy Spirit.

 

*384 Pope St. Siricius begins his reign (-399).

 

*c. 385 Priscillian becomes the first heretic ever sentenced to death under a Christian prince. He was executed for witchcraft, which was a capital offense, but in reality, he made enemies because of his Manichaean doctrines

 

*c. 386 Death of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. He is famous for a quotation demonstrating the antiquity of the practice of Commuion in the hand: “Do not come with thy palms stretched flat nor with fingers separated. But making thy left hand a seat for thy right, and hollowing thy palm, receive the Body of Christ, responding Amen.”

 

*399 Election of Pope St. Anastasius (-401). A man of great holiness, he was friends with St. Augustine and St. Jerome. He condemned Origenism.
*401 Reign of Pope Innocent I (-417).

 

*405 St. Jerome completes his translation of the Old Testament from the Hebrew. {The Latin Vulgate}

 

 

c. 411 Beginning of the Pelagian controversy in Northern Africa. Pelagius, an unordained monk, denied the theory of Original Sin, stating that death was a physical necessity, not a result of Original Sin, and that Adam’s fault was transmitted through bad example. He denied the necessity of grace to perform good acts, and affirmed it was possible to lead a life completely free of sin. St. Augustine refuted these beliefs at length.

 

*417 Election of Pope St. Zosimus (-418).

 

*418 Election of Pope St. Boniface I (-422).

 

*418 The Council of Carthage condemns Pelagianism. Emperor Honorius banishes all Pelagians from the cities of Italy. Eighteen bishops, led by Julian of Eclanum, must leave their sees for refusing to sign an orthodox creed, not because it was anti-Pelagian, but because it was based on St. Augustine’s ideas.

 

*419 The Council of Africa produces the first Code of Canon Law in Church history: the Codex Canonum Ecclesiae Africanae. It forbade appeals overseas in disciplinary matters, including to Rome.

 

*422 Pope St. Celestine I begins his pontificate (-432). During his reign, Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople, professed the heresy of the two-person nature of Christ, known as Nestorianism.

 

*426 The Council of Africa formally requests the Pope that he not be so ready to hear appeals settled in their jurisdiction or lift excommunications that they have imposed. Rome makes no reply.

 

*428 Nestorius campaigns and obtains a new law against heresy. His friend, the monk Anastasius, in attempt to promote Nestorius’ theology, preaches that the title “Mother of God” should only be used with the greatest of care, if at all. This creates a tumult. Nestorius excommunicates those who object to this novel theology. They appeal to the Emperor.

*431 Ecumenical Council of Ephesus, presided by St. Cyril of Alexandria in the name of Pope Celestine I. It condemns Nestorianism, the belief that Christ is two persons and declared Mary is the Mother of God (theotokos). It also condemned Pelagianism.

 

*432 Pope St. Celestine I sends St. Patrick to evangelize Ireland.

 

*432 Pope St. Sixtus III begins his pontificate (-440).

*440 Election of Pope St. Leo I “The Great” (-461), Doctor of the Church. He vigourously fought many heresies: Manichaenism, Priscillianism, Euctychianism, Monophytism and Nestorianism. He is famous for his encounter with Attilia the Hun, whom he persuaded not to pillage Rome. He also obtained a promise from Genseric, leader of the Vandals, that they would not injure the inhabitants of Rome when they sacked it in 455.

 

  *451 The ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, presided by the Emperor Marcian and the legates of Pope St. Leo I. Over five hundred bishops attend. They approve the Tome of St. Leo as an orthodox statement of faith. It affirms that there is a hypostasis in Christ, a union of the Divine and the Human natures in one person. Bishop Dioscoros of Alexandria is condemned for having protected Eutyches the heretic. The Council also denounces the intervention of the Emperor in religious affairs. Troops are sent in to restore order and Timothy the Cat is exiled along with other Monophysite bishops.
 

 

*461 Beginning of reign of Pope St. Hilarus (-468).

 

 

*468 St. Simplicius becomes Pope (-483).

 
 
*491 The Armenian Church secedes from the Church of Rome and Constantinople.

 

 

*492-496 Pope Gelasius I. He was also a staunch defender of the papal office during the Acacian Schism.

 

*496 Pope Anastasius II begins his reign (-498)..

*498 Election of Pope St. Symmachus (-514).

*499 The Synod of Rome issues decree on papal elections. It banned discussions on the election of a future Pope during a reigning Pope’s lifetime. It was an attempt to conspire to make an election truly democratic, and not make the reigning Pope choose his successor.

 

End of part 2 of 7 Blogged 03/23/2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctrines and Dogma’s by James Atkins

Dogma, Doctrine, and Theology: What Are They?

What is the difference between dogma and doctrine?

What is the difference between doctrine and theology?

For that matter, what is the difference between dogma and theology?

We have a sense that all three of these terms are connected with religious belief, but what specifically do they mean, and how do they differ from one another?

By James Atkins

That’s what we’re going to try to sort out!

Let’s get started . . .

The Difference Illustrated

If you Google the three terms on the Vatican web site (www.Vatican.va), you find that they do not appear with the same frequency. While “dogma” and “theology” occur about as often as each other, the term “doctrine” appears far more frequently (about 2.5 times as often). Here are the results as of the day I originally performed this test (9/8/12):

Dogma: 2,340 results

Doctrine: 6,510 results

Theology: 2,580 results

The fact that these terms don’t all occur with equal frequency indicates a difference in the way that the terms are used. But what is the difference?

Is it just that they have different connotations–that “doctrine” sounds better and so it gets used more frequently?–or is there a difference in the basic meanings of the terms?

 

The Original Meaning of the Terms

A common way of trying to figure out the meaning of words is by looking at the origin of the word–what it originally meant. Among linguists, this is known as the word’s “etymology.”

What is the original meaning of our three terms?

Dogma: This is derived from the Greek word dogma, which means “opinion.” In our context, it would mean “opinions about God” or “opinions deriving from God.”

Doctrine: This is derived from the Latin word doctrina, which means “teaching.” In our context, it would refer to “teaching about God” or “teaching derived from God.”

Theology: This is a compound of two Greek terms: theos, which means “God,” and logos, which means “word.” The suffix -logy, however, came to mean “study of,” and so “theology” could be understood to mean “the study of God.”

This exercise sheds some light on our question, but not enough.

The ultimate origin of a word does not tell us how it is being used today.

As linguists are fond of pointing out, the meaning of a word is determined by its (current) usage, not its (historical) origin.

Otherwise the term “nice,” which derives from the Latin term nescius, would mean “foolish” or “stupid” (its meaning in Old French) or at least “ignorant” or “unknowing,” from its Latin rootsne- (“not”) and scire (“to know”).

Thus, setting aside the original roots of “dogma,” “doctrine,” and “theology,” how are they used today?

The Catechism’s Glossary on “Theology”

Most English editions of the Catechism of the Catholic Church carry a glossary which provides definitions for the three terms. Here is how it defines “theology”:

THEOLOGY: The study of God, based on divine revelation (236, 2033, 2038).

The numbers at the end of this entry refer to paragraphs in the Catechism that deal with theology, but the basic definition is “The study of God, based on divine revelation.”

236 The Fathers of the Church distinguish between theology (theologia) and economy (oikonomia). “Theology” refers to the mystery of God’s inmost life within the Blessed Trinity and “economy” to all the works by which God reveals himself and communicates his life. Through the oikonomia the theologia is revealed to us; but conversely, the theologia illuminates the whole oikonomia. God’s works reveal who he is in himself; the mystery of his inmost being enlightens our understanding of all his works. So it is, analogously, among human persons. A person discloses himself in his actions, and the better we know a person, the better we understand his actions

2033 The Magisterium of the Pastors of the Church in moral matters is ordinarily exercised in catechesis and preaching, with the help of the works of theologians and spiritual authors. Thus from generation to generation, under the aegis and vigilance of the pastors, the “deposit” of Christian moral teaching has been handed on, a deposit composed of a characteristic body of rules, commandments, and virtues proceeding from faith in Christ and animated by charity. Alongside the Creed and the Our Father, the basis for this catechesis has traditionally been the Decalogue which sets out the principles of moral life valid for all men

2038 In the work of teaching and applying Christian morality, the Church needs the dedication of pastors, the knowledge of theologians, and the contribution of all Christians and men of good will. Faith and the practice of the Gospel provide each person with an experience of life “in Christ,” who enlightens him and makes him able to evaluate the divine and human realities according to the Spirit of God.80 Thus the Holy Spirit can use the humblest to enlighten the learned and those in the highest positions.

This definition is very close to the one we would suspect based on the word’s origin: “the study of God.” It adds that this study is “based on divine revelation” rather than (for example) merely philosophical arguments.

It’s a broad definition.

You will note that it does not mention who is doing the study.

There is no mention, for example, of the Magisterium (teaching authority) of the Church. Anyone who is studying God in light of divine revelation would seem to be doing theology, according to the glossary of the Catechism.

Where Did the Glossary Come From?

It is worth noting, at this point, that the Catechism’s glossary came about in a specific way.

According to the USCCB web site:

Even before the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a Glossary had been proposed to provide assistance to those who would use the new Catechism. This Glossary has been prepared by Archbishop William J. Levada, who served as a member of the Editorial Committee of the Special Commission of the Holy See for the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It has been reviewed by the NCCB ad hoc Committee to Oversee the Use of the Catechism, as well as by the chairman and staff of the NCCB Committee on Doctrine. . . .

It is important to remember that this Glossary, like the Catechism’s Indexes, is an additional instrument by which readers may find assistance in their use of the Catechism itself. While the Glossary is faithful to the language of the Catechism, it does not participate in the approval of the text of the Catechism given in the Apostolic Constitution Fidei depositum of Pope John Paul II [Source].

 

Despite the fact that it doesn’t have the same kind of approval that the Catechism does, and so the glossary is not on the same level as the Catechism, it still serves as a useful guide to how the Church uses the terms that it covers.

So what does the glossary say about the latter two terms: “doctrine” and “dogma”?

The Catechism’s Glossary on “Doctrine” and “Dogma” 

Here is what the Catechism’s glossary says regarding “doctrine” and “dogma”:

DOCTRINE/DOGMA: The revealed teachings of Christ which are proclaimed by the fullest extent of the exercise of the authority of the Church’s Magisterium. The faithful are obliged to believe the truths or dogmas contained in divine Revelation and defined by the Magisterium (88).

 

This definition is not as helpful as it could be, and that’s understandable. It’s trying to get across some very technical concepts in a very small number of words, and it’s trying to do it as non-technically as possible.

It also appears to use the terms “doctrine” and “dogma” as synonyms–meaning the same thing.

They might well mean the same thing in some contexts, but as we will see, it is easy to demonstrate from contemporary Church documents that they are also used differently.

The Catechism on Dogma

The glossary’s definition points us to paragraph 88 of the Catechism itself, which says:

88 The Church’s Magisterium exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas, that is, when it proposes, in a form obliging the Christian people to an irrevocable adherence of faith, truths contained in divine Revelation or also when it proposes, in a definitive way, truths having a necessary connection with these.

This has to be parsed with some care. The Catechism is stating that “The Church’s Magisterium exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent” in two ways:

1) “when it defines dogmas, that is, when it proposes, in a form obliging the Christian people to an irrevocable adherence of faith, truths contained in divine Revelation,” and

2) “when it proposes, in a definitive way, truths having a necessary connection with these.”

These are the two kinds of propositions that the Church may infallibly define: dogmas and those truths that have a necessary connection with them.

We’re at the point of having a basic definition of what dogmas are: [a] “truths contained in divine revelation” and [b] that have been proposed by the Magisterium “in a form obliging the Christian people to an irrevocable adherence of faith.”

Or, as Cardinal Avery Dulles explains:

In current Catholic usage, the term “dogma” means [a] a divinely revealed truth, [b] proclaimed as such by the infallible teaching authority of the Church, and hence binding on all the faithful without exception, now and forever. [The Survival of Dogma, 153].

This is a fairly non-technical way of presenting the standard formulation of what a dogma is, though when churchmen and theologians talk among themselves, there is another way of putting it.

Another Explanation

The term of art that is used to express the idea of a dogma is that it is a truth which must be believed with “divine and catholic faith” (Latin, fides divina et catholica). This formulation is found in the First Vatican Council, which held:

Wherefore, by divine and Catholic faith all those things are to be believed which are [a]contained in the word of God as found in Scripture and tradition, and [b] which are proposed by the Church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her ordinary and universal magisterium [Dei Filius 3:8].

Note the two criteria [a] and [b], which identify the propositions that must be believed with divine and catholic faith. These are the same two conditions, expressed in slightly different words, as those found in the glossary to the Catechism.

We find a similar formulation in the Code of Canon Law, which provides:

 Can. 750 §1. A person must believe with divine and Catholic faith all those things [a]contained in the word of God, written or handed on, that is, in the one deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and [b] at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn magisterium of the Church or by its ordinary and universal magisterium which is manifested by the common adherence of the Christian faithful under the leadership of the sacred magisterium; therefore all are bound to avoid any doctrines whatsoever contrary to them.

 

These are converging ways of saying the same thing. But why the term “divine and catholic faith”?

“Divine and Catholic Faith”

Here the current Canon Law Society of America commentary has a helpful explanation:

The faith is called “divine” because it responds to God’s self-revelation, and “catholic” because it is proposed by the Church as divinely revealed [New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, 914].

 

Can.  914 It is primarily the duty of parents and those who take the place of parents, as well as the duty of pastors, to take care that children who have reached the use of reason are prepared properly and, after they have made sacramental confession, are refreshed with this divine food as soon as possible. It is for the pastor to exercise vigilance so that children who have not attained the use of reason or whom he judges are not sufficiently disposed do not approach holy communion.

 

 

“Divine faith” is thus the response due to God’s revelation. Whatever is contained in the Church’s deposit of faith, whether in sacred Scripture or sacred Tradition, is divinely revealed and calls for belief as a matter of faith in God as the Revealer of the particular truth. If God says it, we are obligated to believe it.

“Catholic faith” is called for whenever the Church has infallibly proposed something as divinely revealed in a way that binds all of the faithful.

These two thus correspond to he conditions [a] and [b] found in the less technical definitions of what a dogma is.

You’ll note that it is possible for something to require the first response without the second. Anything that God has revealed through Scripture or Tradition, whether the Church has infallibly proposed it as such or not, calls for divine faith. But because it can be difficult for us to correctly identify and understand God’s revelation, he has given the Church the gift of infallibility so it can clear up disputes and misunderstandings.

Because of the gift of infallibility in defining matters of faith and morals, when the Church does infallibly proclaim something as divinely revealed, it always is.

Doctrine vs. Dogma

In the Catechism’s glossary it seemed to suggest that the terms “doctrine” and “dogma” can be used synonymously, but a look at other documents reveals that this is not always the case. For example, the Code of Canon law provides:

Can. 749 §3. No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly evident.

This indicates a wider use of the term “doctrine,” because all dogmas are infallibly defined. Yet here it is indicated that there are doctrines which are not to be regarded as infallibly defined.

The same is indicated a few canons later:

Can. 752 Although not an assent of faith, a religious submission of the intellect and will must be given to a doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops declares concerning faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim it by definitive act; therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it.

 

The Church’s infallibility is engaged when the pope or the college of bishops proclaims a doctrine of faith or morals by a definitive act (CIC 749 §1-2), so again we have an indication that the Magisterium can proclaim “a doctrine . . . concerning faith or morals” in a non-infallible and thus a non-dogmatic way.

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.

It thus appears that there are some doctrines that fall into the realm of dogma and others that don’t, either because they are not infallibly proclaimed by the Church or because they are not infallibly proclaimed as divinely revealed (they might merely be things necessarily connected with revealed truths–see above).

 

Putting It All Together

With this as background, we are in a position to see how dogma, doctrine, and theology are related.

The broadest category is theology, and it includes any study of God based on divine revelation.

Theology does not require an action of the Magisterium. It can be done by ordinary theologians or, for that matter, by ordinary members of the faithful.

More narrow is the category of doctrine. This includes those teachings which are proposed by the Magisterium.

While an ordinary theologian may be able to do Catholic theology, he is not able to form Catholic doctrine. The intervention of the Magisterium is necessary for that.

Most narrow is the category of dogma. This includes those doctrines which the Magisterium definitively (infallibly) proposes as divinely revealed and which are, therefore, divinely revealed.

One still has to be sensitive to the way that these words are being used in context. They have not always had these precise meanings, so they may not be used this way in historical documents. Even today they are sometimes used in different senses. But this provides a basic sketch of the principles involved in how the three relate. END QUOTES

 

The Church that Morphed an 8 part mini series by Patrick pt 1 of 8

 

The Church that Morphed

So what’s up with non-Catholics-lack of understanding?

Another: I AM A Catholic Lesson

by Patrick Miron

The term “morphed” means changed or transformed. All three terms, morphed, changed and transformed apply to what begin as “house churches” of “the Way”, and then quickly became “Christians”, and fast grew guided by the Holy Spirit as promised in Mt. 28:20 into an ever growing  single-faith-church worthy of the hard gained, hard earned title of “catholic”, which means “Universal,” given; that is applied to it in the very early 2nd Century {around 105 AD},  while striving to fulfill the Jesus given command, directly too and exclusively too His Apostles, a term meaning “to go, “or to “be sent”, and by absolute necessity of that command, to those empowered and chosen by God to follow in their footstep.  … Succession to the Chair of Peter is neither a human invention, nor a Catholic innovation; no, it was a Godly command.

Cf. Go “YOU and teach all nations ALL that I have commanded {that is both taught and commanded} YOU!” Which clearly requires a line of guided succession, in order to be able to complete that singular mission.” Mt. 28:20

JOHN 15:16

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

I was asked recently: “Why do you Catholics hold to the belief that the Catholic Church is “The One True church when there is no clear evidence of such in the Bible?” And this is not the first or only time this question has been raised. One presumes this is based upon the term “Catholic” not actually being found in the bible itself. Well, neither is the terms “bible” or “Protestant.”

The sub tile is added because so many seem not to recognize the enormous import that the CC has played over the centuries. It’s also as if this has been some carefully guarded secret; when in fact, it had far more the very opposite of that. The Arts, Medicine, Education in general, even science have greatly benefitted from the contributions of our Catholic Church. However, I will be very judicious in my choice of shared information beyond the year 500AD, so as to keep this document “reasonable” in length, & no doubt multiple segments of this Lesson.

The difficulty Protestants have in accepting the CC as being the “One True Church”, of both the bible and history itself stems from a God imposed inability to comprehend, and therefore accept what the bible clearly teaches. And this very often, despite the bible itself clearly warning of this eventuality.

To me personally, a point of continued fascination and even wonder is the immediate penalty imposed by the Holy Spirit with the advent of the Protestant reformation {revolution}. They’re clear inability to comprehend even the most obvious facts, is nothing short of astounding.

For example; very often they miss completely that Christianity had to have a beginning LONG before the advent of Wycliffe, Luther, Calvin, and their many followers. Luther, a 16th Century Apostate catholic priest is rightly credited as being the “Father” of today’s thousands of differing faith-belief-churches that we know to be Protestants.  It seems reasonable to assume that he Luther envisioned only one alternative faith to Catholicism, NOT the thousands that were to over time, emerge and be continuously modified and reinvented, on his coattails.

Not one place in the bible is there evidence that God: Yahweh or Jesus ever desired, accepted, tolerated, permitted, condoned or in any manner was non-judgmental on other [competing] sets of faith beliefs. And that this fact, goes unrecognized, especially from advertised “Bible churches” is proof positive of the “PB syndrome” {protestant blindness.”} I certainly don’t mean to be seen here as accusatory, or uncharitable, but, even this seemingly obvious condition is clearly being overlooked.  

So we hear that somehow, somewhere, sometime {seldom if ever articulated. And certainly never proven with facts}, todays CC is itself “apostate.” … Other than speculation, accusations, and assumptions, I personally have never seen even the slightest bit of hard- evidence that supports these charges.

Here are some of the more common protestant positions held as somehow not being even a possibility of being God’s Will and teachings.

Matt.16 Verses 18 to 19

[18] And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. [19] I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

John.17 Verses 17 to 20

[17] Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth. [18] As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. [19] And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth. [20] “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word”

Matt.28 Verses 19 to 20

[19] Go therefore and [YOU] make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [20] teaching them to observe all that I have commanded YOU; and lo, I am with YOU always, to the close of the age.”

John 20:19-23

[19] On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” [20] When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. [21] Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” [22] And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. [23] If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

John 6: 47-57

[47] Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. [48] I am the bread of life.
[49] Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. [50] This is the bread which comes down from heaven that a man may eat of it and not die. [51] I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” [52] The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” [53] So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; [54] he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. [55] For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. [56] He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. [57] As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.

It seems to me, to be prudent to ask: HOW could God or the authors of the bible have been more precise in the language they choose to use in any of these passages?

The problem with these charges of NOT being literal is that in order for them to even possibly be true is that one of these possibilities MUST exist:

  1. The bible is wrong
  2. God either miss-spoke or is miss-quoted {and there goes the “inspired bible of 2nd. Timothy 3:16-17}
  3. Or the Protestant understanding is at best very incomplete; if not outright wrong. So of these which is the most likely?

Here then are some of the relevant points that I raised in reply. One need use only a few of them to make the point of today’s RCC being the One True, and only True and completely protected Faith and Church desired and protected by God.

  1. Secular History

http://www.britannica.com/topic/Roman-Catholicism

So as to not make this into only a history lesson, I will just highlight some of the secular history, and the evidence AND the significance of the role, the Holy Spirit guided church has been a part of

Here is a greatly abbreviated & edited for space history-timeline of the 1st 500 years of the CC.

And above is the site for the full information; I choose to use a neutral source rather than a Catholic source for this information, as evidence that it is secular-history provable. And I’m keying in on the 1st 500 years, as evidence of the RCC being thee Church, and thee faith desired and instituted by Jesus Christ.

End of part 1 of 8 blogged 03/22/19

Jesus is Ready to Calm Our Waves of Sorrow JEANNIE EWING

Jesus is Ready to Calm Our Waves of Sorrow

JEANNIE EWING

“It is with good reason that the Scriptures often compare sorrow to the waves on the ocean. For sorrow has bitter waves that enter into the very depths of our souls…”

– Fr. Jacques-Benigne Bossuet, Meditations on Mary p. 90

One of the most popular and beloved stories in the synoptic gospels is the account of Jesus walking on water. The part that speaks to most of us is when Jesus calls out to his frightened apostles and says, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid.”

All of us want to believe these words of consolation. There are so many dark moments of our lives in which the storms of life seem to capsize all that is familiar, certain, and expected. The vast oceans crash upon our hearts when suffering befalls us and we are panic-stricken, not unlike the apostles who did not understand this miracle Jesus performed before them.

This gospel passage has come to mean something very different to me these past few months; and there are thoughts and inspirations I’d like to share with you about what it may mean, in the hopes that you might also come to find comfort in knowing that Jesus walks with you through every doubt and desolation you may be experiencing.

“He meant to pass by them.” (Mk. 6: 48)

It’s interesting to note that Jesus did not intend to stop and console the apostles. Why did He, then? Perhaps it was because He was moved with pity at their fear, and He knew well that, in their humanity, they didn’t understand what was happening or even who He was.

Darkness often disguises the gifts of suffering and sorrow that God wishes to unveil to us We don’t often acknowledge that our pain has a purpose, because it hurts so badly. And pain thus becomes something disdainful and bitter. Understand, however, that in the midst of your own tumult and tempests, Jesus’ heart is always moved with compassion for your situation – and He will stop to be with you, to comfort you.

“But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out. They had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke with them, ‘Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!’” (Mk. 6: 49-50)

There are moments in our lives when we’re afraid to recognize or see Jesus, because He is disguised and cloaked in darkness. His presence is different than we’re accustomed to. He doesn’t look like we expect or imagine or want, especially in the midst of the storms of grief and suffering. Still, He calls to us to be brave, to see Him as He is. In His humanity, He reaches our own suffering and weakness. And in His divinity, He demonstrates by walking on water that we are not to fear what is unknown or uncertain.

“Their hearts were hardened.” (Mk. 6: 52)

It’s possible the apostles were shaken by this image of Jesus that seemed to be a specter, because their hearts were not softened by the beatitude of meekness. Meekness is what makes us vulnerable to love. It opens our hearts to the capacity of receiving God in any way He wishes to manifest Himself to us – at any time, too. When we are meek, we are always looking for and listening to Jesus, understanding that He may come to us at inconvenient or inopportune moments, and He may ask of us something arduous that requires incredible fortitude.

But we do these things out of love – for God and for others. When our hearts are hardened, we are driven and consumed by fear. It paralyzes us to inaction. It stifles our ability to give and receive all that God asks of us, regardless of the cost. If we are open to receiving God even in the darkness when He is not as He seems, we will grow immensely in our interior life.

Jesus calms the troubled soul.

Finally, be consoled by this final thought from Fr. Bossuet: “Sometimes [Jesus] commanded the water and wind to be calm…Similarly, by pouring out his Spirit upon a troubled soul, he calms it and restores its serenity” (Meditations on Mary, p. 90).

The waves of life will crash upon you as the tide ebbs and flows. All of life involves love and loss, hope and fear, struggle and serenity. We cannot expect it to ever remain the same. Change is what encourages us to grow, to keep moving forward in our spiritual development, and to rely solely upon God in total trust and abandonment.

Still, we can count on Jesus to calm the turbulent waters of anxiety in our lives and grant us peace, either through trials in which we are asked to grow in virtue or by extraordinary grace that penetrates the core of our souls quite miraculously. Either way, be encouraged by the understanding that, when we do our part to be open to God’s mysterious ways and then receive Him and His divine will with trust and hope, He will reach out to us and remind us that He is with us and we have nothing to fear.

By Jeannie Ewing

Jeannie Ewing is a Catholic spirituality writer who writes about the moving through grief, the value of redemptive suffering, and how to wait for God’s timing fruitfully. Her books include Navigating Deep Waters, From Grief to Grace , A Sea Without A Shore For Those Who Grieve, and Waiting with Purpose. She is a frequent guest on Catholic radio and contributes to several online and print Catholic periodicals. Jeannie, her husband, and their three daughters (plus one baby boy) live in northern Indiana. For more information, please visit her website jeannieewing.com.  Follow Jeannie on social media:  Facebook | LinkedIn |Instagram

 

A Daddy & his daughter My Evangeline’s Story: Peace in the Desert By Mr. Andrew Garofalo

A Daddy & his daughter

My Evangeline’s Story: Peace in the Desert

By Mr. Andrew Garofalo

In December I shared the first part of Evangeline’s story with you. I told you how questions arose about my daughter’s health during the pregnancy and how she was born with a large bump on her lower back. I told you how I almost passed out in the delivery room and how I wondered what the Lord was trying to tell us with our new daughter’s name, which means “bearer of good news.” I told you to expect the unexpected.

It is providential that I am writing this during the first week of Lent and as I pass the midpoint of my Exodus 90 journey. My fraternity began the program on January 21st. Everyone considering E90 seems to focus on and dread the asceticism. I recently joked with my E90 brothers that my brain has finally given up on telling me when I am hungry. I feel hunger pangs, of course, but instead of being irritated by it, I am reminded of why I am doing E90. Ironically, it is the asceticism, which everyone fears the most, that has made me more open to receive God’s grace. This has brought me great peace. It is strange to think that peace would be possible, or even likely, in the midst of suffering, but it is.

The doctors in Boca Raton concluded that Evangeline had tethered cord syndrome. A fat mass had developed on her lower back early in the pregnancy and her spinal cord became caught in the lipoma as she grew in the womb. A surgery was necessary to untether Evangeline’s spinal cord and place it in its proper place within her spinal column. Her future was uncertain since there were potential complications, including hydrocephalus and possible limitations related to her future mobility. Whether she had Dandy-Walker Syndrome was also still up in the air. Julie and I prayed and cried together. And then it was time for me to leave my wife and family in Boca Raton and go to Miami with my tiny daughter. I was conflicted about leaving Julie and going to Miami alone, but just as she had assured me that Evangeline would be our daughter’s name earlier that day, Julie again assured me that it was okay for me leave her in Boca Raton to be with our daughter.

It was about nine o’clock in the evening when we left. I kissed Julie goodbye and met with the ambulance crew. I walked behind them as they pushed Evangeline along in her isolette through the hospital’s quiet hallways. Evangeline was very peaceful, barely crying or stirring as they moved her into the ambulance. The ambulance crew remarked about that and it made me feel better since she didn’t seem to be in any pain. The weather conditions were like any other that night, but I was conscious of the darkness.

When we arrived at the children’s hospital it was very quiet and peaceful there just as it was in Boca Raton an hour earlier. Again I walked behind the isolette as they pushed Evangeline to the children’s hospital NICU. A nurse changed her first diaper and commented that it was a “good one.” I spent a good deal of time looking at my beautiful daughter. My heart was bursting for her. Then I went down to the lobby. The nurses told me they would call me if a room opened up, but there was currently no place in the NICU where I could sleep.

Other than a security guard, I was the only one in the lobby. I put some chairs together as a makeshift bed and then I laid down. I had a backpack with some water, my cell phone, an external battery and charging cord and a light pullover to keep me warm. I folded up the pullover and put it under my head to use as a pillow and then I draped one of the sleeves over my eyes. Though it was dark outside, the bright lights in the lobby were making it difficult for me to settle down. I put my headphones on and listened to some music, but I could not fall asleep.

The lights above flooded down on me. The darkness outside pressed in on me. And then the sound of a very loud vacuum cleaner buffeted me through my headphones. Any anger that I had felt earlier subsided, but now I was filled with terror. I wondered what would happen to my daughter. Would they perform surgery on her in the morning? Would she survive? If she survived, what challenges would she have in her life? Would she ever walk? Would she be in pain? Would she be cognitively impaired? I had no answers.

Around 3:00 AM, after the cleaning crew went to attend to some other area of the hospital, I started to doze in and out of sleep and then a song came on my music app that I had never heard before. I woke up. It was You’re Not Alone by Meredith Andrews. Tears came and then I prayed. I had been praying throughout the day, but this time it was total surrender.

I asked God to heal Evangeline, but if that was not his plan for her then I told Him I would accept his will for her and that I would raise her to love Him nevertheless, but I would need his grace to get me through this. God gave me peace then. I still felt concern for what was ahead, but the terror was gone, and I trusted that everything was going to be okay. And then I slept.

During Lent we should willingly follow the Lord into the desert just as Jesus did after his baptism and just as the Israelites did when they fled Egypt. The desert is frightening. It is a place of discomfort and dryness. It is a place where the evil one prowls about seeking to devour us. It is a place of suffering and of the unknown. It is reasonable for us to want to avoid the desert, but it is in the desert where we are refined and perfected. It is there where we detach from all of the things that enslave us to this world and its ruler. It is in the desert where, as the darkness pursues us and the heat saps our strength, we can choose to surrender to God and be rescued by his peace.

I love you, Lord, my strength, The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction terrified me. The cords of Sheol encircled me; the snares of death lay in wait for me. In my distress I called out: Lord! I cried out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry to him reached his ears. He parted the heavens and came down, a dark cloud under his feet. He made darkness his cloak around him; his canopy, water-darkened storm clouds. He reached down from on high and seized me; drew me out of the deep waters. He rescued me from my mighty enemy, from foes too powerful for me. They attacked me on my day of distress, but the Lord was my support. He set me free in the open; he rescued me because he loves me. (Ps 18:2, 5-7, 10, 12, 17-20, NABRE) End Quotes

Another Shared Catholic Teaching {Confirmation} By Patrick Miron

Another Shared Catholic Teaching {Confirmation}

By Patrick Miron

 

Hi Pat,

Just a few questions. Why was Simon called Peter? And they say that you will know a false prophet by his/her fruit, what does that really mean?

I’m curious to know, can girls use male saints as the confirmation saints?

God Bless

First let’s address “Confirmation Names”

 There are no HARD-FAST rules, so YES you can. The name you choose ought to have special meaning to you as it relates to your personal relationship with God.

 Many of the Priest on EWTN have “MARY” as there chosen ordination name.

 Now as to the name SIMON.”

 Any time God either changes a name such as Abram to Abraham and his wife Shari to Sarah, or pre-ordains a name like “John” [The Baptist] or Emmanuel [Jesus] meaning God IS with us; that person is going to have a very significant role in our Church history and formation.

 The name “Simon” is given to Peter at the very same time as the very “keys to he gate of heaven.”

Mt. 16:15-19 “He [Jesus] said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! [His “sir-name”] For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.  And I [Jesus /GOD]  tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, [completed in Mt. 28:16-20 and john 2019-23]  and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

It is HIGHLY significant that our All-Knowing God combines these two actions and used the carefully selected language that he did.

 What Christ did here is foundational to everything that is the CC and to everything the CC teaches in Christ name and with the ACTUAL Powers and authority of Jesus Himself [“as the father has sent Me- SO TOO  God send you. …. John 20:21-22].

This passage is perhaps the most often ATTACKED, and least understood by non-Catholics of anything in the entire bible. And frankly there position is plain silly and foolish.

 In Greek the term “Peter” translates into ROCK. Protestants try to alter its meaning to “pebbles” NOT “ROCK. “ The foundation of there position stems from the term ‘Peter” in GREEK having two different meanings.  But THEY ARE gender sensitive and Jesus would not have referred to Simon in the female gender use of the name. [THAT IS WHY IT IS SO FOOLISH].

Strong’s definitions of Peter and Rock

Strong’s Lexicon of terms: [A NON-CATHOLIC RESOURCE]

 Peter in Hebrew

Result of search for “Peter”:

6363 peter peh’-ter or pitrah {pit-raw’}; from # 6362; a fissure, i.e. (concretely) firstling (as opening the matrix):–firstling, openeth, such as open.

Peter in Greek

Result of search for “Peter”:

  1. Kephas kay-fas’ of Chaldee origin (compare 3710); the Rock; Cephas (i.e. Kepha), a surname of Peter:–Cephas.
  2. Petros pet’-ros apparently a primary word; a (piece of) rock (larger than 3037); as a name, Petrus, an apostle:–Peter, rock. Compare 2786.

I am well aware of the Protestant understanding; as Petra [meaning pebbles, not rock] But the difficulty with this is that the Greek Terms are gender sensitive. Petros =male Gender; while Petra = feminine gender. Christ’ a perfect God could not make that kind of error. Further; Christ spoke Aramaic [Not Greek], where Peter has but ONE single meaning; which is “ROCK.”

 “Rock” searched in Greek = Result of search for “rock”:

  1. Kephas kay-fas’ of Chaldee origin (compare 3710); the Rock; Cephas (i.e. Kepha), a surname of Peter:–Cephas

This is a critical term understanding as it reflects on the Church’s mandate [even though it is made evident elsewhere in the Bible.] Jesus Combines the selection of Peter to HEAD HIS new Church. [You may wish to reread the document “Key’s to the Kingdom Explained that I sent earlier to you?]  Christ attempted to short-circuit the debate by combining the new name [Peter =the ROCK] and the “key’s to the kingdom in the same major action. Additionally the terms “to loose and to bind” were at the time Jesus Spoke, very common terms for POWERS GRANTED for unlimited GOVERNANCE. Many cites at the time {Jerusalem included] DID actually have walls, WERE enclosed and DID actually have GATES WITH KEYED ACCESS. It was also common for the king to appoint someone else to run and administer ALL of the day-to-day issues of the city for Him and this person answered ONLY to the King. THIS IS THE ROLE PRECISELY DEFINED AND PASSED ON TO PETER BY CHRIST as it related then and now to the New Church and the New Covenant set of believes that Jesus taught and mandates.

If you need more information, please let me know?

NOW as to the Fruits:

 1 Peter 1: 17 “Now if you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one’s works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, “

 Rev.2: 23 “and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.”

God, “All-Knowing” knew there would be many “false teachers, prophets, ministers, faiths and religious sets of belief, who knowingly OR unknowingly teach from a GREVIOUSLY WRONG theology based on “knowing more or knowing better than Christ ONLY Faith and ONLY Church. Today’s CC” The evidence for this is very clear in the bible; BUT ignored by a great many, claiming to “be followers of Christ,” and then choosing to DO it there way; pick and choose, seek human not Divine Understanding.

Mt. 7: 12-27 “So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles?  So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.”

Jesus here explains that ones choices; Ones freely selected actions SPEAK oh!!!! SO MUCH clearer than the words selected. One who does not themselves possess the SINGULAR truths of Christ faith; simply cannot share them, because they DON“T HAVE THEM TO SHARE. And this applies to ALL outside of the CC. Judge the effects of what they preach; NOT how eloquent, articulate, or brilliant are there words.

Ps.25: 5 “Lead me in thy truth, and teach me, for thou art the God of my salvation; for thee I wait all the day long“. Ps.43: 3 “Oh send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me, let them bring me to thy holy hill and to thy dwelling!

Matt.22: 16 “And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Hero’di-ans, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God truthfully, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men.”

Luke 1:1-4 “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent The-oph’ilus, that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed.”

 John 14: 6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” [Doing it ALL MY WAY!]

One can see that Jesus Himself warns about following “false leaders” who are BOUND TO COME. He points out in the clearest possible that he Jesus cannot Lie! John.10: 25

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness to me; If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me;

John.14: 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.”

The meaning then is that IF we judge we are to do so carefully and prayerfully. LOOK at the

actions, the end result, not just there crafty words.  It is based on God’s own testimony about Himself.

CONTINUED: 21 “Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’ “Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. ….And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.”
“Coming of Age: Confirmation”

 “Soon after the kids are born and get fed, they start to grow. Growth is as vital to human life as nourishment. The body and mind must grow to stay alive. Catholics believe that the soul also needs to grow in the life of grace. Just as the human body must grow through childhood, adolescence, and then adulthood, the human soul needs to grow into maturity. Catholics believe that Confirmation is the supernatural equivalent of the growth process on the natural level. It builds on what was begun in Baptism and what was nourished in Holy Eucharist. It completes the process of initiation into the Christian community, and it matures the soul for the work ahead. The Byzantine Church confirms (chrismates) at Baptism and gives Holy Eucharist as well, thus initiating the new Christian all at the same time.

So what occurs during Confirmation? The Holy Spirit is first introduced to a Catholic the day that she’s baptized, because the entire Holy_Trinity” rel=”tooltip”Holy Holy_Trinity” rel=”tooltip”Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — are invoked at the ceremony. During Confirmation, God the Holy Spirit comes upon the person, accompanied by God the Father and God the Son, just as he did at Pentecost. The Feast of Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit from heaven to earth upon the 12 apostles and the Virgin Mary, occurring 50 days after Easter and 10 days after Jesus’ Ascension (Acts 2:1–4).

This sacrament is called Confirmation, because the faith given in Baptism is now confirmed and made strong. Sometimes, those who benefit from Confirmation are referred to as soldiers of Christ. This isn’t a military designation but a spiritual duty to fight the war between good and evil, light and darkness — a war between the human race and all the powers of hell.

Confirmation means accepting responsibility for your faith and destiny. Childhood is a time when you’re told what to do, and you react positively to reward and negatively to punishment. Adulthood, even young adulthood, means that you must do what’s right on your own, not for the recognition or reward but merely because it’s the right thing to do. Doing what’s right can be satisfying, too. The focus is on the Holy Spirit, who confirmed the apostles on Pentecost (Acts 2:1–4) and gave them courage to practice their faith. Catholics believe that the same Holy Spirit confirms Catholics during the Sacrament of Confirmation and gives them the same gifts and fruits.

Traditionally, the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit are charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, long-suffering, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, and chastity. These are human qualities that can be activated by the Holy Spirit. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. These gifts are supernatural graces given to the soul.

The following occurs during the Sacrament of Confirmation:

The ceremony may take place at Mass or outside of Mass, and the bishop wears red vestments to symbolize the red tongues of fire seen hovering over the heads of the apostles at Pentecost.

Each individual to be confirmed comes forward with his sponsor. The same canonical requirements for being a godparent in Baptism apply for sponsors at Confirmation. At Baptism, Junior’s mom and dad picked his godfather and godmother; for Confirmation, he picks his own sponsor. The sponsor can be the godmother or godfather if they’re still practicing Catholics, or he may choose someone else (other than his parents) who’s over the age of 16, already confirmed, and in good standing with the Church. One sponsor is chosen for Confirmation. (Most people have two sponsors, one godparent of each gender, for Baptism.)

Each Catholic selects his own Confirmation name. At Baptism, the name was chosen without the child’s consent because the child was too little to make the selection alone. Now, in Confirmation, another name — in addition to the first and middle names — can be added, or the original baptismal name may be used. It must be a Christian name, though, such as one of the canonized saints of the Church or a hero from the Bible. You wouldn’t want to pick a name like Cain, Judas, or Herod, for example, and no secular names would be appropriate.

The Catholic being confirmed stands or kneels before the bishop, and the sponsor lays one hand on the shoulder of the one being confirmed. The Confirmation name is spoken, and the bishop puts Chrism Oil on the person’s forehead, says his name aloud, and then says, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The person responds, “Amen.” The bishop then says, “Peace be with you.” And the person responds, “And with your spirit” or “And also with you.”

Normally, only the bishop confirms the Catholics in his diocese. However, priests can be delegated to confirm adult converts from other religions when they’re brought into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil and they’ve attended the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program in the parish. Non-Catholics who are interested in the Catholic faith and converting to Catholicism attend RCIA classes.

Many Latin (Western) Catholics are baptized as infants, receive First Communion as children, and are confirmed as adolescents, but the Sacraments of Initiation are for any age. Adult converts who’ve never been baptized are baptized when they become Catholic; they’re confirmed and receive their First Communion at the same Mass when they’re baptized or if they were baptized in a Protestant Church, they make a Profession of Faith, are confirmed, and receive Holy Eucharist at the Easter Vigil Mass — the night before Easter.”

God’s Continued Blessings,

Patrick

Spiritual Works of Mercy A Contemporary Retelling of Matthew 25:31–46 Peter Kwasniewski

 

Spiritual Works of Mercy A Contemporary Retelling of Matthew 25:31–46

Peter Kwasniewski

The twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew is surely one of the most rousing of all chapters in the New Testament. It has shocked into spiritual wakefulness unnumbered Christians down through the centuries; it has inspired the art of church doors and altar pieces from one end of Christendom to the other; it has prompted a never-ending examination of conscience.

And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.

Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.

Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.

And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.

This passage is the key (although not exclusive) Scriptural basis for speaking of the seven “corporal works of mercy”:

To feed the hungry.

To give water to the thirsty.

To clothe the naked.

To shelter the homeless.

To visit the sick.

To visit the imprisoned, or ransom the captive.

To bury the dead.

Parallel to these acts of mercy that belong to man in his materiality are the seven “spiritual works of mercy” that look to man in his spiritual nature:

To instruct the ignorant.

To counsel the doubtful.

To admonish the sinners.

To bear patiently those who wrong us.

To forgive offenses.

To comfort the afflicted.

To pray for the living and the dead.

In many ways, the spiritual works have a far greater importance—as much more as the health of the soul eternally outlasts the health of the body. This is poorly understood today, when materialism has subtly infected even the mentality of Christians and prompted them to take more notice and care of bodily needs than of the hunger for truth, without the possession of which man will starve in hell forever. Think of how so many funerals today are conducted as preliminary canonizations, where we rejoice in the eternal rest of the deceased and reassure one another, in cheerful American fashion, that it’s all good. In no way is the modern Catholic funeral helping Christians to exercise the merciful work of praying and offering up sacrifices for the repose of the dead, whose fate is usually far from clear. As for “admonishing sinners,” we only see that attempted nowadays when Pope Francis decides to sink his teeth into a new vague category of people who exhibit whatever bizarre mixture of character traits he has extracted from the Gospel of the day.

On Judgment Day, we will be judged on these works of corporal and spiritual mercy—and as Scripture assures us, the more mighty, those who are responsible for the welfare of more people, will be judged more severely. What does that mean for Justice Kennedy, who has placed his personal signature on an entire culture of relativism, or for Nancy Pelosi, who has the blood of millions of children crying out from the earth to heaven, as the blood of Abel cried out? You and I, too, may not be Kennedys or Pelosis, but we have our fair share of sins of commission and omission, where we acted contrary to the works of mercy, or failed to perform some that we we might have done.

As with other familiar Scripture passages, we can think that we have totally understood the message of Matthew 25, without realizing that it includes far more than first meets the eye.

As we approach the eleventh anniversary of the promulgation of Benedict XVI’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, I can’t help thinking of a re-reading that extends beyond the old catechisms. A fresh look at verses 42–45 against the backdrop of the contemporary Church suggests a major area of examination and reproof that will be spoken to many ecclesiastical shepherds as they go before the tribunal of the Good Shepherd.

I was hungry for reverent divine worship, I was starved for the sacred, I was desperate for a Latin Mass in my area—and you gave me not to eat.

I was thirsty for the beauty and solemnity of the Mass, famished for the dignity of the sacraments, and you gave me not to drink.

I was a stranger in my own parish and diocese, wandering, looking for the Church’s traditional liturgy, that nurse of saints and fountain of holiness, and you took me not in. You wanted to have nothing to do with me or those like me.

I was naked, left uncatechized, exposed to evil books and films, and you covered me not, you spared me not, you protected me not. Your “Safe Environment” programs, your whole bureaucratic machinery, shielded perverts and their patrons, and I was abused.

I was sick and in prison, sick of heresy and constant compromise with secular relativism, in the prison of late modernity with its claustrophobic ceiling and windowless walls, and you did not visit me. You acted as if the sickness were no big deal and the prison a permanent home. You did not even try to see the problem or find its solution. And all around you and within you was the witness of two thousand years of Catholic tradition, waiting to be rediscovered, reapplied to my wounds, and detonated under my confinement. You could have freed me, but you preferred me to be walled up, sealed away, neutralized.

Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee?

Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least of the People of God, neither did you do it to me.

And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting. END QUOTES

“THEE PILL ….” {no not “the pill”} Another Catholic reflection by Patrick Miron

 

“THEE PILL ….” {no not “the pill”}

Another Catholic reflection by Patrick Miron

If Doctor God were to prescribe a pill, a medicine that would all but absolutely-guarantee you heaven, would YOU take it, even if it was bitter and came at great expense?

Such a “pill” does exist and is prescribed by Jesus: …. It’s not magic, because while it always works, it only works with our cooperation.

James 4:10

Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

Ephesians 4:2

with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,

Micah 6:8

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?

1 Peter 3:8

To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;

My dear friends, the 1st book Of Genesis tells us that God made each of us {a humanity exclusive}, in “His Own Image.”

Nothing: not one thing gives greater evidence of this than the virtue of humility, which always, in every case encompasses LOVE.

A critical reason Jesus {GOD} chose to become a mortal being like me and you, was so that he could {would and did} actually model for us, how we too could attain heaven. ….

Jesus authored “the Book of Life”; more accurately, Jesus wrote the first chapter {His Birth} and last chapter, {His Death} leaving & expecting each of us to complete our own personal version of the book, so no two books are identical.

First He taught us, then He showed us ….

Matt.6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.

Matt.26:42 “Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, thy will be done.”

The two greatest evidences of humility were modeled by Jesus {GOD} for our benefit and emulation.

Luke.2: 7 “And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”

Jesus the Christ, King of kings, Lord of Lords, Almighty GOD, choose to be born in a cave and laid in a manager; a feeding trough, and thus demonstrating from the instant of His Birth the importance He places on Humility.

Mark.15:46 “And he bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud, and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.

Then to insure that we “got His message”; in the final chapter of His human life on earth; once again we see the evidence of incomprehensible humility. God; ALIGHTY GOD suffering His Passion and Death so He could also demonstrate the Resurrection that the future also holds for each of us unto our own final judgment.

If we ever need a reminder; if we ever need a script to follow, all we have to do is recall the Stations of the Cross.  ….

The First station:: Jesus the perfect and innocent Lamb of God permits Himself to public humiliations beyond our comprehension. Jesus is condemned to die.

       The Second Station:: Jesus willingly, perhaps even eagerly, accepts His Cross   

       The Third Station: Jesus takes the first fall; ; A painful humiliation in front of his Mother and many who had become to believe that He, that He Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. GOD BECAME MAN. It was our sins that caused this!

The Forth Station: Jesus meets His Mother. Never have two hearts been more identically tuned; never were two hearts more identical in desire; never have two hearts been more willing to suffer, more willing to accept: “Not my will, BUT THY will be done” to both of us.  Their Two heats beating as One.

The Fifth Station: Simon is conscripted to assist Jesus carrying the Cross.  Just as Jesus choose Simon, so too He has chosen each of us to assist Him in His Mission. The Salvation of Souls beginning with our own.

The Sixth Station: Veronica comforts Her God, demonstrating humility, courage and love by putting herself at GREAT risk in helping the innocent Jesus

The Seventh Station: Jesus, laden down with our sins, takes a second, even more painful fall.  

The Eighth Station: Jesus, amidst His own Suffering, pauses and makes the time to console the women who are grieving for Him. This station s the modeling of humility par-excellence!.  …. Jesus EXPECTS me and you, even when we too are suffering; to lay aside our own problems {give them to Jesus} and with charity assist all others in neeed.

The Ninth Station: Jesus loaded Down with our Sins Falls a final time

       The Tenth Station: Jesus is stripped of all His clothing

Naked he came into the world and naked he “left” the world. Jesus literally gave up ALL.

The Eleventh Station: Jesus is nailed to His Cross  

     The Twelfth Station: After 3 hours of indescribable suffering Jesus Dies

       The Thirteenth Station: The battered and butchered Body of Jesus is taken down and place in His Mother’s arms.

       The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Laid in His Tomb    

Here dear friends I’m going to interject something I seldom do: a request…..

Every Catholic Adult ought to know the Stations of the Cross so that in times of trial, we can recall one or more of the Stations, and thereby recognize that what we are presently facing is just part of life’s trials.

Towards that end each of us should memorize the 14 Stations:

  1. Jesus is Condemned
  2. Jesus accepts His Cross
  3. Jesus falls the first time
  4. Jesus and Mary Meet
  5. Simon is conscripted to help Jesus carry His Cross
  6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus with her veil
  7. Jesus falls harder a second time
  8. Jesus Consoles the women who are grieving Him
  9. Jesus falls for the third and final time
  10. Jesus is striped naked
  11. Jesus is nailed to the Cross
  12. Jesus dies for us
  13. Jesus is taken down from the Cross
  14. Jesus is buried

Each of these events are evidence of the greatest possible degree of humility for OUR benefit. Humility is a Virtue we each in an absolute sense, must exercise, and do so with regularity.

SAINTS on Humility

He who wants to learn true humility should reflect upon the Passion of Jesus. (267)
— St Faustina, Divine Mercy in my Soul

To be taken with love for a soul, God does not look on its greatness, but the greatness of its humility.
–St  John of the Cross, OCD

“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”
–Saint Augustine

‘If humble souls are contradicted, they remain calm; if they are calumniated, they suffer with patience; if they are little esteemed, neglected, or forgotten, they consider that their due; if they are weighed down with occupations, they perform them cheerfully.’
–St. Vincent de Paul

The first degree of humility is the fear of God, which we should constantly have before our eyes.'{MEANING AWE”}
–St. Louis de Blois
The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.
–Saint Vincent de Paul

Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.
–Saint Augustine

There is more value in a little study of humility and in a single act of it than in all the knowledge in the world.
–Saint Teresa of Avila

Humility is the mother of many virtues because from it obedience, fear, reverence, patience, modesty, meekness and peace are born. He who is humble easily obeys everyone, fears to offend anyone, is at peace with everyone, is kind with all.
–St Thomas of Villanova

FROM THE BIBLE

Humility

James 4:10

Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

Ephesians 4:2

with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,

Micah 6:8

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?

Colossians 3:12

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;

Philippians 2:7

but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

Zephaniah 2:3

Seek the LORD, All you humble of the earth Who have carried out His ordinances; Seek righteousness, seek humility Perhaps you will be hidden In the day of the LORD’S anger.

Luke 14:9-11

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Colossians 3:12

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;

1 Peter 5:6

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time

So dear friends, “Thee Pill” is Humility!

Humility is an acquired {& required} Virtue that we pray for, and though God’s accepted grace are able to model. Should you ever wonder if you’re on the right track; if you’re really listening to what God wants from you; then objectively grade your personal degree of humility. If you are regularly humble, if you with a degree of consistency recall one of more Stations of the Cross and give it even momentary grateful-thought; and thank Jesus for His Suffering; you can be assured you are heading in the right direction.

The greater your inner-peace is when tested; the greater is the evidence that you are, or have acquired humility.

“No one reaches heaven except through humility”

Saint Augustine

To seek humility is to seek heaven: AMEN!

God Bless you and yours, To Jesus THROUGH Mary

Patrick