Tag Archives: Rome

Holy Communion | Catholic Memes

image

http://www.catholicmemes.com/what-others-think-i-do/holy-communion/

Advertisements

Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Mass during the Day

Icon of Saints Peter and Paul“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Saint Peter on the Person on Christ, Matthew 16:16

Saints Peter and Paul are the founders of the Diocese of Rome. One was the Prince of the Apostles and the first Bishop of Rome, known as the office of the Papcy today, and the other was the majority author of the New Testament books and something of a travelling evangelical priest/bishop.

Catholic Culture wrote this short tidbit about these two great saints (more after the readings of course):

Veneration of the two great Apostles, Peter and Paul, has its roots in the very foundations of the Church. They are the solid rock on which the Church is built. They are at the origin of her faith and will forever remain her protectors and her guides. To them Rome owes her true greatness, for it was under God’s providential guidance that they were led to make the capital of the Empire, sanctified by their martyrdom, the center of the Christian world whence should radiate the preaching of the Gospel.

St. Peter suffered martyrdom under Nero, in A.D. 66 or 67. He was buried on the hill of the Vatican where recent excavations have revealed his tomb on the very site of the basilica of St. Peter’s. St. Paul was beheaded in the via Ostia on the spot where now stands the basilica bearing his name. Down the centuries Christian people in their thousands have gone on pilgrimage to the tombs of these Apostles. In the second and third centuries the Roman Church already stood pre-eminent by reason of her apostolicity, the infallible truth of her teaching and her two great figures, Sts. Peter and Paul.

A plenary indulgence may be gained today by anyone who makes devout use of a religious article blessed by a bishop and who also recites any approved profession of faith (e.g. the Apostles Creed), as long as the usual conditions are satisfied.

Catholic Culture prepared this special section during the Year of St. Paul.

via Catholic Culture | Liturgical Year


Read the Bible at Mass

First Reading: Acts 12:1-11

In those days, King Herod laid hands upon some members of the Church to harm them. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword, and when he saw that this was pleasing to the Jews he proceeded to arrest Peter also. –It was the feast of Unleavened Bread.–  He had him taken into custody and put in prison under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each. He intended to bring him before the people after Passover. Peter thus was being kept in prison, but prayer by the Church was fervently being made to God on his behalf.

On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter, secured by double chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison. Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying, “Get up quickly.” The chains fell from his wrists. The angel said to him, “Put on your belt and your sandals.” He did so. Then he said to him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.” So he followed him out, not realizing that what was happening through the angel was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first guard, then the second, and came to the iron gate leading out to the city, which opened for them by itself. They emerged and made their way down an alley, and suddenly the angel left him. Then Peter recovered his senses and said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people had been expecting.”

Responsorial Psalm34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (5) The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.

I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.

R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.

Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.

R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.

Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.

R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.

The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.

R. The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.

Second Reading: 2 Tm 4:6-8, 17-18

I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance.

The Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly Kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Gospel Reading: Mt 16:13-19

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply:

“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”


St. Peter

Peter’s original name was Simon. Christ Himself gave him the name Cephas or Peter when they first met and later confirmed it. This name change was meant to show both Peter’s rank as leader of the apostles and the outstanding trait of his character — Peter (in Hebrew Kephas) the Rock. Peter was born in Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. Like his younger brother Andrew, he was a fisherman and dwelt at Capernaum. Peter’s house often became the scene of miracles, since the Master would stay there whenever He was teaching in that locality. Together with his brothers John and Andrew, Peter belonged to the first of Jesus’ disciples (John 1:40-50).

After the miraculous draught of fish on the Sea of Galilee, Peter received his definitive call and left wife, family, and occupation to take his place as leader of the Twelve. Thereafter we find him continually at Jesus’ side, whether it be as spokesman of the apostolic college (John 6:68; Matt. 16:16), or as one specially favored (e.g., at the restoration to life of Jairus’ daughter, at the transfiguration, during the agony in the garden). His sanguine temperament often led him into hasty, unpremeditated words and actions; his denial of Jesus during the passion was a salutary lesson. It accentuated a weakness in his character and made him humble.

After the ascension, Peter always took the leading role, exercising the office of chief shepherd that Christ had entrusted to him. He delivered the first sermon on Pentecost and received the first Gentiles into the Church (Cornelius; Acts 10:1). Paul went to Jerusalem “to see Peter.” After his miraculous deliverance from prison (Easter, 42 A.D.), Peter “went to a different place,” most probably to Rome. Details now become scanty; we hear of his presence at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:1), and of his journey to Antioch (Gal. 2:11).

It is certain that Peter labored in Rome as an apostle, that he was the city’s first bishop, and that he died there as a martyr, bound to a cross (67 A.D.). According to tradition he also was the first bishop of Antioch. He is the author of two letters, the first Christian encyclicals. His burial place is Christendom’s most famous shrine, an edifice around whose dome are inscribed the words: Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam.

Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Patron: Against frenzy; bakers; bridge builders; butchers; clock makers; cobblers; Exeter College Oxford; feet problems; fever; fishermen; harvesters; locksmiths; longevity; masons; net makers; papacy; Popes; ship builders; shipwrights; shoemakers; stone masons; Universal Church; watch makers; Poznan, Poland; Rome; Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi; Diocese of Las Vegas, Nevada; Diocese of Marquette, Michigan; Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island; Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Symbols: Two keys saltire; pastoral staff and two large keys; inverted cross; inverted cross and two keys saltire; crowing cock; fish; two swords; patriarchal cross and two keys saltire; two keys and a scroll; sword.
Often portrayed as: Bald man, often with a fringe of hair on the sides and a tuft on top; book; keys; man crucified head downwards; man holding a key or keys; man robed as a pope and bearing keys and a double-barred cross.

via Catholic Culture | Liturgical Year


St. Paul

Paul, known as Saul (his Roman name) before his conversion, was born at Tarsus in the Roman province of Silicia about two or three years after the advent of the Redeemer. He was the son of Jewish parents who belonged to the tribe of Benjamin, was reared according to the strict religious-nationalistic party of the Pharisees, and enjoyed the high distinction of Roman citizenship.

As a youth he went to Jerusalem to become immersed in the Law and had as a teacher the celebrated Gamaliel. He acquired skill as a tent-maker, a work he continued even as an apostle. At the time of Jesus’ ministry he no longer was at Jerusalem; neither did he see the Lord during His earthly-life. Upon returning to the Holy City, Paul discovered a flourishing Christian community and at once became its bitter opponent. When Stephen impugned Law and temple, Paul was one of the first at his stoning; thereafter his fiery personality would lead the persecution. Breathing threats of slaughter against the disciples of Jesus, he was hurrying to Damascus when the grace of God effected his conversion (about the year 34 A.D.; see January 25, Conversion of St. Paul).

After receiving baptism and making some initial attempts at preaching, Paul withdrew into the Arabian desert (c. 34-37 A.D.), where he prepared himself for his future mission. During this retreat he was favored with special revelations, Christ appearing to him personally. Upon his return to Damascus he began to preach but was forced to leave when the Jews sought to kill him. Then he went to Jerusalem “to see Peter.” Barnabas introduced him to the Christian community, but the hatred of the Jews again obliged him to take secret flight. The following years (38-42 A.D.) he spent at Tarsus until Barnabas brought him to the newly founded Christian community at Antioch, where both worked a year for the cause of Christ; in the year 44 he made another journey to Jerusalem with the money collected for that famine stricken community.

The first major missionary journey (45-48) began upon his return as he and Barnabas brought the Gospel to Cyprus and Asia Minor (Acts 13-14). The Council of Jerusalem occasioned Paul’s reappearance in Jerusalem (50). Spurred on by the decisions of the Council, he began the second missionary journey (51-53), traveling through Asia Minor and then crossing over to Europe and founding churches at Philippi, Thessalonia (his favorite), Berea, Athens, Corinth. He remained almost two years at Corinth, establishing a very flourishing and important community. In 54 he returned to Jerusalem for the fourth time.

Paul’s third missionary journey (54-58) took him to Ephesus, where he labored three years with good success; after visiting his European communities, he returned to Jerusalem for a fifth time (Pentecost, 58). There he was seized by the Jews and accused of condemning the Law. After being held as a prisoner for two years at Caesarea, he appealed to Caesar and was sent by sea to Rome (60 A.D.). Shipwrecked and delayed on the island of Malta, he arrived at Rome in the spring of 61 and passed the next two years in easy confinement before being released. The last years of the saint’s life were devoted to missionary excursions, probably including Spain, and to revisiting his first foundations. In 66 he returned to Rome, was taken prisoner, and beheaded a year later. His fourteen letters are a precious legacy; they afford a deep insight into a great soul.

Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

Patron: Against snakes; authors; Cursillo movement; evangelists; hailstorms; hospital public relations; journalists; lay people; missionary bishops; musicians; poisonous snakes; public relations personnel; public relations work; publishers; reporters; rope braiders; rope makers; saddlemakers; saddlers; snake bites; tent makers; writers; Malta; Rome; Poznan, Poland; newspaper editorial staff, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Diocese of Covington, Kentucky; Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama; Diocese of Las Vegas, Nevada; Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island; Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts.

Symbols: Book and sword, three fountains; two swords; scourge; serpent and a fire; armour of God; twelve scrolls with names of his Epistles; Phoenix; palm tree; shield of faith; sword; book.
Often portrayed as: Thin-faced elderly man with a high forehead, receding hairline and long pointed beard; man holding a sword and a book; man with 3 springs of water nearby;

Things to Do:

  • From the Directory on Popular Piety, this feast is important because “it is always useful to teach the faithful to realize the importance and significance of the feasts of those Saints who have had a particular mission in the history of Salvation, or a singular relationship with Christ such as St. John the Baptist (24 June), St. Joseph (19 March), Sts. Peter and Paul (29 June), the Apostles and Evangelists, St. Mary Magdalen (22 July), St. Martha (29 July) and St. Stephen (26 December).”
  • The Directory on Popular Piety also explains the devotion of the Christian Pilgrimage. During the Middle Ages in particular, “pilgrims came to Rome to venerate the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul (ad Limina Apostolorum), the catacombs and basilicas, in recognition of the service rendered to the universal Church by the successor of Peter.”
  • Besides the recipes in our database, Cooking With the Saints by Ernst Schuegraf has seven recipes alone for the feast of St. Peter. This is a wonderful book, beautifully illustrated with art of the saints and the actual dishes. This would be a great addition to your liturgical year library.
  • Learn more about St. Paul, read Paul of Tarsus

via Catholic Culture | Liturgical Year

Enhanced by Zemanta

Faith Aloud, a St. Louis-based religious group that advocates for abortion rights, began an online petition drive calling on Akin to apologize. The Rev. Krista Taves of Emerson Unitarian Universalist Chapel in Ellisville said Akin’s comment “shows how very little he knows about liberals, and how very little he knows about God.” “I’m a liberal because I love God and all God’s creation,” Taves said. “ I value equality, fairness and compassionate justice because my faith informs my politics.”

Faith Aloud, a St. Louis-based religious group that advocates for abortion rights, began an online petition drive calling on Akin to apologize.

The Rev. Krista Taves of Emerson Unitarian Universalist Chapel in Ellisville said Akin’s comment “shows how very little he knows about liberals, and how very little he knows about God.”

“I’m a liberal because I love God and all God’s creation,” Taves said. “ I value equality, fairness and compassionate justice because my faith informs my politics.”

Akin comments draw criticism from religious leaders

I love the quote above. It shows just how much certain “religious groups” know God so well that they support killing inutero but defend life after birth like there is some difference.

However, when you think about it. These people may very well know God better than all of us – especially the Church (you know Rome…). That is because their “God” is a deity of their own invention – their ego – themselves.

That said my God is creator of heaven and earth and “was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be.”

Enhanced by Zemanta

catholicsanctum: Lift the City – a CatholicEucharistic flash mob  I wish this would happen in Raleigh. God bless these friars.Eucharistic Adoration is beautiful, and one of the best ways to honor God. You even see how, although confused, compelled or interested some of the non-Catholics in this video are. Are you kidding me?! Perhaps my most favorite of all videos. To have Our Blessed Lord meet us on our day would be most invigorating and faith-building. God bless these monks and God bless all who knew Our Lord at an instant – from the woman in the blue sweater (the first to kneel and the one giving aid to an elderly stranger to do the same) to the young child in the yellow hoodie who rapidly fell on his knees and inspired a friend to do the same. Tantum Ergo Tantum ergo Sacramentum Veneremur cernui: Et antiquum documentum Novo cedat ritui: Praestet fides supplementum Sensuum defectui. Genitori, Genitoque Laus et jubilatio, Salus, honor, virtus quoque Sit et benedictio: Procedenti ab utroque Compar sit laudatio. Amen. V. Panem de caelis[4] praestitisti eis.(T.P. Alleluja) R. Omne delectamentum in se habentem.(T.P. Alleluja) Oremus: Deus, qui nobis sub sacramento mirabili, passionis tuae memoriam reliquisti: tribue, quaesumus, ita nos corporis et sanguinis tui sacra mysteria venerari, ut redemptionis tuae fructum in nobis iugiter sentiamus. Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. R. Amen

catholicsanctum: Lift the City – a CatholicEucharistic flash mob  I wish this would happen in Raleigh. God bless these friars.Eucharistic Adoration is beautiful, and one of the best ways to honor God. You even see how, although confused, compelled or interested some of the non-Catholics in this video are. Are you kidding me?! Perhaps my most favorite of all videos. To have Our Blessed Lord meet us on our day would be most invigorating and faith-building. God bless these monks and God bless all who knew Our Lord at an instant – from the woman in the blue sweater (the first to kneel and the one giving aid to an elderly stranger to do the same) to the young child in the yellow hoodie who rapidly fell on his knees and inspired a friend to do the same. Tantum Ergo Tantum ergo Sacramentum Veneremur cernui: Et antiquum documentum Novo cedat ritui: Praestet fides supplementum Sensuum defectui. Genitori, Genitoque Laus et jubilatio, Salus, honor, virtus quoque Sit et benedictio: Procedenti ab utroque Compar sit laudatio. Amen. V. Panem de caelis[4] praestitisti eis.(T.P. Alleluja) R. Omne delectamentum in se habentem.(T.P. Alleluja) Oremus: Deus, qui nobis sub sacramento mirabili, passionis tuae memoriam reliquisti: tribue, quaesumus, ita nos corporis et sanguinis tui sacra mysteria venerari, ut redemptionis tuae fructum in nobis iugiter sentiamus. Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. R. Amen

Vatican to Use iPods to Enable "Those who want to enter into a basilica to pray…to pray"

Talk about serving the sheep and the goats:

Vatican hopes iPod can bring silence to Rome’s churches
By David Kerr

A pilgrim uses an iPod provided by the Vatican’s Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi.

Rome, Italy, Jun 24, 2011 / 06:10 am (CNA/EWTN News) – The Vatican has introduced a new way of keeping silence in their churches while also informing tourists – the iPod.

Today is the first full day of a trial which sees pilgrims to the basilica of St. John Lateran given the audio-guide with a special app explaining the 1,700-year history of the church, which serves as the Pope’s cathedral.

“I can easily say that in Italy there are no examples of experiences like this in religious contexts, probably not even those in museums,” Jelena Jovanovic said to CNA. Her company, Antenna International, created the handheld device.

The multi-lingual guide offers audio, video, photos and texts to give an interactive experience to pilgrims. It also provides historical re-enactments narrated by actors.

Tourists can now listen to the experience of their fellow pilgrims from centuries past or even a “first-hand” account of the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312, when the Emperor Constantine saw a cross in the sky and converted to Christianity.

But the primary purpose of the guide is not entertainment or even education – it’s prayer and silence.

Bishop Luca Brandolini, the head of Pastoral Care for the Diocese of Rome, explained to CNA that “Unfortunately, our basilicas have become more like noisy meeting places at many times.”

“We need to bring back a place and time for silence. So I think this audio-guide will help achieve that.”

The Managing Director of the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, the Vatican body that oversees all pilgrim activity in the Diocese of Rome, agrees.

“Those who want to enter into a basilica to pray must be able to pray. So this multimedia guide helps with that,” said Fr. Caesar Atuire.

“Everyone can now do what they have to do without disturbing others.”

There is no charge for the use of the guide, but pilgrims do have to leave a document, such as a passport, as security.

The Vatican will monitor the experiment at St. John Lateran until December. Then officials will decide whether or not to roll the scheme out to other basilicas and churches in the Diocese of Rome.

Starting with Blessed John Paul II’s call for a New Evangelization and coming to fruition under the poinficate of Benedict VXI, the Vatican’s use of technology and social media is taking off. I think many will agree that, at least, initially the Vatican seemed a little lost and/or possibly overwhelmed with the whole Web 2.0 culture. However, the inspiritatrion and call of the “Great Commission” certainly certainly aided the recent developments coming from the grass roots that are the laity.

This inventive twist on audio tours is something of a compromise between the sacred and the secular. As the Fr. Atuire is quoted above, “those who want to…pray…must be able to pray.” Likewise, the treasures of the Church “belong to all” and thus accessablity to the “visible” Church is something that has never been denied but up until was often at the sacfrice of the faithful.

I can personally attest to this when I visited Cathedral Basiclica of St. Louis, King of France in New Orleans during French Quarter Fest. Entering the Cathedral, which is stunning by the way, felt more like a tour rather than a time for prayer. This even carried on into the Mass. The celebrants did well and God, of course, prevailed in the hearts of the faithful but nonetheless, revrent silence is more condusive to proper devotion and meditation than fighting the destractions of those coming only to see the “nice art.”

On the flip side, a trip to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis in St. Louis offered a quite different experiance. May be it was the fact Eucharistic Adoration was happening in one of the interior side-chapels or the fact that this cathedral was simply jaw-dropping but either way – any person who entered was silenced.

In any event, this initiative will surely succeed in more ways than one. How it develops will be interesting to witness.

Thoughts of Francis Turretin: Ecclesiology: the Rule of Elders

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keysImage via Wikipedia

How do Scriptures describe the role of elders? There are many aspects. One on which I’ll focus in this post relates to their role as overseers and rulers. This seems to be a challenging part of the Scriptures for those living in Western democracies, in which rule of society tends to be (at least in theory) populist.

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

1 Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

Hebrews 13:24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.

1 Timothy 3:4-5 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

Romans 12:8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Titus 2:15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

Cf. 1 Timothy 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

There is an important caveat:

Mark 10:42-45
But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

That caveat is important. It should prevent the rulers of the church from overstepping their bounds and becoming like Rome’s hierarchy. Nevertheless, even the caveat notes that there will be leaders in the church. Christ’s leadership of the church provides a moral example for those leaders. That example is not fulfilled through a pastor ceremonially washing the feet of his sub-rulers (as Rome’s bishop does), but through rendering practical assistance, comfort, and encouragement. In understanding that his role as shepherd involves authority over the sheep, but has as its purpose the benefit of the sheep.

-TurretinFan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It remains quite interesting to me that the “Reformed Apologist” above pulls plenty of passages from Scripture showing the type of authority that the Church is endowed with yet attempts to “proof-text” his position with a “caveat” concerning the manner in which Gentile rulers at that time lorded over their subjects.

However, TurretinFan’s own words call him out on his ignorance on the Church and the role played by the Pope and all of the bishops in union with him as one of the pope’s titles is “Servant of Servants.” This means that he and every other priest in the Church must, above all things, serve as Christ did. The example set forth by Our Blessed Lord is not only one of selfless service to God and neighbor but also one of authority – not as the pagans, who exercise such authority for their own desires, but as men of God who must excercise their authority to properly shepherd the flock entrusted to them.

TurretinFan’s comments are spot on with exception to this false perception of the Church’s hierarchy. Reenacting the “washing of the feet” is more that to provide symbolism, it serves to remind both shepherd and sheep of humility, service, sacrifice, charity, etc.

The Rite: Spiritual Warfare From the Front Line

Media_httpimgaquinasa_ohegz
Front Cover.
Image via Aquinas & More Catholic Goods.

If I were to describe, simply, the two ways in which homilies/sermons are preached today I would say there is the glass half empty and the glass half full. Those preachers who seek to present to their congregations the ways in which one can achieve the promises of Christ today by watching their program, buying their book or praying some prayer are the example of the glass half empty. Those who preach the Gospel and remind us that our rewards come after suffering, humliation and persecution all culminating on our death and judgment are the example of the glass half full.

The reality is that the world finds the easy message just that: easy. Easy to dissimenate; easy to swollow. This reality has not changed much in the milenia before or after Christ. What has hcnaged however, is our understanding of the unseen world. It far easier to focus on the brand new car or home than it is to encourage and support a person as they dig deep into their own souls in order to make sure that every thing is done wash themselves clean in the Blood of the Lamb. And it is in this that the faithful and many of our shepards have gone terribly wrong.
What the Michael Baglio’s book, The Rite accomplishes for the any reader is the presentation of true events in a manner that is not only easily digestable but thought provoking to the point of fright. Imagine yourself as Father Gary, a priest who not only serves in the very role that bares the title of his vocation but, acting in persona Christi, is called to serve out his vocation under the title of King (and prophet) by trainig and becoming profient in the means of exurting that very autrhority in spiritual hand-to-hand combat. A sobering account to say the least.

Perhaps the lasting benefit of this book is the fact that it broaches the issue of spiritual warfare in a direct and serious manner. I cannot say the same for the film the book spawned as I have yet to see it. But as for the material I read, both the first edition and this second printing, much is done to present fact and not hyperbole.

I wrote this review of The Rite for the Tiber River Blogger Review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, your source for Baptism Gifts and First Communion Gifts. For more information and to purchase, please visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods. Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases. I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

Media_httpimgzemantac_uubdy

Q: What Makes the Catholic Church “Catholic” A: The Four [indelible] Marks of the Church

My very dear friend and God and Cheeseburgers contributer (well, he can post any time he pleases) Dan, who runs the Protestant blog Arminian Chronicles recently posted his take on a very serious question:

What Makes the Catholic Church ‘Catholic’?:

Is it her people, her leadership, her beliefs? The term catholic usually means universal, so one would think it’s her 1 billion plus people spread throughout the world. 

However, I recently pointed out that an overwhelming majority of Catholics use birth control. (link) Does this mean the Catholic Church is OK with birth control? Matthew Bellisario responded by pointing me to an earlier post he had written where he claimed all Christians up till the 1930’s rejected birth control. 

All Christians up until the 1930s interpreted this text as referring to Onan’s punishment of death [Genesis 38 7:9] by his act of “coitus interruptus.” (link

I responded by quoting Jovinianus‘ alternative explanation in the 4th century (link).
Matthew then made an interesting move; backing away from his claim of ‘all Christians’ to ‘every Christian group’. 

every Christian group before the 1930 interpreted this passage the way I am interpreting it. (link

So what is a church group? Given that 1) the Catholic church group rejects birth control and 2) most Catholics use birth control, one might think a church group is not really about her people, but rather her leadership. Rome‘s leadership is so small a group compared to the whole Catholic church that they are statistically insignificant – and in this case they don’t represent most Catholics. 

Recently Matthew Bellisario added another wrinkle, by posted that Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox are united in Christ due to their common belief of the real presence in the mass. (link) So there’s a connection between the East and West that transcends leadership differences; since the East does not recognize the Pope as their leader. So if it’s not her people or her leadership, what makes the Catholic church ‘Catholic’. 

I think Matthew’s move here undermines a fundamental principle of Roman Catholicism – namely the epistemic priority of the Church over doctrine. Indeed, for a Catholic to know some doctrine is true, they must first know it’s approved by the Church. In some cases knowing the Church teaches something is sufficient to know it’s true, without further inquiry. This is of course contrary the the scriptural model of ‘search the scriptures’ or teach then baptize, but it’s also at odds with Matthew’s finding unity across Church boundaries, which seems to invite people to examine doctrine first, then look for the Church. How could Rome stand up doctrines such as the assumption of Mary based on the evidence rather than her authority? 

Of course, the right answer here is that the catholic church is all those who are assembled to Christ by the call of the Gospel (Hebrews 12:22-24). [My bold] Other than that, the bible simply speaks of individual, local congregations as churches.

While there is certainly truth to everything that Dan brings up here, such as the fact that church refers to a body of believers (in particular Christians) and that catholic (greek original katholikos) does mean universal, he fails to take into account what is at the core of Mathew Bellisario’s (Catholic Champion blog) arguement: the Four Marks of the Church.


BACKGROUND ON THE DISCUSSION

Okay, so the exhange above began with a post that Dan did highlighing an article on a survey/study that was done that sadly shows that a majority of self-identified Catholics choose to disobey the Church (and subsequently God) opt for artificial contraception. Dan raised the ire of Matt in the com-box by simply posting the following short intro to the linked article:

It appears most Catholics ingnor Rome’s extra-biblical requirements on birth control.  (link)

The blogosphere and com-boxing being what they are, there was certainly more to it this friendly banter but my point is that Catholics and Protestants, the faithful mind you, are now divided on an issue that up until the Seventh Lambeth Conference (1930, mainstream Anglican), was the official line for most if not all Christian denominations. I will concede that the issue of aritificial contraception is ancient (see Dan’s reference to Jovinianus). Just as ancient as that of infanticide and feticide.

This neither makes the use of contraception just or acceptable it simply means that it is a long standing issue just like many other grave sins such as murder, lust, etc. Furthermore, the sad fact that many self-identified Catholics choose to break God’s heart in this fashion does nothing to deminish or limit the authority and primacy of the Church. Saying as much is akin to saying that because we are given free will and we choose to sin continuously against God we have somehow weakened or diminished Him or His existence, etc.


THE FOUR MARKS OF THE CHURCH

The Four Marks of the Church was originally articulated at the First Council of Constantinople back in AD 381 and is found in the resutling text of the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed that remains in use till this day:

We believe (I believe) in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, and born of the Father before all ages. (God of God) light of light, true God of true God. Begotten not madeconsubstantial to the Father, by whom all things were made

Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven. And was incarnate of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary and was made man; was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried; and the third day rose again according to the Scriptures. And ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of the Father, and shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, of whose Kingdom there shall be no end. 

And (I believe) in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father (and the Son), who together with the Father and the Son is to be adored and glorified, who spoke by the Prophets

And one holycatholic, and apostolic Church. We confess (I confess) one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for (I look for) the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to comeAmen.” [via New Advent]

It is the line, “…one holy, catholic and apostolic Church” that lays out the Four Marks. No other Church except the Catholic Church has these Four Marks, or as many Protestants refer to them “Attributes.”

ONE
In other words, unity. The One True Church of Christ must be united in all things. Paul, writing to the Ephesians, says in 4:3-6:

“…eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.”

Other Scripture references to this Oneness/unity include:

  • Jn 10:16 – there will be one fold and one shepherd.
  • Rom 16:17 – I urge that there be no divisions among you
  • 1Cor 1:10 – I urge that there be no divisions among you
  • Phil 2:2 – be of same mind, united in heart thinking one thing
  • Rom 15:5 – God grant you to think in harmony with one another
  • Jn 17:17-23 – I pray that they may be one, as we are one
  • 1Cor 12:13 – in one spirit we are baptized into one body
  • Rom 12:5 – we, though many, are one body in Christ
  • Col 3:15 – the peace into which you were called in one body
  • Mt 16:18-19 – upon this rock I will build my Church (singular)
  • Mt 18:17 – tell it to THE Church; if he refuses to listen even to THE Church… (must be visible)

How does the Church even come close to this unity? The answer is simple, through her teaching authority otherwise known as the Magesterium. Through ths mechinism the Church, being graced with the aid and guidance of the Holy Spirit (Jn 16-13), instructs the faithful concerning what is truth and what is error. This very Magesterium infallibly articulated the hypostatic union or the fact that Christ is both True God and True Man. Also the nature of God – One God, Three Persons. The Virgin Birth, the Canon of Scripture (all Christians agree at the very least on the New Testament), etc.

That said, some argue that divisions within the Church such as the debates on women’s ordination, married priests and the sad fact above that many self-proclaimed Catholics use artificial contraception agains the Church’s teaching prove that the Catholic Church is not united. This actually does nothing of the sort. What it does prove is that now, just like the day that Adam and Eve sinned, humans continue to freely elect to go against God, His Commanmendts in addition to those persons and/or institutions He has designated to represent Him. The Maegesterium today serves a similar role as Moses and Aaron did in the Old Testament: authorized spokesmen of God and stewards of His people.

HOLY
In other words, sanctity. The One True Church of Christ must have been founded by Jesus Himself and no other. Furthermore, by nature of her founder, the One True Church will be protected from error. Matthew recounts the following in his Gospel:

“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. 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.” (Matthew 16:18-19)

Other Scripture references include [adapted from Sripture Catholic]:

  • Is 35:8, 54:13-17 – refers to the Church as the Holy Way and cannot teach error
  • Acts 9:2; 22:4; 24:14,22 – the early Church is identified as the “Way” (cf Is 35:8)
  • Mt 10:20; Luke 12:12 – Jesus tells His apostles it is not they who speak, but the Spirit
  • Mt 18:17-18 – the Church (not Scripture) is the final authority on questions of the faith.
  • Mt 28:20 – Jesus promises that He will be with the Church always.
  • Lk 10:16 – whoever hears you, hears me. Whoever rejects you, rejects me.
  • Lk 22:32 – Jesus prays for Peter, that his faith may not fail.
  • Jn 11:51-52 – God allows Caiaphas to prophesy infallibly, thus showing that this grace comes from God not men
  • Jn 14:16 – Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit would be with the Church forever.
  • Jn 14:26 – Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit would teach the Church (the apostles and successors) all things regarding the faith.
  • Jn 16:12 – Demonstrates that the Church’s infallible doctrine develops over time.
  • Jn 16:13 – Jesus promises that the Spirit will “guide” the Church into all truth.
  • 1 Cor 2:13 – Paul explains that what the ministers teach is taught, not by human wisdom, but by the Spirit.
  • Acts 15:27-28 – the apostles know that their teaching is being guided by the Holy Spirit. He protects the Church from deception.
  • Eph 3:10 – the wisdom of God is known, even to the intellectually superior angels, through the Church (not the Scriptures).
  • Eph 3:9 – this, in fact, is a mystery hidden for all ages – that God manifests His wisdom through one infallible Church for all people.
  • Eph 3:20 – God’s glory is manifested in the Church by the power of the Spirit that works within the Church’s leaders.
  • Eph 5:23-27, Col. 1:18 – There is only one Church, just as Christ only has one Bride.
  • 1 Th 5:21 – Paul commands us to test everything. The Catholic Church, whose teachings on faith and morals have never changed.
  • 1 Tim 3:15 – Paul says the apostolic Church (not Scripture) is the pillar and foundation of the truth.
  • 1 Jn 4:6 – John writes that whoever knows God “listens to us” (the bishops and successors to the apostles).

No other religious organization, intusution, whatever…comes close to backing up what the Church claims with this Mark. That for over 2,000 years she has reigned, not altered her dogmas and doctrines despite persecutions, schisms and “Reformations.” Even secular historians can show that the Catholic Church extends her reach to AD 33. To quote Rabbi Gamilieal:

“So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!”  (Acts 5:38-39)

CATHOLIC
In other words, universality. This mark not only directly answers Dan’s question but also answer’s the greater meaning of Dan’s question, which, if I understand my good friend correclty, is, “How can the Church claim to be what she says and how can she back it up becuase I see no evidence?”

I answer this question with a question: Which Church carried out the Great Commission?

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19)

Other Scripture references include:

  • Mt 28:20 – teach all of my commandments
  • Mk 16:15 – preach the gospel to the world
  • Acts 1:8 – witness unto the uttermost parts
  • Acts 10:9-28 – universality revealed to Peter
  • Rm 1:5-6 – the faith among all nations
  • 1 Cor 12:13 – of many origins, we are one
  • Ep 3:20-21 – glory in church for all ages
  • Mt 5:14-15 – the light…shining for all
  • Mk 7:24-30 – the Syro-phoenician woman

The Catholic Church has been in the business of evangelizing since AD 33 and by the grace of God working through the faith and deeds of her saints and sinners spread and continues to spread the Gospel of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to all corners of the Earth – baptizing all peoples in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

There are other facets about the Church that demonstrate the unversality or catholicity of the Church. For example, the Liturgy. Despite some variations that are unique to the different churches within the greater Church (e.g. Latin Rite, Byzantine Rite, Dominican Rite, Anglican Rite, etc.) the basic liturgy remains the same and must be approved by the Roman Pontiff.

I wish now to draw attention to a common mistake made by many Protestants when refering to the Church. The Church is universal. To call me Roman Catholic or Latin Catholic or even Western Catholic is okay and accurate but to call…Fr. Thomas Loya a Roman Catholic would not be. He is a Byzantine Catholic – an Eastern Rite Church. Get the idea? Roman Catholicism is but a rite within the Church. It just happens to be the most common.

Because the Latin Church is the most common, it makes sense that the official, universal language fo the Church become and remain Latin. This offers me and every other Catholic the opportunity to attend Mass in any part of the world actively know what is going on, what prayers are being said, (by way of the Litrigical Calendar) what celebration is taking place, etc. I have had the privalige to attend Masses in English, Spanish, Korean and of course Latin. (Obviously I did not understand the Korean vernacular but knew exactly what was going on.)

Thanks be to God, the Catholic Church is the only church that fulfills this prophecy (because every day at every hour – except Good Friday – Mass is said somewhere on this Earth):

“For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 1:11)

APOSTOLIC
In other words, continuity (or as all other sources refer to it, apostolocity). Here again, is another unique mark of the One True Church of Christ that no other institution can claim or meet except the Catholic Church. Paul speaks of this mark in his letter to the Ephesians:

“So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone…”  (Ephesians 2:19-20)

Other Scripture references include:

  • Jn 15:16 – Jesus chose special men to be his Apostles
  • Jn 20:21 – Jesus gave the Apostles his own mission
  • Lk 22:29-3 – Jesus gave them a kingdom
  • Mt 16:18 – Jesus built Church on Peter, the rock
  • Jn 10:16 – one shepherd to shepherd Christ’s sheep
  • Lk 22:32, Jn 21:17 – Peter appointed to be chief shepherd
  • Eph 4:11 – church leaders are hierarchical
  • 1Tim 3:1, 8; 5:17 – identifies roles of bishops, priests, deacons
  • Tit 1:5 – commission for bishops to ordain priests
  • 2 Chr 19:11 – high priest is over you in everything of Lord’s
  • Mal 2:7 – seek instruction from priest, he is God’s messenger
  • Eph 4:11 – God gave some as apostles, others as prophets…
  • 1 Cor 12:28-29 – God designated in church: apostles, …
  • Acts 1:20 – let another take his office
  • Acts 1:25-26 – Matthias takes Judas’ apostolic ministry
  • 1 Tim 3:1, 8; 5:17 – qualifications for: bishops, priests, & deacons
  • 1Tim 4:14 – gift conferred with the laying on of hands
  • 1Tim 5:22 – do not lay hands too readily on anyone
  • Acts 14:23 – they appointed presbyters in each church
  • 2Tim 2:2 – what you heard from me entrust to faithful teachers
  • Titus 1:5 – appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed

Apostolicity refers directly to being of or related to the Apostles. This of course includes succession and authority. For if the Church of Christ was to remain in this world until its consumation (Mt 28:20) then certainly Jesus must have intended that the offices of bishop, presbytyr and deacon would continue and be passed on. Moreover, apostolicity ties the other three marks together:

  • Continuity lends itself to unity. Think of why the U.S. is the only country in the entire world to have the oldest Constitution despite declaring her independance from Great Britain only 235 years ago. Without this reverence for the consistent nature of this governing document our nation would have surely crumbles and divided long ago. Same goes for the Church. Without a direct link to the Apostles, the authority of Church leadership would become nullified once public favor leaves them. The Church is not a democracy – it is the “pillar and foundation of Truth” (1 Tim 3:15).
  • Continuity of this fashion proves divine origin. The U.S. may remain united but the Constitution, Congress, the President and the Judiciary are from infallible. Constitutional amendments prohibitng and then repealing alochol prove that – not to mention other more serious issues such as slavery and women’s sufferage. Paul, writing to the Church in Corinth, says as much when he reminds them to “maintain the traditions even as [he delivered them]” (1 Cor 11:2).
  • Continuity allows to for universality. Again, the greatest empires in history and the most powerful nations on earth today hold in common one thing with the Church: one continuous vision despite changes in leadership, revolts, etc. For the U.S. this vision rests with that of the Fathers. Thus the debates over the constittionality of one law or another. Same goes for the Church. We can expand and spread the very same Gospel in different parts of the world because we have a visible, identifiable succession of leaders from the Original Twelve through today. But there is one added caveat that the Church has that no earthly instution has: a guarantee of continuity, authority and infallibility from God Himself.

This is what makes the Catholic Church “Catholic.”

Media_httpimgzemantac_jwffp

The Rite: Spiritual Warfare From the Front Line

Front Cover.
Image via Aquinas & More Catholic Goods.

If I were to describe, simply, the two ways in which homilies/sermons are preached today I would say there is the glass half empty and the glass half full. Those preachers who seek to present to their congregations the ways in which one can achieve the promises of Christ today by watching their program, buying their book or praying some prayer are the example of the glass half empty. Those who preach the Gospel and remind us that our rewards come after suffering, humliation and persecution all culminating on our death and judgment are the example of the glass half full.

The reality is that the world finds the easy message just that: easy. Easy to dissimenate; easy to swollow. This reality has not changed much in the milenia before or after Christ. What has hcnaged however, is our understanding of the unseen world. It far easier to focus on the brand new car or home than it is to encourage and support a person as they dig deep into their own souls in order to make sure that every thing is done wash themselves clean in the Blood of the Lamb. And it is in this that the faithful and many of our shepards have gone terribly wrong.
What the Michael Baglio’s book, The Rite accomplishes for the any reader is the presentation of true events in a manner that is not only easily digestable but thought provoking to the point of fright. Imagine yourself as Father Gary, a priest who not only serves in the very role that bares the title of his vocation but, acting in persona Christi, is called to serve out his vocation under the title of King (and prophet) by trainig and becoming profient in the means of exurting that very autrhority in spiritual hand-to-hand combat. A sobering account to say the least.

Perhaps the lasting benefit of this book is the fact that it broaches the issue of spiritual warfare in a direct and serious manner. I cannot say the same for the film the book spawned as I have yet to see it. But as for the material I read, both the first edition and this second printing, much is done to present fact and not hyperbole.

I wrote this review of The Rite for the Tiber River Blogger Review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods, your source for Baptism Gifts and First Communion Gifts. For more information and to purchase, please visit Aquinas and More Catholic Goods. Tiber River is the first Catholic book review site, started in 2000 to help you make informed decisions about Catholic book purchases. I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

Enhanced by Zemanta