Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What Catholics Believe, an Introduction

I have been contemplating how to defend our Faith--the Faith passed down from Jesus Christ through the Apostles down to us today.  I contemplate how fellow Christians, those who belong to traditions that have departed from the Church founded by Christ, or who belong to no tradition at all, can and do believe that Catholics are not Christians.  Contemplating how my journey of faith brought me from an early faith in a Baptist tradition to my passionate love for my Lord as a member of His Body--the Catholic Church, I do not understand the hostility or anti-Catholic bigotry.  Since, I became a Catholic 15 years ago, I have met more "Christian" bigots than in all my 30+ years as a Baptist.  I'm still a Christian.  I still love the Gospel--in fact, I love it even more passionately.  So, I thought I'd begin a series on Christ's Church.  Unlike Protestant Apologists, I don't intend to reinvent the wheel I will be using the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other Church documents along with the Scriptures in my articles.

So, to begin.

The Nicene-Constantinoplian Creed

I believe in one God, the Father almighty,
    maker of heaven and earth,
    of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
        the Only Begotten Son of God,
        born of the Father before all ages.
    God from God, Light from Light,
        true God from true God,
    begotten, not made, consubstantial
       with the Father;
        Through him all things were made.
    For us men and for our salvation
        he came down from heaven,
        and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate
        of the Virgin Mary,
        and became man.

    For our sake he was crucified
      under Pontius Pilate,
        he suffered death and was buried,
        and rose again on the third day
        in accordance with the Scriptures.
    He ascended into heaven
        and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
    He will come again in glory
        to judge the living and the dead
        and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
        the Lord, the giver of life,
    who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
    who with the Father and the Son
        is adored and glorified,
        who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic,
     and apostolic Church.
    I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins
        and I look forward to the resurrection
        of the dead and the life of the world to come.

This is what we believe--Catholics.  It is virtually the same as the Orthodox version of the Creed (yes, I do know the difference), and similar to the Creeds used by the Lutherans and many other Protestant faiths.

"In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son."26 Christ, the Son of God made man, is the Father's one, perfect and unsurpassable Word. In him he has said everything; there will be no other word than this one. St. John of the Cross, among others, commented strikingly on Hebrews 1:1-2:
In giving us his Son, his only Word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word - and he has no more to say. . . because what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has now spoken all at once by giving us the All Who is His Son. Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behavior but also of offending him, by not fixing his eyes entirely upon Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty.27
26 Heb 1:1-2.
27 St. John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mount Carmel 2,22,3-5 in The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, tr. K. Kavanaugh, OCD, and O. Rodriguez, OCD (Washington DC:Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1979),179-180:LH, OR Advent, week 2, Mon.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 65 (CCC 65).

Next, a look at the Creed step by step.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Morally Straight?"

I am so disappointed in the Boy Scouts of America right now.  I can't even imagine who the delegates were who supposedly voted 61% for the resolution.  According to a Scout leader I know, approximately 40% of Boy Scouts are Mormons.  Then next two largest groups are Baptists and Catholics.  Who voted yes on this resolution???  Apparently, the California and New York delegations and their liberal cohorts outnumber the majority of conservative voting delegates.

Will they have to change the Scout Oath?
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.
Like the movement to ban the "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, will there be a movement to drop "to God" and "morally straight" from the Scout Oath?  Or will relative morality come into play?

It is only a matter of time, then, before they'll have gay men leaders.  I will not expose my sons to such immorality, nor put them in harms' way.  I intend to wait until the 'chips fall' and the USCCB makes a statement.  But, if the vote stands and the scouts change their policy to allow boys who are openly gay, we'll be looking elsewhere for activities for the boys.  Thankfully, my oldest earned his Eagle Scout and is now an adult.  Now we have to decide what to do with our 16- and 14-year old Boy Scouts and our 7 year old Cub Scout.  We can't in all good conscience accept this resolution or the slippery slope the Boy Scouts are now on.  

I certainly will not do any more recruiting for the Scouts.  General Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, and Ernst Seton and William Boyce, co-founders in America, are turning in their graves right now.  Any suggestions?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Happy St. Brendan's Day!

One of my favorite saints and my eldest son's namesake.  Happy St. Brendan's Day! 
[Image from facebook]

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ascension Thursday

Today marks the day Jesus Christ ascended back to the Father in Heaven.  He ascended under His own power, as God the Son.  In many dioceses, the celebration of the Ascension is moved to Sunday.  Then, the next Sunday is Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit, sent by God the Son, came upon and gave life to His Church in the Apostles and Mary.

50 Then he led them [out] as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. 51 As He blessed them He parted from them and was taken up to Heaven.  52 They did Him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53and they were continually in the temple praising God. (Luke 24)

 19 So then the Lord Jesus, after He spoke to them, was taken up into Heaven and took His seat at the right hand of God. 20 But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.] (Mark 16)

6 When they had gathered together they asked Him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority.  8 But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 When He had said this, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him from their sight.  10 While they were looking intently at the sky as He was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.  11 They said, "Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?  This Jesus who has been taken up from you into Heaven will return in the same way as you have seen Him going into Heaven."  12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away.
(Act 1)