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Scots Catholic Blog
|Posted on July 3, 2015 at 11:07 AM||comments (0)|
Catholic Answers' director of apologetics Tim Staples considers the question of women priests in the Catholic Church and reveals seven reasons why this is not possible.
The seven reasons are:
1. The Church has definitively declared it
2. The Church's constant Tradition for 2,000 years cannot err
3. The attitude of Christ
4. The practice of the Apostles
5. The permanent value of the attitude of Jesus Christ and the Apostles
6. The ministerial priesthood in the light of the mystery of Christ
7. The ministerial priesthood as illustrated by the mystery of the Church
Click this link to read the full article: http://www.catholic.com/blog/tim-staples/call-no-woman-father
|Posted on June 30, 2015 at 3:46 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on April 24, 2015 at 11:35 AM||comments (18)|
Only this man has the power to save us
Sunday’s First Reading (Acts 4:8-12):
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter said: ‘Rulers of the people, and elders! If you are questioning us today about an act of kindness to a cripple, and asking us how he was healed, then I am glad to tell you all, and would indeed be glad to tell the whole people of Israel, that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the one you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name and by no other that this man is able to stand up perfectly healthy, here in your presence, today. This is the stone rejected by you the builders, but which has proved to be the keystone. For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.’
Only Jesus Christ can save us. Only Jesus Christ can save us. Only Jesus Christ can save us. Only Jesus Christ can save us….
Has it sunk in yet?? It’s quite incredible to think that each one of us can be saved from sin and death and brought to eternal life. It’s even more incredible to think that all this is achieved through one man! Can you imagine being that one man? Can you imagine if you were the key to Heaven; the key to eternal life? Wouldn’t it be quite a responsibility? It certainly would; but it would be worth all of that responsibility to see wave after wave of people coming back to you because they trust in you and because they believe in you and believe in the Church you founded. Yet conversely, wouldn’t it be so sad to know that not all of your created people are coming back to you? Wouldn’t it be sad to be rejected by your very own creation? Rejected despite coming to earth to spread the message of a perfect love; rejected despite performing miracle after miracle to help the poor and the needy; rejected despite suffering greatly at the hands of your oppressors who humiliated you and abused you before nailing you to a cross; rejected despite rising from the dead and revealing yourself to those close to you who then took that great news to the ends of the earth. After all of that and still you are rejected! How breathtakingly sad must that be for Jesus?
It would seem that no matter how often we are told Christ is the only way to God and the only way to salvation, we still don’t quite take it in. Even Jesus himself told us that he was the way, the truth and the life and that nobody can get to the Father except through him; yet many still doubt. So here is St Peter, the rock upon which Christ’s Church is built, telling us once more that Christ is the only one who can save us.
So, are we prepared to really let this sink in? And even more importantly, are we prepared to take this message to the ends of the earth no matter what? You see, we can’t possibly just keep this to ourselves or within the confines of our families and close friends. An increasingly aggressive secularism tells you to keep it to yourself, but Jesus tells you to take it to the ends of the earth! So let’s get out there and tell the world that Jesus is the only way! It is Jesus Christ, the most perfect, most beautiful, most glorious, most incredible man who ever walked this earth who can give us the gift of eternal life. It is the most precious Jesus, that man who took on unbearable pain on our behalf, who is the key to our salvation. Trust him, love him and surrender to him. And encourage others to do the same.
|Posted on April 10, 2015 at 8:02 AM||comments (0)|
From Sunday’s Gospel (John 20:19-31):
‘The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.
‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’
After saying this he breathed on them and said:
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’’
There is a lot to take on board from this week’s Gospel story. There are perhaps two important strands; the first is Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit to his disciples, the second is Thomas’unbelief.
I would like to focus for a moment on the first of these. When Jesus breathes on the disciples and gives them the gift of the Spirit he also gives them a power; he delegates the power to forgive and retain sins. It is here that the first priests of the Church receive the grace and the power to bring to us the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And as Christ intended his priesthood and his Church to grow, this same power is attributed to each priest of the Church today.
Could Jesus have simply said that all sins are forgiven and that there is no need to seek the assistance of a disciple or priest to hear Confessions? Yes he could have. He could quite easily have said this if he wanted. But he didn’t. He wanted his children to come forward to reveal their wrongdoings and he wanted to hear them say that they were sorry. We are all called to go forth to Confession and to reveal our sins and to ask God's forgiveness, a forgiveness He is always prepared to give us. Even Pope Francis visits the confessional twice per month.
In this Gospel passage Christ institutes the beautiful Sacrament of Reconciliation. He entrusts the Sacrament to his Church and to his priests. He then asks us to come forward to receive this great gift.
|Posted on March 31, 2015 at 12:37 PM||comments (0)|
The issue of divorce is a subject of much discussion among members of the Catholic Church and its detractors.
So what is thr truth of our teaching? And did Jesus really allow divorce?
While Mosaic law did allow divorce and remarriage among the Israelites Jesus had a very different point of view when confronted by the Pharisees on the topic. Jesus said: "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."
The Pharisees tested Jesus yet further when they asked "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" Jesus' response: "For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so."
It is a clear and decisive teaching of Christ that sacramental marriage is forever and that divorce is not allowed.
So does the Church simply refuse to recognise any form of civil divorce or even separation? Not quite. The Church understands that sometimes such action is necessary where it is for reasons of abuse for example. Provided there is no intention to end the sacramental aspect of the marriage then this is allowed but it cannot simply be done to free up individuals to marry others.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: 'The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law. If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.'
So we have covered sacramental marriages i.e. marriages between two consenting Catholic people. What about marriages between baptised Christians and other types of marriage? Following the teachings of St Paul the Church has stated the following: 'A marriage entered into by two non-baptized persons is dissolved by means of the Pauline privilege in favor of the faith of the party who has received baptism by the very fact that a new marriage is contracted by the same party, provided that the non-baptized party departs.' Therefore, there is scope for certain types of marriage to be dissolved so that an individual is free to marry again.
Another consideration with respect to marriage is the process of annulment. This is where the Catholic Church, following thorough investigation, declares that a marriage never existed in the first place. Some reasons for this are lack of capacity, failure to adequately consent, and violation of canonical form.
While there may be limited scope for non-sacramental marriages to be dissolved (and it is very limited) there is no doubt that valid sacramental marriages are forever and that divorce is not an option. And this is all in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ.
|Posted on March 2, 2015 at 8:39 AM||comments (0)|
What is Lent? What are the rules for fasting during Lent? Do you need to give up something for Lent? Are you allowed instrumental music during Mass through Lent?
These are all questions ably answered by Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin in his great blog.
Click here to learn 'Nine things you need to know about Lent': http://jimmyakin.com/2015/02/9-things-you-need-to-know-about-lent-2.html
Click here to learn 'Six liturgical no-no's during Lent': http://jimmyakin.com/2013/02/6-liturgical-no-nos-during-lent.html
A call to Catholic dads: man up and make Jesus the real hero! (Dwelling on the Word of God, Sunday 1st March 2015)
|Posted on February 27, 2015 at 10:11 AM||comments (16)|
Jesus Christ: truly heroic
Sunday’s First Reading (Genesis 22:1-2,9-13,15-18):
‘God put Abraham to the test. ‘Abraham, Abraham’ he called. ‘Here I am’ he replied. ‘Take your son,’ God said ‘your only child Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him as a burnt offering, on a mountain I will point out to you.’
When they arrived at the place God had pointed out to him, Abraham built an altar there, and arranged the wood. Then he bound his son Isaac and put him on the altar on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and seized the knife to kill his son.
But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven. ‘Abraham, Abraham’ he said. ‘I am here’ he replied. ‘Do not raise your hand against the boy’ the angel said. ‘Do not harm him, for now I know you fear God. You have not refused me your son, your only son.’ Then looking up, Abraham saw a ram caught by its horns in a bush. Abraham took the ram and offered it as a burnt-offering in place of his son.
The angel of the Lord called Abraham a second time from heaven. ‘I swear by my own self – it is the Lord who speaks – because you have done this, because you have not refused me your son, your only son, I will shower blessings on you, I will make your descendants as many as the stars of heaven and the grains of sand on the seashore. Your descendants shall gain possession of the gates of their enemies. All the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your descendants, as a reward for your obedience.’’
This is perhaps one of the most difficult passages in scripture for us to understand. Can you imagine if you picked up the paper to read that a man took his son up a mountain to sacrifice him for God?? To say there would be an outcry would be a huge understatement. Thankfully God didn’t want Abraham to actually sacrifice Isaac; rather, God wanted to see if he was prepared to do it. And he was. Out of fear and respect Abraham was prepared to do whatever God asked of him.
So how can we align this to today and our own lives? Can we class ourselves as an Abraham, willing to entrust our children to God? Perhaps the first thing to do is to think about who our children really are. Do we consider our children to be gifts from God, entrusted to us by their true Father in Heaven? And in response to this great gift from the Father do we praise and glorify Him and teach our children to do the same? If the answer is yes to both of these questions then you are on your way to being a modern day Abraham! You accept that your children belong to God and you delight that He has chosen you to look after his little ones!
But there’s more; and while the following is relevant to all parents, perhaps it is most relevant to the fathers among us. As Catholic fathers we are all called to be Abraham. We must always remember that God created our children and it is to Him that they will hopefully one day return. God wants His children returned to Him and He has entrusted you with the task of shaping His child and developing that child into a tabernacle in which the Holy Spirit can flourish for all eternity. You aren’t just raising your child so that they have a nice life, visit lots of places, experience lots of thrills and die at a respectable 80 or 90 years of age. You are raising your child so that they will live forever in Paradise! What responsibility! And while western society is making a very good job of trying to dispense with the need for fathers in our world, nobody can deny that every child has one. So, can you be like Abraham and do whatever God tells you to do? Can you be the ultimate father to your child?
Jesus, when he died on the Cross, was the sacrifice God was preparing the world for when he sent Abraham up the mountain to sacrifice Isaac. God, in His love for us, didn’t hesitate to spare Isaac when he realised what faith Abraham had in Him. But years later, and on another mountain (Calvary), it was God’s own son who would be sacrificed. And it would be the sacrifice to end all sacrifices; a sacrifice to bring an end to death itself and open the gates to eternal life in Heaven. And while many may criticise God for having done this to His own son, He did it out of love for all of His children; that is, every human being who has ever lived and is to live.
God doesn’t want you to take your child up a mountain so that you can offer them up as a human sacrifice. But He does want you to respond to His call to raise that child to be like His own son, Jesus Christ. He wants your child to share in the perfect life of Jesus and to make Jesus the ultimate role model. No footballers, no movie stars, no musicians. Jesus. And the first step to ensuring Christ is the role model of choice for our children? We must make him our role model too.
So let us all accept the great gift of children from the Father and let us put in the effort to give them the best chance of eternal life. And may all of us, especially the dads, make Jesus our role model so that our children will know that following Jesus is the best way to live their life. Remember, Jesus is ‘the way, the truth, and the life’. He is the only way to the Father. While Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo may provide you with great goals, and Johnny Depp may deliver a flawless big screen performance, none of them can possibly give you eternal life. By all means enjoy what talents these guys have to offer; they are, after all, gifts from God. But when your child asks you who your role model is and who they should aspire to be, only one name should fall from your lips: the name of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. So man up all you fathers out there, and don't be afraid to tell your kids who the real hero is!
|Posted on February 17, 2015 at 12:49 PM||comments (1)|
Lent is now upon us and we can all hopefully look forward to spending much time reflecting on our faith and our relationship with Jesus as we embark on a journey of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
And while we have the option to develop our relationship with Jesus all year round, there is perhaps no better time than Lent to spend a little more time in the presence of Christ; one to one. This Lent we are invited to get up and walk a while with our Saviour. We are asked to pray more often than normal; to fast more; and to give more freely to those in need. All of this can be achieved with the help of Christ. If we take up his offer to walk with him he will give us the graces we need to make the most of this special season of Lent.
But what if you are far from the Church or have fallen away from the faith? If this applies to you I would ask you to just consider taking a little time out this Lent to speak to Jesus. It might be a prayer; it might be a question; it might be a concern or worry; or it might even be a simple hello! The truth is, anything goes. Jesus wants to give you the floor so that you can tell him everything that is on your mind. The most important thing for Jesus is that you need him. He wants to be the perfect friend; one who doesn't judge, who doesn't argue, and who doesn't impose any conditions on your friendship.
Consider popping into a Church this Lent and spending some quality time with Jesus. He is right there waiting for you in the tabernacle. It's no illusion, no trick; he exists right there and he is waiting for you to come home to him.
And if your lack of faith relates to the Church, remember that the Church is a hospital for sinners not a club for saints. If you feel disgruntled or even distrust towards the Church, remember that it is Christ who founded it and it is Christ who waits for you. He is the most important element of our faith. It is through him that we will learn to love God, to love one another, to become better people and, ultimately, to be united with the Father in Heaven.
This Lent, as you give up chocolate or alcohol, consider spending some quality time with your Saviour. He has so much love to give and this love has your name written all over it. Nobody can give the perfect love and peace that Christ can.
Make a special effort this Lent to attend a very special appointment in your local Church. You may not know it but Jesus already has your name in his diary. The only question is, will you turn up....?
For further reading and to see what tips Pope Francis has for Lent, click this link: http://www.focus.org/blog/posts/what-should-i-do-for-lent-pope-francis-ten-tips.html
|Posted on February 13, 2015 at 8:08 AM||comments (22)|
There are many wonderful stories of people converting to the Catholic faith and there are many reasons why people do this. But for one Anglican priest it was the concept of authority which most influenced his decision to convert; for he found that only the Catholic Church had the authority of Christ.
In his conversion story Father Dwight Longenecker reveals how the question of the ordination of women in the Anglican Church led him to a real consideration of authority in the Church and that this ultimately led him to understand and accept the authority of the Catholic Church.
Father Longenecker recalls a conversation he had with the Abbot of Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight on the subject of the ordination of women. He said that what the Abbot said hit the nail on the head and was the catalyst for a deeper exploration of the authority of the Catholic Church.
The Abbot told Father Longenecker that 'Sometimes we have to deny some lesser good in order to affirm the greater good. I think you have to deny women’s ordination in order to affirm the apostolic ministry. If the apostolic authority says no to women’s ordination, then to affirm the greater good of apostolic authority you will have to deny the lesser good of women’s ordination. Because if we deny the greater good, then eventually we will lose the lesser good as well.'
As he studied the history of the Catholic Church in more detail Father Longenecker discovered that there were twelve crucial traits of Church authority and while other Christian churches could lay claim to some of these traits, only the Catholic Church could evidence all twelve.
The twelve traits are:
Rooted in History
Accessible to the Uneducated
Both Human and Divine
Built Upon the Rock
To read what Father Longenecker has to say about these twelve traits and how the Catholic Church demonstrates each of them, click this link to read his article at catholic.com: http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/how-do-we-know-it%E2%80%99s-the-true-church
|Posted on February 9, 2015 at 9:26 AM||comments (1)|
Is the Catholic Church the only way to eternal life?
Tim Staples, Director of Apologetics and Evangelisation at Catholic Answers, considers this most crucial question in his latest blog piece at catholic.com.
In a thoroughly detailed and considered view on the matter, Tim comes to the following important conclusions:
1. No one who knowingly and deliberately rejects the truth will be saved. It doesn’t matter how good of a Muslim, Jew, Baptist, or anything else he may be. If anyone rejects the truth of Christ and his Church—even one definitive teaching—they will be lost.
2. Religions that have as tenants of their respective faiths the rejection of Jesus and his Church have no power to save anyone. It is “the truth that makes us free” (cf. John 8:32), not falsehood.
3. In the case of one who is ignorant of the truth of the Catholic Faith, “through no fault of [his] own,” he can be saved, if he is truly “invincibly ignorant, [is] given the supernatural virtue of faith and [has] perfect charity in [his heart]” (cf. Instruction of Holy Office of Dec. 20, 1949).
4. We must remember that we are not the judges of salvation. God is the sole and final judge. We do not know who is truly “invincibly ignorant” and who is not. Therefore, we must be careful to “evangelize all men” as the Catechism commands us and leave the judging to God.
5. “Whatever good or truth is found amongst [other world religions] is considered by the Church to be ‘a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life’” (Lumen Gentium16). And if they seek the true God given the light they have received, they have the possibility of salvation.
6. This does not mean they are not in need of the Eucharist! Without the grace that comes from the sacraments, one is at a decided disadvantage to get to heaven. And if one has rejected the truth, then there is no way he can merit heaven apart from repentance and the acceptance of the truth. The Church makes very clear: “The words bind and loose mean: whomever you exclude from your communion, will be excluded from communion with God; whomever you receive anew into your communion, God will welcome back into his. Reconciliation with the Church is inseparable from reconciliation with God” (CCC 1445).
Click here to read the full article at catholic.com: http://www.catholic.com/blog/tim-staples/is-there-really-no-salvation-outside-the-catholic-church