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Scots Catholic

Calling Scotland's 841,000 Catholics to unite as one voice

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What is Atheism? A Socratic Dialogue

Posted on June 26, 2014 at 9:49 AM Comments comments (3)
Read this fascinating piece by Catholic Answers apologist Matt Frad as he utilises the style of Socrates to explore the reality of atheism.


Debate: Cardinal George Pell (Catholic Christian) vs Richard Dawkins (Atheist/Agnostic)

Posted on January 10, 2014 at 2:27 AM Comments comments (4)
An hour long debate between the Catholic Cardinal George Pell and the Atheist/Agnostic (he isn't entirely sure himself) Richard Dawkins.
 
The debate took place last year in Australia last year and is worth a viewing.
 
Listen out for Mr Dawkins' sound bites which ultimately have little or no foundation.
 
 
 

Learning the Catholic Faith: How can we deny God?

Posted on December 13, 2013 at 6:48 AM Comments comments (0)
Why do people deny that God exists, if they can know Him by reason? 
 
To know the invisible God is a great challenge for the human mind.  Many are scared off by it.  Another reason why some do not want to know God is because they would then have to change their life.  Anyone who says that the question about God is meaningless because it cannot be answered is making things too easy for himself.
 
 
Can we grasp God at all in concepts? Is it possible to speak about Him meaningfully?
 
Although we men are limited and the infinite greatness of God never fits into finite human concepts, we can nevertheless speak rightly about God.
 
In order to express something about God, we use imperfect images and limited notions.  And so everything we say about God is subject to the reservation that our language is not equal to God’s greatness.  Therefore we must constantly purify and improve our speech about God.
 

Learning the Catholic Faith: Can we really know that God exists?

Posted on December 12, 2013 at 8:01 AM Comments comments (0)
Can we know the existence of God by our reason?
 
Yes. Human reason can know God with certainty.  The world cannot have its origin and its destination within itself.  In everything that exists, there is more than we see.  The order, the beauty, and the development of the world point beyond themselves toward God.  Every man is receptive to what is true, good, and beautiful.  He hears within himself the voice of conscience, which urges him to what is good and warns him against what is evil.  Anyone who follows this path reasonably finds God.
 
From Catholic Youth Catechism (question 4)
 

Edinburgh University Survey on Faith and Belief in Scotland

Posted on December 5, 2013 at 7:26 AM Comments comments (1)
Have your say in this interesting survey on faith in Scotland.  It only takes around 10-15 minutes to complete and the results are to be published in the spring of 2014.
 
Click here to take the survey:

Evangelii Gaudium: Pope Francis on Secularism, New-Age Religion, Religious Freedom and the Media

Posted on December 4, 2013 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (2)
 
‘Intellectuals and serious journalists frequently descend to crude and superficial generalisations in speaking of the shortcomings of religion, and often prove incapable of realising that not all believers – or religious leaders – are the same.’
Pope Francis
 
‘A healthy pluralism, one which genuinely respects differences and values them as such, does not entail privatising religions in an attempt to reduce them to the quiet obscurity of the individual’s conscience or to relegate them to the enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues or mosques. This would represent, in effect, a new form of discrimination and authoritarianism.’
Pope Francis
 
Despite the tide of secularism which has swept our societies, in many countries – even those where Christians are a minority – the Catholic Church is considered a credible institution by public opinion, and trusted for her solidarity and concern for those in greatest need.
Pope Francis
 
 
Here, in detail, is what Pope Francis has to say on these important issues:
 
We should recognise how in a culture where each person wants to be bearer of his or her own subjective truth, it becomes difficult for citizens to devise a common plan which transcends individual gain and personal ambitions.
 
In the prevailing culture, priority is given to the outward, the immediate, the visible, the quick, the superficial and the provisional.’
 
 
‘At times our media culture and some intellectual circles convey a marked scepticism with regard to the Church’s message, along with a certain cynicism. As a consequence, many pastoral workers, although they pray, develop a sort of inferiority complex which leads them to relativise or conceal their Christian identity and convictions. This produces a vicious circle.
 
Today, our challenge is not so much atheism as the need to respond adequately to many people’s thirst for God.
Unless these people find in the Church a spirituality which can offer healing and liberation, and fill them with life and peace, while at the same time summoning them to fraternal communion and missionary fruitfulness, they will end up by being taken in by solutions which neither make life truly human nor give glory to God.’
 
‘The Catholic faith of many peoples is nowadays being challenged by the proliferation of new religious movements, some of which tend to fundamentalism while others seem to propose a spirituality without God.
 
These religious movements, not without a certain shrewdness, come to fill, within a predominantly individualistic culture, a vacuum left by secularist rationalism. We must recognise that if part of our baptised people lack a sense of belonging to the Church, this is also due to certain structures and the occasionally unwelcoming atmosphere of some of our parishes and communities, or to a bureaucratic way of dealing with problems, be they simple or complex, in the lives of our people. In many places an administrative approach prevails over a pastoral approach, as does a concentration on administering the sacraments apart from other forms of evangelisation.
 
The process of secularisation tends to reduce the faith and the Church to the sphere of the private and personal. Furthermore, by completely rejecting the transcendent, it has produced a growing deterioration of ethics, a weakening of the sense of personal and collective sin, and a steady increase in relativism. These have led to a general sense of disorientation, especially in the periods of adolescence and young adulthood which are so vulnerable to change.
 
Despite the tide of secularism which has swept our societies, in many countries – even those where Christians are a minority – the Catholic Church is considered a credible institution by public opinion, and trusted for her solidarity and concern for those in greatest need. Again and again, the Church has acted as a mediator in finding solutions to problems affecting peace, social harmony, the land, the defence of life, human and civil rights, and so forth.’
 
Secularist Advertising
 
‘In other parts of our society, we see the growing attraction to various forms of a “spirituality of well-being” divorced from any community life, or to a “theology of prosperity” detached from responsibility for our brothers and sisters, or to depersonalised experiences which are nothing more than a form of self-centredness.
 
One important challenge is to show that the solution will never be found in fleeing from a personal and committed relationship with God which at the same time commits us to serving others.’
 
 
‘It is no longer possible to claim that religion should be restricted to the private sphere and that it exists only to prepare souls for heaven.
We know that God wants his children to be happy in this world too, even though they are called to fulfilment in eternity, for he has created all things “for our enjoyment” (1 Tim 6:17), the enjoyment of everyone. It follows that Christian conversion demands reviewing especially those areas and aspects of life “related to the social order and the pursuit of the common good”.
 
An authentic faith – which is never comfortable or completely personal – always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better that we found it. We love this magnificent planet on which God has put us, and we love the human family which dwells here, with all its tragedies and struggles, its hopes and aspirations, its strengths and weaknesses. The earth is our common home and all of us are brothers and sisters. If indeed “the just ordering of society and of the state is a central responsibility of politics”, the Church “cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice”.
 
Furthermore, neither the Pope nor the Church have a monopoly on the interpretation of social realities or the proposal of solutions to contemporary problems.’
 
 
‘The Synod Fathers spoke of the importance of respect for religious freedom, viewed as a fundamental human right.
This includes “the freedom to choose the religion which one judges to be true and to manifest one’s beliefs in public”.
 
A healthy pluralism, one which genuinely respects differences and values them as such, does not entail privatising religions in an attempt to reduce them to the quiet obscurity of the individual’s conscience or to relegate them to the enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues or mosques. This would represent, in effect, a new form of discrimination and authoritarianism.
 
The respect due to the agnostic or non-believing minority should not be arbitrarily imposed in a way that silences the convictions of the believing majority or ignores the wealth of religious traditions. In the long run, this would feed resentment rather than tolerance and peace.
 
When considering the effect of religion on public life, one must distinguish the different ways in which it is practiced. Intellectuals and serious journalists frequently descend to crude and superficial generalisations in speaking of the shortcomings of religion, and often prove incapable of realising that not all believers – or religious leaders – are the same. Some politicians take advantage of this confusion to justify acts of discrimination. At other times, contempt is shown for writings which reflect religious convictions, overlooking the fact that religious classics can prove meaningful in every age; they have an enduring power to open new horizons, to stimulate thought, to expand the mind and the heart. This contempt is due to the myopia of a certain rationalism. Is it reasonable and enlightened to dismiss certain writings simply because they arose in a context of religious belief? These writings include principles which are profoundly humanistic and, albeit tinged with religious symbols and teachings, they have a certain value for reason.
 
As believers, we also feel close to those who do not consider themselves part of any religious tradition, yet sincerely seek the truth, goodness and beauty which we believe have their highest expression and source in God. We consider them as precious allies in the commitment to defending human dignity, in building peaceful coexistence between peoples and in protecting creation.’
 
 
 

A little reverse thinking......God style! From Atheism to Theism...

Posted on November 18, 2013 at 4:59 PM Comments comments (0)
Watch this fantastic video, turning from atheism to God, by way of reverse thinking....
 

Dwelling on the Word of God: No Excuses for Failing to Find God (Friday 15th November 2013)

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (1)
 
From today’s reading (Wisdom 13:1-9):
 
‘Even so, they are not to be excused:
if they are capable of acquiring enough knowledge
to be able to investigate the world,
how have they been so slow to find its Master?’
 
 
Today’s reading is a beautiful one, contemplating the power and majesty of God the Creator. 
Yet in this final passage from the reading there is a stark warning for those who haven’t yet found Him.  We are warned that there is no excuse for those who investigate the ways of the world and who fail to recognise God.
 
Perhaps this reading is most applicable to those who close their minds to God, preferring to shut Him out rather than acknowledge Him and abide by His Commandments.  Or perhaps they shut Him out through guilt.  Whatever the reason it is not good enough.  And this is a concern because we do not want a situation where people are at risk because of their unbelief or because they simply choose to ignore God.  We must help these people to understand God and to understand His love for everyone.  It is the duty of the faithful to stand up for the Word of God and to be true to it.  What better way to be true to God’s Word than to live it and to save others by it?      
 

Dwelling on the Word of God: Lambs among Wolves (Friday 18th October 2013)

Posted on October 18, 2013 at 7:14 AM Comments comments (1)
 
From today's Gospel (Luke 10:1-9)
 
‘I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.’ 
 
 
This is a very well known passage from St Luke’s Gospel and it is often used in everyday conversation. 
 
However, let’s go back to its original meaning.  When Jesus appointed the seventy-two and told them to go out ahead of him to the harvest, he was sure to warn them what it was going to be like.  Evangelisation is no easy task!  Spreading the Good News is no easy task!  So Jesus warned them, and that warning is still very valid today in the ‘New Evangelisation’. 
 
There are wolves out there, ready to pounce, ready to reject the Truth of the Gospel message.  But whatever our role in the New Evangelisation – and as members of the Church we should play some part in this important task – we must never lose heart and always remember who sends us on this journey.  Jesus sends us.  It is Jesus who sends us out among the wolves.  He is well aware of the dangers and so is always with us.  In those awkward moments when you are trying to defend your faith even though it seems to let you down, Jesus is with you.  In those moments when you are up against aggressive atheism or anti-religious and you feel there is no point going on, Jesus is with you.
 
Never doubt the effect the outward expression of your faith could have on others.  Even though they may reject it and never appear to waiver in their unbelief, throw the seed of faith in their direction and let the Holy Spirit work its magic.  Despite their evident rejection they may well find themselves thinking about what you told them in a fleeting moment further down the line.  Never underestimate the effect your faith could have on others.
 
Remember the saying, “I have a mustard seed, and I’m not afraid to use it.”  We should never be afraid to use the seed of faith.         

Dwelling on the Word of God: Christians must be witnesses to the Truth (Wednesday 16th October 2013)

Posted on October 16, 2013 at 7:10 AM Comments comments (1)
Taken from St Paul's Letter to the Romans (Romans 2:1-11)
 
'Your stubborn refusal to repent is only adding to the anger God will have towards you on that day of anger when his just judgements will be made known.  He will repay each one as his works deserve.  For those who sought renown and honour and immortality by always doing good there will be eternal life; for the unsubmissive who refused to take truth for their guide and took depravity instead, there will be anger and fury.'
 
 
'He will repay each one as his works deserve.'  If you were to die today do you think God will pay you well?  It's an interesting thought and one to ponder.
 
St Paul suggests that always doing good will bring us to eternal life.  But for those who do not do good and who do not submit themselves to the Truth, there will be anger and fury. 
 
Many in our world today believe that it is a risk worth taking; to not submit oneself to the Truth.  Put God to one side, or perhaps not believe in Him at all and just get on with life.  This is a significant risk.  In fact it is the most significant risk anyone could take.  It's potentially the difference between eternal life and eternal damnation.  It is not a risk worth taking, ever! 
 
It is the job of the Christian to spread the Good News, to spread that Truth of God to all people. 
It's a harsh message, to suggest we have a choice between eternal life and eternal damnation.  It is very harsh, but it is the truth; it is reality.  But done in a spirit of love and compassion we can change peoples minds.  We can bring them to the Truth and, God-willing, save souls.
 
The best way of spreading this Good News and the Truth is by example.  By living good holy lives - free of judgement, hate, distrust, gossip and complaining - we can show people that true joy can be found in Christ.   

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