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Scots Catholic Blog
|Posted on February 4, 2016 at 12:37 PM||comments ()|
Following a recent discussion on our Facebook page I thought it might be useful to draft up a short note on our Catholic faith and homosexuality. It is intentionally brief. For a more in-depth article on the matter please click this link.
Our Catholic faith tells us that homosexual acts are wrong. I think it's hard for us to hear this in such an abrupt way in today's world but this is what we are taught by faith. The reason such acts are wrong is that God has ordered us male and female for the authentic union that is marriage between man and woman and to be completely open to the precious gift of new life. Homosexual acts are not ordered in this way and are thus sinful. There are many sinful acts so this isn't necessarily a singling out of homosexual people. Consider sex outside marriage between a man and a woman, which is also wrong, as is the use of contraception.
It’s absolutely critical to also bear in mind that having same-sex attraction is different to homosexual acts. Mere attraction is not of itself sinful. It is only when these feelings are acted upon where it is deemed to be wrong. This is something that many people get confused about.
I think it's also important to see the positive side of the Church's teaching on homosexuality. It seeks to protect humanity by promoting the love between a man and a woman for the sake of giving new life to the world and raising this new life in marriage, which throughout history has been the best place for kids to thrive. The Church doesn't say a man can't love a man or a woman can't love a woman. Indeed, such a notion is completely contrary to Church teaching. It simply states that it is wrong to interfere with God's clear and natural plan for humanity.
It's not about hating homosexuals as many people wrongly think. It's actually about loving everyone and calling them all to live in accordance with God's plan. That too is a form of love though it is often hard for this society to see it in this modern age of relativism. In my time running the Scots Catholic website and social media accounts I have often been corrected for straying out of line with respect to Church teaching. I have learned so much in terms of my faith and I am grateful to those who have offered their generous help. For me, they are simply doing God’s work. They are doing what Jesus did and are challenging me, and I shouldn’t be afraid to be challenged.
In fairness to anyone who abides by the teaching of Christ and his Church on this matter, they are simply trying to live out their lives as God intended and they are well within their rights to stay true to God no matter what the world may tell them. Jesus and the Apostles were ridiculed and even put to death for going against the tide and remaining faithful to God's teaching. But they remained faithful. And we are called to do the same.
It is also very important to note that there are many, many gay people living out their Catholic faith chastely in the Church. Their call to chastity is no different to the call to chastity of single people in the Church.
And we must remember, the Church is open to all people and she loves all people, especially those of us who sin. That's why I'm a member.
Many people query whether the Church might change its stance with respect to homosexual acts. This is highly unlikely given the wrongs of homosexual acts is contained in scripture, the Word of God. It's also entrenched in nature itself and the ability of man and woman to procreate (something the Church wants to protect for the sake of the family). I appreciate this is a difficult teaching for some, especially in today's society, but the Church can't fit around the whims of society. First and foremost, the Church can't stray from the Truth it has protected for 2000 years. And secondly, it would be impossible to satisfy everyone all of the time. The Church, like Jesus, is here to challenge us with the Truth. It is not here so that we can abuse it for our own ends.
The Church is also here to bring God’s mercy to us through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There is no sin we can commit that is too great that we can’t reconcile ourselves to God. He loves us like no other.
For more information on reconciling our Catholic faith with same-sex attraction, click this link to go to the Courage RC website.
|Posted on May 19, 2015 at 12:08 PM||comments ()|
Paris St Germain and Brazil player David Luiz, aged 28, has gone against the popular tide and vowed to remain a virgin until he marries his girlfriend Sara Madeira.
The former Chelsea defender was recently baptized into a Pentecostal congregation and, similar to his Brazilian countryman Kaka, has decided to go public about the value of abstaining from sex until marriage.
Such witness to the value of marriage and indeed the sexual encounter is so vital in this world where sex is to be obtained at any cost, even when it means sacrificing the lives of innocent children.
Well done David for your powerful and courageous witness.
|Posted on March 2, 2015 at 8:39 AM||comments ()|
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
|Posted on February 3, 2015 at 11:40 AM||comments ()|
In the face of increased sexualisation and increased use of contraception across the world, some African nations are resorting to more traditional means of disease control.
In 2002, a Harvard University Study revealed how the east African nation of Uganda managed to significantly decrease the number of people suffering from the AIDS virus, and all because of abstinence.
The country started a programme in the late 1980's aimed at tackling AIDS through abstinence and the preservation of sexual relations for marriage. The results were astounding. By 2001, only 6.2% of pregnant women were infected with the virus. This compared to 21.2% when the program started in the late 80's.
Compare this to other nations which sought to tackle the AIDS crisis by use of contraception. In Botswana for example, where condoms were promoted as the answer to the AIDS crisis, 38% of pregnant women were found to be infected in 2001. The success rate of contraception, as you would expect, lags miles behind the success rate of abstinence.
More recently, in Ghana, the Salesian movement (a Catholic movement founded by St John Bosco) has sought to encourage young people to live chaste lives and commit to abstinence until marriage. And, despite what many western governments, secular groups and the media may say, the young people of Ghana are apparently hungry to become involved. A Nigerian woman who took part in a recent Catholic Answers podcast, said that on a recent visit to Ghana to promote this project she was inundated with requests for pledge cards so that the youngsters could commit to live a chaste life. It would appear that these young people are desperate to achieve a higher level of living rather than simply subscribing to western secular ways of 'putting a plaster on the problem'.
All of this is of course contrary to the contraception programme being supported by the United Nations and some western governments. Increased contraception, it would seem, is the western world's way of alleviating hunger and controlling population in Africa. This coupled with Melinda Gates (wife of Bill Gates) pledging $4.5 billion for contraception reveals just how shallow the west can be when it comes to issues of poverty, disease and deprivation in other countries. Just spend a whole load of money on a whole load of condoms and that will soon fix it. Fools.
As Patrick Coffin, host on Catholic Answers radio so eloquently put it: 'it's more a case of mouths to feed than hearts to love.'
|Posted on May 29, 2014 at 9:14 AM||comments ()|
Interesting article from the Integrated Catholic Life website considering how we, as Catholic parents, can develop a more balanced lifestyle where faith is the centre of an increasingly technological age.
Click here to read the article:
|Posted on February 18, 2014 at 2:18 AM||comments ()|
From today's reading (James 1:12-18):
'Everyone who is tempted is attracted and seduced by his own wrong desire. Then the desire conceives and gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it too has a child, and the child is death.'
This is quite a chilling passage!
The lesson is to resist temptation; much like Jesus did when he was tempted by the devil.
Perhaps it is worth just reading this passage over and over for a minute or so, just to let it sink in; to absorb it. It's hard hitting stuff but it is the Word of God and must be taken seriously.
Read it over. What message can you take from it, especially when you consider that Lent is just around the corner?
|Posted on October 25, 2013 at 8:10 AM||comments ()|
Our Lady's statue is carried through Glasgow
Last night the centre of Glasgow witnessed the joy and splendour of life, wrapped up in a beautiful Rosary, dignified procession, and passionate celebration of the Mass.
It was pro-life night and the people of Glasgow took to the streets to spread the Good News of life. Around 300 people were present in George Square and it was evident that numbers were slightly up on last year which was encouraging.
The Rosary, led by Father John Keenan of the University of Glasgow and St Patrick’s, Anderston, was a beautiful show of devotion and honour to Our Blessed Mother whose statue, held ably aloft by two young volunteers, looked lovingly over the crowd as it prayed. Candles lit the faces of pro-life people from around the country, as they held their Rosary beads firmly in their hands. There were babies, schoolchildren, priests, nuns, people with disabilities, people with special needs, the elderly, and, of course, the youth element which seems to be growing at a pace in Scotland these days. I mention all of these groups individually not to differentiate them from the normal because that is not the case. I mention them to highlight the various characters who make up the pro-life movement, many of whom may not be here had their parents not been pro-life. Thank God for that grace that they are given the opportunity to live, an opportunity we have ALL experienced. We are all alive today because we were not aborted. Yet many are not afforded such an opportunity in today’s culture of death.
Father Keenan leads the Rosary
As we were told prior to the Rosary, 200,000 babies have been aborted in the last year since the last such event in 2012. In one day 500 babies are aborted in the UK. Do we really take in these figures? I mean, do we REALLY take them in? Some people argue that this is justified in the name of women’s rights. Yet these people disregard the single most natural, amazing and precious gift a woman can have and give....another life!
Either side of the Rosary there was beautiful singing of hymns and during the Rosary the Fatima ‘Ave’ was belted out with real passion and fervour. The group then proceeded to walk gently and reverently to the Cathedral on Clyde Street, blazing a trail of fire behind Our Lady’s statue at one point spanning the full length of Glassford Street. It was a beautiful time, an opportunity to reflect on what we were really doing here. Praying for an end to abortion. Praying for all affected by this sad and barbaric attack on defenceless children and vulnerable women. Praying for the fathers, many of whom don’t have a say. Praying for the grandparents, aunts, and uncles, for cousins and close family friends. Praying for the medics, the doctors and midwives who carry out abortions on a daily basis. Praying for those who are pro-abortion for them to be enlightened to the beauty and splendour of new life, and to trust in God’s providence. Praying for our governors that they may be similarly enlightened. And, of course, praying for the pro-life movement, that it will continue to stand for life and never tire of fervently praying for the innocents.
The pro-life movement blaze a trail through Glasgow
At the Cathedral, the gathered faithful were treated to a beautiful Mass, interspersed with beautiful music and singing from the St Ninian’s choir, and a roof-raising homily by Father Keenan. It was around 15-20 minutes long and I have to admit that I hung on to EVERY word. The Reading and Gospel of the day didn’t perhaps, at first glance, appear to be a fit for the occasion. But God never lets us down and Father Keenan made sure we were left in no doubt that these readings were perfect for the pro-life cause.
In his letter to the Romans St Paul talks about putting ‘your bodies at the service of vice and immorality’ and how we must instead ‘put them at the service of righteousness for sanctification.’ In George Square a small group of pro-abortion protesters continually chanted about “my body, my choice”. There were a few other expletives in among these chants but the general theme was one of ‘my body, my choice’. As Father Keenan suggested, it is always “me, me, me”.
So what is our view on the other side of the fence? What is the pro-life stance? Father Keenan pointed us in the direction of Mary suggesting that Mary holds the key to what we must do. When confronted by the Angel Gabriel and told that she would conceive a child, the Son of God, Mary said, “Let it be done to me according to your word”. Mary did not selfishly state that it was her body and reject the child she was suddenly to bear! Mary accepted God’s Will and God’s Divine Plan. It was an act of complete faith. It was true love. It was Mary saying “My body, for you”. Not ‘my body, my choice’ but ‘my body, for you’!
And this is the Christian message. We don’t live for ourselves. We live for God and for others! Everyone else comes before us. That is the way we must live and that is why we are pro-life. God’s Will grants mothers the grace to bear His children. We must have the faith of Mary and bear these children, and present them back to God, by raising them to glorify Him and to put Him and others first. What an amazing world we would live in if everybody did this!! What love!!
Father Keenan then turned to the Gospel and spoke about how Jesus wished the earthly fire were “blazing already”! The witness last night, out on the busy streets of Glasgow, was the fire. That public witness is the blaze Jesus is speaking of. Witnessing to the faith on the streets! As Father Keenan suggested, “many people are pro-life on the brain” but they don’t do anything about it. That isn’t good enough! Jesus wants us to get out there to witness for these little ones! What good is keeping the pro-life cause to ourselves? It is no good! Nothing will change if we keep it to ourselves.
Father Keenan challenged everyone present in the Cathedral to bring another person with them next year. That way our numbers will double. That is the challenge to the pro-life people of Scotland, particularly those in the Glasgow area. The recent census in 2011 confirmed that there are around 841,000 Catholic people in Scotland (an increase on the 2001 census), with the vast majority of them in the Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Inverclyde areas!! Is 300 people representative of this huge number? I think not. It’s hugely disappointing. So the challenge is being thrown down right here, right now. The same event will be taking place at the same time next year and we want to AT LEAST double our numbers. This isn’t just about Catholic people marching through the streets of our city. This is about life. It is about affording little babies the same opportunity we are all so blessed to have received, the opportunity to live.
|Posted on October 22, 2013 at 8:01 AM||comments ()|
The 'One of Us' Initiative Logo
You may not have noticed it in the mainstream press but a European initiative aimed at protecting the respect, dignity and integrity of the human embryo has achieved a colossal 1.3 million signatures across Europe in support of its aims as we approach a November 1st deadline.
The figure is significant as it means the initiative is – after passing the 1 million signatories mark - now entitled to invite the European Commission to propose legislation around the protection of the human embryo.
As the One of Us website explains, “Based on the definition of the human embryo as the beginning of the development of the human being, which was given in a recent ECJ judgment (Brüstle vs. Greenpeace), “One of Us” asks the EU to end the financing of activities which presuppose the destruction of human embryos, in particular in the areas of research, development aid and public health.”
It’s a significant show of support for the life of a human being from the moment of conception, and a significant show of disapproval of the act of abortion. Europe is speaking up for the unborn child and with the number of signatures received there will be no hiding place for those in power across the continent. They simply have to listen to the people.
The following countries have already surpassed their expected number of signatures supporting the initiative: Austria, Germany, Spain, France, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Slovakia. Unfortunately, countries such as the UK and Ireland are still lagging behind but thankfully they appear to be in the minority!
The One of Us campaign is, of course, still counting on your support and campaigners now hope to achieve 1.5 million signatures! So if you haven’t yet signed the petition please do so now by clicking this link: One of Us petition.
|Posted on October 1, 2013 at 7:29 AM||comments ()|
Although St Therese, who became a Carmelite nun at the tender age of 15 in Lisieux, is one of the most famous Saints of the Church, very little was known of her prior to her death in 1897 at the age of 24.
It was only a number of years after her death that the true beauty of her life came to light, through her memoirs which her prioress Mother Agnes of Jesus had asked her to write some two years prior to her death. With the publication of these memoirs came a “storm of glory” that swept the world producing miracles, conversions, cures and apparitions. It was a time of great joy and resulted in the Pope suspending the then 50 year rule for canonisations and declaring her a saint in 1925.
St Therese wanted to be a saint, following in the footsteps of her namesake St Teresa of Avila. A Jesuit priest, whom Therese spoke to while he was visiting her convent, thought he could sense a little misplaced pride in Therese’s desire to become a saint and challenged her on this. But the bold Therese simply responded by saying “Why Father? Since our Lord has said, ‘Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect’.”
Therese is also famous for her ‘Little Way’, a concept of taking God at His Word and letting His Love for us wash away our sins and imperfections. When a priest once told her off for falling asleep during prayer, claiming it was for want of fervour and fidelity, she replied: “I am not desolate. I remember that little children are just as pleasing to their parents when they are asleep as when they are awake.”
St Therese, a true blessing to the world and a true example of complete and unconditional devotion to God.