Thursday, September 28, 2006

Catholic Influence In Australia by Cardinal Pell


In his address to the National Catholic Education Conference, Cardinal Pell goes into some detail about the history of the Catholic Church in forming the hearts and minds of many Australians throughout our short history.
Cardinal Pell expands at length on the political influence that the Catholic Church has had in polarizing issues that affect all Australians. To read more of Cardinal Pells speech please click here.








Saturday, September 16, 2006

Cardinal Pell Interview



In response to a petition signed by Catholics including Priests and Religious who have attacked Cardinal Pell and his stance on Catholic Doctrinal issues. Cardinal Pell has granted an interview with the Australian magazine AD 2000 where he explains his stance with clarity and depth.

It is also worth noting that Paul Collins is an EX-Priest who now makes his living by attacking the Catholic Church and its beliefs. As he wrote in his anti-Catholic book 'Papal Power', "a true and binding revelation" does not exist". Paul Collins believes that Church Doctrine and Truth should be formulated by the people and not only by the Pontiff and Magisterium.
Read in full Cardinal Pells thoughts on the efforts of 'some catholics' to discredit him by clicking here.

Miracles


Catholic Answers has a tremendous series of articles on miracles that are very helpful to the faithful, and most especially to apologists. Below, I have several listed, with quotes from the articles (in bold italics), and the titles can be clicked on, and you will be taken to the complete article.

--Steve--

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Can Miracles Happen?



Christian apologists must do at least two things regarding miracles. First, they must show that miracles are possible. Second, they must show it’s reasonable to conclude that certain miracles—such as Jesus’ resurrection—have happened. In this article, we’re concerned mainly with the possibility of miracles.

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Why Miracles Can Happen


The most common objection is that miracles violate the scientific laws of nature and are therefore impossible. Of course, if the "scientific laws of nature" are inviolable, and if "miracle" means "a violation of the scientific laws of nature," it follows that miracles are impossible. But are the laws of nature inviolable? And are miracles violations of them?

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A Fundamentalist Objection


Such Fundamentalists don’t object to miracles as such but to the idea that contemporary individuals are given the gift of miracles. They believe the gift of miracles was limited to biblical times or even certain periods in biblical times. They argue that the gift of miracles was necessary to validate the claims of Christ and the Apostles but that, with the end of the Apostolic Age and the establishment of the New Testament writings (perhaps even up to the settling of the canon in the fourth century), the gift of miracles ceased. Modern claims of the gift of miracles they dismiss as frauds, superstition, or demonic counterfeits.

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The Continuation of Miracles


To protect its teachings from historical cross-examination, Protestantism not only rejected the authority of the Fathers and councils of the Church but also the miracles God had given down through the centuries in confirmation of the Catholic faith. All miraculous gifts after the apostolic age were denied reality. In the new view, the only purpose of miracles had been to testify to Scripture when it was being given, not to help God’s people or confirm their faith down through history.

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Do Miracles Still Occur?


To discredit the countless miracles that had been given in confirmation of the Catholic faith, the original Protestant Reformers utterly rejected the idea that miracles had continued beyond the apostolic age.
However, when the Pentecostal movement began in Protestantism in 1900, with its emphasis on miraculous healing and other charisms, the Pentecostals had to find ways to try to explain why such miracles had "vanished" for so long. The answer is that they never did, as the following quotes of the early Church Fathers show. Miracles have always been found in the Catholic Church, and the idea that they stopped with the death of the last apostle would have been foreign to the early Church Fathers.






Thursday, September 07, 2006

EVOLUTION BEATING AT THE HEART OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN


A federal court in the US recently ruled that school board members in Dover, Pennsylvania had violated the constitution when they ordered the biology curriculum must include the intelligent design theory.

But why does there have to be a conflict between Evolution and Intelligent Design theories?
The Intelligent Design (ID) theory examines how nature reveals the evidence of the work of an artist or designer. If we take the examples within science we see forensic studies the evidence whether someone died of natural causes or whether some other intelligence was involved in the death of the deceased.
ID enthusiasts include Philosophers of Science and Scientists with Professors of Biology featuring prominently. Science has phenomenally revealed much within the field of Biology, especially regarding DNA and proteins.
It is staggering that people claim that science should be naturalistic.
But the ID theory does not include or exclude a personal God. Examples include DNA in which the four base pairs (A, C, T, G) reveals a code which according to Bill Gates holds several trillion times as much information than that of our most advanced computer chips. The computer works on a binary, or two code system - zeros and ones.

ID does not include coincidences with intelligent design. A rough looking shape on cliffs does not reveal design. However if paint was involved or intricate patterns revealing a Davinci-like precision would be an example of ID.
According to Stephen Hawking, the origin of life theory, The Big Bang, was so precise that the galaxies would not have formed if the rate of expansion following the Big Bang was smaller by one part in a hundred thousand million million.
ID proponent and mathematician, William Dembski, reveals the contrast should not be between invoking supernatural causes vs natural, but undirected natural causes and intelligent causes. Undirected natural causes can throw scrabble pieces onto a table, but an intelligent cause is needed to arrange the pieces into meaningful sentences.

Intelligent Design does not rule out evolution, except an atheistic evolution which claims that a creator never existed.
ID exponents also use the Bacteria Flagellum example. This natural beauty has a propeller which revolves at 100,000 revolutions per minute. Magnified 50,000 times with an electron micrograph a driveshaft, u-joint, stator, etc can be observed. What was shown was a molecular outboard motor. It showed a sophistication far superior to that designed by humans, with a quarter turn the propeller can stop and rotate 100,000 rpms in the other direction.
With the furor surrounding ID the New Zealand media has not covered the fact that leading scientists have converted from an atheistic view of evolution. US proponents include previously agnostic Prof. Antony Flew (though not to a personal God) and one of the leading chemical evolutionary theorists in the world, Dean Kenyon. His aim was to explain the origin of life on earth and particularly the origin of all 30,000 proteins by purely natural processes. But doubts arose to how proteins could be assembled without the help of genetic instructions (DNA). He was led to the ID theory as it matched multiple discoveries made through molecular biology. Australian physicist and author Paul Davies states that through his scientific work more and more he is coming to believe that the physical universe was constructed with an astonishing ingenuity. However he believes that for one to call this God is a matter of taste and definition.
In fact an American survey by Sociologist James Leuba conducted in 1914 found 40% of American scientists believed in the existence of God. When the survey was repeated 80 years later, astonishingly the result was the same, 40%.
As covered in my book "God:Fact or Fiction?" Natural Selection reveals purpose and mind-like qualities. For it selects only for functional advantage or eliminates what is not advantageous. Could not this Natural Selection have been instigated by a Creator?
If it was a case of ID or Creationism vs Evolution it would mean that all life in the universe, including ourselves, came to exist as a result of chance or blind luck. However statistically the likelihood that life happened by chance is very remote. In fact Sir Fred Hoyle equates it to lining up 1050 blind people, giving each a Rubik’s Cube and they all solve the puzzle at the same time. But nature would not have to complete this wonder just once, but thousands, if not millions of times, for Natural Selection could not work on something that did not exist or was not living.
Scientists claim that any odds beyond 1 in 1050 have a zero possibility of happening. In fact Sir Hoyle claims that the possibility of the formation of life from inanimate matter is one to a number with 40,000 noughts after it. The proponents of ID merely want to include a theory which gives evidence to life having been programmed to exist and yes even to evolve. Therefore Evolution can beat at the heart of Intelligent Design.
Brendan Roberts is author of three books. His latest selling in Europe, the US and New Zealand, "God:Fact or Fiction?:Exploring the Relationship between science, religion and the origin of life" covers such subjects as Evolution and Intelligent Design.
Brendan Roberts. All Rights Reserved. To use any material please contact Brendan




Friday, September 01, 2006

Catholic Tradition... And More


"One of the great battle cries of the Protestant Reformation was “sola scriptura!” It seemed to many that the problem with the Catholic Church over the centuries was that it had added all sorts of practices, customs and doctrines."
The Crossroads Initiative has a great article by Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio on Catholic Tradition entitled appropriately enough, "Tradition, Tradition". Click here to read the entire article.

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"It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of understanding what we mean by the sacraments as channels of divine grace. We might almost say that Christianity is divided into two classes: those who believe that Christ instituted the sacraments as instruments of His grace and those who do not. In the sixteenth century, six whole nations separated from Catholic unity because their leaders no longer believed in what we Catholics call the seven sacraments. "
If you haven't read the late Father John A. Hardon, S.J., then you have missed some great explanations, some great apologies for our faith. Let's start you off right, by letting you read his article "Sacraments: Channels of Divine Grace" on Catholic .Net. Click here to read the entire article.

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"Is Scripture the sole rule of faith for Christians? Not according to the Bible. While we must guard against merely human tradition, the Bible contains numerous references to the necessity of clinging to apostolic tradition. "
Catholic Answers has some great articles on Apologetics, Evangelization, and more. Their article entitled "Apostolic Tradition" gives examples of the Early Church Fathers writings on tradition. Read the entire article by clicking here.







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