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.


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.


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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


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.

Friday, May 26, 2006

What Does Being Catholic Mean?

The essential ingredient to living life as a devout Catholic can be contained in only one word and that word is, obedience. In order to understand our Faith one has to study what Catholics believe and why. This is done by studying the Bible alongside the Catholic Catechism it is also crucial to read and believe Church Doctrine and all the Tenets of our Faith.

There are also matters that are considered Dogma, this means that all Catholics must hold true any specific Dogma declared by the Pontiff and the Magisterium. For an example it is necessary to believe and hold as Sacred Truth the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception which became in affect in the year 1854 under the reign of Pope Pius IX. Though this belief was articulated from the earliest Catholic writers such as St. Ephrem c. 306-73 when he wrote,"You and Your mother are the only ones who are totally beautiful in every way. For in You, O Lord, there is no stain, and in Your mother no stain....Mary and Eve [were] two people without guilt. Later one became the cause of our death, the other cause of our life." Also in the writings of St. Augustine we read, "That one woman is both mother and virgin, not in spirit only but even in body. In spirit she is mother, not of our head, who is our Savior himself—of whom all, even she herself, are rightly called children of the bridegroom—but plainly she is the mother of us who are his members, because by love she has cooperated so that the faithful, who are the members of that head, might be born in the Church. In body, indeed, she is the Mother of that very head". It is here from the earliest beginnings of the Catholic Church that belief in the Immaculate Conception of Mary took shape what God has planned from the beginning. It is incumbent upon us to also hold True all the Teachings of the Catholic Church through the ages.

There is also the understanding that as Catholics we cannot pick and choose what we wish to believe, this is where obedience must come in for we are to embrace, believe, and explain what the Catholic Church Teaches and not what we think they should teach. This is a crucial point in that many Catholics choose to speak a different gospel than what was given us by Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Irrespective of our own personal views or differences we must when explaining the Teachings and Traditions of the Catholic Church do so in a spirit of filial obedience to the Doctrines of the Church. As St. Augustine put it quite succinctly, "If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself." In order for us to understand what we believe it is imperative for all Catholics to study the Word of God within the guidance of the Catholic Church.

To live one's life as a devout Catholic also means we must not embrace every new fad or novel experience for the sake of it. As Pope Benedict XVI has spoken with these words, "An Adult faith does not follow the waves of fashion and the latest novelties." The Catholic Church is beyond the latest fads and trends, it does not change it's Truth to suit the contrariness of societal values. Where one day what has been outlawed by man may become legal through due process, even though the man made law brings with it God's condemnation such as the case with Roe VS Wade. When society embraces the culture of death which is outside God's Holy Ordinances it is inherent upon the Catholic Church to rebuke and correct such a deceitful and sinful law. As devout Catholics it is also incumbent upon all Catholics to support the Church in its stance against the legalized death of unborn babies by peaceful protests, and by protesting against this law of death through the ballet box. A true Catholic must never support abortion in any way shape or form this also means that as responsible Catholics we must choose not to vote for politicians who support the PRO-choice pro-DEATH abortion bill. As the late Great Pope John Paul II said, "The cemetery of the victims of human cruelty in our century is extended to include yet another vast cemetery, that of the unborn." Do we as Catholics ignore such words as if they were of no account because individual politicians advocate and support a law that murders the nations unborn? Some may use the excuse that they wish to utilize their right to vote so they vote in a politician who has taken a PRO-DEATH platform with full knowledge of this, can a Catholic oppose and yet support abortion? Is this not contrary to God's Law which overrides any law which sets itself apart from God's Commandments? All Catholics need to examine the repercussions of their actions in accordance with the Churches stand against various issues before they utilize their right to vote.

Faith is not only believing in God's existance for does not Satan also believe in God's existance? What then is faith? Once again St. Augustine explains it with these wise words, "Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe." To have faith essentially means we trust in the Promise of God's Will revealed to us through Sacred Scripture and Catholic Doctrine without the need to 'see so as to believe', to think this is to distrust God's Holy Word and rely on your own misshapen ideas. Once again Pope Benedict XVI elucidates most eloquently his thoughts on what faith is and what it is not, "Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church is often labeled today as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and swept along by every wind of teaching, look like the only attitude acceptable to today's standards."

It also takes more than showing up at Mass regularly to understand what living as a Catholic truly means. If we attend Mass from a sense of duty or out of habit are we giving to God our love and reverence or only our physical presence minus the love? It is the Pharisee's who chained their people with the law, so it stands to reason that if in your own heart you attend Mass only for the above reasons, have you not fallen prey to lawfulness rather than sincere Worship of the Triune God? Is it not the case that when reciting the Credo for those who do not wish to accept, follow or remain obedient to God through His Church and its Teachings what then when we pray this particular verse, "We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church." An understanding needs to be explained for when you choose to renounce even one Teaching of the One Holy and Apostolic Church you then renounce all the Teachings of the Church. The Catholic Church is not a lollie shop where one can pick and choose what they wish to believe, on any given day. Therefore if one rejects certain Teachings of the Catholic Church they then have rejected ALL the Teachings of the Catholic Church. By reciting the Credo without truly accepting nor believing all it contains makes of the person a liar which brings into question the state of their soul upon receiving the Holy Eucharist when the person has lied by recitation of the Credo while denying its Truth in their inner most heart and soul.

The Catholic individual must understand that by denying one part of the Credo they are essence calling the Church false and faulty therefore it goes to say that they also believe the Catholic Church to be full of lies and false in its presentation of Divine Truth. One cannot reject one aspect of the Churches Teachings because it does not align itself with the social issues of the day while accepting only what suits the particular individual. This is not belief in God or the Catholic Church this shows a belief in oneself over and above both God and the Catholic Church. One cannot proclaim that part of the Catholic Church is heresy while also proclaiming themselves as 'good catholics', for when one rejects even part of Divine Truth they have made themselves heretics and not the Catholic Church!

In order to remain a devout and believing Catholic we must not allow ourselves to be held hostage by the willingness of others to live sinful lives which goes against God's Holy Word and the Teachings of the Catholic Church. As Catholics we were not created to accommodate the world or the worldly we are here to speak the Truth and that is the Truth of the Catholic Church and not mistake our own 'ideas' as 'truth', in replacement of the Churches Teachings for fear of being ashamed to proclaim it. When we become embarrassed by the Catholic Churches Teaching and too ashamed to proclaim it as it is, then whom do you serve, God or man? In being embarrassed where are you different from Martin Luther who also rejected the Doctrines of the Catholic Church in preference for his own 'idea's'? As it says in Galatians, "I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by (the) grace (of Christ) for a different gospel (not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach (to you) a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed! As St. Jerome also said, "Why do you not practice what you preach." If because of peer pressure a 'catholic' feels unable to speak the Truths of the Catholic Church, then what are you speaking and from where do you gain your knowledge which is outside of the Churches Teachings.

If it is a case that all 'truths' are the same 'truths' if so then why has the Church not proclaimed that Buddhism is 'catholic' or that Lutherans, Anglicans, Hindu's are also 'catholic'? Why not? Because all 'truths' are NOT Divine Truth, for Divine Truth can only be found IN the Catholic Church and not outside of it.

If you find that you cannot speak the Truths of the Catholic Church for fear of the opinion of others. If you find yourself in disagreement over many of its Tenets for it does not 'fit into society', then how can you pray the Credo with a lie in your heart?

A good Catholic is not one who embraces every new fad and every novel idea, a good Catholic is one who speaks the Truths of the Church with fierce courage irrespective of one's own safety and of one's popularity with others. This is why obedience to the Churches Teachings is integral for those who call themselves Catholic, for to be a Catholic requires more than just saying the word, it means believing in what you hold Sacred which is ALL the Doctrines of the Catholic Church. As the Catholic Catechism instructs us when it comes to the Traditions of our Faith, "78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes.The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer."... 79 The Father's self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. And the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the world - leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness." It is when many speak their own 'perceived truths' that they corrupt the Word entire for they speak from their own faulty knowledge which has nothing of the Divine within in it. Therefore they may be in danger of being a stumbling block to those who are seeking the Truth for the Truth they seek can only be found within the Catholic Church.

For when one cannot speak the Truths of the Church what then is holding your tongue...cowardice?

Peace of Christ to you ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Purgatory The Teachings of the Church and Saints

There are very few amongst us who live lives of such holiness and purity that we can enter Heaven immediately upon our death, therefore if we have not reached that level of holiness what becomes of the soul? This does not mean that Heaven is out of reach for those who love God and have tried their utmost to follow the Commandments of God and the tenets of our Faith, but what if we have not reached perfect conformity to Gods Will?

In order for God to show His infinite Mercy to all, we have the existence of Purgatory, which is not a punishment but is simply Gods Justice to those who have failed to live in full conformity to Gods Will. Each of us have opportunities to live Gods Will as directed by Holy Scripture and the Teachings of the Catholic Church, but very few follow the Teachings that will help us to live holy and pure lives. Therefore because we failed to live in conformity to Gods Will on earth, we need to be able to expiate our sins that have accumulated in our lives through neglect rather than outright disobedience.

For each of us to enter Heaven we must do so in a state of purity and perfection, but because of our imperfect souls and disordered choices that we have made through our own free will, we need a place or an existence where our imperfections can be purified through the all consuming Fire of Gods Just Love. Though Jesus Atoned for our sins so that all men should be saved, this does not mean that we have a free ticket into Heaven merely because we believe in God, we must also live what we believe or we have failed to live as God Commands each of us. In all cases and to all individuals we shall be held accountable for all our thoughts and words, for God is not only Merciful He is also Just. It is in Purgatory that both Mercy and Divine Justice collaborate to purify the souls incompleteness and imperfections.

As the Church teaches in the Catechism, "All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven...The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect. which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned. The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent." Also Holy Scripture instructs the faithful, "May he draw our hearts to himself, that we may follow him in everything and keep the commands, statutes, and ordinances which he enjoined on our fathers. May this prayer I have offered to the LORD, our God, be present to him day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and of his people Israel as each day requires, May this prayer I have offered to the LORD, our God, be present to him day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and of his people Israel as each day requires, that all the peoples of the earth may know the LORD is God and there is no other. You must be wholly devoted to the LORD, our God, observing his statutes and keeping his commandments, as on this day." Which teaches us all that in order to live in Gods favour we must live lives of obedience to Gods Word or suffer the consequences through our own lack of love and not a lack of Gods Love which is infinite. As the Scripture instructs for those who may die before the soul has obtained this level of obedience and conformity to Gods Will, "Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin."

We see in Scripture that Purgatory exists, for if a soul immediately enters Heaven upon their earthly death, they are then not in need of your prayers for they have reached the Beatific Vision. Whereas the soul who has rejected Jesus Salvific Sacrifice and in full knowledge does not repent of their sins shall enter eternal damnation where no amount of prayer will help them. This is shown to us in Scripture, "There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.' Abraham replied, 'My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented...He said, 'Then I beg you, father, send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.' But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.' He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' Then Abraham said, 'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.' As we are instructed once the soul has died the opportunity to repent has been eternally lost, this should warn us all not to presume on the Goodness of God and fail to follow His Commandments. For those who believe that the Old Testament is no longer relevant we have Pauls teaching as he instructs the faithful, "If the work which any man has built on the foundation [which is Christ] survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire"

For those who have failed to conform their lives to Gods Will what can those who are still living do to assist these holy souls who are undergoing the Purgative Way? The Saints instruct us through their words on what Purgatory is and how the living can assist those who suffer the consequences of their earthly actions. St. Augustine describes Purgatory in these words, "Though this fire is destined to cleanse and purify the soul, " adds the Holy Doctor, "still it is more acute than anything we could possibly endure on Earth. " St Cyril of Alexandria continues in the same vein, "it would be preferable to suffer all the possible torments of Earth until the Judgment day than to pass one day in Purgatory. " Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich also explained in this way what she had seen and been told by our Lord and Lady, "She saw how the various indulgences we gain actually remit specific punishments which otherwise would await us in Purgatory. She revealed that to gain an indulgence we must approach the Sacraments with true repentance and a firm purpose of amendment--or we do not gain it. She deposes that it is more holy to pray for the Poor Souls in Purgatory than for sinners who are still alive. She describes the nature, extent and power of victim souls, and their role in the life of the Church....She revealed that saints are particularly powerful on their feast days and should be invoked then. She saw that many saints come from the same families, the antiquity of which often extends far back into the Old Testament. She saw the strong link--even long after their deaths--between holy souls in Heaven and their descendants here on earth, lasting even centuries." Anne Catherine also confided to her spiritual director that the souls who spend the most time in Purgatory are our Protestant brothers and sisters, NOT because they were more sinful but that VERY few are praying for them and NO Masses are offered for the repose of their soul.

We also have the works of that great Saint John Vianney who explains Purgatory and how we can assist the suffering souls in this manner, "Ah! I come on behalf of God Himself. I come on behalf of your poor parents, to awaken in you that love and gratitude which you owe them. I come to bring before your minds again all those kindnesses and all the love which they gave you while they were on earth. I come to tell you that they suffer in Purgatory, that they weep, and that they demand with urgent cries the help of your prayers and your good works. I seem to hear them crying from the depths of those fires which devour them: "Tell our loved ones, tell our children, tell all our relatives how great the evils are which they are making us suffer. We throw ourselves at their feet to implore the help of their prayers. Ah! Tell them that since we have been separated from them, we have been here burning in the flames! Oh! Who would be so indifferent to such sufferings as we are enduring?" Do you see, my dear brethren, do you hear that tender mother, that devoted father, and all those relatives who helped and tended you? "My friends," they cry, "free us from these pains; you can do it." Consider then, my dear brethren: (a) the magnitude of these sufferings which the souls in Purgatory endure; and (b) the means which we have of mitigating them: our prayers, our good works, and, above all, the holy sacrifice of the Mass." With these words St. John Vianney reminds us that we are the only hope for those poor souls suffering in the Purgative Way who grieve the loss of being united with their Beloved for eternity in Heaven.

We have the words of St. Ambrose who said, 'No day shall pass you over in silence, no prayer of mine shall ever be closed without remembering you. No night shall pass you over without some vows of my supplications. You shall have share in all my sacrifices. If I forget you (now that you are dead) let my own right hand be forgotten" Such was his longing to help these holy souls attain Heaven. There is also St. Catherine of Genoa who explained Purgatory in this way, "No tongue can express, no mind can understand, how dreadful is Purgatory?And be assured that the souls have to pay what they owe even to the last farthing. This is Gods decree to satisfy the demands of justice." This complies with the Churches Teaching that what is not fully atoned in this life will be atoned by the Purgative Way in the after life. We must also not fall into favouring Purgatory rather than try to live our lives by obeying Gods Commandments and the Church's Teaching as if this were a favourable negotiation for our unwillingness to abide by Gods Will, for as St. Caesarius of Arles says, "A person may say, I am not much concerned how long I remain in Purgatory, provided 1 may come to eternal life. Let no one reason thus. Purgatory fire will more dreadful than whatever torment can be seen, imagined or endured in this world."

That wonderful Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque confided when she was praying before the Blessed Sacrament, "on the Feast of Corpus Christi a person enveloped in fire suddenly stood before me. From the pitiable state the soul was in I knew it was in Purgatory and I wept bitterly"

So now we understand how much it is encumbered upon all of us to remember these poor souls who languish in this terrible pain through lack of care and attentiveness. May we remember these holy souls during our prayer time and most especially to offer Masses for the repose of their souls. Let us also realise that these holy souls remind us of the consequences when we deliberately choose not to live our Faith with sincerity or refuse through obstinacy to abide with Gods Will, and rather many choose to follow their own whims and fancies. Let us also keep to the fore of our minds not to presume on Gods Mercy, lest we fall into presumption and take Gods Love for granted while deliberately neglecting Gods Justice.

Lastly as we near Easter, let us remind ourselves that the holy souls rely on each of us to aid them in their pain and to help them come to their Heavenly Reward...they have only...YOU. Remember those poor souls in prayer!

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Is The Church a Democracy?

One of the mistakes being generated by various groups and figures of prominence is to think that the Catholic Church is a democracy. This is not so!

The Church has never been a democracy, not in the past, not in the present and not in the future. In fact the Church does not change to suit the times in this anything goes generation. Most of the acrimony comes from a failed understanding of this essential fact. Some may not agree with everything the Church does, but that does not give anyone free license to dissent nor question the Churches authority.

Catholic Church doctrine and Dogma's are not to be disputed; they are to be accepted with filial obedience to the Vicar of Christ and the Magisterium, anyone who does other than this would have to consider themselves above the Church. This can also be a problem within the Church as some Priests and Religious embrace a spirit of liberalism and try to introduce a 'new doctrine' to the Catholic Church. They do this by trying to make Jesus seem as no different from all of us. They emphasise Jesus' humanity and either disregard or totally ignore Jesus Divine Nature. In their efforts to make the Church and Jesus more relevant they have in effect made both `seem' irrelevant. For why worship a `man' who is `just like us'? This is one of the weapons that the 'modernists' use to bring an element of relativism into the very heart of the Church.

There is also the opposite case where those who are so intent on never changing that they then negate the works within the Church such as the Second Vatican Council. Vatican 2 was not a mistake, for the Holy Spirit is never stagnant nor does it `move with the times. The Holy Spirit is above trends and modernism, but seeks within each heart and gives empowerment to that which it is espoused, The Roman Catholic Church. For as the keys were given to Peter so too they were given to Pope John XXIII, who opened the Heart of the Church to the awakening of its hidden depths and mysticism and allowing the Light to pierce the Truths of the Church, for all to seek God through the Sacraments and to acknowledge His Majesty, within.

The modernistic trend in the Church cannot be solely and entirely blamed on our Priests or religious, it is also to be shared with equal responsibility with the laity. We cannot complain about bad liturgical practices, if we maintain our silence in the presence of the Priests who espouse this `new (false) Doctrine'! The true enemy of the Church is apathy and timidity of soul, when in fear of repercussions or a loss of popularity the laity maintain their silence, thereby giving the Priest its sanction to do as he wishes. Some may say, `but we cannot speak or correct a Priest'. Was Catherine of Sienna wrong, when she confronted the legitimate Pope, and requested his return to his rightful seat, which is Rome? Was Paul wrong when he corrected Peter as to being chained by the Law?

Christ is the Head of the Church and we the people are its Body so it is incumbent upon us to follow the Church in Rome over and above `rogue priests and nuns' who espouse a false doctrine which tries to imply that man is Gods equal!! In the words of our late Pope John Paul II, " At the root of this loss of hope is an attempt to promote a vision of man apart from God and apart from Christ, this has led man to believe he is the absolute centre of reality……. the place of God and which forgets that it is not man who creates God, but rather God who creates man…..European culture gives the impression of `silent apostasy' on the part of people who have all that they need and who live as if God does not exist".

The Catholic Church is also a `patriarchal' Church, simply because Christ ordained it as such during The Last Supper, and our first Pope was St. Peter to our present Pope Benedict XVI. This does not negate a woman's role in The Church, but enhances and makes unique a woman's contribution to the faithful. Every Priest was born of a woman, the woman is central to the continuation of a healthy and spiritually productive Church, which Mary most Holy Mother of God, encapsulates for each one of us. Therefore any modernistic trend to elevate women as superior to men is doomed to fail, for its foundation is pride the first enemy of God.

The Church also honours the role of woman in that Christ was born of a woman and not just any woman but one especially chosen by the Triune Spirit. Mary would by her obedient Fiat, become the Spouse of the Holy Spirit and the Mother of God through the birth of her son, our Saviour Lord Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church honours and esteems Mary's role as The Mother of God above all other women. It is also to Mary the Mother of God, that women need to emulate as their most perfect example of femininity and filial obedience to God.

The modernistic trend to deem all things of faith in the concept of rationalisation is a heretical view, propagated by the `rationale humanism' of individuals. It is faulty in that the mind needs proof of what is unknowing and is essentially Mystery, for example `the Incarnation', if faith is based on ones own rationale, how was Christ conceived of a Virgin? If man bases his faith on the concept of what is understandable and logical, then what answer to this Mystery of Mysteries, the Incarnation?

When one dissents from the Church founded by Christ, then one has essentially, excommunicated himself from the Faith, for if the Catholic Church is to be held in dispute then you are in effect denying Jesus Christ as head of that very same Church. Thereby proclaiming oneself a heretic and essentially placing one's faith on what is acceptable to your own ideology. With a willful pursuit of dissent against The Churches Teaching and instigating upon one's own authority to be an enemy of the One True Holy and Apostolic Church, and an enemy of Christ, He, who Is and ever shall be The Head of The Catholic Church.

In matters of Liturgical correctness, whether it be in Latin or in the vernacular language of the persons country, is not based on a `perfect language' but on a `perfect intent', that seeks to give all Honour, Praise, Glory to the Trinitarian God, through Worship and thanksgiving and receiving of The Eucharist and through the Sacraments of the Church. To suggest that the only valid Mass is the Latin Mass is faulty in that it disregards the Popes authority to proclaim what is True and acceptable in forms of Worship. For if language is the source of the problems encountered by many Latin Mass observers, then should the Mass not be said in Aramaic, as was spoken by Jesus and the Apostles?

As for the Seat of Peter, if it were to have been vacant for any length of time, then you are proclaiming that God is impotent within His Church. For Jesus gave the Keys to the first Pope, St. Peter and unto him also the authority which is now given to our present Pope Benedict XVI. The Church is infallible, by the very fact that it is through Christ Jesus and Him Crucified, who is the Head of The Church entire. God does not make errors or mistakes, therefore neither does the Church, in matters of Doctrine and those who dispute The Churches authority are in danger of scandal and placing themselves over and above their Creator……and on a level with the serpent, who is also an enemy of the Church and an enemy of God its Creator, for the serpent was the first to embrace `rationale humanism' and presented it to Eve.

When the level of our Faith becomes dependent on what we are able to grasp intellectually is this Faith or reason? For as St. Augustine teaches, " Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe."

We need to truly recognise the `signs of the times' and then with prayer, speak the Truth irrespective of the cost to oneself, for what comes first, self preservation or Salvation?

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

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