Friday, September 30, 2011

Seven Quick Takes Vol. 1

--- 1 ---

Let's start with the most important item of the day: Today is the last day to flood Health and Human Services with calls and emails, letting them know we disagree with their conscience violating mandate in the new healthcare takeover. The mandate forces hospitals and insurance companies to cover contraceptive and abortifacient drugs. Since Tommy's primary hospital is the wonderful Sacred Heart Children's in Spokane, this issue hits home for me on a couple fronts. I don't want to see Holy Mother Church have to stand up for Herself by shuttering hospitals.

Contact the (allegedly) Catholic Secretary of HHS, and give her an ear full.
Phone:   (202) 690–7000
Read Catholicvote's take here.
--- 2 ---

Here we are a month into grouse hunting season and I haven't been out more than three times. Sad. I think this weekend may be time to load Tommy up and take him out to bounce along those rutted old roads up Moscow Mountain and see if we can find some birds

--- 3 ---

Well, I am now officially unemployed again. My "season" with Dr. Pepper is now over. While I hate being out of work I am somewhat glad to be done with this job. It wasn't a good fit from the start. So now the search for employment begins anew.

--- 4 ---

Saw Moneyball last night: Darn good movie. Brad Pitt was really good in it. This is one movie I won't necessarily say "The book was better..." about. Although it was. It is really like they were two different takes on the same story. The movie had to be a little different than the book, just by the nature of the story it told. Anyway I definitely recommend it, plus it just helped me get fired up for the playoffs which start today.

--- 5 ---

Another good viewing experience had lately at Casa de Musings was The Conspirator. It is the Robert Redford directed story of the military tribunal held that convicted Mary Surratt as a conspirator in the Lincoln assassination plot. Even knowing the historical facts of the case I was riveted. As much as I like Redford as an actor I believe he has done some of his best work as a director.

--- 6 ---

My World Series Pick: Phillies vs. Rays. Phillies in 6. Starting pitching is just too good in Philly. That with an offense that can explode at times, but seemingly always just does enough to win gives Philly the title.

--- 7 ---
Since Jen at Conversion Diary is trying to come up with some of these: My favorite pithy Saint quote is this one from St. Augustine:
Give me chastity and continence, but not yet.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Few Quick Thoughts...

  • If you don't have an e-reader, why not? They are amazing. For my birthday earlier this month I got a Kindle 3G+Wi-fi...I love it...My parents have a Nook Color, not bad but I prefer the e ink screen of my Kindle...
  • So many books in one little package...seriously everyone should have one. 
  • I think I may end up buying everything Pope Benedict XVI has ever written...So much knowledge in such an easy to understand way of writing.
  • I am working my way through God's Word right now, written when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger. It's a treatment of the twin founts of revelation: Tradition and Scripture. Expect a post on it soon. 
  • Matty has the memory of a goldfish...He thinks if he is told no, looks away for a half second then goes back to the verboten item/activity it's suddenly acceptable. 
  • Tommy has survived his first cold of the school year, actually he did really well with it...shared it around the house (to his mom and Matt anyway, I'm clean so far)
  • I still think Matt's a budding priest or a theologian at least, he sure likes to dig into my religious books (The Catechism, Bible, apologetics) it doesn't matter to him. 
  • My Niners are 2-1...So yay for that, here's hoping coach Harbaugh can restore the glory. 
  • I've been really diving into a lot of apologetics works again, probably because of my ongoing facebook debate, read some good stuff lately. Including Devin Rose's If Protestantism is True, probably a review of that one on the way soon too. Devin has a blog of his own at St. Joseph's Vanguard, Highly recommended reading.

That's it for now. Keep checking in as I plan to review those two books I mentioned, sooner rather than later I hope. 

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Jesus and the Church Pt. 2

    In yesterday's post we explored whether or not Jesus founded a church. The overwhelming Scriptural evidence would seem to show He did in fact do so. He did so seemingly to prevent said church from falling victim to error. Today let's investigate which church this is. We will also look at some of those longstanding myths regarding the founding of the Catholic church.

    Of all the Christian churches only the Orthodox churches and the Roman Catholic church say that they were founded by Jesus Christ. Both churches lay solid claim to their apostolic succession. However, as we saw yesterday Jesus said He would found his church on Peter. Since the Orthodox churches deny that simple aspect they must not be the True Church.

    As an interesting aside having never attended Protestant worship services I have only secondhand testimony, but they either change the words of the Creed (We believe in One, Holy, Catholic...) to small c Catholic or Christian. Interesting dance to have to do, with words that are 1500-plus years old.

    So does Jesus desire that his flock should all be one in the church He founded?

    Well the most obvious answer to this question in my mind comes from John's Gospel, in Jesus's high priestly prayer. In John 17: 11, 20, Jesus asks God to grant the apostles the unity that He and the Father share. In verse 20 we see Jesus acknowledging that He isn't merely praying for the Eleven (Judas was already lost at this point). He is praying for all of the people who would believe in Him because of their testimony.

    Christ desires one flock. As the Good Shepherd He reminds us in John 10:14 that He knows His flock and His flock know him.

    Now Peter had been set apart; he is always listed as the first of the Apostles; mentioned more times by name than all the other Apostles combined; and given the command by Christ to tend His sheep (John 21:15-17). Since Christ is the Good Shepherd and Peter is His Prime Minister, Christ sought an Earthly shepherd to guide His flock, knowing He would return to the Father soon.

    The early church recognized the Primacy of Peter and those who succeeded him. The church at Corinth sent a letter to Clement seeking his help in regard to some bishops that had been deposed. Now St. John was still alive and was right down the road in Ephesus, but the Corinthians sought the help of the man sitting in the Chair of St. Peter.

    Many of the Early Church Father's put down lists of the successor's of Peter, often in an attempt to show that the current pope's decrees where valid and holy since he currently occupied the Cathedra.

    St. Irenaeus in Against Heresies written in 180 AD described not just apostolic succession but the line of bishops succeeding from Peter in Rome. Now Irenaeus was a bishop himself, but he didn't try and show his line to be the most important he bowed to Rome.

    The blessed apostles [Peter and Paul], then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric....

    To this Clement there succeeded Evaristus. Alexander followed Evaristus; then, sixth from the apostles, Sixtus was appointed; after him, Telephorus, who was gloriously martyred; then Hyginus; after him, Pius; then after him, Anicetus. Soter having succeeded Anicetus, Eleutherius does now, in the twelfth place from the apostles, hold the inheritance of the episcopate. In this order, and by this succession, the ecclesiastical tradition from the apostles, and the preaching of the truth, have come down to us. And this is most abundant proof that there is one and the same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the Church from the apostles until now, and handed down in truth.

    But where do we see Scriptural evidence for this succession. In many places, It starts just after Christ's Ascension. Acts 1:20 shows St. Peter declaring that another person should take Judas's bishopric. In the following verses we see the Apostles pray and the lot falls to Matthias, "Who was counted with the eleven."

    We also see St. Paul telling Timothy to appoint faithful men to follow after him (2 Tim. 2:2). So we see apostolic succession in history and Scripture. 

    Now mind you someone has probably trotted out some whopper like Constantine and a bunch of money grubbing power hungry people founded the Catholic Church as a way to consolidate power/money, etc. 

    After you finish laughing send them here, or here. 

    So there you have it. Christ founded a church on Earth one that we can follow from its current Earthly leader, Pope Benedict XVI, to its founder Jesus Christ in circa AD 33. Jesus seeks for us all to be one as He and the Father are one (Jn. 17:11). 

    Now the answer to our two part question: Did Jesus found a Church? Yes, The Roman Catholic Church. Does He desire His flock shall all be visibly in that church? Yes again. (Jn. 17, Mt. 10:40, Lk. 10:16). 

    So whose flock are you in? 

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Jesus and the Church

    A recent discussion in the comment box at Shameless Popery, plus a recent Facebook discussion led me to what I want to talk about today. To catch everyone up on my train of thought, essentially Joe asked a commenter the following: did Jesus found the Catholic Church, and is it His Will for His flock to be in that Church, visibly?

    What a great question right? So without further ado, let's dive into it. I will break the question up into two distinct parts.

    I. Did Jesus found the Catholic Church? 

    Of course He did. Next... Ok so obviously as a Catholic I believe he did, but let's investigate some of the Scriptural and historical evidence.

    First off there are many references in the Old Testament to God giving His people a shepherd (The Pope) so they didn't wander off. Take a look at Numbers 27: 15-17, which tells us God doesn't want His people to be like sheep without a shepherd (h/t Joe). Jeremiah 3:15 tells us that God will send us shepherds (pastors in the DR translation) who are after His own heart to feed us with knowledge and doctrine.

    So from just these two references alone we see that God desires His people have some sort of leadership to follow. Continuing in Numbers 27: 18-20 we see Moses anointing Joshua as the successor in authority over the Israelites. This is the succession of authority Christ references in Matt. 23:2. So we have in the Old Testament numerous examples of an authority to lead being handed down from one generation to the next. Through laying on of hands and anointing.

    All of which brings me to Matt. 16:13-20. The great threefold blessing of Simon soon to be forever after known as Peter. Christ brought the Apostles to Caesarea Phillipi. As Deacon George pointed out at Mass last month when this was our Gospel reading this wasn't the most hospitable place.

    "They are in Caesarea Philippi, a pagan area about 25 miles distant from Jewish territory, with at least 14 pagan temples representing Syrian, Canaanite, Greek and Roman deities. But, in the same location is a mountain; from a cave in it the Jordan River begins, making this location also holy to the Jews."

    What an odd place for Jesus to reflect on what the crowd thinks of this "carpenter's son." The Twelve venture as to what the consensus of the crowd is. Jesus is Elijah, or Jeremiah, or John the Baptist. Hebrew tradition maintained that Elijah would return to Earth as the Herald of the Lord. We know Jesus isn't the Baptist (John 1:29) for the two are seen together on more than one occasion.

    Jesus presses again "But who do you say I am?" None of the Twelve responds for a moment. Finally Simon blurts it out. "You are the Christ." Indeed Simon. Now Jesus does a couple of things.
    • Gives Simon a new more meaningful name. Kephas. Rock. 
    • Tells the Twelve that upon this wonderful Rock He would build His church. One of only two recorded times Jesus uses the word church.(Matt. 18:17 being the other)
    • Gives Peter the keys of the Kingdom (which we know from Isaiah 22:20-23 means that Peter is now a sort of Prime Minister with the full authority of the King) and tells him whatever he binds on Earth will be bound in Heaven and whatever he looses on Earth will be loosed in Heaven.
    So Jesus will build a Church. And as Archbishop Sheen pointed out this passage reveals a lot about church governance. Consensus of the Crowd doesn't work, they didn't get it right. The unheaded episcopacy doesn't work, they all stood around waiting for a leader. So what does work a Divinely protected leader over the episcopacy. And because he said it better than I could and it would be a disservice to try and rewrite his words here is the point Joe made in a phenomenal post over at Shameless Popery:

    "The comparisons to non-Catholic Christianity should be obvious.  Protestantism typically follows (i), and splits into innumerable factions as a result.  On even fundamental issues, they can't form a unified response: some say regenerative infant Baptism, others symbolic infant Baptism; still others symbolic adult Baptism. Orthodoxy tends to follow (ii), and like the other Eleven, largely stays quiet in the face of modern controversies. Without a unified head, it's hard to unify and mobilize the Body, so it too often lies dormant. Certain other groups, like Mormonism, fall into category (iii).  They have a single head, but because he's not protected by the Holy Spirit, he can't get the answers consistently right.

    So Christ has just shown us why Protestantism, Orthodoxy, and Mormonism won't work. And He's shown us the necessity of a Divinely-protected papacy, in order to keep Christianity (i) unified, (ii) mobilized, and (iii) orthodox.  But then He does something even more remarkable: He establishes His own Church."

    So Christ has now told the Twelve He will establish a Church. Now we are getting somewhere. 

    Psalm 127:1 tells us that unless the Lord built the house it is a house built in vain. Jesus just told us He was building a church, so it is precisely because the Lord built the house that it will in fact never see the gates of hell overtake it (Mt. 16:18).

    Which all brings us back to our opening question, did Christ build an Earthly church? He says He did, so I take Him at His word. And since no Protestant church claims founding by Christ; Catholicism comes out looking like it might be the clubhouse leader for the church founded by Christ.

    Tomorrow I will look at the second part of the question? Does Jesus desire for His flock to be visibly in the church He founded. Also we will debunk some of the popular myths surrounding other founders of the Catholic Church.

    Working Man Blues

    You know Merle Haggard sang it best, all those years ago, today I definitely have the Working Man blues. I feel like I struggle and bust my tail, giving my job all I got and I get no satisfaction at the end of the day. I don't get to feel like I've done a good job, because my boss and my coworker just gripe about what I didn't get done.

    It's nothing but aggravation to have to be asked why didn't I finish building a display or get all the 12 packs put away, without so much as a hey thanks for taking care of all the stuff you did get done.

    I don't mean to sound bitter and perhaps I should just be happy I have a job; for another couple of weeks anyway. But is it too much to ask for a little bit of recognition of the good I did rather than merely focusing on what didn't happen.

    Meantime the search continues for further employment when my time with my current employ is finished.

    St. Joseph please help me to find work that uses all of my talents to their best and that gives glory to God.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Random Thoughts....

    • Why do Protestants accept the authority of the Roman Catholic Church to compile the New Testament Canon, but not the Old Testament. Or have all Protestants read things like the Didache, Shepherd of Hermas, etc. and just know they are not inspired.
    • Why do so many people insist on a purely literal reading of the Bible, yet balk at Jesus' most plain discussion, one not couched in a single parable. John 6: 51-52, 54-55. 
    • If I say my favorite Beatles song is Hey Jude does that make me lame and unoriginal.
    • If I say my favorite Elvis songs all came from the Memphis sessions does that mean the same.
    • Sometimes when I read a really good Tom Clancy or Stephen King book I get a warm fuzzy feeling, is that the same as the LDS idea of Burning in the Bosom from reading the Book of Mormon.
    • When I look at Tommy I sometimes see a slow morphing of all of the stages and faces he has had and it makes me somehow prouder than usual. Just because he has been through so much.
    • Is it ok to idolize my four year old. 
    • If Tommy is the overcomer in the family, what will that mean for Matty and any other future children. 
    • Why would anyone want caffeine free Mountain Dew...just drink water if you want to do that to the Dew. 
    • I don't get Lady Gaga...she is average in every way....yet somehow she is a superstar right now...what are we thinking America. 
    • Oh wait Scotty, who shouldn't have been final four material somehow won Idol last season...Was it Mencken or Barnum who said no one ever went broke underestimating the American public
    • How amazing is it that the current Pope tried to retire twice as he had reached the appropriate age but his predecessor kept him on. And now we have one of the preeminent theologians of his day leading the Church. Can you see the Holy Spirit at work in that
    • If you haven't read Jesus of Nazareth (part 2 especially) or Spirit of the Liturgy by Benedict XVI get on it...Two amazing books by a brilliant mind. 
    • I'm reading the Screwtape Letters now, a wonderful little romp through the imagined correspondence of a demon to his nephew concerning the youngsters newest task. Turning a man away from God, referred to throughout as the Enemy.
    • Do you realize CS Lewis, Aldous Huxley, and JFK all died on the same day. That must have been a heck of a conversation in Heaven's waiting room huh.
    • Did any or all of those three get through the door? 
    • How come fruit snacks taste better than fruit.