Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Augustine on Scripture

"Consider, moreover, the style in which Sacred Scripture is composed,—how accessible it is to all men, though its deeper mysteries are penetrable to very few. The plain truths which it contains it declares in the artless language of familiar friendship to the hearts both of the unlearned and of the learned; but even the truths which it veils in symbols it does not set forth in stiff and stately sentences, which a mind somewhat sluggish and uneducated might shrink from approaching, as a poor man shrinks from the presence of the rich; but, by the condescension of its style, it invites all not only to be fed with the truth which is plain, but also to be exercised by the truth which is concealed, having both in its simple and in its obscure portions the same truth. Lest what is easily understood should beget satiety in the reader, the same truth being in another place more obscurely expressed becomes again desired, and, being desired, is somehow invested with a new attractiveness, and thus is received with pleasure into the heart. By these means wayward minds are corrected, weak minds are nourished, and strong minds are filled with pleasure, in such a way as is profitable to all. This doctrine has no enemy but the man who, being in error, is ignorant of its incomparable usefulness, or, being spiritually diseased, is averse to its healing power."

-Augustine, Letter to Volusianus 5.18

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pope and Relics

"In Naples, a city know for its veneration of the blood of fourth-century martyr St. Januarius, Pope Benedict told Massgoers that the deadly symbol of blood has been transformed by the death of Christ and the Christian martyrs into a sign of self-giving life and of nonviolence even in the face of persecution.

The pope ended his stay in Naples with a visit to the cathedral where the reliquary containing a vial of St. Januarius' dried blood is kept. Kneeling before the altar, the pope kissed the vial, but the miracle of the blood liquefying did not occur.

Msgr. Vincenzo de Gregorio, custodian of the relic, told reporters that the blood, which often liquefies on the saint's feast day, has never liquefied when a pope visited on a day other than the feast day. The blood is said to liquefy three times a year -- on the Saturday before the first Sunday in May, the feast of the transfer of the saint's relics to Naples; Sept. 19, his feast day; and Dec. 16, the local feast commemorating the averting of a threatened eruption of Mount Vesuvius through the intervention of the saint."

-Catholic News

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Advanced Catechism of Catholic Faith and Practice

An Advanced Catechism of Catholic Faith and Practice
Nihil obstat: REV. M. G. FLANNERY Censor Librorum Brooklyn, N. Y
Imprimatur: IGN. F. HORSTMANN, Bishop of Cleveland, JANUARY 9, 1901

Which are the means instituted by our Lord to enable men at all times to share in the fruits of the Redemption?
The means instituted by our Lord to enable men at all times to share in the fruits of His Redemption are the Church and the Sacraments. The word "Church" here implies the religious society founded by Christ. The " Sacraments " may be regarded as the chief means by which the members of the Church receive divine grace.

By what means does the Church "sanctify and save all men?"
The Church sanctifies and saves all men by means of the Mass, the Sacraments, and special blessings and devotions.

What then must Catholics do to save their souls?
To save their souls, Catholics must: 1st, Believe all the teachings of the Church; 2nd, Keep the Commandments of God and the Church ; 3rd, Pray to God and worthily receive the Sacraments.

What, therefore, should we do in order to glorify God and save our souls?
In order to glorify God and save our souls, we should always: 1st, Avoid sin and all dangerous occasions of sin; 2nd, Attend carefully to daily prayers, to Holy Mass, and to frequent Confession and Communion; 3rd, Be faithful to all our Christian duties and practices, as loyal friends of Jesus Christ, and faithful members of His Holy Church.

Who is the visible Head of the Church?
Our Holy Father the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is the Vicar of Christ on earth and the visible Head of the Church. Other names of the Pope: Sovereign Pontiff; Father of Christendom; His Holiness; the Pope calls himself, "The Servant of the Servants of God."

Why is he called "our Holy Father”?
The Pope is called our Holy Father, because he is the spiritual Father of all Christians, from whom they receive the means of holiness that are in the Church,

Why is he called "the Vicar of Christ”?
The Pope is called the Vicar of Christ, because He represents Christ, and acts in the name and place of Christ, over the whole Church.

Why did Christ found the Church?

Christ founded the Church to teach, govern, sanctify, and save all men.

By whom are the members of the Church governed?
The laity are governed by their priests; the priests, by their bishops; and the bishops, by the Pope.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Benedict on Mary

"The heart of the message of Fatima is that following the Gospel is the path to authentic peace, Pope Benedict XVI said in a message broadcast Oct. 14 at the Marian shrine.

Marking the 90th anniversary of the last apparition of Our Lady of Fatima to three young children, Pope Benedict said the shrine continues to echo Mary's call to "her children to live their baptismal consecration in every moment of their existence."

"She is the refuge and the path that leads to God," he told thousands of pilgrims at the shrine for an anniversary Mass and the dedication of a new shrine church.

During his midday Angelus prayer at the Vatican, the pope asked Mary to give "all Christians the gift of true conversion so that the perennial Gospel message, which shows humanity the path to authentic peace, would be proclaimed and witnessed to with coherence and fidelity."

-Pope Benedict

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Catholic Grace

"Grace does not force man's free will, but respects it, and leaves man free to act with it or not. Grace, therefore, does not destroy our freewill, but only helps it, and our own working with grace is required. "God who has created thee without thee, will not save thee without thee " says St. Augustine: and in Holy Scripture it is repeatedly stated that God will render to every one according to his works. A renovation which renders a soul renewed, pure, bright, amiable and endearing to God.

We stand in continual need of actual grace to perform good acts, both before and after being justified. "Without me you can do nothing," says our Saviour, and St. Paul declares that without God's grace we are incapable of even a good thought. The good acts, however, done by the help of grace without justification are not, strictly speaking, meritorious, but serve to smooth the way to justification, to move God, though merely through His mercy and condescension, to help us and render us better disposed for the same. But if, with the assistance of actual grace, good works are done by a person who is in a state of justifying grace, then they are acceptable to God, and merit an increase of grace on earth and an increase of glory in Heaven.

…All our merits, however, without any exception, are grounded on the merits of Jesus Christ, and on His grace, without which no one can move a step towards heaven.

The merit of a good action performed in a state of grace, as being in consequence of justification, and in union with our Lord, is truly our own merit, because that good action is really performed by us, by our co-operation with God's grace; but it is also, and principally, a merit of our Lord, as a grape is the fruit of the branch, and yet also and principally the fruit of the parent vine without which, or if not connected with which, the branch could not produce any fruit, or indeed have become a branch at all. Our merit, therefore, does not take away from Christ's merits, for without Him we can do nothing. We merit through Christ, Christ makes us merit; or still more properly, Christ merits in us, and therefore all the glory is His…

JESUS CHRIST died for all mankind; He truly died that "He might taste death for all." (Hebrews ii. 9.) Yet we know that all men will not be saved, but only those who do His will; for we read in St. Paul : "And being consummated, He became to all that obey Him the cause of eternal salvation." (Hebrews v. 9.) And so, notwithstanding Christ's redemption, it is stated in the gospel that some "shall go into everlasting punishment." (St. Matt. xxv. 46.) St. Paul did not say that God will save all men, but, "Who will have all men to be saved" (1 Timothy ii. 4), implying thereby that for salvation, man's will and co-operation is required to fulfill the conditions, and use the means appointed by God Himself for the purpose.

Only those who "have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Apocalypse [Rev.] vii. 14), that is, who have the merits of Christ applied to them, and who persevere to the end in doing what is commanded, will be saved.

The direct means instituted by Christ Himself for applying His infinite merits to the souls of men are the holy sacraments, which are so many channels instituted by Jesus Christ to convey to men His grace purchased for us at the price of His most precious blood: "You shall draw waters with joy out of the Saviour's fountains." (Isaias xii. 3.)"

-The Glories of the Catholic Church (1895)
Imprimatur: Michael Augustine, Archbishop of NY

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ott on "not explicit"

"The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary is not explicitly revealed in Scripture." (pg 200)

"The Bodily Assumption of Mary...direct and express scriptural proofs are not to be had." (pg 208)

"Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces by her intercession in Heaven...Express scriptural proofs are lacking." (pg 214)

"Holy Writ does not explicitly refer to the veneration and invocation of saints, but it asserts the principle out of which Church teaching and practice developed." (pg 318)

"Holy Writ does not mention the veneration of relics, but it affirms precedents, upon which the Christian veneration of relics is founded." (pg 319)

"Holy Writ teaches the existence of a cleansing fire [purgatory] indirectly, by admitting the possibility of a purification in the other world." (pg 483)

-Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma,

Friday, October 12, 2007

Good Reads

Two blogs worth reading:

First, Saint & Sinner is doing a series called The Eisegeted Verses dealing specifically with a book by Catholic Apologist Dave Armstrong entitled The Catholic Verses: 95 Bible Passages That Confound Protestants. So far, Saint & Sinner is far from confounded.

Second, TurretinFan is engaged in a debate with “orthodox” comparing Sola Scriptura versus Sola Ecclesia (scripture vs tradition).

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Status Update

I have been neglecting this blog and I apologize to my very small readership. My time has been spent posting at Beggars All which has a larger audience and some very knowledgeable readers. I am way out of my league there and keep expecting James to give me the boot.

I have been considering expanding my content on this blog to general apologetics since much of my Roman Catholic critiques have been placed on the Beggars All site. For now, I am using this blog as a source of interesting quotes and tidbits which I find helpful to have stored for future posts/discussions. However, all my focus upon RC apologetics has caused me to get a bit rusty in the general apologetics arena (not that I was terribly well-versed in the first place) so I need to work on that.

I have also neglected this blog because I am just busy with work and home. In reality I really shouldn’t be blogging at all, but I enjoy it and can’t seem to quit. I love talking theology and blogging is my outlet for doing so. That said, I need to focus as right now I think I am reading about 5 books at once, jumping around depending on my mood for the day.

For now, here are my recent posts at Beggars All:

How to Become Catholic
Cutting Edge Catholic Interpretation
Cooperation in Salvation
Anti-Catholic Propaganda
Wycliffe’s Response to Church Authority
It Appears the Jig is Up
Catholic Historian on Trent and Salvation

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Ott on Justification

Without special Divine Revelation no one can know with the certainty of faith, if he be in the state of grace (De fide.)

Against the teaching of the Reformers, that the justified possess certainty of faith which excludes all doubts about their justification, the Council of Trent declared: "If one considers his own weakness and his defective disposition, he may well be fearful and anxious as to his state of grace, as nobody knows with the certainty of faith, which permits of no error, that he has achieved the grace of God"

The reason for the uncertainty of the state of grace lies in this that without a special revelation nobody can with certainty of faith know whether or not he has fulfilled all the conditions which are necessary for the achieving of justification. The impossiblity of the certainty of faith, however, by no means excludes a high moral certainty by the testimony of conscience.

The degree of justifying grace is not identical in all the just. (De fide.) Grace can be increased by good works (De Fide.)

As the Reformers wrongly regarded justification as a merely external imputation of Christ's justice, they were obliged also to hold that justification is identical in all men. The Council of Trent, however, declared that the measure of the grace of justification received varies in the individual person who is justified, according to the measure of God's free distribution, and to the disposition and co-operation of the recipient himself.

In regard to the increase of the state of grace, the Council of Trent declared against the Reformers, who asserted that good works are only a fruit of achieved justification, that the justice already in the soul is increased by good work. The various good works are rewarded by different grades of grace.

-Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, pgs 261-262

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Misuse (and overuse) of "Anti-Catholic"

TurretinFan has made some excellent points in his latest post on the use of the term “anti-Catholic”.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Catholic Quotes on Salvation

"The Holy Spirit is not only present in other religions through authentic expressions of prayer. “The Spirit’s presence and activity”, as I wrote in the Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, “affect not only individuals but also society and history, peoples, cultures and religions” (n. 28).

Normally, “it will be in the sincere practice of what is good in their own religious traditions and by following the dictates of their own conscience that the members of other religions respond positively to God’s invitation and receive salvation in Jesus Christ, even while they do not recognize or acknowledge him as their Saviour (cf. Ad gentes, nn. 3, 9, 11)” (Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue – Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Instruction Dialogue and Proclamation, 19 May 1991, n. 29; L’Osservatore Romano English edition, 1 July 1991, p. III).

Indeed, as the Second Vatican Council teaches, “since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of coming into contact, in a way known to God, with the paschal mystery” (Gaudium et spes, n. 22)."

John Paul II, General Audience