Wednesday, October 11, 2017

LifeSite News: Massive turnout for rosary crusade in Poland. Liberals furious

WARSAW, Poland, October 9, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Hundreds of thousands of Polish Catholics encircled their country with prayer Saturday, imploring Our Lady’s intervention to save Poland and the world.

As Catholics lined the country’s 2,000-mile border for the “Rosary at the Borders,” progressives and compatible media deemed the national prayer gathering “controversial,” xenophobic, Islamophobic, or “not” representative of the Catholic Church.

“Poland Catholics hold controversial prayer day on borders,” the BBC’s headline said of the event.

Rafał Pankowski, head of the Warsaw multicultural understanding advocacy group Never Again, told the Associated Press, “The whole concept of doing it on the borders reinforces the ethno-religious, xenophobic model of national identity.”

Krzysztof Luft, a former member of Poland’s largest opposition party, the liberal Civic Platform, tweeted, “Ridiculing Christianity on mass scale. They treat religion as a tool for keeping the backwardness in Polish backwater.”

“Rosary to the Borders” was organized by lay Catholics and sanctioned by Church leaders in Poland, with some 320 churches from 22 dioceses participating in roughly 4,000 locations along Poland’s border with Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Russia and the Baltic Sea.

More than 90 percent of Poland’s 38 million citizens are Roman Catholic.

The Catholic prime minister of Poland endorsed the rosary event as well. Beata Szydlo tweeted, "I greet all the participants."


View image on Twitter



Father Pawel Rytel-Andrianik, a spokesman for the Polish Bishops’ Conference, said it was the second largest prayer event in Europe after the 2016 World Youth Day. The New York Times reported, however, that final participation numbers were still being tabulated.

Airport chapels, considered gateways to the country, were prayer sites for Catholics as well, the AP said, and Polish soldiers stationed in Afghanistan prayed at Bagram Airfield there.

The prayer positions for the rosary event also included fishing boats at sea as well as kayaks and sailboats forming chains on Polish rivers, according to a report from Agence France-Presse.

“During the prayer, I was at the Chopin airport in Warsaw,” Father Rytel-Andrianik said, “and there were so many people that they were pouring out of the chapel.”

“This was an initiative started by lay people, which makes it even more extraordinary,” he continued. “Millions of people prayed the rosary together. This exceeded the boldest expectations of the organizers.”

Churches taking part kicked the prayer event off with a talk and celebration of Mass before Catholics headed to the border to pray the rosary.

The “Rosary at the Borders” took significance from the Our Lady of Fatima apparitions, scheduled on the first Saturday of the month during the 100th anniversary year of Our Lady’s appearance to the three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal.

Poland’s national Catholic prayer event also coincided with the feast of the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on the October 7 anniversary of the 1571 naval victory of the Holy League Battle over the Ottoman Empire navy at the Battle of Lepanto.

The rosary is closely tied to the Lepanto victory, due to Pope Saint Pius V’s call for the faithful to pray the rosary for victory.

Some participants’ comments about Europe keeping its Christian roots or stemming the tide of Islam were framed in the media to paint the “Rosary to the Borders” as nationalistic or “Fears of Islam.”

“Let’s pray for other nations of Europe and the world to understand that we need to return to the Christian roots of European culture if we want Europe to remain Europe,” Krakow Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski said at Mass on Saturday.

“It’s a really serious thing for us,” Basia Sibinska told AP. “We want to pray for peace, we want to pray for our safety. Of course, everyone comes here with a different motivation. But the most important thing is to create something like a circle of a prayer alongside the entire border, intense and passionate.”

Poland and Hungary have refused to take migrants under a quota system established by the European Union, causing controversy and threatening the two countries’ membership in the EU.

Concerns over the secularization in Europe, however, exist independent of the current migration crisis and its various implications.

The Times report said of the rosary prayer event that “Polish Catholics clutching rosary beads” had gathered for “for a mass demonstration” and called Poland “a nation moving increasingly to the right.”

Villanova University theologian Massimo Faggioli used Twitter to criticize what he termed using the rosary from “anti-immigrant use.”

“Using the Virgin Mary as a human shield and the Rosary as a weapon against Islam is not exactly my kind of thing,” he tweeted, and, “using the Rosary as a weapon against Islam is not ‘the Catholic Church.’”

Organizers had told LifeSiteNews the goal of the Rosary to the Border event was to follow Our Lady’s call at Fatima to pray the rosary for the rescue of the world.

“The Rosary to the Borders is not a crusade because we don’t want to fight with anyone,” said Maciej Bodasiński. “It is a giant commotion for, not against, something. We firmly follow her command, and we will pray at the borders of our country, going out in prayer and witness to the whole world, so that the Mercy of God is not confined to any border.”

Father Alexander Lucie-Smith, moral theologian and consulting editor for the Catholic Herald, said in a blog post that praying the rosary is not controversial, and it is our best weapon against evil.

Father Lucie-Smith noted that Poland has a different history that other European nations such as Britain, having been “wiped off the map on several occasions” in recent history.

“If the Poles seem more attached to national sovereignty than most, who can blame them?” he asked. “Their sovereignty has been much disputed. Moreover, the question of Polish nationhood is deeply connected to the Catholic faith. Both in matters of ethnicity and religion, the Poles have been steadfast in resisting Russification. Can you blame them?”

He also said the Poles are entitled to make their own choices in the matter of admitting migrants, and to pray for the salvation of Poland and the world was “admirable. The Polish example should spur others to do the same.”

Regarding the Battle of Lepanto connection, Father Lucie-Smith said marking the anniversary does not denote negativity toward another country, but it celebrates the liberation of those who were subjected to the despotic regime, including Christian galley slaves, making this something to celebrate.

He pointed out as well how praying for victory in war “has long been the Christian way” whether at Lepanto, during World War II, as well as up to and including the Nigerian bishops urging people today to pray the rosary in the face of Boko Haram, “which is completely in keeping with Catholic tradition.”

“Controversial? I don’t think so,” Father Lucie-Smith wrote. “Catholics have been doing these things for centuries.”

“Let’s hope we continue doing them for centuries to come,” he said. “As the website of the organizers of the Polish event reminds us, “the rosary is a powerful weapon against evil.” Let’s keep on using it!”

Friday, October 6, 2017

Catholic Herald: The Filipino bishops are standing up against Duterte. We should applaud them

This is what makes me prouder as a member of the TRUE CHURCH OF CHRIST!


The president's war on drugs is clearly illegal. The Church has to take a stand

The War on Drugs, presently being fought in the Philippines by President Duterte and his death squads, has now entered a new phase, as the New York Times reports. The Church has offered to give sanctuary and protection to those police officers who wish to act as whistle-blowers, and who have evidence of illegal actions by their colleagues.

As the chairman of the Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, explains in a pastoral letter: “Law enforcers have come forward confidentially to us, their spiritual leaders, to seek sanctuary, succour and protection. They have expressed their desire to come out in the open about their participation in extrajudicial killings and summary executions. Their consciences are troubling them.”

Quite a lot is at stake in this matter. Here are a few observations.

First of all, the government, in embarking on a clearly illegal course of action, has issued a challenge to the credibility of the Church. If the Church were to say nothing about this, then it really could not claim to be an evangelical witness on this or indeed any other matter. The Church has to speak out, or be seen to fail. One cannot watch a spate of extrajudicial killings and summary executions (including that of several children) and say nothing. So, the current pastoral letter and the intervention it represents is not just the correct thing for the Church to do, it is the only thing or the Church to do.

As the New York Times reports, the Church is a powerful body in the Philippines, and has a history of taking on dysfunctional governments and winning. Again, this is an important role for the Church, and one it must fulfil in all countries were governments are chronically inefficient and corrupt and where civil society is weak. This too is part of the mission of the Church and its proclamation that a better society is possible.

The fact that the police are beginning to see the folly of Duterte’s war on drugs is highly significant. They are the ones who have to put the strategy, if it can be called that, into action. They must be aware of the potential for blowback. Not only do they risk being the targets of the drug gangs, they also risk, if indeed have not already lost, the confidence of the public. Their credibility as upholders of legality is already severely compromised. Hence the desire by some of them to reverse the current policy. It is hard to see how the President can continue in his war if he does not have the backing of the police. And if his much-vaunted war on drugs fails, what then?

Finally, all Catholics need to reflect. We are against drug taking, but is Duterte’s way the best way to minimise the harm done by drugs? Faced with the damage caused by drugs, should we turn to the moral evil of extrajudicial killings in order to overcome it? Or should we try something new? There must be a better way of dealing with this scourge. We could perhaps learn from the way we have dealt with tobacco and alcohol, where the attempt to minimise the harms done by both has been remarkably successful, without resorting to outlawing consumption or adopting illegal means to fight them.

Meanwhile, the Filipino bishops are to be commended for standing up for the rule of law, and for trying their best to support those who wish to bring the current anarchy in the Philippines to an end.

TURO NG SANTA IGLESIA NI CRISTO: PAG-AANTANDA NG KRUS, MASAMA BA?

Sabi ng isang nagpakilalang 'Noah Santos' sa kanyang FB, isang kaanib ng INC™ na tatag ni Felix Manalo noong 1914:

Kung tayo po ay mapag masid sa ating mga kaibigan na katoliko ay mapapansin natin na madalas silang nag AANTANDA o ang tawag sa English ay SIGN OF THE CROSS. Malimit nila itong ginagawa kapag sila ay madarasal, mapapadaan sa kanilang simbahan,kung sila ay natatakot, o iba pa mang gawain nila, sapagkat sa kanilang paniniwala ay makatutulong ito ng malaki sa kanilang buhay at makalulugod sa Diyos.

Anu ba itong PAG AANTANDA na kanilang ginagawa? Mabuti po ay basahin natin ang aklat katoliko na may pinamagatang “Siya ang Inyong Pakinggan: Ang Aral na Katoliko sa Pahina 11”
"ANG TANDA NG SANTA KRUS

"Ang paraang ginagawa sa paggamit ng Santa Krus ay dalawa: ang magantanda at ang magkrus. ANG PAGAANTANDA AY ANG PAGGAWA NG TATLONG KRUS NANGHINLALAKI NG KANYANG KANANG KAMAY; ANG UNA'Y SA NOO,... ANG TANDA NG SANTA KRUS AY SIYANG TANDA NG TAONG KATOLIKO,.." [Siya Ang Inyong Pakinggan:Ang Aral na Katoliko, Page 11]

Ang Sagot sa atin ng aklat na sinulat ng Paring si Enrique Demond, kaya isinasagawa ang PAG-AANTANDA o SIGN OF THE CROSS ay sapagkat ito ay TANDA ng taong Katoliko. At totoo naman ito dahil madali mo naman talagang makilala ang Katoliko sa Hindi Katoliko, kapag nasa sasakyan ka, pag napatapat sa Simbahan, at may nag-antanda eh alam mo na kagad na Katoliko iyon. Walang pag aalinlagan sa ikakikilala sa isang katoliko sapagkat ito ang itinuro sa kanila ng kanilang mga Pari.

Paano ang pagsasagawa ng PAG AANTANDA? Ayon narin sa aklat na ating binasa; ito ay paggawa ng tatlong krus ng hinlalaki ng KANANG KAMAY; ang una ay sa NOO.

Kaya kahit kaliwete ang taong katoliko ay kanan ang kaniyang gagamitin sa PAG AANTANDA; sapagkat ganon ang paraan na itinuro sa kanila. Unang lalapat ang Hinlalaki ng kanang kamay sa NOO. Hindi sa anu pamang bahagi ng katawan.

At dahil sa ito ay PAGAANTANDA na gamit ang KANANG KAMAY at NOO, kaya ito ay maaari nating tawagin na TANDA SA NOO at KANANG KAMAY.

Anu ang mababasa natin sa biblia tungkol sa TANDA SA NOO AT KANANG KAMAY? Ito ba ay tanda ng taong maliligtas? Ito bang tandang ito ang ibinigay para maging mga tunay na lingkod ng Diyos? Mabuti pa ay basahin natin mula sa Biblia,

Ang Tanda sa Noo at Kanang Kamay

Apocalypsis 13:16 “At ang lahat, maliliit at malalaki, at mayayaman at mga dukha, at ang mga laya at ang mga alipin ay pinabigyan ng isang TANDA sa kanilang KANANG KAMAY, o sa NOO;”
Ang sabi sa biblia binigyan ng TANDA sa KANANG KAMAY, o sa NOO.

Mabuti ba ang pagkakaroon ng tandang ito? Ano ba ang idududulot sa tao kung mananatiling magkakaroon o magsasagawa ng tandang ito?

Apocalypsis 14:9-11 "At ang ibang anghel, ang pangatlo ay sumusunod sa kanila, na nagsasabi ng malakas na tinig, Kung ang sinoman ay sumamba sa hayop at sa kaniyang larawan,at tumatanggap ng TANDA SA KANIYANG NOO, O SA KANIYANG KAMAY, Ay iinom din naman siya ng alak ng kaglitan ng Dios, na nahahandang walang halo sa inuman ng kaniyang kagalitan; at siya'y PAHIHIRAPAN NG APOY AT ASUPRE sa harapan ng mga banal na anghel, at sa harapan ng Cordero: AT ANG USOK NG HIRAP NILA AY NAPAIILANGLANG MAGPAKAILAN KAILAN MAN; AT SILA'Y WALANG KAPAHINGAHAN ARAW AT GABI, sila mga nagsisisamba sa hayop at sa kaniyang larawan, at sinomang tumatanggap ng tanda ng kaniyang pangalan."

Ayun ang liwanag ng sinabi ng Biblia na ang mga taong nagsasagawa ng PAG-AANTANDA o SIGN OF THE CROSS ay ang mga taong mapapahamak, “PAHIHIRAPAN NG APOY AT ASUPRE sa harapan ng mga banal na anghel, at sa harapan ng Cordero: AT ANG USOK NG HIRAP NILA AY NAPAIILANGLANG MAGPAKAILAN KAILAN MAN; AT SILA'Y WALANG KAPAHINGAHAN ARAW AT GABI” walang hanggang kaparusahan ang saapitin. Kakila kilabot po ito mga kaibigan naming Katoliko.

Anu ang pagamin ng isang Pari na si Aniceto dela Merced? Ganito ang nakatala sa kanyang aklat na kung tawagin ay PASIOSN CANDABA, sa pahina 210.

"Ipag uutos mag quintal sa noo o canang camay sucat pagca quilalanan na sila nga, i, campong tunay nitong Anti-Cristong hunghang." [Pasion Candaba, isinulat ng Paring si Aniceto dela Merced, Page 210]

Sabi ng Pari, ang nagtataglay ng TANDANG ito ay kabilang sa mga tao na tinatawag na Anti-Cristo o kalaban ni Cristo kaya po tiyak na mapapahamak at hindi maliligtas sa Araw ng Paghuhukom.
Kaya bakit pa ito tuluyang gagawin ng ating mga kaibigang katoliko? Kapag talagang inunawa ito ng ating mga kaibigan, tiyak na titigilan na nila ang ginagawa nilang Pag AANTANDA na palatandaang ibinigay sa mga taong KATOLIKO. Hindi ito ikaliligtas bagkus ay tiyak na ikapapahamak pa.


Salamat sa artikulong ito sapagkat nabibigyan tayo ng pagkakataon na maipaliwanag sa mga naguguluhan dulot ng mga mandarayang mga mangangaral ukol sa TUNAY na aral ng TUNAY at NAG-IISANG IGLESIA NI CRISTO - ang IGLESIA KATOLIKA.

KATOLIKO LANG BA?

Kamangmangan at maling sabihin ni Ginoong Santos (ang 'Santos' ay salitang Español na ang ibig sabihin ay "Mga Banal" sa langit o mga santo sa langit na ayon sa katuruang Katolisismo ay marapat na hinihingan ng panalangin bilang pamagitan kay Cristo) na KATOLIKO LAMANG ang nag-aantanda ng Krus.

Magugulat ang mga kaanib ng INC™ sa katotohanang hindi lamang ang mga Katoliko ang nag-aantanda ng krus. Maging ang mga Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, at mga Presbyterians (mga Protestante) ay nag-aantanda rin ng krus.  Ang mga mananampalatayang mga EASTERN ORTHRODOX ay nag-aantanda rin ng Krus bukod sa mga Katolikong Kristiano. Ayon sa Wikipedia:

When an Eastern Orthodox or Eastern Catholic bishop or priest blesses with the sign of the cross, he holds the fingers of his right hand in such a way that they form the Greek abbreviation for Jesus Christ "IC XC". ... The blessing of both priests and bishops consists of three movements, in honour of the Holy Trinity.
Ang pagkakaiba lamang ayon sa Patheos, ang mga Katoliko ay nag-aantanda ng Krus mula KALIWA papuntang KANAN. Ito ay nangangahulugan na mula sa PASAKIT (kaliwa) kay Cristo ay ang kanyang MALUWALHATING PAGKABUHAY NA MAG-ULI (kanan).

Ang mag Eastern Orthodox naman ay mula KANAN papuntang KALIWA. Ito ay nangangahulugan na ang pananampalatayang Kristianismo ay nagmula sa mga HUDYO (kanan) papunta sa mga HENTIL (kaliwa).

Sa makatuwid, kinikilala, maging ng mga HINDI KATOLIKO ang katotohanang ang PAG-ANTANDA NG KRUS ay isang BANAL na GAWAIN. Ang pag-aantanda ng Krus ay gawain ng mga KRISTIANONG naniniwala sa AMA, ANAK at BANAL NA ESPIRITU sa IISANG DIYOS (Basahin ang 21 Things We do When We Make the Sign of the Cross).

PARI BA ANG NAGTURO?

Para sa mga Hudyo, isang SUMPA ang krus.

Para sa mga Romano, isang KAHIHIYAN ang krus.

Ngunit para kay Apostol San Pablo sa kanyang Sulat sa mga taga Galacia (6:14), ang KRUS NI CRISTO ay isang bagay na DAPAT IPAGMAPURI!

“Nawa’y ‘di ako magmalaki sa anumang bagay MALIBAN SA KRUS ng ating PANGINOONG HESU CRISTO.”
Hindi man binanggit sa Biblia kung "PAPAANO" isagawa ang PAGMAMAPURI sa KRUS ng ating Panginoong Jesu Cristo malinaw na ito ay ang simulain ng PAGSINTA at PAGYAKAP ng tao sa KRUS ni JESUS na siyang kanilang maging PAGKAKAKILANLAN.

Ayon sa kasaysayan, noong UNANG SIGLO, ang mga tao ay NAG-AANTANDA na ng KRUS. Ito ay mababasa natin sa sulat ni TERTULIAN (c. 250 A.D.) ang ganito:

"In all our travels and movements, in all our coming in and going out, in putting on our shoes, at the bath, at the table, in lighting our candles, in lying down, in sitting down, whatever employment occupies us, we mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross" (De corona, 30).

Si SAN CYRYLO NG JERUSALEM (c. 386 A.D.) sa kanyang ARAL KATESISMO, sinabi niyang huwag itong ikahiya bagkos binigyan niya ito ng paliwanag (katekismo):

"Let us then not be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Be the cross our seal, made with boldness by our fingers on our brow and in everything; over the bread we eat and the cups we drink, in our comings and in our goings out; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we awake; when we are traveling, and when we are at rest" (Catecheses, 13). Gradually, the sign of the cross was incorporated in different acts of the Mass, such as the three-fold signing of the forehead, lips, and heart at the reading of the gospel or the blessing and signing of the bread and wine to be offered occurs about the ninth century.

Ang pagsulpot ng MONOPHYSITES noong ika-400 A.D., na nagtuturong si Cristo ay may iisang KALIKASAN - ang pagka-DIYOS lamang (at hindi tao) ay nagbigay layon sa mga DALIRING SUMUSIMBULO sa ating pananampalataya sa pag-antanda ng Krus.

Halimbawa: ang pagsasambit ng Ama, Anak at Banal na Espiritu, tanda ng katotohanan na ang Iisang Diyos ay may TATLONG PERSONA.

Ang HINLALAKI, HINTUTURO at GITNANG DALIRI ay sumisimbulo muli sa KAISAHAN ng TATLONG PERSONA o BANAL NA TRINIDAD.

Ang nabanggit na tatlong daliri kapag pinagdikit ay kumakatawan sa daglat-Griegong I X C (Iesus Christus Soter - Jesu-Cristong Tagapagligtas); at ang dalawang natitira pang daliri na bahagyang nakayuko ay sumisimbulo sa DALAWANG KALIKASAN ni Cristo - ang pagka-DIYOS at pagka-TAO tunay at totoo.

Sa tagubilin ni Papa Inosent III (1198-1216) ukol sa pag-aantanda ng Krus ay ganito:

"This is how it is done: from above to below, and from the right to the left, because Christ descended from the heavens to the earth, and from the Jews (right) He passed to the Gentiles (left)." While noting the custom of making the cross from the right to the left shoulder was for both the western and eastern Churches, Pope Innocent continued, "Others, however, make the sign of the cross from the left to the right, because from misery (left) we must cross over to glory (right), just as Christ crossed over from death to life, and from Hades to Paradise. [Some priests] do it this way so that they and the people will be signing themselves in the same way. You can easily verify this — picture the priest facing the people for the blessing — when we make the sign of the cross over the people, it is from left to right...."

Ano man ang pamamaraan (technicality) ng pag-aantanda ng Krus, ginagawa ito ng mga Kristiano ng may buong PAGMAMAHAL Tatlong Persona - ang Ama, Anak at Espiritu Santo na siyang SENTRO ng ating pananampalatayang Kristiano.

TANDA NG KRUS SA NOO, MASAMA?

Masama ang layunin ni Ginoong Santos nang kanyang kuning sitas ang Pahayag13:16 at 14:9-11.


Malinaw namang WALANG BINABANGGIT sa Pahayag ukol sa PAG-AANTANDA NG KRUS na siyang 'TATAK NG DIABLO'.

Sa kanyang artikulo, VERY CONVINIENT niyang pinagdugtong ang mga talata sa Biblia LABAN sa pag-aantanda ng Krus na ginagawa ng mga Katoliko.

Ito ay typical na gawain na ng mga taga-sunod ni Ginoong Felix Manalo. Nais lamang nilang LINLANGIN ang kanilang mga kaanib at mga Katolikong salat pa sa kaalaman.

Ang BINABANGGIT sa PAHAYAG13 ay HINDI PO ang PAG-AANTANDA NG KRUS ng mga KATOLIKO.

Ipinapahayag rito ni San Juan na siyang nagsulat sa kanyang pangitain na NAGHAHASIK ng KASAMAAN si Satanas LABAN sa tunay na IGLESIA sa pamamagitan ng mga EMPEROR ng Roma na NAG-UUTOS at NAGTATAKDA na SILA ANG SAMBAHIN at hindi ang Nag-iisang Diyos (Pahayag 13:4). Ang sinumang DI SUMAMBA sa EMPEROR ay makakatanggap ng kaparusahan ng KAMATAYAN.

Ngunit alam naman natin na ang mga Unang Kristiano ay MATATAPANG na PINILI ang KAMATAYAN kaysa ang SAMBAHIN ang mga EMPEROR ng Roma. Kaya't sila ay ibinibilang nating mga BAYANI o SANTO / SANTA (martir) ng pananampalatayang Katolisismo.

TANDA SA NOO, ITINURO NA NI PROFETA EZEKIEL (9:4,6)

Ayon sa aklat ni Propeta Ezekiel, BUMABA ang KALUWALHATIAN (Shekinah) ng Diyos ng Israel sa pamamagitan ng CHERUB at inutusan ang isang LALAKING NAKASUOT ng lina at SINABIHANG TATAKAN NG "X" sa NOO ang NAGHIHINAGPIS laban sa kasamaan ginagawa ng mga tao.

At inutos ng Diyos sa isa pa, LIPULIN LAHAT lalaki at babae, bata at matanda, lahat ng mga gumagawa ng karumaldumal sa harapan ng Diyos MALIBAN sa mga MAY TATAK SA KANILANG na "X" sa KANILANG NOO!

Tandaan:  Ang 'X' ay literal na alpabetong Hebreo na taw!


Ano ang ITINATAK sa mga NOO ng mga Israelita upang MALIGTAS sa kapahamakan?

TAW!


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Catholic Herald: Protestantism’s biggest problem: on whose authority do we interpret the scriptures?

Source: Catholic Herald

In the end, private interpretation isn't enough

On Saturday I joined a group of Anglican and Methodists in our village to walk around its familiar landmarks offering prayers. We started at the (pre-Reformation) Anglican church, moved on to the war memorial, then to the village school, thence to our popular local pub. A Methodist lady whom I know well told me sotto voce that she wasn’t going to join in praying for the pub to flourish. I remembered that Methodists forswear alcohol. Sotto voce I responded, “But what about Jesus’s first miracle at the marriage feast of Cana?” She replied, half-resigned, half-humorous: “Why do people always bring up Cana!”

Why indeed? It was not only Jesus’s first recorded miracle and a heavenly blessing on matrimony; it was also a sign of God’s lavish generosity and of the complete trust Our Lady had in her Son’s divine powers. The deeper question is: on whose authority do we interpret the Scriptures; John Wesley’s or the Church? To be fair to Wesley and as the Methodist lady and myself agreed, he was condemning the “demon drink” of his day rather than inventing a dogma. Yet at some stage in the spiritual life of a thoughtful Christian the question must arise: “Is private interpretation enough?”

These thoughts are prompted by my reading From Atheism to Catholicism: Nine Converts Explain their Journey Home” published by EWTN with a foreword by Marcus Grodi. I have only read two chapters so far, the first by John L Barger, whose Catholic wife gently nudged him out of his atheistic complacency, and the second by Holly Ordway, an American professor of English literature. Barger admitted that after discovering the Church to be right in so many areas (such as her opposition to abortion) and “seeing the virtues that blossom in those who follow Her teachings, I found it impossible to believe her to be the proud, mendacious caricature presented by Her enemies.”

Ordway, whom I interviewed for a blog I wrote in November 2014 after the publication of her own conversion story, Not God’s Type, explained that her love for the great Christian poets such as John Donne, Gerard Manley Hopkins and TS Eliot helped to prepare the imaginative ground for her eventual conversion, As she observes here, one might disagree with them (alongside prose writers such as CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien) “but you can’t call them stupid or uneducated!”

Ordway, not unlike Derya Little, who moved from Islam to atheism, then to evangelical Christianity and from there to the Church and whom I blogged about recently, moved from atheism to the Episcopalian Church in the US and thence to Catholicism, over the issue of authority: whom can one trust over a particular interpretation of the Bible?

Walking around our village with my fellow Christians we were all aware that beyond our own denominational disagreements we are in a tiny minority amid a sea of indifference and wholesale rejection of Christianity. In my 2014 interview with Ordway, she told me: “We need to ask: why has atheism become so entrenched in modern culture? What are the false ideas that have taken root in this culture that are bearing such poisoned fruit?” She sees her task as “harnessing the imagination to communicate truth” in a world where “people simply don’t connect with the language of Christianity.”

Friday, September 1, 2017

UNBIBLICAL


Sila ay mga Kristianong KATOLIKO! Pinili ang Kamatayan Kaysa Hamakin si Jesus


Patheos: What I Wish I’d Known About Catholics (And Why I Became One Once I Did)

Source: Patheos
Posted in February 13, 2017 by K. Albert Little

Photo Credit: Karol Franks.

I‘m a Catholic, but I didn’t begin as one.

I began my faith journey at the age of fifteen when, with the help of a good friend, I decided to become a Christian; an Evangelical Protestant, although I didn’t know the particular brand name at the time. And I meant well. I found a local Pentecostal church populated by a group of devout young Christian who welcomed me unequivocally. We were a motley crew. I fit right in.

Then in university, at a time when so many Christians lose their faith and their identity, I plugged into an incredible campus ministry. There I met lifelong friends, grew a great deal both emotionally and spiritually, and met my beautiful wife. (It was evident, she’d say, that I still had a lot of maturing to do.)

But the trajectory of my faith life would take a subtle but noticeably fork in the road one day when an Evangelical pastor asked me what’s more important, the Bible or tradition.

I didn’t have an answer, and that stumped me.

And when I dug for answers, I was even more stumped, and unsatisfied. This began a long journey of searching, prayer, and unexpected discoveries.

A journey which culminated at Easter, two years ago, when I entered full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

When that Evangelical pastor asked me about the Bible and tradition I knew very little about either, as it turns out, and my research eventually led me to look into Catholicism and its historical claims.

What I thought I knew about Catholics, as an Evangelical, was a lot.

Turns out I was wrong about almost everything.

I’m became Catholic because of what I’ve learned.

St. Francis de Sales is a favourite saint of mine. In the 16th century, as the Reformation split apart the Christian Church in Europe he wrote, preached, and worked tirelessly to explain the Catholic faith, and bring Protestants back into the fold.

He was incredibly successful and something in his mission of cordially explaining his faith resonates deeply with me.

To paraphrase St. Francis de Sales to the early Protestants: If you’d known what the Catholic Church really taught you’d never have left.

In my case, if I’d known what the Catholic Church really taught I’d have become Catholic a long, long time ago.


Catholics Don’t Worship Mary

The Catholic Church doesn’t teach the worship of Mary. Worship (and adoration) are for God alone.

As an Evangelical I thought that Catholics worshipped Mary alongside her son, Jesus. There are plenty of churches named in her honour, Catholics seemed obsessed with statues of the Virgin, and the Rosary, of all things, seemed to be nothing more than vain repetition and worship directed towards Jesus’s mother.

The reality, I’ve learned, is much different.

Catholics don’t worship Mary but, because of her special role in salvation history, she is venerated. How is that different? In Catholic theology, which, remember, was the theology of the whole Christian Church for 1,500 years, we ask Mary to pray for us.

Like Mary’s request to Jesus at the wedding at Cana, Catholics believe that Mary has the ear of Jesus in a special way. This is also reflected in biblical typology—the same kind of exegesis that Jesus used to explain His role in salvation to the apostles on the road to Emmaus. In the same way I can ask my best friend—a living, breathing Christian—to pray for my intentions, the Catholic Church teaches that Mary can be asked for prayer in the same way.

When Catholics say they pray, “to Mary,” they don’t mean that Mary will answer our prayers. This understanding of “pray” is more a difficulty of the English language.

When we “pray to” Mary, we ask for her to pray for us, to Christ.

Jesus answers all prayers. We ask Mary to pray on our behalf.


Catholics Don’t Worship the Saints

In the same way, the Catholic Church believes that holy men and women (more women than men, for the record) are, presently, in the presence of God.

We call these people saints and, like the Virgin Mary, we can ask for their prayers.

As pictured in Revelation, the prayers of the saints gathered around the altar float up like incense before God. That’s why, since the very beginning of the Christian Church, there has been a strong belief in ability of the dead to pray for us—and the practice of us asking them for their prayers.

This is why the earliest Christian Churches were built on sites where holy men and women were martyred like the churches honouring Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Rome.

The beautiful theology of the Catholic Church says that the Church, as a body of believers, is made up of all past, present, and future Christians. We’re all one and the same and just because I pass away doesn’t mean I cease to be a part of that active body. Jesus conquered death as so does His Church.

The saints, as Christians, continue their role in the body, only now in the presence of God.

Jesus is Present in the Eucharist

For all the different branches and denominations of Protestantism I’ve learned that no one takes Jesus’s words more seriously than the Catholic Church.

When Jesus said, “This is my body; this is my blood,” the Catholic Church—and the whole of Christianity for 1,500 years—takes Him at His word.

Incredibly, the Catholic theology of transubstantiation says that when the priest consecrates the elements (the bread and the wine) they become the actual body and blood of Jesus through a mysterious, miraculous process. The fact that we can’t see, touch, or taste these elements are real flesh and blood is part of the miracle.

This bold claim is backed up not only by a thousand and a half years of Church history but by solid exegesis of the gospels.

Jesus, from Bethlehem (which means “the house of bread”), who was laid into a manger (which is a feeding trough) when He was born is the actual manna from Heaven.

If I had known that I can actually receive Jesus in the Eucharist I would’ve stormed the doors of my local Catholic Church a decade ago.


There’s Only One Mass

What strikes me as even more incredible is the Catholic theology of the act of the Eucharist itself: There’s only one.

Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross was once and for all, final, and this is something that all Protestants can get behind. The brilliant, beauty of the Mass and the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharistic elements, however, is that it links us up with all of Christian history—past, present, and future.

Jesus only died once.

When the priest prayers the Eucharistic Prayers and says, “This is my body; this is my blood,” we are, as a church community, reliving the Last Supper and Jesus’s death on the cross.

We are linking up, together, with all of the other Christians who have ever, and will ever, celebrate the Eucharist.

And we’re linking up with the saints, angels, the Virgin Mary, and God Himself in Heaven as we see this same celebration taking place in Revelation.

As a Catholic, then, when I go to Mass I am experiencing something universal: Jesus’s death re-presented before my eyes.

A genuine tearing of the veil which allows us modern Catholics to reach back into the very time of the very Last Supper itself.


The Priest Acts as Jesus

In a similar way, I never understood the importance of the priest in Catholic theology. As a young Evangelical the priest, like Mary and the saints, seemed to stand in the way of my personal relationship with Jesus.

But I had it all wrong.

The priest, as understood by Catholic theology, acts as Christ. The priest is a stand-in, if you will.

In the Mass, the priests acts in the place of Jesus, as he consecrates the bread and the wine. In the blessing of people, in Baptism, in prayer, and in the healing of the sick the priest, based on the authority that Jesus gives His apostles in the New Testament, is acting in His place.

Where Jesus is not tangibly, physically with us, the priest is here in His place.

In confession, the priest, based on the direct charge from Jesus, “whoever’s sins you forgive they are forgiven,” represents Christ in forgiving our sins for us.

We don’t have to imagine God among us: there He is.

And His presence is an incredible blessing and grace.


God Gave Us a Real, Tangible Church

Perhaps the greatest, most incredible thing I’ve learned, and wish that I knew a long, long time ago, is that Jesus left us with a real, tangible Church.

As an Evangelical, I thought of the Church as a non-physical, spiritual union of Christians all over the world. But this isn’t how Jesus meant it, I’m convinced.

Because this isn’t the Church as conceived by the apostles, the fathers of the Church (who were taught by the apostles), and all Christians for more than fifteen hundred years.

As I become Catholic perhaps the greatest gift I’m to receive is union with a real, tangible Church founded by Christ.

A Church with bishops and priests who can trace their authority, historically, all the way back to the apostles. Authority that we see manifest in the New Testament as the ability to forgive sins, drive out demons, and define an understanding of doctrine. These authoritative charges, according to the Catholic Church, remain with today’s bishops and priests through Apostolic Succession.

That’s why when the priest says, “You’re forgiven,” he means it. Because Christ said he’d have that power.

Rather than having to “feel” or “know” it on our own, God gave us the beauty and the blessing of a physical, tangible Church to be His hands and feet on earth.

I don’t need to pray and ask for God to give me a sense of His grace, although I certainly could, and do. But in the Eucharist, in confession, and in the knowledge that God gave us the Church, we can be certain of His grace. This, in my experience, has been the most powerful aspect of the Catholic Church—and something I wish I knew years ago.

The most beautiful gift that Jesus gave us, beyond His sacrificial offering, was the establishment of a Church to proclaim, celebrate, and safeguard truth.

There’s a lot—a lot!—I wish I’d known about the Catholic Church a long time ago.

And one that fateful day which set the course of my faith life in an entirely new direction I could’ve never anticipated that a question about the Bible and tradition would’ve led me here.

But here we are, and there’s nowhere I’d rather be.

In the Catholic Church I’ve found an incredible, unimaginable home. It’s miles from anything I’d ever known before and, once I learned about what Catholics really believed there’s nothing I could’ve done to avoid becoming one myself!

This article was originally published on my personal blog before the Easter Vigil, 2015.