Friday, June 28, 2002


WASHINGTON D.C. - Christian Coalition of America President Roberta Combs today expressed support for the American Catholic Church. Combs urged the public to put the current controversy in perspective, noting that only an insignificant minority of priest are guilty of misconduct. "What happened was horrendous, and no excuses can be made for clerics who violated their trust," Combs declared. "But it's important to recall that the overwhelming majority of Catholic clergy are guiltless and indeed lead exemplary lives of service and sacrifice."

Combs added that Catholicism is a potent force for traditional values and morality in America. "The Church is steadfast in its opposition to abortion, cloning, pornography, gay militancy and sexual license," the Coalition president observed. "America will suffer if the Catholic Church's moral authority is damaged by this scandal."

"Those who've historically opposed the Church's ethical teachings are using the crisis at hand to attack an institution they view as an obstacle to the advance of their values." Combs urged all people of good will to pray for the American Catholic Church in its time of trouble. The Coalition's over 2 million supporters are overwhelmingly Protestant.

House GOP Sets Sights Again on Partial-Birth Abortion Stoppage
Rep. Steve Chabot, (R-OH), chairman of the House Judiciary Constitution subcommittee introduced a new partial-birth abortion bill crafted to address the Supreme Court's concerns when they, by a 5-4 decision, overturned Nebraska's partial-birth abortion ban. Sponsors of the bill say that it will pass the high court's test.
Progress! Catholic News Service daily news report says Bishops start dealing with new rules on sex-abusing priests. The ax started falling on abusers. Amazing what public outcry will do.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

I can't believe it! The Supreme Court has OKed school vouchers! The Washington Post article says it is only for disadvantaged kids, but this is one time when I hope the "slippery slope" leads to vouchers for any kid that attends a Catholic school. Personally, our family's tuition bill at Catholic schools will be $12,500 this year.
I have a child with special education needs that I send to a special Catholic school because the public special school district turned her down for services. So what is a parent to do? Let her fail in a regular classroom? We decided to make whatever sacrifices were necessary to send her to a school that would help her. Her school has lots of non-Catholics who are there for the same reason. Finally, some ray of hope is shining for these kids! That's $5200 worth of the bill.
Another $5000 is going to send my oldest daughter to an all girl Catholic high school. She is a shy kid that does not need the pressure of dating and being around jock-headed boys that slow down the class. I want her excellent academic talent to be the focus of her high school years, not what the boys' football team does. That's another $5000 of the bill.
The remaining $2500 goes to the parish Catholic school for my son. The lack of discipline I've experienced as a catechist with the public school kids makes it an easy decision to spend the money for parochial school tuition. Also, I want my kids coming home from school reciting the Ten Commandments, not the latest swear words.
True, I do want my kids indoctrinated in the faith at school, but that is not the only reason. If the public school system met my kid's needs, I'd be the first in line to enroll them there. The plain truth is that they won't get there needs met there.
Thank God my kids are blessed with with an intact family that has two working parents so the tuition bill will get paid. And my kids wonder why they never are going to Disney World. The real world demands sacrifices they don't understand.

Here's my list of web sites that promote magisterium-faithful reform in the Catholic church:
Catholics for Authentic Reform
Catholics United for the Faith
Roman Catholic Faithful
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Traditional Catholic
So the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional? Let's change the pledge to say "one nation, under atheists, with liberty and justice for all." One problem. With judges like the one that made this ruling, there will be no liberty. Especially to say the word "God" in public. I'm not surprised that this ruling came from a judge in San Francisco. That town has a reputation.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

When I did door-to-door evangelization last night, I met a man named Gus who was an immigrant from Greece. I can't say I talked to him since I mostly listened to him. He ranted about the Catholic Church being a greedy, power mad, unnecessary institution that meddled in his private life. He ranted about the requirement that priests be celibate and that women can't be priests. He ranted about the corruption due to political contributions.

I tend to either get blown away or tempted to blast someone who is so opinionated. Last night, I just listened. I decided to just love him in that way, though I gently let him know that I didn't agree with him.

What do I say to someone who despises the institutions I love? Is the Catholic Church greedy? I wish I could have said....
What I give to my Church is freely given, not forced out of me. No one is twisting my arm. The same thing goes for my political contributions. I can't say the same about the IRS.

I not only give to my parish, but I also give to Food For the Poor, Catholic Relief Services, and my mission child in Chile. I know other Catholics who support a wide variety of charities. I believe their generosity is motivated by the Gospel. I support non-religious charities too. The Washington Times article on charitable giving says religious people give more to charities than non-church-going people.

What I give to my parish supports the archdiocesan school system, which educates 60,000 kids in this area. That means they are not getting money from property taxes that Gus pays. Imagine what his taxes would be if there were 60,000 kids more for him to help pay for.

The archdiocese supports many other charities in this area that do not require tax money to support. Catholics don't take a lot of credit for it like the Salvation Army does, but I bet we do a lot more world-wide than other charitiable organizations.

Is the Catholic Church power mad? I don't think so. I wish I could have said....
Along with a huge responsibility to spread the Gospel, Jesus also gave power to his Church. Responsibility requires the power to accomplish the goals. But the Catholic Church's power is not political. It is the power of love to persuade one of the truth of its teachings. I obey the Catholic Church because I am convinced that it teaches the truth, not because it is a dictator. I am convinced that the Catholic Church teaches me to be pleasing to my God. God's commands are not burdensome to me because I want to live a life of virtue.

Have you ever noticed that in Christian nations, there is more political freedom and economic prosperity than in non-Christian ones? Christianity fosters the belief in the dignity of each human being and therefore more political freedom leads to economic prosperity. The most power mad political systems do not have this respect for human dignity. Is this corelation just a coincidence? I don't think so.

Is the Catholic Church unnecessary? I don't think so. I wish I could have said....
Because mankind is born with original sin, we do not have a inate goodness that motivates us to do what is the most loving in the long run. We tend to be selfish, self-centered, power mad, and have disordered bodily appetites. Any parent of a two year old can testify that we are not born with the most loving, civilized behavior. We have to learn how to behave in a way that is in the best interests of society. The Catholic Church is my guide for morality.

There are many Christians that say all they need is the Bible and that the institutional church is not necessary. But how disciplined would I be to follow it if I didn't have the support of my parish? Every year, I make a New Year's resolution to lose weight and exercise more. How long does it take before I lose my resolve? The existence of Weight Watchers and exercise classes at the health club prove to me that support is necessary when we want to do things that are against our nature. Morality is the same way. It is not always easy to do the right thing or know what the right thing is. A society will not be well ordered if they only thing keeping us flying straight is the legal system. Our consciences need to be trained and supported. That is what the Catholic Church does for me. I can easily fool myself into thinking I am doing right when I am not.

Any way, I'll never get to say all this to Gus, so I guess I'll have to tell you what I think.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

I'm thrilled that the US Supreme Court decided that only a jury can give the death penalty. I think the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment, so this is a step in the right direction. It is obvious that it is being unfairly applied more to minorities than non-minorities. But my big objection is that it often gives the murderer no chance for repentance, so it is not just a death sentence. It is a sentence to eternal punishment in hell. Human life is valuable, even when that human has committed heinous crimes. As long as society is protected by the modern jail system, there is no need to kill someone to protect society.
I hear Bishop Timothy Dolan has been named Archbishop in Milwaukee. St. Louis's loss is Milwaukee's gain. Bp. Dolan confirmed my daughter last month. I was very impressed with his preaching. He sounds like a man that has the Holy Spirit in him, not just head knowledge. He seems a very pastoral kind of guy. I've also heard his preaching on the Catholic radio station. He hits me between the eyes with his practical spirituality. Dolan was also the point man on the scandal here in St. Louis. He did a great job in a difficult situation. I hope he straightens out Milwaukee.

We only had to remove about 6 priests here and all were old cases, except one internet porn case. One priest has been exonerated recently. This week's Review says the coast is clear - all known cases have resulted in removal already. The key word is KNOWN cases. I'm keeping my fingers crossed no more will come out of the closet.

Friday, June 21, 2002

150 Reasons Why I am a Catholic by Dave Armstrong
has 300 Biblical Evidences Favoring Catholicism. As a cradle Catholic, I found this article puzzling at first because I didn't fully understand the Protestant position Mr. Armstrong was refuting. But as I studied more, it started to make sense. Read this article if you want a view of Catholicism from a former outsider's point of view.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

National Catholic Register article 5/27/02 by JUDY ROBERTS, Register Correspondent is titled Homosexuals Can Change, Research Says
New study reverses psychiatrist’s earlier work
Click on the Recent Archive in the left frame, then do a Edit > Find and search for the title of the article.

Even if homosexual priests can change, I don't think they should be allowed in the priesthood. My trust in the clergy can only stand so much risk.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Yesterday, I visited with a friend who has been in the Missionaries of Charity order for 20 years. She is working on the cause for canonization for Mother Theresa, so she told us a few Mother Theresa stories. I am even more impressed with the sanctity of that women. She should not have to wait 50 years to be called saint.

What do you think about the meeting in Dallas? I'm afraid they did not go far enough and that the scandal will get much worse before it gets better. If the info at Roman Catholic Faithful is true, some bishops need to go. They need to clean house, not just the closets. But I love my church anyway despite its leaders, just as I love my country in spite of immoral presidents. I love the Eucharist, and no scandal can take that away from me. I'm hoping I don't get asked about it when I do door-to-door evangelization.

Friday, June 14, 2002

Come along and surf with me even if you are land-locked! I've been surfing the 'net since 1995, so I've seen a lot of good stuff I want to share with you. I've learned a lot in the process, so hopefully you will too.

I do door-to-door evangelization in my parish, so I started studying books and web sites to learn apologetics. Here's an example:

History of the Catholic Church gives a brief chronological listing of some of the significant events in Church history from its beginning to the present day. It helps to see what caused the Church to make the proclamations it did. As you will see, the circumstances forced clarifications when there was heresy and restatement of policy when there was corruption. This does not mean that any doctrine was changed or that it was not taught before that time.

An e-mail friend sent me a "history of the Catholic church" from an anti-Catholic's view. I don't know who this anti-Catholic named Pastor Jay is. I did some research on this, so here's what I learned:

Pastor Jay's Timeline: 431 AD -- Infant baptism regenerates the soul proclaimed
Response to Pastor Jay's Timeline: Council of Ephesus condemnation of Nestorius because he was unwilling to call the blessed Virgin Mother of God.
The Council condemned Pelagius and his fellow heretic Celestius, who taught the error of denying the necessity of grace. Pelagius's doctrines may be briefly stated thus. Adam's sin injured only himself, so that there is no such thing as original sin. Infants therefore are not born in sin and the children of wrath, but are born innocent, and only need baptism so as to be knit into Christ, not "for the remission of sins" as is declared in the creed. Further he taught that man could live without committing any sin at all. And for this there was no need of grace; indeed grace was not possible, according to his teaching.

Pastor Jay's Timeline: 500 AD -- Mass instituted as a re-sacrifice of Jesus for remission of sins
Response to Pastor Jay's Timeline: Synod on the Laurentian schism. I can't see any decree about the Mass from this synod.

Pastor Jay's Timeline: 1000 AD -- Mass attendance mandatory under penalty of mortal sin
Response to Pastor Jay's Timeline: "When Gregory V died on 18 February, 999, Gerbert was elected his successor through the influence of the emperor, and took the name of Sylvester. He was the first French pope. The new head of the Church administered his high office with great earnestness and a profound sense of responsibility. His discourse upon the episcopal office shows what his view of the chief spiritual pastors of the Church was ("Sermo de informatione episocoporum", P.L., CXXXIX, 169 sq.). He took energetic measures against the abuses in the life of the clergy caused by simony and concubinage, and was anxious that only capable men of spotless lives should receive the episcopal office. " Biography of Gregory V does not mention Mass attendance being made mandatory.

Pastor Jay's Timeline: 1079 AD -- Celibacy of priesthood declared by Pope Gregory VII
Response to Pastor Jay's Timeline: "Gregory himself laments the unhappy state of the Church in the following terms: "The Eastern Church has fallen away from the Faith and is now assailed on every side by infidels. Wherever I turn my eyes- -to the west, to the north, or to the south--I find everywhere bishops who have obtained their office in an irregular way, whose lives and conversation are strangely at variance with their sacred calling; who go through their duties not for the love of Christ but from motives of worldly gain. There are no longer princes who set God's honour before their own selfish ends, or who allow justice to stand in the way of their ambition. . . .And those among whom I live--Romans, Lombards, and Normans--are, as I have often told them, worse than Jews or Pagans" (Greg. VII, Registr., 1.II, ep. xlix). Once securely established on the Apostolic throne, Gregory made every effort to stamp out of the Church the two consuming evils of the age, simony and clerical incontinency, and, with characteristic energy and vigor, laboured unceasingly for the assertion of those lofty principles with which he firmly believed the welfare of Christ's Church and the regeneration of society itself to be inseparably bound up."

Pastor Jay's Timeline: 1090 AD -- Rosary/praying with beads invented by Peter the Hermit
Response to Pastor Jay's Timeline: Biography of Peter the Hermit does not mention rosary. gives a history of the rosary.

Pastor Jay's Timeline: 1190 AD -- Sale of indulgences established reducing time in Purgatory
Response to Pastor Jay's Timeline: Pope Clement III, elected19 December, 1187; d. 27 March, 1191 No mention of Sale of indulgences defines simony. Julius II (28 November, 1503; to 20-21 February, 1513.)was chiefly a soldier, and the fame attached to his name is greatly due to his re-establishment of the Pontifical States and the deliverance of Italy from its subjection to France. Still he did not forget his duties as the spiritual head of the Church. He was free from nepotism; heard Mass almost daily and often celebrated it himself; issued a strict Bull against simony at papal elections and another against duels..Biography of Julius II does not mention anything favorable to sale of indulgences.

Pastor Jay's Timeline: 1215 AD -- Transubstantiation and confession of sins to priests instituted by Pope Innocent III
Response to Pastor Jay's Timeline: explains Transubstantiation. Fourth Lateran Council (1215). I explained this in my previous message.

Pastor Jay's Timeline: 1438 AD -- Purgatory elevated from doctrine to dogma by Council of Florence
Response to Pastor Jay's Timeline: Council of Florence discussed the main points of difference between the Greeks and the Latins, viz. the Procession of the Holy Spirit, the azymes, purgatory, and the primacy. Tried to bring about the reunion of the Greek Orthodox Churches with Rome. On 8 June, a final agreement was reached concerning this doctrine. The Latin teaching respecting the azymes and purgatory was also accepted by the Greeks.

Pastor Jay's Timeline: 1545 AD -- Council of Trent declares tradition equal in authority to Bible
Response to Pastor Jay's Timeline: "After exhaustive preliminary discussions in the various congregations, two decrees were ready for debate at the fourth session (8 April, 1546), and were adopted by the fathers. In treating the canon of Scripture they declare at the same time that in matters of faith and morals the tradition of the Church is, together with the Bible, the standard of supernatural revelation; then taking up the text and the use of the sacred Books they declare the Vulgate to be the authentic text for sermons and disputations, although this did not exclude textual emendations. It was also determined that the Bible should be interpreted according to the unanimous testimony of the Fathers and never misused for superstitious purposes." See 2 Thess 2:15 which says, "hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours."

1854 AD -- Immaculate conception of Mary declared by Pope Pius IX
Response to Pastor Jay's Timeline: The following is from com/library/Immaculate_Conception_and_Assum.asp
The essence of original sin consists in the deprivation of sanctifying grace, and its stain is a corrupt nature. Mary was preserved from these defects by God's grace; from the first instant of her existence she was in the state of sanctifying grace and was free from the corrupt nature original sin brings.

When discussing the Immaculate Conception, an implicit reference can be found in the angel's greeting to Mary. The angel Gabriel said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you" (Luke 1:28). The phrase "full of grace" is a translation of the Greek word kecharitomene. This word represents the proper name of the person being addressed by the angel, and it therefore expresses a characteristic quality of Mary.

The traditional translation, "full of grace," is more accurate than the one found in many recent versions of the New Testament, which give something along the lines of "highly favored daughter." Mary was indeed a highly favored daughter of God, but the Greek implies more than that (and it never mentions the word for "daughter"). The grace given to Mary is at once permanent and of a unique kind. Kecharitomene is a perfect passive participle of charitoo, meaning "to fill or endow with grace." Since this term is in the perfect tense, it indicates a perfection of grace that is both intensive and extensive. So, the grace Mary enjoyed was not a result of the angel's visit, and was only as "full" or strong or complete as possible at any given time, but it extended over the whole of her life, from conception onward. She was in a state of sanctifying grace from the first moment of her existence to have been called "full of grace."

Fundamentalists' Objections: Fundamentalists' chief reason for objecting to the Immaculate Conception and Mary's consequent sinlessness is that we are told that "all have sinned" (Rom. 3:23). Besides, they say, Mary said her "spirit rejoices in God my Savior" (Luke 1:47), and only a sinner needs a Savior.

Let's take the second citation first. Mary, too, required a Savior. Like all other descendants of Adam, she was subject to the necessity of contracting original sin. But by a special intervention of God, undertaken at the instant she was conceived, she was preserved from the stain of original sin and its consequences. She was therefore redeemed by the grace of Christ, but in a special way-by anticipation.

Consider an analogy: Suppose a man falls into a deep pit, and someone reaches down to pull him out. The man has been "saved" from the pit. Now imagine a woman walking along, and she too is about to topple into the pit, but at the very moment that she is to fall in, someone holds her back and prevents her. She too has been saved from the pit, but in an even better way: She was not simply taken out of the pit, she was prevented from getting stained by the mud in the first place. This is the illustration Christians have used for a thousand years to explain how Mary was saved by Christ. By receiving Christ's grace at her conception, she had his grace applied to her before she was able to become mired in original sin and its stain.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that she was "redeemed in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son" (CCC 492). She has more reason to call God her Savior than we do, because he saved her in an even more glorious manner!

But what about Romans 3:23, "all have sinned"? Have all people committed actual sins? Consider a child below the age of reason. By definition he can't sin, since sinning requires the ability to reason and the ability to intend to sin. Paul indicates this later in the letter to the Romans when he speaks of the time when Jacob and Esau were unborn babies as a time when they "had done nothing either good or bad" (Rom. 9:11).

We also know of another very prominent exception to the rule: Jesus (Heb. 4:15). So if Paul's statement in Romans 3 includes an exception for the New Adam (Jesus), one may argue that an exception for the New Eve (Mary) can also be made.

Paul's comment seems to have one of two meanings. It might be that it refers not to absolutely everyone, but just to the mass of mankind (which means young children and other special cases, like Jesus and Mary, would be excluded without having to be singled out). If not that, then it would mean that everyone, without exception, is subject to original sin, which is true for a young child, for the unborn, even for Mary-but she, though due to be subject to it, was preserved by God from it and its stain. "

1870 AD -- Pope declared infallible by Vatican council
Response to Pastor Jay's Timeline: Papal Infallibility at
"The Catholic Church's teaching on papal infallibility is one which is generally misunderstood by those outside the Church. In particular, Fundamentalists and other "Bible Christians" often confuse the charism of papal "infallibility" with "impeccability." They imagine Catholics believe the pope cannot sin. Others, who avoid this elementary blunder, think the pope relies on some sort of amulet or magical incantation when an infallible definition is due.

Given these common misapprehensions regarding the basic tenets of papal infallibility, it is necessary to explain exactly what infallibility is not. Infallibility is not the absence of sin. Nor is it a charism that belongs only to the pope. Indeed, infallibility also belongs to the body of bishops as a whole, when, in moral unity, they solemnly teach a doctrine as true. We have this from Jesus himself, who promised the apostles and their successors the bishops, the magisterium of the Church: "He who hears you hears me" (Luke 10:16), and "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven" (Matt. 18:18).

Infallibility belongs in a special way to the pope as head of the bishops (Matt. 16:17-19; John 21:15-17). As Vatican II remarked, it is a charism the pope "enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith (Luke 22:32), he proclaims by a definitive act some doctrine of faith or morals. Therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly held irreformable, for they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, an assistance promised to him in blessed Peter."

The infallibility of the pope is not a doctrine that suddenly appeared in Church teaching; rather, it is a doctrine which was implicit in the early Church. It is only our understanding of infallibility which has developed and been more clearly understood over time. In fact, the doctrine of infallibility is implicit in these Petrine texts: John 21:15-17 ("Feed my sheep . . . "), Luke 22:32 ("I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail"), and Matthew 16:18 ("You are Peter . . . ").

1922 AD -- Virgin declared co-redeemer with Jesus by Pope Benedict XV
Response to Pastor Jay's Timeline: Pope Benedict XV's writings are at: . There is no mention of any such doctrine. There has never been an official proclamation of Mary as co-redeemer or co-redemptrix, a word that means she cooperated with Jesus our redeemer. It is obvious from the Gospels that she did cooperate with Jesus. Luke 1, "Be it done to me according to your word." What Mary did is not equal to Jesus, so Catholics do not believe this.

1950 AD -- Assumption of Virgin Mary in heaven proclaimed by Pope Pius XII.
Response to Pastor Jay's Timeline: Rev 12:1-6 "A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth." Catholics see this passage as meaning Mary's physical body was in heaven because spirits don't give birth. That Mary was assumed into heaven like Elijah has been the belief of Catholics since the first century. Consider how the Middle East is full of sites that claim to be the burial place of famous people. There is no place where any one claims Mary's bones to be. Two places (Jerusalem and Ephesus) claim to be the place she died, but neither claim that the body remained there. Mary was assumed or taken up into heaven by God. She didn't do it under her own power. The possibility of a bodily assumption before the Second Coming is suggested by Matthew 27:52-53: "[T]he tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many." Did all these Old Testament saints die and have to be buried all over again? There is no record of that, but it is recorded by early Church writers that they were assumed into heaven, or at least into that temporary state of rest and happiness often called "paradise," where the righteous people from the Old Testament era waited until Christ's resurrection (cf. Luke 16:22, 23:43; Heb. 11:1-40; 1 Pet. 4:6), after which they were brought into the eternal bliss of heaven.