The latest in our series explaining & decoding the Catechism of the Catholic Church or what does the faith really proclaim.

In our last entry we talked about Scripture and how along with manifestations and tradition both oral & written, God reveals himself to man.

The question now before us is this: How does man respond to that revelation by God of himself? The answer? Faith

143 By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God

That faith is illustrated in Scripture. The Catechism gives the examples of Abraham

146 Abraham thus fulfils the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”: “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Because he was “strong in his faith”, Abraham became the “father of all who believe”.

and Mary noting both her faith when presented with the incredible news that she would bear God’s son and her faith through what came after:

149 Throughout her life and until her last ordeal when Jesus her son died on the cross, Mary’s faith never wavered. She never ceased to believe in the fulfilment of God’s word. and so the Church venerates in Mary the purest realization of faith.

The concept of being able to still have faith after such an experience is the very definition of a heroic faith.

Faith in an individual act, and as Christians we are called upon through our faith to believe in God, Father, Son & Holy Spirit. This is the very definition of Christianity.

This belief and the faith necessary to have it is a great example of the nature of man, for the grace to believe comes from God but man must contribute his free will to exercise that gift. Grace opens the door but we must proactively walk through. As the Catechism puts it quoting St. Thomas Aquinas :

155 In faith, the human intellect and will co-operate with divine grace: “Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace.”

And while many of our friends who don’t believe say otherwise this faith is not divorced from reason. After all we have the eyewitness of the Apostles, their writings, the scriptures and those witnessed events from the time of Abraham to the miracles of this present day to back them up. After all something turned a bunch of guys hiding in an upper room in fear into men so filled with faith that they were willing to die horrible deaths to advance it.

Now it’s true that some might see events might be hard to understand but that’s were both the light of God and the desire of man to understand and seek truth and understanding which feed on each other to perfect faith:

158 …In the words of St. Augustine, “I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe.”

Additionally one must remember that God and truth do not and can not conflict. That includes scientific truth. As our understanding of the world around us increases so does our understanding of God’s place & plan in it. Those who would reject science proclaiming they are following God and those who think science is a club to hit belief with are pretty much the same thing.both attempt to ignore or rewrite reality to compensate a lack of faith.

Bottom line “methodical research” to discover what is, is simply finding out about the work of the great I AM.

And this faith & belief is an act of free will and moreover MUST be freely made. In the church today for example it takes. Neither Christ nor his Apostles forced belief in fact in his famous discourse in John about being the living bread that so outraged some of his followers that many left he says to the twelve:

Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”  Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”  John 6:67-69

Christ invites his apostles to leave if they wish but they have the faith to stay because they have the understanding that faith and the perseverance in it is required to get to salvation.

What people, particularly our protestant friends often don’t get is that faith is in itself a work and moreover to manage that perseverance in faith one must work at keeping it strong  through that work we walk the path to eternal life that so many have not only walked before but have given us their example of how to do it.

We might not understand the entire trip, particularly with the world pressing around us but if we keep to that GPS that is the lives of the saints, the examples of the disciples, of Mary & of Abraham we will get to our goal.

And that is not just through them but through each other as we profess these truths to other either by evangelization or together as we profess the creed at Mass.

This illustrates a great truth because from the first moment that Peter assured the crowds that the Apostles were not drunk (Acts 2) to the great Church counsels at Jerusalem, Nicaea Vatican II to Pope Francis today it is the Church that continues to work to sustain the faith, express the faith and teach the faith as Christ commanded and carefully guards the truth’s within

171 The Church, “the pillar and bulwark of the truth”, faithfully guards “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints”. She guards the memory of Christ’s words; it is she who from generation to generation hands on the apostles’ confession of faith. As a mother who teaches her children to speak and so to understand and communicate, the Church our Mother teaches us the language of faith in order to introduce us to the understanding and the life of faith.

Even as various churches redefine marriage and sin (did you know all the protestant denominations condemned birth control before 1930?) the catholic church preserves the faith as it is, when popular or unpopular, as St. Irenaeus, quoted in the Cataclysm says

173 “Indeed, the Church, though scattered throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, having received the faith from the apostles and their disciples. . . guards [this preaching and faith] with care, as dwelling in but a single house, and similarly believes as if having but one soul and a single heart, and preaches, teaches and hands on this faith with a unanimous voice, as if possessing only one mouth.”59

174 “For though languages differ throughout the world, the content of the Tradition is one and the same. the Churches established in Germany have no other faith or Tradition, nor do those of the Iberians, nor those of the Celts, nor those of the East, of Egypt, of Libya, nor those established at the centre of the world. . .”60 The Church’s message “is true and solid, in which one and the same way of salvation appears throughout the whole world.”61

And that expression of that faith is illustrated in the Creeds of the Church and that’s where we’ll pick things up next time.

Occupy Milwaukee Rally
Occupy Milwaukee Rally

By John Ruberry

In World Cup soccer on Tuesday, Team USA will face-off against Belgium, which offers a timely opportunity to look at Belgium’s present–and America’s possible future.

As with the United States, Belgium’s birth was the result of a revolution–the Belgians rebelled against rule by the Netherlands, the nation, born in 1830, was largely a creation of the European powers with the goal of serving as a buffer state between larger states. Roughly sixty percent of the population of Belgium is Flemish–speakers of Dutch–while most of the rest are French-speaking Walloons. I say roughly because there are no Belgian censuses–counting the population and getting a real number is too politically charged for this country. The government of Belgium is complex–the main goal of forming a government is ensuring equal representation of Walloons and Dutch speakers.

Of course there are secessionist movements in Belgium–the Flemish ones are more strident, which is understandable since the Dutch speaking region is more prosperous and it props up the the rest of the nation.

Which brings us to Belgium’s Tuesday FIFA World Cup opponent for the United States, Belgium. Slowly America is being transformed into a bilingual nation. Radical groups such as La Raza want to keep Spanish-speaking immigrants–both legal and illegal–using Spanish as their first language. America survived nearly 200 years without bilingual education  in public schools–and bilingual education decelerates the learning of English and perpetuates the underclass status of Hispanics. Among the liberal education apparatus, the idea of dropping bilingual education is viewed as heresy.

Peer into our future: If the open borders crowd prevails–and if the higher birthrates among Spanish speakers continues–will America look like Belgium in fifty or one hundred years?

Is this what we want?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Mr. Spock: If we had not crossed the Neutral Zone, on your order, you would not now need our opinions to support a decision which should never have had to be made.

Star Trek: The Enterprise Incident 1968

But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?

St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans Chapter 10 verse 14

I was at the bank on Friday paying my mortgage (thanks to all who hit DaTipJar in June who made that possible) when CNN flashed news that the Vatican was “softening” it’s position on gays & marriage etc.

Having seen the uncanny ability of the MSM to report what they want fact to be rather than what actually is when it comes to the church I took the trouble of reading the document INSTRUMENTUM LABORIS or THE PASTORAL CHALLENGES OF THE FAMILY IN THE CONTEXT OF EVANGELIZATION that their report was based on.

As you might guess CNN’s reality & reality reality bear very little resemblance, they quote statements from the document that have been established church doctrine as if they are something new and the cherry pick from varied suggestions as if they are final

What CNN & the media seem to be doing is battlescape preparation, an attempt to make the people believe that the Church is saying something it is not.

If CNN had read the document they would have noticed that while it is full of reports of different situations, suggestions and the problems thereof, the entire piece can be summarized in a few lines from it namely this:

12…Nevertheless, the responses see a need to show the essential character of the truth affirmed in these documents.

and this

…in places with a vibrant Christian tradition and a well-organized pastoral programme, people are responsive to the Christian doctrine on marriage and the family. In other places, many Christians, for various reasons, are found to be unaware of the very existence of this teaching.

and the Church sees what the solution is:

10…What is recommended is not so much multiplying pastoral initiatives as inserting the Bible in every aspect of existing ministerial efforts on behalf of the family. Every instance where the Church is called to offer pastoral care to the faithful in a family setting can provide an opportunity for the Gospel of the Family to be announced, experienced and appreciated.

But those solutions and the practical applications of them are not easy given the cultures and the problems that are faced, but what seems to be the one recurring theme has been the lack of strong catechesis is the source of a lot of these problems.

The church by its nature does not move quickly, and some like Mother Angelica saw this problem and has taken the right steps to solve it, but now it will be up to the assembly on the family that is coming up to officially detail the church’s solution.

There will be attempts to spin solutions, after Vatican 2 some decided they would rather act as though the council said what they had wished it said rather than what it actually did.

It was the some in the church’s unwillingness to correct these errors that got us in this position to begin with.  It’s up to us as Catholics and as bloggers who are actually reading what is said to  aid the Church in making sure that mistake is not repeated.

If we are to be Catholic, let’s be Catholic,