Via Hot Air Time makes fun of indulgences:

Indulgences are a handy marketing tool for the Church, a way of encouraging people to amp up their spiritual life. But figuring out exactly what they are and how they work can be confusing. “It brings people who aren’t Catholic up short,” said David Steinmetz, a professor of the history of Christianity at Duke Divinity School.

It’s not a “marketing tool” or a very tough concept but the tougher or odder you make it seem the less likely that one will do a devotion. Good works and faithful acts are like anything in life, repetition breeds habit, habit leads one closer to God and that is why it must be made trivial.

Indirect proof time.

Two stories that I was going to split into two posts but since Fr. Z is the source of em both lets make them one and give him the credit.

Item: Argentina expels Williamson:

Argentina has ordered an ultra-traditionalist British bishop who denies the Holocaust to leave the country or face expulsion.

The interior ministry said Richard Williamson had been given 10 days to leave Argentina.

Fr. Z notes they manage to get some facts wrong.

My take: This is an indirect proof of the existence of God. Who but the holy spirit could cause Argentina to expel someone with Nazi like opinions? And remember this was only possible because the Pope acted as he did.

Item: Australian priest sacked:

In a decision that is likely to reverberate throughout the Catholic community, the Archbishop of Brisbane yesterday fired Father Peter Kennedy for unorthodox practices.

Fr. Z’s take, preached pure heresy, Bye!

My take: Gee denying the virgin birth, blessing Gay Marriage, he would fit right in at the Episcopal See in New Hampshire. I’ve said it many times, if people don’t want to be Catholics that’s their business, there are many Protestant Churches out there that you can become a part of. What I object to is their insistence that the church change to suit them. To wit from the article:

He said his liturgies were still valid. “We celebrate in a way that is relevant to Australian Catholics, rather than toeing the line in Rome.”

In other words we do what we want and its valid because we say so.

Father Kennedy will not go quietly. He plans to say Mass at 9am on Sunday and expects 1000 people to turn up. But he has backed away from threats that he would form a breakaway church. “I don’t wish to do that. We argue but we are very much within the Catholic tradition.”

…except that we don’t follow it.

I see this as the flip side of the Legionaries of Christ business. We again have a cult of personality substituting itself for the teaching of Christ, except this time it comes from the left. The legionaries can recover by admitting their errors while sticking to the doctrines and practices of the church. These guys have the worst of both worlds, the personality cult and rejection of the church.

This will ensure that Fr. Kennedy if he stays defiant will be feted and celebrated and make out fine with a large group of followers. He can be on the gravy train for the rest of his life.

After that he and they are on their own.

You know I wish it was a surprise when a “catholic” newspaper goes after a Catholic priest for, well behaving Catholic. Unfortunately it is not.

Damian Thompson warned us it was coming:

Fr Tim Finigan, author of the Hermeneutic of Continuity blog, is one of the finest parish priests in the country: a scholar, evangelist and pastor who is as happy spreading the Gospel over a pint in the pub as he is from the pulpit. But now there are rumours that the Tablet is planning a hatchet job on him, for the grave crime of… saying the Latin Mass. Fr Tim, PP of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen, Kent, says three new rite Masses on a Sunday and one in the Extraordinary Form.

The article is here and it’s a great example of liberal journalism. The only thing missing is blaming George W. Bush but it is England. Thompson calls it inept. Fr Tim Fisks it on his blog. Fr. Z does the same on his.

The only weakness I see in any of the posts is there is no link to the base article. Of course since it is being fisked the article in full appears but a linkback should be there.

I like the quote from the current pope, I’ve never heard it before:

I remember years ago in the corridor of the Palazzo del Sant’Uffizio, I asked Cardinal Ratzinger how he took the constant unfair criticism. I had read that day a terrible article about him in an Italian daily.

He said, “If I don’t read an article like that every week or so, I have to examine my conscience.”

That sums it up.

Via the Curt Jester apparently there is more to the Pelosi/Pope meeting that we knew about. Apparently there was also a secret meeting with her Archbishop first:

Michael Voris of Real CathlicTV reports today in his daily Vortex column that this meeting between Pelosi and Archbishop Niederauer took place quietly and clandestinely on Sunday, February 8th in a private residence in San Francisco. confirmed this fact with both the Archdiocese of San Francisco and Pelosi’s office in DC.

Pelsoi’s spokesman Brendan Daly said Pelosi described the meeting as quote .. “cordial and pleasant .. a fair exchange and good.”

When pressed by producer and host Michael Voris , if “good” meant that she had changed her position on abortion and finally gotten in line with Catholic teaching, Daly replied, “You won’t see that happening. She is not changing her position on abortion.”

Pelosi’s office won’t comment on the meeting:

Pelosi aides wouldn’t comment on the content of what they described as a private meeting between a practicing Catholic and her archbishop.

Fr John Mallow sees Deceit Deceit Deceit:

1) I believe that the Speaker decided it was in her best interest to meet with the Archbishop before her trip to Rome, but not to have the meeting known before the trip to Rome. I believe Pelosi’s meeting the Pope was conditional on her meeting with the Archbishop. I believe that someone from the Vatican told them (especially her, but through him): meet now or forget about meeting with the Holy Father.

2) I believe the meeting was covered up because that was a condition made by the Speaker, (easily acceded to by the Archbishop, because he saw it as a private pastoral meeting). For Pelosi, what is the political upside of having her meeting with the Archbishop known? None—it’s all downside. If it were publicly known, then the questions among faithful Catholics immediately arise: Well, do you now accept settled Church teaching? Do you plan on remaining a Catholic? If not, why do you want to meet with the Holy Father? She’d lose Catholic votes, without picking up any corresponding votes on the other side, because they know she’s not really Catholic anyway—if she were they would not be voting for her. What’s the upside? She gets to meet the Pope.

3) I believe the timing of the leaked information (from both the Archdiocese and Pelosi’s office) to “Real Catholic TV” is deliberate—it came too late to affect Pelosi’s meeting with the Pope (with the hoped-for but not-to-materialize papal photo-op), but allowed her spokesman and the Archdiocese to claim they’ve done their duties as Catholics to prepare her for meeting with the Holy Father.

Related post on it here, bottom line:

The Archbishop has met with her and has explained Church’s teaching- – and Speaker Pelosi has said .. good meeting .. thank you. I still support abortion.

The bottom line is will Archbishop Niederauer now refuse her Holy Communion?

Your move Archbishop — a lot of people are watching.

This is a prayer request just waiting to happen.

At the Corner George Weigel fires the big guns in the Pelosi Pope meeting:

As her performance on Meet the Press prior to last year’s Democratic national convention made painfully clear, Pelosi is deeply confused about what her church teaches on the morality of abortion, and why. She may have come to her bizarre views on her own; it’s far more likely that she has been un-catechized, so to speak, by Catholic intellectuals and clerics who find Catholic teaching on life issues an embarrassment among their high-minded friends and colleagues of the progressive persuasion. Whatever the source of her confusion, Pelosi has now been informed, and by a world-class intellectual who happens to be the universal pastor of the Catholic Church, that she is, in fact, confused, and that both her spiritual life and her public service are in jeopardy because of that.

It is not for nothing that the subject of Abortion was totally absent from the speakers office’s statement.

…to this post. I want to address something I mentioned in my last post:

Remember it isn’t the souls of the aborted that are at risk, it is the souls of those who are involved in the action itself and its support. They should be our primary concern and the focus of our prayers.

When I had my discussion with my nephew concerning religion he jumped all over this in the same way the Ebon the atheist does on his blog:

And Lewis has it exactly right: if death before the age of accountability means instant no-effort salvation, then the majority of the population of Heaven will be made up of people who died in infancy or very early childhood and never had a life on Earth at all. This is even more true if, as many Christians believe, even a single-celled embryo is a person with a soul. By some estimates, as many as 75% of all conceptions end in spontaneous abortion, usually before the woman ever realizes she is pregnant – a vast number of souls that will get into Heaven for free, while the majority of the unlucky few who happen to survive into adulthood will end up consigned to eternal torment.

The bizarre, ludicrous illogic of this system turns notions of morality on their head. The logical conclusion from these beliefs would be that it is a morally praiseworthy act to kill children, thereby guaranteeing their salvation. The corollary is that life on Earth is a terrible misfortune and something to be avoided at all costs, veering extremely close to the ancient Gnostic belief systems condemned as heresy by the church. Why in the world would God even bother to create the Earth if “human birth is important chiefly as the qualification for human death”? Why not just create a race of beings that all die in the womb and have their salvation assured? Lewis mentions these glaring facts, but never addresses their implications for Christianity.

His earlier George W. Bush rant not withstanding; this is a solid question that deserves an answer so let me give the one I gave to my nephew who echoed the argument that an abortionist made concerning this about sending souls to heaven. Lets take them in order. First of all there is a reason why the commandments are in order. And commandment number one is:

You shall have no other Gods but me!

The act of taking what belongs to God or the attempt to make oneself God is a big sin, maybe even THE great sin, not only does the abortionist violate this sin but he brings millions to that same brink and establishes it. The number of abortions still is dwarfed by the number of births and the number of people actually alive. The establishment of it as a societal has the potential to damn far more people over the course of decades than the number of souls that avoid judgment. No person makes this argument for their own sake, they make it to shut other people up.

The second point in his argument is the “spontaneous abortion” argument. Scientifically there is no question when a human life begins. At conception you have a human. Thus as a society “human” rights need to proceed from that point. Some might want to play “gotcha” games on the moment the soul exists, but that leads to the danger of giving an out to play with human life.

We are actually warned in scripture that this is the case, remember the ending of the parable:

When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage. So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’ He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? (Or) am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?Matt 20:8-15

Again we have the protest of God methods the foolishness of the Cross as Paul says:

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning. The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Cor 17:18

Mr. Ebon also forgets the gift of free will. I ask him if he would prefer a life where he is fed, clothed and taken care of but doesn’t have free will? That is the gift that that a full life gives us, we are given the chance to make our own choices, for good or ill. One can’t create saints without the potential to create sinners. Would Ebon consider himself lucky if his free will was removed? Would you?

The killing children argument I’ve already covered above, but I would also mention that the primary duty of the individual is to send oneself to heaven. Remember this passage:

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:37

This should cover the argument. Like most liberals we see the cry against an unfair world. One would be more wise to spend one’s time living in it instead.

(Update 4: Major update here.)

People seemed to have their knickers in twist over the Nancy Pelosi’s meeting with the pope. It reminds me of Christopher Hitchens over Mother Teresa’s willingness to meet less than fully savory characters. So the result from the meeting produces no surprise to me:

Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday told U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic who supports abortion rights, that Catholic politicians have a duty to protect life “at all stages of its development,” the Vatican said.

Pelosi is the first top Democrat to meet with Benedict since the election of Barack Obama, who won a majority of the Catholic vote despite differences with the Vatican on abortion.

The Vatican released remarks by the pope to Pelosi, saying Benedict spoke of the church’s teaching “on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.” That is an expression often used by the pope when expressing opposition to abortion.

Benedict said all Catholics—especially legislators, jurists and political leaders—should work to create “a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development.”

Part of the job description of any Catholic Priest is to welcome but correct sinners. This is what the pope has done and don’t underestimate the effect even a gentle in person correction by the pope can have if there is any spark of Catholic left in the system. Continue reading “How about that, the pope acting like…The Pope”

My religious series continues. Previous chapters are here, here, here and here.

Having decided the parameters for belief we now come to Jesus Christ.

When discussing Christ there are two big questions to deal with, his existence and if he is or is not a divine being.

When dealing with this question one mistake that our Protestant friends tend to make is using the Bible as proof of both. The Book can’t be proof of itself, that is: One can’t argue that a book is true because the book itself says so.

We can however in this step of our inquiry take the bible as a collection of ancient text that actually holds up quite well in many details.

There is dispute about the date of the authorship of the various New Testament books We can establish that what we would call Christians existed during the reign of Claudius and Nero in the 1st Century AD we also note that there no Roman record of Christians existing at the time of the reign of Augustus Caesar or before, nor any roman historical record stating this.

This tends to support the biblical time line which specifically mentions both Augustus Caesar and Tiberius Caesar. Mind you at this point we are only trying to establish the existence of Christ not the divinity thereof. Continue reading “Chapter 3 Christ”

With today’s air disaster this is an appropriate time to explain something called conditional absolution:

There are several ways to be absolved of sin. Baptism removes ALL previous sin but is done only once. The Sacrament of Confession removes sin. Outside of confession perfect contrition can also remove sin (perfect contrition: sorrow for sin due to love of God, Imperfect contrition is due to fear of hell) Absolution is given near the time of death, however when a plane is crashing its kinda hard for people to line up in front of a priest to get confession or absolution one at a time.

The priest can give conditional absolution to everyone on the plane on his own, it would apply to any person on the plane who would have if conscious of mortal sin sought absolution.

I wouldn’t suggest betting my soul on that situation.