Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Reintroducing Logic and Reason to the Age of Sentimentalism

Evangelizaton

All of the posts under the "Evangelizaton" category.

Kill Them With Kindness

Its a phrase that you’ve probably heard once or twice. Maybe even more than that. I’ve found this phrase to be pretty popular among the pro-life movement, though lately it appears to be gaining some traction among the neo-Catholic movement as well.

Preborn-Baby-18-Weeks

But, when you think of it, does it work? Oh, sure, it works from time to time, but it isn’t at all a reliable evangelization strategy. Why?

Because kindness will never, ever get a person to completely change their mentality of life and join your side. And even if they do, because this person is simply joining due to kindness, what is to prevent them from leaving once that kindness has dried up? How about once someone with a differing ideal is kind to them?

It doesn’t make logical sense, because it is rooted in emotionalism. Emotions, as we know from our Catholic faith are good. The problem with emotions though, is that they get in the way of logic and reason from time to time. Emotions can be shallow and look out only for the good of the person at that moment.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being kind to someone. But this isn’t to stop us from correcting them when they are incorrect in their belief. An abortionist is murdering a baby in the womb. Last I checked, we don’t take murderers or rapists and “kill them with kindness” in hopes that they might one day stop their evil ways. We arrest them, try them and lock them away so that they can amend their lives.

It is a ridiculous concept to me that we should allow a sinner to continually sin and just “kill them with kindness”. Jesus did not always do that and for good reason. It doesn’t always work. There are times when He was kind to those who came to Him, but He always reprimanded them and offered correction. It was then up to the sinner to change their lives and be converted or to continue their wicked ways.

Lest we forget, once in awhile Jesus flipped tables and whipped people.

Flipping Tables

 

Reprimanding the sinner is a spiritual act of mercy. This is regardless of whether we look at the pro-life movement or just proselytizing our fellow neighbor. “Killing with kindness” does not correct the individual, nor explain to them why they are wrong.

If you want to “kill them with kindness”, I suggest waiting until they are at least interested in hearing what you have to say. Then kill them all you want.

What Does It Mean to “Live the Gospel”?

There appears to be much confusion as to what the Gospel is today. Many Catholics and Christians alike will say that we need to go out and “Live the Gospel”. The thing is, there is no record throughout Catholicism or even in Protestantism about “living the Gospel” until the last hundred years or so.

From what I have noticed, the phrase “Live the Gospel” is a very vague phrase that can be used depending on what the individual person wants to convey with their own interpretation. However, in general, it appears that there are several components to what they want to do by “living the Gospel”. It generally includes helping the poor, giving people what they want (not what they need), being nice to people and affirming them in their sin, not correcting anyone if they are incorrect, and in general just being a “good person”. There is no emphasis on helping people realize their sin and repenting of it, not being a good Catholic, proper worship and reverence and obedience to Christ and His Church and the like.

It is important to understand what proper definitions of words are so that we use them correctly. The Concise Catholic Dictionary of 1943 has several definitions of what the Gospel is:

1. Literally “good news”. A recording of the life and works of Jesus written by an evangelist. 2. Collectively, the writings of the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, contained in Sacred Scripture. 3. The reading of an extract from Sacred Scripture, taken from the gospel narrative, which takes place in the ceremonies of the Mass just before the Offertory. There is a second Gospel right after the final blessing of the Mass which is of the feast day or vigils, days of special commemoration, and days in Lent when a feast is celebrated, but usually this second gospel is the first fourteen verses of the Gospel of St. John, first chapter.

If you are to actually look into what the Gospel is, you would understand that the phrase “Live the Gospel” makes logically no sense. After all, the Gospel is literally the “Good News” as noted above. So what is the Good News you ask?

The Good News in its simplicity is that we are all horrendous sinners, worthy of the eternal damnation and punishment of Hell. We are unworthy of the rewards of Heaven. Jesus Christ, being the Son of God, came to forgive all of us so that we may have (a chance of) eternal life. He came so that we may be baptized and washed clean of original sin. He came so that we may repent of our sin and through Him, reconcile ourselves with God. Jesus died on the cross, taking up all of our sin, becoming the sacrificial lamb, so that we can attain Heaven. He died and rose again from the dead to show that when we die, we too will rise again in our glorified bodies to show-off to Satan, that even though he introduced death into the world, that Jesus Christ has conquered death, so that we may have everlasting life.

When you understand properly what the Gospel is, you realize that “living the Gospel” is a modernist heresy introduced to cause confusion among the faithful. “Living the Gospel” as is used today is about reducing Jesus Christ, who came for all the reasons mentioned above, to just a mere man who was a “nice guy” who did “nice things” for “some people”. That is not what He did.

Everything Christ did was for the glory of His Father who art in Heaven. To reduce Jesus to this “nice guy” is an insult to the Holy Trinity.

If we are to truly “live the Gospel” as is properly understood, we are to live the commandments as Jesus taught us, following Him, His bride the Church and making disciples of all nations. This is what living the Gospel is all about. Sharing this Good News, so that others may have the chance at eternal and everlasting life. To withhold this from others, is selfishness.

Jeff March 21, 2014 Leave A Comment Permalink

7 Reasons Why I’m Thankful For Pope Francis

One year ago, the papal conclave came to a close as white smoke was signaled from the chimney’s of the Vatican. Habemus Papem! We have a Pope! They announced Jorge Bergoglio (in Latin of course) from Argentina. Initially, I was stunned. I was actually a little nervous as some of the things going on in South America with the Church aren’t the greatest, but I wrote about my initial reactions last year.

Since it is Pope Francis’ one year anniversary, I thought I would compose a list of reasons why I am thankful for Pope Francis. I know I am sometimes critical of Pope Francis (and I am not the worst), but I love our Catholic faith deeply, and am not happy when I see the secularists and modernists of the media and enemies of the faith make our Church look bad. We all have our faults and I am working on mine.

But, without further ado, here is my list!

Perpetual Confession Chapels1. I Go To Confession More Often

Pope Francis mentioned the need for us to go to confession more often. I have made it a habit to attempt to go to confession as often as I need to. At an absolute minimum, I am going once every two weeks, similar to Pope Francis. At an absolute maximum, I go twice a week. Prior to Pope Francis’ election and during Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate, I was probably going somewhere between once every two weeks to once every two months.

The graces I have seen come from this are great. I am in the state of grace far more often and am able to be in communion with God, that is, I can tell when I’m synchronized with Him. It allows me to discern God’s will more easily. It isn’t always obvious, but it helps. It helps me to avoid sin as I examine my conscience regularly and avoid particular sins that I see that I struggle with more. I also realize that I sin far more often than I thought. I urge you to go to confession more often as well.

 

When We Idolize Priests: Father Corapi2. I Am Praying On A Daily Basis

I’ve always been fond of the Rosary. It’s a beautiful meditation on the Life of Christ through the eyes of His Mother, and our Mother Mary. Mary also promised 15 Graces for having a devotion to the Rosary and to pray it daily. I now pray the Rosary daily, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and I pray throughout the day as I feel called.

My prayer life has always been…difficult, I’ve blogged about it a few times, in my search, to help others who may also be struggling. Prayer is an important factor of our faith, as that is our time to speak to God and for Him to speak to us. If we aren’t talking to God, well, how do we know we are following His Will? Pray daily, carve out time. If you haven’t done your prayers, don’t go to bed. Prayers are greater than sleep.

denzinger3. I Spend More Time Learning My Faith

Pope Francis can be confusing at times. The media will run with this as if he’s changing teaching. When the media runs with a headline, I have to go and look up what Pope Francis really said, and then find related Scripture, Catecheses, Doctrine, etc to refute what is going on.

In another sense, I am now forced to learn my faith, so that I can defend it easier, quicker and in turn, live it out. You can’t teach something you don’t know. If you don’t know physics, you can’t teach it to someone. Whatever it is you don’t know about the faith, you are unable to teach.

When we know our faith, we can evangelize people, which leads to…

St-Paul-preaching4. I Evangelize On A Regular Basis

As Jesus Christ told us we are to “go and make disciples of all nations…” (cf Matthew 28:19). That means that when the opportunity presents itself, we must profess the Truth and defend it when it is attacked (which is quite often). If we do not defend the faith, who will?

Evangelization can take many forms, lending out books/cds, blogging, discussions with friends, family or coworkers, social media, the list goes on and on. The important thing though, is to share your Catholic faith. Be a good witness, and challenge those around you to investigate the Catholic Church with an open heart and an open mind. It is critical to bring people to the fullness of Truth. Being silent can lead the individual away from Christ. Share what you know.

5. I’m More Involved At My Parish

I’ve taught Religious Education before, but I am doing it again this year. I’m teaching 10th graders who are preparing for Confirmation in 11th grade (I’ve talked about that before though). I’m also leading a Marriage Ministry with my wife. I won’t list everything I’m doing, but I have been doing a lot more at my parish.

Chair of St. Peter6. I Have a Deeper Appreciation for the Papal Office

Seeing how much the media has twisted Pope Francis to fit into their own image, and in the same hand twisted Pope Benedict XVI into a “mean old man”, I have a deeper appreciation for the Papacy. I’ve spent more time reading into the history of the Papacy, starting all the way from Pope St. Peter to now Pope Francis. I’ve even gained an appreciation for the pre-Vatican 2 Popes.

These Popes were such a blessing to the Church, but we have forgotten about them. I highly encourage you to take a look at some of their encyclicals. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but we spend most of our time talking about Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and now Francis. While they have contributed much to our faith, the full deposit of our faith as well as many pre-Conciliar Popes have given us much too. You can even read many old Papal documents at http://www.papalencyclicals.net/. Read them!

7. I’m Inspired To Blog More

In the last year, I have had a grand total of 92 posts (including this one). Since beginning this blog I have published 184 times. I have literally done half of my blogging in this last year alone. There is so much going on in the Church today, as well as the world, that I feel called to comment on it. It’s a fun experience.

I hope that you benefit from reading my blog, and I hope that it inspires you to live out your Catholic faith more fully and to share that faith with those around you.

Jeff March 12, 2014 2 Comments Permalink

The Fallacy of Always Being Joyful

I’ve noticed for quite some time that there is a new buzzword in the world of Catholicism. No, I’m not talking about the ‘New Evangelization’ here. I’m speaking specifically about the word ‘joy’.

Now, I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with having joy or being in a state of joy. I consider myself to be joyful most of the time as I am always in the mood for a good joke and a fun time.

However, my concern is that all we talk about lately is that Christians have to have joy in order to be successful at Evangelization. As if that is a requirement for being a disciple of Jesus Christ as well as a Catholic in Good Standing. To me, we are overusing this word and making the word become a sappy and emotional feel-good term, as opposed to the true joy that Jesus refers to in the Gospels.

If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. John 15:10-12

Jesus is clear here. If we follow the commandments that Jesus has laid down before us, as well as the Commandments that God our Father has given us, we will have the joy that Christ has and gives because we are in that state of grace.

Similarly, when Jesus is telling the disciples that He will be taken up and crucified and will no longer be with them, they are upset. He says to them:

Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete. John 16:20-24

When you go out to run a race, you more than likely are not thinking or even feeling joy. As you are running, the pain in your legs and the lactic acid build up begins to ache and throb. More than likely, this is not a joyful experience. Many times you may feel the desire or the urge to quit, but you push through. Finally, after your continuing success, you see the finish line. Inspired by this sight, you begin to push harder and run faster. A joy begins to arise as you know you are almost done with your race. You push harder and harder until finally, you cross the finish line, puffing and panting and suddenly a rush of joy sweeps over you. This is authentic joy as Jesus hints at.

This is the type of joy we are to strive for as Catholics. We shouldn’t settle for the counterfeit joy of feeling emotional and good and giddy and happy. Being a disciple isn’t always a joyful experience. Jesus warns us that following Him means the world will hate us because it hated Him first.

He warns us that the Gates of Heaven are narrow, and the Gates of Hell are wide. He warns us that our family will hate us because we follow Him. Jesus even mentions that we are going to have to sacrifice. None of these things are joyful in themselves.

What makes them joyful in the Catholic sense of the word, is the fact that we are created to love and serve our Lord, Jesus Christ. We are to follow His will for us. When we follow His will, we may experience moments of joy, however, there are moments when we do not. The false dichotomy that we will experience joy can lead the person who follows this mentality to think that they are not following God’s will because they do not feel joy. There are many instances in which following God’s will, will in fact not feel or seem joyful.

The faithful who stands up for an end to abortion or in defense of traditional marriage may get fired from his job. There is joy in standing up for God, but the doubts and uncertainty of where the next paycheck will come will not be a joyful experience. Thankfully, God will provide to his faithful.

We have confused smiling and laughter with joy, which is thanks to our wonderful culture who either ignorantly or purposefully do this. If you Google Image St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Joseph or really, just about any Saint you can think of, you will find that they rarely are seen smiling. They are serious and stern, but the holiness radiates around them. Heck, look at the images of Our Lady in all of her different apparitions. Not many smiles.

St. Peter Doesn't Smile

St. Peter Doesn’t Smile

St. Joseph Hardly Smiles

St. Joseph Hardly Smiles

Pope St. Pius X Barely Smiles

Pope St. Pius X Barely Smiles

St. Paul Doesn't Smile

St. Paul Doesn’t Smile

I know some traditionalists would argue with me (and that’s fine, everyone is entitled to their opinion), but I see nothing wrong with smiling. But putting an emphasis on smiling and being a good Catholic is a lie and doesn’t stand when looking at the history of the Catholic faith. Catholicism is based on intellect, not on emotion. Emotion plays a role from time to time, but the majority of the time it is logic and truth.

Life isn’t always joyful. For proof, look at the Rosary as given to us by Our Lady. We don’t have 3 sets of Joyful mysteries. We have a set of Joyful mysteries, a set of Sorrowful mysteries, and a set of Glorious mysteries (we also have a set of Luminous mysteries that were given to us by Blessed Pope John Paul II as a suggestion, so it is not required to pray these). The argument that we must be joyful at all times is a farce of an argument as even Jesus stated that we must be ready and stand watch for the thief that comes at night.

The next time you see someone who is devout in their faith, but seems “non-joyful” or even “angry” at something, before you jump to criticisms and accuse them as such, take a step back and look at the deeper under-linings of why they are such. It may just be that they are interiorly following Christ and are upset that others are not.

Read the follow-up post, You Can’t Always Be Joyful

Jeff February 27, 2014 3 Comments Permalink

True Charity

You are having an intense discussion with your friend. It is a great day outside and after having been stuck inside because of the brutal winter, you are enjoying the scenery. Suddenly, your friend catches you off guard and says “isn’t it amazing how the Sun revolves around the Earth?” You nod your head in agreement.

Except, you wouldn’t as you know that the Earth revolves around the Sun. You know this, because this has been proven, and this is truth. It would be uncharitable to let your friend continue on thinking that the Sun revolves around the Earth. It would be border-line cruel as you are withholding information from them. On top of that, they are your friend, and friends do not let each other err, at least good friends don’t.

earth revolves

Similarly, if your friend was pushing hard that you are incorrect in your math, and is arguing that 2+3 = 23 because you combine the numbers together, again, you would say “aha! That is your opinion and you are entitled to it!”. Except, you wouldn’t, unless you were a terrible and awful friend (maybe you are, I don’t know).

Yet, here are two perfect examples in which you would tell me that it would be wrong and uncharitable not to tell your friend the truth and inform them of their short-comings in math and science. Of course, you would then explain why they are incorrect in their assessments and help them to see the error of their ways.

Why is it then, that when it comes to our Catholic faith, we (read: some, not all) have no qualms or reservations in encouraging our friends to remain where they are in their non-Catholic faiths, and just agree that their opinion is equal to ours?

If Jesus Christ is the Truth as He so rightfully states, than whatever He has said or whatever His Church has said, holds True. Sadly, today, many Catholics are cowardly when it comes to defending the faith when the time arises. Excuses are made such as “Well, they are following Jesus, so we have common ground”.

Jesus The Truth

No! Following Christ is more than just “following” Him loosely and focusing our lives on Him and Him alone! Following Christ is also obeying the Commandments that He has given us, one of those Commandments is to follow His Church. A true Christian would join the true Church that Christ established here on Earth.

Some would argue with me that that is only a Catholic teaching and that there are multiple claimants. Unfortunately, the Encyclopedia Brittanica disagrees with them and they are not a Catholic source, but a secular one.

I am grateful to my friend Stephen for introducing me to the Catholic faith. He had the courage to tell me that Jesus Christ started the Roman Catholic Church and that it was my duty to become Catholic. He didn’t start by saying it exactly like that, but he started slow and worked on me on a regular basis, eventually leading to my conversion.

True charity lies within the truth, whatever that truth may be and especially when the Truth is that of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior and His Beloved Bride the Catholic Church. As Pope Benedict XVI said in his Encyclical Caritas In Veritate:

To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity. Charity, in fact, “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor 13:6). All people feel the interior impulse to love authentically: love and truth never abandon them completely, because these are the vocation planted by God in the heart and mind of every human person. The search for love and truth is purified and liberated by Jesus Christ from the impoverishment that our humanity brings to it, and he reveals to us in all its fullness the initiative of love and the plan for true life that God has prepared for us. In Christ, charity in truth becomes the Face of his Person, a vocation for us to love our brothers and sisters in the truth of his plan. Indeed, he himself is the Truth (cf. Jn 14:6).

It is inexcusable for us to be so adamant about defending (lower-case t) truths and yet when it comes to the Truth (capital T) we just forego it as if it is just an opinion. This can not stand, nor will it stand as it will be held against us when we stand before Christ as our Judge when we have perished from this world. His final command to us was to go and make disciples of all nations.

True love and true charity require us to share our faith with those around us, through the way we live our lives, through our teachings and through our traditions. This includes the way we worship in the Liturgy of the Mass.

Our worship at Mass should be solemn, sincere and serious. It is not a time for entertainment, but a time for enrichment. It is our spiritual buffet in which we gather the nourishment required for the salvation of our soul. If good food helps our bodies stay healthy and bad food slowly kills us, the same can be said about the Liturgy. If good Liturgy helps our souls stay healthy and strong through God’s abundant grace, than bad Liturgy can rob our souls of the grace needed to ward off the evil one.

Jeff February 25, 2014 1 Comment Permalink

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