Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Reintroducing Logic and Reason to the Age of Sentimentalism

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All of the posts under the "Father" category.

Stained Glass, High Altars, and Scripture: Why We Should Avoid Simplicity In Our Churches

There is a common misunderstanding that exists today in which many believe that Jesus was simple. Many arguments proceed from this belief, such as how our worship should be simpler, or our churches should be bare to better coincide with how simple Jesus was. But, the reality is, Jesus would not approve of this belief. This belief comes from a misunderstanding of who Jesus is, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, and poor catechesis with a lack of comprehension from the Scriptures.

Jesus in the Scriptures

Stained Glass

When it comes to wanting to have a simpler liturgy when it comes to Mass or just general worship, many people use Jesus’ words to the Pharisees as a defense for their position. The truth of the matter is the Pharisees created their own rules outside of the rules that God had laid out for His people. Jesus was never wanting to remove God’s rules:

“Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For amen I say unto you, till Heaven and Earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled.” Matthew 5:17-18

We need to remember that not all has been fulfilled. But I know what you are thinking. Didn’t Jesus die for our sins, come back from the dead, and ascend into Heaven, seated at the right hand of the Father? Yes. But Jesus also told us that He would Come Again. Jesus has yet to come again, thus not all has been fulfilled.

As a Jew, Jesus would have obeyed the laws of the Old Testament. We know that He was a teacher in the temple, and thus He would have known and followed these laws, as those who did not were forbidden to teach. We observe that the laws of God were obeyed, but the laws of the Pharisees were not. The Pharisees laws were created by them, in order that they may be seen as holier than thou, that is, these laws were unattainable by even the most devout of Jews, and the Pharisees gave the outward appearance of being holy while having an inward disposition of being wicked and corrupt. Thus, Jesus rested and prayed on the Sabbath, but did not necessarily wash before meals.

To further show that Jesus was not simple, we know from Scripture that Jesus was not simply dressed, but finely dressed. When Jesus was crucified we must remember these key passages from the Gospels:

“And after they had crucified him, they divided his garments, casting lots; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: ‘They divided my garments among them; and upon my vesture they cast lots’.” Matthew 27:35

“And crucifying him, they divided his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take.” Mark 15:24

“The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified him, took his garments, (and they made four parts, to every soldier a part,) and also his coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said then one to another: Let us not cut it, but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be; that the scripture might be fulfilled, saying: They have parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they have cast lots. And the soldiers indeed did these things.” John 19:23-24

When the Roman soldiers would crucify their prisoners, they would generally cut apart the clothing of the victim and share it equally among themselves. However, when it came to Jesus’ clothing, they did not cut it, but rather, “rolled the dice” to see who would win it. Most clothing was made of multiple pieces of material, and thus they would rip it apart and just use the scraps for mending or what not. However, with Jesus’ clothing they did not, which means that this was not just “scraps put together” but fine material, expensive material. Why would Jesus, if He was simple, wear expensive clothing? Because He is God and He is our King.

Jesus Christ, Fully God and Fully King

Traditional High Altar

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is a separate person but has the same nature of God. He is fully God, as much so as God the Father and God the Holy Ghost. Three individuals, but one God. Now, a question must be asked: is the Trinity simply explained? The short answer is no. It is a mystery of faith that we can only briefly scrape with our limited intellect. Thus, if we as humans have difficulty understanding who Jesus Christ is in relation to the Trinity, how can we even say that He is simple? Jesus Christ proceeds from the Father, and through His love with the Father, the Holy Spirit proceeds through Them. But they all existed at the same time. We can say sincerely, that God is not simple, but He gives us enough information to allow our intellect to engage in this mystery.

Not only is Jesus Christ our God, but He is also our King. Jesus says so Himself:

“Pilate therefore said to him: Art thou a king then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.” John 18:37

Our Churches are adorn with beautiful images of our faith, along with gold because our King deserves our best. Before you say that Jesus did not want these nice things, remember, the three kings came to the Nativity with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, all lavish and expensive gifts. Before Jesus’ death, the sorrowful woman anoints Jesus’ feet with perfume that is worth 300 days’ wages. When the woman was admonished by Judas, Jesus rebuked him saying that she had done a good thing.

We must also keep in mind the sacrifices and gifts Cain and Abel gave to God in Genesis 4. Abel, being filled with love for God, gave his absolute best to God. Of his crop, he gave his top ten percent and burned it. Cain on the other hand, was not filled with love for God, and figured he only needed to be simple. So Cain gave his bottom ten percent and burned it. God was pleased with Abel and made it known that Abel had found favor with Him. Cain was upset and killed his brother because Abel was favored.

There is also an example of two kings. One king threw a party and invited the entire kingdom. When the guests arrived, the king took them around his castle and showcased all of his beloved art and ornaments. He shared with them his home and shared everything that he had with them. The ballroom was a magnificent spectacle that would give even the Disney castles some jealousy.

But there was a second king who also threw a party and invited the entire kingdom. However, when the guests arrived, he brought them into a ballroom with bare walls, no decorum, no art, no music, no anything. It was rather drab, or simple. However, because there was nothing else, the king said to his people, “I want you to spend the entire ball looking at me. You are not to dance with one another as that would take the focus off of me.” Now, this is rather a selfish attitude and certainly not the attitude one would expect from a king who is inviting people into his home.

The first king is like Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church, who has beautiful churches laced with golden ornaments and beautiful art, not so that you can’t focus on Him, but rather, you can reflect upon the beauty captured in all of this and meditate on the different aspects of Our Lord’s life. This is why most Catholic churches of the pre-conciliar time are beautiful works of art. The second king is like Jesus Christ in Protestantism. A selfish king who wishes to be the only person on display. This is why most protestant and Catholic churches of the post-conciliar time are drab and plain.

Jesus Christ deserves our absolute best when it comes to liturgy, worship, and even our churches. Our King’s kingdom is not of this world, but rather of Heaven. Jesus Christ Our King deserves the cream of the crop, not just the leftovers of the fruits of our labor. We should not be afraid to house our King in a beautiful church where one is left awestruck because it does not take anything away from Our God, but rather, emphasizes that much more how important and great He is.

Jeff October 23, 2015 1 Comment Permalink

I’m Not Partaking in the Sign of Peace Anymore

It’s the part of the Novus Ordo Mass most people tend to dread; The Sign of Peace. Now, I don’t dread it nor do I get super excited with the warm and fuzzies about it either. But, after attending the Extraordinary Form (Traditional Latin Mass) more regularly recently, I’ve decided  I will not be doing the Sign of Peace.

In all honesty, I just can’t bear to do it anymore. Logically, it makes no sense when you look at what the purpose of the Mass is and what we are doing. We are worshiping the One True God, physically present in the Eucharist, The Son of the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ.

the eucharist

When we administer a friendly handshake with our neighbor, in an effort to show a faux unity, we are no longer worshiping God, but ourselves. We are already united. We are baptized Catholics, hopefully in the state of grace, who are all gathered to worship Jesus Christ. That is true unity. If anything, the Sign of Peace serves more as a distraction from Jesus than anything else.

The timing of the Sign of Peace is very odd. The Sign of Peace takes place shortly after the Priest has finished consecrating the Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. We have just spent the last 10 minutes kneeling (hopefully) in adoration, acknowledging that we are witnessing a miracle. The miracle that a humble servant of God has been used by The Almighty, to transform Bread into the Body of Christ and the Wine into the Blood of Christ. No mere man can do this, but only a man who has given up his life for Christ and His Church and consecrated by his Bishop.

After witnessing this miracle, we then get to shake hands with our neighbor. That includes the guy who hasn’t washed his hands since his last shower, the kids who have been picking their noses, and all the sweat and germs people have accumulated from all of the hymnals and pews. It really is disgusting when you think about it.

The Sign of Peace disrupts the order of the Mass. Mass is not a social gathering that we fulfill once a week in order to make our weekly obligation. The Mass is the time we come together as a community to individually worship Christ, truly present in the Eucharist. The second we forget this point, is the second we stop worshiping as Catholics.

The more and more I contemplate this, the more and more I contemplate that it is no longer necessary to even do the Sign of Peace. The Sign of Peace is optional, meaning we can each optionally choose whether we are going to do it or not. Likewise, Father can make the decision if the congregation will or will not do it as well. During flu season, the Sign of Peace is omitted. If it can be omitted during times of the year when germs and illness are a concern, then it can be omitted throughout the rest of the year for the same reasoning.

The Sign of Peace- Tell me this doesn't look like worship of self.

The Sign of Peace- Tell me this doesn’t look like worship of self.

If you see me at Mass and I don’t acknowledge you during the Sign of Peace with a handshake or a wave or a nod, it isn’t because I do not like you or am trying to avoid you, but that I am keeping my focus on Christ, who is truly among us in this sacred place.

Jeff July 9, 2014 12 Comments Permalink

The Holy Spirit is Not Separable From the Trinity

God is Three Persons in One God. That is, He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They do not contradict one another, as they can not. Just as Jesus Christ can not deny the Father or with hold the Holy Spirit, neither can the Father deny the Son or the Holy Spirit. This is basic Church teaching.

Shield-Trinity-Scutum-Fidei-English.svg

This applies also to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can not go against the Father nor the Son. If the “Holy Spirit” goes against either the Father or the Son of that which they have already revealed, then you are not dealing with the Holy Spirit, but by a false spirit.

This false spirit can only be that of the Devil or one of his many minions.

Calling upon the Holy Spirit in certain situations in which you feel that you need help, and then going about doing whatever it is you do (some of which may be sinful) is not the Will of God. Calling upon the Holy Spirit must be done in prudence. It is reckless and irresponsible and sinful to cite that the Holy Spirit allowed you to commit a sin.

Be wary also of those who try to state that the Holy Spirit can do things that the Father or the Son can not. This is a denial of God in the Father and in the Son. As far as we know, only God the Father knows all as Jesus hints at in Scripture when it comes to the end times.

Just as the Holy Spirit is inseparable from the Father and the Son, the Father is inseparable from the Son and the Holy Spirit, and the Son is inseparable to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

I would suggest we refer the Holy Spirit as the Holy Ghost, as it brings the person-hood of the Paraclete into a clearer understanding.

Seeing as we are in the Octave of Pentecost, it is an appropriate time to highlight a few things in regards to the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is not a magical gassy figure, that comes down upon us and makes us do interesting things. The Holy Spirit is still God, and helps us and leads us to God the Father and God the Son. It appears that many want us to believe that the Holy Spirit is something that descends upon us and makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. If you do not feel the warm and fuzzies, then you are not doing something right and you are without the Holy Spirit.

There are many gifts of the Holy Spirit, in fact there are 7 of them. Those 7 gifts are: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord. These are the actual gifts of the Holy Spirit. These are not to be confused with the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is still God and is not to be interpreted as separate or separable from the Trinity. Separating any person of the Trinity away would constitute as blasphemy.

Jeff June 10, 2014 2 Comments Permalink

Mortal Sin Against the Fourth Commandment

The Fourth Commandment:

“Honor Your Father and Mother”.

Ugh, you mean I have to listen to what my parents have to say?

Yes. God gave us parents for a reason. That reason is for our creation! Hey! Who’da thought that? You really should be grateful for your parents, no matter how dysfunctional they may be, because without them, you wouldn’t be reading this.

It may be worth pointing out, that your parents are sinners, just like you and I. This does not excuse you for your sin, that is, because your mom did this or your dad did that, that this entitles you to sin. This is wrong. They may be the root cause of your sin, but, you are still responsible for your actions.

When we honor our parents, we are holding them in high regard. Why do we do this? Again, of all the people here on earth we should be giving such high respect, it should be our parents, after all, they brought us into the world, took care of us, nurtured us, bathed us, clothed us, fed us, housed us, educated us, you get the idea.

Without further ado, here are some mortal sins against the Fourth Commandment.

Serious failure to care for aged parents/Failure to carry out the last will of a deceased parent
The commandment is very clear that we are to honor our parents. That would include taking care of them in their time of need. Our parents nurtured us during our childhood and possibly even up to our college years as well. It makes sense for us to take care of them, and as long as their last will is not immoral, to follow that up for them.

Serious disrespect for or disobedience to parents, superiors or authorities
We have to respect our parents. We also are to respect superiors (boss, supervisors, managers, etc) as well as authorities (judges, police, etc). Again, it has to be moral. Obviously, we do not have to listen if it breaks the law, and especially if it breaks moral law.

Wishing death or evil on parents
We are not to wish death or evil on anybody, but most importantly, not our parents.

Abuse or serious neglect of children
This is where some people will think it goes a little different. Yes, we are to honor our parents, but we as parents must also take care of our children. What makes it a mortal sin to abuse or seriously neglect our children is that they are individuals that God has given to us to take care of. They are not ours, nor are they our property. Some abuses would be beating your children (especially adult children), starving your children (for lengthy periods of time). Serious neglect would also include abandonment, failure to take care of your children, and other such parenting failures.

Failure to baptize children in a reasonable time (within a few months) after birth
As a Catholic, we are responsible for baptizing our children. No ifs, ands or buts about it. We believe that baptism washes away the stain of original sin and infuses God’s grace into us. It is a permanent sign of God’s love and mercy. It is understandable that when the new baby arrives you are incredibly busy, but, you are now responsible for your child’s religious upbringing and forming their conscience in this stage of their life. If your baby dies and hasn’t received baptism, there is the chance that they will not make it to Heaven. The Church teaches that if we die with unrepentant mortal sin, as well as have not been washed with the saving grace of Baptism, we can go to Hell. Baptize your children shortly after they are born, the sooner the better.

Serious neglect of the religious education or upbringing of children
As mentioned above, you are now responsible for formulating the conscience of your child. You need to teach your children about the faith, and educate them in it. Get them to practice their faith, explain it to them, get them excited about it. Take them to Mass weekly. Pray at meals. The family that prays together, stays together. When you die and are judged by Jesus, you will be held responsible for the early formation that you have given your children. It is one thing for them to abandon the faith when they go out on their own (you can’t control them, keep this in mind (and pray for them!)) but, if you did not give them any reason to keep the faith, that is on you.

 

This post is one of many in a series on Mortal SinsClick here for more posts explaining and defining mortal sins.

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