Archives for December 2011

Elsewhere: gay and Catholic


Steve Gershom is a faithful Catholic, witty, knowledgeable and interesting. He is also gay. Well, “gay” is a bit ambiguous. He is a young man (late twenties) who is attracted to other men. We call that same sex attraction. SSA, of itself, is NOT sinful.

God has created us all to live chaste lives, no exceptions. Sexual relations are properly ordered between a man and a woman in marriage, for unitive and procreative purposes. They strengthen the loving bond of marriage and (usually) bear a family as their happy fruit. Not everyone is called to the vocation of marriage. For those, living a chaste life means living a celibate life. Examples are priests, other religious men and women, consecrated virgins, single people everywhere and those with same sex attraction – like Steve.

Last summer, Leila Miller at Little Catholic Bubble asked Steve to write about so called “gay marriage”. (BTW, Leila is a Catholic “revert”. Her specifics are in my Convert Stories database.) Steve responded:

I have heard a lot about how mean the Church is, and how bigoted, because she opposes gay marriage. How badly she misunderstands gay people, and how hostile she is towards us. My gut reaction to such things is: Are you freaking kidding me? Are we even talking about the same church?

When I go to Confession, I sometimes mention the fact that I’m gay, to give the priest some context. (And to spare him some confusion: Did you say ‘locker room’? What were you doing in the women’s…oh.) I’ve always gotten one of two responses: either compassion, encouragement, and admiration, because the celibate life is difficult and profoundly counter-cultural; or nothing at all, not even a ripple, as if I had confessed eating too much on Thanksgiving.

Of the two responses, my ego prefers the first — who doesn’t like thinking of themselves as some kind of hero? — but the second might make more sense. Being gay doesn’t mean I’m special or extraordinary. It just means that my life is not always easy. (Surprise!) And as my friend J. said when I told him recently about my homosexuality, “I guess if it wasn’t that, it would have been something else.” Meaning that nobody lives without a burden of one kind or another. As Rabbi Abraham Heschel said: “The man who has not suffered, what can he possibly know, anyway?”

Where are all these bigoted Catholics I keep hearing about? When I told my family a year ago, not one of them responded with anything but love and understanding. Nobody acted like I had a disease. Nobody started treating me differently or looking at me funny. The same is true of every one of the Catholic friends that I’ve told. They love me for who I am.

Actually, the only time I get shock or disgust or disbelief, the only time I’ve noticed people treating me differently after I tell them, is when I tell someone who supports the gay lifestyle. Celibacy?? You must be some kind of freak.

Hooray for tolerance of different viewpoints. I’m grateful to gay activists for some things — making people people more aware of the prevalence of homosexuality, making homophobia less socially acceptable — but they also make it more difficult for me to be understood, to be accepted for who I am and what I believe. If I want open-mindedness, acceptance, and understanding, I look to Catholics.

Is it hard to be gay and Catholic? Yes, because like everybody, I sometimes want things that are not good for me. The Church doesn’t let me have those things, not because she’s mean, but because she’s a good mother. If my son or daughter wanted to eat sand I’d tell them: that’s not what eating is for; it won’t nourish you; it will hurt you. Maybe my daughter has some kind of condition that makes her like sand better than food, but I still wouldn’t let her eat it. Actually, if she was young or stubborn enough, I might not be able to reason with her — I might just have to make a rule against eating sand. Even if she thought I was mean.

So the Church doesn’t oppose gay marriage because it’s wrong; she opposes it because it’s impossible, just as impossible as living on sand. The Church believes, and I believe, in a universe that means something, and in a God who made the universe — made men and women, designed sex and marriage from the ground up. In that universe, gay marriage doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t fit with the rest of the picture, and we’re not about to throw out the rest of the picture.

There is more, so read the complete piece: Gay, Catholic, and Doing Fine. The (500) comments that follow it are interesting too.

Steve also has a blog. Check out Note that Steve Gershom is a pseudonym (a sensible precaution considering the militancy of some in the “homosexual lifestyle”).

Baltimore Catechism: on the sacraments in general

Baltimore Catechism

Lesson 13

This lesson does not speak of any Sacrament in particular, but upon all the Sacraments taken together. It explains what we find in all the Sacraments.

136 Q. What is a Sacrament?
A. A Sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.

Three things are necessary to make a Sacrament. There must be: (1) “An outward,” that is, a visible, “sign”; (2) this sign must have been instituted or given by Our Lord; (3) it must give grace. Now, a sign is that which tells us that something else exists. Smoke indicates the presence of fire.

A red light on a railroad tells that there is danger at the spot. Therefore, the outward signs in the Sacraments tell us that there is in the Sacraments something we do not see and which they signify and impart. For example, the outward sign in Baptism is the pouring of the water on the head of the person to be baptized, and the saying of the words. Water is generally used for cleaning purposes. Water, therefore, is used in Baptism as an outward sign to show that as the water cleans the body, so the grace given in Baptism cleans the soul. It is not a mere sign, for at the very moment that the priest pours the water and says the words of Baptism, by the pouring of the water and saying of the words with the proper intention the soul is cleansed from Original Sin; that is, the inward grace is given by the application of the outward sign. Again, in Confirmation the outward sign is the anointing with oil, the Bishop’s prayer, and the placing of his hands upon us. Now what inward grace is given in Confirmation? A grace which strengthens us in our faith. Oil, therefore, is used for the outward sign in this Sacrament, because oil gives strength and light.

In olden times the gladiators – men who fought with swords as prize-fighters do now with their hands – used oil upon their bodies to make them strong. Oil was used also to heal wounds. Thus in Confirmation the application of this outward sign of strength gives the inward grace of light and strength. Moreover, oil easily spreads itself over anything and remains on it. A drop of water falling on paper dries up quickly; but a drop of oil soaks in and spreads over it. So oil is used to show also that the grace of Confirmation spreads out over our whole lives, and strengthens us in our faith at all times.

Again, in Penance we have the outward sign when the priest raises his hand and pronounces over us the words of absolution.

If we did not have these outward signs how could anyone know just at what time the graces are given? We can know now, for at the very moment the outward sign is applied the grace is given; because it is the application of the sign that by divine institution gives the grace, and thus the two must take place together.

“Institution by Christ” is absolutely necessary because He gives all grace, and He alone can determine the manner in which He wishes it distributed. The Church can distribute His grace, but only in the way He wishes. Hence it cannot make new Sacraments or abolish old ones.

137 Q. How many Sacraments are there?
A. There are seven Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony.

The life of our soul is in many ways similar to the life of our body. Our bodies must first be born, then strengthened, then fed. When sick, we must be cured: and when about to die, we must be taken care of. Then there must be someone to rule others, and there must be persons to be governed. In like manner, we are spiritually born into a new life by Baptism, we are strengthened by Confirmation, fed with the Holy Eucharist, and cured of the maladies of our souls by Penance. By Extreme Unction we are helped at the hour of death; by Holy Orders our spiritual rulers are appointed by God; and by Matrimony families, with a father at the head and children to be ruled, are established. Thus we have our spiritual life similar in many things to our physical or bodily life.

138 Q. Whence have the Sacraments the power of giving grace?
A. The Sacraments have the power of giving grace from the merits of Jesus Christ.

Our Lord died to merit grace for us, and appointed the Sacraments as the chief means by which it was to be given.

*139 Q. What grace do the Sacraments give?
A. Some of the Sacraments give sanctifying grace, and others increase it in our souls.

Baptism and Penance give this sanctifying grace when there is not any of it in the soul. But the other Sacraments are received while we are in a state of grace, and they therefore increase the quantity of it in our souls.

*140 Q. Which are the Sacraments that give sanctifying grace?
A. The Sacraments that give sanctifying grace are Baptism and Penance; and they are called Sacraments of the dead.

“Of the dead.” Not of a dead person; for when a person is dead he cannot receive any of the Sacraments. It is only while we live upon earth that we are on trial, and can do good or evil, and merit grace. At death we receive simply our reward or punishment for what we have done while living. Therefore, Sacraments of the dead mean Sacraments given to a dead soul, that is, to a soul in mortal sin. When grace – its life – is all out of the soul it can do nothing to merit Heaven; and we say it is dead, because the dead can do nothing for themselves. If a person receives – as many do – the Sacrament of Penance while his soul is not in a state of mortal sin, what then? Then the soul – already living – receives an increase of sanctifying grace, that is, greater spiritual life and strength.

*141 Q. Why are Baptism and Penance called Sacraments of the dead?
A. Baptism and Penance are called Sacraments of the dead because they take away sin, which is the death of the soul, and give grace, which is its life.

*142 Q. Which are the Sacraments that increase sanctifying grace in the soul?
A. The Sacraments that increase sanctifying grace in the soul are: Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony; and they are called Sacraments of the living.

*143 Q. Why are Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony called Sacraments of the living?
A. Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony are called the Sacraments of the living because those who receive them worthily are already living the life of grace.

*144 Q. What sin does he commit who receives the Sacraments of the living in mortal sin?
A. He who receives the Sacraments of the living in mortal sin commits a sacrilege, which is a great sin, because it is an abuse of a sacred thing.

“Sacrilege.” There are other ways besides the unworthy reception of the Sacraments in which a person may commit sacrilege. You could commit it by treating any sacred thing with great disrespect. For example, by making common use of the sacred vessels used at the altar; by stealing from the church; by turning the church into a market, etc. You could commit it also by willfully killing or wounding persons consecrated to God, such as nuns, priests, bishops, etc. Therefore sacrilege can be committed by willfully abusing or treating with great irreverence any sacred person, sacred place, or sacred thing.

*145 Q. Besides sanctifying grace, do the Sacraments give any other grace?
A. Besides sanctifying grace, the Sacraments give another grace, called sacramental.

*146 Q. What is sacramental grace?
A. Sacramental grace is a special help which God gives to attain the end for which He instituted each Sacrament.

For example, what was the end for which Penance was instituted? To forgive sins and keep us out of sin. Therefore the sacramental grace given in Penance is a grace that will enable us to overcome temptation and avoid the sins we have been in the habit of committing. When a person is ill the doctor’s medicine generally produces two effects: one is to cure the disease and the other to strengthen the person so that he may not fall back into the old condition. Well, it is just the same in the Sacraments; the grace given produces two effects: one is to sanctify us and the other to prevent us from falling into the same sins. Again, Confirmation was instituted that we might become more perfect Christians, stronger in our faith. Therefore the sacramental grace of Confirmation will strengthen us to profess our faith when circumstances require it; or when we are tempted to doubt any revealed truth, it will help us to overcome the temptation. So in all the Sacraments we receive the sacramental grace or special help given to attain the end for which the Sacraments were separately instituted.

147 Q. Do the Sacraments always give grace?
A. The Sacraments always give grace, if we receive them with the right dispositions.

“Right dispositions”; that is, if we do all that God and the Church require us to do when we receive them. For instance, in Penance the right disposition is to confess all our mortal sins as we know them, to be sorry for them, and have the determination never to commit them again. The right disposition for the Holy Eucharist is to be in a state of grace, and – except in special cases of sickness – fasting for one hour.

148 Q. Can we receive the Sacraments more than once?
A. We can receive the Sacraments more than once, except Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders.

Baptism is so important that if we do not receive it we cannot receive any other of the Sacraments. Now, to administer Baptism validly, that is, properly, everything must be done exactly as Our Lord intended and the Church teaches. The proper kind of water and all the exact words must be used. Also, the water must touch the body, that is, the head if possible. Now persons not knowing well how to baptize might neglect some of these things, and thus the person would not be baptized. The Church wishes to be certain that all its children are baptized; so when there is any doubt about the first Baptism, it baptizes again conditionally, that is, the priest says in giving the Baptism over again: If you are not baptized already, I baptize you now. Therefore if the person was rightly baptized the first time, the second ceremony has no effect, because the priest does not intend to give Baptism a second time. But if the first Baptism was not rightly given, then the second takes effect. In either case Baptism is given only once; for if the first was valid, the second is not given; and if the first was invalid, the second is given.

Converts to the Church are generally baptized conditionally, because there is doubt about the validity of the Baptism they received.

The Sacraments may be given conditionally when we doubt if they were or can be validly given.

*149 Q. Why can we not receive Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders more than once?
A. We cannot receive Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders more than once, because they imprint a character in the soul.

“A character.” It is a spiritual character, and remains forever, so that whether the person is in Heaven or Hell this mark will be seen. It will show that those having it were Christians, who received Baptism, Confirmation, or Holy Orders. If they are in Heaven, these characters will shine out to their honor, and will show how well they used the grace God gave them. If they are in Hell, these characters will be to their disgrace, and show how many gifts and graces God bestowed upon them, and how shamefully they abused all.

*150 Q. What is the character which these Sacraments imprint in the soul?
A. The character which these Sacraments imprint in the soul is a spiritual mark which remains forever.

*151 Q. Does this character remain in the soul even after death?
A. This character remains in the soul even after death: for the honor and glory of those who are saved; for the shame and punishment of those who are lost.

Catholic from the beginning

Catholic From The Beginning

One of the most bizarre positions I have ever heard is that Catholics are not Christians. Fortunately, it is a minority viewpoint but it shows just how extreme some in the Protestant schism have gone.

Our Holy Father would put this much better, but the hard truth is this: the Catholic Church IS the Christian Church and has been since our Lord Jesus Christ instituted it. Protestants are not outside of that Church but part of it, although sadly not in full communion. Yes, Protestants are partially Catholic and upon that rests their salvation.

Christianity = Catholicism. Catholicism = Christianity. This is the Church of the Apostles. The early Church Fathers (after 100) would have identified themselves as Catholic, not followers of various heresies that have long since died out. The beliefs they had in the real presence in the Eucharist, our form of liturgical worship in the Mass, the Communion of Saints, veneration of Mary the Mother of God, Sacred Tradition, apostolic succession, the offices of deacon / priest / bishop, the primacy of Peter, sacraments, opposition to abortion and homosexuality, marriage for life and much, much more all remain in the Catholic Church today. Whereas in the various Protestant communities, supposedly (and ironically) founded to remove corruption, many of these ancient beliefs are gone.

Many Protestants identify with the Church Fathers but have a fuzzy concept of the Church in their time and their beliefs. The early Church Fathers were not Anglicans, Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc. After all, these communities (with different beliefs from each other) did not exist until over a millennia later (after the first 3/4 of Christian history).

Look at the timeline below. It is just the first 400 years in the history of the Catholic Church, a/k/a Christianity.

  • 0 – Christmas. The word is derived from Middle English Christemasse and Old English Cristes mæsse; Cristes is from Greek Christos (“Christ”) and masse from Latin missa (“holy mass”). Christmas literally means “Crist’s Mass.”
  • 33 – The Last Supper (the first Holy Eucharist) followed by the death and resurrection of our Lord.
  • 51 – The Council of Jerusalem.
  • 67 – Martyrdom of St. Peter, the first pope. St. Linus succeeds him as the second pope.
  • 69 – Fall of Jerusalem.
  • 76 – St. Anacletus (Cletus) becomes pope.
  • 88 – St. Clement I becomes pope. During his pontificate, he issues a letter to the Corinthians, urging them to submit themselves to lawful religious authority. He writes “Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry.”
  • 96 – The Didache is written. It is the first Catholic Catechism. It describes the liturgy of the Mass, the requirement for confession before receiving the Eucharist and even the prohibition against abortion.
  • 97 – St. Evaristus becomes pope.
  • c100 – Death of St. John, the last apostle ending the period of Public Revelation.
  • 100 – Birth of St. Justin Martyr, a Church Father. In his writings, he bears witness to a number of Catholic doctrines. In one famous passage, he describes the Order of the Mass.
  • 105 – St. Alexander I becomes pope.
  • 107-117 – Martyrdom of St. Ignatius of Antioch, apostolic Father and bishop. Theodoret, the Church historian says he was consecrated bishop by St. Peter, who was at first bishop of Antioch before going to Rome. It was during the journey to Rome that he wrote his famous letters about the early Church. His writings are the first known to use the term “Catholic” to differentiate the Christian Church from heresies of that time.
  • 115 – St. Sixtus I becomes pope.
  • 125 – St. Telesphorus becomes pope.
  • 136 – St. Hyginus becomes pope.
  • 140 – St. Pius I becomes pope.
  • 144 – Marcion of Pontus is excommunicated for heresy. He believed the God of the Old Testament was a different God.
  • 155 – St. Anicetus becomes pope.
  • 156 – Martyrdom of St. Polycarp, a disciple of St. John the apostle.
  • 160 – Birth of Tertullian, a Church Father.
  • 166 – St. Soter becomes pope.
  • 175 – St. Eleutherius becomes pope.
  • 177 – St. Irenaeus of Lyons, writes Against All Heresies, a work of apologetics refuting Gnosticism, which claimed salvation through an esoteric knowledge. Irenaeus argues that this belief counters the universal tradition handed down from the apostles, and that the bishops are the successors of the apostles who have the authority to transmit Revelation. To make his point, he lists the succession of popes beginning with Peter.
  • 189 – St. Victor I becomes pope.
  • 189 – Pope Victor ordered Bishop Polycrates of Ephesus to call a synod for which the bishops of Proconsular Asia refused to attend resulting in their excommunication. St. Irenaues protested this action as too harsh, but did not say the pope had overstepped his authority. This is the first record of an episcopal council in the post-apostolic age.
  • 199 – St. Zephyrinus becomes pope.
  • 200 – Death of St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Church Father and bishop.
  • 208 – The first record of prayers for the dead in the writings of the Church Fathers. Tertullian writes that a good widow prays for her dead husband’s soul in On Monogamy.
  • 217 – St. Callistus I becomes pope.
  • 220 – Pope St. Callistus I excommunicates Sabellius, a priest who taught that the Son of God did not exist before the Incarnation, and that God exists in three “modes” but not in three persons, therefore the Son and the Father suffered at the passion.
  • 222 – St. Urban I becomes pope.
  • 230 – St. Pontain becomes pope.
  • 235 – St. Anterus becomes pope (for only 40 days).
  • 236 – St. Fabian becomes pope. When it came time to elect a new pope, the assembly put forward several names of prominent people, but a dove rested on Fabian’s head, whom no one had considered for the office. The assembly took it as a sign of divine favour and selected him as the new pope.
  • 250 – The devotion to martyrs, once a more private practice, becomes widespread after the Decian persection due to the great numbers of martyrs it produced.
  • 251 – Council of Cartage under St. Cyprian allows those who lapsed during the persecution to be readmitted after a period of penance.
  • 251 – St. Cornelius becomes pope.
  • 253 – St. Lucius I becomes pope.
  • 253 – The death of Origen of Alexandria, a Church Father.
  • 254 – St. Stephen I becomes pope. He is the first pope known to have specifically invoked Matt. 16:18 as evidence for the authority of the Chair of Peter.
  • 256 – Pope St. Stephen I upholds the baptisms administered by heretics.
  • 257 – St. Sixtus II becomes pope. He was arrested very shortly after his election and beheaded for his faith.
  • 258 – Martyrdom of St. Cyprian of Carthage. In his writings, he defended the primacy of Peter as the source of unity in the Church. He remained the foremost Latin writer until Jerome.
  • 260 – St. Dionysius becomes pope.
  • 265 – Three councils held at this time in Antioch condemn Paul of Samosata, bishop of Antioch, for his heretical teachings on the relationship of God the Father and God the Son. He maintained that Jesus the man was distinct from the Logos and became the Son of God through adoption because of his merits, and that God is only One Person. His teachings were a pre-cursor to the Arianist heresies of the fourth century and beyond.
  • 269 – St. Felix I becomes pope.
  • 270 – Death of St. Gregory of Neocaesarea, a/k/a the Wonderworker and Thaumaturgus, a Church Father and bishop.
  • 275 – St. Eutychian becomes pope.
  • 283 – St. Caius becomes pope.
  • 296 – St. Marcellinus becomes pope.
  • 297 – Birth of St. Athanasius, Doctor of the Church. Archbishop of Alexandria. He was a staunch defender of the Divinity of Jesus Christ against Arianism, and was exiled sevral times for his orthodoxy.
  • 305 – The Council of Elvira, Spain approves the first canon imposing clerical celibacy.
  • 306 – Birth of St. Ephraem the Syrian, Doctor of the Church. Known as the Harp of the Holy Spirit. Author of the Nisibene Hymns, some of which are Marian.
  • 308 – St. Marcellus I becomes pope.
  • 309 – St. Eusebius becomes pope.
  • 311 – St. Miltiades becomes pope.
  • 312 – Constantine defeats the Emperor Maxentius at the battle of the Milvian Bridge. The night before the battle, Constantine has a vision of a cross in the sky and the words “In this sign you shall conquer.” After the victory, Constantine orders that the cross be put on the soldiers’ shields and standards. Once Constantine enters Rome, he offers the Lateran Palace to the Pope as a residence.
  • 314 – St. Sylvester I becomes pope.
  • 315 – Birth of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Doctor of the Church. He fought Arianism in the East.
  • 315 – Birth of St. Hilary of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church.
  • 318 – Beginnings of the Arianist controversy. Arius taught that the Father and the Son were not of the same substance, and therefore the latter was inferior; and that the Word (Logos) is a creature and that the Holy Spirit is a creature of the Logos.
  • 325 – The Council of Nicea. Presided by Emperor Constantine and Hosius of Cordoba. Pope St. Sylvester I sends papal legates, being too old to make the journery from Rome. Many of the bishops in attendance had been physically injured in the persecutions of previous decades. The Council defines trinitarian belief in God. The Father and God the Son are declared of the same substance against the teachings of Arius.
  • 329 – Birth of St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church and father of Eastern monasticism. He was the first to draw up a rule of life and he developed the concept of the novitiate.
  • 330 – Building of first St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome (it was re-built in 1506).
  • 330 – Birth of St. Gregory Nanzianzus, Doctor of the Church. One of the Cappadocian Fathers.
  • 336 – St. Marcus becomes pope.
  • 336 – The earliest record of the celebration of Christmas in Rome.
  • 337 – St. Julius I becomes pope.
  • 340 – Birth of St. Ambrose of Milan, one of the four traditional Latin Doctors of the Church. He baptized St. Augustine. He fought the Arian heresy in the West and promoted consecrated virginity.
  • 343 – Birth of St. Jerome, one of the four traditional Doctors of the Latin Church. He translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek texts into Latin and produced the first authoritative translation, the Vulgate. At that time, Latin was still a vernacular language.
  • 347 – Birth of St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church and Bishop of Constantinople. He is the foremost Greek Doctor of the Church, known especially for his homilies on Scripture.
  • 352 – Liberius becomes pope. He was the first pope not to become a (cannonized) Saint.
  • 354 – Birth of St. Augustine of Hippo, Doctor of the Church.
  • 360 – Scrolls begin to be replaced by books.
  • 366 – St. Damasus I becomes pope. He is most famous for compelling St. Jerome to undertake a faithful translation of the Scriptures, the version known as the Vulgate.
  • 376 – Birth of St. Cyril of Alexandria (d. 444), Doctor of the Church. Opposed Nestorianism.
  • 379 – Theodosius, a devout Catholic, becomes the Eastern Roman Emperor. For the first time in half a century, the State would favour Catholicism over Arianism. Theodosius is the first emperor to legislate against heresy. The churches of heretics are to be confiscated and handed over to the Catholic Church.
  • 381 – The First Council of Constantinople. Presided by Pope Damasus and Emperor Theodosius I. It proclaimed the divinity of the Holy Spirit.
  • 382 – Pope St. Damasus I issued the Decree of Damasus officially setting the 46 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books of the Holy Bible. Before this time, various canons of scripture were used by different bishops. Pope St. Damasus I (the 37th Catholic pope) established the Holy Bible.
  • 383 – Roman legions begin to leave Britain. British Christians gradually disconnected from Rome until St. Augustine of Canterbury re-introduces the faith in 590.
  • 384 – St. Siricius becomes pope.
  • 386 – St. Ambrose refuses to hand over a church to the Arian sect when ordered to do so by the Emperor. In a sermon he says a famous phrase ” The emperor is within the Church, and not above the Church.” He says of the Arians: ” it has been the crime of the Arians, the crime which stamps them as the worst of all heretics, that “they were willing to surrender to Caesar the right to rule the Church.” The Emperor backs down.
  • 393 – Birth of Theodoret of Cyrus, Church Father, bishop and historian. He opposed St. Cyril of Alexandria in the Nestorian controversy, but he eventually submitted to the Council of Ephesus on the matter.
  • 397 – The Council of Carthage formally accepts St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate Bible (which remains the unchanged, official Catholic translation to this day).
  • 397 – Death of St. Martin of Tours. He was the first saint honoured for his asceticism, not for martyrdom, and whose prayers were invoked in liturgy. He is considered the founder of monasticism in the West.
  • 399 – St. Anastasius I becomes pope.
  • 401 – St. Innocent I becomes pope.

To be steeped in history is to cease being Protestant.

Cardinal John Henry Newman (convert)

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #48)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: The reason for the season (from Advent Conspiracy). Not only the most seminarians in years, but very impressive ones too. Rolling back the “spirit of Vatican II” changes – not everyone “gets it.” Another Planned Parenthood worker leaves their evil empire. WKRP Turkey Drop, still a hoot! A heartwarming story of 9 beagles. Our federal government is shutting down the work of the Church – you should be alarmed.

— 1 —

Some say it is the holiday season, time for shopping, gifts, food, fun, parties, decorations. Maybe so, but more importantly it is Advent. Here is a great little video from the Advent Conspiracy:

— 2 —

CNS reports Catholic seminary enrollment up, but numbers seen as only part of story. Some seminaries are OVER capacity! Theological College’s Father Brown comments “It’s not just the numbers but the quality and spirit of the men who are coming.” Father Zuhlsdorf also covers the story with his perspective and comments.

— 3 —

Sound the alert! They are canceling Vatican II!!! The progressive “spirit of Vatican II” crowd (those who promote vast changes which are not in any way actually in Vatican II — or to be more blunt, genuinely Catholic) are unhappy. The corrected translation is just the latest “flash point.” This video explains quite well, in an amusing way:

Spotted by Father Z

In February I wrote a 2-part post on “reforming the reform” here and here.

— 4 —

Catherine Adair joined Planned Parenthood to provide women with safe and affordable health care, or so she was told. Like so many others who have broken free of their employment, she now wants to add her voice to the truth. The pregnancy care 98% of PP’s clients receive is the death of their child. has the story.

— 5 —

Remember when WKRP (in Cincinnati) celebrated Thanksgiving with their Turkey Drop? Funny memories…

— 6 —

I think that PETA is a fine collection of nut-cases. That said, I am very fond of dogs and applaud efforts to reduce their use in testing and rescuing them when they are no longer needed. The Animal Rescue Media Education (ARME) and Beagle Freedom Project do that.

Here is the story of 9 beagles who lived their entire lives in metal cages. No human touch, warm bed, companionship, or going outside:

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I am surprised how many Catholics are clueless about the serious, concerted attack by the Obama administration against our right to practice our religion. They now prefer the term freedom of worship (as in hidden, private) vs. freedom of religion (as in to live your faith). This is VERY serious and primarily an attack against Catholicism. They particularly hate us for our opposition to “gay marriage” and abortion. Archbishop Timothy Dolan (USCCB President) has written an open letter to Obama, a very unusual action. The problem is so serious that the USCCB has organized a committee of some heavy-hitters on this issue and created this petition. Catholics are under attack by the Obama administration, make no mistake about this. We have lost hope and this is not change we can believe in.

Marcel has just written about one example as The Assault on Religious Liberty Continues. Read it to learn why the monks of Belmont Abbey College are suing the federal government.

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!