Archives for May 2012

Myth: Catholics oppose science

Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT)

Nothing could be further from the facts. Catholics love truth, science reveals truth – ergo, Catholics love science! It is through science that we explore the beauty and richness of God’s ordered and intelligible creation. Science and Catholicism are completely compatible without qualification.

Those without faith will tell you that “the right to look through telescopes and speculate about the result was obstructed by the Church.” Let’s just say that the truth is not in them. J. L. Heilbron (former professor and vice chancellor of UC Berkeley) notes “the Roman Catholic Church gave more financial aid and social support to the study of astronomy for over six centuries, from the recovery of ancient learning during the late Middle Ages into the Enlightenment, than any other, and, probably, all other, institutions.”

You might be surprised who proposed the theory of the expanding universe (the “big bang”), Hubble’s law and the first estimation of the Hubble constant. It was NOT Edwin Hubble! In fact, it was Georges Lemaître. That is, Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître – a Catholic priest, astronomer and professor of physics at the Catholic University of Leuven.

At this point I had intended to include a list of famous Catholic scientists. Since such a list would be immense, I was thinking a more manageable list would be only Catholic scientists who were priests – similar to Monsignor Lemaître mentioned above. Most people would likely assume such a list to be tiny. Alas, even Wikipedia lists 236 priests who “have made significant contributions to science“.

Of course, there was the Galileo incident – commonly misreported by secularists, anti-Catholics and others against the Church. Even in their misreporting, one can see that the Church and science were not separate. In a nutshell, the issue the Church had with Galileo was that he published as fact that which, at the time (and for many decades later), was an unproven theory. Modern scientists do not accept such behavior either. Galileo also did not win any friends when he jumped far outside of his area of competence to lecture Church authorities publicly on the true meaning of Holy Scripture. To learn more, see this and this.

We still build observatories. Our roots here go back to Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, ultimately resulting in the Observatory of the Roman College (1774), the Observatory of the Capitol (1827) and the Vatican Observatory (1789, refounded 1891 by Pope Leo XIII). In subsequent years more were built, including the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) in Arizona in 1993.

Much of my focus above was on astronomy. The Church has been just as involved in every other field be it physics, chemistry, mathematics, medicine and other scientific disciplines.

BTW, guess who invented the University System? It wasn’t the Greeks or Romans, Eastern mystics or even mathematically literate Arabs. It most certainly wasn’t atheists. It was the Catholic Church from centuries before the Renaissance the Catholic Church has built and operated universities throughout the world. Most major universities trace their roots to the Church.

An excellent source of additional information is Thomas Woods’ How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. Online, two extensive archives on the Church in science are at the Catholic Education Resource Center and at Catholic Answers. Numerous, well-researched, detailed articles are available from both.

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #63)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: Obama has now “evolved” and is out of the closet on so called “gay marriage.” Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi teach the Catholic faith and explain how it moves them to support unnatural unions. “Occupiers” have been showing their political leanings via their t-shirts. “Hope and Change” has become “Hype and Blame,” so a new slogan has been unveiled. The Copenhagen Philharmonic takes us away from all of this in a flash mob.

— 1 —

Obama Gay Marriage

Obama has now “evolved” and is out of the closet. He has given his full support to “gay marriage”. If given the opportunity, he will back that with the full power and might of the federal government. “Gay marriage” is not about discrimination, bigotry or equality. See my earlier piece But how does “gay marriage” hurt you? for a primer. The Manhattan Declaration folks also recommend the following:

— 2 —

Father Joe (Biden) has again been teaching the faith to all who will listen. His lessons span wide ranging topics from abortion to unnatural sexual unions to social teaching. Always interesting and always wrong. His bishop has corrected him before, but can not be on alert 24/7 to counter every statement this guy makes.

Why does he do it? After all, Biden could simply give his support to all these things and his reason for doing so, WITHOUT identifying himself as a Catholic or falsely claiming congruity with Catholic teaching. Answer: to give cover to those who wish to place political interests above God. To those inclined to think of his “teaching” as giving “plausible deniability,” remember that God knows your heart.

Father Z does a great job as always commenting on a Life News piece in his: Joe Biden: Theologian!.

— 3 —

Nancy Pelosi has added her own colorful comments, explaining that her Catholic faith “compels” her …[to be]…   for same-sex marriage.

Biden and Pelosi both are speaking loudly and proudly for the Catholic faith. This is not ignorance, given that they have been clearly told of their error. Access to any Catholic Catechism or faithful Catholic would also have quickly cleared up any misunderstanding. This is continuing, purposeful scandal to mislead the faithful and general public.

Father Z also covers this well, commenting on a CNSNews piece in his: Nancy Pelosi, Doctrix of the Church, cites Theologian Obama and calls evil “good”.

— 4 —

Are they simply stupid or historical ignorant? The “occupiers” have a strong affinity for communist icons as evidenced by the popularity of t-shirt images. Then again, it may simply be a proclamation of their politics:

Ows Commies

— 5 —

Obama’s last campaign slogan was “Hope and Change.” As president, this has morphed into “Hype and Blame,” fundamentally transforming America away from Christianity into something we do not want and from which recovery will be difficult.

— 6 —

Obama officially announced his presidential reelection campaign last week on Karl Marx’s birthday. His new, official campaign slogan was also announced – Forward. “Forward” has long been a rallying cry for Marxist propaganda as explained by The Washington Times. See their piece: New Obama slogan has long ties to Marxism, socialism. Really, comrade.

Obama Communist Leader

— 7 —

Too much depressing political news this week. For something much lighter and uplifting – the Copenhagen Philharmonic participate in a flash mob:

The music (Grieg’s Peer Gynt) was performed and recorded on the subway. The Danish metro is very quiet. They used 3 camera mounted mics, two microports glued to the ceiling and one stereo mic in the middle of everything. Spotted by Deacon Greg.

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 to address this blogging need, but is guest hosted this week by Hallie Lord at Betty Beguiles. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen (and Hallie) for hosting this project!

Elsewhere: Catholic bashing


Just this morning I was lamenting with friends the complete loss of truthful, unbiased news reporting. In place of practicing journalism, mainstream media unabashedly seeks to leverage their power position to gain political and social goals.

A frequent thorn in their side is the Catholic Church. Sometimes I feel like we have absolutely no voice in society, but when I consider the unceasing, slanderous statements made against us – maybe truth does threaten the media. People of good will should look critically at media bias. They make little effort to hide it any longer.

The Catholic League regularly reports on the duplicity of the media. Yesterday was typical…   they reported on two very frequent offenders — The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on editorials that appear today in the New York Times and Washington Post:

Both of these newspapers misstate the facts, fail to mention relevant data, and then make unfair accusations against the Catholic Church on the issue of sexual abuse.

Both newspapers today editorialize on the subject of “pedophile priests.” It is one of the biggest myths of our time that the Catholic Church has had a problem with pedophile priests: as the John Jay College for Criminal Justice showed in its 2011 report on this subject, less than 5 percent of the abusers were pedophiles. In almost all cases, the victims were adolescent males who were inappropriately touched by homosexual priests. Both newspapers cover this up, thus perpetuating a lie.

Today’s New York Times criticizes Timothy Cardinal Dolan for opposing legislation by Assemblywoman Margaret Markey which would lift the statute of limitations for one year on civil lawsuits involving the sexual abuse of a minor. Once again, we have a cover-up: what the editorial does not say is that this bill does not apply to the public schools.

Today’s Washington Post adds to the cover-up by pretending that the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is a legitimate organization that is being harassed by the Church. But anyone who has read the report we issued last year on inside information that was obtained from a SNAP conference knows that it is driven by raw hatred of Catholicism and intentionally manipulates the media. Also, the deposition from earlier this year of SNAP’s leader shows beyond a doubt that he lies to the media, and that he counsels alleged victims without a license in a coffee house.

Moreover, 85 Orthodox Jews from Brooklyn have recently been arrested for the sexual abuse of minors and yet neither newspaper reports on this.

Nothing unusual. The same stuff every day. If you keep repeating lies again and again, do people eventually believe you?

Another good example is media sensitivity to outrageous statements. Remember the Georgetown University student who could not afford contraception? Her apparent sexual activity level is so high (based upon her staggering contraceptive bill) that Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut.” I don’t like Rush Limbaugh and it was offensive for him to call her that. However, it was her choice to publicly testify to her high level of sexual “protection” needs. His comment did not seem like a big deal to me. The liberal media went wild.

OK. Clearly the media is sensitive to name calling. You would think then that they would report on and vigorously condemn another (liberal in this case) radio talk show host who referred to Christ’s Church and his Vicar as “you child-raping sons of bitches in the Catholic Church, I am so sick of all of you – especially your priests and your bishops and your scum, the Nazi Pope.” Absolute silence. No outrage. No condemnations.

NewsBusters (tagline: exposing & combating liberal media bias) did cover it:

Liberal radio hosts were furious with the Catholic League for mocking Hillary Rosen after she attacked Ann Romney for not working. Their tweet said “Unlike Rosen, who had to adopt kids, Ann raised 5 of her own.” This was seen by liberals as signaling Rosen’s children adopted with former partner Elizabeth Birch were “less valid, less worthy of respect” and homophobic.

On Friday, Bill Press confused the Catholic League with the nation’s bishops (they are not connected), but on Thursday, rabid atheist Mike Malloy was nudged into erupting about “child-raping” Catholics and their scummy “Nazi pope”:

MALLOY: And the Catholic League – that piece of human waste Bill Donohue – then twitted or tweeted or tweaked – ‘glad to know Hilary’s fans are in a state of apoplexy – you’d think she was outed by their hysterical reaction. Get over it and grow up! You child-raping sons of bitches in the Catholic Church, I am so sick of all of you – especially your priests and your bishops and your scum, the Nazi Pope, I am so sick of all of you. And this Donohue freak — wow.

He then circled around to attacking Mrs. Romney:

MALLOY: She has never worked a damn day in her life. She has not a clue. When’s the last time Ann Romney cleaned a toilet? When’s the last time Ann Romney had to catch a bus at four o’clock in the morning and make uh two or three transfers so she could go clean somebody else’s goddamn house? When’s the last time Ann Romney went to work as, uh, some chump bastard’s secretary taking all – excuse me – administrative assistant – taking all the flak, knowing that the job was only as secure as the creep she worked for”

Ann Romney, you’re a multi-millionaire you’re net worth is almost a half a billion dollars! Don’t try to compare or find equivalence between you and working mothers! There is none and you know it! And so does your funky husband! And so does every single disgusting right-wing cockroach in this country who just couldn’t wait to come screwing up over the slime and jump on this one! And isn’t it nice that the first thing that the fascist Bill Donohue Catholic Nazi goes for is Hilary Rosen’s sexual orientation ya filthy pig! Have I mentioned yet tonight how MUCH I hate these right-wingers”

Tim Graham’s entire piece is: Liberal Radio Hosts Rant at Catholic League, Scummy ‘Nazi Pope’.

Again, nothing unusual. This blatant bias is now an every day thing. Expect things to actually worsen in this election year. For example, see this simple example from Elizabeth Scalia.

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #62)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: To Be Born – a video short story exploring one woman’s “choice.” Paul Ryan speaks sensibly at Georgetown, result as expected. More background on the LCWR (lest anyone still thinks action was either unnecessary or rash). Our hope is in our young and there is reason to be optimistic. Some good pieces last week on radical feminism. Welcoming our soldiers home. A quote of the week.

— 1 —

To Be Born is a short video about a young woman who becomes pregnant, her struggle alone and the chance not to make the “choice” Planned Parenthood is banking on. This is a very powerful and very touching presentation of the short story A Letter from an Aborted Child.

This film is not excessively gory, but it briefly, dramatically portrays the horror a woman suffers with abortion. The real choice a mother has is well presented. Women who are recovering from an abortion may find it difficult.

Spotted by Marcel

— 2 —

Paul Ryan spoke recently at Georgetown (Georgetown = liberal; Georgetown ≠ Catholic) on how Catholic social teaching influenced his budget proposal. He spoke not only of solidarity, but the often ignored principle of subsidiarity. He explained how a vigorous economy helps everyone and how big, central government doesn’t saying “I do not believe that the preferential option for the poor means a preferential option for big government.” Far better than a distant federal bureaucrat deciding what a person needs is “a human being that knows you, that knows your problems, that looks you in the eyes and sees the suffering that you’re experiencing.”

He is absolutely correct. He actually understands Catholic social justice, not the false doctrine incessantly chanted by liberal progressives with their false claims of social justice. Naturally, to borrow a phrase from Father Z, the left threw a “spittle-flecked nutty.” 90 (out of 2,000) of Georgetown’s faculty once again embarrassed themselves in signing a protest letter. Students also organized a protest and were quoted in the liberal media. Satellite TV vans were dispatched to cover the action. One might have thought there was danger of a riot! Here is a wide-angle shot of the protest:

Ryan Georgetown Protest

— 3 —

Last week I noted Father Z’s recounting (Nuns Gone Wild: A Trip Down Memory Lane) of the long history of dissent, disobedience and heterodoxy at the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). While the service of individual nuns and sisters have often been selfless and loving, their leadership organization has been a source of scandal and divisiveness from Christ’s true Church.

Father Philip Powell has updated his excellent piece on the LCWR mindset as reflected in the content presented at their annual conferences: 8 Themes of the LCWR Worldview.

Also don’t miss these insightful pieces:

— 4 —

What do young people hunger for today: relativistic hippie or sacred, reverent liturgy? Father Joseph Kramer, FSSP discusses how the pendulum has swung back:

— 5 —

Several recent pieces take an interesting look at feminism, not in the true sense of the word but as meant by those who typically use it – radical, liberal women.

First up is Patti Maguire Armstrong with her piece for Catholic Lane: Feminism vs. Feminine. She looks at scripture and how feminists twist it to mean exactly the opposite of the truth.

Jennifer Fulwiler wrote about the link of feminism with contraception and abortion. Her piece for the National Catholic Register is Why Do We Call It a “Culture of Death”?

Lastly, Dale O’Leary writing for Crisis Magazine looks at The Oppressed Lives of Stay-at-Home Moms. She explores the feminist underpinning of Obama operative Hilary Rosen’s recent attack on mothers.

— 6 —

After the wives, children, parents and siblings — there are other family members who are ecstatic to see their returning soldiers:

— 7 —

A quote of the week:

The Council did not create new articles of faith, nor did it replace existing ones with new ones. Its only concern was to make it possible to hold the same faith under different circumstances, to revitalize it. As for the work that preceded the Council, it seems to have been more intensive in Germany than elsewhere, for Germany was the heartland of the liturgical movement, the primary source in which the documents of the Council had their origin. But many of these documents were issued too abruptly. To many of the faithful, most of them seemed to be a challenge to the creativity of the individual congregation, in which separate groups constructed their own “liturgies” from week to week with a zeal that was as commendable as it was misplaced. To me, the most serious element in all this was the breach of fundamental, liturgical consciousness. The difference between liturgy and festivity, between liturgy and social event, disappeared gradually and imperceptibly, as witness the fact that many priests, imitating the etiquette of polite society, feel that they ought not to receive Holy Communion until the congregation has received; that they should no longer venture to say “I bless you” [German euch: familiar form of plural “you”] — thus dissolving the fundamental liturgical relationship between them and their congregation. In this context belong also the often obnoxious and banal greeting which, it must be admitted, many congregations tolerate with a kind of patient forbearance. In the period before the new missal made its appearance, but after the old one had already been characterized as “old-fashioned,” people forgot that there is a “rite,” that is, a prescribed liturgical form, and that liturgy is genuinely liturgy only if it is not subject to the will of those who celebrate it.

Pope Benedict XVI
The Feast of Faith

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!

Review: If Protestantism is True

If Protestantism Is True

Devin Rose is a smart, thoughtful Evangelical convert and Catholic apologist. His book, If Protestantism is True is not his conversion story. It is a rather unique exploration of Protestant claims and beliefs.

Instead of saying Protestantism is in error and why the truth is in the Catholic Church…   author Rose simply takes Protestant claims at face value, methodically explores them and draws the conclusions which logically flow were they true. Many topics are covered and at the end of each, the conclusion is presented beginning with “If Protestantism is true, …”

For example, on “Heresy and Schism in History” Rose gives 4 pages of the background leading up to the Reformation and concludes:

If Protestantism is true, then throughout all of the history of the Church until the Reformation, a heresy was a heresy and a schism was a schism, but the schisms caused by the Reformers were instead new branches on a tree, in spite of the fact that they caused divisions from the Church like every other schism in history had done. Martin Luther was well-intentioned and saw true abuses and evil practices by some leaders in the Church, but unlike the great saints before and after him, he decided to disobey the Church and abandoned any attempt to reform her from within. Had he made different choices, we would likely be calling him St. Martin Luther the Reformer — in the true sense of the word.

In another section, he looks at the disintegration of mainline Protestantism concluding:

If Protestantism is true, then no one Church has the fullness of the truth, but all churches teach a mixture of true and false doctrine. So it makes sense to find one that agrees on enough of the truth that you deem essential and also that appeals to your tastes and preferences. In addition, as your tastes change and your church feels less relevant, it’s your right to find a different church that meets your needs.

As a final example, at the end of the section on the sacraments:

Most practically, if Protestantism is true, then Protestants have some mighty decisions to make — all on their own, as there is no other true authority than their own interpretation of the Bible. They must decide which Protestant (Luther or Calvin) was right about baptism, which Protestant (Luther or Zwingli) was right about the Eucharist, which Protestants (the liberals or the conservatives) are right about marriage, which of their many and varied teachings on confession and forgiveness are valid, etc. I don’t envy the Protestants this task.

Each of these conclusions (and many more) are reached after a non-emotional, straight forward presentation of facts. Most objective readers will probably not take serious issue with that. Committed Protestants will have a natural aversion to where it must lead!

The book is 178 pages divided into 11 chapters (counting the conclusion), supported with acknowledgments, notes and index. The chapters are:

  1. A Search for Truth
    • Anywhere but the Catholic Church
    • A Note About Terminology
    • Protestantism Then and Now
    • About Indulgences
    • The Purpose of This Book
  2. A Call to Honest Self-Examination
    • The Difficulty of Conversion
    • The Subtlety of Bias
    • Is Truth Accessible to All?
  3. The Catholic Church in History
    • Ecumenical Councils
    • The Papacy
    • Divine Authority
    • The Four Marks of the Church
    • Celibacy for the Kingdom
    • Beneficial Requirements
    • The Saints
  4. Reformation: Schism or Branches?
    • The Reformation
    • Heresy and Schism in History
    • Mary’s Perpetual Virginity and Her Title of “Mother of God”
    • Martin Luther’s Personal Holiness
    • The Catholic Perspective on Protestants Today
    • A New Reformation Needed?
    • A Need for Reformation in Every Century of the Church
  5. The Canon of Scripture
    • The Centrality of the Canon
    • A Brief History of the Canon
    • Martin Luther’s Rejection of Four New Testament Books
    • The Seven Deuterocanonical Books
    • Accepting the Canon from an Apostate Church
    • The Myth of the Self-Authenticating Canon
    • The “Fallible Collection” and “Reasonable Certainty”
    • Sola Scriptura‘s Logical Consequences
    • The Canon of Shakespeare
  6. The Reformers’ Legacy: Protestantism Today
    • The Protestant Meltdown over Questions of Sexuality
    • The Protestant Flip-Flop on Other Moral Issues
    • The Disintegration of Mainline Protestantism
    • “I Have No Authority But Jesus”
  7. Protestant Objections to the Catholic Church
    • “The Catholic Church Manipulated Historical Texts”
    • “No One is Infallible, so the Church Cannot be”
    • “The Catholic Church Prevented Vernacular Translations of the Bible”
    • “The Catholic Church Puts God in a Box”
    • “The Catholic Church Does Not Produce Good Fruit”
    • “The Early Church Was Like Protestantism”
    • “The Catholic Church Invented Doctrines Late in History”
  8. The Sacraments
    • The Sacraments
    • The Unanimous Teaching of Baptismal Regeneration
    • Baptism, Sola Fide, and Salvation: Two Different Understandings
    • Infant Baptism
    • The Protestant Rejection of Marriage as a Sacrament
    • Anointing of the Sick
    • The Eucharist
    • Confession
    • Holy Orders and Apostolic Succession
  9. Tradition
    • The Closure of Public Revelation
    • Oral Tradition and John’s Third Letter
    • Evangelical Protestantism and Tradition
    • The Family of God Versus “Me and God”
  10. The Scriptures
    • Are the Scriptures Difficult to Understand?
    • Protestantism’s Lack of Interpretative Authority
    • The Perspicuity of the Scriptures
    • Misinterpreting the Great Commission
    • Interpreting the Bible with a Modern, Scientific Mind
  11. To Find the Truth, Follow the Trail of Authority
    • Authority is God’s Intention
    • Interpretation vs. Authority

This is a very readable book, easily consumed in sections. I recommend it for anyone interested in understanding the claims of Protestantism. It will be especially helpful for Protestants who are reconsidering their denomination’s direction, folks who are interested in Catholicism and all seekers of truth. Lapsed Catholics now in Protestant communities and other poorly catechized Catholics may also find it useful.

From the conclusion:

Jesus Himself gives us the confidence that in seeking Him we will find Him, Who is the Truth and ultimate Authority: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matt. 7:7-8). May Christ bless and guide your search to find and worship Him in spirit and in truth (see John 4:23), and may He unite us all as one in the fullness of the truth.