Elsewhere: teaching the faith


Being Catholic: to know, love and serve the Lord. I like to add “in that order.” You can not love what you do not know, you will not truly serve what you do not love. If you are loving and serving only what you think (or hope or prefer) the Lord to be, then chances are you are missing the mark…   possibly by a wide margin (our separated liberal Protestant brethren come to mind).

We are called to serve in many ways, but at least in witness to the Lord (evangelization) as we are able. The Church, the bride of Christ in her earthly mission, suffers with poor catechesis. Those who leave typically do so without actually knowing what they have left. Others remain luke-warm. Many are not “ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope” (1 Peter 3:15).

Part of the New Evangelization is utilizing all the modern tools that are available to communicate the Good News in its fullest. Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen did this on television. Mother Angelica founded EWTN. Today countless folks work for the Kingdom in “new media” in all its diverse forms. This is a wonderful development!

One interesting Internet meme, the “sketching video,” can communicate quite a bit of information in an interesting and engaging manner. A recent example of this comes from the Sophia Institute for Teachers:


Houston, we have a problem. “God became man and took the punishment we deserve.” Nope.

This video is really good and I would recommend it to folks, but it has two problems (at least that I noticed). The most important one is presenting the Atonement as penal substitution. That is (essentially) Jesus bearing the wrath of God for our sins. Some Protestant denominations have this view (e.g. Calvinists) but it is not what we believe and is highly problematic.

One of my favorite apologists and expert on Calvin is Dr. David Anders (a convert). He describes Christ’s sacrifice this way:

Play Penal Substitution vs. Sacrifice

Bryan Cross at Called to Communion has a related piece Catholic and Reformed Conceptions of the Atonement which includes this succinct graphic:

Reformed Catholic

Two other excellent pieces on this topic are Does the Catholic view of Christ’s Atonement permit the Reformed view of “Penal Substitution”? and Why Do So Many Catholics Believe in Penal Substitution?.

The video’s second (but lesser) problem is describing the grace we receive from the Eucharist. It is presented as actual grace (calling it just “grace”) whereas it is primarily sanctifying grace. (See Catholic Answer’s Grace: What It Is and What It Does for a description. Other good descriptions are here and here.)

There is much good in the video, so (these problems not withstanding) I still like and recommend it…

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