Thursday, May 28, 2009

California Supreme Court Upholds Prop 8

The California Supreme Court has ruled that Proposition 8, defining marriage as between one man and one woman, would stand. The estimated 18,000 homosexual couples married between June and November 2008 will remain married.

If you’d like more information, check out LifeSiteNews.com’s articles.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Natural Proof for God’s Existence: Reduction

Is God real or is he simply a made-up crutch for people who can’t deal with reality? I suggest that there is plenty of evidence from nature and science to show the existence of God. Let’s Start with St. Thomas Aquinas’ five Ways (or proofs) for the existence of God.

The third Way is that all beings are contingent; they rely on someone or something else to exist. Humans rely on food, water, air, etc. Science has not found anything that is not contingent; everything was created.

However, for each contingent being, there is a time that the being does not exist (before your conception and after your death, for example). This means that all things exist at one time and do not exist at another.

Across eternity, it’s logical to assume that there was a time when no contingent beings existed. If that ever happened; then the universe would not exist. If no contingent beings exist, then no contingent beings can be created. There must be one being who is not contingent; one who exists with no condition. One who simply is.

That one is God.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Department of Homeland Security pulls report listing pro-lifers as “rightwing extremists”.

In an interesting move, the Department of Homeland Security pulled a report we mentioned a few weeks ago in an article here. The report mentioned that pro-life individuals are likely rightwing extremists while also saying that military veterans are likely candidates for joining rightwing extremist groups.

At the time, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said she was briefed on the report and stood by it. Now, she has said “The wheels came off the wagon because the vetting process was not followed … The report is no longer out there. An employee sent it out without authorization.” So much for being briefed and standing by it.

Regardless, the report is now being reworked and will be reissued later on. I expect to see “pro-life bloggers” listed specifically in the next version.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More Americans “Pro-Life” than “Pro-Choice” for first time since 1995!

A new Gallop Poll taken from May 7-10 shows that 51% of Americans identify themselves as “pro-life” on issues of abortion. 42% define themselves as “pro-choice”. For more specific information, check out an article regarding the poll at LifeSiteNews.com.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Natural Proofs for God’s Existence: Causality

Is God real or is he simply a made-up crutch for people who can’t deal with reality? I suggest that there is plenty of evidence from nature and science to show the existence of God. Let’s Start with St. Thomas Aquinas’ five Ways (or proofs) for the existence of God.

Similar to the argument from motion (nothing can move without something moving it) science also tells us all effects must have a cause. A reaction isn’t possible without an action.

The problem is that we exist. The existence of energy and matter had to be a reaction to something, but to what? When we chase creation down to its beginning we can only get to the first effect. What was the cause of this effect? This cause is what we call God.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bible Myth #33: So Catholics picked the books in the Bible. Once that was done the Bible became the sole authority

By what logic? If the Holy Spirit lead the bishops and popes to determine which books should go in the Bible, which it had to for the New Testament to be correct, then when did the Spirit stop leading the Catholic Church?

Why would the Holy Spirit give the Church the authority to determine the books of the Bible only to revoke that authority, and where is it written that that happened? If you accept that the Catholic Church had the authority to pick those books, then doesn’t it make sense that the Catholic Church has the authority to interpret them as well?

I guess I don’t get how a person can accept the New Testament and not accept the Magisterium that gave it to us.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Life: Imagine the Potential

Take a few moments and check out the video below. It was created by CatholicVote.org and has made it through preliminary approval to be aired on the finalle of American Idol! Don't be surprised if you see it again on TV sometime.

Enjoy!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Why do Catholics have the Magisterium?

Why do Catholics let the pope and his bishops tell them how to interpret the Bible? I don’t understand why the average Catholic would accept the pope’s interpretation over their own.

The answer is simple: It’s better than the alternative.

Let’s be clear on one thing; the Magisterium doesn’t tell Catholics to interpret Scripture a particular way. The Magisterium lays out guidelines or framework that the average Catholic is free to interpret within. For example, is the woman in Revelation 12 Mary or is she Israel, or is she both at once or what? The Church doesn’t say you have to take any one stance on that; a Catholic isn’t bound to interpret that passage a particular way. Now if a Catholic looked at that passage and said “it’s not Mary so therefore the Assumption of Mary is invalid” then they’ve just crossed the guideline. If your personal interpretation leads you into contradiction of the Church’s Traditions then your interpretation can’t be correct.

“Oh sure,” you say, “so as long as I conform to the Church’s Traditions then I can interpret how I want? That’s not freedom, that’s just being given boundaries like a kid in a playground.”

Again, it’s better than the alternative. What would you prefer a fence on the playground or your child hit by a car, lost, or worse? Boundaries are there for a reason.

Anyway, let’s say I want to do something I know I shouldn’t. Let’s take something we can all agree is bad; like killing innocent people. The Magisterium is clear that this shouldn’t be done and therefore a Catholic cannot validly interpret Scripture in such a way as to allow it. A non-Catholic, however, doesn’t have those guidelines but yet if they did interpret the Bible in such a way that killing innocent people was justified nearly all Christians would say his interpretation can’t be correct.

How can a non-Catholic say another person’s murderous interpretation is incorrect unless they’re also working under some framework? If there are no boundaries for non-Catholics, how can this be off-limits?

You can’t say the Bible is the framework because it can be taken severely out of context very easily. Without guidelines it’s impossible to say that any interpretation is incorrect. So, what framework do non-Catholics operate within?

I honestly don’t know. My best guess is modern social norms. Let’s look at contraception. Before 1930 all Christians were opposed to it. “Look here” said the good Protestant, “the Bible is so clear, contraception is against God’s plan!”

Today we hear “look here, the Bible is so clear, contraception is just fine!”

What changed? Not even one hundred years ago we all agreed contraception was an intrinsic evil, those who interpreted that it was allowable were condemned by their Protestant brethren. But not anymore. Why? What changed?

The alternative to the Magisterium is the will of the people around us. If I don’t work within the pope’s guidelines then I work within the guidelines of everyone else. I’d rather follow one wise man than all the fools in the world.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Natural Proofs for God’s Existence: Prime Mover

Is God real or is he simply a made-up crutch for people who can’t deal with reality? I suggest that there is plenty of evidence from nature and science to show the existence of God. Let’s Start with St. Thomas Aquinas’ five Ways (or proofs) for the existence of God.

The first of this is a Prime Mover. Science tells us that for something to move, that thing must be acted upon by another force. If a ball is sitting on a billiard table it will not move unless something else moves it.

The only problem is that this requires a Prime (first) Mover. If there is nothing greater than the physical world, then the physical world would not be since matter cannot move itself. If the Big Bang Theory is true, there had to be a catalyst for it.

The movement of energy had to start somewhere and nothing science has uncovered can move itself. It seems there must be something outside our understanding; that something is God.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Where does money taken at collection go?

Money gathered during the Offertory goes to the parish. The money given does not go back to the diocese or to any other parish in the diocese.

The parish uses this money to pay things like electric bills, wages for staff members, Mass supplies, and so forth.

Money is also given to charities and different outreach causes. Most parishes denote a percentage of collected funds for charitable giving. If you want more specifics on how your parish divides up what it takes in, ask your parish business manager for more details.

Most, if not all, parishes also have a finance council that is comprised of the pastor, the business manager (if there is one), and several lay members of the congregation. It is this council that makes the decisions on where funds will go. If you don’t like how things are being done, then run for the finance council and try to do something about it.

Sometimes a second collection is taken at Mass. This collection goes entirely to the cause that’s stated before the collection. Second collections are done at the pastor’s consent, or the bishop’s if they really want to throw their weight around I suppose.

All parishes I’ve seen post a financial report on a regular basis to account for how they’ve managed the funds they’ve taken in. Always remember that your church has real expenses just like you; and what we give determines if our parish keeps the lights on, or can help families in need.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bible Myth #76: Once the Bible was compiled, everyone had one

The canon, or list of books, in the Bible was finally settled around 400 AD. At that time, it had to be written by hand on vellum (animal skin) and it took three years to write on. Consequently, it also, cost about three years’ wages to buy one.

A house today costs roughly three years’ wages (or more for a lot of people) and I doubt they offered Bible mortgages back then. So how many people do you suppose had a family Bible before the printing press was made?

Not many. That’s why the Catholic Church devised the Lectionary. This little device is a schedule of readings to ensure the entire Bible is read in three year cycles. So if you go the Catholic Church daily for three years, you’ll hear virtually the entire Bible; plus many important verses are repeated yearly so you’ll get extra doses of those. This was done so everyone could hear the Bible with nothing left out.

Plus, up to the time of the printing press, literacy rates were very low. Owning a Bible wouldn’t guarantee you could even read it. I know I’d never buy a house I couldn’t live in, when I could get the same benefit from the Church for free.

The idea that a person could be “saved” by the Bible alone and outside the Catholic Church was unheard of until the fifteenth century. Not because of Catholic oppression, but because Bibles were scarce, expensive, few people could read, and it was faithfully read at Mass every day.

Friday, May 1, 2009

What Should US Catholics do about the Swine Flu?

There are some legitimate concerns among Catholics regarding the Swine Flu. Much of our worship is communal, we gather together for Mass and many parishes share the Precious Blood. Should Catholics continue doing this?

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has released a Q&A on their website (available here) to answer these and other questions. Please spend some time reading up on what the Church is recommending to help contain the spread of this disease.

A few things to remember:

• Our bishops are our shepherds. It is within their authority to close churches and/or restrict the offering of the Cup at Communion. Part of the beauty of our faith is having leaders with Apostolic Authority.
• Jesus is fully present in the Consecrated Bread. If you do not receive the Cup you are not missing anything! Both the Bread and Cup are the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ. You do not need to receive both.

Please do your best to protect yourself and those around you by following the guidelines set out by the USCCB and the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Also, please pray for those suffering from this outbreak.

God bless.