You know Father Joe, you sound a lot like the secular scientist Richard Dawkins who if you don’t just take his word as fact without any REAL evidence, then “you’re stupid!”
You have only church practices to back your claim about Mary’s holiness.
If I’m not wrong, doesn’t God say, “There is none righteous, not a single one”? Doesn’t he say, “All have fallen away”? Doesn’t he say, “All have fallen short of the glory of God”? Now I’m sure you’ll have a very convincing argument for Mary’s not being included there but is that based on biblical teachings or the churches practice?
What did Christ day about the teachers of the law? Be careful to judge others Father Joe lest you be judged likewise!
There’s only 1 Judge I know. I’d appreciate you not praying for me thanks as you’ll probably go in front of a statue of Mary to do so. It’s no wonder Jesus called the teachers hypocrites!
P.S. If you can’t reply without so much anger in you, maybe it’s time for you to shut down your blog eh? FATHER and LEADER of the flock!
Ignorance is not the same as stupidity, or at least it need not be. We can be properly informed and grow in the truth. Dawkins negates any philosophy or religion that falls outside of his limited scope for truth. Dawkins does not deny all evidence, but he does throw out much of the richness that belongs to human culture and genius. I throw nothing out. We can be informed through science, philosophy and religion. We can be edified by mathematics or a poetic sonnet. We can learn from dissertations or from fanciful myths. I believe that God speaks to us in natural law and in his revealed Word. How is it then that I am like Dawkins? Indeed, would you not be the one to show him essential agreement and kinship in discounting Sacred Tradition and the teaching role of the Magisterium?
Actually, in regard to Mary’s holiness, we have the testimony of Scripture, as I have earnestly attempted to demonstrate to you. You are the one who would question Mary’s divine election as the immaculate Mother of our Savior. Why would you question God’s providence or his power to give his Son a pure vessel through which to enter our world? Original sin was passed to us through human generation. It would make no sense for Christ as the All Holy One to take his humanity from sinful flesh. The privilege of the Immaculate Conception was not simply to honor Mary but to protect the divine dignity of Jesus Christ. Mary is hailed by an angel as “full of grace.” She is the most favored daughter of God chosen to be the holy Mother of the Messiah.
Yes, all have fallen short of the glory of God. Yes, we are sinners. It was precisely for this reason that Mary calls Jesus her Savior. However, in her case there is prevenient grace. Mary is preserved from sin by the same saving Cross that transforms us through faith and baptism. Mary does not save herself. Jesus does for her what he will do for us who believe in him.
The testimony of Scripture comes to us through a living Church. It must be understood within the context of the tenets and worship of that faith community. Your rejection of the Church and her traditions results in numerous false interpretations. However, I doubt you will appreciate how the disjointed interpretations you give are severed from any kind of logical or authentic hermeneutics.
Our Lord criticized the Pharisees and Scribes as blind guides and hypocrites, but he did not deny that they received their authority from God.
“The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice” (Matthew 23:2-3).
The Pope sits in the cathedra or chair of St. Peter, to whom our Lord gave the keys of the kingdom and renamed as the ROCK upon which he would establish his Church. The Magisterium is composed of those bishops who teach in unity with him. Priests are also given apostolic orders and are charged to teach what the Church teaches. Thus, you may not think much of me, but if you were consistent, you would take seriously to observe what the Catholic Church teaches. Instead, you ridicule the messengers and reject the message. If you do so from ignorance then you may still be open to Christ’s mercy. If you do so from enmity, then the warning about judgment also applies to you.
Christ will judge souls, but the teaching Church and her ministers are charged to proclaim the truths of faith.
Why would you reject my offer of intercessory prayer for you? Is it just because of an expressed malice against Mary? I fear that a proper discernment of spirit would disclose a poorly disguised diabolical oppression. On this account I will redouble my efforts.
“Dear Lord Jesus, you made yourself a slave so that men might be free. You were renounced by the crowd so that we might be claimed by God as his children. You were mocked by the soldiers and crowned with thorns all so that we might be made members of your kingdom. You suffered the scourging and passion so that a broken world might be healed. You died on the Cross so that we might live. Dear Jesus, you are the SAVING NAME, and we ask you to open the eyes and to soften the heart of Paul who has commented on this Blog. Let him know the love you have for him. Forgive his sins and join him ever closer to the family of faith. We offer this prayer in Jesus’ Name, the one who is the Son of God and the Son of Mary. Amen.”
Again, I will extend to you the Peace of Christ.
A discussion with Paul on some matters about which he has a dispute.
PAUL: What is the true meaning and definition of being an Apostle of Jesus?
FATHER JOE: There are varied definitions given but Catholicism would tend to restrict the term to the chief Disciples of Christ. The Church is apostolic in the succession of Holy Orders through the “laying on” of hands, in the perpetuation of Jesus’ ministry and in our constant teaching from the deposit of faith revealed to the early Church and passed down to us.
PAUL: Doesn’t it mean walking with and following the actual person you are trying to emulate?
FATHER JOE: Yes, but that is a generic dictionary definition of the word apostle, not a theological or doctrinal distinction.
PAUL: I think that we have been called disciples and based on the true meaning of apostle, no one on earth, at least present day earth, can be called an apostle.
FATHER JOE: The Catholic Church believes the authority of the Apostles is passed to the Bishops of the Church. Pope Francis is singular among the Bishops because he is viewed as the Successor of Saint Peter (and for that matter, Saint Paul).
PAUL: So if Jesus, as the Catholic Church says, interchangeably meditates/intercedes for us to the Father then why do we also need Mary to pray/intercede/meditate for us? In regard to Jesus this is biblically based as is the fact that the Holy Spirit speaks to the Father in groans that words cannot express. Both Jesus and the Holy Spirit are in full nature also God.
(I think by “meditates” you actually mean “mediates.”)
The problem with your statement is that it does not sufficiently express Catholic teaching. The Word became flesh and in his mortal life Jesus revealed to us the face of God, how to pray and how to live out our discipleship. He prayed in his humanity because it is an essential element to the incarnation and our humanity. However, after his Paschal Mystery (suffering, death and resurrection), Jesus the Lord ascended to his place at the right hand of the Father. He transforms and facilitates our approach to the Father. We do not ask Jesus to pray to God for us because he is God. We address our prayers to the Father in Jesus’ name.
Jesus is a divine Person, as is the Father and Holy Spirit. There are three eternal generations in the Blessed Trinity. Remember the classical definition from the councils of the Church: there are three divine Persons but one divine Nature in God. God is still one.
We can intercede and pray for each other. Indeed, Mary and the saints in heaven can do so for us still in earthly pilgrimage. God is still the direct object of all prayer, even intercessory. Asking others to pray for us does not displace God from his dais. We are all creatures, even the angels, although they are spiritual and not composites like ourselves. The saints of heaven share in our Lord’s risen life and continue to love us and to pray for us
The mediation of Christ is not interchangeable with sanctoral intercession. Christ is the Mediator, Lord, Redeemer and Savior. We approach him both individually and with a communal faith. The latter is very much the purpose for which he instituted the Church. We do not approach God alone. Just as God called to himself an Old Testament people— so too does he claim the Church as a new People of God. Church membership includes the faithful on earthly pilgrimage, the souls in purgation and the saints of heaven.
We offer our prayers to the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit. Christ is the bridge between heaven and earth. He is the Way and the Truth and the Life. If it were not for the Holy Spirit there could be no faith and no prayer. We could not say “Jesus is Lord” if it were not given us by the Holy Spirit.
PAUL: By the way, I find NO biblical reference to Mary being our spiritual mother. Thank you.
FATHER JOE: I have already written at great length about the Blessed Mother and would invite you to search the pages of my site. Mary is given to us as our Mother at the Cross through our emissary Saint John. A phrase I repeat again and again is that “the Mother of the Redeemer becomes the Mother of all the Redeemed.” Mary will always be the Mother of Jesus. Believers are members of the Mystical Body of Christ (which is extremely biblical). Mary is the Mother of Christ where ever he should be found. If we are grafted to Christ and have been transformed by grace into his likeness then she sees something of her Son alive in us. We imitate Christ’s filial relationship of love to Mary. We are made members of the royal household of God. Through faith and baptism we are made adopted sons and daughters of the Father. Thus, Christ the King becomes our elder brother in faith and Mary assumes her crown as the Queen Mother. Peace!
I am troubled that otherwise orthodox Catholic critics are suggesting that the Synod on the Family in Rome will signal a fall into apostasy. While there may be a number of wrong-thinking priests and bishops, I have confidence that nothing of the Church’s doctrinal integrity will be sacrificed to pastoral expediency.
While the deposit of faith is both fixed and develops, there can be no revocation of objective truths. Those couples living in second marriages or irregular unions cannot be uncritically invited to receive Holy Communion. They may come up without our invitation; but we cannot encourage people to commit either mortal sin or sacrilege against the Eucharist. No degree of penance would suffice unless there is genuine repentance and a firm amendment of life. Any projected change in discipline or a so-called pastoral provision cannot justify regularizing church life for recalcitrant adulterers.
Despite the derision by angry critics that many priests are spineless wimps, most men in ministry are dedicated and courageous in their service. Priests who seem to turn a blind eye to scandalous behavior are often in the dark or uncertain about the marital status of others. The opposite may also be true. Their apparent passivity may consist of knowing too many facts about which they are duty bound to keep within professional secrecy and/or the seal of Confession. A priest may do nothing by word or gesture or intimation based upon what he learns in the sacrament of Penance. This is the case even when absolution is withheld. Such a predicament does not prevent others from condemning faithful priests who are already suffering when they must treat adulterers, active homosexuals and child-murderers as if they are Catholics in perfectly good standing.
Of course, it is no wonder that many of the laity might expect churchmen to invite blasphemy against the Eucharist when ministers are generally forbidden by their bishops to refuse the sacrament to others for fear of negative publicity or scandal. We have witnessed for many years the tension of various pro-life groups with certain U.S. Bishops demanding that they turn away from the altar pro-abortion politicians and others who enable the murder of the unborn. This conflict has yet to be resolved and continues to alienate those who should be on the same side and working together. In any case, there is a vast difference between a general passivity and a universal invitation.
The Holy See and the Church are servants of the Word, not its master. The words of St. Paul about fornicators, homosexuals and adulterers cannot be stripped from Scripture or from the constant tradition of the Church. Similarly, the notion of the “closed-table” finds it roots in St. Paul and the censures of the early Church: “And therefore, if anyone eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily, he will be held to account for the Lord’s body and blood. A man must examine himself first, and then eat of that bread and drink of that cup; he is eating and drinking damnation to himself if he eats and drinks unworthily, not recognizing the Lord’s body for what it is” (1 Cor. 11:27-29). While there are different theologies in the Church, they must speak to the same doctrinal truths. Disciplines and pastoral practices are not geared to circumvent doctrine but to help express and realize them.
What can we expect from the Synod on the Family in Rome? Compromise would precipitate acceleration in the breakdown of marriages. I foresee a reaffirmation of the timeless faith with suggestions to redouble our efforts to welcome and bring healing into the lives of our people. Let us trust our bishops. Let us work with our people and not against them. Let us put aside the silly sensationalism in the news and give the living Church the opportunity to teach and minister as she should. There will be discussion and debate in Rome. But we have confidence in the Holy Spirit and the Magisterium. The process can be messy but so is life. The truth will prevail.
I took this picture at the end of the canonization Mass at the Shrine last week. Pope Francis is presenting a rosary to a statue of the Blessed Mother. I had a good seat with the other priests but got a mean sunburn for the effort. Nevertheless, the weather was pleasant.
This is my current screen saver on my computer. It is a video grab photo of my nephews Patrick and Philip (the two African-American boys) having a close encounter with Pope Francis at the US Nunciature. Both were touched, blessed and one got his head rubbed! It was carried on ABC News and on C-SPAN.