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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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Trust the Power of the Mass for Healing

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I was reminded of the “Healing Your Family Tree” phenomenon among certain Charismatics and Exorcists while reading about Msgr. Clement Machado and watching a few of his YouTube EWTN videos.  He claims to have had visions of the Blessed Mother and St. Patrick.  I am skeptical… but who knows?  The Church has many saints and seers.  The children of Fatima were given a vision of hell so as to pray more fervently for souls.

While Catholicism certainly encourages prayers for the souls of the dead, this idea of targeting sins and woundedness in past generations for current problems faced by believers goes back to the ancient Jews.  They believed that punishment for the sins of one’s fathers could be visited upon the children.  Our notion of Original Sin is an extension of this.  However, at least as a routine source of particular ailments, Jesus seems to dismiss this notion.

“As he passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world’” (John 9:1-5).

While we would not deny our connection with those who have gone before us, if taken too far, we might fall into superstition or the occult.  The sacrifice of the Mass makes possible atonement but it is a sacrament that conveys grace and mercy.  It is not sorcery or magic.  Further, we cannot purely blame our problems on deceased family members.  We live in a broken world and sometimes we are our own worst enemies.  It may be that certain maladies are placed before us so that we might demonstrate or witness to a courageous faith.  Catholicism does not run away from all sickness and pain but often seeks to transform the dark realities.  They are opportunities for us to take up our crosses in following Jesus. There is already too much of a “victim mentality” inflicting our society— regarding ethnicity, gender, orientation and social status.  I am worried that such ideas as healing the family tree may often be misunderstood in this light.

We are all aware of the excesses of popular Protestant ministers who put on a big show in conducting “purported” healings.  Many pagans and so-called demonologists dangerously tinker with exorcisms.  Returning to the Catholic camp, there is a temptation, especially among the rising celebrity priests, to emphasize what they can do over what Jesus can do.  While the Church needs exorcists, it is best that the ministry be imposed upon the priest rather than enthusiastically embraced outside of an episcopal summons.  Indeed, while any priest can offer absolution and deliverance prayer, full exorcisms require the authorization of the immediate bishop.  (When I think about this issue my mind quickly recalls Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer, a wonderful defender of human life who fumbled in this area.)

Sharing information is fine, but sensationalism about the devil, exorcism and obsession can pose a real danger.  After the release of popular horror movies, chanceries are bombarded by phone calls of people who all think they are possessed.  While we battle powers and principalities, much sin finds its origin in the world of men and many who imagine they are spiritually afflicted are in actuality mentally disturbed.

During November there is a special emphasis upon prayers for the dead.  Yes, we can claim spiritual benefits for the dead and the living.  There is a two-fold action— uniting and breaking off.  A funeral Mass offered for the dead brings grace and we commend the deceased, particularly the souls in purgatory, to the mercy of God.  They are sped on their way.  We invoke the purification of God’s love, a fire that heals. Our prayer also joins us to the communion of the saints.  Simultaneously, if there are any negative spiritual elements, as with those who have rejected God’s love, then that bond is severed with the living.  The expression “rest in peace” can apply to the living just as well as to the dead.  But ultimate judgment is left to almighty God.  While there might be little or no fanfare, Catholics need to trust the sacraments, especially the Mass.  We need to encourage the offering of Masses for the dead and for healing in times of trauma.  This is the most effective and resolute manner of healing “the family tree.”

My late father back in the 1950’s spent time as a Trappist monk at Holy Cross Monastery in Berryville, VA.  He firmly believed that his life of work and prayer there, combined with the sacrifice of the Holy Mass, facilitated the translation of all our family ancestors from purgatory to heaven.  The emphasis should NOT be upon how links to the dead can plague us.  Rather, recalling that the poor souls are now helpless, we should intercede on their behalf.  As we prepare to celebrate All Souls Day, we should all recommit ourselves to praying for the dead.

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Community, Intercession & Apostolic Men

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CHARLES:

You are simply ridiculous!

Only God can forgive sin. The only way a person can get God to forgive his sins is through God’s Son and perfect sacrifice, Jesus. The way to the Father is through the Son. There is nowhere is Scripture that says priests can forgive sin. It is quite clear when Jesus healed the paralytic that only God and the Son could forgive sin.

FATHER JOE:

Yes, since sin is an offense against almighty God, it belongs to God to forgive sin. This is not contended. Where we disagree is about how goes about pouring his mercy upon us. The incarnation is a theme that runs through Catholic doctrine. God is made present in Jesus Christ. Jesus who is God is made present in his Word. Jesus who is God is made present in his Church. Jesus who is God is active in his ministers or priests. Jesus who is God is present and saving in his sacraments. The Mass offered by ordained priests is understood as a re-presentation of the saving oblation of Jesus. The ordained presbyter participates in the one (high) priesthood of Jesus Christ.

Christ is the center of everything. He is the divine pontifex or bridge to the Father. There is no way to the Father except through the Son. All this is Catholic teaching. None are saved apart from Christ. Your assertion that the Scriptures do not support the ministry of reconciliation cannot be substantiated. Indeed, it would make no sense for Jesus to establish a Church and then to make her impotent to extend his forgiveness. The work of Jesus is the work of the Church— the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of souls.

Here are some pertinent Scriptures:

Matthew 16:19 – “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

John 20:23 – Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

2 Corinthians 5:17-20 – So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

James 5: 16 – Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.

James 5: 19-20 – My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

CHARLES:

In Mark 2:5-12, with the healing of the paralytic, Jesus did not correct the scribes because there was nothing to correct. No one but God and the Son can forgive sin.

FATHER JOE:

Twice you have made a distinction between “God and the Son.” You do understand that Jesus is God, right? God in Jesus Christ is revealed as “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

Actually, the scribes are questioned for their “reasoning about these things” in their “hearts.” They are not only desperately trying not to believe but not to love. Jesus heals the paralytic to prove that he has the power to both heal and forgive. The physical operation points to the spiritual. We will later see similar miracles in the ministry of his apostles. They will be imbued with Christ’s power and something of his authority.

CHARLES:

Secondly in John 20:23, Jesus was not speaking about priests. He was speaking about Apostles and their special authority that was given to them. Nothing in Scripture says “Apostle Authority” can be passed down, e.g. the authority to forgive sin and to write Scripture. However it does mention appointing elders. Priests are being ordained as elders not as Apostles. They did not inherit any special “Apostle Authority” and frankly there is nothing to suggest they did.

FATHER JOE:

Actually, it was only with the reformation some 1,500 years later that this succession in authority and transmission of power was questioned. The Apostles would lay hands upon their successors, the Episcopoi or Bishops and they in turn would ordain Presbyters (Priests) and Deacons. We find this truth fully realized in the early Church, especially during the Patristic Period. You speak from a severe ignorance of history. Indeed, even within the period of the Acts of the Apostles, the numbers of apostles expands beyond the dozen that followed Christ. Christ established a Church and gave men to shepherd in his name. It would make no sense to do so and then strip that Church of his saving presence and power.

CHARLES:

The simple fact of the matter is the Catholic Church is corrupt and “gave” itself the “authority” to forgive sin in order to fund its coffers through indulgences and encourage men to sign up for the Crusades and go to Heaven.

FATHER JOE:

There is no fact here at all, just a bigoted opinion. Our Lord called sinners to himself and the Church does the same. The Church is holy because Christ is holy. Indulgences were abused by some but reflected our sense of communion with the saints. The merits of Christ have lasting value, both those performed by him and those made possible with him in others. As for the Crusades, they were an attempt to keep the Holy Land open to pilgrims and to defend the Christian faith. Again, there were abuses, but this was the central thrust. The Western world is again threatened by a radical militant Islam; but this time will there be any Christian Knights to defend it?

CHARLES:

Since only God can forgive sin, praying to God is all the matters. Priests, the saints or Mary are not needed as intermediaries. Thinking of them in any such way (besides people whose actions should be emulated) clouds the direct link between people, God, and the forgiveness of sin through his Son.

FATHER JOE:

Your religion collapses under numerous contradictions. You deny the Church any legitimacy, and along with it reject true fellowship in Christ, the communion of the saints, priestly ministry, and the sacraments. You would not even have a Bible were it not for the Church that collected the books, translated the texts and transmitted it down through the centuries. Christ said that he came to establish a Church and yet you seem to miss that important biblical truth. Just as the Jews needed each other and even made atonement for the dead; so do Catholic Christians. Devotion goes way beyond hero worship or simple imitation. We are bonded to them in love and love is always active. Love always has a role. When our Lord tells us to abide in LOVE, this is precisely what he means. Love is more than sentiment or empty words. Love is always realized in prayerful intercession and acts of charity. Otherwise, it is not really love. It is foolish and arrogant to think otherwise.

CHARLES:

Also praying to God doesn’t change anything except for forgiveness from sin. God is perfect and as such never changes his mind. How could we trust a covenant with Him if he changed his mind? God may use prayers as a mechanism of miracles but they did not “convince” God to do anything. He was already planning on doing it. So intercession from a horde of saints and Mary has no effect. This isn’t a democracy. More or less voices in support a person don’t change anything. Praying to saints doesn’t make it more or less likely that a miracle will happen.

FATHER JOE:

You miss the whole point. Prayer is never about changing God but about transforming us. God is the source and the fruit of our prayer. The Holy Spirit gives us faith and makes prayer possible. God is perfect but we are sinners. While the Scriptures speak in an anthropomorphic way about God, Catholicism appreciates the philosophical concept of God as the Unmoved Mover. In other words, in God as Spirit there is no potency. It is peculiar that you have borrowed these Catholic principles given that they are not clearly found in Scripture but rather in Church tradition and philosophy.

God knows what we need and yet he wants us to call upon him. It may seem that he anticipates our requests, because from our perspective he answers— God always answers. Prayer or dialogue with God is not about changing God’s mind but about conforming our own hearts and minds more closely with Christ’s. It is in Christ, a divine Person incarnate, that we experience the revelation of God that makes a supernatural faith possible. If we pray with faith, we are told that trees can be uprooted and mountains moved. Would you deny the Bible on this? We can join with one another in our prayers— both the living in pilgrimage on earth and the living in glory within heaven. Prayer like sacraments have efficacy because the Spirit of God has power. Catholics do not view God as a genie in a lamp upon which we can press our wishes. When we pray to God it is always approach from the posture of humility. The Catholic stance always echoes, “Thy will be done.”

CHARLES:

Prayer is meant to form a more personal relationship with God and for people to find forgiveness with God. By praying to Mary or Saints this goal is obscured and misconceptions regarding the truth of forgiveness and salvation are formed. This is why Protestants don’t do it. The only way to salvation is through the Son. All this other hogwash is just obscuring and confusing this fact.

FATHER JOE:

Your reductionism of prayer is pathetic. Before you would try to teach others, you need to be better informed. Otherwise, the blind will lead the blind. I know informed Protestants who would be embarrassed by your caricatures of Catholicism and by statements that conflict with teachings in their own denominations.

As I said before, Christ and his redemptive work opens the gates of heaven to us. He makes possible our approach to the Father. This is Catholic and Protestant belief. Protestants disagree (in some cases) about intercessory prayer because of views about justification or the status of the saints in heaven. How would I as a Catholic priest explain prayer?

Prayer, at its heart, is communication with God. All true prayer, even intercessory prayer, has as its proper object— almighty God. Prayer is both personal and communal. We approach God as individuals and as members of a faith family. The prayer we first learn as children is the GIMME prayer. Some adults never learn any other type of prayer. This is sad, even tragic. It can make us selfish, concerned with “self” instead of with “other.”

There is nothing wrong with petition but it is not sufficient by itself. We submit our needs before God knowing that he loves us and will provide for us. All prayer acknowledges the basic dependence of the creature upon the Creator.
The most important oration is that of the saints and angels. It should also be ours— the prayer of praise or adoration. We honor God just for being God. He is the source of our existence. Something of his majesty shines back to us through the order and beauty of creation. We praise God, yes even if nothing should be received in return. He is all perfect, all knowing, all loving, and all good. Glory be to God! Hosanna in the Highest! Alleluia!

There are also prayers of contrition where we approach God with sorrow over sin, desiring his mercy. Imperfect contrition would have us fear the loss of heaven and the pains of hell; perfect contrition would have us grieve in love over how our sins afflicted the Sacred Heart, literally the source for our Lord’s Passion and Death. It saddens us that we have offended God when we should have loved him above all things. Christ, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

There is also a place for Thanksgiving. Indeed, the word EUCHARIST means to give thanks. Catholics thank the Lord in their morning offerings and evening prayers. We thank God before meals. We thank him at the Eucharist or Mass, the great communal prayer that has within it all the forms of prayer.

The Eucharist is viewed as our opportunity to enter into the prayer or saving action of Christ. It is are-presentation of Calvary. We encounter both the saving REAL PRESENCE of Christ in Holy Communion, but also his oblation that makes true atonement for all the sins of the world. It is a command performance. The Lord told his apostles at the Last Supper to “do this in remembrance of me.” The word that helps us to understand here is “amnesis,” meaning that which is remembered is made present. Jesus refers to himself at the Supper as the Lamb of God. He shares the cup of his covenant. A covenant cannot be established with fake blood— only real blood. There is a great mystery given believers. Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the word, have mercy on us! Grant us peace!

CHARLES:

The “Church” is rotten to the core: centuries of corruption, war, theft, distortion of Scripture, and the covering up of sexual abuse of children. Continually chanting that “the Catholic Church” is the only true Church changes nothing. I can safely say Jesus would be disgusted by the Pope sitting on his golden throne as children starve across the world and lack basic education and medicine.

FATHER JOE:

The Church was instituted by Christ and preserved by the Holy Spirit. Condemnation of the Church is blasphemy against God’s handiwork. Your criticism also trespasses into the area of sinful calumny. It is one thing to be critical; it is another to be prejudiced. You are the latter. The history of the Church is the history of the world. The legacy of the Church is the testimony and witness of the saints. We still live in a world of corruption, war and greed. Often the Church is the one voice which speaks out for healing, peace and charity. You would silence this voice; or worse yet, to allow the sins of a few to negate the blessings and miracles she has brought into the world. The Catholic Church is the Mother of the Bible. The distortion belongs to those who dismiss her life you. You define yourself by your hatred of all things Catholic. The Catholic Church has done more to protect children and to care for the world’s poor than any other non-governmental institution. I bet you have done little or nothing for the poor and hurting, either at home or around the world. We run thousands of schools and hospitals and yet you condemn the Church for leaving people in ignorance and sickness. Hypocrite, deal with the plank in your own eye before condemning the Church and others for the splinter in theirs!

The Apostles’ Creed, the Righteous Dead & Hell

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Bob brings up an interesting inquiry regarding the Apostles’ Creed.  He writes:

“During the celebration of the Mass and reciting the Creed we say, ‘He descended into hell.’ The classroom posters for the children say, ‘He descended unto the dead.’ Now I was taught that our Lord Jesus descended into hell to show Satan and his followers that he is the Light of the World and that he has the power over sin and death; but based on research, professors of theology are using the Greek word “Hades” meaning place of the dead and as I remember it was similar to purgatory. Please give your thoughts on this.”

Sorry to say, it sounds like Bob and others were taught wrong. The current translation of the Creed at Mass uses the word HELL. The poster has the previous liturgical translation of the Creed, UNTO THE DEAD. It changed with the newer and corrected translation of the Roman Missal. A translation that was popular in Anglican circles rendered it as UNTO THE QUICK. Hell is a more literal translation; unfortunately, it can also be misunderstood. It refers not to the hell of the damned but to the more generic abode of the dead, what the Church termed as THE LIMBO OF THE FATHERS. Such a place no longer exists. Sin had breached humanity from God; the gates of heaven were closed with the sin of Adam and Eve. None could enter true heaven until the coming of the Christ. The righteous dead (Jews and Gentiles) awaited their Savior. Jesus descends into hell or unto the dead or into the limbo of the fathers so that they might now be translated into heaven. The Eastern churches have an icon where Jesus flies from the flames carrying Adam and Eve out by the hair. Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life. There is no way to the Father except through him. He is the bridge or “pontifex.” His saving Cross makes possible our passage. We have been redeemed by the Lord. He pays the price for our entry. It is an affirmation that none are saved apart from Christ. As I said, the limbo of the fathers is not hell of the damned, not heaven of the saints and not purgatory. Those three realities still exist. However, at the final consummation and judgment, purgatory will also cease to be. The poor souls would have completed their passage to the heavenly shore.  Then there will be two realities, heaven (the victory of love) and hell (the frustration of hatred and the wrong kind of loving).

MORE on Do Animals Go to Heaven?

See Previous Post:  Do Animals Go to Heaven

Some time back I made a post in response to inquiries about people’s pet dogs and the question as to whether they would be given entry into heaven. It is amazing how long the subsequent thread became. My answer was essentially to stress human immortality and our hope for heaven. Animal substantial forms would continue to exist as paradigms in the divine mind. Anything more would be up to God’s mysterious providence and I would not presume to give an answer where the Church has not. Others were free to speculate, but we would not know anything more for sure until or if we find ourselves among the saints.

All sorts of responses were elicited. Some were angry with me and thought I was mean-spirited. (I could not post all of these comments.) Others made arguments for the continued existence of animals because they are a part of our affection and shared existence in this world and thus would add to our happiness in the next. Others cited Scripture and argued for a literal new earth. Some ridiculed the whole notion of an afterlife, for anyone or anything. Others agreed with me that the stress had to be upon the beatific vision and how we (people) are made for God. In any case, the whole gambit of responses was made. It actually makes for an interesting discussion. I mention it again here, in case anyone new might like to see the comments or add some.

I would not worry much about the fate of animals after they die. If we love animals we should do what we can now to protect them from abuse and suffering. We live in a world where many species are rapidly becoming extinct.

Further, some may err by the sin of presumption about their own salvation. Are you sure that you are going to heaven? Speaking for myself, I have faith in Christ and try to be a faithful disciple in the Church. I worship God and seek to serve him through my charity and sacrifices for others. However, if people forget God, discount obedience to the commandments, and hate their fellow man… well, they may be in for a terrible surprise!

While I do not agree with everything in the fundamentalist Protestant message, here is an interesting clip from a Christian Scare Video that was shown to me in HS Bible Club…

COMMENTS

MISTER FLAPATAP:

With the prospect of looking at God face to face, we are wondering about Muffy and Fido? For the love of Pete!

My mother passed away last week and I was even wondering about meeting our loved ones in Heaven. Since our love will be perfected in God, there should not be any preference or degrees of love towards others. Will we care more about spending time with an old relative than someone who is now a stranger? I am inclined to think not. But I may be mistaken…

JOHANNES:

God works in mysterious ways, a billionth times into billions beyond the reach of any technology from this world or beyond this world we live in.

In my belief, most of his wonders are never exposed to those with a proud consciousness but to those who humbly accept and welcome him into their life with a deep appreciation and understanding of this GIFT that cannot be made nor created, this gift called LIFE.

So, one out of these wonders, I believe that our God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, time and space, had reserved somewhere a space for our animals especially those who share our life and amuses us in time of great misery.

Animals, especially those who understands us are not cars or machines that have no souls and simply rust in time when abandoned, but, they have a living life, a soul and an understanding, that is why they are welcome by most of us humans to relish and share our life, some of us even treated them as our own family members.

In my opinion, I have no doubt our Father somewhere in his Bag of Mysteries had reserved a special place just for them in their afterlife.

BETTY:

This is such an interesting question and as we have several pets. The kids want to know the answer. I think your point about being stewards of animals on earth is what we should be focused upon. I recently picked up a book called Animals in Heaven? Catholics Want to Know! by author Susi Pittman. As a devout Catholic and steward of creation, she offers compelling evidence for animals to be present in heaven.

CHRISTIAN:

I wonder if dogs might go to heaven, but in some lesser sense than humans do. We are created by God, and in a subsidiary way we created dogs, i.e. we use the creativeness we receive from God to create things ourselves. Maybe through our efforts, God gives dogs a primitive “pneuma,” to go along with the “anima” they received directly from God.

FATHER JOE:

Huh?

YIANNI:

For God had created the world out of love, the Lord shows his love through everything you see, animals, birds, fish, the sun the moon, and above all MAN. Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you may receive in heaven openly.

TREVOR:

I looked this up because, at 5:10 today I have to go and have our dear golden retriever “Charlie” put down, as he has a brain tumor.

I am so sad because he has been part of our family for nearly 10 years and has just given love to us all. I think that love is coming somehow from God, and unlike me, he was not tainted with original sin.

Maybe animals already know God, and are therefore already in a state of bliss that we find when we go to heaven.

I shall miss that unconditional love and I pray that someday I will also feel like that.

Jesús Luis de Jesus Miranda, Anti-Christ or Demented?

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This discussion was posted back in 2008.  The word was out that the followers of Miranda were planning to disrupt the Masses and visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States.  They did not even make a blip on the news radar.  Back in 2012, Miranda predicted that his followers would be transformed with the ability to walk through walls and to go through fire unscathed.  The day came and went with no change.  Other cults were predicting the end of the world and the final judgment.  But we are still here.  While he claims to be Jesus (qualified as “the man”), in 2007, he also claimed to be the Antichrist.  He defines this in terms of a demarcation between the Jesus of Scripture and his authority in this new manifestation.  His followers mark their bodies with a 666 tattoo.  It is all very peculiar. 

FATHER JOE:

He says the lie begins in Rome, but he attacks all religions.  It is almost unbelievable to me that people would worship this man and mark themselves with the sign of the beast.  Their tactics are aggression and screaming.  He is now setting his eyes on the growing Hispanic population in the U.S.   He denies the name “Jesus of Nazareth” and yet it is this is the saving name.  He denies great signs and wonders, as well as miracles:  such would cater to a strange occult version of atheism and impugn the efficacy of the sacraments.  He claims to be the fulfillment of all prophecies, making him the final term of all human history; this usurps the true Lord of his place as the eternal Word through whom all things came to be and by whom all will be consummated and judged.  He denies exorcism by asserting that the devil was destroyed and demons do not exist; such a ploy would allow the devils to remain active in hiding with no saving name of Jesus to cast them out.  Arguing that there is no sin, his teachings are absolutely sinister.  This collapse of any notion of sin, leaving souls powerless and in bondage would make for a brilliant demonic battle plan.  He redefines the number of the beast, 666, as the number for himself, a false Christ, and condemns traditional Christians as apostates.  He contends that the number 666 means wisdom and prosperity.  He associates it with worldly treasure.  There is certainly nothing in his teachings about building up treasure for us in the kingdom to come.

Followers mark themselves with 666 / SSS:

The self-proclaimed Son of God:

The cult is spreading around the United States:

ALENA:

¡Jose Luis de Jesús Miranda es dios!  Los sacerdotes son rapists.  ¡El papa es un mentiroso!  Usted no tiene ninguna derecha de hablar contra él.  Protestaremos a papa y proclamaremos la verdad.  ¡No hay diablo!  ¡No hay pecado!  Jesús mató al diablo y ha vencido pecado.  Hay infierno no a pagar.  Podemos tener placer y hacer lo que deseamos.  Predestined a la vida eterna.  El resto de las religiones deben ser destruidas.  ¡Quémese sus catechisms!  ¡Siga a Jesús el hombre!

FATHER JOE:

You are very mistaken. He is not God. The devil is defeated but still spiteful. Priests are good and bad, but mostly good. They bring us God’s mercy and the Eucharist. The commandments are still in force. How we live out our discipleship matters. We should avoid sin and do what is right. There is a hell for those who are God’s enemies.  You should live in peace with others, despite differences.  The Pope is Christ’s vicar, but unlike your Mister Miranda, he does not claim to be God.  How can people be so foolish to join the cults? Here it is [the modern world] and people are worshipping a man like the Romans did the emperor in the time of Christ.  Your religious leader is not Jesus.  You have all been fooled.

PADRE STEVE:

Wow that man needs a lot of prayers… and so do all those who follow him. So many false saviors… very sad! You do a great job with the blog; keep up the good work! God bless!

MISTER 666:

Well, unlike you, MY GOD HAS BLESSED ME WITH EVERY BLESSING (Ephesians 1:3), and also TOOK sin away at the cross (Hebrews 9:26) and is back now with NO RELATION TO SIN (Hebrews 9:28)… He came, to you, LIKE A THEIF IN THE NIGHT because He´s back and you, like Pharisees, don´t see it (or maybe don´t want for it to be seen… since He´s uncovering all the hidden intentions of your heart!).

IT´S A FACT… Not subject to discussion: JOSE LUIS DE JESUS MIRANDA IS THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST!!!! And, no matter whether you like it or not, WILL destroy your religious system with the SPIRIT OF HIS MOUTH aka with His preaching!!! (2 Thessalonians 2:8) is the gospel of Paul now… “too dangerous” for you?  Well… to bad!

FATHER JOE:

You call yourself by the number of the beast, 666? You are the one who is judging good priests with a false verdict. You are the hypocritical Pharisee. Now I see that you are a follower of the cult leader Jesús Miranda? Well, that explains it. He and all his disciples have made the sign of the beast their own. You have been very much deceived. Your soul is in great peril.

CORINNE:

Anyone who feels they have to submit to anyone outside of themselves to gain access to God is fooling themselves unknowingly and standing on shaky ground.

God lives within the heart of man. They will not find God by looking for him in the hearts of others, nor will they find God by looking for him in religions. The heart is the True Church, there is no other.

The only way people are going to realize their mistakes however are by first making them….

Why others feel they have to seek their own divinity in God outside of themselves through others I will never be able to grasp, but they are being taken advantage of unknowingly and will soon find this out on their own. They will soon learn that this too is yet another detour leading them away from God. God talks with all his children, not just some….

FATHER JOE:

The notion that divinity can only be found within the individual person is a heretical teaching. We possess the divine spark but such does not exhaust the reality of God. Further, while there are false messiahs, Catholicism has no problem with mediation: in terms of a teaching authority and in worship. None of us come to God alone. As for the Church, the Catholic Church is the community of faith and the great sacrament of salvation established by Christ.

CORINNE:

Also, anytime someone looks to someone over and above God and worships them, it is a cult and its idolatry.

TRADITIONAL CATHOLIC:

As far as this man, God have mercy on his souls and convert him from his evil ways because he is just paving a path directly to Hell for millions of people. How can you be so blind? I don’t get it.

Pius XII claimed that “the sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin.” And he is correct as of yet.

CORINNE:

I see the comments here are being taken out of context so I will be moving on and will comment no further. Regarding individual divinity, you’ve twisted my words. We are each a unique individual in God and divine.  Take care.

UNKNOWN:

Hey poor idiots— this guy is merely a joke.  He gives a disgrace to the name of the Anti-Christ.  The Anti-Christ is someone who is powerful and a man full of wisdom.  This guy is a filthy scum.  It is nice knowing he will burn in hell.

FATHER JOE:

If the title anti-Christ belongs to men other than Nero, then it is a label for any who oppose Christ. If it should also belong to a singular person at the end of human history, then I suspect that…

  • He, himself, will emerge from a contradictory religious background where selective toleration is preached, applauding one’s own but castigating others and deriding the noble values of our founding fathers;
  • He will be brilliant and applauded as an orator able to excite and inspire the masses to accept his mission of change;
  • He will be a person who has forfeited saving grace, redefining sin, not as a violation of God’s will but of one’s own principles;
  • He will seemingly come out of nowhere;
  • His rise to power will happen as if overnight;
  • His fame will far surpass any genuine acts of heroism or virtue;
  • He will not so much have supporters as worshippers who will chant his name;
  • Weak people generally regarded as nominally moral will support him even though he will espouse a narcissistic faith and will be explicitly tagged with a 100% pro-abortion and pro-gay rating;
  • He will be hailed as an icon for a people who were oppressed and will exert a mesmerizing power over the minds and judgments of others;
  • He will be hailed directly by infidels as the Messiah and indirectly so by fallen-away Christians;
  • He will come at a time of national unrest and global financial crisis;
  • He will come at a time when the children of Israel are militarily engaged with those around them and the blood of many innocent people will be spilt;
  • The whole world will rejoice at his coming and readily accept his authority over them;
  • He will suffer a grave wound from which he will miraculously recover, albeit through demonic power;
  • And then, things really get bad!

PEDRO:

If the people of this con-man actually knew the Bible, they would not be so easily brainwashed.

1. For one, in the Bible it states that the numbers 666 will be the mark IN their head or IN their right forehand not the arm. So why does Jose have it on his arm and not encouraging his followers to do what it says in the Bible… maybe because he doesn’t know the Bible?  (Revelation 13:16)

2. The Bible also says that the anti-Christ will have a blow to the head. So where is the blow to the head that this man has— nowhere?  (Revelation 13:3)

3. The anti-Christ is able to perform miracles. What ones has Jose done— none?  (Revelation 13:13-14)

4. And finally, what happens if this con-man dies, what will his followers think?

In the Bible, Jesus states not to follow those who claim to be Christ and that he has said it ahead of time to know not to be deceived (Luke 21:8). Jose first claimed to be Jesus, and now the anti-Christ. Well, this guy is clearly mental. How sad for those who are brainwashed by him. It reminds me of a multi-level marketing company. All I can do is pray for his salvation and to repent before the King comes back.

BOB:

All this talk about Anti-Christ! Doesn’t anybody care about Uncle Apocalypse?

JOLENE:

This man is very dangerous and needs to be stopped! How pathetic that he thinks he’s Jesus Christ? What he needs is to be hospitalized in a mental institution! He could possibly be the Anti-Christ! Being Hispanic, I am very disappointed in the thousands of Hispanic Communities that have chosen to listen to his CR-P! Stop being so ignorant and weak, because that is what you are doing… being WEAK and IGNORANT! Every Christian out there needs to start praying very hard to God and asking him to rid of this insane man! No sin? C’mon now? I cannot be too sure of it… but I am almost positive that this man’s mother did not raise him like this! I am sure she is very, very, disappointed! He has brainwashed thousands of people and has ruined families, marriages, and even spoken bad about our Pope? Anybody that has to say follow me because I’m Jesus is Crazy, Insane, and Ignorant.  The people who follow him are just as ignorant as he is!

DALIA:

I REALY WISH THAT THIS GUY CAN PROVE TO ME ABOUT EVERYTHING HE SAYS AND I REALY HOPE THAT HE AND HIS READERS READ THIS AND I HOPE THAT ONE DAY I CAN MEET THIS MAN AND TELL HIM ABOUT THE REAL JESUS CHRIST AND PROVE TO HIM THAT WHAT HE SAID IS WRONG AND TELL HIM ABOUT THE REAL GOD AND THE REAL TURTH AND ABOUT HIS LOVE AND WHO HE REALLY IS.

THIS IS REALY SAD CUZ ITS PEOPLE LIKE THIS THAT MAKES US REAL CHRISTAINS LOOK LIKE A JOKE!

I JUST HOPE THAT HE CAN BE STOPPED BUT NO ONE CAN.  ONLY GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF THAT AND ONE DAY WILL REVEAL EVEYTHING HE THINKS HE’S HIDING AND EVERY LIE HE’S BEEN SAYING TO PEOPLE.

I JUST HOPE HE FINDS THAT REAL GOD AND REPENTS FOR EVEYTHING HE’S BEEN SAYING AND DOING CUZ WHEN HE GETS JUDGED BY THE REAL GOD IN HEAVEN HE WILL GO STRAIT TO HELL AND BE BURNED FOR ETERNATY… AND THE PEOPLE THAT FOLLOWED HIM AND KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING IS WRONG!

I WILL PRAY FOR U GUYS AND I TELL U THERE IS NO ONE OUT THERE OR GREATER AND MORE POWERFUL THEN THE GOD IN HEAVEN.   THANK U AND GOD BLESS U.

DAN:

I suspect that the guy attracts followers because they want an excuse for continuing in their sins. I doubt if he will attract too much attention & followers.

YASMIN:

To start with, if God would come to earth none of us would be here. And I believe his followers are so blind because they don’t read or understand the bible, this man is putting the bible in his own words and the people that don’t read or understand falls in his lies. If they only knew that all this that’s happening is written in the true word of God! And what’s sad about it is that all of them would be joining him in hell because of their ignorance. This man is just living off of people’s money, if he was the true God he would not need people to offer him cars, companies and their money, because God is the owner of all there is on earth because he made it and he also has the power to rule it whenever he feels like it.

LEEROY:

I’m a shamed to be a human being, knowing that I live in a time that people still believe in idiots like this guy. If you belong to this cult you are the dumbest of the dumb, the weakest of the weak minded and you are slowing down the intellectual evolution of the world. I hope the end is soon so all of these morons can be killed. Maybe the next race will get it right and abolish religion all together. No one represents God, not the pope, or any preacher and especially not this sick man.

FATHER JOE:

Sounds like there is plenty of sickness to go around. You have a very strange hope, indeed. Apart from the rejection of faith, in your anger is there not a terminal hatred of humanity itself? Further, if the race of man should run its course on this planet, why should we think that the intelligent termites (if evolution should dictate) that follow us will fare any better?

DON:

Besides, the number is 616, not 666. It is the number for Nero, and original scrolls have been found at Oxyrinchus showing the number as 6 1 6.

FATHER JOE:

Actually, the number is debated. Certain manuscripts read 616 (3rd century) in reference to the Book of Revelation. It is possible that this is original although most texts give 666. I believe the Latin Vulgate, which is the official Bible of the Catholic Church, gives 666. Some researchers think that the numerology differs because 666 is a code for the Emperor Nero while 616 points to Caligula. Both were certainly anti-Christs in their own right.

JORDYS:

I totally agree with what you guys are saying. This is man is insane, and he uses reverse psychology, and plays around with the Bible’s words to mess with people’s minds. Unfortunately, some people are actually fooled by his clear tricks. However, there must be some action taken soon. This issue will continue to increase, and people will continue following him, leading to the Apocalypse, thus, Armageddon. This man is insane, and it is almost as if he would do exactly anything and everything possible to get what he wants.

BILL:

I would give more credibility to someone who displayed a fraction of the humility set by the example of someone ….say ….like St. Francis. Maybe if we let God deal with this man… he will go away?

MOO:

“The Pope is Christ’s vicar, but unlike your Mister Miranda, he does not claim to be God.”  The Catholic Church is claiming that the Pope is unmistaken though, isn’t it?

BRITTANY:

Let us remember the tragedy at Jones Town. 30 years later those images still haunt me. Those people then and these people now are victims. These people are vulnerable and brainwashed; it is only a matter of time before something really bad happens. It is already evident that these people will do anything for their “God” Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda. Let us not forget the horrendous power of an organized cult.

JOSE ARTURO:

Alena….la que escribió el 1er mensaje en este foro.  Maldita loca…. Tu si que esta pérdida. Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, es un loco con inteligencia que se esta aprovechando de la situación, ya que en la política no se puede por que es bastante cerrada, pero el tipo es un loco y se aprovecha de las mentes débiles como la de Alena. Que pendejada esta, un tipo que te dice a ti que no hay pecado, que te drogues y hagas orgías con tu tía y abuela. Que pendejada. Todavía hay Indios en America.

FATHER JOE:

Certainly she is deceived about Miranda. He is as you say, a smart fellow who is deliberately taking advantage of others, particularly the gullible. As to the sexual immorality, I do not know much about this element; what troubles me is that Catholics could be so easily led astray.

ALEX RIVERA:

The “Holy Spirit” which we all know is basically the presence of “God” himself which is everywhere at the same time 2 or 3 people congregate in his name to worship “Him” to better explain it; would have left the earth so would death, according to the bible people would suffer such agony and terror that they will seek death and not find it, if he were the “Jesus” or “Anti-Christ” he claims to be then according to “Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda” “God is a liar…My opinion is he has committed Blasphemy against the “Holy Spirit” in which according to the “Bible” is a sin without forgiveness. So with this being Blogged let’s let these things come to pass so that the word of “God” is fulfilled and keep this man and his followers in our prayers so that “God” may have mercy on their souls. May God bless us all, Amen!

FATHER JOE:

Father Joe: I will try to parse what you wrote. (1) The divine presence is indeed omnipresent. That is true, not simply about the Holy Spirit, but about the Triune God. (2) It is Jesus who tells us that he is present when we gather with others to pray. (3) This passage you write makes no sense: “…would have left the earth so would death, according to the bible people would suffer such agony and terror that they will seek death and not find it…” The clauses do not link up in a coherent manner. I have no idea what you are trying to say. (4) You are right that Miranda is not the Christ although he may be a minor antichrist. God is not a liar; about this your insight is also correct. Miranda’s claims are blasphemous and erroneous. (5) There has been much conjecture about the unforgivable sin. Many churchmen have regarded it as suicide. But if one condemns the works of the Holy Spirit as demonic it would logically be very difficult, if not impossible, to embrace the mercy from that same Spirit. (6) We can pray for the repentance and conversion to true faith of this man and his followers.

ALEX RIVERA:

Just wanted to add the fact that the “Anti-Christ” comes after the second coming of “Jesus” so he has the order in which they happen correctly but that’s all he has.

FATHER JOE:

Throughout history there have been many antichrists. It refers to any and all who reject and oppose Christ and his Church. The term also signifies a false Christ or counterfeit messiah. This is not to deny the possibility of a singular apocalyptic antichrist; however, many authorities suggest that this pointed to the Emperor Nero or possibly another tyrant of pagan Rome who persecuted the early Church.

ALEX RIVERA:

Pentecostal Christian church is how I congregate and I’ve seen the “Holy Spirit” in action so he must be fibbing, how do I know it’s the “Holy Spirit” and not some person looking silly jumping up & down screaming gibberish? Come to a Spanish speaking Pentecostal Christian Church and find out for yourself.

FATHER JOE:

While I have known Pentecostals in love with the Lord, it is traditionally regarded as a cult itself. As a Catholic priest I could never encourage others to join its ranks, but at least they do not worship a contemporary man as Jesus Christ. However, there is the Catholic Charismatic Renewal which expresses many of the lesser gifts without neglecting the greater gifts of the Spirit in our Christian faith and in the sacraments.

ALEX RIVERA:

No I’m not saying it’s the real religion or the best church or the only way to feel the “Holy Spirit” but it’s the only place I’ve experienced it many times so I can guarantee it. Definition for Church: The body of all Christians.  May God bless us all, Amen!

FATHER JOE:

God bless you!

MATTHEW RANGEL:

As many of you know Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is not Christ. The time for the real one draws near. This will happen in our life time. The earth is getting ready for a new beginning. In the near future, horrible things are to come. Always remember who you serve and that there is a plan of action that must happen. So whatever happens— DO NOT lose your faith. Remember, if you lose someone close to you that individual will be in a better place, so don’t get mad at God. The path will soon be set for the second coming, so you all should be ready now. Go fourth and teach the Lord’s teachings to others so that they too will be saved. Be strong with the Lord and do what he asks. In the coming years great events will soon unfold. Always do what is right; that is if it will please God, do it, if it won’t, then don’t. Never lose hope for God will ALWAYS be there.

Limbo in Limbo, or Suburb of Hell?

nurp-playground.gifCan children, and notably infants, go to hell?

It seems that St. Augustine (354-430 AD) and some of the early fathers of the Church thought so and for this reason they mandated infant baptism. While they were not guilty of personal sin, they still suffered from the effects of unremitted original sin. St. Augustine’s opinions held sway at the Council of Carthage (418 AD) which rejected even a limbo existence or place of happiness for unbaptized children. The Catholic Encyclopedia states: “St. Augustine thought that unbaptized infants went to hell, although he conceded that, due to their lack of personal responsibility and guilt for original sin, the pains of hell were in some way diminished for them” (vol. 8, p. 590). St. Anselm (1033-1109) sided with St. Augustine on the matter of “positive suffering” in hell for unbaptized children. Origin challenged the notion. But the problem was Jesus commanded that unless we were born again of water and the Spirit we could have no part of him.

A sentiment for infant damnation has been revisited in some of the Protestant churches, especially those with a Calvinistic flavor. We recall that Thomas Hardy’s TESS in literature was turned down by an Anglican clergyman when she begged for her child to have a Christian burial. Similarly, the Puritan Johnathan Edwards in his fiery sermons and Sir Isaac Wattes’ in song declared that “the floor of hell is paved with the skulls of unbaptized children.”

After the fathers, as the Church continued her reflection on this matter, the scholastics detailed their own theory of a LIMBO PUERORUM. St. Thomas Aquinas (1226-1274) conjectured that this limbo was a middle state of perfect natural happiness; however, they would be deprived of the Beatific Vision. Italian Jansenists would return to St. Augustine’s view at the Synod of Pistola (1786) and argue as revealed doctrine that unbaptized children are damned to the eternal fires of hell. Pope Pius VI came out with Auctorem Fidei (1794) siding with the more moderate scholastics and condemned the view that unbaptized infants suffer hell fire.

Those of us who cherished and memorized our Baltimore Catechism, remember limbo, from the Latin “limbus” meaning hem or border, as a teaching that preserved the necessity of baptism while excluding unbaptized babies from the full severity of God’s justice, since they had committed no personal sin. The universal catechism today says nothing about limbo. Rather, it states: “As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: ‘Let the children come to me, do not hinder them’ (Mark 10:4), allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who haved died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism” [CCC 1261]. 

baby4.gifThe subject of LIMBO was in the news about six years ago with a report from the Vatican’s International Theological Commission. Like so much else, it was being misreported. Various news organizations wrongly said that the Pope and the Vatican were officially nixing Limbo and yet the Holy Father was simply signing off with allowing the commission to publish its findings after years of investigation. Further, the commission did not totally close the door to the long-held theory, only that it was unlikely and seemed an overly “restrictive view of salvation”. The commission contended that there were good reasons to hope that babies who die without the benefit of baptism (might) go to heaven.

John Thavis of the CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE reports:

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0702216.htm

In a document published April 20, the commission said the traditional concept of limbo — as a place where unbaptized infants spend eternity but without communion with God — seemed to reflect an “unduly restrictive view of salvation.”

The church continues to teach that, because of original sin, baptism is the ordinary way of salvation for all people and urges parents to baptize infants, the document said.

But there is greater theological awareness today that God is merciful and “wants all human beings to be saved,” it said. Grace has priority over sin, and the exclusion of innocent babies from heaven does not seem to reflect Christ’s special love for “the little ones,” it said.

“Our conclusion is that the many factors that we have considered … give serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptized infants who die will be saved and enjoy the beatific vision,” the document said.

“We emphasize that these are reasons for prayerful hope, rather than grounds for sure knowledge,” it added.

nurple-mothersmilk.gifThe document is not very large, only 41 pages and is entitled, THE HOPE OF SALVATION FOR INFANTS WHO DIE WITHOUT BEING BAPTIZED. Thirty experts from around the world sit on the international commission. It only has an advisory role and such documents do not represent “authoritative” teaching that mandates assent.

The question is increasingly important given that more and more couples are laxed or dismissive of baptism and because of the holocaust of abortion. Limbo was never defined Church teaching but was a highly regarded theory taught in old catechisms. It is not in the official Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The CNS article states:

The Church’s hope for these infants’ salvation reflects a growing awareness of God’s mercy, the commission said. But the issue is not simple, because appreciation for divine mercy must be reconciled with fundamental Church teachings about original sin and about the necessity of baptism for salvation, it said.

The document traced the development of church thinking about the fate of unbaptized children, noting that there is “no explicit answer” from Scripture or tradition.

“God can…give the grace of baptism without the sacrament being conferred, and this fact should particularly be recalled when the conferring of baptism would be impossible,” it said.

In this and other situations, the need for the sacrament of baptism is not absolute and is secondary to God’s desire for the salvation of every person, it said.

This does not deny that all salvation comes through Christ and in some way through the Church, it said, but it requires a more careful understanding of how this may work.

How might unbaptized babies be united to Christ?

  • A “saving conformity to Christ in his own death” by infants who themselves suffer and die.
  • A solidarity with Christ among infant victims of violence, born and unborn, who like the holy innocents killed by King Herod are endangered by the “fear or selfishness of others.”
  • God may simply give the gift of salvation to unbaptized infants, corresponding to his sacramental gift of salvation to the baptized.

Later we read:

The findings of this report should not be used to “negate the necessity of baptism, nor to delay the conferral of the sacrament.”

“Rather, there are reasons to hope that God will save these infants precisely because it was not possible to do for them that what would have been most desirable — to baptize them in the faith of the church and incorporate them visibly into the body of Christ.”

“It must be clearly acknowledged that the church does not have sure knowledge about the salvation of unbaptized infants who die,” it said.

*************************

ORIGINAL SIN
Catholic Belief by J. Faa Di Bruno, D.D.

nurple-devilchild.gifORIGINAL sin is distinguished from actual, or personal, sin in this — that actual or personal sin is the sin which we personally with our own free will commit whilst original sin is that which our human nature committed with the will of Adam, in whom all our human nature was included, and with whom our human nature is united as a branch to a root, as a child to a parent, as men who partake with Adam the same nature which we have derived from him, and as members of the same human family of which Adam was the head. The difference between original and personal sin is that the latter is committed with our own personal will, whilst original sin was committed with the will of another, and only morally our own, because it forms with that other (Adam, who is our head) one moral body — humanity.

If our hand strike a fellow-creature unjustly, though the hand have no will of its own, yet it is considered guilty, not indeed as viewed in itself, but inasmuch as it is united to the rest of the body, and to the soul, forming one human being; and thus sharing in the will of the soul with which it is connected.

In the same manner the sin committed inwardly by the human will, by a bad desire, belongs to the whole human being.

Of original sin, in which we are born, we are not personally guilty with our own personal will, but our nature is guilty by the will of Adam our head, with whom we form one moral body through the human nature which we derive from him.

It is a point of Catholic faith that original sin does not consist in what is called concupiscence, which is a propensity to evil of the inferior part of the human soul.

Sin, to be a sin in the strict sense of the word, must be within the sphere of morality, that is, must depend upon free will; and hence the noted principle in moral philosophy and theology, that there is no sin where there is no will.

Concupiscence, therefore, which is not will, but a blind, involuntary inclination of our lower nature (and therefore an irresponsible tendency to evil), is not of itself sinful unless it be consented to by the will, or rendered strong by bad and unrestricted habit.

Concupiscence is indeed sometimes called sin in Holy Scripture (Romans 7:7; Galatians 5:24), but it is called so as the holy Council of Trent explains, not in a strict, but in a wide sense, that is, inasmuch as it is a consequence of original sin, and an incentive to actual sin.

This concupiscence, or inclination to evil, still remains in those from whom the guilt and stain of original sin has been entirely washed away by the Sacrament of Baptism. Moreover, strictly speaking, no one is regarded as a sinner merely because he feels tempted to sin. This miserable propensity to evil excites the compassion rather than the anger of God; who said to Noah: “I will no more curse the earth for the sake of man; for the imagination and thought of man’s heart are prone to evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21).

The Catholic Church teaches that Adam by his sin not only caused harm to himself, but to the whole human race; that by it he lost, the supernatural justice and holiness which he received gratuitously from God, and lost it, not only for himself, but also for all of us; and that he, having stained himself with the sin of disobedience, has transmitted not only death and other bodily pains and infirmities to the whole human race, but also sin, which is the death of the soul.
The teaching of the Council of Trent (Session 5) is confirmed by these words of St. Paul: “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).

The Royal Psalmist (Psalm 1:7) says: “For behold I was conceived in iniquities and in sins did my mother conceive me.” (In the Hebrew text it ia in the singular, i.e., conceived me in sin.)

Upon this text St. Augustine says: “David was not born in adultery, for he was born from Jesse, a just man, and his wife. Why does he say that he was conceived in iniquity, unless because iniquity is derived from Adam?”

That the early Christians believed in original sin, can be gathered from what St. Augustine said to Pelagius: “I did not invent original sin, which Catholic faith holds from ancient time; but thou, who deniest it, thou without doubt, art a new heretic” (De Nuptiis, Book 11, Chapter 12).

It may be said that this belief is as old as the human race, for traces of this ancient tradition are spread among all nations, insomuch that Voltaire had to confess that “The fall of man is the base of the theology of nearly all ancient people” (Philosophie de l’Histoire, chapitre 17).

Besides the guilt of original sin, which is the habitual state of sinfulness in which we are born (because our human nature is justly considered to have consented in Adam to the rejection of original justice), there is also in man the stain of original sin, entailing in the human soul the privation of that supernatural luster which, had we been born in the state of original justice, we all should have had.

As neither Adam nor any of his offspring could repair the evil done by his sin, we should have always remained in the state of original sin and degradation in which we were born, and have been forever shut out from the beatific vision of God in heaven, had not God, in His infinite mercy, provided for us a Redeemer.

COMMENTS

Anita Moore OPL

Here, for what they are worth, are my own speculations on the fate of infants who die without the Sacrament of Baptism.

As for whether children can go to Hell, with or without Baptism, St. Faustina recounts in her Diary a vision in which Jesus asks her to intercede on behalf of children, because children were offending Him very much. (I wish I could cite to the exact section, but the index to the Diary is far from exhaustive.)

In an age when we assume children go to Heaven, despite the greater and greater evils perpetrated by them, should this not give us pause?

Susan

I do not believe infants cause evil. A two week old cannot commit an evil, but alas a 5 year old may be able to. It has to do with reason. A newborn infant does not have that ability. Faustina may have had to intercede on behalf of children, not infants. There is a difference.

Father Joe

Children make first penance and communion in second grade, with the Church judging that by seven to eight years old they have reached the age of reason. No one ever suggested in the debate that infants had committed personal sin. The problem was original sin (passed on from Adam and Eve) and the necessity for faith (even if from parents and godparents) and baptism. Remember, salvation is purely a gift that left to our own devices we cannot deserve or merit apart from Christ.

Susan

In my previous response I was responding to what Anita said, just clarifying that infants do not commit personal sin.

The report said, ““God can…give the grace of baptism without the sacrament being conferred, and this fact should particularly be recalled when the conferring of baptism would be impossible,” I particularly believe this to be true with the unborn that die before they even take their first breath. God is merciful and loving and as our Father I believe he welcomes these little ones who never got the chance.

Anita Moore OPL

I never said infants are guilty of personal sin. I was referring to children who have reached the age of reason.

The reality is that we do not know for certain what happens to infants who die without baptism. Maybe the reason God has kept this knowledge from us is because if we knew for certain that all who die in infancy go to heaven, we might not bother to have infants baptized.

Father Joe

Did not mean to imply you did. I was just trying to be comprehensive.

Donald E. Flood

Father Joe, the ITC report never cited, even as a reference, the Papal Bull “Effraenatam” from Pope Sixtus V, which stated the following:
“Noticing that frequently by various Apostolic Constitutions the audacity and daring of most profligate men, who know no restraint, of sinning with license against the commandment ‘do not kill’ was repressed; We who are placed by the Lord in the supreme throne of justice, being counseled by a most just reason, are in part renewing old laws and in part extending them in order to restrain with just punishment the monstrous and atrocious brutality of those who have no fear to kill most cruelly fetuses still hiding in the maternal viscera. Who will not detest such an abhorrent and evil act, by which are lost not only the bodies but also the souls? Who will not condemn to a most grave punishment the impiety of him who will exclude a soul created in the image of God and for which Our Lord Jesus Christ has shed His precious Blood, and which is capable of eternal happiness and is destined to be in the company of angels, from the blessed vision of God, and who has impeded as much as he could the filling up of heavenly mansions, and has taken away the service to God by His creature?”

http://iteadjmj.com/aborto/eng-prn.html

Clearly, Pope Sixtus V, taught, from the Chair of Peter, that abortion excludes an infant’s soul from Heaven, the Beatific Vision.

Father Joe

The document was a condemnation and censure against abortion.  Peripheral issues are connected but the issue for the Vatican is what the Pope intended to say and to define.  Not everything that Popes include in such documents have the same weight.  It is an exercise of the ordinary authority of the Holy See.  Certain juridical elements would be altered by a later pontificate.   

Another Attack Against Catholicism

CHARISSE:

And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. (John 2:1-4)

Jesus mildly rebuked Mary for trying to command him. It shows that Mary is not perfect and she had no right to interfere in His business. Jesus honored her anyway to fulfill the commandments He gave to Moses.

FATHER JOE:  Mary is “the Woman” and she does not argue with Jesus.  She tells the steward to do as Jesus says; she knows there will be no debate.  Such reminds us of the power of prayer.  Mary asks and she receives.  There is no rebuke of Mary.  You merely fail to appreciate a manner of speech.  Jesus will again call her “Woman” on the hill of Calvary.  She is the Woman, the new Eve, and at the Cross, the Mother of the Redeemer becomes the Mother of all the redeemed.

CHARISSE:

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. (Matthew 6:7)

Why do priest advise repetitive prayers, when it says here not to? “Our Father” prayer is a model for praying but should not be prayed like a mantra. Prayer loses its meaning when you do so.

FATHER JOE:  Ridiculous!  Our Lord was criticizing the repetitious nonsense words recited by certain pagans.  They wrongly thought that if they stumbled upon a deity’s secret name they might have some power over him.  Catholic prayers are not gibberish.  Others thought that with accolades they might bargain with God.  This is also foolishness.  God is sovereign and he holds all the cards.  Catholics repeat certain prayers (like the Hail Mary) as elements of meditation.  It also acknowledges that we are creatures who live in time.  Each moment is an opportunity for “becoming” and grace.  The Lord’s Prayer constitutes the very words of Jesus and his word never grows old or forfeits its power.  It also gives us a pattern of prayer.  Repetition in itself is not bad, like breathing and the heart beating; when it stops, we die.  Some repetition is a good thing.

CHARISSE:

He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. (Mark 7:6-9)

The Catholic Church (and many other religions) have more tradition and commandments of men than of God.

FATHER JOE:  I cannot speak for other religions, but Catholics have a sound appreciation of the sources of revelation.  The Bible itself emerged from the adoption of the Hebrew Scriptures and an oral and written tradition.  Letters and books were collected.  The Church was preaching and worshipping even before we had a completely compiled and/or authored Bible.  This Sacred Tradition continues to this very day.  The commandments of God are combined with the laws of his Church, providing order and guidance to men.  Christ gave his shepherds the authority to loosen and to bind.

CHARISSE:  As for the rosary and purgatory, it is not in the Bible unless the Bible you have is altered.

FATHER JOE:  The Catholic Church is the Mother of the Bible.  You would have no New Testament without her.  Purgation reflects the mercy of God and reflects the Jewish practice of praying for the dead (see 2nd Maccabees).  But maybe you cannot, because you are the one with an abbreviated or incomplete Bible.  As for the Rosary, it is simply a manner of prayer.  Most of the meditations of the Rosary are mysteries from Scripture.  But I doubt you give much time to pondering such things given that you are more about attacking the faith of others than building up your own.

CHARISSE: Buddhism has prayer beads too and do their prayers as mantra or chants.

FATHER JOE:  And Islam has the Koran.  Critics might compare it to our Bible and argue that both camps are misguided to trust in holy books.  Similarities mean nothing in this context.  The trouble is that you are so closed-minded and such a reductionist that you will grasp at straws to attack the Catholic Church.  It is a terrible sign of your spiritual impoverishment.

CHARISSE: Also once you’re dead, you are dead.  There is no purgatory or second chances.

FATHER JOE:  You do not even understand what you ridicule.  Purgatory is NOT a second chance.  If you have damned yourself then you are destined for hell— the end of the story.  All the souls of Purgatory are going to heaven.  Purgatory is a purging or healing as they approach the throne of God.  They are perfected by the fire of God’s love.  Sinners must be more than forgiven, they must be changed.

CHARISSE:  When you pray for the souls of the dead, it has no effect and you become like the pagans that do the same. You have only one life to live here on earth, and after that it’s either life everlasting in God’s kingdom or eternal death.

FATHER JOE:  We pray for the dead so that we might join our love to that of God for our beloved dead.  Prayers will not rescue the damned.  Once they enter heaven, they have no more need of our prayers.  However, we do ask the heavenly saints to intercede or pray for us.  The reason you fail to appreciate this stems from two things:  (1) a faulty view of justification and (2) a negligible understanding of the Church and the communion of the saints.  We are a community.  We do not come to God alone.  At the final consummation there will be two realities, heaven and hell.  Believers hope to live with God forever in the heavenly Jerusalem.

CHARISSE:

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)

People are born of sin because of the sin Adam and Eve committed; it is not because of your profession, or ceremonies you do, or privileges of birth, or whether you were raised from a Christian family or not, or how religious you are that you are saved.

FATHER JOE:  We are conceived with original sin.  Through faith and baptism we are regenerated, born again, made into a new creation.  The sacraments of the Church are a way in which we enter into the mystery of salvation.  We encounter our saving Lord through the proclamation of faith and in the body of the Church.  Christ has redeemed us.  As Christians we live in the “real and certain” hope of our salvation.

CHARISSE:  It is by the mercy and grace of God that when you yourself decide to follow Him & accept Him as your ONLY Lord and savior, that he changes your heart and life. That is when you are baptized & given salvation, and not the baptism you were given when you were a baby. The baptism you take in flesh as an adult is a symbol of you being born again, and the actual baptism is when the Holy Spirit changes you inwardly.

FATHER JOE:  Our Lord speaks about a Church and obedience.  Saving faith is not merely a verbal profession or a private activity.  Catholics acknowledge the whole truth that we need both a personal and a corporate relationship with Christ.  You would make baptism optional or even something readily dismissed.  Philip did not think so when he baptized the Ethiopian eunuch.  It amazes me how some can so privatize faith when the Scriptures speak throughout about the Church.  At Pentecost the Spirit of God did not come upon one individual, but upon many.  It is a gift given to the Church.  The Holy Spirit makes conversion and faith possible.  The Holy Spirit inspires the Scriptures, protects the Church’s shepherds in the truth and gives efficacy to the sacraments.  You would deny this work of the Spirit over the living Church where he continues to abide.

CHARISSE:  So unless you are born again as it says in the Scripture, you will not see the kingdom of God, nor if you knowingly and continue to sin after being born again. But Catholics do not even emphasize that in their teaching.

FATHER JOE:  You know nothing about Catholic teaching.  We are cognizant that faith can sour.  We urge fidelity and obedience to God.  We ask for God’s mercy when we sin and we have the wonderful sacrament of Penance where we receive absolution, the mercy of Christ.

CHARISSE:  Now I see on Facebook going around my Catholic relatives to pray to St. Michael, the archangel, to protect the conclave.

FATHER JOE:  The angels are about the business of God.  St. Michael is regarded as one who has been given a measure of power over Satan.  It makes sense that his intercession might be sought in these perilous times.  But, whatever happens, we trust the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit to safeguard the Church.

CHARISSE:  God is a jealous God. No matter how you say that the prayers are directed to God, you are still praying to those who are not God, when there is no mediator but Jesus who is God.

FATHER JOE:  No, you are quite wrong.  All prayer, even intercessory prayer, has as its proper object, almighty God.  We ask the saints to pray for and with us.  Again, this is an expression of our corporate faith and union.  Christ is still the Mediator between heaven and earth.  Christ is still the sin-offering that purchased us at a great price.

CHARISSE:  I hope you are certain about what you preach because those who lead the people will have a great responsibility to God, for they are responsible in leading them to either God’s kingdom or to a great deception that will lead to their eternal death. And their punishment is greater.

FATHER JOE:  I am absolutely certain.  If this were not the case, I would never go through the motions.  I am also certain that you are in the wrong.  The reason I respond is that I hope you might begin to reconsider your posture to Catholics.

CHARISSE:  Many Christians are in hell for not preaching the Truth.

FATHER JOE:  I leave entirely in God’s hands those whom might or might not be in hell.  But I would warn you as I have others to be cautious so as not to blaspheme the Holy Spirit and his work.

CHARISSE:  By God’s leading, thru Jesus, and His Holy Spirit, I know where I stand and His truth has set me free. I have a lot to work in my life and my self, because God said to be holy for He is holy, and be perfect for He is perfect, but by God’s grace and mercy He will help me and I pray that He will do the same for you and many others.

FATHER JOE:  I would not want to attack your faith as you would assault that of Catholics.  I take you for your word that you count yourself a friend of Jesus.  But remember that everything is grace.  You cannot save yourself.  Even your obedience, which God desires, is not that which will save you.  Everything is a gift.  The Spirit of God calls us to repentance and faith.  The Spirit of God moves us to prayer and prays in us.  Apart from Christ our works have no value; and yet the works of Christ, on the Cross and in our lives has immeasurable worth.  We were made in the image of God.  But now through Christ we can be refashioned into his likeness.

CHARISSE:  I cannot change you nor convince you, that is for sure, Only God can. So I hope he reveals the same to you and move in your life. God bless!

FATHER JOE:  Many of our Protestant brothers and sisters love the Lord and there is a measure of truth in their faith.  There are many issues upon which we disagree and some of them may be significant.  God knows the sincerity of our hearts and will not utterly condemn those ignorant of the full truth.   However, some are also infected with a belligerence and blindness that comes from a dark spirit.  He numbs consciences and closes minds to the truth and hearts to compassion.  The devil hates the Catholic Church.  Believers of any sort should be wary of doing the devil’s work.  Amen.