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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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Jesus Meant What He Said About Eucharist

John 6:52-58: The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food [meat] indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father; so he who eats me will live because of me. This is that bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

John 6:60: Many of his disciples, when they had heard it, said, “This is an hard saying; who can listen to it?”

John 6:66-69: After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. Jesus said to the twelve, “Will you also go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

The Jews murmured (John 6:41) and abandoned Jesus just as certain so-called Christians (Protestants) reject the Eucharist today. They did not believe that Jesus was God; obviously God could do all things.

Nevertheless, Jesus did not compromise or explain away his teaching in any manner. He insisted upon a literal understanding of the real presence in the Eucharist. There was no misunderstanding. Jesus allowed the Jews (who would prefer a Protestant view of Eucharist) to abandon him. It is bizarre that Protestants can assail the Eucharist and claim that certain disciples misunderstood him when Jesus acted and spoke this way. The truth is that Jesus would even have allowed the twelve apostles to forsake him rather than to give the impoverished Protestant type of Eucharist. Peter responds correctly. Like his many successors, Peter steers the Church toward the truth of Christ. Jesus is God and whatever God says is true, no matter how fantastic and deep a mystery.

For more such reading, contact me about getting my book, DEFENDING THE CATHOLIC FAITH.

A True Bread from Heaven

John 6:33-35: “For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Lord give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.”

John 6:38: “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; . . . .”

John 6:41: The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.”

John 6:48-51: “I am that bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

The Eucharist that our Lord gives can only be “bread from heaven” if it is truly himself. Jesus is God; he is the one who has come down from heaven. The principle of concomitance is also affirmed here: Jesus is totally present— alive and complete— in every fragment and drop of the Blessed Sacrament. He is not dissected in the Eucharist; rather, he is present and acting on our behalf. He grants us a share in eternal life.

For more such reading, contact me about getting my book, DEFENDING THE CATHOLIC FAITH.

The Greatest Food of All

John 6:26-32: Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food [meat] which perishes, but for the food [meat] which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.”

More important than any miraculous food (John 6:11 to 13) or the manna in the desert (Exodus 16:31), the Eucharist is highlighted as our saving food. If there were no change in the elements of bread and wine into the real body and blood of Christ, then our Lord has played us for fools. Such is not the case. There is no deception on Christ’s part. A rejection of the Eucharist, by both liberal modernists and by fundamentalist Christians signifies a lack of faith; indeed, it is the intrusion of a sometimes-subtle atheism.

For more such reading, contact me about getting my book, DEFENDING THE CATHOLIC FAITH.

The Real Presence in the Eucharist: Our Inheritance

Mark 14:22-24: And as they were eating, he took bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.”

The Eucharist was Christ’s parting gift to us. It is literally the New Testament itself— making it present and ratifying it again and again. Jesus gives us his body and blood as the bread of life and our spiritual drink. There is nothing of figurative language about this. If Christ is God and speaks the truth, who are we to call him a liar? Catholics take Jesus at his word.

For more such reading, contact me about getting my book, DEFENDING THE CATHOLIC FAITH.

Preaching, the Liturgy & the Faith

Why Does the Fire Go Out?

People have their reasons, but there is no good reason for leaving the Church. The majority in the area where I reside are probably Baptist and/or Evangelical. Some of these communities target Catholics and many Catholics marry non-Catholics. Not understanding their own tradition, many Catholics are inordinately moved by the music and preaching in Protestant churches. Catholic reformed rituals might not be regarded as very entertaining. Much of the music we sing is criticized as trite and unmoving. When we borrow Protestant hymns or sing Gospel, it is usually a pale imitation of what our separated brethren have to offer. Music enshrines preaching. Particularly in the African-American community, services can go hours. The importance of the minister is measured by his musicality and his effectiveness as a preacher. Our gravity is upon the formulae of liturgy, not upon preaching.

Masolino_Peter_Preaching2

Preachers and Priests, No Comparison?

Many priests were trained to keep homilies or sermons to ten minutes or less. That is about the length of two or three MTV videos. Time-wise, it cannot compare to the formation of the media or to the teaching sermons of our separated-brethren. I knew one old man who went to Mass on Saturday night and to his wife’s Baptist church on Sunday. He told me that he went to Mass for Holy Communion and to the Protestant church for good preaching. This is a rather sad state of affairs. Are we fully feeding our people? Preaching outside the Catholic Church may be dynamic and meaningful; however, it is also fraught with religious error.

Sermons or Homilies?

I recall from preaching seminars that the priest should offer a homily based upon the Scriptures of the day. This focus was understandable but I found the focus too narrow and absolutist. The priest or deacon can preach upon the readings, the liturgical prayers themselves, upon the feast or memorial, or upon what his people (at that time and place) need to hear. I had a vigorous dispute with a liturgist when I suggested catechetical sermons. It was and remains a contention of mine that many people stray to other faith communities because they really do not understand Catholicism and the full significance of the Eucharist.

Can Father Talk Too Long?

How long should the priest or deacon preach? This depends upon many factors:

1. What is the type of liturgy?

2. What has to be said to make the message worthwhile?

3. What is the capacity in patience and in comprehension of the listeners?

Given that Catholic sermons are usually shorter than Protestant counterparts, the priest might be able to amplify his instruction by linking his sermons from week to week. He can also use the parish bulletin, special adult education and bible study, and invite people to use the cycle of readings themselves with missals they can take home. If people look at the readings before Mass, their experience will not be cold when the priest or deacon speaks about them. Instead of merely thinking about what Protestants have that we don’t, let us utilize our own strengths, the missal and the cycle of predetermined readings.

Catholics might also do well to getting used to longer liturgies. Of course, this runs counter to the Roman Rite tradition, known for being curter and more to the point than Eastern Rite liturgies and certain Evangelical Protestant services. There is a basic dilemma with longer sermons, and that is the balance and rhythm of the Mass. A long homily and a short Eucharistic prayer seems to switch the gravity away from the sacrament to the Word which is intended to dispose us for the sacrifice and Holy Communion.

I am concerning myself essentially with the Sunday homily. Given work concerns and strained time issues, weekday Masses would probably have to remain little more than basic exhortations. Such exhortations are similar to aspirations: Jesus, Mary, Joseph save souls! Do good and avoid evil! Keep faith and hope alive! Lord, have mercy on us! God will not abandon you!

Messages Should Comfort and Challenge

Homilies more strictly revolve the Readings; however, sermons can touch upon all sorts of relevant topics. Sermons might be moral exhortations, catechetical moments, inspiration rhetoric and stories, etc. However, they should always connect the lesson, whatever the source, to the lives of the people listening. The congregation should not be passive to the preaching but actively engaged. A topic is explored, the message is ordered for coherence, examples or illustrations are made, and there is the immediate appliance.

The words used in preaching vary upon the setting. When the clergyman marries a couple, he speaks about the joy and hopes of the couple. He might also challenge them to keep the marital act free from the corruption of lust and artificial contraception. However, many Catholic ministers are afraid to rock the boat. When a priest or deacon officiates at a funeral, his words emphasize the consolations of faith to those who mourn, the promises of Jesus our gentle shepherd in regard to eternal life, and the need to go on with our lives. Again, many Catholic ministers are afraid of the conflict that comes with challenging the congregation to see the death as a warning about their own mortality and the need to reform before it is too late. Even evil men are temporarily canonized and little is said about Purgatory. A number in the pews no longer even believe in Hell. Sunday homilies are often pampering and grossly approving because many clergy are afraid of alienating the numbers in the pews and depleting the money gathered into collection baskets.

Need for Courage and Trusting Providence

I knew a priest in the South who tried to integrate the two churches he pastured, one white and the other black. White parishioners complained to the bishop and the man found himself stripped of his parish, reprimanded for making trouble, and reassigned to a teaching position in a college far away. Decades later he was still not allowed to return to parish ministry. But God writes straight with our crooked lines. This priest ended up teaching seminarians. He inspired another generation of men in ministry to struggle for social justice.

How often have we heard certain priests speak about artificial contraception, abortion, divorce and remarriage, or even about fornication and cohabitation? Some men in ministry are afraid. But what chance do God’s people have when their shepherds are passive and fearful? The late Pope John Paul II echoed our Lord’s words of wisdom, “Be not afraid.”

It may be that the priest shortage and the clergy scandals have drained the energy resources and joy of our priests. This needs to be remedied. The core message of the Gospel is not exhausted or angry. Priests who show enthusiasm or excitement about the Catholic faith and Gospel are the most effective. It is also a mentality which breeds vocations. Young men do not want to join a confraternity of tired old men who only go on because of cold duty and obligation. We have to be on fire with the faith if we want those in the pews to ignite! It is very hard for a priest to give what he does not have. God’s servants should be so in love with God that this love spills over in their service of others. Preaching should reflect a life of prayer and a drive to save souls!

The preaching should move God’s people to greater faith and acts of service to our Lord and neighbor. It assists everyone to better understand the Eucharist and disposes us to receive the Blessed Sacrament. We take what we have been given in Word and sacrament as we go out in mission to the world around us.

Women Priests & Our Girl Jesus

1194984585936802019female_rollandin_frances__svg_medMary gave birth to a baby boy and named him Jesus. Jesus grew up and he picked more boys to be his apostles. They in turn ordained still more boys to be bishops, priests and deacons. The priesthood is the ultimate boy’s club. But radical feminists act as if it is a woman-hater’s club… it is not. We all benefit from the ministry of priests. Not all men are worthy of this vocation. Women are called to other vocations, like religious life and motherhood. Except for a misguided sense of egalitarian equality, a disproportionate focus upon one element of social jusitice and feminists hungry for power, there is little that commends a move to ordain women. These dissenters would not only refashion the ministries but also Jesus would be remolded to their liking. He would become an abstraction, a model for their agenda but not the historical Savior. If God is not neutered, then he is likely made feminine. Jesus becomes Jessica or the Kristi who hangs upon the cross, raped and defiled by male machismo. They talk about equality; but this is a lie. They seek dominance and payback for what they regard as past subjugation and oppression.

I just read an article by Greg Archer over at THE HUFFINGTON POST entitled, “Roman Catholic Female Priests Growing in Numbers: An Insider’s Perspective.” I feel compelled to make a few comments. It is important that good Catholics not be confused by dissent on women priests or priestesses. There simply is no such creature within the Christian context. Christ has never given the Church the authority to ordain women. While our Lord counted women among his disciples, only men were selected to be his apostles. Jesus proved time and time again that he was willing to break the stereotypes of his day; however, upon this matter he retained a male leadership or hierarchy.

Many are surprised to find out that Catholicism only has one High Priest— Jesus Christ. Every man ordained to service is configured to Christ and participates in his one priesthood. The ordained priest is a living and breathing icon for Christ. His very flesh and his manhood resonate with that of Christ— making our Lord and his saving work present for the community. Historically, the Gnostic heretics had priestesses because they rejected matter as evil and denied the full incarnation of Christ as the God-Man. Catholics and/or orthodox Christianity take the incarnation seriously. Matter is not evil. Indeed, human nature is elevated and divinized by the coming of God among us as our brother. While the soteriological implications transcend gender, in baptism and faith all can know the gift of redemption; the parameters of sacerdotal ministry were clearly laid out. Only men could be bishops and priests. This did not deride the role of women. Holiness is available for all. It is just that God has intended that we fulfill differing roles.

Some have argued that the male-only priesthood gives balance to God’s life-giving love. Just as only women can physically conceive and give birth to a child; only a man (who is a priest) can spiritually confect the Eucharist and give us the bread of life. The Church also offers us the marriage analogy that passes down from Scripture. The priest signifies Christ who is the divine bridegroom; the congregation at Mass signifies the Church, his bride. Many of the centrist advocates for priestesses hate this analogy because it makes the notion of a woman priest into a kind of sacramental lesbianism. Of course, the more liberal critics might like this analogy in that they also support the gay and lesbian lifestyle.

The article started off by mentioning Victoria Rue, a lady who “attempted” ordination back in July 2005. Although the author claims to be “an insider” he refers to the precious blood as a wine chalice. This might be Episcopalian terminology; but, it is not how informed Catholics would speak about the cup. In any case, his point is that she is only one of a quickly growing number of women who are becoming “priests”. I have to stop at that point and insist that he is wrong to assume that these women are truly priests. They can play dress up, but as far as the true Catholic Church is concerned, they are only posturing.

He pokes fun that the Vatican would solely acknowledge “those sporting an XY chromosome” and yet he fails to realize that gender is more than an accidental. Too many people have bought the lie that the sexes are interchangeable or essentially the same. Gender is more than facial hair and muscles; it is a core element of human identity. The saints in heaven will still be both men and women, not neutered monstrosities. The resurrected and glorified Christ was still a man. Mary, our Blessed Mother, is still a woman. Gender has more purpose and meaning than genital expression. It is who we are.

Seven women tried to become priests three years earlier on the Danube River, seeking to avoid canonical sanction from the immediate archdiocese. However, by January 2003, they were all rightfully judged excommunicated. He also mentions Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger and Gisela Foster of a group called Womenpriests. They make a claim to ordination because their renegade bishop had apostolic succession. However, a woman constitutes “invalid matter” and cannot be ordained, even if the form is correct. They also like to confuse the issue of a celibate clergy (a discipline in the Church) with that of proposed women priests (which is doctrinally impossible).

Other women are also slowly joining the ranks of excommunicated wannabe priestesses. Rue claims that the Vatican has become quiet because they do not want an escalation. I suspect the real reason is because the Church has already made its position clear. There might also be an element of pity for these poor women who want something so desperately that they cannot have. The article gives the impression that this is all a game of strategy. But this is only the opinion of the dissenters. The Church is not playing. There is no game. It is a done deal. There can be no change… not today, not tomorrow, not ever.

These so-called women priests are really just creating their own church. They are Protestants with a few Catholic trappings. Some have gravitated toward the Episcopal communities that allow priestesses. As far as many of us are concerned, this movement is rather mute. Anglican orders, even for men, are probably largely invalid. Women priests merely represent the last nail in the coffin for a church that is no longer even Christian in its values. Adultery is routinely accepted. Fornication is excused. They welcome openly gay men and lesbians! What is left? When mortal sin is regarded as a virtue, Satan has won the day!

The author cited a 2006 NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER survey of U.S. Catholics that said 62% of those responding favored women priests. An AP poll in 2005 found about 65% supported the change. But the AP is hardly sympathetic to Catholicism and such numbers make good news. As for the NCR, it is a liberal rag that gets the answers it wants. Traditional Catholics would likely not even respond to such garbage surveys. Further, who are these Catholics? Are we talking about NCR readership? Just because someone was baptized or went to Catholic school does not make a person a “real” or “practicing” Catholic. Only a quarter of our people still go to Mass. The rest are victims of modernity with its secular humanism, materialism, hedonism, and ignorance of faith. In any case, the truth and Church teachings are not open to polls. The Church is not a democracy. Christ is king and still in his heaven. The Pope is his vicar on earth.

While the 1975 report of the Pontifical Biblical Commission noted “no scriptural objections to ordaining women,” this summation is somewhat misleading. All it means is there is no direct statement from Christ about it. However, we do have the Scriptural teachings about Christ’s relationship to the Church (see St. Paul) and his example in appointing only men as his apostle-bishop-priests. Further, Catholicism is NOT a “sola scriptura” religion. We also have Sacred Tradition. There we do find explicit statements against women’s ordination. The early council of Nicea forbade the laying on of hands upon women (ordination).

Rue asserts in the article that there is archeological and Scriptural evidence for priestesses, but this is not true. She and her organization Womenpriests put a spin on dubious materials that cannot be substantiated. Conveniently for her, too much so, she complains that there was more evidence the Church destroyed and that the canonist Gracian wrote them out of the Church’s legal books and history. Her organization also sometimes fails to distinguish early heretical groups from the orthodox. They try to argue that boyish icons of priests are really females. They grab for straws and the author of the article swallows it uncritically.

And who is this know-it-all Victoria Rue who functions as his chief source? She is an ex-nun, seduced by militant feminism and angry with the Church. She left the Catholic Church. Her theological training was at a Reformed Protestant school in New York. She studied Liberation Theology, inherently Marxist in regards to its dialectic analysis of poverty, but she pursued it under the umbrella of radical feminism and lesbianism. She also studied at the GTU in Berkeley, California, a so-called ecumenical school known for its adherence to religious indifferentism and relativism, even in regard to blatantly and/or pagan non-Christian religions. She, along with other Womenpriests, are deceitful to gullible Catholics about their standing. As a teacher of propaganda in “women studies” and “comparative religious studies” she feigned being a real priest and offered a “weekly Catholic Mass” at San Jose State University. We are told that the diocese in 2006 rendered this statement:

Rue is not a validly ordained priest of the Roman Catholic Church. Members of the Roman Catholic Church should not participate in celebrations of the sacraments that are conducted by Victoria Rue, as those celebrations are not in union with the local or universal Church.

The fact that she regularly celebrates so-called Masses at an Episcopal church in San Francisco says it all. They might be in communion with her but she is not in communion with the bishops of the Catholic Church. She is a Protestant. All priestesses are either Protestant or pagan (understood as a reference to the old religions prior to Christ). Some of them even say that they worship the goddess. There is a popular crucifix with a naked woman upon it. However, Kristi is a model of the divine that has no place in genuine Christianity. It is Jesus Christ who offers the saving sacrifice and who forgives sins, not Kristi suffering with a bad hair day.

At the end of the article we are told that Rue is a lesbian who has lived with her partner for many years— big surprise— NOT!

Scriptural prohibitions against homosexuality and lesbianism mean nothing to her. She cites psychological views to the contrary. Of course, the American Psychiatric Association once referred to perversion as a disease. It was only when gays poured into the field that this verdict changed. Divine positive law and natural law take precedence over human whim. Rue says that her sexuality is important to her identity as a priest. This is an interesting statement, given that she renounced the Church’s prohibition of women priests based upon the importance of male gender as an element of identity in the priest.

The article concludes by telling us that there are now five RC bishop gals and almost 100 priestesses in the U.S. This is hardly a number about which the Church needs to be worried. Few practicing Catholics take these ladies seriously. Many of them are also quite advanced in years. They will not be around for long. Meanwhile, the numbers of young men entering legitimate seminaries are on the rise. Nice Catholic girls and women are entering religious orders with traditional charisms and structure. Rue traded in her habit for a collar. But the former she prized too lightly and the latter does not belong to her.

The article ends with the acclamation, “Hail, Mary!” But Mary would not be pleased. She is about bringing us to her Son. These women are preoccupied about themselves and power. In reality, the priesthood must always be about humility and obedience— servanthood. However, Mary must indeed be brought into the equation. All these wannabe priests should repent and come home to the true Church.

“Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for Us Sinners!”

Response to an Anti-Catholic on John 6 & More

One anti-Catholic apologist declared as blasphemy the claim that Catholics “eat” Jesus. In the same breath, he contended that popes forbade bible reading as illegal. Both statements are inexact and misleading. Catholics receive in Holy Communion the sacrament of Christ’s real presence and do so by the Lord’s command. As for the Scriptures, the prohibition was not against reading Scripture but against those translations and texts of the reformers which distorted the true Word of God. Remember, even Martin Luther inserted his own theology into the sacred texts and omitted books (from both the Old and New Testaments) which he found disagreeable. Viewing the Church and the civil society as two sides of the same coin, both Catholics and Protestants alike sometimes exerted undue force in maintaining the ranks and orthodoxy. Exaggerations of anti-Catholics regarding such coercion are not to be taken seriously. Further, the Church herself, then as today, was often incapable to stay the hand of civil authority intent upon using religion as an excuse for intolerance and brutality. Incidents of murder and torture by “unholy Romish priests” are rarely documented; in any case, there is something demented in referencing incidents which happened centuries ago as if they happened last Tuesday.

The Catholic Church is the source for the Scriptures: members from her community were inspired in their authorship and by her own authority she determined the canon. The proliferation of bibles throughout the world was not the fruit of Reformation-Protestantism but of the mechanical printing press. Rome has encouraged the reading of the Bible and has long offered a special indulgence to those who do so every day. Unlike the anti-Catholic fundamentalist, the entire Bible (without deletion of books) is offered her people. Further, her use of a lectionary system for liturgies has resulted in a greater variety of biblical passages than what is usual in Protestant services. The Catholic faith is affirmed by an honest and comprehensive understanding of Scripture while the anti-Catholic resorts to biblical fragments, out of context and ignorantly misinterpreted. One anti-Catholic bigot notes that John 6 is frequently used against him by so-called “idolatrous” and “pagan” Catholics. He cites John 6:51,53-58:

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

The anti-Catholic bigot argues that Catholics neglect verse 63 which illustrates, so he says, that Jesus did not mean what he said literally: “It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

In other words, until verse 63, Jesus is lying? Sorry, I do not think so. Our Savior is not fickle in his teachings. He would not deliberately mislead and anger the Jews; he meant what he said about the Eucharist. This verse becomes clearer if we look at the one which follows it: “But there are some of you who do not believe.” This resonates with verse 52, conveniently omitted by the anti-Catholic apologist: “The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat?’” Did the critic purposely omit this line, knowing that he found himself associated with the disbelieving Jews? It sure seems that way. The Jews are murmuring because they do not like what they hear. Some of their number walk away. They know full well that Jesus means what he says. Their sensibilities, especially regarding blood are offended. They will have none of it. It is a mystery that requires supernatural faith to accept. Verse 63 is not a reference to Christ’s Eucharistic body but is used as it was previously in John 3:6-7. We read: “What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you, ‘You must be born from above.’” “Spirit . . . flesh” is a Hebraic form of speech which does the very opposite of what the anti-Catholic bigot claims. It affirms the truth of Christ’s Eucharistic teaching and that to accept it we must be given the gift of faith by his heavenly Father.

We need to pray that the anti-Catholic bigot will be given a greater share in the true faith. He is usually filled with much anger and hate. He can only measure his own religion in reference to that which he opposes. I would fathom to guess that were there no Catholic religion, he would have no faith at all– or perhaps I should call it an anti-faith? He is quick to judge and to damn Catholics even though there is no consideration that if he is wrong then he has blasphemed the work of the Holy Spirit.

The anti-Catholic may also sin by presumption of God’s saving grace. We live in the “sure and certain hope” of our salvation, leaving our eternal destiny to divine providence. The Lord says, “Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.” While the fruits of Christ’s presence and loving ministry are manifested in the life of the Church, the anti-Catholic critic contends that Jesus shall respond to us with the words from Matthew 7:23, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you workers of iniquity!” Many of our Protestant brethren, with whom we would differ on points of doctrine and manners of worship, work alongside us in the promotion of the Gospel of Life. However, the anti-Catholic bigot contends that these groups are contaminated by their association with Catholics and thus are also lost. What can we say to such a critic? If all he understands are isolated bible texts, then let him pay heed to this one: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:15-16).

Every Catholic needs to remember the anti-Catholic and the fallen-away Catholic each time he receives Holy Communion. We need to dedicate our Holy Hours to prayer on their behalf and make reparation for their insults against Jesus, his Mother, and the Church. May our prayer rise like incense to heaven and be found pleasing to Almighty God.

For more such reading, contact me about getting my book, DEFENDING THE CATHOLIC FAITH.