Monday, January 31, 2011

The Heresy of Pelagianism

Pelagius denied the existence of original sin. All men are born into the world in the exact state that Adam was, and as such are perfectly capable of living a completely sinless life by our own will power. Knowledge of this heresy can be helpful in dealing with those who view infant baptism as unnecessary or un-scriptural.

H/T Air Maria 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Has the Term 'Pro-Life' Become Passe?

Leo Hunt poses the question (entire article posted here), "Is it time to dump the term 'pro-life'?"  First, Leo thinks that the pro-life movement is failing to win hearts and minds.  I disagree.  There is evidence to the contrary.  I know that "contraception," in vitro fertilization, and experimentation that kills human embryos is the devaluing of human life and that it is loosely connected to abortion but I don't think that one can conclude legitimately that due to the ascent of these new challenges to the pro-life movement that pro-lifers are losing the abortion argument or even the pro-life argument.  Since the pro-life movement has mainly been focused on the abortion issue for the past 38 years and not the other aforementioned newer threats to life I believe in the area of abortion that the pro-life movement is in fact winning hearts and minds.  It has taken much time for the tide to turn and polls to show that 50% of Americans consider themselves to be pro-life.  It was only a little over 6 months ago that 47% of citizens stated in a poll that they were pro-life.  That is a 3% jump in just the past 7 or 8 months. Personally, I think that is pretty amazing!

What if some of those polled who claim to be "pro-life" believe that it is morally acceptable to have an abortion in cases of incest, rape, or to save the life of the mother?  They may not be 100% pro-life but I wonder what percentage of those who consider themselves to be "pro-life" were "pro-choice" under all circumstances before today?  I say Thank God for small miracles.  I believe that over time that those citizens can be talked to and persuaded to follow additional pro-life principles.  It sounds like Leo is letting pessimism takeover and seems like he is writing off small miracles.  Conversion can come in stages or in little spurts. We need to keep praying for these people to continue their pro-life conversion process.

Since Leo thinks that defenders of preborn human children are failing he asks 'Could part of the problem be with the very phrase "pro-life"?'  Should the term "pro-life" be refined to solely refer to protecting vulnerable unborn babies instead of the term in a broad manner additionally referring to being anti-war and anti-death penalty along with protecting unborn babies?  Personally, I think this is yet another term that has been hijacked by the liberals, specifically liberal Catholics, and perverted in order to assuage their guilt when they vote for pro-abort democratic politicians.  They want to relativize in their own minds that their politician is partly pro-life by perverting the term to mean something which it really doesn't.  Leo has suggested "pro-life" change to either pro-personhood, pro-human child, or pro-child. While I don't think that we are losing the pro-life argument, and even if I did I most certainly wouldn't conclude the cause of our losing the battle was due to the term "pro-life" I do think that it might be a good idea to change the term to specifically focus on the unborn child.  I believe the name change could help prevent the catholic Left from using the pro-life cover story in order to assuage their guilty conscience to legitimize the fact that they voted for pro-abortion or anti-child democratic politicians.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Old St. Peter's Basilica

One of the first historical places that I learned about as I walked the exhibit of Vatican Splendors was Old St. Peter's Basilica, which once stood where the Basilica of St. Peter stands today in Rome. The Old St. Peter's Basilica stood there from the 4th through the 16th centuries.  The construction of the Basilica began during the reign of the Roman emporer Constantine I between 326 and 333, and took about thirty years to complete.  Papal coronations began to be held at the Basilica.  By the 15th century the church was falling to ruin, and as a result there was reconstruction which improved both the apse and partially added a multi-story benediction loggia.  Pope Julius II's intention was to preserve the old building but ended up deciding to tear it down and building a new structure.  The original altar itself was preserved in the new structure.

Here is a fresco showing the interior of the basilica:

The Donation of Constantine (c. 1520) from Raphael's workshop shows how the interior of Old St. Peter's looked. In the center background the painting shows the original altar arrangement, with four Solomonic columns in front of the altar. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fr. Barron Comments on the Shocking Number of Abortions Out of New York

Monday, January 24, 2011

Today is the March For Life

As I watch the March for Life live on Fox News I am so happy to see so many pro-life congressman and marchers in attendance.  This is awesome! This truly gives me hope, that this unconscionable and horrific law -Roe v. Wade - will be overturned.  I have attended the March For Life many times in the past and it is truly a wonderful experience. I wish I could have attended the event today but unfortunately certain circumstances prevented that from happening.  Abortion is murder. It is unconscionable that our great nation would sanction the horror of this holocaust, called abortion.  It is extremely sad that many have and will continue to kill unborn babies out of pure selfishness and have refused to give our most vulnerable the chance to live their lives to the fullest.  Abortion is a second slavery. In my opinion this is worse than the first sanctioned slavery in this nation because of the fact that since 1973 pro-abortion persons have been preying on those who are unable to speak for themselves and murdering them. These murders must stop!!   We pray especially today, but each and every day, that God will protect every unborn child from the threat of death, from abortion.

The March For Life started out with a huge Mass today, packed with thousands of teenagers.  It is wonderful that more than 27000 tickets secured tickets for the morning concert, pep rally, and Mass.   Rev. Mark Ivany pointed out that "The greatest difference between other civil rights movements and this one is that most of the people affected by Roe v. Wade can't march on Washington." 

Here is part of Mother Teresa's address at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1994:  

I am so used to seeing the smiles on our people, even the dying ones smile. And Sister said: "This is the way it is nearly everyday. They are expecting, they are hoping that a son or daughter will come to visit them. They are hurt because they are forgotten." And see, this neglect to love brings spiritual poverty. Maybe in our own family we have somebody who is feeling lonely, who is feeling sick, who is feeling worried. Are we there? Are we willing to give until it hurts in order to be with our families, or do we put our own interests first? These are the questions we must ask ourselves, especially as we begin this year of the family. We must remember that love begins at home and we must also remember that 'the future of humanity passes through the family.'

I was surprised in the West to see so many young boys and girls given to drugs. And I tried to find out why. Why is it like that, when those in the West have so many more things than those in the East? And the answer was: 'Because there is no one in the family to receive them.' Our children depend on us for everything - their health, their nutrition, their security, their coming to know and love God. For all of this, they look to us with trust, hope and expectation. But often father and mother are so busy they have no time for their children, or perhaps they are not even married or have given up on their marriage. So their children go to the streets and get involved in drugs or other things. We are talking of love of the child, which is were love and peace must begin. These are the things that break peace.

But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts.

By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, that father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. The father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.

Many people are very, very concerned with the children of India, with the children of Africa where quite a few die of hunger, and so on. Many people are also concerned about all the violence in this great country of the United States. These concerns are very good. But often these same people are not concerned with the millions who are being killed by the deliberate decision of their own mothers. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today - abortion which brings people to such blindness.

And for this I appeal in India and I appeal everywhere - "Let us bring the child back." The child is God's gift to the family. Each child is created in the special image and likeness of God for greater things - to love and to be loved. In this year of the family we must bring the child back to the center of our care and concern. This is the only way that our world can survive because our children are the only hope for the future. As older people are called to God, only their children can take their places.

But what does God say to us? He says: "Even if a mother could forget her child, I will not forget you. I have carved you in the palm of my hand." We are carved in the palm of His hand; that unborn child has been carved in the hand of God from conception and is called by God to love and loved, not only now in this life, but forever. God can never forget us.

The beautiful gift God has given our congregation is to fight abortion by adoption. We have already, from our house in Calcutta, over 3,000 children adoption. And I can't tell you what joy, what love, what peace those children have brought into those families. It has been a real gift of God for them and for us. I remember one of the little ones was very sick, so I sent for the father and the mother and I asked them: "Please give me back the sick child. I will give you a healthy one." And the father looked at me and said, "Mother Teresa, take my life first than take the child." So beautiful to see it--so much love, so much joy that little one has brought into that family. So pray for us that we continue this beautiful gift. And also I offer you--our Sisters are here--anybody who doesn't want the child, please give it to me. I want the child.

I will tell you something beautiful. We are fighting abortion by adoption - by care of the mother and adoption for her baby. We have saved thousands of lives. We have sent word to the clinics, to the hospitals and police stations: "Please don't destroy the child; we will take the child." So we always have someone tell the mothers in trouble: "Come, we will take care of you, we will get a home for your child." And we have a tremendous demand from couples who cannot have a child - but I never give a child to a couple who have done something not to have a child. Jesus said, "Anyone who receives a child in my name, receives me." By adopting a child, these couples receive Jesus but, by aborting a child, a couple refuses to receive Jesus.

Please don't kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child. From our children's home in Calcutta alone, we have saved over 3000 children from abortion. These children have brought such love and joy to their adopting parents and have grown up so full of love and joy. I know that couples have to plan their family and for that there is natural family planning. The way to plan the family is natural family planning, not contraception. In destroying the power of giving life, through contraception, a husband or wife is doing something to self. This turns the attention to self and so it destroys the gifts of love in him or her.In loving, the husband and wife must turn the attention to each other as happens in natural family planning, and not to self, as happens in contraception. Once that living love is destroyed by contraception, abortion follows very easily.

I also know that there are great problems in the world - that many spouses do not love each other enough to practice natural family planning. We cannot solve all the problems in the world, but let us never bring in the worst problem of all, and that is to destroy love. And this is whathappens when we tell people to practice contraception and abortion.

The poor are very great people. They can teach us so many beautiful things. Once one of them came to thank us for teaching her natural family planning and said: "You people who have practiced chastity, you are the best people to teach us natural family planning because it is nothing more than self-control out of love for each other." And what this poor person said is very true. These poor people maybe have nothing to eat, maybe they have not a home to live in, but they can still be great people when they are spiritually rich.

When I pick up a person from the street, hungry, I give him a plate of rice, a piece of bread. But a person who is shut out, who feels unwanted, unloved, terrified, the person who has been thrown out of society - that spiritual poverty is much harder to overcome. And abortion, which often follows from contraception, brings a people to be spiritually poor, andthat is the worst poverty and the most difficult to overcome.

Those who are materially poor can be very wonderful people. One evening we went out and we picked up four people from the street. And one of them was in a most terrible condition. I told the Sisters: "You take care of the other three; I will take care of the one who looks worse." So I did for her all that my love can do. I put her in bed, and there was such a beautiful smile on her face. She took hold of my hand, as she said one word only: "thank you" - and she died.

I could not help but examine my conscience before her. And I asked: "What would I say if I were in her place?" And my answer was very simple. I would have tried to draw a little attention to myself. I would have said: "I am hungry, I am dying, I am cold, I am in pain," or something. But she gave me much more - she gave me her grateful love. And she died with a smile on her face. Then there was the man we picked up from the drain, half eaten by worms and, after we had brought him to the home, he only said, "I have lived like an animal in the street, but I am going to die as an angel, loved and cared for." Then, after we had removed all the worms from his body, all he said, with a big smile, was: "Sister, I am going home to God" - and he died. It was so wonderful to see the greatness of that man who could speak like that without blaming anybody, without comparing anything. Like an angel - this is the greatness of people who are spiritually rich even when they are materially poor.

We are not social workers. We may be doing social work in the eyes of some people, but we must be contemplatives in the heart of the world. For we must bring that presence of God into your family, for the family that prays together, stays together. There is so much hatred, so much misery, and we with our prayer, with our sacrifice, are beginning at home. Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put into what we do.

If we are contemplatives in the heart of the world with all its problems, these problems can never discourage us. We must always remember what God ells us in Scripture: "Even if a mother could forget the child in her womb" - something impossible, but even if she could forget - "I will never forget you."

And so here I am talking with you. I want you to find the poor here, right in your own home first. And begin love there. Be that good news to your own people first. And find out about your next-door neighbors. Do you know who they are?

I had the most extraordinary experience of love of neighbor with a Hindu family. A gentleman came to our house and said: "Mother Teresa, there is a family who have not eaten for so long. Do something." So I took some rice and went there immediately. And I saw the children - their eyes shining with hunger. I don't know if you have ever seen hunger. But I have seen it very often. And the mother of the family took the rice I gave her and went out. When she came back, I asked her: "Where did you go? What did you do?" And she gave me a very simple answer: "They are hungry also." What struck me was that she knew - and who are they? A Muslim family - and she knew. I didn't bring any more rice that evening because I wanted them, Hindus and Muslims, to enjoy the joy of sharing.

But there were those children, radiating joy, sharing the joy and peace with their mother because she had the love to give until it hurts. And you see this is where love begins - at home in the family.

So, as the example of this family shows, God will never forget us and there is something you and I can always do. We can keep the joy of loving Jesus in our hearts, and share that joy with all we come in contact with. Let us make that one point - that no child will be unwanted, unloved, uncared for, or killed and thrown away. And give until it hurts - with a smile.

As you know, we have a number of homes here in the United States, where people need tender love and care. This is the joy of sharing. Come and share. We have the young people suffering with AIDS. They need that tender love and care. But such beautiful--I've never yet seen a young man or anybody displeased or angy or frightened, really going home to God. Such a beautiful smile, always. So let us pray that we have the gift of sharing the joy with others and giving until it hurts.

Because I talk so much of giving with a smile, once a professor from the United States asked me: "Are you married?" And I said: "Yes, and I find it sometimes very difficult to smile at my spouse, Jesus, because He can be very demanding - sometimes." This is really something true. And this is where love comes in - when it is demanding, and yet we can give it with joy.

One of the most demanding things for me is travelling everywhere - and withnpublicity. I have said to Jesus that if I don't go to heaven for anything else, I will be going to heaven for all the travelling with all the publicity, because it has purified me and sacrificed me and made me really ready to go home to God.

If we remember that God loves us, and that we can love others as He loves us, then America can become a sign of peace for the world. From here, a sign of care for the weakest of the weak - the unborn child - must go out to the world. If you become a burning light of justice and peace in the world, then really you will be true to what the founders of this country stood for. 

Mother Teresa's entire address is here

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bishop Athanasius Schneider Requests Syllabus of Errors on Vatican II

Last December in Rome, Bishop Athanasius Schneider called “for a correct hermeneutics of the Council in the light of Church Tradition”.  This is wonderful!!  I am so sick of those Catholics who believe in the "Spirit of Vatican II"  because they portend that their beliefs are in line with Church teachings when in fact most of their beliefs are clearly out of bounds, or go way beyond the teachings of the Faith. These people who spout off the "Spirit of Vatican II" show no regard for the previous 2000 years of Catholic history. There definitely needs to be clarification of Vatican II teachings. 

 Bishop Schneider calls for a document clearly spelling out the errors of the post-conciliar years:

“In recent decades there existed, and still exist today, groupings within the Church that are perpetrating an enormous abuse of the pastoral character of the Council and its texts… Keeping in mind the now decades-long experience of interpretations that are doctrinally and pastorally mistaken and contrary to the bimillennial continuity of the doctrine and prayer of the faith, there thus arises the necessity and urgency of …  a sort of “Syllabus” of the errors in the interpretation of Vatican Council II.
“There is the need for a new Syllabus, this time directed not so much against the errors coming from outside of the Church, but against the errors circulated within the Church by supporters of the thesis of discontinuity and rupture, with its doctrinal, liturgical, and pastoral application.
“Such a Syllabus should consist of two parts: the part that points out the errors, and the positive part with proposals for clarification, completion, and doctrinal clarification.”

I hope this does indeed happen. This type of clarification regarding Vatican II is very much needed, and is well overdue. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Catholic Culture Clash Links 1-20-11

Along with a lot of other great links, I came across a link to a letter of "Principles and Priorities' by the USCCB's president, Archbishop Dolan, on Christopher Apologies blog which I read, and encourage every Catholic citizen to read.  I disagree with much of their letter since it seems like the only two political issues the bishops *get* are abortion and traditional marriage.

Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci, who served for over 40 years as director of the Sistine Chapel Choir, has made the charge that our Church music is in crisis.  "He was a child prodigy, having composed his first Mass at age 12; his best known Mass is the "Misa Jubilei," written in the Holy Year 1950."  Just because isn't used at Mass as often 50 years ago does that really mean that Church music is in crisis?  Especially when the Novus Ordo Mass was established by Vatican II?

 Then we have  Mexican producer and actor Eduardo Verastegui who announced that he is planning to build the largest pro-life women's clinic in the United States. He is truly doing the Lord's Work. God Bless him in his pro-life efforts. This is wonderful news! 

Pope Benedict recently spoke out against the violence being perpetrated against Christians in Egypt. Now Muslim academics are offended, and have called off dialogue with the Vatican. These Muslims are unbelievable!  They continually persecute Christians in the Middle East and then are offended when someone stands up against that persecution.  And, Islam is supposed to be the "religion of peace".   If they really were peaceful, then Muslims wouldn't be committing violence against persons of faiths. 

Christian genocide in Middle East.   

It looks like Obama is going to have a primary challenger in 2012.  This should be interesting. 

Deal W. Hudson has recently written an article where he asked "Do the USCCB understand subsidiarity?" received many responses, but one by Msgr. Pope  stood out.  Monsignor Pope asked, "Is it wise to apply the principle to a specific piece of legislation when the exact metric for subsidiarity isn't even clear?"  I agree with Deal Hudson when he states that "he {Msgr. Pope} is surely not unaware that USCCB support for this particular form of universal health care by federal mandate implies a virtual rejection of subsidiarity in the delivery of health goods and services."   This seems like the USCCB is abandoning a hallmark of Catholic social teaching, which is disgraceful in my opinion.  If we as faithful Catholics can't even rely on our bishops to follow the Faith in political matters correctly or in adherence with Church Teachings how can they honestly expect those who are struggling in the Faith to follow Catholic Social Teachings? 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On "Civility" in Political Discourse

Since last week there have been calls for "civility" from many politicians and journalists.  But, when did this call for "civility" happen?  Was it after many of the Left-Wing journalists tried to connect Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and other conservative commentators to the Tuscon shootings or was it after these conservative commentators defended themselves against the outlandish false accusations and spoke up in defense of their Constitutional right to express conservative principles via freedom of speech?  Unfortunately, it was after the latter occurred.  Civility is just a code word from progressives for censorship of dissent.  If the Left really cared about engaging in a civil debate and stopping personal attacks then they wouldn't have resorted to their abominable accusations on Saturday before their was one iota of evidence known about the suspected gunman. It would be great if instead of using personal attacks and false accusations political journalists, commentators, and politicians focused on criticizing politics and stances on the issues instead.  

Msgr. Charles Pope has written an article on civility where he shares what the scriptures teach us on civility and political discourse. Below, I am posting some of the Scripture quotations which Msgr. Pope used in his article. 

Here are a few of the texts that counsel charity and civility: 

Words from a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips. (Eccl 10:12)
The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools. (Eccles 9:17)
Anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.  (Matt 5:22)
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Eph 4:29)
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be (James 3:9-10)
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19)

 Even Jesus when addressing the Pharisees wasn't what we would call civil today.  The Bible texts below show denunciations of opponents. 

Jesus said, “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good?” (Matthew 12:34).
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me….You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire…..He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” (John 8:42-47)
Jesus said, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me (Mark 7:6)
Paul against the false apostles: And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. (2 Cor 11:11-14)
Paul on the Cretans: Even one of their own prophets has said, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith (Titus 1:12-13)

Here are two videos that Msgr. Pope posted. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sex & Theology of the Body

From Humanae Vitae: Faithfulness to God's Design means to experience married love while respecting the laws of conception and to acknowledge that one is not the master of the sources of life but rather the minister of the design established by the Creator. All artificial birth control methods are unlawful as are all specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. Lawful Therapeutic Means are permitted if necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result, provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever. Recourse to Infertile Periods applies to the spacing of births, arising from the physical or psychological condition of the husband or wife, or from external circumstances. The Church teaches that married people may then take advantage of the natural cycle. Scientists, as already requested by Pius XII, should study natural rhythms as a secure basis for the limitation of offspring. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

St. Bernard of Clairvaux and The Knights Templar

St. Bernard of Clairvaux is one of the most important figures in Templarism. At 23 years old, St. Bernard together with his brothers, cousins, and other relatives rode into the abbey of Citeaux, Dijon, a Cistercian monastery, which was run under the guidance of Stephen, later St Stephen Harding, an Englishman.  As Bernard and his large group swamped the small abbey Bernard announced his determination to follow the Cistercian way of life and surprisingly three years later In 1115, Bernard was sent with a band of twelve monks to Claire Vallée, or Clairvaux where he became Abbott of his own establishment.

After the death of Pope Hnorius II a schism broke out in the Church with the election of two popes, Pope Innocent II and Pope Anacletus II. St. Bernard was a visionary and a man of great religious conviction which came to have influence within the established Church, both the Cistercian Order and the Roman Church of his day.  Bernard was chosen to judge between the two rival popes and this resulted in him appointing Pope Innocent II the legitimate Pope.  However, as support for Innocent II was not secure, Bernard, it has been said, "walked hundreds of miles and talked to a great number of influential people in order to ensure Innocent’s ultimate acceptance."  (Butler)   With his great passion and fervor for the faith, St. Bernard, in his support of Pope Innocent II, traversed back and forth between Italy, France and Germany over the next several years to shore up the wavering support for the true pope against the partisans of the antipope Anacletus.  "His success in this endeavour marked St Bernard as probably the most powerful man in Christendom, for as ‘Pope Maker’ he probably had more influence than the Pontiff himself." (ibid)

Bernard was named Secretary of the Council of Troyes in 1128.  At the Council St. Bernard outlined the Rule of the Knights Templar which resulted in Pope Innocent II accepting ‘The Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon’ (The Knights Templar) into the Catholic fold, who then soon became the ideal of Cristian nobility.  St. Bernard guided a noviciate named BERNARDO PAGANELLI DI MONTEMAGNO (Eugnius III) under his wing, played a major role in "breeding" or prepping him, and making it possible for him to become pope in 1145.  From thenceforward, Bernard was extremely influential in almost every decision which was made in Rome. 

During his life St. Bernard treated the Virgin Mary with utter veneration, and had a profound belief in the 'Chaldean' form of Christianity which he exemplified in this short verse: ‘Believe me, for I know, you will find something far greater in the woods than in books. Stones and trees will teach you that which you cannot learn from the masters.’  He was a strong supporter of an excerpt from the Old Testament called ‘Solomon’s Song of Songs’.

St Bernard wrote the first ‘rules’ of the Templar Order which were based, almost entirely, on the Order adopted by the Cistercians, and this shows in all likelihood that Bernard had undertaken this task personally. "The Templars were officially declared to be a monastic order under the protection of Church in Troyes in 1139. Bernard went further and insisted that Pope Innocent II recognised this infant order as being solely under the authority of the Pope and no other temporal or ecclesiastical authority. It is a fact that the Templars venerated St Bernard from that moment on, until their own demise in 1307." (ibid)

"St Bernard travelled extensively, negotiated in civil disturbances and, surprisingly for the period, was instrumental in preventing a number of pogroms taking place against Jews in various locations within what is present day France. A staunch supporter of an Augustinian view of the mystery of the Christian faith, St Bernard was fiercely opposed to ‘rationalistic’ views of Christianity. In particular he was a staunch opponent of the dialectician ‘Peter Abelard’, a man whom St Bernard virtually destroyed when Abelard refused to accept Bernard’s own criticism of his radical ideas." (ibid)

"St Bernard died in Clairvaux on August 20th 1153, a date that would soon become his feast day, for St Bernard was canonised within a few short years of his death." (ibid)

I will post additional information on The Knights Templar in the near future.

St. Bernard of of Clairvaux, article by Alan Butler

 wikipeida article 

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Bestest, Coolest Birthday Present: Pope John Paul II Will be Beatified on May 1st, on My Birthday

This is so awesome!!!  Pope John Paul II's beatification is going to occur on the same day as my birthday.  I think this is a sign from God.  This is going to be an extra-special birthday for me this year.  I can't wait for the big day.  God Bless Pope John Paul II always, but especially on the date of his beatification, May 1st.

From the Associated Press:

During Pope John Paul II's 2005 funeral, crowds at the Vatican shouted for him to be made a saint immediately. "Santo subito!" they chanted for one of the most important and beloved pontiffs in history.
His successor heard their call. On Friday, in the fastest process on record, Pope Benedict XVI set May 1 as the date for John Paul's beatification — a key step toward Catholicism's highest honor and a major morale boost for a church reeling from the clerical sex abuse scandal.
He set the date after declaring that a French nun's recovery from Parkinson's disease was the miracle needed for John Paul to be beatified. A second miracle is needed to be canonized a saint.
Benedict himself will preside at the May 1 ceremony, which is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to Rome for a precedent-setting Mass: Never before has a pope beatified his immediate predecessor.
Carl Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus, one of the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organizations, said John Paul's life was a model of "love, respect and forgiveness for all."
"We saw this in the way he reached out to the poor, the neglected, those of other faiths, even the man who shot him," Anderson said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "He did all of this despite being so personally affected by events of the bloodiest century in history."
The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano described his saintliness in these terms Friday: "A passionate witness to Christ from his childhood to his last breath."
The last remaining hurdle before beatification concerned Benedict's approval that the cure of the French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, was a miracle due to the intercession of the late pope.
The nun has said she felt reborn when she woke up two months after John Paul died, cured of the disease that had made walking, writing and driving a car nearly impossible. She and her fellow sisters of the Congregation of Little Sisters of Catholic Maternity Wards had prayed to John Paul.
On Friday, Simon-Pierre said John Paul was and continues to be an inspiration to her because of his defense of the unborn and because they both suffered from Parkinson's.
John Paul "hasn't left me. He won't leave me until the end of my life," she told French Catholic TV station KTO and Italy's state-run RAI television.
Wearing a white habit and wire-rimmed glasses, she appeared in good health and showed no signs of tremors or slurred speech, common symptoms of Parkinson's.
"John Paul II did everything he could for life, to defend life," she said. "He was very close to the smallest and weakest. How many times did we see him approach a handicapped person, a sick person?"
Last year, there were some questions about whether the nun's original diagnosis was correct. But in a statement Friday, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints said Vatican-appointed doctors had "scrupulously" studied the case and determined that her cure had no scientific explanation.
Once he is beatified, John Paul will be given the title "blessed" and can be publicly venerated, or worshipped. Many people, especially in Poland, already venerate him privately, but the ceremony will allow Catholics to publicly worship him.
The Vatican said John Paul's entombed remains, currently in the grotto underneath St. Peter's Basilica, will be moved upstairs to a chapel just inside a main entrance for easier access by the public.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Knights Templar

Here is a little information on The Knights Templar for now since I am feeling under the weather.  Hopefully tomorrow I will feel better so I can expand and continue on this subject. 

From This Day in History:

On this day in 1128, Pope Honorius II grants a papal sanction to the military order known as the Knights Templar, declaring it to be an army of God. 
Led by the Frenchman Hughes de Payens, the Knights Templar organization was founded in 1118. Its self-imposed mission was to protect Christian pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land during the Crusades, the series of military expeditions aimed at defeating Muslims in Palestine. The Templars took their name from the location of their headquarters, at Jerusalem's Temple Mount. For a while, the Templars had only nine members, mostly due to their rigid rules. In addition to having noble birth, the knights were required to take strict vows of poverty, obedience and chastity. In 1127, new promotional efforts convinced many more noblemen to join the order, gradually increasing its size and influence.
While the individual knights were not allowed to own property, there was no such restriction on the organization as a whole, and over the years many rich Christians gave gifts of land and other valuables to support the Knights Templar. By the time the Crusades ended unsuccessfully in the early 14th century, the order had grown extremely wealthy, provoking the jealousy of both religious and secular powers. In 1307, King Philip IV of France and Pope Clement V combined to take down the Knights Templar, arresting the grand master, Jacques de Molay, on charges of heresy, sacrilege and Satanism. Under torture, Molay and other leading Templars confessed and were eventually burned at the stake. Clement dissolved the Templars in 1312, assigning their property and monetary assets to a rival order, the Knights Hospitalers. In fact, though, Philip and his English counterpart, King Edward II, claimed most of the wealth after banning the organization from their respective countries.          
The modern-day Catholic Church has admitted that the persecution of the Knights Templar was unjustified and claimed that Pope Clement was pressured by secular rulers to dissolve the order. Over the centuries, myths and legends about the Templars have grown, including the belief that they may have discovered holy relics at Temple Mount, including the Holy Grail, the Ark of the Covenant or parts of the cross from Christ's crucifixion. The imagined secrets of the Templars have inspired various books and movies, including the blockbuster novel and film The Da Vinci Code.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What's in a Name?

Pope Benedict has warned parents to stop giving their babies celebrity-inspired names and urged them to turn to the Bible for inspiration instead.  He called for a return to tradition. 

During Mass he stated: "Every baptised child acquires the character of the son of God, beginning with their Christian name, an unmistakable sign that the Holy Spirit causes man to be born anew in the womb of the Church." He added that a name was an "indelible seal" that set children off on a lifelong "journey of religious faith"." 

Cristina Odone, a former editor of The Catholic Herald who grew up in Italy, said: "There are so many of the church's traditions which we have come to ignore and which are actually meaningful and have a big spiritual significance. To deprive our children of that sense of having a protecting saint is to rob them of something very significant. Many of today's names are not just un-Christian but they are also crass and consumerist."
Monsignor Andrew Faley, the assistant general secretary to the Catholic Bishops' Conference, said: "The name is not just a label but it moves us into a deeper significance of what it means to be human as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.

I searched through the internet looking for some of the craziest names that celebrities have given to their children and found an abundance of unusual names.  Here are a few examples: Apple, Astrella Celeste, Audio Science, Blue Angel, Diezel Ky, Fifi Trixibell, and Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily.  If you are interested in seeing additional crazy names you can look hereNames such as Sienna, Scarlett, Ashton, Lily, and Chanel have become popular over recent years and in the interest of both preserving and spreading Christianity and Christian principles it is important that parents choose Christian names to send their children on a Christian journey where there Christian name can help remind them of those Christian principles which they should strive to live throughout their lives. 

I searched on the net for the Christian meaning behind my name Teresa and found this:

St Teresa of Ávila was a Spanish monastic reformer and mystic of the 16th century. She reformed the Carmelite nuns at Ávila and formed the discalced Carmelites, forming convents and monasteries throughout Spain. She is one of three female Doctors of the Church.

Another doctor of the church is St Thérèse de Lisieux. Thérèse is the French form of Teresa. She was also a Carmelite nun. She is known for her 'Little Way', and sanctity. She died aged only 24 in 1897.

From the Spanish and Portuguese name Teresa. It was first recorded as Therasia, being borne by the Spanish wife of Saint Paulinus of Nola in the 4th century. The meaning is uncertain, but it could be derived from Greek θερος (theros) "summer", from Greek θεριζω (therizo) "to harvest", or from the name of the Greek island of Therasia (the western island of Santorini).
The name was mainly confined to Spain and Portugal during the Middle Ages. After the 16th century it was spread to other parts of the Christian world, due to the fame of the Spanish nun and reformer Saint Teresa of Ávila. Another famous bearer was the Austrian Habsburg queen Maria Theresa (1717-1780), who inherited the domains of her father, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, beginning the War of the Austrian Succession.
Maria Theresa of Austria was the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire in the 18th century.

It might be interesting to see what Christian meaning is behind each of your names. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Politics With Principle: 10 Characters With Character

The 10 Catholic politicians in Michael Kerrigan's new book called Politics With Principle: 10 Characters With Character are:

Anne Bingaman is a lawyer and entrepreneur originally from the very small town of Jerome, Arizona, who served in the Clinton administration as the head of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice.

Charlie Black is a GOP political operative who worked closely with the Reagan and George H. Bush administrations and now works hard to train the next generation of political leaders.

Tom Bliley began his career running his family’s funeral business before serving as the Mayor of Richmond and then as a Congressman representing the Commonwealth of Virginia.

William Bulger is a lifelong resident of Massachusetts. His tough-as-nails roots helped him endure as the longest-standing President of the Massachusetts State Senate in the history of the Commonwealth. He later served as President of the University of Massachusetts.

Ben Cardin is a Maryland native who has served as Speaker of the House of Delegates, Congressman from the Third District, and currently as junior Senator from Maryland in the United States Senate.

Richard Carlson headed the Voice of America during the late Cold War and served as an Ambassador during the first Bush administration. Orphaned by a teenage mother, he also worked as a journalist, TV news anchor, sailor, and president of King World Productions.

Paul Eckstein is a prominent litigator from Arizona, who has successfully prosecuted a governor in a state impeachment proceeding as well as built a substantial law practice with Perkins Coie Brown & Bain, PA.

Admiral Tom Lynch served as Superintendent of the Naval Academy as well as captaining the “almost” 1963 National Champion Navy football team. He currently works as a venture capitalist.

Chuck Manatt is a longtime lawyer and political operative in the Democratic Party, who, as National Party Chairman, rebuilt the DNC after Carter’s defeat in 1980. He is a former Ambassador to the Dominican Republic and a dedicated farmer in his home state of Iowa.

Rick Santorum is a former United States Congressman and two-term Senator from Pennsylvania, who is contemplating a run for the 2012 Presidency.

I have only heard of two of these politicians and from what I know Ben Cardin is pro-choice so he can't be that principled a person.  Rick Santorum is in fact pro-life and a moral person. I wonder whose really principled and whose not.  Have you heard of any of these Catholic politicians? Who do you think is principled? 

Feast Day: Blessed William Carter

Benedict XVI: Religious Freedom is a Right of Everyone

Monday, January 10, 2011

St. Gregory of Nyssa

 We celebrate St. Gregory of Nyssa's feast today.  His younger brother was St. Basil The Great.  Both St. Gregory and St. Basil defended the faith against the attacks and heresies of the Arians.  Arians believe that the Son of God did not always exist, but was created by—and is therefore distinct from and inferior to—God the Father. 

From News Advent: In a letter to Eustathius St. Gregory of Nyssa stated ". . . O especially at this time in this indescribable malice of our enemies, which you skilfully dispersed when it swept like some evil flood over our life, dispelling this violent inflammation of our heart by your fomentation of soothing words. I thought it right, indeed, in view of the continuous and varied effort of our enemies against us, to keep silence, and to receive their attack quietly, rather than to speak against men armed with falsehood, that most mischievous weapon, which sometimes drives its point even through truth. But you did well in urging me not to betray the truth, but to refute the slanderers, lest, by a success of falsehood against truth, many might be injured. 

"I may say that those who conceived this causeless hatred for us seemed to be acting very much on the principle of Æsop's fable. For just as he makes his wolf bring some charges against the lamb (feeling ashamed, I suppose, of seeming to destroy, without just pretext, one who had done him no hurt), and then, when the lamb easily swept away all the slanderous charges brought against him, makes the wolf by no means slacken his attack, but carry the day with his teeth when he is vanquished by justice; so those who were as keen for hatred against us as if it were something good (feeling perhaps some shame of seeming to hate without cause), make up charges and complaints against us, while they do not abide consistently by any of the things they say, but allege, now that one thing, after a little while that another, and then again that something else is the cause of their hostility to us. Their malice does not take a stand on any ground, but when they are dislodged from one charge they cling to another, and from that again they seize upon a third, and if all their charges are refuted they do not give up their hate. They charge us with preaching three Gods, and din into the ears of the multitude this slander, which they never rest from maintaining persuasively. Then truth fights on our side, for we show both publicly to all men, and privately to those who converse with us, that we anathematize any man who says that there are three Gods, and hold him to be not even a Christian. Let the inspired Scripture, then, be our umpire, and the vote of truth will surely be given to those whose dogmas are found to agree with the Divine words.

"What, then, is our doctrine? The Lord, in delivering the saving Faith to those who become disciples of the word, joins with the Father and the Son the Holy Spirit also; and we affirm that the union of that which has once been joined is continual; for it is not joined in one thing, and separated in others. But the power of the Spirit, being included with the Father and the Son in the life-giving power, by which our nature is transferred from the corruptible life to immortality, and in many other cases also, as in the conception of Good,and "Holy," and Eternal, Wise, Righteous, Chief, Mighty, and in fact everywhere, has an inseparable association with them in all the attributes ascribed in a sense of special excellence. And so we consider that it is right to think that that which is joined to the Father and the Son in such sublime and exalted conceptions is not separated from them in any. For we do not know of any differences by way of superiority and inferiority in attributes which express our conceptions of the Divine nature, so that we should suppose it an act of piety (while allowing to the Spirit community in the inferior attributes) to judge Him unworthy of those more exalted. For all the Divine attributes, whether named or conceived, are of like rank one with another, in that they are not distinguishable in respect of the signification of their subject. For the appellation of the Good does not lead our minds to one subject, and that of the Wise, or the Mighty, or the Righteous to another, but the thing to which all the attributes point is one; and, if you speak of God, you signify the same Whom you understood by the other attributes."

I think we can take a lesson from St. Gregory of Nyssa for Today's times.  As Christianity is attacked by those who want to tear down Christ, Christian values, and the Truth we must not be silent but in fact we must stand up for Truth, our Faith, and the Church.  We need to fight and stand up against our enemies. We need to continue to stand up for Jesus and Christian principles. It is very important that we defend the Church against both heresies and scandals.