Friday, November 30, 2007

Good-bye Kim Bird

It is with great sadness I write about the loss of a friend and associate from the Arizona Gymnastics Community. Kim Bird was a great inspiration to countless gymnasts, fellow coaches and even gymnasts and coaches he was competing against - there really wasn't an "against" - we were always competing "with" him.

Rest in peace my friend.

Scott<<<

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Feast of Christ the King - Last Sunday after Pentecost

Sunday, November 25, 2007 is the “Last
Sunday of the Liturgical Year.”


It is also called “The Last
Sunday in Ordinal Time.”


Being the culmination of the Church
year – it is on this day we celebrate the Feast of Christ the
King.





We have all been through a lot
throughout the past year, and we close the year with the celebration
of our King and Lord, Jesus Christ. Next Sunday is the beginning of
our New Year – and as such it is the First Sunday in Advent. I
will have more to follow on the subject of Advent, but for now, let
us rejoice in our King! Sing praises to His Holy Name and bow down
and worship the One who is worthy of our praise and adoration.





The liturgical readings for the Feast
of Christ the King:





Canticle
Revelation 4:11; 5:9-12

Worthy
are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and
power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they
existed and were created.

Worthy
are you, O Lord,
to take the scroll and to open its seals,
for
you were slain,
and by your blood you ransomed men for God
from
every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

You
have made us a kingdom and priests to our God,
and we shall reign
on earth.

Worthy
is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and riches
and
wisdom and might,
and honor and glory and blessing.

 


Collect
Almighty
and merciful God, who breaks the power of evil and makes all things
new in your Son Jesus Christ, the King of the universe: May all in
heaven and earth acclaim your glory and never cease to praise you.
We
ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, Who lives and
reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.


Scripture
Readings


Year A


First
Reading: Ezekiel 34:11-12; 15-17
For thus says the Lord GOD:
Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out.
As a shepherd seeks out his flock when some of his sheep have been
scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will rescue them
from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and
thick darkness.


I
myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie
down, says the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back
the strayed, and I will bind up the crippled, and I will strengthen
the weak, and the fat and the strong I will watch over; I will feed
them in justice. As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord GOD:
Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, rams and he-goats.



Second
Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:20-26,28
But in fact Christ has been
raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen
asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the
resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ
shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first
fruits, then at His coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the
end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying
every rule and every authority and power. For He must reign until He
has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be
destroyed is death.


When
all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will also be
subjected to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be
everything to every one.



Gospel:
Matthew 25:31-46
"When the Son of man comes in His glory, and
all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.
Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate
them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the
goats, and He will place the sheep at His right hand, but the goats
at the left. Then the King will say to those at His right hand,
"Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for
you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave
me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and
you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you
visited me, I was in prison and you came to me". Then the
righteous will answer Him, "Lord, when did we see thee hungry
and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see
thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when
did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?" And the King
will answer them, "Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of
the least of these my brethren, you did it to me". Then He will
say to those at His left hand, "Depart from me, you cursed, into
the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was
hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no
drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did
not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me".
Then they also will answer, "Lord, when did we see thee hungry
or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not
minister to thee?" Then He will answer them, "Truly, I say
to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it
not to me". And they will go away into eternal punishment, but
the righteous into eternal life.


Year
B
First Reading: Daniel 7:13-14
I saw in the night visions, and
behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a Son of Man,
and He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And
to Him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples,
nations, and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an
everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.

Second Reading: Revelation
1:5-8
Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the first-born of the
dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has
freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to
his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.
Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see
him, every one who pierced him; and all tribes of the earth will wail
on account of him. Even so. Amen.

"I am the Alpha and
the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to
come, the Almighty.

Gospel: John 18:33-37
Pilate entered
the praetorium again and called Jesus, and said to Him, "Are you
the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "Do you say this of
your own accord, or did others say it to you about Me?" Pilate
answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests
have handed you over to me; what have you done?" Jesus answered,
"My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this
world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to
the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world." Pilate said to
him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say
that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into
the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the
truth hears my voice."

Year C
First Reading: 2 Samuel
5:1-3
In those days, all the tribes of Israel came to David at
Hebron, and said, "Behold, we are your bone and flesh. In times
past, when Saul was king over us, it was you that led out and brought
in Israel; and the LORD said to you, 'You shall be shepherd of my
people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.'" So all the
elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron; and King David made a
covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David
king over Israel.

Second Reading: Colossians 1:12-20
Giving
thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the
inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the
dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved
Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

He
is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation;
for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible
and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or
authorities--all things were created through him and for him. He is
before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the
head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born
from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent. For in him
all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to
reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven,
making peace by the blood of his cross.

Gospel: Luke
23:35-43
The rulers scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others;
let Him save Himself, if He is the Christ of God, His Chosen One!"
The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up and offering Him vinegar, and
saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!"
There was also an inscription over Him, "This is the King of the
Jews."
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at Him,
saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!" But
the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you
are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly;
for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has
done nothing wrong." And he said, "Jesus, remember me when
You come into Your kingdom." And He said to him, "Truly, I
say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."




The Truth of Santa Claus

The Truth of St. Nicholas
The Truth of Santa Claus

The following is a collection of articles demonstrating the Truth of Santa Claus - or more properly, St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas was really a person, a giving person who loved children and whose spirit lives on in the giving of gifts at Christmas time. Far too often we are reminded of the over commercialization of Christmas - a point we must whole-heartedly agree with - but we must be careful not to "throw out the baby with the bathwater." Many get a bit over-zealous in their desire to decommercialize Christmas, and they throw out Santa Claus - but the giving Saint and Bishop of Myra truly exemplifies the giving spirit of the Christmas holiday, recalling the gifts given to the Christchild by the Three Wisemen.
Let us remember the true spirit of Christmas and the ultimate Gift given all of us, a Savior who is Christ the Lord. He came to us that first Christmas morning, a Free Gift to all who will accept it and accept Him as their Messiah, and Redeemer. This spirit of giving lived on in the life of St. Nicholas and lives on throughout the world in the many names of St. Nicholas today.































































Santa Throughout much of the world
Santa Claus Throughout much of the world
Saint Nicholas Throughout much of the world & Victorian Times
Saint Nick Throughout much of the World
De Kerstman Holland
Sankt Nikolaus Germany
Weinachtman Germany
Kriss Kringle Much of the World
Pere Noel France
Papai Noel Brazil (Portuguese)
Julenisse Much of Scandinavia
Jultomten Sweden
Tomten Sweden
Kaledu Senelis Lithuania
Joulupukki Finland
Father Christmas England


Let us also remember the name of the holiday, it is the Christ Mass, or Christmas, that we are celebrating. The Gift Christ gave the world is remembered this day, and the ulitmate Sacrifice that He would give us all, His Life and Resurrection, is remembered throughout the world and throughout the history of Christendom in the Christ Mass. I hope you join me, where ever you are in the world, and take some time out of your busy Holy Day (holiday) and go to Mass this day, or Divine Liturgy as it is called by our Eastern brethren.

I'd also like to call to your minds that the weeks prior to Christ Mass are NOT the Christmas Season! This is Advent! Advent is a time of penance and reflection on the past year. What habits have we overcome this year? What acts of charity have we done? What more can we do? Advent is the season of preparation and remembrance of the coming of the Messiah, the Savior of the World. It is a time of joy, but the joy is in anticipation.

Too many folks "tear down Christmas" on December 26, but what they don't seem to realize is that is the first day of Christmas! The Twelve Days of Christmas are those 12 days starting the day after the Christ Mass and ends on Epiphany, January 6th, traditionally recognized as the day the Wisemen visited Jesus. In some Christmas traditions, a gift is given on each of the 12 days, also remembering the spirit of giving of the Christmas Season, (the gifts of the Wisemen, THE Gift of Jesus Himself, and the spirit of giving from St. Nicholas or Santa Claus). Let Christmas live on through January 6th. If we, as Christians, are remembering the Holy Day (holiday) then let's really remember it, all of it!

I wish you all a blessed Advent season, and likewise, a blessed ChristMass season.

In JMJ, Scott Windsor<<<
http://www.americancatholictruthsociety.com
(Originally posted, December 6, 2003 - Feast of St. Nicholas)

The Truth of Santa Claus
The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in Patara, a village in what is now Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.
Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. He died December 6, 343 AD in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance was said to have healing powers which fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day.
(Used with permission)
More from St. Nicholas Center

The Custom of the Shoes
There is a custom of leaving shoes outside the bedroom door. The legend has it that St. Nicholas arrives on St. Nicholas Eve (December 5th, the feast day of St. Nicholas being December 6th) holding a present in one hand and a stick in the other, and asks the children in what ways have they grown that would merit the praise and presents and which bad habits have they worked to overcome. He asks this to each child and turns to the other gathered children and asks if he should give the gift or the stick.
So, the children retire for the night and leave their shoes outside their doors, often with a little treat for St. Nick's horse. Later that night St. Nicholas would return and leave the gifts, and of course take the snack.

The story probably arrises out of Holland where "Sinterklaas" the real St. Nicholas, born of wealthy parents but after his parents died of an epidemic, he distributed his wealth and became a priest. It is said he left dowries in the shoes of penniless maidens.

St. Nicholas
Feastday: December 6 Patron of Bakers and Pawnbrokers
St. Nicholas, called "of Bari", Bishop of Myra (Fourth Century) 6 Dec. Feast day. The great veneration with which this saint has been honored for many ages and the number of altars and churches which have been everywhere dedicated in his memory are testimonials to his holiness and of the glory which he enjoys with God. He is said to have been born at Patara in Lycia, a province of Asia Minor. Myra, the capital, not far from the sea, was an episcopal see, and this church falling vacant, the holy Nicholas was chosen bishop, and in that station became famous by his extraordinary piety and zeal and many astonishing miracles. The Greek histories of his life agree that he suffered imprisonment of the faith and made a glorious confession in the latter part of the persecution raised by Dioletian, and that he was present at the Council of Nicaea and there condemned Arianism. The silence of other authors makes many justly suspect these circumstances. He died at Myra, and was buried in his cathedral.

This summary account by Alban Butler tells us all that is known about the life of the famous St. Nicholas, and even a little more; for his episcopate at Myra during the fourth century is really all that seems indubitable authentic. This is not for lack of material, beginning with the life attributed to the monk who died in 847 as St. Methodius, Patriarch of Constantinople. But he warns us that "Up to the present the life of this distinguished Shepard has been unknown to the majority of the faithful", and sets about enlightening their ignorance nearly five hundred years after the saint's death. This is the least unreliable of the "biographical" sources available, and a vast amount of literature, critical and expository, have grown up around them. Nevertheless, the universal popularity of the saint for so many centuries requires that some account of these legends should be given here.

We are assured that from his earliest days Nicholas would take nourishment only once on Wednesdays and Fridays, and that in the evening according to the canons. "He was exceedingly well brought up by his parents and trod piously in their footsteps. The child, watched over by the church enlightened his mind and encouraged his thirst for sincere and true religion". His parents died when he was a young man, leaving him well off and he determined to devote his inheritance to works of charity. An opportunity soon arose. A citizen of Patara had lost all his money, and had moreover to support three daughters who could not find husbands because of their poverty; so the wretched man was going to give them over to prostitution. This came to the ears of Nicholas, who thereupon took a bag of gold and, under cover of darkness threw it in at the open window of the man's house. Here was a dowry for the eldest girl and she was soon duly married. At intervals Nicholas did the same for the second and third; at the last time the father was on the watch, recognized his benefactor and overwhelmed him with his gratitude. It would appear that the three purses represented in pictures, came to be mistaken for the heads of three children and so they gave rise to the absurdstory of the children, resuscitated by the saint, who had been killed by an innkeeper and pickled in a brine-tub.

Coming to the city of Myra when the clergy and people of the province were in session to elect a new bishop, St. Nicholas was indicated by God as the man they should choose. This was at the time of the persecutions at the beginning of the fourth century and "As he was the chief priest of the Christians of this town and preached the truths of faith with a holy liberty, the divine Nicholas was seized by the magistrates, tortured, then chained and thrown into prison with many other Christians. But when the great and religious Constatine, chosen by God assumed the imperial diadem of the Romans, the prisoners were released from their bonds and with them the illustrious Nicholas, who when he was set at liberty returned to Myra." St. Methodius asserts that "thanks to the teaching of St. Nicholas the metropolis of Myra alone was untouched by the filth of the Arian heresy, which it firmly rejected as death-dealing poison", but says nothing of his presence at the Council of Nicaea in 325. According to other traditions he was not only there but so far forgot himself as to give the heresiarch Arius a slap in the face. Whereupon the conciliar fathers deprived him of his episcopal insignia and committed him to prison; but our Lord and His Mother appeared there and restored to him both his liberty and his office. As against Arianism so against paganism, St. Nicholas was tireless and took strong measures: among other temples he destroyed was that of Artemis, the principal in the district, and the evil spirits fled howling before him. He was the guardian of his people as well in temporal affairs. The governor Eustathius had taken a bribe to condemn to death three innocent men. At the time fixed for their execution Nicholas came to the place, stayed the hands of the executioner, and released the prisoners. Then he turned to Eustathius and did not cease to reproach him until he admitted his crime and expressed his penitence. There were present on this occasion three imperial officers who were on their way to duty in Phrygia. Later, when they were back again in Constantinople, the jealousy of the prefect Ablavius caused them to be imprisoned on false charges and an order for their death was procured from the Emperor Constantine. When the officers heard this they remembered the example they had witnessed of the powerful love of justice of the Bishop of Myra and they prayed to God that through his merits and by his instrumentality then might yet be saved. That night St. Nicholas appeared in a dream to Constatine, and told him with threats to release the three innocent men, and Ablavius experienced the same thing. In the morning the Emporor and the prefect compared notes, and the condemned men were sent for and questioned. When he heard that they had called on the name of the Nicholas of Myra who had appeared to him, Constantine set them free and sent them to the bishop with a letter asking him not to threaten him any more but to pray for the peace of the world. For long this was the most famous miracle of St. Nicholas, and at the time of St. Methodius was the only thing generally known about him.

The accounts are unanimous that St. Nicholas died and was buried in his episcopal city of Myra, and by the time of Justinian there was a basilica built in his honor at Constantinople. An anonymous Greek wrote in the tenth century that, "the West as well as the East acclaims and glorifies him. Wherever there are people, in the country and the town, in the villages, in the isles, in the furthest parts of the earth, his name is revered and churches are built in his honor. Images of him are set up, panegyrics preached and festivals celebrated. All Christians, young and old, men and women, boys and girls, reverence his memory and call upon his protection. And his favors, which know no limit of time and continue from age to age, are poured out over all the earth; the Scythians know them, as do the Indians and the barbarians, the Africans as well as the Italians." When Myra and its great shrine finally passed into the hands of the Saracens, several Italian cities saw this as an opportunity to acquire the relics of St. Nicholas for themselves. There was great competition for them between Venice and Bari. The last-named won, the relics were carried off under the noses of the lawful Greek custodians and their Mohammedan masters, and on May 9, 1087 were safety landed at Bari, a not inappropriate home seeing that Apulia in those days still had large Greek colonies. A new church was built to shelter them and the pope, Bd. Urban II, was present at their enshrining. Devotion to St. Nicholas was known in the West long before his relics were brought to Italy, but this happening naturally greatly increased his veneration among the people, and miracles were as freely attributed to his intercession in Europe as they had been in Asia. At Myra "the venerable body of the bishop, embalmed as it was in the good ointments of virtue exuded a sweet smelling myrrh, which kept it from corruption and proved a health giving remedy against sickness to the glory of him who had glorified Jesus Christ, our true God." The translation of the relics did not interrupt this phenomenon, and the "manna of St. Nicholas" is said to flow to this day. It was one of the great attractions which drew pilgrims to his tomb from all parts of Europe.

It is the image of St. Nicholas more often than that of any other that is found on Byzantine seals; in the later middle ages nearly four hundred churches were dedicated in his honor in England alone; and he is said to have been represented by Christian artists more frequently than any saint except our Lady. St. Nicholas is venerated as the patron saint of several classes of people, especially, in the East, of sailors and in the West of children. The first of these patronage is probably due to the legend that during his life time, he appeared to storm tossed mariners who invoked his aid off the coast of Lycia and brought them safely to port. Sailors in the Aegean and Ionian seas, following a common Eastern custom, had their "star of St. Nicholas" and wished one another a good voyage in the phrase "May St. Nicholas hold the tiller". The legend of the "three children" gave rise to his patronage of children and various observances, ecclesiastical and secular, connected there with; such were the boy bishop and especially in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, the giving of presents in his name at Christmas time. This custom in England is not a survival from Catholic times. It was popularized in America by the Dutch Protestants of New Amsterdam who had converted the popish saint into a Nordic magician (Santa Claus = Sint Klaes = Saint Nicholas) and was apparently introduced into this country by Bret Harte. It is not the only "good old English custom" which, however good, is not "old English", at any rate in its present form. The deliverance of the three imperial officers naturally caused St. Nicholas to be invoked by and on behalf of prisoners and captives, and many miracles of his intervention are recorded in the middle ages.

Curiously enough the greatest popularity of St. Nicholas is found neither in the eastern Mediterranean nor north-western Europe, great as that was, but in Russia. With St. Andred the Apostle he is patron of the nation, and the Russian Orthodox Church even observes the feast of his translation; so many Russian pilgrims came to Bari before the revolution that their government supported a church, hospital and hospice there. He is a patron saint also of Greece, Apulia, Sicily and Loraine, and of many cities and dioceses (including Galway) and churches innumerable. At Rome the basilica of St. Nicholas in the Jail of Tully (in Carcere) was founded between the end of the sixth and the beginning of the seventh centuries. He is named in the preparation of the Byzantine Divine Liturgy (Mass).
http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=371

Good info and ideas for remembering St. Nicholas:
http://www.umkc.edu/imc/stnick.htm

http://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=23

From St. Nicholas to Santa Claus
http://traditions-uk.freeservers.com/StNicholas.html
http://www.anglicancommunion.org/stnicholas/mirror.html

CE on St. Nick: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11063b.htm

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Global Incident Map

Well, not really apologetics in nature, but I found this website with a live interactive map of terrorist activities throughout the world, updated every 460 seconds! I thought I'd pass it along...

http://www.globalincidentmap.com/home.php

Monday, August 13, 2007

What? No Feast of the Assumption?

Why is this feast day conspicuously MISSING from Protestant calendars? It is one of the OLDEST feast days in the Church and is celebrated in both Eastern and Western traditions. The ONLY Christian groups, by and large, which do NOT celebrate this feast are those which formed during or after the 16th century. Sort of indicative that a "new gospel" was preached to those who do not observe this feast day!

Feel free to add a comment here, or if you want a more interactive discussion, post it to the Locutus Discussion Board - or both!

In JMJ,
Scott<<<

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Jesus of Nazareth


Pope Benedict XVI has written a book entitled Jesus of Nazareth which is an answer to the modern (or Modernist) portrayals we see in the theaters and other mediums.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

What Now?

With yesteday's announcement/promulgation of Summorum Pontificum, what's next?

We are already seeing some of the liberals (Modernists) coming forth with their objections. On one hand I want to reach out to them and help THEM back into the fold, but on the other hand - I feel like, "let them be exposed for who and what they are and disposed of for the Modernists and innovators they are!"

On the positive side, I want to bring them to a TRUE understanding of ecumenism, not the false notion they have been espousing for the last 40 odd years. A true spirit of ecumenism would not be shunning those who hold the Catholic Faith so high and so reverently, as the Traditional Catholics do. How could they embrace heretical cults and invite them to co-celebrate - yet reject the Traditional Latin Mass (completely in some diocese - like my own) is beyond me! So on this side I want to show them that Traditionalists are not the "Rad-Trad" fringe which condemns everything and anything new - but the REAL Traditionalists who admire that which was good and true and right and are willing to allow for some flexibility in those parts of the Mass which are changeable (and the Canon of the Mass is NOT one of those parts!).

On the negative side, I feel like letting the Modernists - really heretics - expose themselves and be cast out of the Church for their Modernist heresies. They have been a cancer in the Church for far too long - and the way you treat cancer is to remove it and irradicate it from the Body. These Modernists have been confusing the Church and the faithful by clouding the lines between Catholicism and heresy - so much so that many Catholics saw little or no difference in Protestantism - and LEFT the Church! Granted, some left because Protestantism is "easier" - but many left because there was no real distinction anymore! The Modernism of post-concilliarism made Catholicism to look and feel like Protestantism! Just look at modern "Catholic" architecture! Modern parishes look like performance halls and theatre-in-the-round settings, instead of the focus upon the Glory of God and the altar on which His Sacrifice is offered. Tabernacles were "hidden" in other rooms or pushed off to the side - instead of their place of prominence - behind the altar where all Catholics would genuflect in respect of the Lord's Body within the tabernacle! I've often wondered, when visiting our local parish (where the tabernacle is in a room off to the side) when people genuflect on their way in to their pew - "What are they genuflecting to?" A "meal table" deserves not the respect the Body of the Lord gets! I would make it a point, when I genuflect there, I turn toward the "room" which contains the concecrated Body of Christ - for HE is what deserves my respect - not an empty "table."

In short - I hope this NEW REFORM doesn't stop with this motu proprio His Holiness just promulgated.

Long live Pope Benedict XVI!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Restoration of the Mass!

Apostolic Letter
In the form "motu proprio"

Benedict XVI

"Summorum Pontificum"

Up to our own times, it has been the constant concern of Supreme
Pontiffs to ensure that the Church of Christ offers a worthy ritual to the
Divine Majesty, "to the praise and glory of His name," and "to the
benefit of all His Holy Church."

Since time immemorial it has been necessary -- as it is also for the
future -- to maintain the principle according to which "each particular
Church must concur with the universal Church, not only as regards the
doctrine of the faith and the sacramental signs, but also as regards the
usages universally accepted by uninterrupted apostolic Tradition, which
must be observed not only to avoid errors but also to transmit the
integrity of the faith, because the Church's law of prayer corresponds to
her law of faith."[1]

Among the Pontiffs who showed that requisite concern, particularly
outstanding is the name of St. Gregory the Great, who made every effort to
ensure that the new peoples of Europe received both the Catholic faith
and the treasures of worship and culture that had been accumulated by
the Romans in preceding centuries. He commanded that the form of the
sacred liturgy as celebrated in Rome (concerning both the Sacrifice of
Mass and the Divine Office) be conserved. He took great concern to ensure
the dissemination of monks and nuns who, following the Rule of St.
Benedict, together with the announcement of the Gospel, illustrated with
their lives the wise provision of their rule that "nothing should be
placed before the work of God." In this way the sacred liturgy, celebrated
according to the Roman use, enriched not only the faith and piety but
also the culture of many peoples. It is known, in fact, that the Latin
liturgy of the Church in its various forms, in each century of the
Christian era, has been a spur to the spiritual life of many saints,
has reinforced many peoples in the virtue of religion and fecundated
their piety.

Many other Roman pontiffs, in the course of the centuries, showed
particular solicitude in ensuring that the sacred liturgy accomplished this
task more effectively. Outstanding among them is St. Pius V who,
sustained by great pastoral zeal and following the exhortations of the
Council of Trent, renewed the entire liturgy of the Church, oversaw the
publication of liturgical books amended and "renewed in accordance with the
norms of the fathers," and provided them for the use of the Latin
Church.

One of the liturgical books of the Roman rite is the Roman Missal,
which developed in the city of Rome and, with the passing of the centuries,
little by little took forms very similar to that it has had in recent
times.

"It was towards this same goal that succeeding Roman Pontiffs directed
their energies during the subsequent centuries in order to ensure that
the rites and liturgical books were brought up to date and when
necessary clarified. From the beginning of this century they undertook a more
general reform."[2] Thus our predecessors Clement VIII, Urban VIII, St.
Pius X,[3] Benedict XV, Pius XII and Blessed John XXIII all played a
part.

In more recent times, the Second Vatican Council expressed a desire
that the respectful reverence due to divine worship should be renewed and
adapted to the needs of our time. Moved by this desire our predecessor,
the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI, approved, in 1970, reformed and partly
renewed liturgical books for the Latin Church. These, translated into the
various languages of the world, were willingly accepted by bishops,
priests and faithful. John Paul II amended the third typical edition of
the Roman Missal. Thus Roman Pontiffs have operated to ensure that "this
kind of liturgical edifice ... should again appear resplendent for its
dignity and harmony."[4]

But in some regions, no small numbers of faithful adhered and continue
to adhere with great love and affection to the earlier liturgical
forms. These had so deeply marked their culture and their spirit that in
1984 the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, moved by a concern for the pastoral
care of these faithful, with the special indult "Quattuor Abhinc
Anno," issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship, granted permission to
use the Roman Missal published by Blessed John XXIII in the year 1962.
Later, in the year 1988, John Paul II with the apostolic letter given
as "motu proprio, "Ecclesia Dei," exhorted bishops to make generous use
of this power in favor of all the faithful who so desired.

Following the insistent prayers of these faithful, long deliberated
upon by our predecessor John Paul II, and after having listened to the
views of the cardinal fathers of the consistory of 22 March 2006, having
reflected deeply upon all aspects of the question, invoked the Holy
Spirit and trusting in the help of God, with these apostolic letters we
establish the following:

Art 1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary
expression of the "Lex orandi" (Law of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the
Latin rite. Nonetheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and
reissued by Blessed John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary
expression of that same "Lex orandi," and must be given due honor for
its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church's
"Lex orandi" will in no any way lead to a division in the Church's "Lex
credendi" (Law of belief). They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman
rite.

It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass
following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Blessed
John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the
liturgy of the Church. The conditions for the use of this Missal as
laid down by earlier documents "Quattuor Abhinc Annis" and "Ecclesia
Dei," are substituted as follows:

Art. 2. In Masses celebrated without the people, each Catholic priest
of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal
published by Blessed Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal
promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and may do so on any day with the
exception of the Easter Triduum. For such celebrations, with either one
Missal or the other, the priest has no need for permission from the
Apostolic See or from his ordinary.

Art. 3. Communities of institutes of consecrated life and of societies
of apostolic life, of either pontifical or diocesan right, wishing to
celebrate Mass in accordance with the edition of the Roman Missal
promulgated in 1962, for conventual or "community" celebration in their
oratories, may do so. If an individual community or an entire institute or
society wishes to undertake such celebrations often, habitually or
permanently, the decision must be taken by the superiors major, in
accordance with the law and following their own specific decrees and statues.

Art. 4. Celebrations of Mass as mentioned above in art. 2 may --
observing all the norms of law -- also be attended by faithful who, of their
own free will, ask to be admitted.

Art. 5. §1 In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who
adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly
accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of
the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these
faithful harmonizes with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish,
under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with Canon 392, avoiding
discord and favoring the unity of the whole Church.

§2 Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Blessed John XXIII may
take place on working days; while on Sundays and feast days one such
celebration may also be held.

§3 For faithful and priests who request it, the pastor should also
allow celebrations in this extraordinary form for special circumstances
such as marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, i.e., pilgrimages.

§4 Priests who use the Missal of Blessed John XXIII must be qualified
to do so and not juridically impeded.

§5 In churches that are not parish or conventual churches, it is the
duty of the rector of the church to grant the above permission.

Art. 6. In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in
accordance with the Missal of Blessed John XXIII, the readings may be given in
the vernacular, using editions recognized by the Apostolic See.

Art. 7. If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 §1, has not
obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should
inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy
their wishes. If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place,
the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

Art. 8. A bishop who, desirous of satisfying such requests, but who for
various reasons is unable to do so, may refer the problem to the
Commission Ecclesia Dei to obtain counsel and assistance.

Art. 9. §1 The pastor, having attentively examined all aspects, may
also grant permission to use the earlier ritual for the administration of
the sacraments of baptism, marriage, penance, and the anointing of the
sick, if the good of souls would seem to require it.

§ 2 Ordinaries are given the right to celebrate the sacrament of
confirmation using the earlier Roman Pontifical, if the good of souls would
seem to require it.

§ 2 Clerics ordained "in sacris constitutis" may use the Roman Breviary
promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962.

Art. 10. The ordinary of a particular place, if he feels it
appropriate, may erect a personal parish in accordance with Canon 518 for
celebrations following the ancient form of the Roman rite, or appoint a
chaplain, while observing all the norms of law.

Art. 11. The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, erected by John Paul
II in 1988[5], continues to exercise its function. Said commission will
have the form, duties and norms that the Roman Pontiff wishes to assign
it.

Art. 12. This commission, apart from the powers it enjoys, will
exercise the authority of the Holy See, supervising the observance and
application of these dispositions.

We order that everything We have established with these apostolic
letters issued as "motu proprio" be considered as "established and decreed,"
and to be observed from Sept. 14 of this year, feast of the Exaltation
of the Cross, whatever there may be to the contrary.

From Rome, at St. Peter's, July 7, 2007, third year of Our Pontificate.

[1] General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 3rd ed., 2002, No. 397.
[2] John Paul II, apostolic letter "Vicesimus Quintus Annus," Dec. 4,
1988, 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.

[3] Ibid.
[4] St. Pius X, apostolic letter issued "motu propio data," "Abhinc
Duos Annos," Oct. 23, 1913: AAS 5 (1913), 449-450; cf John Paul II,
apostolic letter "Vicesimus Quintus Annus," No. 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.

[5] Cf John Paul II, apostolic letter issued "motu proprio data,"
"Ecclesia Dei," July 2, 1988, 6: AAS 80 (1988), 1498.

--------------------------------------

LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS
BENEDICT XVI
TO THE BISHOPS ON THE OCCASION OF THE PUBLICATION
OF THE APOSTOLIC LETTER "MOTU PROPRIO DATA"
SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM
ON THE USE OF THE ROMAN LITURGY
PRIOR TO THE REFORM OF 1970

My dear Brother Bishops,

With great trust and hope, I am consigning to you as Pastors the text
of a new Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data" on the use of the Roman
liturgy prior to the reform of 1970. The document is the fruit of much
reflection, numerous consultations and prayer.

News reports and judgments made without sufficient information have
created no little confusion. There have been very divergent reactions
ranging from joyful acceptance to harsh opposition, about a plan whose
contents were in reality unknown.

This document was most directly opposed on account of two fears, which
I would like to address somewhat more closely in this letter.

In the first place, there is the fear that the document detracts from
the authority of the Second Vatican Council, one of whose essential
decisions -- the liturgical reform -- is being called into question. This
fear is unfounded. In this regard, it must first be said that the Missal
published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions
by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form -- the
"Forma ordinaria" -- of the Eucharistic liturgy. The last version of
the "Missale Romanum" prior to the Council, which was published with the
authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962 and used during the Council, will
now be able to be used as a "Forma extraordinaria" of the liturgical
celebration. It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the
Roman Missal as if they were "two Rites". Rather, it is a matter of a
twofold use of one and the same rite.

As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a "Forma extraordinaria" of the
liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this
Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in
principle, was always permitted. At the time of the introduction of the new
Missal, it did not seem necessary to issue specific norms for the possible
use of the earlier Missal. Probably it was thought that it would be a
matter of a few individual cases which would be resolved, case by case,
on the local level. Afterwards, however, it soon became apparent that a
good number of people remained strongly attached to this usage of the
Roman Rite, which had been familiar to them from childhood. This was
especially the case in countries where the liturgical movement had
provided many people with a notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal
familiarity with the earlier Form of the liturgical celebration. We
all know that, in the movement led by Archbishop Lefebvre, fidelity to
the
old Missal became an external mark of identity; the reasons for the
break which arose over this, however, were at a deeper level. Many people
who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican
Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also
desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them.
This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not
faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually
was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which
frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am
speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all
its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations
of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the
faith of the Church.

Pope John Paul II thus felt obliged to provide, in his Motu Proprio
"Ecclesia Dei" (2 July 1988), guidelines for the use of the 1962 Missal;
that document, however, did not contain detailed prescriptions but
appealed in a general way to the generous response of Bishops towards the
"legitimate aspirations" of those members of the faithful who requested
this usage of the Roman Rite. At the time, the Pope primarily wanted to
assist the Society of Saint Pius X to recover full unity with the
Successor of Peter, and sought to heal a wound experienced ever more
painfully. Unfortunately this reconciliation has not yet come about.
Nonetheless, a number of communities have gratefully made use of the
possibilities provided by the Motu Proprio. On the other hand, difficulties remain
concerning the use of the 1962 Missal outside of these groups, because
of the lack of precise juridical norms, particularly because Bishops,
in such cases, frequently feared that the authority of the Council
would
be called into question. Immediately after the Second Vatican Council
it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be
limited to the older generation which had grown up with it, but in the
meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have
discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a
form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist,
particularly suited to them. Thus the need has arisen for a clearer juridical
regulation which had not been foreseen at the time of the 1988 Motu
Proprio. The present Norms are also meant to free Bishops from constantly
having to evaluate anew how they are to respond to various situations.

In the second place, the fear was expressed in discussions about the
awaited Motu Proprio, that the possibility of a wider use of the 1962
Missal would lead to disarray or even divisions within parish communities.
This fear also strikes me as quite unfounded. The use of the old
Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some
knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often. Already
from these concrete presuppositions, it is clearly seen that the new
Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, not
only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual
situation of the communities of the faithful.

It is true that there have been exaggerations and at times social
aspects unduly linked to the attitude of the faithful attached to the
ancient Latin liturgical tradition. Your charity and pastoral prudence will
be an incentive and guide for improving these. For that matter, the two
Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new
Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old
Missal. The "Ecclesia Dei" Commission, in contact with various bodies
devoted to the "usus antiquior," will study the practical possibilities
in this regard. The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of
Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the
case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former
usage. The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite
parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated
with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will
bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this
Missal.

I now come to the positive reason which motivated my decision to issue
this Motu Proprio updating that of 1988. It is a matter of coming to an
interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church. Looking back over
the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have
rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at
critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by
the Church's leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One
has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had
their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to
harden. This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make
every effort to unable for all those who truly desire unity to remain
in that unity or to attain it anew. I think of a sentence in the Second
Letter to the Corinthians, where Paul writes: "Our mouth is open to
you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you
are restricted in your own affections. In return widen your hearts
also!" (2 Corinthians 6:11-13). Paul was certainly speaking in another
context, but his exhortation can and must touch us too, precisely on this
subject. Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything
that the faith itself allows.

There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal.
In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no
rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great
for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or
even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches
which have developed in the Church's faith and prayer, and to give them
their proper place. Needless to say, in order to experience full
communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot,
as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new
books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent
with the recognition of its value and holiness.

In conclusion, dear Brothers, I very much wish to stress that these new
norms do not in any way lessen your own authority and responsibility,
either for the liturgy or for the pastoral care of your faithful. Each
Bishop, in fact, is the moderator of the liturgy in his own Diocese
(cf. "Sacrosanctum Concilium," 22: "Sacrae Liturgiae moderatio ab
Ecclesiae auctoritate unice pendet quae quidem est apud Apostolicam Sedem et,
ad normam iuris, apud Episcopum").

Nothing is taken away, then, from the authority of the Bishop, whose
role remains that of being watchful that all is done in peace and
serenity. Should some problem arise which the parish priest cannot resolve,
the local Ordinary will always be able to intervene, in full harmony,
however, with all that has been laid down by the new norms of the Motu
Proprio.

Furthermore, I invite you, dear Brothers, to send to the Holy See an
account of your experiences, three years after this Motu Proprio has
taken effect. If truly serious difficulties come to light, ways to remedy
them can be sought.

Dear Brothers, with gratitude and trust, I entrust to your hearts as
Pastors these pages and the norms of the Motu Proprio. Let us always be
mindful of the words of the Apostle Paul addressed to the presbyters of
Ephesus: "Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the
Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the Church of God which
he obtained with the blood of his own Son" (Acts 20:28).

I entrust these norms to the powerful intercession of Mary, Mother of
the Church, and I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you, dear
Brothers, to the parish priests of your dioceses, and to all the priests,
your co-workers, as well as to all your faithful.

Given at Saint Peter's, 7 July 2007

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

© Copyright 2007 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Monday, May 21, 2007

Vatican Official: Pope Has Plans for Latin Mass

Vatican Official: Pope Has Plans for Latin Mass
Says Benedict XVI Wants to Offer This "Treasure" to All

APARECIDA, Brazil, MAY 21, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The president of the
Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" has confirmed that Benedict XVI hopes
to increase the availability of the Latin Mass.

Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos said this Wednesday when he addressed
the 5th General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the
Caribbean, meeting in Brazil through the end of May.

The Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" was formed by Pope John Paul
II in 1988 following the schismatic gesture of the illegal episcopal
ordinations carried out by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

The cardinal first explained that the commission was established when
"a notable group of priests, religious and faithful who had shown their
discontent with the conciliar liturgical reform and had congregated
around the leadership of the French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, separated
themselves from him because they were not in agreement with the
schismatic act of the ordination of bishops without due pontifical mandate."

"Today," Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos continued, "the commission is not
limited to the service of those faithful who wished to stay in full
communion on that occasion, nor to the efforts aiming to end the painful
schismatic situation and achieve the return to full communion of these
brothers from the Society of St. Pius X."

He said: "It is the Holy Father's wish that this dicastery additionally
offers its services to satisfy the just aspirations of those who, due
to a particular sensitivity -- without being linked to either of the two
groups I've mentioned -- desire to keep alive the former Latin liturgy
in the celebration of the Eucharist and the other sacraments."

Ending schism

However, the cardinal confirmed that "without a doubt, the most
important task, which concerns the entire Church, is looking to put an end to
the schismatic act and reconstruct, without ambiguousness, full
communion."

Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos recalled that before being elected Pope,
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger served on the commission.

"[The Holy Father] wishes that the commission become an organization of
the Holy See with the particular and distinct aim of conserving and
maintaining the value of the traditional Latin liturgy," Cardinal
Castrillón Hoyos said. "But it should be clearly affirmed that this does not
mean a going back, a return to the times before the reform of 1970.

"Instead, it means a generous offer of the Vicar of Christ, who, as an
expression of his pastoral will, wants to put the treasures of the
Latin liturgy that nourished the spiritual life of so many generation of
faithful Catholics for so many centuries at the disposal of the entire
Church.

"The recovery of this richness is united to the not-less-precious
current liturgy of the Church."

Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos explained that the Pope intends to extend to
the entire Church the possibility of celebrating Mass and the
sacraments according to the liturgical books promulgated by Pope John XXIII in
1962.

He thus seemed to confirm rumors from earlier in the year that Benedict
XVI intended to make the Latin Mass more available.

Coexistence

The 77-year-old cardinal mentioned the "good experiences had by
communities of religious and apostolic life" that celebrate "this liturgy in
peace and serenity." And he recalled that in Brazil, the Diocese of
Campos, formerly followers of Lefebvre "and now, after five years, showing
good fruits" after their return to full communion.

"The project of the Holy Father has already been partially tested in de
Campos where the peaceful cohabitation of the two forms of the only
Roman rite in the Church is a beautiful reality," he said. "We have the
hopes that this model will produce good fruits, also in other places in
the Church where faithful Catholics with distinct liturgical
sensitivities live together."

Cardinal Hoyos said that "Ecclesia Dei" oversees some 300 priests and
200 seminarians as well as hundreds of thousands of faithful. He said
the Society of St. Pius X has four bishops, ordained by Archbishop
Lefebvre, 500 priests and about 600,000 faithful.

He asked "that we pray to the Lord so that the Holy Father's project
can soon become a reality for the unity of the Church."
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Monday, May 07, 2007

Homosexuality and Apologetics

The Subjects of Homosexuality and Apologetics
Scott Windsor
May 7, 2007

Is the topic of homosexuality one we can or should talk about in an apologetics forum? First off, let me state that we should not discuss individual homosexuals – as that becomes a personal argument and as ad hominem, really would have no place in an apologetics forum. However, we can discuss homosexuality itself, as that is a moral issue which plagues society and is a topic we, as apologists, are asked about more than seldomly. We must be able to provide the Church's stance on moral issues, so yes – it is an acceptable topic for an apologetics forum.

So, what is the moral stance of the Church on this? Let's start with the Catechism of the Catholic Church (hereafter CCC):
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

The CCC does not come right out and condemn the homosexual acts thus far, but lets look further:
2396 Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.

In paragraph 2396 homosexual practices and fornication are equated and are considered not only "sins" but "sins gravely contrary to chastity," let us continue:
2353 Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young.

It doesn't mention homosexuality here – but we must consider that ANY act of sexual intercourse between unmarried persons is fornication as well. Let's look to another source:
fornication: consensual sexual intercourse between two persons not married to each other (source)

Looking further at the CCC:
1852 There are a great many kinds of sins. Scripture provides several lists of them. The Letter to the Galatians contrasts the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit: "Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God."

In paragraph 1852 of the CCC the warning against those who participate in such acts is quite explicit – "those who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God." Again, I would reiterate, it is not up to us, as the apologists, to judge individual persons – but if we are asked, we should point to these references and allow the person asking to be convicted themselves by the voice of the Church on these matters.

Continuing, paragraph 1755 contrasts a "morally good" act with those which would be considered a "moral evil." 1755 also points out that this is an "object of the choice." 1853 emphasizes what sort of acts "defile a man." Then in 2517 we see another example of things which "defiles a man."
1755 A morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of the end, and of the circumstances together. An evil end corrupts the action, even if the object is good in itself (such as praying and fasting "in order to be seen by men").
The object of the choice can by itself vitiate an act in its entirety. There are some concrete acts - such as fornication - that it is always wrong to choose, because choosing them entails a disorder of the will, that is, a moral evil.

1853 Sins can be distinguished according to their objects, as can every human act; or according to the virtues they oppose, by excess or defect; or according to the commandments they violate. They can also be classed according to whether they concern God, neighbor, or oneself; they can be divided into spiritual and carnal sins, or again as sins in thought, word, deed, or omission. The root of sin is in the heart of man, in his free will, according to the teaching of the Lord: "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man." But in the heart also resides charity, the source of the good and pure works, which sin wounds.

2517 The heart is the seat of moral personality: "Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication. . . . " (Matt 15:19-20). The struggle against carnal covetousness entails purifying the heart and practicing temperance:
Remain simple and innocent, and you will be like little children who do not know the evil that destroys man's life.

Matthew 15:19 For from the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. 20 These are the things that defile a man. (DRB).

So, things man (including woman) chooses to do can defile him. Let's continue with more Scripture:
1 Cor. 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders (10) nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Tim. 1: 8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.

Lev. 18:22 You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.

Lev. 20:13 If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.
Romans 1:25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

I believe it is crystal clear, homosexuality is an abomination to the Lord. It is a grave sin and separates man from salvation. Thus, if we truly "love our neighbor" as we should, then we do not sugar-coat the clear teaching of God on this matter. If they are participating in this immoral act, they need to stop – if they want to save their souls. They will stand before God and have to answer for their deeds and their choices. Our duty as apologists is to represent the clear word of the Lord and our Church on this matter when we are asked about it. As 1 Peter 3:15 says, we are always to be ready to give an answer. If this question comes up, we must answer it and must not give answers which may lead to complacency of the sinner – making us then complicit in their sin! Our answer(s) must be firm and straight-forward from Church teaching and from Scripture.

Homosexuality is a sin, period, however, this does not mean that we "hate the sinner." On the contrary – it should be our goal to, with the love of Christ, explain the Church teaching and help guide them and their thoughts back to Christ.
Feel free to leave a comment here in the blog, or join us in the Locutus Message Board for more discussion.

In JMJ,
Scott<<<

Monday, April 30, 2007

Good Shepherd Sunday

I created a little video/slideshow in honor of Good Shepherd Sunday, and Jesus our Good Shepherd. Please take a look...

Small version: (don't try to go full-screen)
http://www.catholicresponse.org/media/goodshepherd_sm.wmv

Larger version: (full screen is OK)
http://www.catholicresponse.org/media/goodshepherd.wmv

In JMJ,
Scott<<<

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Canon - A Catholic Response to Webster

The Canon
Why the Roman Catholic Arguments for the Canon are Spurious
By William Webster
A Catholic Response
By Scott Windsor


The Catholic Response to this article will be in Verdana font and green to differentiate from the original article by Wm. Webster.
It is often asserted by Roman Catholic apologists that Protestants must rely on their tradition in order to know which books ought to be included in the Biblical Canon. The argument says that since there is no “inspired table of contents” for the Bible, then we are forced into relying upon tradition to dictate which books belong in the Bible, and which books do not. It was the church of Rome, these apologists alledge, which determined the canon at the Councils of Hippo (393 A.D.) and Carthage (397 A.D.), and it is only due to this, that Protestants know which books are inspired, and which are not. Consequently, it is the Roman Church which should be submitted to on issues of faith.
It was not "only due to this" that we have the canon we have today – for the Holy Ghost working through the Catholic Church is what led to today's infallible Canon of Sacred Scriptures – AND – an "inspired table of contents!"
The argument of Roman Catholics for the Canon is spurious on a number of counts.
First of all, the Councils of Carthage and Hippo did not establish the canon for the Church as a whole. The New Catholic Encyclopedia actually affirms the fact that the Canon was not officially and authoritatively established for the Western Church until the Council of Trent in the 16th century and that even such an authority as Pope Gregory the Great rejected the Apocrypha as canonical:
St. Jerome distinguished between canonical books and ecclesiastical books. The latter he judged were circulated by the Church as good spiritual reading but were not recognized as authoritative Scripture. The situation remained unclear in the ensuing centuries...For example, John of Damascus, Gregory the Great, Walafrid, Nicolas of Lyra and Tostado continued to doubt the canonicity of the deuterocanonical books. According to Catholic doctrine, the proximate criterion of the biblical canon is the infallible decision of the Church. This decision was not given until rather late in the history of the Chruch at the Council of Trent. The Council of Trent definitively settled the matter of the Old Testament Canon. That this had not been done previously is apparent from the uncertainty that persisted up to the time of Trent (The New Catholic Encyclopedia, The Canon).
Yes, the Council of Trent was the first time the canon was dogmatically defined. The wording of the above paragraph itself is a bit spurious. It seems to be lending credence to the non-canonical status of the deuterocanonicals – yet this encyclopedic article (which is an encyclopedia – not an official church document) was written LONG AFTER the Council of Trent – where the Canon of Sacred Scripture was declared and defined dogmatically. Whether or not the definition came 1500 years into Christendom or not, is NOT the point here! The point is – IT CAME and for any Catholic to now doubt it or cast doubt upon it is scandalous. Whether or not there was uncertainty prior to Trent is not the issue – for AFTER Trent, there is NO uncertainty for faithful Catholics.
There are major fathers in the Church prior to the North African Councils who rejected the judgment of these councils such as Origen, Melito of Sardis, Athanasius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory of Nazianzus, Hilary of Poitiers, Epiphanius, Basil the Great, Jerome, Rufinus and a host of others. They hold to the view, generally speaking, that the Old Testament books were 22 in number or sometimes listed as 24 depending on how the books were grouped together. This corresponds to the Jewish canon which did not accept the books of the Apocrypha as being canonical. Jerome, who spent many years in Palestine and who had Jewish teachers, rejected the Apocrypha because those books were not recognized as canonical by the Jews. Some have suggested that the Septuagint included these books as canonical which is proof that the Alexandrian Jews had a broader canon than the Jews of Palestine but this is untrue. They make this assertion because the apocryphal books are included in some of the early manuscripts we have of the Septuagint. But all that tells you is that the Septuagint included the books of the Apocrypha along with the canonical books of the Old Testament for reading purposes, not that they were received as canonical. The only manuscripts we posses of the Septuagint are of Christian origin from the 4th and 5th centuries so they are not necessarily reflective of the Jews of Alexandria at all. Also, these Septuagint manuscripts contain works such as III Maccabees which were never received as canonical. In addition, Origen and Athanasius who were from Alexandria both reject the Apocryphal books as being canonical. There are a couple that Athanasius does receive such as Baruch but he mistakenly thought such a work was part of canonical Jeremiah.
In a logical debate, assuming Mr. Webster would like us to consider his argumentation as logical, one does not make assertions without documentation and citing the documentation. All we have here is a bunch of name-dropping and assertion – but absolutely no supporting evidence to back up what Webster is alleging. If Mr. Webster wishes to amend his article and add some validation to his assertions – I will be happy to come back and answer, but I am not going to do his homework for him.
Hippo and Carthage were provincial councils which did not have ecumenical authority.
No disagreement here, and I know of no Catholic apologist attempting to affirm they were ecumenical councils.
In addition, those councils actually contradict the Council of Trent on an important point. Firstly, Hippo and Carthage state that 1 Esdras and 2 Esdras are canonical. They are referring here to the Septuagint version of 1 and 2 Esdras. In this version 1 Esdras is the Apocryphal additions to Ezra while 2 Esdras is the Jewish verion of Ezra-Nehemiah from the Jewish canon. The Council of Trent however states that 1 Esdras is actually Ezra from the Jewish canon and 2 Esdras is Nehemiah from the Jewish canon. Trent omits the Septuagint version of 1 Esdras.
We must grant that the situation surrounding the books of Esdras and Nehemiah is a bit confusing. However, we must also remind the reader that whatsoever confusion there was – this is to be ended for faithful Catholics with the dogmatic decree of Trent. Now, to say that Trent states 1 Esdras is actually Ezra from the Jewish canon – and then in the next sentence say that Trent omits the Septuagint version of 1 Esdras is a contradiction! Esdras and Ezra are both the name of one man for/by/about whom these books of Scripture were written (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05535a.htm ). So how could Trent have omitted something it explicitly mentions? The fact is the Council of Hippo mentions "Ezra, two books" and the Council of Carthage mentions "two books of Esdras," but NEITHER of them mention Nehemiah! Why? Because Nehemiah comes from II Esdras/Ezra! (http://home.inreach.com/bstanley/canon.htm ).
Secondly, Hippo and Carthage state that Solomon wrote 5 books of the Old Testament when in actuality he wrote only 3.
Well, the 5 attributed to Solomon are: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom and Sirach. All of these are part of the Catholic canon, listed by both Carthage and Hippo – Protestants don't accept 2 of them, but it's either a glaring oversight on Webster's part to make this statement – or gross disingenuousness.
A second major point that proves the Roman Catholic claims to be spurious is the fact that the universal practice of the Church as a whole up to the time of the Reformation was to follow the judgment of Jerome who rejected the Old Testament Apocrypha on the grounds that these books were never part of the Jewish canon. Those books were permissable to be read in the Church for the purposes of edification but were never considered authoritative for the establishing of doctrine. This is why I believe that the term canonical in the early Church had 2 meanings, one broad in the sense that it encompassed all the books which were permissable to be read in the Church and another narrow which included only those books which were authoritative for the establishment of doctrine.
With all due respect, what Mr. Webster believes does not account for valid argumentation, again, assuming he wishes his article to be taken as a logical defense. The fact of the matter is not only were these declared permissible, but they were also declared "canonical" by both Carthage and Hippo:
The Council of Hippo in 393 reaffirmed the canon put forth by Pope Damasus I...
Council of Hippo. "It has been decided that besides the canonical Scriptures nothing be read in church under the name of divine Scripture.
But the canonical Scriptures are as follows: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua the Son of Nun, Judges, Ruth, the Kings, four books, the Chronicles, two books, Job, the Psalter, the five books of Solomon (included Wisdom and Ecclesiastes (Sirach)), the twelve books of the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Ezra, two books, Maccabees, two books."
(canon 36 A.D. 393).
The Third Council of Carthage reaffirmed anew, the Canon put forth by Pope Damasus I...
Council of Carthage III. "It has been decided that nothing except the canonical Scriptures should be read in the Church under the name of the divine Scriptures. But the canonical Scriptures are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, Paralipomenon, two books, Job, the Psalter of David, five books of Solomon (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Sirach), twelve books of the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobit, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras, two books of the Maccabees."
(canon 47 A.D. 397). http://home.inreach.com/bstanley/canon.htm
So, again, Mr. Webster has falsely represented what was actually stated in the canons of these councils in saying ANY of these books were not seen as authoritative – when there is NO DISTINCTION between them in the lists provided by these councils – and ALL of the books are decreed to be "canonical" and "Scripture."
Jerome's views are as follows:
These instances have been just touched upon by me (the limits of a letter forbid a more discursive treatment of them) to convince you that in the holy scriptures you can make no progress unless you have a guide to shew you the way...Genesis ... Exodus ... Leviticus ... Numbers ... Deuteronomy ... Job ... Jesus the son of Nave ... Judges ... Ruth ... Samuel ... The third and fourth books of Kings ... The twelve prophets whose writings are compressed within the narrow limits of a single volume: Hosea ... Joel ... Amos ... Obadiah ... Jonah ... Micah ... Nahum ... Habakkuk ... Zephaniah ... Haggai ... Zechariah ... Malachi ... Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel ... Jeremiah also goes four times through the alphabet in different metres (Lamentations)... David...sings of Christ to his lyre; and on a psaltry with ten strings (Psalms) ... Solomon, a lover of peace and of the Lord, corrects morals, teaches nature (Proverbs and Ecclesiastes), unites Christ and the church, and sings a sweet marriage song to celebrate that holy bridal (Song of Songs) ... Esther ... Ezra and Nehemiah.
(Interjecting here – note – St. Jerome has listed both Ezra and Nehemiah).
You see how, carried away by my love of the scriptures, I have exceeded the limits of a letter...The New Testament I will briefly deal with. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John ... The apostle Paul writes to seven churches (for the eighth epistle - that to the Hebrews - is not generally counted in with the others) ... The Acts of the Apostles ... The apostles James, Peter, John and Jude have published seven epistles ... The apocalypse of John ...I beg of you, my dear brother, to live among these books, to meditate upon them, to know nothing else, to seek nothing else (Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1953, Volume VI, St. Jerome, Letter LIII.6-10).
As, then, the Church reads Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabees, but does not admit them among the canonical Scriptures, so let it also read these two volumes (Wisdom of Solomon and Eccesiasticus) for the edification of the people, not to give authority to doctrines of the Church...I say this to show you how hard it is to master the book of Daniel, which in Hebrew contains neither the history of Susanna, nor the hymn of the three youths, nor the fables of Bel and the Dragon...(Ibid., Volume VI, Jerome, Prefaces to Jerome's Works, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs; Daniel, pp. 492-493).
Yet, in the end, St. Jerome acquiesces to the due and proper authority – and we have his Vulgate which Trent dogmatically defines as the canon. Whether St. Jerome expresses opinions to the contrary or not is irrelevant to the point that his Vulgate contains all the deuterocanonicals.
Let her treasures be not silks or gems but manuscripts of the holy scriptures...Let her begin by learning the psalter, and then let her gather rules of life out of the proverbs of Solomon...Let her follow the example set in Job of virtue and patience. Then let her pass on to the gospels...the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles...let her commit to memory the prophets, the heptateuch, the books of Kings and of Chronicles, the rolls also of Ezra and Esther. When she has done all these she may safely read the Song of Songs...Let her avoid all apocryphal writings, and if she is led to read such not by the truth of the doctrines which they contain but out of respect for the miracles contained in them; let her understand that they are not really written by those to whom they are ascribed, that many faulty elements have been introduced into them, and that it requires infinite discretion to look for gold in the midst of dirt (Ibid., Letter CVII.12).
What the Savior declares was written down was certainly written down. Where is it written down? The Septuagint does not have it, and the Church does not recognize the Apocrypha. Therefore we must go back to the book of the Hebrews, which is the source of the statements quoted by the Lord, as well as the examples cited by the disciples...But he who brings charges against me for relating the objections that the Hebrews are wont to raise against the story of Susanna, the Song of the Three Children, and the story of Bel and the Dragon, which are not found in the Hebrew volume, proves that he is just a foolish sycophant...The apostolic men use the Hebrew Scripture. It is clear that the apostles themselves and the evangelists did likewise. The Lord and Savior, whenever He refers to ancient Scripture, quotes examples from the Hebrew volumes...We do not say this because we wish to rebuke the Septuagint translators, but because the authority of the apostles and of Christ is greater..."(The Fathers of the Church (Washington: Catholic University, 1965), Volume 53, Saint Jerome, Against Rufinus, Book II.27, 33, pp. 151, 158-160).
It would seem that Mr. Webster is reading "apocryphal writings" through the glasses of a 21st century Protestant – whom St. Jerome would reject. As we have seen above, even though he may have had some objections – the Vulgate, St. Jerome's opus, contains the deuterocanonicals.
Rufinus who was a contemporary of Jerome's, a fellow student with him at Rome. He dies shortly after 410 A.D. He writes these comments on the Canon AFTER the Councils of Hippo and Carthage:
"And therefore it seems proper in this place to enumerate, as we have learnt from the tradition of the Fathers, the books of the New and of the Old Testament, which according to the tradition of our forefathers, are believed to have been inspired by the Holy Ghost, and have handed down to the churches of Christ. Of the Old Testament, therefore, first of all there have been handed down five books of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; then Jesus Nave, (Joshua the son of Nun), the Book of Judges together with Ruth; then four books of Kings (Reigns), which the Hebrews reckon two; the book of Omissions, which is entitled the Book of Days (Chronicles), and two books of Ezra (Ezra and Nehemiah), which the Hebrews reckon one, and Esther; of the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel; moreover of the twelve minor Prophets, one book; Job also and the Psalms of David, each one book. Solomon gave three books to the Churches, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles. These comprise the books of the Old Testament.
Of the New there are four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John; the Acts of the Apostles, written by Luke; fourteen Epistles of the apostle Paul, two of the Apostle Peter, one of James, brother of the Lord and Apostle, one of Jude, three of John, the Revelation of John. These are the books which the Fathers have comprised within the Canon, and from which they would have us deduce the proofs of our faith.
But it should be known that there are also other books which our fathers call not 'Canonical' but 'Ecclesiastical:' that is to say, Wisdom, called the Wisdom of Solomon, and another Wisdom, called the Wisdom of the Son of Syrach, which last-mentioned the Latins called by the general title Ecclesiasticus, designating not the author of the book, but the character of the writing. To the same class belong the Book of Tobit, and the Book of Judith, and the Books of the Maccabees. In the New Testament the little book which is called the Book of the Pastor of Hermas (and that) which is called the Two Ways, or the Judgment of Peter; all of which they would have read in the Churches, but not appealed to for the confirmation of doctrine. The other writings they have named 'Apocrypha.' These they would not have read in the Churches. These are the traditions which the Fathers have handed down to us, which, as I said, I have thought it opportune to set forth in this place, for the instruction of those who are being taught the first elements of the Church and of the Faith, that they may know from what fountains of the Word of God their draughts must be taken"
(Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1953), Rufinus, Commentary on the Apostles' Creed 36, p. 557-558.).
Emphasis added above was mine – noting again that Rufinus includes two books of Ezra – just as we have been saying all along!
Pope Gregory the Great, writing at the end of the 6th century states that the book of 1 Maccabees is NOT canonical. I give the exact quote below. And Cardinal Cajetan, the leading scholar in the Church of Rome at the time of the Reformation affirms that the Church of his day followed the authority of Jerome and he suggests that there were 2 concepts of the term canon as I have just explained. He gives the following counsel on how one is to properly interpret the Councils of Hippo and Carthage under Augustine:
"Here we close our commentaries on the historical books of the Old Testament. For the rest (that is, Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabees) are counted by St Jerome out of the canonical books, and are placed amongst the Apocrypha, along with Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, as is plain from the Prologus Galeatus. Nor be thou disturbed, like a raw scholar, if thou shouldest find anywhere, either in the sacred councils or the sacred doctors, these books reckoned as canonical. For the words as well of councils as of doctors are to be reduced to the correction of Jerome. Now, according to his judgment, in the epistle to the bishops Chromatius and Heliodorus, these books (and any other like books in the canon of the bible) are not canonical, that is, not in the nature of a rule for confirming matters of faith. Yet, they may be called canonical, that is, in the nature of a rule for the edification of the faithful, as being received and authorised in the canon of the bible for that purpose. By the help of this distinction thou mayest see thy way clearly through that which Augustine says, and what is written in the provincial council of Carthage." (In ult. Cap. Esther. Taken from A Disputation on Holy Scripture by William Whitaker (Cambridge: University, 1849), p. 48. See also Cosin's A Scholastic History of the Canon, Volume III, Chapter XVII, pp. 257-258 and B.F. Westcott's A General Survey of the Canon of the New Testament, p. 475.)
These statements by Catejan are a fair summary of the overall view of the Church in both the East and West from the time of Athanasius and Jerome up through the 16th Century. Jerome's opinion completely dominated that of the ensuing centuries in the Western Church as is seen in the testimony of Cajetan. The following is a brief documentation of some of the leading theologians and doctors of the Church throughout the centuries as confirmation of Cardinal Cajetan's views:
6th Century:
Gregory the Great - "With reference to which particular we are not acting irregularly, if from the books, though not Canonical, yet brought out for the edification of the Church, we bring forward testimony. Thus Eleazar in the battle smote and brought down an elephant, but fell under the very beast that he killed" (1 Macc. 6.46). (Library of the Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, (Oxford: Parker, 1845), Gregory the Great, Morals on the Book of Job, Volume II, Parts III and IV, Book XIX.34, p.424.)
Junilius - North African Bishop - States that the books that are canonical are those according to the Hebrew Canon - He follows Jerome.
Primasius - North African Bishop - Follows Jerome in his evaluation of the canonical OT books.
Anastasius of Antioch - States that there are 22 OT canonical books
Leontius - Follows the Hebrew Canon
Let this be clear – since at this time we did not have a dogmatic definition from an ecumenical council – individual bishops could indeed decree some variation for their jurisdiction.
7th Century
6th Ecumenical Council - "It has also seemed good to this holy Council, that the eighty-five canons, received and ratified by the holy and blessed Fatliers before us, and also handed down to us in the name of the holy and glorious Apostles should from this time forth remain firm and unshaken for the cure of souls and the hearing of disorders. And in these canons we are bidden to receive the Constitutions of the Holy Apostles written by Clement. But formerly through the agency of those who erred from the faith certain adulterous matter was introduced, clean contrary to piety, for the polluting of the Church, which obscures the elegance and beauty of the divine decrees in their present form. We therefore reject these Constitutions so as the better to make sure of the edification and security of the most Christian flock; by no means admitting the offspring of heretical error, and cleaving to the pure and perfect doctrine of the Apostles. But we set our seal likewise upon all the other holy canons set forth by our holy and blessed Fathers, that is, by the 318 holy God-bearing Fathers assembled at Nice, and those at Ancyra, further those at Neocesarea and likewise those at Gangra, and besides, those at Antioch in Syria: those too at Laodicea in Plirygia: and likewise the 150 who assembled in this heaven-protected royal city: and the 200 who assembled the first time in the metropolis of the Ephesians, and the 630 holy and blessed Fathers at Chalcedon. In like manner those of Sardica, and those of Carthage: those also who again assembled in this heaven-protected royal city under its bishop Nectarius and Theophilus Archbishop of Alexandria. Likewise too the Canons [i.e. the decretal letters] of Dionysius, formerly Archbishop of the great city of Alexandria; and of Peter, Archbishop of Alexandria and Martyr; of Gregory the Wonder-worker, Bishop of Neocaesarea; of Athanasius, Archbishop of Alexandria; of Basil, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia; of Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa; of Gregory Theologus; of Amphilocius of lconium ; of Timothy, Archbishop of Alexandria; of Theophilus, Archbishop of the same great city of Alexandria; of Cyril, Archbishop of the same Alexandria; of Gennadius, Patriarch of this heaven-protected royal city. Moreover the Canon set forth by Cyprian, Archbishop of the country of the Africans and Martyr, and by the Synod under him, which has been kept only in the country of the aforesaid Bishops according to the custom delivered down to them. And that no one be allowed to transgress or disregard the aforesaid canons, or to receive others beside them, supposititiously set forth by certain who have attempted to make a traffic of the truth. But should any one be convicted of innovating upon, or attempting to overturn, any of the aforementioned canons, he shall be subject to receive the penalty which that canon imposes, and to be cured by it of his transgression" (Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, The Seven Ecumenical Councils, p. 361).
Roman Catholics apologists often assert that the canons of the council of Carthage were authoritatively received by the 6th ecumenmical council. What they never add is that this council also authoritatively received the canons of Athanasius and Amphilocius which also have to do with the canon. Both of these fathers rejected the apocrypha. The council did receive the canons of Carthage also which suggests that they are either in complete contradiction or they received the canons of Carthage with the understanding that the term canonical was to be interpreted in the sense that the books listed were the books authoritatively received for reading in the Church.
The point here would seem to be that the 6th ecumenical council accepted the Athanasian and Amphilocian canons as well as the wider Carthagian canon – thus not really helping Mr. Webster case again!
8th Century
John of Damascus - "Observe, further, that there are two and twenty books of the Old Testament, one for each letter of the Hebrew tongue. For there are twenty-two letters of which five are double, and so they come to be twenty-seven...And thus the number of the books in this way is twenty-two, but is found to be twenty-seven because of the double character of five. For Ruth is joined on to Judges, and the Hebrews count them one book: the first and second books of Kings are counted one: and so are the third and fourth books of Kings: and also the frirst and second of Paraleipomena: and the first and second of Esdra. In this way, then, the books are collected together in four Pentateuchs and two others remain over, to form thus the canonical books. Five of them are of the Law, viz. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. This which is the code of the Law, constitutes the first Pentateuch. Then comes another Pentateuch, the so-called Grapheia, or as they are called by some, the Hagiographa, which are the following: Jesus the Son of Nave, Judges along with Ruth, first and second Kings, which are one book, third and fourth Kings, which are one book, and the two books of the Paraleipomena which are one book. This is the second Pentateuch. The third Pentateuch is the books in verse, viz. Job, Psalms, Proverbs of Solomon, Ecclesiastes of Solomon and the Song of Songs of Solomon. The fourth Pentateuch is the Prophetical books, viz the twelve prophets constituting one book, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel. Then come the two books of Esdra made into one, and Esther.
There are also the Panaretus, that is the Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Jesus, which was published in Hebrew by the father of Sirach, and afterwards translated into Greek by his grandson, Jesus, the son of Sirach. These are virtuous and noble, but are not counted nor were they placed in the ark"
(Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, Nicene and Post-NiceneFathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1955), Series Two, Volume IX, John of Damascus, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Chapter XVII).
The logic of John of Damascus is questionable and not tenable. To claim the Jewish canon (a term foreign to them, by the way) is based on a code of each letter of the Hebrew alphabet is a bit absurd – this would mean there was no "canon" for the Jews until the number of books reached 22? Still, it must be noted from our earlier discussion of Esdras/Ezra – John of Damascus includes these.
Bede - In his Commentary on Revelation he gives the number of OT Books in conformity with that given by Jerome.
Again I remind the readers – St. Jerome's ultimate opus conforms to the Catholic canon, and is the Latin Vulgate.
9th Century
Alcuin - Writing against Elipantus, Bishop of Toledo, who made reference to Ecclesiasticus in defending a doctrine he rebuked him saying: ‘That the prophets of God failed him, whereof he had never a one to bring for the defense of his error; and then, that the book of the Son of Sirach, which he had produced, was, both by Jerome's and Isidore's undoubted testimonies, since it was apocryphal, and therefore a dubious scripture, having not been written in the time of the Prophets, but in the time of the priests only, under Simon and Ptolmey.'
Nicephorus of Constantinople - Lists the canonical books and those that were only received as ecclesiastical following the standard set by Athanasius.
Rabanus Maurus - Archbishop of Mentz - Greatly influenced by Alcuin - followed the teaching of Isisdore and numbered the OT canonical books at 22.
Agobard of Lyons - States expressly that the OT contains 22 conanical books.
Again, I remind the readers – prior to Trent's dogmatic decree – individual bishops could declare for their jurisdiction how they saw fit.
12th Century
Zonaras - Eastern Theologian - Wrote Commentaries upon the Canons that were received in the Greek Church - He states that the best rule for knowing what ought to be read in the Eastern Churches is to have recourse to the Apostles' Canons, the Council of Laodicea, and the canonical epistles of Athanasius, Gregory Nazianzen and Amphilochius, who had given their rules as they had received them from the Apostles and their successors.
Rupert of Tuits - Wrote concerning the book of Wisdom that it is not in the canon. In his discourse on the 24 elders in Revelation he makes mention of the 24 canonical books of the OT.
Petrus Mauritius - Abbot of Cluny and friend of Bernard of Clairveaux - In a treatise in which he refutes the writings of certain heretics who wrote against the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments he defends the integrity of each of the books of the Old Testament and lists them as does Jerome. He then mentions the apocryphal books of Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Tobit, Judith and Maccabees as books ‘very useful and commendable in the Church' but then he adds ‘that they are not to be placed in the same sublime and equal dignity with the rest' that he had mentioned before; thereby plainly distinguishing between the Divine canon of Scripture, and those that were merely Ecclesiastical and used for the general edification of the Church.
Hugo of St. Victor - Abbot of St. Victor's in Paris - At least 5 times he sets forth a list of canonical OT books. He lists the 22 books of the Hebrew Canon as enumerated by Jerome and then lists Wisdom, Tobit, Judith, Ecclesiasticus and Maccabees saying of them: ‘That though they be read and used in the Church, yet they are not written in the Canon.'
Richard of St. Victor - Is in complete agreement with the judgment of Hugo.
Peter Comestor - He wrote an abbreviated history of the Bible and called it the Scholastical History. In his preface on Joshua he gives the division of the Canonical OT books as the 5 books of Moses, the 8 books of the Prophets and the 9 books of the Hagiographa following the order of Jerome. When referring to Judith he explicitly states that it was not part of the canon.
John Beleth - Doctor of Divinity in Paris - In his book of Divine Offices he specifically says that Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Tobit and Maccabees are apocryphal and states though the Chruch allows them to be read yet she does not receive them as being canonical.
John of Salisbury - Bishop of Chartres - Follows Jeorme in numbering the OT canon at 22 books. He states that neither Wisdom, nor Ecclesiasticus nor Judith, nor Tobit, nor the Pastor, nor either of the Maccabees are to be considered canonical.
13th Century
The Ordinary Gloss upon the Bible known as the Glossa Ordinaria - This became the standard authoritative biblical commentary for the Western Church as a whole. The New Catholic Encyclopedia describes its importance:
A designation given during the Middle Ages to certain compilations of "glosses" on the text of a given MS. The earliest glossa ordinaria is that made of the Bible, probably made in the 12th century...Although glosses originally consisted of a few words only, they grew in length as glossators enlarged them with their own comments and quotations from the Fathers. Thus the tiny gloss evolved into a running commentary of an entire book. The best-known commentary of this type is the vast Glossa ordinaria of the 12th and 13th centuries...So great was the influence of the Glossa ordinaria on Biblical and philisophical studies in the Middle Ages that it was called "the tongue of Scripture" and "the bible of scholasticism" (The New Catholic Encyclopedia, Glossa Ordinaria; Glosses, Biblical, pp. 515-516).
The Glossa ordinaria states in the Preface that the Church permits the reading of the apocryphal books only for devotion and instruction in manners, but that they have no authority for concluding controversies in matters of Faith. It goes on to state that there are 22 books of the OT. In listing those 22 books it uses the testimonies of Origen, Jerome and Rufinus as support and when commenting on the apocyphal books it prefixes an introduction to them all saying: ‘Here begins the book of Tobit which is not in the canon; Here begins the book of Judith which is not in the canon' and so forth for Ecclesiaticus, Wisdom, and Maccabees etc.'
Johannes de Columna - Archbishop of Messina - Author of the book The Sea of Histories. In this work he names all six apocryphal books and states that they are not to be numbered within the canon of divine Scriptures, though otherwise allowed by the Church. He qualifies what he means by use in the Church when he says they are to be used for edification in good life and manners, although insufficient for the resolution of any doubts in matters of faith.
14th Century
Nicholas of Lira - He was converted from Judaism to Christianity. He wrote commentaries on all the books of the Bible which were highly regarded by the Churchmen of his day. In his preface to the Book of Tobit he states that by the favor of God assisting him he had already written upon all the canonical books of Scripture from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation. He then declared his further intention to write upon those books which he said were not canonical, namely, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Judith, Tobit, and the Maccabees. He distinguished the apocrypah from the canonical books in the following way: the canonical books were not only before them in time, but in dignity and authority; while those that are not in the canon, were received into the Church, to be read there for men's instruction in manners, but not for any establishment of their Faith, while the others which were canonical were the prime source of doctrine of the true religion and contained nothing in them but what is true. In his Commentary on Ezra he states that he passed by the histories of Tobit, Judith and the Maccabees because they were not in the canon of Scripture, either with the Jews, or with Christians.
William Occham - He states that ‘neither Judith, nor Tobit, nor the Macabees, nor Wisdom nor Ecclesiasticus, are to be received ‘into any such height of honour' (as compared to Scripture), since the Church did not number them among the canonical Scriptures.'
15th Century
Antoninus - Archbishop of Florence - Specifically states that the canon of the Old Testament consists of 22 books. He holds this view he says on the authroity of the Hebrews themselves as well as the common judgment of the Latin Church for which he appeals to Jerome, Thomas Aquinas and Nicholas of Lira. The apocryphal books while held in high esteem are not considered to be on the same level as those which are truly canonical and inspired.
Alphonsus Tostatus - Bishop of Avila - He follows the judgment of Jerome in excluding the apocrypha from the canon of the Old Testament stating that the Church of his day did not receive these books as canonical but allowed them merely to be read in the Churches for the purpose of edification.
Francis Ximenius - Cardinal and Archbishop of Toledo - Was responsible for producing an edition of the Bible called the Biblia Complutensia. In producing this work he collaborated with the leading theologians of his day. In the Preface of this work there is an admonition given regarding the apocrypha. It states that the books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, the Maccabees, the additions to Esther and Daniel (which were given there in Greek only), were not canonical Scripture. The Preface goes on to say that the Church did not receive the apocryphal books for confirming the authority of any fundamental points of doctrine, though the Church allowed them to be read for purposes of edification. This Bible and its Preface was published by the authority and consent of Pope Leo X, to whom the whole work was dedicated.
Again, I remind the readers – prior to Trent's dogmatic decree – individual bishops could declare for their jurisdiction how they saw fit.
Jacobus Faber Stapulensis - Doctor at the University of Paris - Likewise states that the apocryphal books were not reckoned as part of the canon by the Church. They were not considered to be Scripture.
Erasmus - In his Explication of the Apostles' Creed, and the Decalogue he deals with the question as to the number of canonical books in the Old Testament. He states that the number is precisely that as given by Rufinus in which he enumerates the specific books listed by him and he concludes by saying that ‘the ancient Fathers admitted no more, of whose authority it was not lawful for any man to doubt.' He goes on to say that the Church did not grant the same authority to books like Tobit, Judith and Wisdom which it did to the canonical Scriptures.
Personal opinions of individual theologians are not relevant for defining the Faith.
In light of this history it is understandable how BF Westcott could make the following judgment regarding the decree of Trent relative to the Canon of the Old Testament:
‘This fatal decree in which the Council...gave a new aspect to the whole question of the Canon, was ratified by fifty-three prelates, among whom there was not one German, not one scholar distinguished for historical learning, not one who was fitted by special study for the examination of a subject in which the truth could only be determined by the voice of antiquity. How completely the decision was opposed to the spirit and letter of the original judgments of the Greek and Latin Churches, how far in doctrinal equalization of the disputed and acknowledged books of the Old Testament it was at variance with the traditional opinion of the West, how absolutely unprecedented was the conversion of an ecclesiastical usage into an article of belief, will be seen from the evidence which has already been adduced' (BF Westcott, A General Survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament (MacMillan: Cambridge, 1889), p. 478).
The opinion of B.F. Westcott, a 19th century Anglican, is not really relevant to Mr. Webster's defense as his view in this matter is anachronistic.
The claims of Rome for the Canon are historically bankrupt. She suggests that we should receive her as supreme authority because of this issue of the canon. This would be equivalent to the Pharisees demanding that Jesus receive their teaching as supreme authority simply because as Jews they had determined which books were truly the word of God. Even if the claims of the Roman Church were true with respect to the canon, and they aren't, it doesn't follow that this makes them automatically authoritative in every area and are to be blindly followed any more than the Jews and Jesus should follow the Pharisees.
Actually, Jesus told His followers that with regard to the Pharisees, He said: John 8:2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3 therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach." So, by the standard Mr. Webster just laid out – we should be receiving the Church's authority! Now, the Church does not have this authority "because of this issue of the canon," that's a misstatement, but rather we have the canon because of the authority of the Church! The "historical bankruptcy" here is Mr. Webster's lack of comprehension of Church authority and how, prior to Trent – well, let's say prior to Florence – individual bishops could declare for their jurisdiction what they considered to be canonical for their jurisdiction. However, once we have a dogmatic decree – such as at Trent – there is no more discussion or dissent. Roma locuta est, causa finite est (paraphrase of St. Augustine).
The teachings of Rome contradict Scripture and much of its teaching, such as that on Tradition, the Papacy, Mary, the sacraments, purgatory, in addition to that of the Canon is patently contradictory to much of the teachings of the early Church. More importantly, its gospel message is a perversion of the teaching of the Scriptural gospel.
Whether or not the Church has contradicted Scripture (which I maintain she has not) is not relevant to the thesis of Mr. Webster's article. This is a diversion from the subject at hand – and purely a statement of ignorant anti-Catholic bigotry. I would be happy to answer his charges here in another response or in one of the forums I run – if he has the courage to venture beyond his own website and challenge Catholic teachings in a Catholic forum. I won't hold my breath for that to happen though.
Rome is guilty of misrepresenting history and the teachings of the Reformation and has misinterpreted Scripture. It is a false system which has become corrupted over time, just as the Jewish system did in the Old Testament.
Again, this statement is irrelevant to Mr. Webster's thesis on the Canon of Sacred Scripture. Again, I would be willing to address him on these matters and invite him to the Locutus Webboard: http://www.catholicresponse.org/locutus - or the ACTS email group on Yahoo! Groups: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/acts - again, if he has the courage to meet in a Catholic forum. However – I will even extend this invitation – pick a forum, Mr. Webster! I will join you there and answer you there, reserving the right to echo our discussion to one or more of my forums to preserve and/or ensure their integrity.