Friday, September 26, 2008

The Eucharistic Dimension of Christian Redemption

The Second Vatican Council called the Eucharist "the source and summit of the Christian life." In fact, the Eucharist is so important that all the other sacraments are ordered around it. For example: baptism makes us able to receive it, reconciliation restores us to it, marriage is a reflection of it.

But what I wanted to look at here was the Eucharist's connection to Adam and Eve and the New Adam and the New Eve.Think back to the Garden of Eden. Why where Adam and Eve kicked out?

Eating the forbidden fruit right? Wrong!

They got the boot because God wanted to protect them from the Tree of Life! "Then the LORD God said: "See! The man has become like one of us, knowing what is good and what is bad! Therefore, he must not be allowed to put out his hand to take fruit from the tree of life also, and thus eat of it and live forever" (Genesis 3:22). So why does God not want humanity to live forever? Because they would be living forever in a fallen (sinful) state! Genesis gives us another clue in the following verse: "The LORD God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he had been taken" (Genesis 3:23). If you recall, Adam's job in the Garden was to till and to protect it. He failed in his mission to protect it (and his wife) from the Devil - but God gives Adam the job of tilling the Earth outside the Garden. In other words, because of sin humanity is incapable of standing up to the Devil!

Enter Jesus.

Jesus Christ is the New Adam who undoes the sin of the first Adam. He does this chiefly by his death and resurrection. Adam's job was to lay down his life for his bride. Jesus does this by dying for his bride, the Church. Jesus, by being God and man, can stand up to the Devil and defeat him.

But how is this Eucharistic?

Well St. Paul described the cross as a tree - and we can thus consider the cross of Christ as the new Tree of Life! And the Eucharist makes sense of this in that it is not the tree we eat but the fruit adorning the tree. And on this tree we find the flesh and blood of Jesus - the same flesh and blood Jesus said we must eat in order to have eternal life (John 6:54-56)!

Moreover, the Mass re-presents the one sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Through space and time God has used the Mass as a means of making that very sacrifice of the cross present to us today. By no means is the Mass a re-sacrifice of Jesus! The Mass is THE sacrifice of Jesus! Through the Eucharist the merits of Jesus are applied to us today and actually make us holy!

The Children of God

As you know, I'm Catholic. This means I'm ultra family-oriented (and they wonder why Republicans are winning the Catholic vote these days)! Now I'm not trying to say that Protestants aren't family-oriented - in fact, the best Protestants I know are all about the family. Moreover, not only do both Catholics and Protestants maintain that human families are important and central, but we also both agree that God himself is a family of divine Persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

Where I differ from Protestants is regarding the familial relationship between the human family and the divine family.

Martin Luther, and Protestants after him, developed a view of salvation which compared it to a legal courtroom. This courtroom each human is on trial for sin. By having faith, however, God sees the righteousness of Jesus covering the sinner and his sins. In a sense, faith acts like a shield that blocks one's sinfulness from God so that God can only see holiness - even though it's not really the holiness of the sinner.

Now I'm in now way trying to say that there will be no judgment of the sinner after death. But I believe a courtroom legal proceeding misses the point of God's plan. The Father sent the Son in order to bring the human race into a family! This human family, however, is not a family disconnected from God but intimately united to him through his Son, Jesus Christ. Moreover, it's no longer a question of "me" and Jesus but rather "we" and Jesus - for only in Jesus can we find personal salvation and true communion.

Can you see now what I'm getting at when I say that the Church is a family?

What I believe is even more important, however, is that God doesn't simply declare us to be righteous (i.e. the judge declaring the accused innocent) but actually makes us his sons and daughters. St. Athanasius said in the 4th century that: "The Son of God became the Son of Man so that the sons of men could become the sons of God." At our baptism God actually recreated us as his children, infusing into our souls a created share of his own divine nature (grace).

(I'll add some biblical quotes on this for you later!)

What I'm getting at here is that, by the fact that we who are in Christ are the children of God, we are holy not by being covered with Jesus' holiness but by being cleansed from sin in our very souls. In actuality, we really become holy! As sons and daughters of the Father, God teaches us and raises us in holiness. He gives us the grace to merit our holiness (though the initial grace he gave us was of his own free will and could never have been merited by us).

This view of the children of God is not often thought about these days! In the end I can't think of anything more joyful or more Fatherly than the thought that by being in Christ we truly are the children of God!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Archbishop Chaput Corrects Biden

I'll let Archbishop Chaput speak for himself:

To Catholics of the Archdiocese of Denver:

When Catholics serve on the national stage, their actions and words impact the faith of Catholics around the country. As a result, they open themselves to legitimate scrutiny by local Catholics and local bishops on matters of Catholic belief.

In 2008, although NBC probably didn't intend it, Meet the Press has become a national window on the flawed moral reasoning of some Catholic public servants.On August 24, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, describing herself as an ardent, practicing Catholic, misrepresented the overwhelming body of Catholic teaching against abortion to the show's nationwide audience, while defending her "pro-choice" abortion views. On September 7, Sen. Joseph Biden compounded the problem to the same Meet the Press audience.

Sen. Biden is a man of distinguished public service. That doesn't excuse poor logic or bad facts. Asked when life begins, Sen. Biden said that, "it's a personal and private issue." But in reality, modern biology knows exactly when human life begins: at the moment of conception. Religion has nothing to do with it. People might argue when human "personhood" begins - though that leads public policy in very dangerous directions - but no one can any longer claim that the beginning of life is a matter of religious opinion.

Sen. Biden also confused the nature of pluralism. Real pluralism thrives on healthy, non-violent disagreement; it requires an environment where people of conviction will struggle respectfully but vigorously to advance their beliefs. In his interview, the senator observed that other people with strong religious views disagree with the Catholic approach to abortion. It's certainly true that we need to acknowledge the views of other people and compromise whenever possible - but not at the expense of a developing child's right to life.

Abortion is a foundational issue; it is not an issue like housing policy or the price of foreign oil. It always involves the intentional killing of an innocent life, and it is always, grievously wrong. If, as Sen. Biden said, "I'm prepared as a matter of faith [emphasis added] to accept that life begins at the moment of conception," then he is not merely wrong about the science of new life; he also fails to defend the innocent life he already knows is there.

As the senator said in his interview, he has opposed public funding for abortions. To his great credit,he also backed a successful ban on partial-birth abortions. But his strong support for the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade and the false "right" to abortion it enshrines, can't be excused by any serious Catholic. Support for Roe and the "right to choose" an abortion simply masks what abortion is, and what abortion does.

Roe is bad law. As long as it stands, it prevents returning the abortion issue to the states where it belongs, so that the American people can decide its future through fair debate and legislation.In his Meet the Press interview, Sen. Biden used a morally exhausted argument that American Catholics have been hearing for 40 years: i.e., that Catholics can't "impose" their religiously based views on the rest of the country. But resistance to abortion is a matter of human rights, not religious opinion. And the senator knows very well as a lawmaker that all law involves the imposition of some people's convictions on everyone else. That is the nature of the law.

American Catholics have allowed themselves to be bullied into accepting the destruction of more than a million developing unborn children a year. Other people have imposed their "pro-choice" beliefs on American society without any remorse for decades. If we claim to be Catholic, then American Catholics, including public officials who describe themselves as Catholic, need to act accordingly. We need to put an end to Roe and the industry of permissive abortion it enables. Otherwise all of us - from senators and members of Congress, to Catholic laypeople in the pews - fail not only as believers and disciples, but also as citizens.

+Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Denver

+James D. Conley
Auxiliary Bishop of Denver

Monday, September 8, 2008

Joe Biden is a Theological Idiot

Well I’m trying really, really hard to not be political – but the problem is that idiots like Joe Biden keep talking. But wait, there’s hope! I’m not mad at Joe Biden for any political reason!

I’m ticked because he’s a bad Catholic! Phew.. I feel so much better now.

On Sunday morning Joe Biden went on Meet the Press and decided to continue the Pelosi abortion controversy. Of course, he had to add a few of his own idiotic points to it to make it worse. Oh yeah, and the press decided to cover the story as: “Joe Biden believes that life begins at conception – alright Catholics, vote Obama-Biden!”

I have three problems with what Biden said as a Catholic. Let’s look:

Problem 1: Biden says that the statement “Human life begins at conception” is a matter of faith

“I’m prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception..."

And I know you get the pushback: ‘Well what about fascism…?’ Fascism isn’t a matter of faith! No decent religious person thinks fascism is [tolerable].”

“I voted against telling everyone else in the country that they have to accept my religiously based view that [life begins] at the moment of conception.”

“How am I going out and telling you, if you, or anyone else that you must insist upon my view as based on a matter of faith.”

What’s wrong with this? Well I certainly hope there aren’t any Pro-Life atheists out there because Biden is telling us that you have to have some sort of faith to believe that abortion is wrong. Once again we see a Democrat shooting off his mouth about theology when he’s totally clueless. Abortion is not de fide, or “a matter of faith”. So what is a matter of faith? Hmmm… how about: the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Immaculate Conception, the Real Presence, and the Communion of Saints. All are dogmas about God or his relationship to us.

You won’t see any moral principles under the title description “Believed De Fide” by the Faithful.

In Catholicism (how long have Pelosi and Biden been Catholic again?) we believe that morality is based on human nature. It’s called the natural moral law. What’s so cool about that? It is objective and discoverable by human reason apart from God’s revelation. Thus any moral principle Catholics believe in is provable without recourse to the Bible or Sacred Tradition – or even Church authority! Of course, all three of the aforementioned sources can also support (as they should!) the protection of innocent human life. Okay, that’s proof number one that Biden’s a theological idiot.

Problem 2: Even if he claims to believe something by faith, does he really?

Okay, personal preference is one thing. I wouldn’t impose my tastes about colors or cars upon you. I know, even though I have a beautiful red Mustang, I wouldn’t tell you that you just have to own one for yourself. If you want a yellow Smart Car that’s between you and total lack of an ego.

But now let’s assume that I thought the choice you were making murdered an innocent human being. Shouldn’t I do something to say no? What if I were in Hitler’s death camps and “personally felt the Jews were people” but “didn’t want to impose my morality”? Give me a break. If Biden really thought that the fetus was a person he’d very well impose his morality! And it’s not like the “imposition” would be to punch out abortionists in the hospitals! All he has to do is cast a vote! How easy is that?! And let’s not forget we’re not living in the Middle Ages when we didn’t have the medical studies to know that at fertilization there is, alive in the womb, a genetically different being from the mother. Which brings me to my third point – but first I want to give you a quote from Obama on religion and personal morality:

"Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, William Jennings Bryan, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King — indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history — were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. To say that men and women should not inject their 'personal morality' into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition."

Hmmm… That’s proof number two that Biden is a theological idiot... It’s also proof that he has horrible moral judgment... And it also shoes us that Obama should really be Pro-Life…

Problem 3: Biden, like Pelosi, decided to inject Catholic theology into the political argument

“There is a debate in our Church as even Cardinal Egan would acknowledge has existed. Back in Summa Theologica, when Thomas Aquinas wrote Summa Theologica. He said there was no – it didn’t occur until quickening, forty days after conception.”

The statement from Cardinal Egan came up (I blogged about it a few days back – it rocked!). So instead of accepting Church authority like a faithful Catholic should, he decides to whip out another theologian! This time it’s St. Thomas Aquinas! But what is St. Thomas talking about here? Abortion? No. St. Thomas is talking about when the soul enters the body. Now since St. Thomas was a big fan of Aristotle, he naturally taught that the soul cannot be in a motionless body – because the soul is what causes the body to act. What St. Thomas (and St. Augustine) didn’t know was that the child in the womb was in motion and growing from fertilization on.

In other words, Joe Biden is thrice proven to be a theological idiot.

But let me recap the most glaring problem: Joe Biden personally believes that abortionists are torturing and murdering little babies. But he can’t bring himself to cast a little ole vote to stop them. I can only draw two conclusions:

1. Joe Biden isn’t really personally opposed to abortion – in which case he should leave the Catholic Church.


2. Joe Biden is really, really morally depraved and absolutely sick.

Well, I’ll end with a word of advice to Pelosi and Biden (because I’m sure they’re reading): Please, stop talking about theology. You have no clue what you’re talking about. Maybe you should meet with your bishops and get a basic lesson on actual matters of faith and the difference it has from basic moral laws (like: murder is wrong).

In the meantime, I’ll be praying for you.

Statistics and Politics

I just love it how biased people use faulty interpretation of data in order to justify their claims. Recently a friend told me something about China and polution and how they weren't nearly as bad as the US. I found it odd. Upon looking at the statistics, however, you can plainly read that they divided the data by the number of citezens in the country - and since China has over A BILLION people there, their polution rating was way down!

And now the AP (which I praised only last week) is back at their usual by helping Obama attack Palin once again. [Funny side note: It's sad that Obama has to focus on attacking the VP for McCain.. When's the last election you remember when the presidential candidate has to focus all his attention on the VP?!] The AP story is entitled McCain, Palin criticize Obama on earmarks but the article opens by attacking Palin!

Here you go:

"John McCain and Sarah Palin criticized Democrat Barack Obama over the amount of money he has requested for his home state of Illinois, even though Alaska under Palin's leadership has asked Washington for 10 times more money per citizen for pet projects."

What's that it said? Oh yeah, "10 times more money per citizen"! Well that doesn't tell us anything! So what are the real facts? Obama has asked for nearly 1,000,000,000 dollars of pet project money from the federal government to be given his home state. Palin? According to the AP under $200 million last year.

I'd really love to see the news media say anything critical of Obama. Oh, and here's one new bit of statistical data we haven't heard much about from the media: McCain is winning 50-46!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Too Many People Today are Passionately Wimpy

Okay I admit, I’ve been blogging a bit on the political side lately. Maybe it’s just because I was hyped about the Palin pick but was in Canada the big weekend and away from a computer and cable TV.

Sad I know.

But I think it’s more because the people I’ve been hanging around lately have been average Americans. Not that Americans are bad – it’s just that so many people lack spirit, zeal, and passion these days. Too many go through life, day in and day out, with absolutely no purpose. I bumped in to a Ph.D. the other day who said the purpose of philosophy was not (1) to learn more about the purpose of life, or (2) to become better people, or even (3) to create a more just society.

His purpose for philosophy: to entertain ourselves before we die.

It amuses me that people who cry out for social justice cower from a real challenge to be just. They live to satisfy their own pleasures and seek out their own delights – after which they turn around and call themselves wise and enlightened about the world.

They are passionately wimpy and dogmatically skeptical.

I have to agree with the Lutheran philosopher Soren Kierkegaard who said over 150 years ago about culture then:

“Let others complain that [this] age is wicked; my complaint is that it is paltry; for it lacks passion. Men’s thoughts are thin and flimsy like lace, they are themselves pitiable like the lacemakers. The thoughts of their hearts are too paltry to be sinful. For a worm it might be regarded as a sin to harbor such thoughts, but not for a being made in the image of God. Their lusts are dull and sluggish, their passions sleepy. They do their duty, these shopkeeping souls, but they clip the coin a trifle… they think that even if the Lord keeps ever so careful a set of books they may still cheat him a little. Out upon them! This is the reason my soul always turns back to the Old Testament and to Shakespeare. I feel that those who speak there are at least human beings: they hate, they love, they murder their enemies, and curse their descendants throughout all generations, they sin[!]”

I’d take Hitlers and Mother Theresas before some of the people I meet today. Great sinners and great saints are far preferable! Or as Jesus said to the Laodiceans (first century Americans I should think): “So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16).

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I wish the attacks on Palin had merit…

Nearly everyone in both the media and also in Hollywood are out to destroy Sarah Palin. It’s not like they have any legitimate reason to attack her – well, at least none that isn’t equally applicable to their presidential candidate Barack Obama. Okay, so maybe you haven’t been watching the hub hub on the airwaves so here are a few examples:

Bill Maher: Apparently some Democrats don’t even mind attacking Palin through her Down syndrome baby! Bill Maher said that Palin’s baby: “has Down syndrome. [Palin] had it when she was 43 years old.” Not even funny.

Michael Moore: But there’s more, Michael Moore! In an August 31 post on his website he thought that maybe the Down syndrome child, Trig, wasn’t even Palins! Does anyone on the Far Left even have a brain anymore?!

David Letterman: Lower still is Letterman who said: “Here’s the first thing that came to my mind–OK, so poor John McCain drops dead in office. He gets elected and drops dead. It’s happened! I think Grover Cleveland dropped dead in office, I don’t know. So now [Palin’s] the President and I’m thinking to myself, so she’s the president, fine, but don’t you want your President to have had the presence of mind to have chatted to her teenage kids for five minutes about birth control?” It’s one thing to disagree with her positions on abstinence, but to go so low as to attack her as a mother?!

US Magazine: The newest issue of US Magazine features a picture of Palin with her new baby Trig and the title “Sarah Palin: Babies, Lies, and Scandals”. The implication is that Palin is telling lies – but the article is partly about the lies people are spreading about her!

Howard Gutman: An original member of Obama’s finance committee spoke out against Palin because of her pregnant daughter and her large family. Basically he was saying that no woman with a decent family can be in politics. And we wonder why the Democratic Party pro-choice…

However, despite all the ad hominem attacks, Palin is more popular than either Obama or McCain!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Why My Friend is (Jokingly) Voting Democrat...

This hilarious piece was sent to me by a friend and it's the first thing of its kind that I have ever thought to pass on to someone else. Enjoy!

Sorry if anyone is disappointed in my decision but I have decided to vote Democrat this year. Here are some of the reasons I found it compelling:

1. I'm voting Democrat because: I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.

2. I'm voting Democrat because: Freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

3. I'm voting Democrat because: When we pull out of Iraq I trust that the bad guys will stop what they're doing because they now think we're good people.

4. I'm voting Democrat because: I believe that people who CAN'T tell us if it will rain on Friday CAN tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don't start driving a Prius.

5. I'm voting Democrat because: I'm not concerned about the slaughter of millions of babies so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.

6. I'm voting Democrat because: I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest to the government for redistribution as the "democrats" see fit.

7. I'm voting Democrat because: I believe three or four pointy headed elitist liberals need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would NEVER get their agendas past the voters.

8. I'm voting Democrat because: I believe oil companies' profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% is perfectly fine.

9. I'm voting Democrat because: I love the fact that I can now marry whatever I want. I've decided to marry a horse.

Read These Sarah Palin Quotes!

Wow! Sarah Palin slapped the hell out of Obama tonight! Words in no way can describe how gifted an speaker she is! Here's some quotes (my Facebook page ran out of room!):

"But listening to [Obama] speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform - not even in the state senate."

"This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting, and never use the word "victory" except when he's talking about his own campaign."

"But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed ... when the roar of the crowd fades away ... when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot - what exactly is [Obama's] plan?"

"Terrorist states are seeking new-clear weapons without delay ... he wants to meet them without preconditions. Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America ... [Obama's] worried that someone won't read them their rights!"

"I might add that in small towns, we don't quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren't listening."

"In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change."

"And though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they are always, quote, "fighting for you," let us face the matter squarely. There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you ... in places where winning means survival and defeat means death ... and that man is John McCain."

"To the most powerful office on earth, he would bring the compassion that comes from having once been powerless ... the wisdom that comes even to the captives, by the grace of God ... the special confidence of those who have seen evil, and seen how evil is overcome."

"For a season, a gifted speaker can inspire with his words. For a lifetime, John McCain has inspired with his deeds."

And the Democrat's response: Damn she was good... but she didn't write it. Hmmm.. when was the last speech Obama gave written by Obama? Oh and the Dems think Palin is too inexperienced to be VP. But I guess since she's more experienced than Obama that means that Obama is not experienced enough to be VP much less President. But that's just too logical to be said on TV, I guess..

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pelosi Gets the Smack From Cardinal Egan!

I just love it when Pro-Choice Catholic politicians seem to think that religion cannot mix into public policy.. unless it supports them. And in this case, it didn't even do that. Turns out Pelosi is full of crap when it comes to theology and Church teaching. What I love about his Eminence, Cardinal Egan of New York, is that he takes it one step further by basically saying Pelosi is unfit to be a public servant! Read it below:


Like many other citizens of this nation, I was shocked to learn that the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America would make the kind of statements that were made to Mr. Tom Brokaw of NBC-TV on Sunday, August 24, 2008. What the Speaker had to say about theologians and their positions regarding abortion was not only misinformed; it was also, and especially, utterly incredible in this day and age.

We are blessed in the 21st century with crystal-clear photographs and action films of the living realities within their pregnant mothers. No one with the slightest measure of integrity or honor could fail to know what these marvelous beings manifestly, clearly, and obviously are, as they smile and wave into the world outside the womb. In simplest terms, they are human beings with an inalienable right to live, a right that the Speaker of the House of Representatives is bound to defend at all costs for the most basic of ethical reasons. They are not parts of their mothers, and what they are depends not at all upon the opinions of theologians of any faith. Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being “chooses” to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.

Edward Cardinal Egan
Archbishop of New York
August 26, 2008

And if you'd like to get more back story with great coverage, check out this AP article!

And also in response to Pelosi's rdiculous theology, the US Bishops released this sheet explaining the Church's 2,000 year stance on abortion.