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Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Tale of Two Churches

The following article was published by Zenit.org and is the exclusive property thereof, but we at Seeking Divine Mercy felt this article more than worthy to be presented here with credit given according to the author and publisher. For additional articles of interest, please visit Zenit.org
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American Law Is Officially Telling Its Citizens What Values to Hold and How to Think, Warns Cardinal George
By Francis Cardinal George
CHICAGO, September 16, 2014 (Zenit.org) - Once upon a time there was a church founded on God’s entering into human history in order to give humanity a path to eternal life and happiness with him. The Savior that God sent, his only-begotten Son, did not write a book but founded a community, a church, upon the witness and ministry of twelve apostles. He sent this church the gift of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of love between Father and Son, the Spirit of the truth that God had revealed about himself and humanity by breaking into the history of human sinfulness.
This Church, a hierarchical communion, continued through history, living among different peoples and cultures, filled with sinners, but always guided in the essentials of her life and teaching by the Holy Spirit. She called herself “Catholic” because her purpose was to preach a universal faith and a universal morality, encompassing all peoples and cultures. This claim often invited conflict with the ruling classes of many countries. About 1,800 years into her often stormy history, this church found herself as a very small group in a new country in Eastern North America that promised to respect all religions because the State would not be confessional; it would not try to play the role of a religion.
This Church knew that it was far from socially acceptable in this new country. One of the reasons the country was established was to protest the king of England’s permitting the public celebration of the Catholic Mass on the soil of the British Empire in the newly conquered Catholic territories of Canada. He had betrayed his coronation oath to combat Catholicism, defined as “America’s greatest enemy,” and protect Protestantism, bringing the pure religion of the colonists into danger and giving them the moral right to revolt and reject his rule.
Nonetheless, many Catholics in the American colonies thought their life might be better in the new country than under a regime whose ruling class had penalized and persecuted them since the mid-16th century. They made this new country their own and served her loyally. The social history was often contentious, but the State basically kept its promise to protect all religions and not become a rival to them, a fake church. Until recent years.
There was always a quasi-religious element in the public creed of the country. It lived off the myth of human progress, which had little place for dependence on divine providence. It tended to exploit the religiosity of the ordinary people by using religious language to co-opt them into the purposes of the ruling class. Forms of anti-Catholicism were part of its social DNA. It had encouraged its citizens to think of themselves as the creators of world history and the managers of nature, so that no source of truth outside of themselves needed to be consulted to check their collective purposes and desires. But it had never explicitly taken upon itself the mantle of a religion and officially told its citizens what they must personally think or what “values” they must personalize in order to deserve to be part of the country. Until recent years.
In recent years, society has brought social and legislative approval to all types of sexual relationships that used to be considered “sinful.” Since the biblical vision of what it means to be human tells us that not every friendship or love can be expressed in sexual relations, the Church’s teaching on these issues is now evidence of intolerance for what the civil law upholds and even imposes. What was once a request to live and let live has now become a demand for approval. The “ruling class,” those who shape public opinion in politics, in education, in communications, in entertainment, is using the civil law to impose its own form of morality on everyone. We are told that, even in marriage itself, there is no difference between men and women, although nature and our very bodies clearly evidence that men and women are not interchangeable at will in forming a family. Nevertheless, those who do not conform to the official religion, we are warned, place their citizenship in danger.
When the recent case about religious objection to one provision of the Health Care Act was decided against the State religion, the Huffington Post (June 30, 2014) raised “concerns about the compatibility between being a Catholic and being a good citizen.” This is not the voice of the nativists who first fought against Catholic immigration in the 1830s. Nor is it the voice of those who burned convents and churches in Boston and Philadelphia a decade later. Neither is it the voice of the Know-Nothing Party of the 1840s and 1850s, nor of the Ku Klux Klan, which burned crosses before Catholic churches in the Midwest after the civil war. It is a voice more sophisticated than that of the American Protective Association, whose members promised never to vote for a Catholic for public office. This is, rather, the self-righteous voice of some members of the American establishment today who regard themselves as “progressive” and “enlightened.”
The inevitable result is a crisis of belief for many Catholics. Throughout history, when Catholics and other believers in revealed religion have been forced to choose between being taught by God or instructed by politicians, professors, editors of major newspapers and entertainers, many have opted to go along with the powers that be. This reduces a great tension in their lives, although it also brings with it the worship of a false god. It takes no moral courage to conform to government and social pressure. It takes a deep faith to “swim against the tide,” as Pope Francis recently encouraged young people to do at last summer’s World Youth Day.
Swimming against the tide means limiting one’s access to positions of prestige and power in society. It means that those who choose to live by the Catholic faith will not be welcomed as political candidates to national office, will not sit on editorial boards of major newspapers, will not be at home on most university faculties, will not have successful careers as actors and entertainers. Nor will their children, who will also be suspect. Since all public institutions, no matter who owns or operates them, will be agents of the government and conform their activities to the demands of the official religion, the practice of medicine and law will become more difficult for faithful Catholics. It already means in some States that those who run businesses must conform their activities to the official religion or be fined, as Christians and Jews are fined for their religion in countries governed by Sharia law.
A reader of the tale of two churches, an outside observer, might note that American civil law has done much to weaken and destroy what is the basic unit of every human society, the family. With the weakening of the internal restraints that healthy family life teaches, the State will need to impose more and more external restraints on everyone’s activities. An outside observer might also note that the official religion’s imposing whatever its proponents currently desire on all citizens and even on the world at large inevitably generates resentment. An outside observer might point out that class plays a large role in determining the tenets of the official State religion. “Same-sex marriage,” as a case in point, is not an issue for the poor or those on the margins of society.
How does the tale end? We don’t know. The actual situation is, of course, far more complex than a story plot, and there are many actors and characters, even among the ruling class, who do not want their beloved country to transform itself into a fake church. It would be wrong to lose hope, since there are so many good and faithful people.
Catholics do know, with the certainty of faith, that, when Christ returns in glory to judge the living and the dead, the Church, in some recognizable shape or form that is both Catholic and Apostolic, will be there to meet him. There is no such divine guarantee for any country, culture or society of this or any age.
Cardinal Francis George is the Archbishop of Chicago.

As a closing note by the producers of this website, Seeking Divine Mercy, No doubt as unwavering as the Words of Jesus Christ are; as unwavering as is the Covenant Jesus made with His Church, She WILL be here to meet with Him “until the end of days”. No other source can sustain over her. SeekingDivineMercy.org

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sonogram Informed Consent Act





To refuse to see the image of the child in the womb when considering abortion is to refuse to acknowledge the proof the sonogram provides. The proof this is not an illness but a human being and the right of the woman to seek medical intervention has now been passed on to a new human being with the same rights; no longer the woman having sole and exclusive rights but sharing those rights no less critically than with any other human being. Killing the child is archaic and in most cases the procedure is barbaric to say the least. The woman need not commit her life to the care of the child once born but may turn the baby over for adoption. But there is no excuse for unrestricted abortions. The very act of procreation was entered into knowing the purpose of the act regardless of the venue, in nature or in science and even in faith regardless of those who do not practice a faith. When the act becomes a confirmed pregnancy, there is then another human being having the same right to life as the person who has conceived. The woman no longer has sole right to life. If we were not so hypocritical when it comes to what abortion is and insisting it is not murder, no one could ever be held responsible for any criminal action which causes the death of an unborn child.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"Killing Jesus" - A Commentary on the book co-authored by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard


In the book “Killing Jesus” the authors invest a great deal of effort into separating Jesus’ divinity from His humanity in an attempt to come up with an account of the events and issues leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and the motivation of those who took His human life. Though other reviews of this book are available including the one posted previously by adjunct professor of theology, David G. Bonagura, Jr., this commentary is intended to offer a brief but critical observation that can not be overlooked when it comes to the methodology used by the authors in presenting their opinions in the book, “Killing Jesus”.

In fact, separating Jesus Divinity from His humanity only creates a distorted account of Jesus as to who He was on earth; His life, His death, and His resurrection.

St. Jerome once said, "I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: 'Search the Scriptures,' and 'Seek and you shall find.' For if, as Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and if the man who does not know Scripture does not know the power and wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ."

The attempt to remove the Divine being of Jesus from His human form leaves only a human body without the principle attributes that make up each person for who they are. Without our minds or our spirits, we are a dead carcass. It is the mind and the spirit of each individual that motivates the body. A person’s choices are made through consciousness based in thought and rooted in knowledge. Jesus possessed the mind of God and He clearly knew who He was and His intent. His human body was motivated by His divinity and therefore His divinity can not be separated from His humanity. In these motivating factors rests the reasons for all He did and said during His human life. Without acknowledging who He was there is no factual way of analyzing or depicting Him, all that remains is a human body. Ignorance to scripture is in fact ignorance of who Jesus Christ was and is and no factual account can be made without knowing the subject as completely as possible.

Christians know throughout scripture that from the very moment Jesus was born, there were those such as Herod who sought to have Him executed. The reasons for His enemies wanting to kill Jesus varied slightly throughout His life but centered on the pride and power each of His adversaries attempted to retain. They did not believe He could be the Messiah, He did not fit the preconceived idea of how the Messiah would appear or the power He would project to gain for them the freedom they desired. Since infancy He would require protection from those who would have Him killed.  But to suggest His crucifixion was motivated primarily as a result of His overturning the tax tables in the temple is a drastic misconception ignoring many facts rooted in the records of both the Old And New Testaments pertinent to the divinity of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is True God and true man. We know this from the gospels:  “…though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians CH2: vs6-11)

 As an example of the lack of scriptural knowledge needed to understand who Jesus was while on this earth we can consider a recent airing of Bill O'Reilly's program, "The Factor". Recently a controversy arose that probably everyone has become familiar with to some degree; That is the controversy over the statements of Phil Robertson of the show “Duck Dynasty”. Although Mr. Robertson's presentation was crude to say the least, he expressed his Christian faith and referred to scripture when he mentioned certain life styles as being sinful and living such life styles would according to scripture result in a person’s loss of salvation and their damnation. The actual verse Phil Robertson was referring to in his scriptural reference was the following: “Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians CH6: vs9-10)

During the same comments, Mr. Robertson also referenced partial quotes from another passage being Romans CH1: vs20-32: “Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they (sinners) have no excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened. While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes. Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper. They are filled with every form of wickedness, evil, greed, and malice; full of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and spite. They are gossips and scandalmongers and they hate God. They are insolent, haughty, boastful, ingenious in their wickedness, and rebellious toward their parents. They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know the just decree of God that all who practice such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

 During the airing of his program, Mr. O’Reilly chose to do a segment on this controversy but with great caution, seemingly in opposition to Phil Robertson’s scripture references and chose to quote one biblical verse for his audience. That being; "Stop judging, that you may not be judged. 2 For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.” (Matthew CH1: vs1-2)

This contradiction created by one person (in this case Bill O’Reilly) trying to contradict or disprove a scripture verse that another person (in this case Phil Robertson) has made reference to is a common error of those who are not as familiar with scripture as they should be, and quoting scripture out of context. Scripture does not conflict with itself, but all scripture works together to teach the word of God. Therefore someone has to be misunderstanding the verses they are quoting. How do these passages interrelate in their teachings? The passage telling one not to judge others does not mean we are not to judge the actions of others whether sinful or not as Bill O’Reilly implied. It is a warning against passing judgment in a spirit of arrogance, forgetful of one's own faults. What we are not to do is judge the soul of anyone personally which Mr. Robertson did not do. He spoke of the sinful acts of others in general as is stated in scripture. The further proof of possessing a proper judgment is in the following final passage:

I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people, not at all referring to the immoral of this world or the greedy and robbers or idolaters; for you would then have to leave the world. But I now write to you not to associate with anyone named a brother, if he is immoral, greedy, an idolater, a slanderer, a drunkard, or a robber, not even to eat with such a person. For why should I be judging outsiders? Is it not your business to judge those within? God will judge those outside. "Purge the evil person from your midst." (1 Corinthians CH5: vs9-13)

Why the authors of “Killing Jesus” chose to ignore the divinity and mind of Jesus for who He was according to all the historic content of scripture, I can not say. I can not say why Bill O’Reilly chose to present himself as having worthy knowledge of scripture to take a position quoting scripture to contradict scripture during his coverage of the controversy that arose from the comments of Phil Robertson. What I can say is, it would have been more advantageous and accurate to refer to the full person of Jesus Christ in his book "Killing Jesus", and also to invite theologians on his program to discuss the Phil Robertson controversy rather than present his illinformed position by attempting to invalidate scripture with scripture.

Of course, these are my opinions, but for those who do not like what scripture has to say in regard to today's social permissiveness but realize scripture is the inspired word of God, realize the following; “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews CH13: v8) He does not change to suite the popular opinions of any era in society.