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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Catholicism – What is “the Fullness of Christianity"?

Many non-Catholic Christians have at times asked what is meant when one speaks of the fullness of Christian teachings in Catholicism and how can the Catholic faith claim to possess this fullness. For those who know the history and lineage of the Holy Bible, it is recognized the Bible’s origin is the Catholic Church. The many versions today and the alterations that are contained in those versions range from a subtle difference to a major redefining of what was intended in the original volumes dependant on the founder of the particular system of beliefs that took it for his or her own use while promoting their own assumptions of what it teaches. But the common factor among the majority of protestant denominations is the assumption that any person can read verses from scripture and determine what it means to them personally. Those verses that conflict with either the individual’s personal interpretation or the system of beliefs of their denomination are routinely disregarded as though holding no significance and this is a common practice.
The reason the Catholic faith is referred to as the fullness of the teachings of Christ or of Christianity is because in Catholicism, no verse is disregarded. The bible can, when kept in its entirety offer its own confirmation as to the accurate interpretation from one verse as compared to another. No verse in scripture is to be considered insignificant or to be disregarded, but all to be recognized as the “Inspired Word of God”. The practice of reading one verse or passage and self interpreting it while disregarding other verses or passages that conflict with ones self interpretation is misguided as scripture does not conflict with itself. When a person concludes through their own interpretation that a particular verse means one thing but opposes or conflicts with something else in scripture, it is a flawed interpretation. This is not to say there are parts of scripture that can speak to us personally but scripture in its entirety brings forth the intended teachings of Christ, not the intended opinions or desired wishes of others. By discovering we have interpreted a verse that does conflict with another verse, we should immediately go back and reconsider what the first verse is intending to tell us.
In Catholicism, all scripture is valid and to selectively choose to interpret some verses to support what seems more flexible or suitable to us and disregard those that conflict with our opinions, is to diminish the very intent and validity of all scripture, as there is nothing to validate our own choice in passages or verses with our personal interpretations as more valid than that of the verses we disregard.
An example of the many losses Christians suffer due to the disregard of parts of scripture in Protestantism as apposed to the true relationship one can embrace in understanding Christ's teachings in their fullness, one can reflect on the existence today of over thirty thousand non-Catholic denominations, all teaching or proclaiming various differences in their systems of belief. Yet according to scripture we are told; “God is faithful: by whom you are called unto the fellowship (solidarity) of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no schisms among you; but that you be perfect in the same mind, and in the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians CH1: vs9-10). As the source of the Holy Bible and the one Church founded by Christ to teach and guide the faithful until the consumation of the world, it stands to reason that the fullness of Christianity can be found within her.
Let us consider the totality of scripture and its origin that we may be guided by the Holy Spirit in truth and not misled by false direction.

Friday, March 1, 2013

American Secularism

“For what can be known about God is evident to them (His people), because God made it evident to them. 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 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.” (Romans CH1: vs19-32)

Our nation clearly suffers the effects of our own abandonment of God and morality as it was first established according to the principles of faith of our forefathers. These are the motivating forces that lead us to the founding of our country. We can not be so foolish to believe we are in a relationship with God if we live opposing His teachings or kiss Him on the cheek while betraying His passion on the cross. But we can turn our country around and return to those principles by rediscovering our faith and begin living it once again while teaching our children of God and morality, but only by such a revitalization of faith will we recover. It takes only recognition of what we have become as a people over the last 50 years; what we have abandoned, to realize why we suffer today and the responsibility we have to out children in providing them the knowledge to live a life in a relationship with God rather than the meaningless pursuit of what will never fulfill or give purpose without Him.