It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired.  I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue.  I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe.  I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great..... In His Majesty's Service, THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT

Friday, October 28, 2005

STATEMENT ON POLITICAL ACTION

Phoenix, Arizona – October 28, 2005

We Catholic voters acknowledge the following ten obligations and guidelines. These principles should be a part of Catholic educational programs at every level utilizing all the means of social communications.

1. “In the Catholic tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue; participation in the political process is a moral obligation. Every believer is called to faithful citizenship, to become an informed, active, and responsible participant in the political process.” An informed vote by a Catholic is one that is guided by the authentic moral and social teaching of the Catholic faith.

2. Catholics should recognize that not all moral and social teachings have equal weight in determining how to cast their vote. Some teachings are directly binding and some are guided by individual prudential judgment.

3. The first obligation of government is the protection of innocent human life from conception to natural death. The Church teaches that justice requires this protection. This truth can also be known through reason unaided by revelation. On the specific "life issues" in law and public policy – direct abortion, euthanasia, and the killing of unborn life for medical research, Catholic teaching is unequivocal; the defense of innocent human life is an imperative.

4. Catholic voters must first make decisions about their votes based on the moral issues that are non-negotiable. First among these are the life issues.

5. On prudential matters that affect the common good, Catholics of goodwill can disagree. Though there are Catholic principles such as compassion, justice and charity that we should share, there is no single "Catholic" policy on issues like taxes, education, foreign policy and immigration reform.

6. A similar distinction was made by the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, His Emminence Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, to the American Bishops when he stated: “There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

7. Catholic priests and bishops first and foremost are shepherds of souls. The role of these shepherds is to instruct and to remind voters, candidates and public officials of the moral obligations and social principles that should guide their political action.

8. All Catholics, especially the laity, have a right and duty to be heard in the public square. Catholic moral teachings should be publicly espoused in such a way that they can inform law and public policy and not be artificially limited to the private domain of individual belief.

9. In their political participation, Catholics must not compromise these principles even though, at times, prudential judgment will require accepting imperfect legislation as a means of incremental progress.

10. The ultimate political goal for Catholics must be the achievement of public policies and laws that result in the legal protection of all innocent human life and that promote the dignity of each human person without exception and compromise.

Date set for Da Vinci Code plagiarism trial

LONDON.– Two historians are suing the publishers of Dan Brown's best-selling religious thriller "The Da Vinci Code" in a case which lawyers said Thursday was due to start early next year.

Richard Leigh and Michael Baigent are suing Random House for lifting "the whole architecture" of the research that went into their 1982 non-fiction book "The Holy Blood, and the Holy Grail."

Lawyers on both sides of the case met Thursday to thrash out technical details, and said a trial date had been set for February 27...
{Read Full Story Here}

Why am I not surprised? The 'Da Vinci Code' is a masterpiece in deception from cover to cover. I guess it shouldn't be surprising that the author (Dan Brown) may have been deceptive about the source of his controversial theory too. Many books have been written that easily debunk the 'Di Vinci Code' novel, and it should be noted that the novel itself is just that -- a novel! It was never intended to be read as a history book, nor was it ever intended to be taken seriously that way. The author admits that the general premise of the novel is fiction, and this is consistent with much of his other work. Dan Brown is afterall a fictional novelist. It's both amazing and disappointing that so many people have taken the theoretical premise of the "Di Vinci Code" seriously.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Democratic Remarks Stink of Religious Bigotry

Christian leaders also commended (Harriet) Miers’ for her decision.

"Miss Miers has shown great respect and consideration by putting the needs of the American people and the judicial system above her own personal ambitions," commented Wendy Wright, Executive Vice President for Concerned Women for America (CWA), in a released statement. "We look forward to future opportunities of working with Miss Miers and will stand united with her on common goals."

"It was hard to call for Miss Miers' withdrawal yesterday," added Jan LaRue, CWA's chief counsel, “but we felt it was the best thing for the Court, the President and Miss Miers.

The Rev. Rob Schenck of the National Clergy Council expressed his gratitude for Miers’ “painfully difficult decision.

In many ways, this was her ultimate service to the President and to the country," said Rev. Rob Schenck, in a released statement.

"We will now prayerfully support a new nominee that will unequivocally fulfill President Bush's promise to appoint judges who strictly interpret the Constitution instead of single-handedly amending it," he added.
{Read Full Story Here}

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the minority leader of the Senate, responded to Harriet Miers' withdrawal of her nomination to the Supreme Court today on his website: "The radical right wing of the Republican Party killed the Harriet Miers nomination. Apparently, Ms. Miers did not satisfy those who want to pack the Supreme Court with rigid ideologues."
{Read Full Story Here}

Make no mistake about it, the leaders in the Democratic Party think practicing Catholics and Evangelical Christians (many of whom opposed Miers) are nothing more than "radical right wing... extremists" and "rigid idealogues." We all might want to take that into consideration next time any of us think about voting Democratic. It's just food for thought. Please feel free to pass this on.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Senators plan push to end income tax

Lawmakers looking to replace current code with flat-rate levy on business transactions

A South Carolina senator dissatisfied with the results of a Bush advisory panel's recommendations on tax reform is set to introduce a bill to abolish federal income tax in favor of a levy on business transactions.

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., told the New York Sun he would put his plan before the Senate tomorrow. The proposal calls for an end to all personal income taxes and the attendant bevy of related taxes, deductions and exemptions, including the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax. The plan would eliminate the need for Americans to file income tax returns....
{Read Full Story Here}

Finally! This needs to be done, but this isn't the first time such legislation has been introduced. HR 25 (the Fair Tax) has been sitting in committee since 2000, and it proposes a similar kind of tax code restructuring that eliminates the income tax and the IRS. The truth is, there are lot's of possible ways the federal government can collect sufficient revenue without having an income tax or an IRS. The reason why none of them have taken off yet is because the issue isn't really about money. It's about power. So long as the federal government has the power to access your paycheck directly, it can bypass all the checks and balances in our US Constitution that were designed to keep it under control. It gives the federal government the power to influence your spending habits, your saving habits, and your overall behavior. It even gives the federal government the power to influence whether or not you marry and how many children you have. You see, once the federal government has direct access (i.e. income tax) to your prosperity, it is able to control your behavior. Once it is able to control your behavior, you are no longer free. It's exactly the kind of system the founding fathers viewed as repugnant. It defeats the whole reason behind the American Revolution.

But wait! It gets worse. Having an overpowering and intrusive federal government is one thing. But having politicians who use it to their advantage is another. And that is exactly what we have under the income tax system, because politicians manipulate your voting habits by promising "tax reform" in one way or another. Conservative politicians manipulate your vote by promising tax breaks. Liberal politicians manipulate your vote by promising tax hikes on the people who "deserve it" (i.e. corporations and "the rich"). It's all hogwash and manipulation. It has nothing to do with real tax reform, and it has nothing to do with fixing the real problem. The problem is the income tax SYSTEM itself. It's a wealth redistribution scheme originally invented by none other than Karl Marx in his Communist Manifesto. But don't take my word for it, see for yourself...

From the Communist Manifesto (1848)...

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of
land to public purposes.

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5. Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a
national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.

6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in he
hands of the state.

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the
state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the
improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

8. Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial
armies, especially for agriculture.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual
abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a
more equable distribution of the populace over the country.

10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of
children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of
education with industrial production, etc.

{Read Source Here}

Please take note of step 2. That was established in the United States in 1913 upon America's entry into World War I. It was passed by constitutional amendment with the promise that it would eventually be repealed as soon as the war was over. By the looks of things, we're still paying on that damn war! Since then the tax code has continually become more and more graduated, and every attempt to return to a "flat income tax" has only resulted in a slow change back to the Marxist graduated income tax. The problem is the system itself. It's unamerican and communist! It needs to be abolished. It must be abolished. And sooner or later IT WILL be abolished. Why? Because market forces will mandate it. Marxism doesn't work. It's been nearly a century since it was first implemented. Everywhere in the world where it's been tried, it has failed. Even in places like the USA, where only a small fraction of Marxism was adopted, (see step 2 above), it is failing. Our income tax code is like a flashing neon sign on our shores saying "keep your business investments out of America." It becomes tax prohibitive for international companies to set up shop here. It also inflates the price of all our goods and services by about 30%, which reduces our ability to compete in the world market. Sooner or later the politicians in Washington are going to have to make a choice. Either they can keep their power over our lives and loose America's economy, or they can save America's economy and loose their power over our lives. Make no mistake about it. This decision will be hard for them, but when it finally comes, we'll be able to clearly see who's REALLY on our side in Washington D.C. I bet we'll all be surprised by what we learn.

Archbishop to monitor admission of married Anglicans to priesthood

Newark, N.J. (CNS) -- Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark has been appointed by the Vatican as ecclesiastical delegate in charge of the process for admitting married former Anglican or Episcopal clergy to the Catholic priesthood in the United States....
{Read Full Story Here}

And with that, the battle has begun. Conservative Episcopalian priests will soon be making a mass exodus to the Catholic Church, and as soon as an Episcopal bishop makes an even transfer, the 'Anglican Rite' within the Catholic Church will be reborn. Expect liberal Episcopal bishops to respond with "intolerant" cruelty in the days ahead. See the story below for details...

Episcopal Group Plots Hostile Takeover

An Episcopal group has a doomsday plan that calls for ousting conservative bishops and seizing church property if they attempt to break from the denomination over its increasingly liberal position on homosexuality...
{Read Full Story Here}

Once again, we have here another perfect example of liberal tyranny. The liberals within the Episcopal Church are now planning to PUNISH any local diocese or parish that protests "politically correct" heresy and threatens to determine its own destiny. It's funny how the Anglicans (Episcopalians) have now come full circle. They've actually become the very thing they once hated. Five-hundred years ago, the Church of England broke away from the Roman Catholic Church. The break was anything but peaceful as property was seized and lives were ruined over the course of four monarchies. Now England's daughter church (Episcopal Church USA) is about to do the same thing with those who would dare to determine their own destiny as their forefathers did 500 years ago. You would think liberals would be happy that conservatives are leaving. It only solidifies their grip on the Episcopal Church. But that's not good enough for them. In addition to jettisoning their conservative foes, they also want to take their property and seize their bank accounts as well. Ah! the "tolerance" of liberalism. You gotta love it!

Polish leader's anti-gay stance threatens EU voting rights

Poland could lose its EU voting rights if its newly elected president continues to oppose gay rights and seeks to introduce the death penalty, the European Commission warned yesterday.

In a shot across the bows of arch-conservative Lech Kaczynski, the commission declared that all member states must abide by EU rules which protect minorities and block the death penalty.

Failure to comply could trigger a special process under the Treaty of Nice which deprives errant member states of their voting rights in ministerial meetings. "We are going to follow the situation very attentively," the principal commission spokesman, Jonathan Todd, said yesterday....
{Read Full Story Here}

So here we have an example of the liberal utopia, called the European Union (EU), in all it's glory. If you don't agree with 'politically correct' orthodoxy, you get your voting rights taken away. I wonder how many American liberals would like to see a similar policy enacted in the United States? Well, hopefully this will be a wakeup call for Catholic Poland. The EU is trying to create a liberal utopia where 'politically correct' orthodoxy (i.e. fascist propaganda) is the law of the land. Poland would be better off as its own country, apart from the EU, as would just about every other country in Europe. If you're going to have a federal union that works, it must be one based entirely on states' rights. If the member states cannot control their own laws, and their own destiny, than you don't have a federal union. What you have is an empire where the rights of the states are trampled by an intrusive and overpowering centralized government. If the people of Poland are smart, they will elect whomever they want to their government, thumb their noses at the EU when they take away their voting rights, and then vote to secede from the EU entirely. Their example will only be followed by other European nations who will do the same.

Monday, October 24, 2005

10,000 Muslims Lay Violent Siege To Coptic Church


U.S. Copts Association
Web site: www.copts.com

Alexandria, Egypt (10/21/05)—Over 10,000 Egyptian Muslim protestors and Egyptian police on Friday, October 21, 2005 surrounded the Mari Girgis (St. George) Coptic Orthodox Church in Muharram Bey street, Alexandria. The violent protestors were incited by October media reports alleging a church play ad “offended Islam.”

According to reports from U.S. Copts informants at the St. George Church, since 12:00 PM CMT over 10,000 Muslim protestors have flooded the streets outside the building, trapping inside the church three priests and 70-100 Coptic youth. The protestors, armed with Molotov cocktails and other weapons, brandished copies of the Qur’an and demanded that St. George priest Father Antonious convert to Islam.

Officials deployed approximately 1,000 soldiers from the Egyptian army and seventy armored vehicles to help subdue the mob. Soldiers released tear gas and fired live bullets to disperse the thousands chanting in the streets.

Friday’s protests come after initial street protests one week earlier and the Wednesday stabbing of a Coptic nun by a Muslim student.

Protestors were responding to several inflammatory newspaper editorials alleging the St. George church had produced a stage play that allegedly “insulted Islam and the Qur’an.” The production to which the articles referred was a church play which was staged once over two years earlier in 2003 for St. George’s parishioners, referred to the modern political problem of Islamic extremism, and referenced neither the Qur’an nor Islamic theology.

Copts, the indigenous Christians of Egypt, number approximately 15 million people and constitute between 12-15% of the Egyptian population.

Pictures of the protest can be viewed at www.copts.net

Just a little taste of what western Europe has to look forward to in about 30 years or so. Just picture the same scene around Notre Dame Cathedral or Westminster Abbey. Unless there is a massive Christian revival in Europe, that day is soon coming...

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Election 2008 Preview?



He's Republican, Pro-Life, staunchly conservative and a convert to Roman Catholicism.

Eucharistic Synod Document

Okay, for those of you who want my own Reader's Digest version, read on. Those of you who want to see the full text for yourself {Click Here}.
  1. General greetings and Blessings
  2. Credit given to Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI, along with a statement of purpose. "The goal of the Synod was to offer proposals to the Holy Father that might help him to update and deepen the Eucharistic life of the Church."
  3. The Church calls all Catholics to pray for Christian reconciliation and unity.
  4. Greetings extended to all who could not attend the Synod.
  5. Recognition given to the natural disasters around the world and the suffering of humanity. Secularization and relativism are strongly condemned. World leaders called upon to protect human life from the womb to the tomb, and to respect traditional marriage and family. The Church pledges to feed the poor and needy.
  6. Church calls to memory those who have been martyred for the faith in recent days.
  7. The Eucharist is recognized as the true presence of Christ. The doctrine of transubstantiation is reaffirmed, and emphasized that the Eucharist is a gift of God's love, pledging our own future resurrection.
  8. "The Synod reaffirms that the Second Vatican Council provided the necessary basis for an authentic liturgical renewal. It is necessary now to cultivate the positive fruits of this reform, and to correct abuses that have crept into liturgical practice."
  9. "The Synod Fathers hope that the Year of the Eucharist might be a beginning and a point of departure for a new evangelization of our globalized humanity, that begins with the Eucharist."
  10. All Catholics urged to practice "adoration of the Blessed Sacrament outside Mass, Eucharistic Benediction, processions with the Blessed Sacrament, and healthy manifestations of popular piety."
  11. Both liberty and persecution of Church recognized around the world. Bishops urge world leaders to allow Christians "to celebrate the Day of the Lord in complete freedom."
  12. All Catholics urged to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation more frequently. It is necessary for worthy reception of Holy Communion.
  13. Special thanks given to priests and religious for their personal sacrifices for the sake of the gospel. Recognition is given of the current priest shortage.
  14. "Spiritual communion" should be practices by those who cannot receive communion due to the priest shortage or other circumstances.
  15. Sympathy is given to Catholics who cannot receive communion because of divorce. Though they cannot receive communion, they are still welcomed to celebrate the rest of the liturgy fully.
  16. The Synod of bishops invites "parents, pastors and catechists to work toward re-establishing a strategy for evangelization and education in the faith at the beginning of this new millennium."
  17. The bishops said: "We cannot delude ourselves: mutual love and especially the care that we show for those who are in need will indicate that we will be recognized as true disciples of Christ (see Jn 13:35; Mt 25:31-46). This is the criterion that will attest the authenticity of our Eucharistic celebrations"
  18. The bishops affirm that Jesus Christ washed away our sins by his sacrificial death, and said "The Holy Eucharist is the gift of love, an encounter with the God who loves us and a spring welling up to eternal life."
  19. Recognition and gratitude given to all clergy for their daily hardships and trials. A blessing is extended to them.
  20. To those laity, the bishops say: "Your Eucharistic witness in the service of Christ is a cry of love in the darkness of the world, an echo of the ancient Marian hymns, the Stabat Mater and of the Magnificat. May the Woman of the Eucharist par excellence, crowned with stars, and rich in love, the Virgin of the Assumption and of the Immaculate Conception, watch over you in your service of God and the poor, in the joy of Easter, for the hope of the world."
  21. To young people are encouraged "Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life." The bishops trust the Church's future to them, and pledge their prayers and support to them. They are encouraged to draw upon the Eucharist as a source of strength and energy to accomplish their goals. This is especially directed toward young seminarians.
  22. Married Catholics are reminded of their great role in the Church, and the bishops are mindful of how difficult things are for them sometimes. They are encouraged to "remain strong in your struggle to educate your children in the faith." They are encouraged to maintain the practice of participating as a family in the Sunday Eucharist.
  23. Special sympathy is extended to the sick and dying, and they are encouraged to draw upon the strength of the Eucharist.
  24. All Catholics are reminded that Holy Communion is for Catholics only. "The precise regulations of the Church determine the position we are to take on sharing the Eucharist with brothers and sisters who are not yet in full communion with us."
  25. A sentiment of brotherly love and unity is extended toward people of other faiths. "In celebrating the Holy Eucharist, we also believe that we are, in the words of Saint Augustine, 'a sacrament of humanity' (De civ. Dei, 16), the voice of all the prayers and supplications that rise from the earth toward God."

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Rising Popularity of Pope Baffles Liberals

Ratzinger’s Revolution Passes with Flying Colors
by Sandro Magister

Six months after his election as pope, the first popular survey reveals that Benedict XVI is both pleasing and convincing the people. He has doubled the numbers of those attending his audiences. One image of him is striking: that of the silent devotee before the Eucharist
{Read Full Story Here}

Pope Benedict XVI is getting popular, and this is puzzling to liberal critics of the Catholic Church. Since being elected pope, his actions have confirmed all suspicions that he would be an extremely orthodox and conservative pontiff. For the last few years, liberal critics of the Church eagerly anticipated the death of Pope John Paul the Great, hoping that whoever replaced him would take the Church down a more liberal path. Frustrated by John Paul’s refusal to ordain women and condone homosexuality, most liberals saw him as a fossilized relic of Catholicism’s past. Upon the announcement of John Paul’s death on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday 2005, I remember some liberals breath a sigh of relief. “Finally” they said, “now the cardinals can elect a younger pope.” (I suppose the assumption was that a ‘younger’ pope would somehow be more liberal.) I remember the shock and dismay of liberals when Cardinal Ratzinger was elected as Pope Benedict XVI. “Oh no!” they shrieked, “It’s Ratzinger!” Their worst fears had come to life. Cardinal Ratzinger made his mark on the Church as a staunch conservative, and John Paul’s right hand man. I specifically remember one popular liberal saying “Oh well, he’s not the REAL pope anyway. He’s old and won't last long. He’ll just keep the chair warm for the next guy.” The man hadn’t even celebrated his installment mass, and these liberals were already looking forward to his death and the next conclave.

Now it’s been half a year, and something is happening that liberals never expected. For years liberals have been telling the Church to back away from traditional orthodoxy. They’ve been telling the Church that strict conservatism is what drives people away from Catholicism. Sadly, many bishops in the USA have been listening to this nonsense, and acting accordingly. But in the six months since Ratzinger’s election as Pope Benedict XVI, mass attendance at the Vatican has doubled. Catholic youth in Europe (particularly Germany) are excited about their faith again. The liberal predictions of Catholics leaving the Church in droves has not come to fruition. While it may be true that some liberal Catholics are leaving, it would seem that the majority of young people are drawn to Catholicism’s new conservative appeal. In just six months since his election, Pope Benedict has already become somewhat of a legend. His soon to be released book is sure to be a bestseller, and his reform agenda for the Church has only barely begun. The world still doesn’t even know what it will look like, but people seem to be waiting with eager anticipation.

All of this has left liberals scratching their heads. Everything they’ve been telling us has not only turned out to be false, but in actuality, the exact opposite seems to be what’s happening. The truth is liberals just don’t get it. They don’t understand today’s religious conservatives and they probably never will. Liberals are stuck in a 1960s social revolution mentality. They just can’t get past it. The world has moved on.

The liberal ideals of the 1960s have left us with nothing but increasing poverty, government dependance, high taxation of the middle class, skyrocketing divorce rates, rampant spread of venereal disease, teen pregnancies, aborted babies, unwed mothers, pornography on our television screens, homosexual perversions, gay marriage, perversion of every stripe, along with the violation of property rights, and thought police under the guise of “political correctness.” Young people, who have grown up in this world, don’t like what they’re seeing. They’ve read about the “good ol’ days” of the 1940s and 50s. They’ve heard about them from their grandparents. A good number of them were practically raised by their grandparents anyway (because of working moms), so they’re very familiar with the stories. Young people find it amazing that there once was a time when most people adhered to a common set of moral values and decency. They’re astonished that there once was a time when most people lived completely free of government intervention through programs and entitlements. The idea of raising their own children in an atmosphere of solid religious and moral values is very appealing to them. So their turning back to the faith of their grandparents, and leaving the failures of the baby-boomer “me generation” behind. It’s been a growing trend since the middle 1990s, and it’s not going to stop growing. Pope Benedict has surfaced as a new leader who embodies everything the growing conservative youth wants. Make no mistake about it. The Catholicism of Ratzinger is the way of the future, not the tired old failures of “revolutionary” liberalism.

NEWS FLASH: Harriet Miers Was Never A Catholic

DALLAS -- The Roman Catholic diocese of Dallas is setting the record straight: Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers has never been a Catholic.

A review of records for such sacraments as baptism, first Eucharist and confirmation found no evidence that Miers or anyone in her immediate family was Catholic, Bronson Havard, a spokesman for the diocese, said Friday.

Acquaintances of Miers have said she worshiped as a Catholic and attended Episcopalian and Presbyterian services. For some 25 years, Miers has been a congregant at Valley View Christian Church where in 1979 she was baptized by full immersion, consistent with the evangelical church's beliefs...
{Read Full Story Here}

Just setting the record straight here folks. Some people have been led to believe (by erroneous media reports) that Harriet Miers was once a Catholic, but was then converted to Evangelicalism. As you can read above, this was never the case. Miers frequented Catholic churches, as well as Episcopal churches for reasons known only to her, but later decided to join an Evangelical church.

Many of you are probably wondering what's the big deal? Why is this even a topic for discussion? Well, I'll tell you. Being an Evangelical convert to Catholicism, I tend to have a little bit of insight on this sort of thing. You see, American Catholics are particularly sensitive to the conversion tactics of SOME Evangelical churches. This isn't universal to all Evangelical groups, but it is standard operating procedure to many.

Evangelicals are sometimes called "born-again Christians." They can be members of specific denominations, such as the Southern Baptist Convention and the Assemblies of God. Or they can be members of loose affiliations, such as Calvary Chapel and Foursquare Church. Or they can be regular attendants of completely independent nondenominational churches that have no affiliation whatsoever. Some Evangelicals simply meet together as small Bible-study groups in people's homes. Evangelicals are typically characterized for their strict observance of key Protestant doctrines as Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone) and Sola Fide (Faith Alone). They tend to interpret the Bible literally (most of the time), and put an emphasis on preaching the gospel to the "lost." The word "evangel" means gospel or "good news," hence the name "Evangelical" which means "bearer of good news." They tend to be very conservative, both on moral issues and political matters.

When Evangelicals preach the gospel to the "lost," they're just practicing their religion. Nobody (except godless heathens) holds that against them, nor should they. That certainly isn't the problem many American Catholics have with them. In fact, most Catholics would agree with the Evangelical mission to preach the gospel, and I personally know many Catholics who secretly admire Evangelicals for their consistent work in doing just that. As a matter of fact, Pope John Paul the Great insisted that Catholics must do likewise.

No, the problem has nothing to do with preaching the gospel in and of itself. The problem comes when some Evangelicals ADD TO the Gospel their own little sectarian digs against Catholicism. Some groups actually target Catholics for conversion to Evangelicalism. American Catholics are faced with this on a regular basis. For me personally, I experience some kind of conversion attempt (by an Evangelical) on a weekly basis. It happens about once or twice a week. An Evangelical might make a casual comment about how Catholicism is "unbiblical" in one area or another. Often the phrase I hear is "God's Law verses laws of men," and the context is their religion verses mine. Their's (Evangelicalism) of course being "God's Law," and mine (Catholicism) is naturally what they refer to as "laws of men." As a convert to Catholicism, I find myself practically immune to these attempts to strike up a conversion session, and I frequently ignore them. Most "cradle Catholics," who have been raised in the Church, find themselves similarly immune IF they regularly study and practice their faith. On the other hand, many "cradle Catholics" don't, and that makes them especially vulnerable to this kind of targeted conversion tactics. Catholics unfamiliar with their own faith are easily misled by Evangelicals who "appear" to know more about Catholicism than they do. Half-truths and propaganda are quickly accepted as "truth" when they contain a small portion of the truth, packaged together with untruths. Think of these tactics as wrapping a skin of truth around a great big lie. One example is the classic "Catholics worship Mary" routine. The Evangelical targets a Catholic whom he thinks might be receptive to conversion. Usually this is a non-practicing Catholic who has not studied his faith since the fourth grade in Catholic elementary school. The Evangelical casually asks, "Why do Catholics worship Mary?" The unsuspecting Catholic responds correctly "Oh, we don't worship Mary, we just pray to her." The Evangelical quickly rebuffs; "But prayer IS worship, the Bible says so." The Catholic suddenly assumes the Evangelical probably knows more about the Bible than he does. So the conversation continues, and the non-practicing Catholic is led down a path of carefully scripted questions and answers designed to get him to doubt his Catholic faith. Many of the questions are rhetorical, because the one asking them knows that most Catholics won't be able to answer. Many of the answers are inaccurate, containing a hint of truth, but stuffed with a falsehood. The result is usually a conversion. The non-practicing Catholic begins attending an Evangelical church where he is carefully fed more of these questions and answers. Before long he's convinced that Catholicism is a non-Christian cult, and he was never truly a Christian to begin with. So he's rebaptized under the Evangelical tradition, and renounces his Catholic baptism as an infant. The propaganda works so well that many of these converts will start repeating the propaganda nonsense back to their Evangelical friends. They'll say things like: "Oh I used to be a Catholic, and when I was I worshiped Mary all the time, because that's what the Catholic Church teaches." If course none of this is true, but often times the convert is so conditioned by the propaganda that he starts to believe it and apply it to his own life experiences. It's reinforced by the way these Evangelical groups affirm and praise him for his "courage" to "tell it like it is brother!"

Such conversion tactics and propaganda methods have led many American Catholics to consider this a form of "brainwashing." Catholic families are quite frequently devastated by the tactics of such groups when one family member is seduced by them. It frequently causes the seduced family member to come back and attempt to convert the rest of the family. If the family resists, by practicing and studying their Catholic faith, it sometimes results in arguments and condemnations by the seduced family member. Such heated arguments and condemnations are usually followed by separations, in which the seduced family member cuts off all ties with his family, because in his belief "they're all going to Hell anyway."

How do I know all this? I know because it's personal you see. When I was an Evangelical I used to engage in the very tactics described above. I personally oversaw the conversion of about half a dozen non-practicing Catholics to Evangelicalism, and I personally witnessed the devestation it brought to their families. One of these converts was a very close friend of my own family, and I saw how it hurt her and the relationship she had with her parents and siblings. My attempt to further discredit Catholicism eventually led me to source material from the Catholic Church itself (instead of the conversion "How To" books). Once I obtained actual Catholic documents (like the Catechism and Vatican decrees) I was shocked to discover that none of the propaganda I had been dispensing was true. This, among other things, eventually led to my conversion to the Catholic Church. Now I teach young Catholic teenagers how to resist these conversion tactics and study the Catholic faith (which includes study of the Bible and the Catechism).

So how does all this relate to Harriet Miers? Simple, the mainstream liberal media is well aware of resentment among many Catholics toward some branches of Evangelicalism because of these very targeted conversion tactics. They know this resentment does sometimes lead to hostility and heated exchanges between Catholic and Evangelical groups. One of the reasons why Republicans are doing so well in elections is because conservative Catholics and conservative Evangelicals remain largely united on social issues, regardless of their differences on religious matters. To liberals in the mainstream media, this is an alliance that MUST be broken, and they'll say anything they can to encourage a split. Personally, I believe most media "mistakes" are intentional. Their bias is not in what they tell us, but rather in what they don't tell us. The facts they leave out (perhaps intentionally) are designed to sway our opinions one way or another. Media liberals want Catholics and Evangelicals to break up their social alliance on politics. To facilitate this, they need to reopen old wounds, and pout salt into them. They know many American Catholic families have been hurt by the targeted conversion tactics of SOME Evangelical groups. Telling these families that Miers is a single Catholic woman, who converted to Evangelicalism, (obviously not by reason of marriage) will bring those old wounds back to the surface. It will force them to question Miers ability to act as a judge independently when she was apparently so easily influenced by propaganda lies about her own previous religion. This will be assumed because most Catholics DON'T convert to Evangelicalism unless they have been influenced by this kind of tactic. It could eventually cause a good number of conservative Catholics to break allegiance with Evangelicals on this issue. The whole idea here is to force a religious split on Miers; in which conservative Evangelicals love her for her staunch Evangelical faith, and conservative Catholics dislike her because of her apparent weak and amiable Catholic faith. Were Miers "conversion" real, conservative Catholics would have just cause to be concerned. What the liberal media intentionally failed to mention is that Harriet Miers was never officially a Catholic to begin with.

Yes, that's right. Harriet Miers was never a member of the Roman Catholic Church, and she never received the sacraments of the Catholic Church. Harriet Miers is not, and never has been, Catholic. Occasionally visiting Catholic churches does not make one a Catholic. Neither were her parents Catholic, nor any other close family members. Thus she was never "converted" to Evangelicalism.

No conversion equals no old wounds to remind Catholic families of. Which is why the liberal mainstream media convienently failed to mention it. Never underestimate how low the liberal media will sink. We got lucky on this one. The Catholic diocese of Dallas got tired of all the flap about Harriet Miers and made a press release. The Associated Press goofed by actually reporting it. While NewsMax (a conservative media outlet) picked up the story and put in their front page news. So now the truth is out there, but how many Catholic families will hear it? How many are already nursing those old wounds previous media stories reminded them of? Has the damage already been done? Will conservative Catholics unite with conservative Evangelicals on the Miers nomination? Only time will tell.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Bishop Fires Catholic Teacher for Volunteering at Planned Parenthood Abortion Center

SACRAMENTO, October 18, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Catholic schoolteacher has been fired for volunteering at a Planned Parenthood abortuary.

Marie Bain, a drama teacher at the all-girls Loretto High School was dismissed by local Bishop William Wiegand after a parent brought him a picture showing Bain ushering young women into the abortuary, past pro-life protesters outside.... {Read Full Story Here}

PRAISE THE LORD! There is actually an American bishop out there with some guts! THANK GOD! We actually have a shepherd who is willing to shepherd his flock! These kinds of actions should be praised, because in today's "politically correct" environment, it takes courage to stand up and do the right thing. The bishop (and his diocese) will probably be sued now, but I praise God that somebody is finally willing to stand up to those Catholics who have no problem thumbing their noses at the Church while they go against the very foundation of everything Catholicism is about.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Latin's Rebirth

Greek Still May Be Greek To Most, But Students Increasingly Choosing To Do As The Romans Do
By WILLIAM WEIR

When school libraries are "media centers" and education increasingly depends on microchips, Latin isn't the most obvious choice of studies.

To the unschooled, the language can look a bit daunting. Nouns change form; the word order seems arbitrary. Why hack through a dense thicket of ablatives and datives for something no one even speaks?

About 30 years ago, it seemed no one would. Critics called Latin a dead language, irrelevant and elitist. Even the Catholic Church, its strongest champion, no longer found it necessary in worship services. But it's been going strong lately, especially in Connecticut. In 2004, 7,297 high school students were enrolled in Latin programs, a 48 percent increase from 1995.

It's doing well nationally, also. Almost 135,000 students took the National Latin Exam this year. That's 4,000 more than last year, and participation has increased each year since the American Classical League first offered the exam in 1977.

There's even a small movement to adapt Latin to modern use. A radio station in Finland broadcasts news in Latin every day for five minutes. There are Latin translations of "Harry Potter" and Dr. Seuss books. A dictionary provides Latin terms for contemporary items, some of which can be rather unwieldy. "Capsellarum magnetoscopicarum theca," for instance, is the term for "video store." In Latin, an FBI agent works for the "Officium Foederatum Vestigatorium."

So why now? About 11 centuries have passed since Latin was anyone's native tongue. It stayed on as the international language of science and politics for a while, but even that ended in the 18th century.

One oft-cited reason for the revival is that it helps you do better on the SATs. With at least half of all English words deriving from the Latin, the thinking goes, it gives test-takers an advantage on the verbal portion. According to the American Classical League, Latin students scored the best of all foreign-language students on the verbal portion of the 2004 SAT. And they beat the overall average by 166 points. That's one of the reasons Jackie Crocco, a junior at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven, decided to take it. Seeing the connections between Latin and the languages it spawned helps her make better sense of both English and Italian, the other foreign languages she's studying. Once you get the hang of it, she says, Latin's really not so tough.

"It's actually easier than English," she says... {Read Full Story Here}

Now this certainly is interesting. The rebirth of Latin certainly makes a lot of sense. It's the language of medicine, law and science. If more people understood it, they wouldn't be so impressed by all the medical and legal jargon tossed around by doctors and lawyers. I suspect this is going to be a real trend. I've seen those Latin books for children at bookstores. There is even strong indication that Latin is going to be reintroduced to the Catholic mass in small quantities. Some believe Pope Benedict XVI might even allow all priests to celebrate the old Latin (Tridentine) mass again, at their discretion.

In our shrinking "global village" of the Internet and international travel, there has long been a search for a truly international language. English has served as the standard for the last three decades. But English is one of the hardest languages in the world to learn. In the last century, we saw the invention of artificial languages (such as Esperanto and Ido) to fill this need. But these have fallen flat in a world that demands reliable methods of communication with a proven track record. Artificial languages don't cut it, precisely because they are "artificial." They've never been "tested" in any country, so they don't have a track record. Whether it's Esperanto or Ido, without a proven track record, you might as well be speaking Klingon -- which by the way, is another example of a functional artificial language you can actually purchase books and tapes to learn (Star Trek geek not included).

Latin, on the other hand, has quite an impressive resume'. Not only was it a real and bona fide language used in an actual country, but it was also adopted throughout an entire ancient empire! It has lasted nearly 3,000 years and has remained virtually unaltered during that time. It has influenced the development of many other languages: Italian, Spanish, French, Romanian and even English. And if that wasn't impressive enough, it is also the linguistic base of the sciences, arts, medicine and law. Latin inscriptions can be found everywhere! They're all over the world on buildings, plaques, government documents, and even money. Yes, even the American one dollar bill is embellished with no less than four Latin inscriptions. Reviving the ancient language for modern use only makes sense, mainly because it's already so much a part of our daily lives. In this article alone I have already used no less than a dozen English words with Latin roots.

If the language is to be revived, however, I think there should be a push to revive it in all of North America and maybe even Europe. This is to facilitate communication between common folks of neighboring countries. Just imagine this...

Suppose you're waiting for a plane at the airport. The man sitting next to you speaks Spanish and a little broken English. The woman sitting across from you is from France and is visiting her relatives in the USA. She doesn't speak a word of English. Unfortunately you neither know French nor Spanish. But by coincidence, you all happen to know Latin because it was commonly taught in high schools around the world. The three of you could easily have a lively discussion in Latin now.

Suppose you're taking that dream vacation in Europe. You're trip takes you through the whole continent. You're going to see Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Greece. That's five languages you'll need to be familiar with: Spanish, French, German, Italian and Greek. Are you up for it? Most American's aren't. But that doesn't stop them. They take those grand vacations and rely mostly on the kindness of strangers who might happen to speak a little broken English. But suppose both European and North American high schools taught Latin as part of their standard curriculum? If you know Latin, and it's also well known throughout Europe, you'll have no problem communicating with the natives easily.

Let's face it; the ancients were smart. When the Greeks conquered the known world, they compelled everybody to learn Greek. When the Romans conquered the known world, they did the same with Latin. Now we live in a global market, and it seems English can only take us so far. I think it makes sense to revive Latin in such a world, especially when it's already so much a part of it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Is Atheism A Religion?

New group aims to protect freedom of religion

Pittsburgh, Oct. 19, 2005 (CNA) - A new group founded to protect freedom of religion in the U.S. is staging an unusual campaign--one to get atheism recognized as a religion. Its symbol? Nothing...
{Read Full Story Here}


Now this is a novel idea. If atheism were recognized as a religion, and "nothing" it's symbol, than removing religious symbols (like the Ten Commandments) and replacing them with "nothing" would be in effect, a government endorsement of religion, which is a clear violation of the First Amendment establishment clause. It would effectively force the courts to put all religions on equal footing, allowing fair representation for all on government property, and prohibit the forced removal of any. It's a clever legal tactic. Will it work? Who knows! To learn more about this, you can visit the group's website here: Defending Freedom of Religion

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It Pays To Gripe!

Anyone who enters the United States illegally should be expelled without exception, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told a Senate hearing today.

"Our goal at DHS is to completely eliminate the 'catch and release' enforcement problem, and return every single illegal entrant, no exceptions," he said.

"It should be possible to achieve significant and measurable progress to this end in less than a year."

{Read Full Story Here}

Ever since President Bush nominated the stealthy Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, conservatives have been in an uproar! "WHY?" chimed the Right! "Why did the President need to nominate a stealth candidate to the Supreme Court when Republicans control the Senate?" In the wake of the John Roberts confirmation, the President proved that Republicans no longer need to settle for stealth candidates. They can nominate judges with proven conservative track records, display them for all the world to see in the confirmation hearings, steamroll over the Democratic opposition, and get them confirmed. So why all the stealth now? Harriet Miers was a complete nobody in the political world. Her positions are largely unknown. The last time a Republican President nominated a stealth candidate to the Supreme Court we got David Souter, a liberal activist. In other words, conservatives have been burned before.

So in light of this history, conservatives hit the airwaves on talk radio from coast to coast. What initially began as a gripe session about the Harriet Miers nomination quickly degenerated into a full blown Bush-bashing blowout! Conservative talk-show hosts and callers voiced every frustration they had with the Bush administration from education reform to the new Medicare drug entitlements. For five years conservatives bit their tongues, knowing that any criticism of Bush might jeopardize his reelection, and conservatives needed that reelection in 2004 because Bush promised to nominate strict constructionists (i.e. "conservatives") to the U.S. Supreme Court. Everything hinged on those nominations. So conservatives kept it zipped when Bush got squishy on core conservative issues. With the Roberts nomination, it seemed that their silence was beginning to pay off. They got the best Supreme Court nominee they could possibly ask for. Anticipation mounted as conservatives awaited Bush's second Supreme Court nomination. Who would it be? Would it be Priscilla Owens? Would it be Edith Jones? No. Bush stunned conservatives by nominating his personal lawyer Harriet Miers. For many, that was the last straw! Conservatives have waited years for this moment! It seemed that everything they've worked to coordinate since the 1994 takeover of Congress was thrown to chance in the form of a stealth nominee to the Supreme Court. It was like the nomination of David Souter all over again! Conservatives were fed up, and so they complained, and complained, and complained! Some conservative radio talk-show hosts tried to stay above the fray, others joined right in. For a whole week it was a conservative Bush Bash-O-Rama! Chief among all of the complaints was Bush's lack of boarder security in the war on terror. Yes, that age-old problem of illegal immigration surfaced again, and in this post 9-11 world, it has become a matter of national security. This one thing all conservative Bush critics had in common. "Why hasn't Bush sealed our porous boarder with Mexico!?!" It was the one common thread of complaint that tied all the conservative Bush bashing together.

For the first time in at least ten years, conservatives were flexing their muscles again. They began demanded that Republicans in the Whitehouse and the Congress start acting like Republicans again by appeasing their conservative base. Is it no wonder that on the same day the Bush administration decided to "relaunch" the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, it simultaneously sent Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to the Senate with an important message. "Our goal at DHS is to completely eliminate the 'catch and release' enforcement problem, and return every single illegal entrant, no exceptions."

The Whitehouse strategy worked. Conservative talk shows all across America quickly focused in on this historic 180 degree turn in national boarder policy. The Whitehouse was throwing conservatives a bone to gnaw on -- and what a mighty large bone it was! This has been a pet peeve of conservatives for years. It's been four years since 9-11, and the Bush administration has done virtually nothing on this issue. Now, when the administration is in danger of loosing its base, this suddenly becomes a central issue.

All I can say is THANK GOD! Finally, it looks like a major national security flaw, and enormous economic drain, is going to be fixed. It's about time! Granted, it does look like this decision was politically motivated, but that's okay, because it was the right decision. America will be stronger and safer because of it. We still need to watch and make sure the administration follows through with action, because actions speak louder than words. Yet, there is a lesson to be learned in all of this. If you're a conservative, it pays to gripe so long as Republicans are in power.

Exorcism Resurgence At The Vatican

Leave exorcism to the experts, warns Church


A far cry from sorcerers, satanists and other practitioners whom he dismisses as "charlatans," Italian exorcist Andrea Gemma fights the devil only with the strength of his prayers and advises Catholics: 'Don't do this at home".

A rotund, expansive Neapolitan, the 74-year-old bishop was the first lecturer to face the Catholic Church's latest crop of budding exorcists at a unique course run by clergy at Rome's Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University. The course began Thursday and will run for several weeks.

{Read Full Story Here}

{Read Another Good Article Here}

It seems there's been a resurgence of interest in dealing with the Devil at the Vatican. I say GOOD! You can't fight an enemy until you take him seriously, and it's about time members of our clergy started doing that again. I can think of a few people in the United States who could use a good exorcism. Perhaps we could start with the two liberal Senators from Massachusetts (Ted Kennedy and John Kerry). After that, I think we should turn our attention toward the Chairmen of the Democratic Party himself....

HOWARD DEAN!

All kidding aside; I really do think it's good that members of the clergy are finally starting to take the spiritual realm seriously again. Jesus did! And if it's good enough for Jesus, it ought to be good enough for the members of our clergy!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Protestants Crossing The Tiber


I'm going to make a bold and startling statement here. Some might even call it arrogant and presumptuous. (I can only hope.) So here it is, brace yourself...

THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION IS OVER --
And Rome Won!


Yes, I said it, and yes I mean it. The Protestant Reformation has come to an end. The signs of its implosion have been with us for nearly a generation now. All that remains is for the inevitable conclusion to manifest itself. Expect no grandiose proclamations. Expect no climatic finale. In the early 16th century, the Protestant Reformation began with a bang, and now it ends with a whimper. The process of full and complete implosion will probably take about a hundred years (maybe a little longer). The mass exodus of Protestants back into the Catholic Church will probably be a slow and steady flow, rather than a mad dash. I expect that will also take at least a century (maybe longer). The longest holdouts will most probably be the Pentecostals and Evangelicals (including Baptists), who will find themselves increasingly marginalized by their liberal opponents both within and outside their churches. In the end, (perhaps a century or two from now), they too will flee to Rome. As we approach the 500th year anniversary of the birth of Protestantism (October 31, 2017), we will discover the only thing Protestantism has left to celebrate is its own struggle for survival.

By now you must be asking if I'm really serious about this. By now you must be wondering if I've completely lost my sanity. Well, only history can answer that question, and I suppose if anyone is reading this two or three generations from now, the truth will be apparent one way or the other. Until then, the best thing I can do is try to explain myself.

The stories in the above links tell it all. In the 1970s the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA) took a hard turn to the Left and ushered in an era of Liberalism to American Protestantism. This was nothing new of course. The trend was already well rooted in European Protestantism, and American denominations were just following through. In the Episcopal Church, this began with the ordination of women to the priesthood and dramatic changes to the liturgical structure of the mass. It wasn't long before homosexual men were then welcomed into the priesthood. In recent memory, a practicing homosexual priest (who left his wife and kids) was ordained to the level of bishop -- receiving not only the approval of the ECUSA for his actions, but also a celebration for his "lifestyle choice." As a result of these actions, the ECUSA has essentially become the poster boy of Liberal Protestantism in America. Other mainstream American denominations have followed through with their own versions of Protestant Liberalism. Just to name a few -- the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), the United Methodist Church (UMC), and the United Church of Christ (UCC). As a result, over the last thirty years, America has seen a mass exodus from these mainstream denominations to more conservative Evangelical and Pentecostal churches, ranging from the Southern Baptist Convention to nondenominational affiliations. The membership rolls in these more conservative churches have swelled to record numbers, while the membership rolls in mainstream Liberal denominations continues to wane. Liberal Protestantism is dying a slow and staggering death, which is sure to drag on for several decades (perhaps a century), before somebody finally pronounces it "dead."

That's because what's killing Protestantism is a cancer that cannot be cured -- liberal relativism (often called simply "Liberalism"). It destroys every denomination it comes into contact with. Not right away of course! It takes years for the cancer to infiltrate, fester, and finally take over. All Christian churches have had to contend with this killer, and the Catholic Church is no exception. However, only one has ever been able to beat it, and it is none other than the Catholic Church. For over five centuries now, Protestants have relied on their one and only method of fighting the disease -- amputation. This is otherwise known as schism. In the past, when Protestant denominations have been overrun by liberal theologians, conservative and orthodox Protestants simply broke away from the diseased portion of the denomination, forming a newer conservative denomination. In other words, they "amputated" the diseased Liberal portion of their church, by breaking away, and created a new church body to call their own. Within a few generations through, these new church bodies would themselves become diseased with the same Liberal cancer, and the process of amputation (schism) would repeat itself. In recent times (within the last thirty years) the cancer of Liberalism reached a high point, and infected nearly every mainstream denomination at the same time. This caused a mass exodus from mainstream denominations, to more conservative (and less organized) Evangelical and Pentecostal denominations, as well as nondenominational affiliations. For now, most Protestants in these conservative churches are safe. But that is a temporary situation. Within a generation, they too will be fighting the same battles their fathers did in the last generation. Already there are rifts of liberal dissent gathering within the conservative Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), and more traditionally conservative denominations are sure to follow.

In truth, no Protestant denomination has ever successfully survived a liberal onslaught, and these have been going on for a lot longer than most of us realize. The first sign of liberal relativism within Christianity began in the late 1800s. Both Catholicism and and Protestantism were attacked simultaneously by the same liberal heresies. Catholicism soundly put them down in the First Vatican Council and subsequent papal proclamations. Catholicism would remain "safe" for the next hundred years, without significant schism or amputation.

Protestantism did not do as well. A massive splintering of Protestantism soon followed the Liberal infection of the late 1800s. What resulted was a handful of newer denominations and sects. Then in the 1960-70s it happened again, resulting in further splintering of more denominations and sects. In truth, conservative Protestants deal with Liberalism by running away from it. They amputate themselves from their liberal denominations, and go out to start new denominations. This process cannot repeat itself indefinitely, and some would argue that we're starting to see the end result. As conservative Protestants continue to divide and splinter, while valiantly attempting to defend their orthodoxy, they are starting to reach a point where they can splinter no further. The emergence of completely autonomous "nondenominational" churches is evidence of that. The role of "defense through amputation" has finally reached its inevitable end -- there's nothing left to amputate.

The splinter groups of the Episcopal Church have come to this conclusion themselves. In 1979 the Anglican Church in America (ACA) was formed as an amputation (schism) from the mainstream Episcopal Church (ECUSA). Almost thirty years later, the ACA has learned that it has no defense from future infections of the cancer of Liberalism other than further schism (amputation). The only problem is that their denomination is so small, they can't afford any further schisms. Necessity being the mother of invention, the ACA has been forced to examine why Catholicism seems to survive these liberal onslaughts by confronting them, and Protestantism doesn't seem to be able to successfully do that. The answer is the pope. In every case, Catholicism has met its Liberal challenge with a few strong popes who are unafraid to confront it head on. Within a generation they knock it down, forcing it to retreat until a more opportune time to reemerge a century or so later. Once again, the process repeats itself, and Catholicism not only survives, it thrives. The ACA is no different that many other conservative Episcopalians still within the ECUSA. They've come to realize that without the apostolic authority of the pope, they cannot hope to confront the onslaught of Liberalism successfully. The best they can hope for is more schism (amputation), and they're finally starting to reach the point where there is nothing left to cut off. That's why they're contemplating a reunification with the Catholic Church. Episcopalians (i.e. "Anglicans") were among the first Protestants to break away from Rome in the early 16th century. Now we're seeing them return. For decades, an increasing number of Protestants have been converting to Catholicism on an individual basis. Now, were starting to see it happen on a denominational basis. The Anglican reunification with Rome is no subtle statement that the Protestant Reformation has failed. What seemed like a pretty good idea at the time (16th century), has turned out to be a disaster for many, and before it's over, it will have become a disaster for all. In spite of the success of conservative denominations within Protestantism, in the end, Liberalism will prevail over them all. When that finally happens, Catholicism will prevail over Liberalism, just as it always does.

NOTE: Just four days after composing this article, the following was published on ZENIT: Is the Reformation Over? {Download Here} It looks like many others are starting to see the same trends I am. It's nice to have my opinions affirmed every once in a while.

Canada Bans Free Speech

Alberta pastor to face human rights panel -
{Read The Story Here}

Free speech is in jeopardy in Canada, and we can thank “political correctness.” Yes, it’s true. Canadians are no longer allowed to speak their mind anymore, and they certainly don’t have the right to put their thoughts down into writing. All because it’s “politically incorrect” (and therefore illegal) to criticize homosexuality in Canada. Read the article for yourself if you find this hard to believe. The age of freedom in North America is quickly coming to an end. Let us pray the same doesn’t happen in the United States.

Make no mistake about it. “Political Correctness” is just another term for tyranny and thought police. All hail the Canadian Gestapo! Sieg Heil!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Reality Check - Part 1

Pat Robertson says Disasters point to 2nd Coming
{Read Full Story Here}

Apocalyptic anxiety runs high in disasters' wake
{Read Full Story Here}


Earthquakes, mudslides, hurricanes, tsunamis and WAR! Is "the end" near? I know I'm going to hack off a lot of my Christian friends when I say this, but I'll go ahead and bite the bullet. I say NO.

Yes, I said it! Gasp! What kind of blasphemy is this!?! How could I, a Christian, honestly believe that these signs DON'T point to the second coming of Christ!?! Well, before I go on, let me just say this. I am a practicing Roman Catholic, and I do believe in the literal second coming of Christ. It's written into the Nicene Creed which I recite at mass every Sunday. I also study the Bible, which also tells us of Christ's second coming. But it is precisely because I study the Bible that I believe these natural disasters DO NOT point to Christ's second coming and the end of the world.

With all due respect for my brother Christian, Pat Roberson, I believe he is a victim of superficial Biblical interpretation, which is sadly all too common in Evangelical groups these days. The problem comes when Scripture is not carefully interpreted and placed into proper historical context. Too many people read the Bible as if each and every verse was written with a modern 21st century context in mind. In addition, another common problem is the lumping together of verses that have no contextual relation to each other whatsoever, and the simultaneous breaking apart of verses that should be contextually linked. In this particular case however, the problem arises from casually glossing over a particular passage that should be more carefully read. So what is it that Jesus actually said? This commonly misunderstood passage comes from the Gospel of Matthew, when Jesus' disciples asked him when the Jewish Temple would be destroyed, and when would be the sign of his second coming. The passage reads as follows...
Matthew 24: 6-8
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs.
First, Jesus tells us not to be alarmed by wars and rumors of wars, because "the end" is not signaled by these things. Second, he goes on by telling us that there will be wars, famines, and earthquakes, but these are only the beginning of things -- not necessarily the end. Some people, like Pat Robertson for example, point out that these things are increasing in frequency and intensity over the last few decades. They rationalize that this is a sign that "the end" is just around the corner. Pat Robertson is not alone in this. He is accompanied by dozens of television evangelists who broadcast the same message. This of course leads to millions of television viewers being led to believe the same thing. But pay attention to what Jesus actually said in Matthew 24:6-8: "you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed.... there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.... all this is but the beginning" -- not the end. What is Jesus saying here? He's saying that wars, famines and earthquakes (i.e. natural and man-made disasters) DO NOT necessarily signify his second coming. In other words; don't look to events on earth to tell you what is about to happen in heaven. Don't expect that either man or nature can forecast when Jesus is coming back. They can't forecast it, and they won't. Next, Jesus monologue goes on in Matthew 24 to vividly describe his answer to the apostle's first question about the destruction of the Jewish Temple. He uses elaborate apocalyptic language to signify the world shattering changes that were about to fall upon the Jewish Nation -- Israel. But in his answer about his second coming (i.e. the end of the world), Jesus is less specific. What does he say?
Matthew 24: 36-44
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man. Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left. Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
So concerning the timing of his second coming and "the end" of the world, Jesus has only the following to say: "of that day and hour no one knows... they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man... Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming... for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect." I think Jesus is being pretty clear on this. He's telling us to live every day as if he were coming tomorrow, because you'll never be able to predict the timing of it. No obvious signs shall precede it. No noticeable changes in the earth or mankind shall signal its arrival. In other words, Jesus said STOP GUESSING!!!! You won't know! You'll never know! So you might as well drop it! Be comforted with the knowledge that Jesus is coming back, and learn to take comfort in the fact that you'll never know when. I'll tell you what! I'll make a prediction based on Jesus own words. Here it comes. Brace yourselves!

Jesus Christ will come back when he's good and ready,
and not a moment sooner!
Furthermore, recent disasters probably DO NOT point to his immediate return.


Now why would I say that!?! How could I say such a thing, especially because of my religion and what the Bible says? It's precisely BECAUSE of what the Bible says that I make this bold statement. The reason why I don't think Jesus is coming back anytime soon is because EVERYBODY seems to be expecting him to! Television evangelists broadcast it to millions every day! Hundreds of millions of people think about it every day -- expecting it to happen soon! I'm saying it probably WON'T happen precisely because so many people are expecting it to happen, when Jesus himself said "the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect." Sorry, that's just the Biblical way of looking at it. Now I admit that I could be wrong. I admit that Jesus Christ could return tonight, and the world could end tonight. In some ways I hope I am wrong, because as a Christian, I look forward to the second coming of my Lord and Savior. However, I suspect that I'm right about this, and the world will continue to go on for quite a while. Perhaps fifty years, perhaps a hundred, perhaps a thousand or more; I don't know and that's the whole point -- nobody knows!

Biblically speaking, the catastrophic wars and natural disasters signify nothing other than the fact that we can expect them to happen. These things happen in cycles. The last time we experienced such catastrophic events was back during the turn of the last century (1890-1920). Weather experts assure us that hurricane seasons are decades long, and they are cyclic. They come and they go, and each generation thinks it's the worst it's ever been. Earthquakes happen in clusters. They result when molten magma, miles underneath the earth's surface, generates enough pressure to break loose the friction locks that hold continental plates stationary. Once one such lock is broken, the settling effect triggers an earthquake, which is followed by several other earthquakes nearby (aftershocks). What people often forget is that continental plates are connected. So once a seismic event happens on one side of the world, it often triggers another on the other side, but not always right away. Sometimes the reaction can be delayed by days, weeks, or even months. To the casual observer this may seem like completely unrelated events happening relatively simultaneously, but they are not. Consider the following hypothetical scenario.

An earthquake in North America during January, causes a volcano eruption in the Philippians in February, which in turn causes another earthquake in Japan later that month. Meanwhile the volcanic eruption from the volcano in the Philippians sent enough ash and sulfur into the atmosphere to block out the sun and cool the neighboring regions of the South Pacific more than usual. It wasn't noticed much by casual observers, but the cooler temperatures did manage to bring more rain into the region, where the ground had already been saturated by heavy rains back in October through December. The unusual amount of rainfall cause a massive mudslide killing tens of thousands of people. All of these conditions then cause an unusual amount of strain on the local governments, which are unable to handle the damages they caused. Some of these governments were unstable to begin with, and the unusual strain from natural disasters just made them more vulnerable to armed revolutionaries. As civil war followed in one of these areas, neighboring countries joined in to honor treaties previously made with the toppling government and protect their interests. The war then escalates. Meanwhile the earth is still settling from it's recent seismic activities resulting in more earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis. What we have here is a classic hypothetical situation of a series of disasters caused entirely by one single seismic event that just happens to occur cyclically about every hundred years or less. This sort of thing has been going on since the beginning of the world, and it will continue until the end. That's the message Jesus is giving us in Matthew 24, and we shouldn't take recent natural disasters to mean "the end" is at hand. Granted, Jesus may return at any time, but this has always been the case for the last 2,000 years. Natural and man-made disasters are not "signs" of the second coming. The Scriptures do speak of a certian "sign" that will preceed the Second Coming of Christ, but this sign is nothing new. It has been with us for the last 2,000 years. In my next article I'll elaborate on this.

Reality Check - Part 2

The Catholic Church’s teaching on the Second Coming of Christ is firmly rooted in Scripture, and not based on the wild speculations of television evangelists or the musings of popular “end-times” authors. The Church’s position is simple and reasonable. It fits the model of the Bible, and is faithful to the historic tradition of Christian teaching. It is embodied here in the following paragraphs from the Catechism of the Catholic Church....
673 Since the Ascension Christ's coming in glory has been imminent, even though "it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority." . This eschatological coming could be accomplished at any moment, even if both it and the final trial that will precede it are "delayed".

674 The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by "all Israel", for "a hardening has come upon part of Israel" in their "unbelief" toward Jesus. St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old." St. Paul echoes him: "For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?" The "full inclusion" of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of "the full number of the Gentiles", will enable the People of God to achieve "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ", in which "God may be all in all".

675 Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism.

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God's victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.
In review, the “sign” that precedes “the end” and the “Second Coming of Christ” is twofold. It does not necessarily involve natural disasters. Nor does it involve wars and rumors of wars. As I pointed out in the last post, “Reality Check - Part 1,” Jesus Christ warned us not be alarmed by these things. The twofold “sign” that precedes Christ’s second coming is the great apostasy of Christians, and the simultaneous conversion of Jews to Christianity.

This conversion of Jews must not be coerced, chided or forced in any way. It must be spontaneous, originating from within their own communities, and by their own doing. None of us know when or how this will happen. Some would rightfully say it’s going on today. Others would rightfully point out that it’s been going on consistently for the last 2,000 years. Indeed, there has been a steady trickle of Jews converting to the Christian faith since the time of his First Coming. It is also accurate to say that this trickle has increased in recent decades to larger numbers than ever seen before. At the same time however, we can also rightly say that this can be accounted for by the increasing number of people identifying themselves as “Jews” whether they practice their religion or not. In other words, the number of Jews converting to Christ has increased, but the overall statistical percentage is about the same. Whatever the case, we know that half of the final “sign” signaling Christ’s Second Coming is the conversion of Jews. We know that this has been going on for some time, but we don’t know what level of conversion would be significant enough to firmly say that this half of the sign has been fulfilled.

The great apostasy of Christians is the second half of the great “sign” that will precede the Second Coming of Christ. It is something that is with us now, and indeed has been with us for some time. Actually, this has ALWAYS been a problem within Christianity, but I believe it can safely be said that as the centuries pass by, the problem keeps getting worse. The last 2,000 years is a history replete with examples of large numbers of Christians who have fallen away from the faith. One need only search the annals of Church history to discover the many heretical sects that have arisen only to lead Christians away from the faith. But in the last three centuries, I would have to say that no previous movements have been as successful as the two I am about to mention. The first is Secularism and the second is Marxism. Both philosophies promised utopia through a kind of political messianism, but neither were able to deliver. The Enlightenment period of the 1700s gave us both the American and the French revolutions. The American revolution was based in a philosophy that saw the melding of Christian ideals with Deist aspirations. But the French Revolution was based on an entirely different mindset. In France the faith of Christianity was deposed, in favor of human reason being elevated to the highest place above all religious doctrine. The French Revolution was the beginning of modern Secularism which would eventually lead to the militant and intolerant view that all religion should be kept out of politics entirely. This led to the second philosophy known as Marxism, which is Socialism combined with a militantly atheistic ideology. Perhaps no system promises utopia more than Marxist Communism, and this “utopia” is promised as the crown of mankind’s achievement without the help (or even mention) of God. History has given us only one more clear example of what political messianism looks like -- Nazi Germany.

Though Hitler’s Nazi Party embraced the tenets of Marxist socialism, it melded them together in the most peculiar way to folklore Paganism. Nazism allowed for the worship of whatever god (or goddess) people would have, but it did so with the understanding that no god (or goddess) was above the State. The State was All Supreme in Nazism, and the State was embodied in the personality of Adolph Hitler -- a man hated by the allies but adored by most of his own people at that time. If ever there was a political version of the “messiah,” this was the man. The Third Reich provides us with a tiny glimpse of the mindset that will drive the final apostasy, and fulfill the second half of the last “sign” before Christ’s return.

There are elements of the final great apostasy clearly at work in the world today. However, these elements have been at work for some time -- at least 300 years now. Those Christians living in France during the time of the French Revolution must have thought the “sign” had been fulfilled, and the “end” was upon them. Those Christians living in Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution must have thought the same thing, as well as those living in China during their communist revolution. I would imagine that many Christians, from around the world, thought Nazism was the fulfillment. I would say that all of them were right -- partly. I think they correctly identified the spirit of Antichrist within the movements driving these hostile takeovers of governments. I think they correctly identified the nature of the apostasy that had fallen upon their countrymen. But as we all know, the end did not come.

So what are we looking for today in the way of fulfilling this final “sign” of Christ Second Coming? Well first, we’re looking for a conversion of the Jewish people to Christianity. This has been going on for some time already, but nobody knows how many Jewish conversions it will take before this prophecy is considered “fulfilled.” Second, we’re looking for the rise of secular messianism on a global scale. This has been going on for some time already in the form of militant secularism and godless communism. We’ve seen strange Neopagan aberrations of it in the form of Nazism. Any system were the State holds a position supposedly higher than God is a manifestation of this. All of these things have been going on for some time, and will continue to go on for decades (if not centuries) to come. Everywhere throughout the world where secular messianism has taken root, the Church suffers because of it.

Jesus only made one prophetic prediction about his Second Coming. He promised us that when he does return, it will be a surprise. Virtually nobody will be expecting him. Life will go on as usual all the way up to the day it happens, and everyone will be caught off guard. There will be no time for preparation. Whatever lifestyle and habits people are accustomed to, will be what he finds them doing with he returns. That’s why TODAY is the day of repentance. That’s why TODAY is the day of renewal. If we’re going to follow Christ at all, we must begin TODAY, because we won’t be given any warning when the “last day” and the “final judgment” comes upon us.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Telling Yourself The Truth

Have you ever dealt with depression, anxiety, panic attacks, etc.? You may want to try this book: 'Learning To Tell Yourself The Truth' by William Backus. I'm not selling it, and I'm not making any money for saying this. I just wanted to say it works. In my own life I've dealt with depression and anxiety. At one point I even had to take medication for it. However, after reading this book, and applying the method therein, I was able to take myself off the meds with the supervision of my therapist. My therapist was amazed at how well the technique worked for me and she decided to add it to her reading list for some of her other clients. That was three years ago. The book is written from a Christian perspective and the technique is thoroughly Biblical. You don't need to be Catholic. Any Christian can benefit from this. Please, if you have some issues you've been dealing with, consider reading a copy of this book.