Category: Church

Why I Am Never Leaving The Catholic Church, And Neither Should You

Why I Am Never Leaving The Catholic Church, And Neither Should You

 

I am Catholic because Catholicism is true.

It is not a little true.

It is not some truth mixed with error; if I wanted that, I definitely wouldn’t be here. I am Catholic because the Catholic Church is the only place you will find the fullness of Truth. It is for Truth that I became a Catholic, and it is for Truth that I will die a Catholic.

At the start of my conversion, I did what, as far as I was concerned, was the only logical thing to do for someone who thought that God might be saying to him: “Become a Catholic”. I made a list of everything that I thought was Not True about the Church. I listed every teaching I disagreed with. And then I set to work. I began to listen to the real arguments for those teachings, and the real arguments against them. I weighed everything I was unsure of in the balance.

And what I found was that one by one, I crossed items off the list.

I was not about to become Catholic because of some feeling. I was not about to become Catholic because I was escaping something. I would become Catholic only if I was convinced that it was true in all that it taught. That was the only thing that mattered, for me: Is this true?

I almost got there that way. There came a point when I had solved most, but not all, of my difficulties with what the Church taught. I was still not convinced about contraception. I was still not convinced about Mary. I was still not convinced about the rejection of sola scriptura.

But one thing I had solved was the authority of the Church to teach these things. I knew that the Church was protected by the Holy Spirit from ever teaching error. And so I said to myself: Well, if the Catholic Church can not teach any doctrine that is false, then any remaining problems that I have are my own error, and not the Church’s.

That was a key moment for me: the realisation that I am not the arbiter of Truth. The Church is, guided by the Holy Spirit. I am not the Church’s teacher; the Church is my teacher.

That is why I am Catholic, and will always be Catholic. If I go anywhere else I will be left to my own wits. And I can’t make it by my own wits. If there is anything I have learned in 46 years, it is that I can’t make it by my own wits.

C.S. Lewis puts it like this in Mere Christianity:

And above all, you must be asking which door is the true one; not which pleases you best by its paint and panelling. In plain language, the question should never be: “Do I like that kind of service?” but “Are these doctrines true: Is there holiness here? Does my conscience move me towards this?”

Peter Kreeft, commenting on Lewis, has this to say:

Now, that sounds very simple. But it’s the essential question to ask in making any honest choice. There’s only one reason to honestly believe anything: because it’s true. If you think differently than that, let’s get that settled before we do anything else.

Their reasons are my reasons but what do other say?

People stop being Catholic for all kinds of reasons. Some people leave the Church because a priest said something means to them, or treated them in a shabby and unwelcoming way.
Some people even leave the Church because the art isn’t good anymore.

I’m sorry, but that’s just nonsense to me. You know what? I wish no priest ever said a mean thing, ever. I wish every Catholic artist were Michelangelo and every Catholic parish looked like the Cathedral of Chartres. But what do you expect to find when you leave the Church? Is there some religion out there where the clergy are all saints and none of the buildings are ugly? Please. If you’re leaving the Church because of that, you’ll find it’s all the same on the outside.

But what you will find different, outside the Church, is that there is a whole lot of error and a lot less truth. That’s the one thing you are guaranteed to find different outside the Church. Leave if you wish, but I’m not leaving with you.

When I became Catholic, I walked on air for a year.

And then God took that away from me.

The years since I have become Catholic have been among the worst of my life. I have lost four different jobs. I have been suffering from a depression I can not see the end of as far as I look. I go to Mass, I go to Adoration, and everything is dry bones.

I wish I could say otherwise, but I must tell the truth about this. The Catholic Church does not promise that everything will be easy. It promises, instead, a Cross. Fr. George Schommer, who preached the closing homily for my RCIA class the year I became Catholic, said it, “You will be tested.”

And yet, I have never once been tempted to go and leave. I have never once said, “You know what, I was happier when I was a Presbyterian, let me go back there.” As though I was happy then because I was a Presbyterian, or as though the Christian life is about our happiness or our feelings.

No. It is about Truth. It is about only Truth, for Christ is Truth, and in Him is our salvation.

This is important. If everything were about our feelings, then none of us would stay. Fr. Grumpy says something means in confession, or the Cathedral Parish of Silly Art grates our aesthetic sensibility, and we’re off—where? To a lie? To our own wits?

No. Here I am, and with God’s grace here I stay, no matter whether the cross will be eased or pushed down heavier on my shoulder. I gave up everything I ever knew to follow Truth, and Truth alone, and I’m not turning my back on it. Not ever.

7 Great Reasons The Virgin Mary Wants You To Go To Confession Tomorrow

7 Great Reasons The Virgin Mary Wants You To Go To Confession Tomorrow

Confession is a gift that keeps on giving. Go early, go often and bring the kids.

At the Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College, we believe it is time for Catholics to imaginatively and vigorously promote confession.

But don’t take our word for it.

“The renewal of the Church in America depends on the renewal of the practice of penance,” Pope Benedict told us at Nationals Stadium in Washington.

Pope John Paul II spent his last years on earth pleading with Catholics to return to confession, including in an urgent motu proprio document about confession and in his encyclical on the Eucharist.

He called the crisis in the Church the crisis of confession and wrote to priests:
“I feel a pressing need to urge you, as I did last year, to rediscover for yourselves and help others to rediscover the beauty of the sacrament of reconciliation.”
Why all of this angst over confession? Because when we skip confession, we lose the sense of sin. The loss of the sense of sin is at the root of so many evils in our time, from child abuse to financial dishonesty, from abortion to atheism.

So, how to promote confession? Here are some talking points. Seven reasons to return to confession, both natural and supernatural.

1. Sin aggravates you.

A therapist tells the story about a patient who had been in a terrible cycle of depression and self-disgust ever since high school. Nothing seemed to help. One day, the therapist met the patient in front of a Catholic church. They ducked inside when it began raining, and witnessed people going to confession.
“Should I go too?” asked the patient, who had received the sacrament as a child. “No!” said the counselor. The patient went anyway, and emerged from the confessional with her first smile in years, and kept improving in the weeks to come.

The therapist studied more about confession, eventually became Catholic and now counsels regular confession for all her Catholic patients.
Sin leads to depression because it isn’t just an arbitrary violation of rules: It’s a violation of the purpose built into our being by God. Confession lifts the guilt and anxiety caused by sin and heals you.

2. Sin makes you aggravating.

In the movie 3:10 to Yuma, the villain Ben Wade says, “I don’t mess around with doing anything good, Dan. Do one good deed for somebody—I imagine it’s habit forming.” He is right. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” As the Catechism puts it: “Sin creates a proclivity to sin.” People don’t just lie; they become liars. We don’t just steal; we become thieves.

Making a clean break from sin redefines you, allows you to start new habits of virtue.
“God is determined to deliver his children from slavery to lead them to freedom,” said Pope Benedict XVI. “And the worst and most profound slavery is that of sin.”

3. We need to say it.

If you break a favorite item belonging to a friend, you would never be satisfied just feeling regret. You would feel compelled to explain what you did, express your sorrow, and do whatever is necessary set things right.
It is the same when we break something in our relationship with God. We need to say we’re sorry, and try to fix it.

Pope Benedict XVI points out that we should feel the need to confess even if we aren’t guilty of serious sin.
“We clean our homes, our rooms, at least once a week, even if the dirt is always the same; in order to live in cleanliness, in order to start again,” he said. “Something similar can be said about the soul.”

4. Confessing helps you know yourself.

We get ourselves all wrong. Our self-opinion is like a series of funhouse mirrors. Sometimes we see a strong and wonderful awe-inspiring version of ourselves. Sometimes we see a grotesque and twisted hateful version of ourselves.
Confession is a gift that keeps on giving. Go early, go often and bring the kids.

Confession forces us to look at our lives objectively, separate the real sins from the bad feelings and see ourselves as we really are.

As Pope Benedict XVI put it: “Confession helps us to make our consciences more alert, more open and hence, it also helps us to mature spiritually and as human persons.”

5. Confession helps children.

Children need to go to confession, too. Some writers have stressed the negative aspects of childhood confession—being lined up in their Catholic schools and “forced to think of things to feel guilty about.”

It needn’t be like that.

Catholic Digest editor Danielle Bean once explained about how her brothers and sisters would tear up their confession lists after confession and drop them down the gutter by the church. “What a liberation!” she wrote “Returning my sins to the dark underworld from whence they had come felt wholly appropriate. ‘Hit my sister six times’ and ‘talked back to my mother four times’ were no longer my burden to bear.”

Confession can give children a place to unburden themselves without fear, and a place to get kindly adult advice when they are worried about speaking to their parents. A good examination of conscience (like this one) can guide children toward appropriate things to confess. Many families make confession an outing, followed up with ice cream.

6. Confessing mortal sin is required.

As the Catechism puts it, mortal sin, unconfessed “causes exclusion from Christ’s Kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices forever, with no turning back.”
Over and over again in the 21st century, the Church has reminded us that Catholics guilty of committing a mortal sin can’t go to communion without confession.

“One commits a mortal sin when there are simultaneously present: grave matter, full knowledge and deliberate consent,” says the Catechism.

The U.S. bishops reminded Catholics about common sins that constitute grave matter in the 2006 document “Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper.” Those sins include: missing Mass on a Sunday or holy day of obligation, abortion and euthanasia, any extramarital sexual activity, theft, pornography, slander, hatred and envy.

7. Confession is a personal encounter with Christ.

In confession, it’s Christ who heals and forgives us, through the ministry of the priest. We have a personal encounter with Christ in the confessional. Just like the shepherds and Magi at the crèche, we find awe and humility. And just like the saints at the crucifixion, we find gratitude, repentance and peace.
There is no greater accomplishment in life than helping another person return to confession.

We should be willing to talk about confession like we talk about every other significant event in our lives. The offhand comment, “I won’t be able to make it until later, because I need to get to confession,” can be more convicting than a theological discourse. And since confession is a significant event in our lives, it’s an appropriate answer to the question “What are you doing this weekend?” Many of us also have funny or interesting confession stories—tell them.

Help make confession normal again. Let as many people as possible discover the beauty of this freeing sacrament.

Source: catholicsay

Bleeding Host In Poland Confirmed To Be The True Body And Blood Of Christ

Bleeding Host In Poland Confirmed To Be The True Body And Blood Of Christ

In Poland, a consecrated host fell on the floor and picked up and placed in a container with water, according to the report by Bishop Zbigniew Kiernikowski of Legnica on Sunday. The falling of the host and its preservation occurred on the Christmas day of 2013 after the host was conserved in a container with water by the Parish Priest, it gradually began to turn to change color, possessing red-bloody stains.

“In February 2014, a tiny red fragment of the Host was separated and put on a corporal. The Commission ordered to take samples in order to conduct the thorough tests by the relevant research institutes,” said Bishop Kiernikowski
The bleeding host had for sometimes now been attributed to having “the hallmarks of a Eucharistic miracle”

The final medical statement by the Department of Forensic Medicine found that “in the histopathological image, the fragments (of the Host) were found containing the fragmented parts of the cross striated muscle. It is most similar to the heart muscle. Tests also determined the tissue to be of human origin, and found that it bore signs of distress.”
Bleeding Host

Bishop Kiernikowski said he believes that the Bleeding host has “a Eucharistic miracle”, he told reporters that he took this case to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. And the Vatican in April approved the findings and reports of the case and recommended the parish priest, Fr. Andrzej Ziombrze “to prepare a suitable place” for the Host so that the faithful could venerate it.

“I hope that this will serve to deepen the cult of the Eucharist and will have a deep impact on the lives of people facing the Host,” Bishop Kiernikowski said.

 

“Today Was Very Emotional For Me, I felt Like Crying”

“Today Was Very Emotional For Me, I felt Like Crying”

In a conversation with journalists on board the flight from Lesbos to Rome, Francis said: “The 12 Syrian Muslims we’re bringing back to Rome all have their papers in order.” In Europe “ghettos” are back but “we need to integrate. Still, I understand those who have certain fears”. And he added: “I would invite arms traffickers to spend a day in that refugee camp. I think it would do them good”. About his brief exchange with Sanders this morning, he said: “If someone thinks greeting someone means getting mixed up in politics, I suggest they see a psychiatrist”

 

“First of all, I want to thank you for the work you did today. This was a very emotional day for me, very emotional indeed…” Pope Francis was visibly moved before the interview on board the flight from Lesbos to Rome. “There is no political speculation because I am not fully informed about the agreements between Greece and Turkey, I have read about them in the newspapers. My visit was motivated by humanitarian purposes.” R egarding the three Syrian Muslim refugee families, Francis said: “A collaborator came up with the idea about a week ago, and I immediately accepted because I could see it was the Spirit speaking. All documents are in order: the Vatican City State as well as the Italian and Greek States have given their goa head. The agreement was reached by the Vatican in collaboration with the Community of Sant’Egidio. They will be the Vatican’s guests and will join the other two families that are already being hosted in Vatican parishes.”

“I didn’t choose between Christians and Muslims, these three families had their papers in order and it was possible to do. There were two Christian families whose papers were not in order… There are no privileges here, everyone is a child of God. Regarding integration, you used a word, which in today’s post-war culture seems to have been forgotten: ghettos exist today! And some of the terrorists who carried out attacks are children and grandchildren of people who were born in the country in question, in Europe. What happened? There was no integration policy and I believe this is fundamental. If you look in the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the family, there is a bit about the integration of families with difficulties. Europe needs to recover this ability to integrate, so many nomads have arrived here and have enriched its culture. Integration is necessary.”

There is talk of controls and reinforcements at Europe’s borders. Is this the end of Schengen and the European dream?

“I don’t know, but I can understand those who have certain fears. I understand this. We need to be very responsible in welcoming these people and one of the aspects of this is how we integrate them. I have always said that putting up walls is not a solution, last century we saw one fall… It resolves nothing. What we need to do is build bridges, but bridges need to be built in an intelligent way, through dialogue and integration. I understand people have some fears but closing the borders resolves nothing because in the long run, this closure harms Europe’s people and Europe needs to urgently implement policies of hospitality, integration, growth, employment and economic reform. All of these areas are “bridges” that will prevent us from building walls.”

The Pope then took a wad of drawings given to him by children at the refugee centre and said: “After what I saw, what you saw, in that refugee camp, I felt like crying. I brought some drawings with me to show you. What do children want? Peace. It’s true they follow educational courses in the camp but what have these children seen… Here is a drawing of a little boy drowning. They have this image in their hearts, today was really enough to move one to tears. One child drew a weeping sun. If the sun is able to cry then a tear or two would probably do us good.”

Why don’t you differentiate between those who flee war and those who flee hunger? Can Europe take in all the world’s misery?

“Today in my speech I said that some flee war and others hunger. Both are consequences of exploitation. Exploitation of the land: a head of government in Africa told me that the first decision his government took regarded reforestation, because the land was ruined because of forest exploitation. Good initiatives need to be taken both for those who flee war and those fleeing hunger. I would invite arms traffickers – in Syria for example, those who give arms to different groups – to speand a day in that refugee camp. I think it would do them good.”

This morning, you said this was a sad and moving visit. But something has changed because there are now 12 people on board, a small gesture in the face of others who turn the other way…

“I’m going to plagiarise here and use a phrase that is not mine. Mother Teresa of Calcutta was once asked: why all this effort and work just to accompany people to their graves? To which she responded: it is a drop of water in the sea but after this drop, the sea will no longer be the same. It is a small gesture but all of us men and women need to make small gestures to lend a hand to those in need.”

We came to a country of immigration where there is also an economic policy of austerity in force: Do you have an austerity-oriented economic approach?

“The word austerity has several different meanings: in economic terms it means a chapter of a programme, in political terms it means something else and in spiritual terms something else still. When I talk about austerity I mean it in relation to waste. I heard the FAO say that all the food that is wasted could put an end to world hunger. How must waste to we create in our homes unintentionally! This is the culture of throwing away and of wastefulness. I speak of austerity in a Christian sense.”

This morning, you met the Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Did you wish to get involved in US politics?

“This morning, as I was leaving, I saw senator Sanders who had come for the “Centesimus Annus” conference. He knew I would be going out at that time and was kind enough to come and greet me, along with his wife and another couple who were staying at St. Martha’s House, like all the other conference’s participants. I greeted him and shook his hand, nothing more. This is being polite, not meddling in politics. If someone thinks greeting someone means getting mixed up in politics, I suggest they see a psychiatrist”.

I would like to ask a question about the “Amoris Laetitia” exhortation: as you are well aware, one of the points has been hotly debated: some claim that nothing has changed with regard to sacraments for remarried divorcees, while others say a great deal has changed and that further leeway has been granted. Are there new concrete possibilities or not?

“I can say there are. But it would be too short an answer. I urge you to read the presentation Cardinal Schönborn gave on the document. He is a great theologian and has worked in the Congregation for the doctrine of the Faith.”

Why did you include the reference to access to the sacraments in a footnote and not in the main body of the text?

“Listen, speaking about the Council, one of the recent Popes said there were two Councils, Vatican II, in St. Peter’s and the one described in the media. When I convened my first Synod, the media’s main concern was whether remarried divorcees would be able to participate in communion. Since I am not a saint, I was a bit irritated and saddened by this. Because those media outlets do not realise that that is not the key problem. The family is facing a crisis, young people no longer want to get married, the declining birth rates in Europe are enough to make one’s heart bleed, there is unemployment, children grow up alone… These are the big problems we face. I don’t recall that footnote but if it’s in a footnote that’s because it is a quote from the “Evangelii Gaudium” .

 

Source: VaticanInsider

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