Tag: Catholic Church

Here Are 10 Facts About the Catholic Church That Will Fascinate You

Here Are 10 Facts About the Catholic Church That Will Fascinate You

1.     The highest crime rate in the world is found in Vatican City. With a population of about 500 people and a little over one crime per day, the Vatican crime rate is more 100 per cent, per capita. Although the fact is startling it should be remembered that the Vatican is about one square mile in size, and has nearly 20 million new comers annualy. Majority of the crimes are pickpockets, purse snatching and other inconsiderable offences done by outsiders.

2.    The Catholic Church is made up of more than just the Roman Catholic Church. There are 22 Eastern Rites that are in full communion with Rome and in as much as  they go by different names, they are every bit as much a part of the Catholic Church.

3. The ONLY Christian church in existence for the first 1,000 years of Christian history was the Roman Catholic Church. All other Christian churches which exist today can trace their lineage back to the Roman Catholic Church. Most non-Catholic churches which exist today are less than a century or two old by comparison.

4.    Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press, was Catholic and the first book ever printed was the Catholic Bible.

5.    The Catholic Church is solely suitable for the composition of the Bible, which books are included, as well as the breakup of the chapters and verses. Protestants have taken away some books of the Bible because some of the verses were not in agreement with their theology. Martin Luther was a prime offender with respect to this, removing Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch. He also made an effort to take away James and Revelations, but this was not accepted by his followers and those two books were kept. Catholics are often accused of “inputting” the books, but despite this familiar belief, it is false. Older, pre-Protestant, Catholic translations of the Bible include them.

6.  How many saints are realized by the Catholic Church? There does not seem to be an official number, but it exceeds 10,000. Of course, any person who enters heaven is a saint, by definition, so it is certain the number of actual saints in existence is much greater than the number acknowledged by the Church.

7.    Any Catholic may execute an emergency baptism, such as if a person is in grave danger of death. In such a case, the originality of the baptism only depends upon the wishes of the person being baptized, that they desire the baptism. There are definite guidelines for such routines that Catholics should adhere to. Anyone wishing to be ready for such a case should refer to the catechism for a deeper comprehension of this allowance. Usually, such practices ought to be left to trained clergy.

8.    About 15 percent of all hospitals in the United States are Catholic hospitals. In some parts of the world, the Catholic Church provides the only healthcare, education and social services available to people.

9.   The Pope is protected by the Swiss Papal Guard. Wearing uniforms designed by Michelangelo and commonly armed with halberds, they are capable of using heavier weapons if needed. Each member is Catholic, male, and Swiss, and must complete military training in Switzerland. They must show good conduct and be at least five-foot-eight in height. Those who are selected are given a private audience with the pope along with their families. In outermost circumstances, they are considered to guard the Holy Father with their lives. The Swiss Papal Guard is the oldest active military unit in continual existence since 1506.

10.  The Catholic Church consumes more money than Apple supplys. Disbursement by the Catholic Church, largely on charity, exceeded $170 billion in 2012, according to The Economist magazine. In that same year, Apple took in $157 billion in turnover.

How Hollywood Actor Tom Cruise Came So Close To Being A Catholic Priest Before He Got ‘Kicked Out’ Of Seminary! 

How Hollywood Actor Tom Cruise Came So Close To Being A Catholic Priest Before He Got ‘Kicked Out’ Of Seminary! 

He could have been fighting real bad guys instead of pretending to fight them in movies!
Tom Cruise was a blank slate when he took Hollywood by storm in 1981 — but his success came despite an abusive father, troubled teen years and all-consuming infatuation with the Catholic Church that ended when he was apparently asked to leave for stealing booze.

Cruise is a three-time Academy Award nominee and perhaps the best-known member of the controversial Church of Scientology — but before he was in showbiz, he was Tommy Mapother, an introverted, lonely brown-haired boy who was a devout Catholic.

Cruise was only 14 in 1976 when his mother Mary packed him and his three sisters into a car and moved them to Louisville from Ottawa, Canada, after she broke up with his abusive, electrican father, Tommy Sr., who died in 1984.

Cruise was 'kicked out' of seminary following an incident where he and an unruly band of boys pilfered the priests' liquor cabinet.

Cruise was ‘kicked out’ of seminary following an incident where he and an unruly band of boys pilfered the priests’ liquor cabinet. (MySpace)

Lost and alone, Cruise gravitated toward a friendly priest who was recruiting students to attend the St. Francis Seminary School in Cincinnati.

Tom was instantly hooked,” said Father Ric Schneider, who gave the speech that brought Cruise to seminary school. “I think he wanted a good education. With his parents going through a divorce, it was tough on him, that’s maybe one of the reasons he came here.”

He as a typical teenager, trying to find his way in life. We would give them an IQ test, and he just about made the cut. The cutoff is 110, and he scored exactly 110,” said Schneider, who frequently gave the young teen a ride back to Louisville from Cincinnati for holidays.

Cruise’s closest buddy from the seminary, Shane Dempler, said he was very sincere about becoming a priest.

He had a very strong Catholic faith,” Dempler said. “We went to Mass, spent time in the chapel and enjoyed hearing stories from the priests. We thought the priests had a great lifestyle and we were really interested in the priesthood.

“In truth,” Dempler added, “we were too young to make that decision.”

Cruise didn’t stand out as an excellent pupil — in fact, teachers described him as mediocre in studies and sometimes uncommunicative, especially when it came to his family and background.

He never elaborated, but I think he was there to run away from his dad,” said classmate and soccer teammate John Kowalski. “He had a good personality, but he was closed about his family, even back then.”

The strict Franciscan seminary — where students had to learn Latin, Greek and German — had a drama club that Cruise joined for the two years he was there.

In sport and acting, he came out of his shell. They were competitions, you see, and if it were competitive, he’d be on it. Otherwise he’d just survey the scene,” said Dempler.

“We had a great drama teacher in Father Aubert (Grieser). He taught us how to speak in public. We used to get into trouble, as Aubert would tell us not to spit when we were speaking and we’d spit on purpose. It’d cost us 50 cents.”

Grieser forced Cruise to memorize entire plays and voice all the characters. The school’s drama department traveled to competitions and Cruise and Dempler would compete head-to-head against other young thespians. 

Priests at the seminary have said Cruise chose to leave the school when his family relocated again, this time to New Jersey. But Dempler remembers it differently.

He and Cruise weren’t troublemakers, but they liked to sneak out and smoke cigarettes.

“Standard stuff for a kid on a Saturday night,” Dempler said.

But one night the duo got the bright idea of stealing some liquor from their Franciscan fathers, who were planning a celebration, Dempler said.

Dempler sneaked into the room where the liquor was stashed and threw bottle after bottle out the window to Cruise, waiting below.

“(I) tossed about six, most broke, but we managed to get a couple and hide them in the nearby woods,” said Dempler. “The priests didn’t even realize until some of the other boys found out about our plan and snuck into the woods and got drunk. They were caught staggering down the road to the seminary and forced to confess.

“The school wrote a letter to our parents saying they liked us both, but would prefer if we didn’t return. So we weren’t kicked out, just preferred not to go,” said Dempler.

Cruise could not be reached for comment about the incident.

The future star left Louisville — and within five years had his breakout role as a crazed military kid in “Taps.”

Next up was “Risky Business” in 1983, and “Top Gun,” and from there Cruise shot straight to the Hollywood A-list, where he’s remained for 30 years.

One of his former teachers still can’t believe it.

“He was very unremarkable,” said the teacher, Salvio Russo. “You would never have thought he’d make it, although he did have a really neat smile.”

-Culled From New York Daily News.

Prophet Ezekiel And Jesus Answer On What You Can Do To Help The Church In This Trying Times

Prophet Ezekiel And Jesus Answer On What You Can Do To Help The Church In This Trying Times

Fr. Jeff Kirby, Aleteia’s writter, shares with Catholics who have gone into despair, resulting from the scandals rocking the church in recent times, what they can do to help the church. 


“Don’t worry, Father, no bad priests are going to take me from my Jesus. But I still want to do something …”

Recently, an older woman approached me after a Mass where I preached about the sexual abuse scandals and cover-ups. She grabbed my hand, starred me in the eyes, and said, “Don’t worry, Father, no bad priests are going to take me from my Jesus.” “Amen,” I thought. But she wasn’t done. After her declaration, she seemed more perplexed. Still holding my hand, she asked me, “What can I do now?”


It’s a simple question, but one that has echoed throughout salvation history. A look into the narrative of this question can help us to find a solid answer for our own times. In this process, we might be surprised to find an answer already right in front of us.


After the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon — known to be the dwelling place of God on earth – the Chosen People were taken into captivity. No one could have imagined such a reality. The Temple was razed, the Holy City of Jerusalem ravaged, and the promises of God veiled in shadows. How could the very Temple of God be overtaken? How could the City of David be demolished?


Not sure what to do, in desperation, the Israelites turned to the Prophet Ezekiel and pleaded with him for guidance: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?” (Ezekiel 33:10).


Sound familiar?

In our own age, we suffer a similar devastation. How can the very Church of Jesus Christ be plagued by sexual scandals? How can shepherds of God’s people be so negligent? How can these things happen in the Church, which is to be the sacrament – the presence — of God on earth?


As a help to us, what was Ezekiel’s response to God’s people? The Lord calls his people to spiritual conversion, transparency, and moral integrity. As he describes God’s solution, the imagery of a shepherd holds center stage.


In describing a shepherd, certain attributes stand out in the visions of Ezekiel (and throughout salvation history). Attempting to paraphrase and encapsulate these elements, they could be listed as: poverty in spirit, sorrow over evil, meekness, a hunger for holiness, mercy, purity of heart, seeking of peace, and a willingness to suffer for righteousness.


These qualities can be described as archetypal. They are each, and in different ways, upheld and sung throughout the biblical narrative.


The synopsis was given to the human family in its most precise form by the Lord Jesus in the “Beatitudes” of his Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7). In the eight counsels of the Beatitudes, offered by Jesus Christ, believers can find the sure path to happiness, holiness and, yes, true Church reform.


In the midst of the scandals and cover-ups, disappointments and outrage of our age, if we are willing to trust – in spite of the darkness — in the living God of our forefathers, and hold fast to the way of holiness that he teaches and modeled for us, then evil will be exposed and goodness will triumph.


This is why the first Beatitude speaks of a poverty of spirit. It is only in approaching God with a true acknowledgement of our profound need for him that we can authentically labor (and suffer) for righteousness. It is this poverty of spirit that leads us to a sorrow over evil (the second Beatitude) and to an appreciation of our true place in his work (the third Beatitude).


These three movements cause a pining within our souls and we begin to hunger and thirst for holiness (the fourth Beatitude). This craving is oftentimes called the intermission, not only because it references food, but because it marks a shift in the focus of the Beatitudes.


After a true thirst for righteousness is born within us, we can now be merciful to our neighbor, pure of heart, and a peacemaker (the fifth, sixth, and seventh Beatitudes).


This fluidity of the Beatitudes displays their inner logic and shows them to be a summary, an expose, of a way of life. They culminate in the eighth Beatitude, which is a willingness to suffer persecution. It is no surprise that only the first and eighth Beatitude specifically address God’s kingdom. The first Beatitude is the doorway, while the eighth is the commission to go and share the dynamic life we have received.


And this beatitudinal way of life, and its summons, stands for all believers. It was the veiled answer to Ezekiel. It’s the answer to the older woman at my parish. It’s my answer.


The Beatitudes are the answer offered to all those who will never allow bad priests to take us away from our Jesus and who desperately want to see the Church credible, consistent, and convincing in its worship of God, the proclamation of the Gospel, and its service to young people and the poor.


Pray For All Priests! 


Father Jeff Kirby is the Pastor of Our Lady of Grace Parish in Indian Land, South Carolina. He holds a doctorate in moral theology and is the author of the new book, “Kingdom of Happiness: Living the Beatitudes in Everyday Life.”

What Are The Holy Days of Obligation In The Catholic Church?

What Are The Holy Days of Obligation In The Catholic Church?

On holy days of obligation, Catholics are obliged to participate in Mass. Every Sunday is a holy day of obligation, as are six other days throughout the year. In the United States, these holy days of obligation are

  • January 1: The Feast of Mary, the Mother of God

  • 40 days after Easter Sunday: Ascension Thursday

  • August 15: Assumption of Mary into heaven

  • November 1: All Saints’ Day

  • December 8: The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

  • December 25: Christmas, the Nativity of Our Lord

Holy days are like Sundays in that Catholics must attend Mass, and if possible, refrain from unnecessary servile work. Some Catholic countries, such as Italy, Spain, and Ireland, give legal holiday status to some of these holy days, so people can attend Mass and be with family instead of at work.

In the United States, Christmas Day (December 25) and the Immaculate Conception (December 8) are always days of obligation. Christmas and Easter (which always falls on Sunday) are the highest-ranking holy days, and the Immaculate Conception is the feast for the United States. However, if any of the other holy days falls on a Saturday or Monday, they aren’t considered holy days of obligation, because they’re back-to-back with Sunday. The concern is that it would be burdensome to many Catholics to have to go to church two days in a row.

To make things even more confusing, some parts of the United States have moved holy days, such as the Ascension from Thursday to the closest Sunday. If in doubt, it’s best to call the local Catholic parish or just go to Mass anyway. Attending Mass is never a waste of time, even if it ends up not being a holy day of obligation.

Europe has four more holy days than the United States observes: January 6 (Epiphany), March 19 (St. Joseph), Corpus Christi (Thursday after Trinity Sunday, which is the Sunday after Pentecost, which is 50 days after Easter), and the Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul (June 29).

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