This is who we are: The Catholic Church 

28 01 2017

*The  Catholic Church*
Before 1517, every Christian was Catholic.
As such, today we know that:
If you are Lutheran then your Church was founded by Fr Martin Luther in Germany in 1517.
If you are Menonite, your Church was founded by Grebel, Mantz and Blaurock, in 1525.
If you are Anglican, then your Church was founded by King Henry XIII in 1534.
If you are a Presbyterian, then your Church was founded by John Knox in 1560.
If you are a Congregationalist, then your Church was founded by Robert Brown, in Holland in 1583.
If you are Baptist, then your Church was founded by John Smith in Amsterdam, in 1606.
If you are a Methodist, then your Church was founded by John Murray in New Jersey, in 1770.
If you are a Mormon or Latter Day Saint, then your church was founded by Joseph Smith in New York, in 1829.
If you are a Seven Day Adventist, your Church was founded by William Miller in 1831.
If you are Salvation Army, then know that your Church was founded by William Booth in 1865.
If you are Jehovah Witness, then know that your Church was founded by Charles Russell in 1872.
Here at home:
If you are Redeemed Christian Church of God, then you know that you were founded in 1952 by Josiah Akindayomi.
If you are a member of Deeper Life Bible Church, then you were founded by Pastor William Kumuyi in Lagos in 1973.
If you are Mountain of Fire, then you were founded by Dr. Daniel Olukoya in 1989. 
We can go on and on and on. 
I have listed  these not to denigrate anyone but just to set the records straight. 

The Catholic Church has remained where it has been since Christ instituted the Eucharist, called the Last Supper.

We continue to do over and over what He commanded when He uttered those holy words over the bread and cup, take and eat, take and drink and ordered them to do this in His Memory

until He comes again (Mt. 26:26). 
So, we were founded by Jesus Christ, beginning with that

gathering at Pentecost (Acts 2:1) over two

thousand years ago led by 266 successors of the Chair of St. Peter. 

That is who we are and what we represent.





Lady Gaga in Church

17 05 2016

Lady Gaga in Church

Church gets Unexpected media boost from Lady Gaga
In between posting pictures of herself attending red-carpet events, singing at the Oscars, and sitting on top of a naked man wearing nothing but her underwear, in recent weeks the American songwriter, singer and actress has also posted two pictures of herself attending a Catholic Mass.

The first came on April 24, when she posted a picture of herself entering Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral with the following header: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

As Gaga wrote, this is a quote from John 13:34.

Following the Gospel passage, she wrote: “Even the highest powers don’t have it all figured out right away. Gotta leave yourself room to discover something new. Even at the last minute. Don’t forget to love.”
On Sunday, she shared another image, this time with Father John P. Duffel, of New York’s Blessed Sacrament Church. She thanked him for his “beautiful homily, as always, and for the lunch in my pop’s restaurant.”

“I was so moved today when you said: ‘The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect but the food that God gives us,’” she added.

These posts generated all kinds of reactions from Catholics with their own social media presence.

lady gaga

Jesuit Father James Martin, for instance, shared the second picture in his Twitter, making no comments about it other than a second tweet saying “Yesterday my friend Fr. John Duffell met a graduate of the Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York” with a link to Gaga’s Instagram post.

But there was also some reaction from Catholic bloggers, which caught the singer’s attention.

One such case was Becky Roach from Catholic-Link, who had a post on what are Catholics to do when celebrities such as Lady Gaga and a former Miss America, Rima Fakih, known to be the first Muslim to have the title and who recently converted to Christianity, take to the internet to share their faith.

The post basically proposed “five things to remember about celebrities,” such as the fact that they “aren’t God because they’re famous,” “they’re humans like us. They’re not perfect,” celebrities’ words about their faith can be “conversation starters” and “we need to pray for them.”

The post began by asking what are Catholics to do in these situations: “Many celebrities are sharing Bible verses, quoting priests, and singing Christian music,” it said, “while at the same time still leading a typical Hollywood lifestyle void of Christian values such as modesty and purity.”

Gaga took to Instagram to respond to Roach. The Grammy winner spoke about Mary Magdalene, “someone society shames as if she and her body are a man’s trash can” who “washed the feet of Christ and was protected and loved by him.”

“We are not just ‘celebrities,’ we are humans and sinners, children, and our lives are not void of values because we struggle. We are as equally forgiven as our neighbor. God is never a trend, no matter who the believer,” Gaga wrote.

Catholic Link replied to Gaga’s Instagram post, saying it was “one of the most beautiful responses” they have ever read from a celebrity.

These aren’t the first references Gaga has made to her Catholic upbringing in New York, where she attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart, a private, all-girls Catholic school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

At least twice she’s taken pictures of a bible, sharing passages from the Psalms.

Source CRUX





Obama Fights Little Nuns: War on Religion by JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND

4 01 2014

nun1jpg-065cf5f65d3ed5ae_largeWASHINGTON —The U.S. Department of Justice registered its opposition to a temporary injunction for the Little Sisters of the Poor, after Justice Sonia Sotomayor directed the administration to respond by Jan. 3, 10am Eastern.
The Little Sisters of the Poor, a religious order of nuns who care for the elderly and the poor, had petitioned the high court for an 11th-hour reprieve, and, on Dec. 31, Justice Sotomayor granted a temporary stay, while requesting the administration to respond to the petition within three days.
“The solicitor general, on behalf of respondents, respectfully files this memorandum in opposition to the emergency application for an injunction pending appellate review or, in the alternative, a petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment and injunction pending resolution,” stated the Justice Department in papers filed with the high court at the Jan. 3 deadline.
The administration’s stance underscored its commitment to upholding one of the most contentious elements of the Affordable Care Act, even when the plaintiff challenging the law was a religious order dedicated to sesrving the needy.
The brief, filed by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr., echoed many of the administration’s past objections to an exemption for religious nonprofits and restated the importance of providing contraception and other services free of charge to female employees. It further argued that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act did not apply to the Little Sisters’ specific concerns, and it noted that not one court of appeals had ruled on the merits of cases filed by religious nonprofits.
The White House has provided an “accommodation” for religious nonprofits that object to the mandate on moral grounds but are not exempt from compliance with the federal law. Under the accommodation, the government requires objecting religious employers to sign a self-certification form that allows the mandate’s provisions to be implemented by a third-party administrator. The Little Sisters contend that signing the form makes them complicit in the provision of services that violate their deeply held moral and religious beliefs.

‘Permission Slip’ for Abortion Drugs and Contraceptives
“The government demands that the Little Sisters of the Poor sign a permission slip for abortion drugs and contraceptives or pay millions in fines. The sisters believe that doing that violates their faith and that they shouldn’t be forced to divert funds from the elderly poor they serve to the IRS,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead counsel for the Little Sisters, in a statement released after the Justice Department filed its brief opposing a temporary injunction.
The Obama administration has defended its “accommodation” as a reasonable solution for religious nonprofits that oppose the mandate on moral grounds, arguing that nothing more is required than for the Little Sisters and other plaintiffs to sign a self-certification form.
But Rienzi said that the government’s insistence that plaintiffs sign the form suggested that the action was important.
“The government now asks the Supreme Court to believe that the very thing it is forcing the nuns to do — signing the permission slips — is a meaningless act. But why on earth would the government be fighting the Little Sisters all the way to the Supreme Court if it did not think its own form had any effect?” Rienzi said.
“If the administration believed its contraceptive mandate was valid, it would join the Little Sisters’ request for Supreme Court review because the government has lost almost all of the cases in the lower courts. Instead, its brief today is devoted to trying to keep the court out of the issue, which would leave hundreds of religious organizations subject to massive fines for following their religion.”
For-profit and nonprofit employers have filed a total of 91 legal challenges against the HHS mandate. The U.S. bishops have pressed for a broad exemption that would shield all employers who object to the mandate on moral grounds.
The Becket Fund is representing a number of for-profit and nonprofit plaintiffs that have filed legal challenges to the mandate, including the Eternal Word Television Network. The Register is a service of EWTN.
The Becket Fund also represents Hobby Lobby, a large craft-store chain, and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral argument for this case in March, with a decision expected by late June.

Government’s Arguments
In the brief filed with the high court today, the Justice Department was intent on explaining why the legal issues in the Hobby Lobby case were different from the lawsuit filed by the Little Sisters, with the apparent goal of discouraging the justices from taking up this case or granting a temporary injunction for all religious nonprofits that will face massive financial penalties if they do not comply with the mandate.
“Applicants are not … situated like the for-profit corporations that brought suit in Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius. … The employer-applicants here are eligible for religious accommodations set out in the regulations that exempt them from any requirement ‘to contract, arrange, pay or refer for contraceptive coverage,’” stated the brief.
The Justice Department’s brief further noted that the religious order was covered under a “church plan,” which meant that it was “exempt from regulation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).”
While ERISA is responsible for enforcement of the mandate, church plans are specifically excluded from its enforcement authority.
Since the church plans would not be subject to enforcement, the government argued, the religious freedom of organizations holding such plans was not under threat.
The administration offered the same argument in papers filed in a Brooklyn court, where the Archdiocese of New York and four New York-area Catholic nonprofits sought relief from the mandate.
In that case, Judge Brian Cogan provided two Catholic schools and two healthcare services with a permanent injunction. He said the legal challenge had merit, despite the fact that the church plans were actually shielded from ERISA’s enforcement authority.
According to Cogan, “Plaintiffs allege that their religion forbids them from completing this self-certification, because, to them, authorizing others to provide services that plaintiffs themselves cannot is tantamount to an endorsement or facilitation of such services. Therefore, regardless of the effect on plaintiffs’ TPAs [third-party administrator], the regulations still require plaintiffs to take actions they believe are contrary to their religion.”

Other Concerns
In its brief filed with the high court today, however, the Justice Department acknowledged the plaintiffs’ fears that the self-certification form could be used in the future to authorize enforcement of the mandate. Such enforcement could be put in effect, stated the Justice Department, “if Congress were to amend the Affordable Care Act … to grant the government ‘some authority outside of ERISA to enforce’ the contraceptive-coverage provision or if the departments ‘promulgate new regulations that apply to church for the courts.’”
While dismissing the plaintiffs’ concerns as irrelevant in the short term, the government’s brief noted, “if relevant new regulations were issued, applicants could renew their request for injunctive relief in light of the changed circumstances.”
During a Jan. 3 conference call with the press, Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel with the Becket Fund, also noted another reason for the Little Sisters’ concern about signing the self-certification form. The Little Sisters had also contracted with another third-party administrator, Express Script, Inc. (ESI), a prescription drug provider, which is not a “church plan.”
During a Jan. 3 interview with the Register, Daniel Blomberg, a lawyer with the Becket Fund, told the Register: “ESI provides pharmaceutical drugs, such as Plan B and ella, and they have made no such guarantees [that they will not provide it to patients covered under their plans] and have no religious objection to providing it.”
The self-certification form “authorizes whomever receives it that they have permission to provide the drugs, and it is the means of reimbursement for ESI. Until Express Script receives that form, they will not get paid for the cost of the drugs,” added Bloomberg, who noted that the government accomodation provides incentives for third-party administrators to offer such provisions when religious employers refuse to do it directly.
He noted that, in papers filed with a lower court, the government had dismissed the Little Sisters’ fears about signing the form as an “invisible dragon.” In fact, said Bloomberg, the LIttle Sisters had every reason to avoid signing a document that would trigger such provisions. And he noted that when criminal conspiracy charges are filed, those who “give material aid and assist someone to do wrong” are also held accountable.

Next Step Is Unclear
It is not yet clear what steps the high court will take now. Rassbach said during the press call that the Little Sisters’ lawyers would file a reply with the court, but he could not provide a timeline for when Sotomayor, or the entire court, might respond.
Douglas Laycock, an expert on religious-freedom issues at the University of Virginia Law School, told the Register, “A stay for three days after hearing from only one side tells you that she takes the issue seriously, but it doesn’t tell you what the whole court will do after they hear from both sides.”
Joan Frawley Desmond is the Register’s senior editor.

Courtesy of NCR





Croatia Affirms Marriage As Union of A Man and A Woman

5 12 2013

Croatia  Affirms  Marriage As Union of A Man and A Woman

By a 65%-34% margin, voters in Croatia have approved a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman, according to wire service reports.

President Ivo Josipovic and Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic both opposed the amendment.

“This is the last referendum that gives a chance to the majority to strip a minority of its rights,” said Milanovic, a proponent of same-sex unions.

The nation of 4.5 million is 89% Catholic, 4% Orthodox, and 1% Muslim.
Croatia organized a referendum this weekend to vote whether to allow gay “marriages” or not. The referendum voted overwhemingly “Yes” to ban gay “marriages”.

It all began thanks to a group of Catholics who collected more than 740,000 signatures forcing a referendum which prevent Croatian President and Prime Minister both ardent Gay advocate, from imposing their will on the nation . They did something.

 





Pope Francis Appeals Strongly For Peace and Declares September 7 Day of Prayers for Syria

31 10 2013

Pope francis ask for prayers

“Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to make add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world, from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.

“There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming.

“I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me. How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed! I think of many children who will not see the light of the future! With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgement of God and of history upon our actions which is inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.

“With all my strength, I ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience, not to close themselves in solely on their own interests, but rather to look at each other as brothers and decisively and courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so overcome blind conflict. With similar vigour I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people.

“May no effort be spared in guaranteeing humanitarian assistance to those wounded by this terrible conflict, in particular those forced to flee and the many refugees in nearby countries. May humanitarian workers, charged with the task of alleviating the sufferings of these people, be granted access so as to provide the necessary aid.

“What can we do to make peace in the world? As Pope John said, it pertains to each individual to establish new relationships in human society under the mastery and guidance of justice and love.

“All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace. I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs all of humanity!

“I repeat forcefully: it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace.

“May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and let themselves be led by the desire for peace.

“To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.

“On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 7 p.m. until 12 a.m. we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.

Pope Francis

 





“Turn Me Over. I’m Done On This Side!” Says A Man Condemned To The Flames

10 08 2013

Lawrence was a deacon in charge of giving help to the poor and the needy. On Aug. 10, 354, a persecution broke out and the Prefect of Rome, a greedy pagan, thought the Church had a great fortune hidden away. So he ordered Lawrence to bring the Church’s treasure to him. Lawrence said he would, in three days. Then he went through the city and gathered together all the poor and sick people supported by the Church. When he showed them to the Prefect, he said: “This is the Church’s treasure!”

In great anger, the Prefect condemned Lawrence to a slow, cruel death. They tied him on top of an iron grill over a slow fire that roasted his flesh little by little, but Lawrence was burning with so much love of God that he almost did not feel the flames. In fact, God gave him so much strength and joy that he even joked. “Turn me over,” he said to the judge. “I’m done on this side!” And just before he died, he said, “It’s cooked enough now.” Then he prayed that the city of Rome might be converted to Jesus and that Faith might spread all over the world. After that, he died and went to heaven to receive his reward of Everlasting life.





Jimmy Carter calls for women Priests in the Catholic Church

25 06 2013

Jimmy cater

President Carter seems very concerned about the Catholic doctrine of the male priesthood. Speaking at the Carter Center‘s “Mobilizing Faith for Women” the former President answered some questions about women and religion. Let’s look at his words against the Catholic Church and then I’ll provide three systematic responses:
“And I think the great religions have set the example for that, by ordaining, in effect, that women are not equal to men in the eyes of God. This has been done and still is done by the Catholic Church ever since the third century, when the Catholic Church ordained that a woman cannot be a priest for instance but a man can. A woman can be a nurse or a teacher but she can’t be a priest. This is wrong, I think.
And again, President Carter says: “And then after about the third century when men took over control of the Catholic Church, then they began to ordain that women had to play an inferior position, not be a priest.”
Now I can understand where President Carter is coming from. First, he and his wife are Baptists. As Baptists they do not believe in a sacerdotal doctrine of the priesthood. Unlike the Baptists, the Catholic Church believes that the priesthood is not merely a ministerial function or office. Rather, when a man is ordained a priest, he is configured to Christ in a special way. His soul changes. We call this the indelible seal or character of Holy Orders. This is why there have never been women priests in the Catholic Church – not in the third, second, or first century. Never.

1. Jimmy Carter, Let’s Take a Look at the Mystery of the Transubstantiation

Not only does the priest’s soul undergo a metaphysical change, but the priest loans his own body and voice to Christ when he recites in the Holy Mass “This is my body.” This act transubstantiates bread into the true Body of Christ.

Let’s pause here. This is my body. Human bodies come in two versions: male and female. God designed it this way. Both sexes image God because, as the Church teaches, both sexes are ensouled and rational. See Genesis for details.

However, when the priest says, “This is my body,” he is acting in persona Christi (in the person of Christ). Now then Christ is male. He was circumcised. The body that He offered on the cross was male. For this reason, only men can be priests because the Catholic Church mystically identifies the male Body of Christ with each and every male priest. The sacramental signification requires a man to stand in for the God-Man Jesus Christ at the altar.

2. Jimmy Carter and Clericalism

Secondly, President Carter unknowingly slips into clericalism. Clericalism is the insidious belief that clergy are de facto holier and more important than everyone else. As a Baptist, he likely sees his pastor as a CEO and/or a gifted public speaker. These functions parallel those of secular companies. Hence, to exclude women is, in his mind, sexist.

But the Catholic Church does not see priests as CEOs or primarily as preachers/teachers. Rather, priests are chiefly “fathers.” Their relationship to other people is not transactional, it’s paternal. Only a dad can be a dad. Again, it’s a male thing. The Aramaic word for “father” is Abba meaning “giver of love.”

3. Jimmy Carter, please meet the Blessed Virgin Mary

Here’s the third and final thought:

I’d like to point out that the Catholic Church explicitly teaches that the greatest human person ever created is the Blessed Virgin Mary.

May is not only a woman, she is the Woman. The Catholic Church also teaches that she is higher than all Catholic priests, even higher than the twelve apostles. In fact, she is higher than every single angel.

The priesthood, even the papacy, is not the highest “job” in the Catholic Church. In fact, the Catholic Church features many beautiful female saints in the canon of the Mass. I would even argue that the Catholic Church celebrates femininity more than any other religion and certainly more than any other Christian denomination.

At the end of the day, the Catholic Church teaches that it is holiness and intimacy with Christ that is most important, not being a priest. As a former Episcopal priest, I could go on to be a married Catholic priest. But I chose not to do so. Why? Because I realized that my personal “yes” to God is enough. Nothing more is needed of me.

I love priests. I kiss the hand of every priest I meet. I truly love priests because without them there is no Holy Eucharist and no supernatural life in the world. However, as my former spiritual director Father Ron Gillis (who died just last week) taught me, “At the front of most Catholic churches are not side altars dedicated to Peter and Paul, but to Joseph and Mary – a reminder that the priesthood supports the Church and not the other way around.”
That’s a beautiful and simple lesson for all of us.

Dr. Taylor Marshal








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