Tough Teachings to defend

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    [color=darkblue:rh6wqxv5]I was just curious (who knows, this may be a helpful) what teachings if any do you have the most difficult to defend/justify. For me (in no particular order):


    umm…I’m sure I’ll think of another.



    Andres Ortiz

    What is it about contraceptives that you find difficult to defend?



    I don’t find God’s prohibition of homosexual activity any harder to defend than I do the prohibition of any other sin. The problem I see is pointing out sexual behavior between two persons of the same sex, is omitting illicit sexual behavior between men and women, as being something lesser in importance. Why should gay men and lesbians refrain from sexual activity if we condone pre-marital, extra-marital and illicit sex within marriage, (yup just because you are married does not make anything you do in your bedroom legit). I’ve heard some of the most anti-gay bigots decry homosexuals, and homosexuality, yet they sleep around, are on their second or third wife, (or husband) engaged in pre-marital sex, etc. If we believe that sex is something sacred that we can only share in a legitimate manner when we are married, and (in the case of a married couple during their fertile years) that is open to cooperating with God in the formation of new life, then we should be condemning all behavior that does not conform to God’s plan.

    It is far easier to live a life where we make compromises and excuses to hard situations. On a seemingly different subject, I have some friends who are willing to pray the rosary with me when they come to visit, or when I visit them. I also pray the rosary when I am walking my dogs, (sometimes I use a traditional rosary with beads, other times I use a penal or finger rosary.) All but one of these people will chat about anything under the sun when walking, but are afraid of praying the rosary in public even when we say the prayers in a lower tone of voice with few or no people around to hear or see us. Another “side effect” of praying the rosary when I walk my dogs, even when I’m feeling tired and my bones ache, I know that having set the example of being a Catholic, and I can’t ignore when my dogs leave a little gift on someone’s lawn, and I have to pick it up. I had one lady come out and yell at me one day, her neighbor yelled at her, “Don’t worry, I see him pray the rosary and pick up his dog’s poop all the time.” Since then when I go by the house the woman now runs out when she sees me waving her rosary at me and smiling. I do sometimes meet chatty neighbors, and note where I am on the rosary, put it away, have a conversation with them, and then pick up where I left off. I also smile and say hello to the local prostitutes and other people who are less “upstanding” members of society. They stop and pet the dogs, I stop and talk with them. Never once have the women offered their wares to me, but two have told me they where raised Catholic. I’ve offered to pray just one decade of the rosary with them as they pet the dogs. Both have done so, and both have told me they felt better afterward, have gone to confession, and no longer work as prostitutes. I did not “preach” to them about the moral teachings of the Church, I simply allowed them to join me in praying, as I would any Catholic friend who visits my house, and prays the rosary with me. (Nobody who visits is obliged to pray the rosary with me before they spend the night in my guest room, read here when the couch is unfolded *) If they don’t want to pray the rosary with me in the living room, I will pray is with the dogs as usual, or in my bedroom.) So someitmes, (to get back on track about Catholic Moral teaching) the best defense is not argument, but example.

    * In keeping with the Moral teachings of the Church single males or married couples where both man and wife are present, (and kids in sleeping bags) are the only ones who get an inviation to sleep on the couch. Females or anyone else who may lead to scandal are given assistance in finding other lodgings.



    [quote:3do2fmpd]What is it about contraceptives that you find difficult to defend?[/quote:3do2fmpd]
    [color=darkblue:3do2fmpd]The fact that it’s difficult to gather any sources outside of any Catholic material. The Church is practically alone in matters of sexuality. So, when I’m engaging an atheist for example, what could I possibly tell him to make my argument concrete? On other teachings we can at least use some secular sources to back us up. But in matters of sexuality, as I said, it’s few and far between.

    Of course, there is always that possibility that I’m not looking hard enough… :mrgreen: [/color:3do2fmpd]


    Andres Ortiz

    I think first priority with an atheist is belief in God. What point is it to argue beliefs and teachings if he won’t accept the authority on which those beliefs and teachings are based?



    Interestingly enough, you can find some arguments against birth control in feminist writing (the feminists who believe women should be equals [b:1rcje8le]of[/b:1rcje8le] men, not equal [b:1rcje8le]to[/b:1rcje8le] men).



    What I find hardest to defend is priestly celibacy, especially after the sexual abuse scandals still rocking the Church.

    The leadin is normally a statement to the fact that the speaker doesn’t agree with it and that all the problems of sexual misconduct would greatly diminish if this was done away with.

    Most times I’ll give a non-response along the lines of, “You’re not going to convert me, I can’t convert you. So I don’t discuss things of this nature, it’s a waste of time for both of us.”

    Not ideal but it’s the best I come up with. “Mind your own damned business would be the alternative.”



    [quote:3u3j5axx]I think first priority with an atheist is belief in God. What point is it to argue beliefs and teachings if he won’t accept the authority on which those beliefs and teachings are based?[/quote:3u3j5axx]
    [color=darkblue:3u3j5axx]Well, I was only using atheist as examples. There are plenty of theist (who of course believe in God/s) that don’t agree with us that would demand the same concrete data as atheist do. [/color:3u3j5axx]



    Up until recently almost all of the Protestant sects where against artificial birth control. So it was the Catholic Church that remained consistant, and others who changed their teachings. It is said that Pope Paul VI would have liked to have changed the position of the Church, but as it was the constant teaching of the Church he could not. This shows consistancy in the teaching authority of the Church.

    The Anglicans where the first to change their teachings, at a semi-regular meeting they have called the Lambeth Confrence. (Lambeth is the palace given to the Archbishop of Cantebury to live in during his time in office, in the Anglican Church most of the Abps. of Cantebury retire after a period of time, allowing someone else to take the office.) At one of the Lambeth Confrences, (either just before or after WWII, I’ll have to check up on the year,) Anglicanism made the move to change the prohibition on BC.

    Now some may ask isn’t BC something new, so how could the Church just come up with something. A glance through Archeology Magazine, (about 10 years back) and other books from historians who have done their homework, (and if Ron is lurking still, these where not exclucivly nor even a majority Catholic Scholars, and not supported or denied by the Catholic Church.) Found that ancient Romans and Greeks, as well as other Mediterranian cultures had herbal solutions to both prevent pregnancy, and devices much like our “modern” forms of BC, as well as knew of herbal preparations that would cause abortions. So BC is nothing new. While writings are scarce on the subject among the writings of the early Church, as they where more concerned with staying alive during persecutions than expanding and explaining the Faith and Moral teaching of the Church in the public arena, the early writers have the same message as the Church teaches today. It would make a good research project for someone who has the time, as I don’t have the issue of Arch. Digest any more.

    As for priestly remaining celibate, it is really not that hard to defend. First not all Catholic priests are required to remain celibate. Eastern Rite Catholic (and their Orthodox counterpart) priests, (those ordained in Eastern and Western Europe but not the USA) are allowed to marry before ordination to the diaconate. If they are single when they are ordained a deacon, they as a rule may not marry after their ordination. So Eastern Rite priests and deacons can be married men. For over 1500 years bishops in the Eastern Rites have either been widowers or come from a monastic setting, Monks and Nuns obviously are not married. Some Protestant ministers who have converted to the Catholic Church who are married have been given special permission to be ordained and keep their wives. Another rare case is where a husband and wife who either have no children or grown children have been allowed to separate, she entering a convent and he into Relgious life or into the priesthood.

    What needs to be distinguished is dogma vs custom. Dogma cannot be changed, even the Pope cannot change dogma. Dogma is something that is revealed by God and one must believe or one is not a Catholic, included in the area of dogma are such things as the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, that Mary was a human, a creature of God wha was given the unique privilige of being concieved without sin, by and in anticipation of the Cross of Christ. Church custom or discipline of the Church is something we follow because Christ gave the Church, especially the office held by Peter and his successors the authority to bind and loose, or to enact laws and relax laws in areas that do not require absolute faith, like the dogmas mentioned above. So when the Church had problems with wives and children of priests who needed to be supported, during the lives of those priests, and after they died, when priests and bishops where promoted to the ranks of the clergy because their father held the post, and not because they where called by God etc, the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church imposed cleibacy on anyone in “Major Orders” which now are deacons, priests and bishops, but at one time (and in some places still) consisted of Sub-Deacons.

    As far as pedophilia, there is a higher rate among Protestant sects than among Catholic Clergy, (per the Christian Science Monitor article published within the past 12 mos. and posted on a dfferent thread here.) Jewish Clergy, Orthodox clergy, Judges, teachers and others, most of them married have commited the same sins. So priests (at least the few who have tainted the names of the many) are not alone in this crime. St. Paul endorsed celibacy as a superior lifestyle for those who have the grace to live that life. A celibate priest can give himself entirely to the sheep entrusted to his care. While Protestant ministers, Eastern Priests, Doctors and others can serve their people while being married, a priest has an advantage in that he is not encumbered with these obligations. This is a rule that the Church can change, but it is not up to a popular vote.

    Here I’d like to consider what the office of the priest really is. We must always remember that when we speak respectfully of any priest, it is not his humanity that demands respect but the priesthood that he has been intrusted with that demands the respect. He is still a man, but the priesthood he is entrusted with is the priesthood of Christ, our Lord shares that priesthood with the man so that Christ Himself can offer Himself in the Mass through the ministry of His priests, so that Christ can absolve sinners through the ministry of His priests, so that Christ Himself can be present to comfort a soul as each of us breaths our last. It is also well to point out that a minister (in the sense of a priest ministering to the Body of Christ) is one who is authorized to do something in the name of a person of authority who sends him to do what he is comissioned to do. To act on behalf of that person of Authority. Priests are authorized to minister or are comissioned with the responsiblity to bring Christ to the people in a special way, to dispense the Sacraments which Christ Jesus gave the Church in His Name and by His authority, we must remember it is Christ’s prieshood, not the posession of a priest that is at work here. It is truly Christ who acts in the sacraments, through His priest, not the priest’s actions or merits that bring the grace of the Sacrament.

    A very good book, recently reprinted is Abp. Sheen’s “The priest is not his own” Priests who read and take it to heart will become better priests, and laymen and women who read it will know what they should expect from a priest who wishes to serve Christ Jesus.

    More later…..(Abp. Sheens book can be found here, [url:t6l5jiru][/url:t6l5jiru]


    Andres Ortiz

    I think one of the hardest ones for me is Mary. It seems like most things we teach about Mary are derived from other teachings and not direct. Some of it also seems contrived.


    The Cub

    Hmmmm…I feel a bit uneasy about certain relics of saints.

    Seems like we should leave the dead buried in peace.




    With regard to our Lady, there are three main areas we need to look at.
    First, what does the Church actually teach. Second, what does the Church allow to be taught. Lastly what is forbidden to teach.

    It is not always clear to many. The Church requires us to believe that Mary is a human being, a creature of God, not a goddess or semi-divine, that she is ever-virgin, that by a special privilige she remained free from original sin, (Immaculate Conception) and that throughout her life she remained free of actual sin by her cooperation with God’s grace. We must believe that at the end of her time on earth (The Church has not officially defined that she died, or simply fell into a deep sleep before,) she was taken by God’s power body and soul into heaven. That she is in heaven with a glorified body and can interceed for us before the throne of God. These are the major points.

    There are approved apparitions and visions, which are private revalation, that is the Church has found evidence that she most probably did appear and give a message to one or more people at various times and places, and that those approved visions and their messages may be disseminated by the faithful and clergy. For instance Fatima, Images of our Lady of Fatima may be utilized, Churches may be consecrated to our Lady under that title, the story of Fatima may be told and believed. It is not however de fide, no-one person who does not believe that our Lady appeared at Fatima is excluded from the Church, and no-one who holds Fatima to be true may hold that belief in Fatima is needed to enter heaven.

    Then there are spurious and non-approved visions and private revalations. The Church admits that sometimes our Lady or the Saints, even our Lord sometimes appears and gives a message to individuals for the good of their own soul. If however they are to spread that message to others and proclaim that the message is for all humanity, the process is to start with ones confessor or spiritual director, who after investigation if he sees any credance in the alleged visions will discuss the matter with the local ordinary, (bishop) for approval to be disseminated. Upon investigation and approval it may be disseminated in the local diocese. If such permission is denied, it is denied, as our Lord gave authority to the Apostles, and thus to their successors the bishops in communion with the Holy Father in Rome. If the vision or message contains a message that is addressed to the entire Church, then it investigated by those appointed by the Vatican, and either approved or denied. If approved, then it may be authorized to be taught generally, but remember that it is not an endorsement by the Church that one must hold it as a requirement of faith as are the issues in the first grouping I mentioned above.

    There has been a trend in the past fourty years of so to put more faith in seers or those not authorized by the Church to speak for the Church, or to counter the authority of the Church. The crisis in Faith among many since Vatican II has drawn out of the woodwork those who looking for stability rely on individual seers or mysterious priests or religious who’s canonical status is either clearly not Communion with the Holy Father, or in a grey area. It can be a grave danger to ones soul to place ones hope in these persons or groups that work on the edges or outside of Communion with the Church.

    We find this in people who push Mejugore, and Bayside, which have not been authorized by the Church, and in which the supporters twist what has been said by the Church. When the local bishop would not approve Mejugore, the people turned to Rome who refused to condemn it, but simply said the Local Bishop will determine the authenticity. The local bishop still says NO, but the Franciscans at the site remain in disobedience.

    As for Non-Catholic apparitions like “Our Lady of Necedah” which while condemned by the Church and approved by a group of “Old Catholic” schismatic bishops continues to proport itself as a Catholic vision and message. “our Lady” at Necedah even allegedly spoke to the seer and told her that the Schismatic Old Catholics where not to be followed “Except for the group that was at the site of the vision” Not something our Lday is likely to say. As for apparitions and miracles that allegedly happen in Eastern Orthodox Churches, and the Monophosite Coptic Churches. While approved by the bishops of those Churches for their own people, they are not approved for Catholics, until there is a proper investigation by Catholic authorities we cannot say one way or another.



    [quote:2kys0td4]Hmmmm…I feel a bit uneasy about certain relics of saints.

    Seems like we should leave the dead buried in peace. [/quote:2kys0td4]

    It is repugnant to our modern day sensibilites, just as it was in the early Church. There where cases in the earlly church where Eastern Bishops wrote to Rome asking for parts of the bodies of saints to be sent to them. The Pope wrote back, saying that to the Western mind the removal of parts of the bodies was repugnant and he sent cloths laid on the bodies instead. Later with the rapid growth of the Church the decision came to be made that portions of the bodies of saints could be sent to keep the practice of offering Holy Mass on the tombs of the saints. It was not popular everywhere at first, but it is the Church that has the authority to allow such things, and not personal taste. While many of the modernist bishops and priests want to do away with the veneration of relics, and the distribution of them, it is a long standing practice of the Church.

    This brings up the authentication of relics. Any relic that does not have a document (called in english and Authentic) which describes the relic the theca (or case) that it is in, and have the seal of one authorized to issue it on the papers, and (usually attached by red thread or ribbon) a wax or lead seal affixed to the relic, cannot be held as an authentic relic (first class relics only) and may not be venerated in public. There have in history been many relics that have been forged. Take for example in the 1970’s when someone got hold of the papers for the relics of then Blessed John Neumann of Philidelphia. Someone obtained a seal that looked like the seal of Nicolas Ferrante, the postulator of (now) St. John Neumann and was able to fabricate relics issuing false papers and began trafficing in false relics, sometimes selling them for ten to twenty times more than the donation asked for the theca (case) that the relic is enclosed in by those who are authorized to distribute relics. Any relic or alleged relic of Ferrante is at least suspect if not absolutly false except those that are printed on authentics of superior quality, (the fakes are poorly copied and are not printed on the quality of card stock paper that is trimmed and nicely produced) and if it is a relic of anyone other than Blessed (now saint) John Neumann. As Nicolas Ferrante did not ever authenticate relics of anyone else, nor of St. John Neumann after he was canonized a saint, any other relics cannot be trusted to be anything other than fakes.



    [quote:62a7jrtf]I think one of the hardest ones for me is Mary. It seems like most things we teach about Mary are derived from other teachings and not direct. Some of it also seems contrived.[/quote:62a7jrtf]

    [color=darkblue:62a7jrtf]Like what?[/color:62a7jrtf]


    Andres Ortiz

    [quote:mj2sua7r][quote:mj2sua7r]I think one of the hardest ones for me is Mary. It seems like most things we teach about Mary are derived from other teachings and not direct. Some of it also seems contrived.[/quote:mj2sua7r]
    [color=darkblue:mj2sua7r]Like what?[/color:mj2sua7r][/quote:mj2sua7r]
    lol…I remember my opinions better than I remember why I formed that opinion. :lol:

    Perhaps I am thinking of some of the devotions and such. Now you’re forcing me to really think about this! I’ll get back to you.



    [quote:8pucae2s]Interestingly enough, you can find some arguments against birth control in feminist writing (the feminists who believe women should be equals [b:8pucae2s]of[/b:8pucae2s] men, not equal [b:8pucae2s]to[/b:8pucae2s] men).[/quote:8pucae2s]

    [color=blue:8pucae2s]Back in the OLD days there was a saying “keep the women bare foot and pregnant”[/color:8pucae2s]


    Andres Ortiz

    [quote:2w537nyf][color=blue:2w537nyf]Back in the OLD days there was a saying “keep the women bare foot and pregnant”[/color:2w537nyf][/quote:2w537nyf]
    Of course, that was then… <img src=” title=”Wink” />

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