Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
By Mark Pattison11/24/2007
Catholic News Service (www.catholicnews.com)
The six televangelists, all of whom have been accused of maintaining extravagant lifestyles, preach the "prosperity gospel."This theology is based on an interpretation of biblical passages that suggests God will provide believers with financial wealth.
WASHINGTON (CNS) - In November, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, announced a probe involving six prominent Protestant televangelists: Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Paula White and Bishop Eddie Long. Grassley sent letters to each, asking detailed questions about purchases, gifts and "love offerings," demanding answers by Dec. 6 for an investigation into possible financial misconduct by these tax-exempt ministries. Grassley told the Des Moines Register, a daily newspaper in Iowa, that religion isn't the issue behind the probe. "Churches aren't any different from any other nonprofit organization, and they have to abide by the same tax laws," he said. The six televangelists, all of whom have been accused of maintaining extravagant lifestyles, preach the "prosperity gospel." This theology is based on an interpretation of biblical passages that suggests God will provide believers with financial wealth. One such passage is Chapter 8, Verse 18 of the Book of Deuteronomy, which says in part, "Remember then, it is the Lord, your God, who gives you the power to acquire wealth." Copeland, in his book "How to Prosper From the Inside Out," wrote: "As the seeds of prosperity are planted in your mind, in your will and in your emotions ... they eventually produce a great financial harvest." Grassley is questioning items such as a personal "gift" of $2 million to Copeland, the"love offerings" Bishop Long receives instead of a salary, and Meyer's purchase of a table, clock and vases for more than $60,000. Could such alleged improprieties happen in the Catholic Church? There have been instances but nothing on such an epic scale......
Posted by Adam the Catholic at 5:15 PM
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Stem Cell breakthrough offers vindication for all
Zenit News Agency (www.zenit.org)
"This tremendous advance puts respect for embryonic human life and potentially life-saving biomedical research on the same plane.". Father Berg, Westchester Institute
Cloning researcher Ian Wilmut of the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh, Scotland, and stem-cell researcher James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison are pictured at the university in late May. As a result of breakthrough research by a team led by Thomson showing that human skin cells can be reprogrammed to work as effectively as embryonic stem cells, Wilmut has said he will stop trying to clone human embryos. (CNS photo/James Gill, courtesy University of Wisconsin-Madison)
THORNWOOD, NEW YORK (Zenit) - One cannot exaggerate the moral and scientific importance of a breakthrough that allows for research on stem-cell related cures to go forward without destroying human embryos, says the director of a Catholic think tank. Father Thomas Berg, executive director of the Westchester Institute, and member of the ethics committee of New York's Empire State Stem Cell Board, said this about two newly-released scientific papers published today that report how scientists generated pluripotent stem cells from human skin cells. The method thus avoids the ethical concerns raised by embryo-destructive research. Both studies used "direct reprogramming" of adult human cells to generate stem cells known as induced pluripotent state cells (iPSCs). These iPSCs have the properties of human embryonic stem cells. Scientists hope cells like these will eventually be able to treat diseases like diabetes and Parkinson's. And the cells were "patient-matched," meaning they genetically match the donor. If these types of cells are to be eventually transplanted into the donors, there should be less chance of the body rejecting them. Father Berg explained: Superior advances Markus Grompe, professor of molecular and medical genetics at Oregon Health and Science University, said: "Not only are iPSCs as good as embryonic stem cells, they are actually superior in one critical aspect: They are patient-specific and hence will not be rejected by the immune system of the person from which they derived. "The ability to generate ESCs [embryonic stem cells] matched to a particular person was the main reason for efforts to clone human embryos." Maureen Condic, associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Utah, told ZENIT the breakthrough means the cells can be used for medical research into human genetic diseases, starting now. "Unlike human cloning, which has thus far not been accomplished and remains only a theoretical possibility, iPSCs have been generated by two independent laboratories, making patient-specific pluripotent stem cells a reality today. "Moreover, unlike cloning, no eggs are needed for the iPS [induced pluripotent state] procedure and no human embryos are produced or destroyed, thus resolving major ethical and practical difficulties associated with the cloning procedure. "Thus, on both ethical and practical grounds, direct programming is superior to cloning as a means of obtaining patient-specific pluripotent stem cells." Real potential Condic continued: "IPSCs can be used immediately for human drug testing in the laboratory and for important medical research into human genetic diseases by studying iPS lines derived from patients with such conditions. These kinds of applications will certainly be under way in the very near future, if they are not already in the works." "There are legitimate concerns regarding the safety of iPSCs for use in human patients," Condic continued, "due to the use of viral vectors that integrate into the DNA of the reprogrammed cell and the nature of the genes used to accomplish reprogramming. However, current techniques exist that should enable the production of iPSCs without the use of such vectors. It would not be unreasonable to expect this to be accomplished within one year." "Importantly, because direct reprogramming is so scientifically fascinating, so technically simple and so completely unrestricted for federal funding, many laboratories are likely to take up this approach immediately, greatly accelerating the refinement of this technique and enormously enhancing our understanding of the basic biology of stem cells," Condic added. Changed landscape Father Berg explained: "This reprogramming-advance changes the entire landscape of stem cell research from one of controversy and unfulfilled promises for treatment, to a morally uncompromised field that may very well accelerate the development of patient-matched therapies. "We should all be deeply grateful to these scientists who -- whether they happened to agree or not -- nonetheless took seriously the ethical objections many people have to embryo-destructive research." "They have now shown us a way forward that we can all live with," Father Berg concluded. "That's a huge win-win, especially for those who can now hopefully benefit from therapies garnered through a technology which is exceedingly more efficient than cloning."
Friday, November 16, 2007
On the heels of the US Bishops release of their latest document on Faithful Citizenship which emphasizes the formation of conscience, Bostons' popular Archbishop states that abortion is the most important moral decision facing lawmakers....
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I disagree. Lets see what the Word of God has to say about the primacy of Peter. "He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter replied, 'You are the Christ, the Son if the living God.' And Jesus answers him 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.'" (Mt 16:15-19)
Some protestants argue saying that the "rock" Jesus is referring to is Peter's profession of faith. One of the problems with this claim is that it goes against the rules of grammar. The phrase "this rock" is going to refer to the closest noun. The closest noun is "Peter"! (Well to be exact Peter is a proper noun) Peter's profession of faith is two verses back. For example, lets say I'm talking with some friends, and I say "I have a cup and a bucket, and it is red." What is red? The cup, or the bucket? The bucket is because "bucket" is the closest noun to the pronoun "it".
Another argument is that in the Greek the word "Petros" (Peter) means small stone. While the Greek word "Petra" (Rock) means massive rock. They claim that if Jesus were talking about Peter as being "the rock" why use the word that means small stone for his name.
The reason is "Petros" (Peter) is a masculine noun, and "Petra"(rock) is a feminine noun. You can't use a feminine noun for a man's name.
But what protestants don't take into account is that Jesus did not speak to his disciples in Greek. Jesus spoke Aramaic!!! At that time, Aramaic was the common language of Palestine.
The Aramaic word for rock is "kepha". "Kepha" is the only Aramaic word for rock. So Jesus said "you are Kepha, and on this kepha I will build my church" or "you are Rock, and on this rock I will build my church".
Talk at ya Later
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Once again, a dissident organization going by the name of Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP),attempted an "ordination" of two women to the priesthood. This was in spite of the clarity of Catholic teaching that there is no authority to do so and the repeated pleas from the local Bishop to not proceed. Catholic Online presents a text of Archbishop Raymond Burke's column on this ill fated effort.
The following is the text of Archbishop Raymond L. Burke's weekly St. Louis Review column for November 9, 2007.
I write with great sadness about the announced attempt to ordain two women of the Archdiocese of St. Louis to the Order of Priests, on this coming November 11th, at the synagogue of the Central Reform Congregation, located at 5020 Waterman Avenue in the city of St. Louis. The attempted ordination is a violation of what is most sacred to us in the Church, one of the sacraments.
Posted by Adam the Catholic at 4:33 AM
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
WARNING!!! VERY GRAPHIC!!!
My Lord and my God, what monsters we are. After seeing this, I've never been so ashamed to be associated with the human race. If this is what choice is......... MY HEART IS SO BROKEN RIGHT NOW!!!! I can't comment any more... Those poor Babies!!!!
I was catching up on Mark Shea's podcast (Catholic Exchange) the other day. In one episode Mark talked about how he asked his son what a cloud was. I started to wonder what my son thought a cloud was. Maybe marshmallows or popcorn, something like that.
Posted by Adam the Catholic at 4:32 PM
Sunday, November 4, 2007
By G. K. Chesterton
From Twelve Modern Apostles and Their Creeds (1926)
Reprinted in The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton, Vol. 3 Ignatius Press 1990
The difficulty of explaining "why I am a Catholic" is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true. I could fill all my space with separate sentences each beginning with the words, "It is the only thing that . . ." As, for instance, (1) It is the only thing that really prevents a sin from being a secret. (2) It is the only thing in which the superior cannot be superior; in the sense of supercilious. (3) It is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age. (4) It is the only thing that talks as if it were the truth; as if it were a real messenger refusing to tamper with a real message. (5) It is the only type of Christianity that really contains every type of man; even the respectable man. (6) It is the only large attempt to change the world from the inside; working through wills and not laws; and so on........
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
By Jimmy Akin
This RockVolume 17, Number 8 September 2006
October 31, 1517, is sometimes celebrated as the birth date of the Protestant Reformation. It was on this day that Martin Luther reportedly nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, although there are no contemporary accounts of this event.The Ninety-Five Theses were not a manifesto for the Protestant Reformation but a set of propositions for a public debate. They did not deal with any of the doctrines that came to be hallmarks of Protestant theology. For example, they make no reference to justification by faith alone or to theology by Scripture alone (sola scriptura).Luther’s main concern was the Church’s penitential system, particularly the doctrine of indulgences. In fact, the official title of Luther’s posting is Disputation of Doctor Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences.An indulgence had been issued to raise funds for construction on St. Peter’s Basilica, and when it was preached in Luther’s area, some of the common folk came away with erroneous ideas. Luther issued his proposition in response.In a letter to the archbishop of Mainz (dated October 31, 1517), he explained:
What Indulgences AreThe Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "Indulgences are the remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven" (q. 312). This shows the error of one of the misunderstandings that Luther reported: the idea that through indulgences "a man is free . . . from all penalty and guilt." Indulgences do not free one from guilt. They presuppose that the guilt of sin has already been forgiven.Indulgences deal only with the "temporal punishment due to sins," a concept that many people today are not familiar with. There are consequences of sin that come to us in this world, the world of time. These are called "temporal punishments" in contrast to the eternal punishment of hell.There is a tendency, particularly in Protestant circles, to think of sin as having only one consequence: guilt and the possibility of hell. If guilt is forgiven, one will go to heaven; if one’s guilt is not forgiven, one will go to hell. This is an incomplete view. Scripture tells us that that guilt is not the only result of sin. The book of Hebrews contains a meditation on the fact that God still rebukes and disciplines his children in order to produce holiness in them, stating that "he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness" even though "for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant" (Heb. 12:10–11).
The Nature of PunishmentDivine punishments—both temporal and eternal—have often been viewed as calamities deliberately inflicted by God on account of sin. God condemns people to hell the way a judge condemns people to prison. In the case of temporal punishments, God inflicts these the same way parents punish children.Scripture uses similar images. The parable of the sheep and the goats depicts Jesus judging the nations and telling the goats to depart into eternal fire (Matt. 25:32–46), and Hebrews 12 compares the way that God disciplines us to the way our earthly fathers did. But parables contain symbolic elements, and these comparisons and metaphors have their limits. Recent reflection on the mercy of God has led some to question whether these images need to be understood differently.In what may be a point of doctrinal development, the Catechism of the Catholic Church warns us away from understanding eternal or temporal punishment on the model of externally inflicted vengeance:
Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the "eternal punishment" of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth or after death in the state called purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the "temporal punishment" of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without but as following from the very nature of sin. (CCC 1472)Eternal punishment results from being made "incapable of eternal life" by "the very nature" of grave sin. Temporal punishment is understood as a purification from the "unhealthy attachment to creatures" that even venial sin involves (e.g., too much attachment to food or drink or sex) and also flows from the nature of sin rather than the external imposition of a penalty.
The Role of GraceOne may well ask how, if divine punishments are not inflicted from without but are intrinsic to sin, they can be remitted. It is easy to see how a punishment can be remitted if it is being inflicted externally. If a judge sentences someone to prison, he can overturn the sentence. If parents ground their children, they can rescind the punishment. But if a penalty follows from the internal logic of the offense itself, how can it be remitted?By God changing the person so that the consequence no longer follows.In the case of eternal punishment, God gives sanctifying grace to the guilty person, making him again capable of eternal life. In the case of temporal punishments, God can cure the disordered attachment to created things that such punishments are meant to address, avoiding the need for a painful purification. Presumably, this is what indulgences do in the Catechism’s understanding.When remitting temporal punishments, the Church draws on the infinite merits of Jesus Christ. It also draws upon the prayers and good works of all the saints, for there is "a supernatural solidarity whereby the sin of one harms the others just as the holiness of one also benefits the others" (Indulgentiarum Doctrina 4).
The Role of the ChurchGod’s intervention through indulgences involves the action of the Church. God has made the Church his instrument for dispensing grace and regulating the spiritual lives of the faithful. He bestowed the power of the keys on Peter (Matt. 16:19) and gave him and the apostles the power of binding and loosing (Matt. 16:19; 18:18).He also told them, "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (John 20:23). God gave us the Church to get us to heaven; the power to forgive and retain sins is principally concerned with the remission of the eternal penalty for sin. But that is not its only function.God also gave us the Church to help us cultivate holiness in this life. Over the course of time, the Church began to offer indulgences for pious actions, such as saying prayers, reading Scripture, making pilgrimages, and supporting causes such as the building of churches or the endowment of hospitals. These things are good in themselves, and by offering an indulgence as an incentive to do them, the Church gave individuals a reason to school themselves in holiness and grow in sanctification.Although the history of indulgences is controversial and many misconceptions still exist, they remain one way the Church encourages Christians to cultivate "the holiness without which no one will see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14).
Jimmy Akin is Catholic Answers’ director of apologetics, a frequent guest on Catholic Answers Live, and author of Mass Confusion: The Do’s and Don’ts of Catholic Worship (available at http://www.catholic.com/).
Posted by Adam the Catholic at 11:49 PM