See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Extra-Cathedra sayings and doings of the Popes.



'Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said ' It's going to rain'...
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As many people know Pope Benedict has emphasized that his writings, such as his book, Jesus of Nazareth, along with comments made during interviews, are not magisterial and therefore not official teaching, infallible or any of that stuff Catholic faithful are required to believe in.  So what does it all mean then?
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Supposedly the SSPX - or a spokesman for the group - is saying the Holy Father's statement on condoms that has generated so much discussion is in serious error... Not to worry I guess, since the Holy Father wasn't speaking ex-Cathedra.  I believe it is safe to assume the SSPX doesn't agree with the Pope on many issues.  Although on the other hand, when the Holy Father says something traditionalists like - totally off the magisterial record of course, he seems to get high praise.  Anyway - the following is the trad take on the Holy Father's condom comments:
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"Now the fact that condom use is an intrinsically immoral action, and matter for mortal sin, is a constant point in the traditional teaching of the Church, for example in the writings of Pius XI and Pius XII, and even in the thought of Benedict XVI when he says to the journalist who is questioning him, “[The Church] of course does not regard [the condom] as a real or moral solution,” but nevertheless the pope allows it “in certain cases”. But that is inadmissible from the perspective of the faith. “No reason,” Pius XI teaches in Casti Connubii, 54, “however grave, may be put forward by which anything intrinsically against nature may become conformable to nature and morally good.” Pius XII recalls this in his Address to Midwives (October 29, 1951): “No ‘indication’ or necessity can turn an intrinsically immoral action into a moral and licit act.” Saint Paul condemned the opinion that evil may be done so that good may come of it (see Romans 3:8).
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Now this idea is a serious error because a lesser evil remains an evil, whatever improvement it may indicate. As Paul VI teaches in Humanae vitae (no. 14), 'Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (cf. Romans 3:8)—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general.'” - Source
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Makes sense to me.  So how does one reconcile these matters?  Of course, the question has long been asked how do we reconcile many of the things that have happened since the Council, namely some aspects of pre-Vatican II innovations and teaching which seems to contradict former Papal teachings?  Read the Syllabus of Errors or LAMENTABILI SANE sometime and you will say - "but we do most of these things today."

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I sometimes find myself wondering if anyone knows anything for sure these days?  For example, if JPII kissed a copy of the Koran does that mean we should read it?  They say Karol Wojtyla kissed the Koran, not John Paul II - even though it looked like Venerable John Paul II.  (That's what I tell the curious ones.)  Likewise, Benedict XVI evidently sees something positive in a male prostitute using a condom to protect his client from disease, does that mean the entire third world is free to use condoms?  We are told that isn't what the Pope meant.  We are also told the Pope didn't contradict Church teaching, although liberals say he condoned the use of condoms, while trads say the Holy Father spoke in error, and everyone else is spinning the rest accordingly. 
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I find this stuff very confusing at times - not so much the apparent contradictions, but rather the debates and arguments these matters generate amongst religious people.  For instance, many Catholics felt that since the Holy Father distributes Holy Communion on the tongue while the communicant is kneeling, he symbolically mandated that the entire Catholic Church should return to the practice.  But the Holy Father explicitly stated he was not asking that.   Likewise, the Holy Father said homosexuality is incompatible with the priesthood, yet not a few vocation directors/panels along with diocesan and monastic seminaries privately say, "Yeah - but if they live chastely that's okay."
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So you see how confusing all of these inconsistencies get to be for lay people?  No wonder so many get involved in private-revelation and apparition-inspired cults and sects.
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As for me, despite everything, I'm sticking with the Roman Catholic Church and Christ's Vicar, Pope Benedict XVI. 

H/T Pewsitters for the SSPX story.

104 comments:

  1. I think it might be best to master the basics- like loving God and each other as we love ourselves- and worry about the gonads portions after we "get it."

    Sort of a "hierarchy of discipleship."

    Just my humble, fallible opinion, of course.

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  2. You said 'gonads'! ;)

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  3. Tempest in a teacup if I ever saw one. Isn't the grave evil in using a condom the fact that it impedes generation? Isn't that what Casti Connubi, Humanae Vitae and all that were actually addressing? What if someone uses a condom as a balloon, let's say blows one up and uses it to indicate a sunken crab trap in the water or something? (That was a sarcastic question)

    All it seems to me was that the Holy Father said that the thought of protecting the other *might* indicate *some* sense of moral reasoning that *may* be an insight that *could* lead one to question other aspects in one's immoral life.

    If you listen to some people it sounds like he said "sodomite prostitutes are free to receive Holy Communion".

    This whole issue is retarded. The grave evil of sodomy is still a grave evil. The impeding of human generation is still gravely sinful. All he said was that, however erroneous, it *may* etc. etc. etc. He never said anything was good or morally licit.

    I think the SSPX just waits for crap like this. "See! Modernists, a-ha!" They engaged a different topic than what he even said, their only purpose being to "prove" that the pope is a "modernist".

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  4. Oh, gonads make gametes, and I don't see anything strange about that.

    Anyway, when I heard all this hullabaloo in the news I thought nothing in particular. I'm afraid I'm very dull, and I don't understand what there is to be excited or confused about.

    I just don't.

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  5. Mercury - I agree - that is it - they are out to prove he is a modernist.

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  6. Last time I checked history, aiming vitriol against the Vicar of Christ and the entire hierarchy of the Church doesn't end well. Look at the times when actual reform happened, and how the reformers did it.

    St. Catherine of Siena? Check.
    St. Tertullian? errr....

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  7. For the record, I do think it was a dumb mistake to say what he did, but only because he should have known that his attempt at ascribing the best of motives to sinful people would be misinterpreted by those who want to attack him and the Church.

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  8. OThanks for these honest thoughts.

    I go from being annoyed when reading the (village idiot) interpretations of the Pope's statement, to being troubled by the souls who are being led astray. I think what bothers me the most is that it is impossible for me to recognize the the irresponsibility of of throwing a condom over your deadly infectious equipment and playing roulette with another human being to satisfy a sexual itch as ever being a moral action. It's a little like announcing it's justified in some cases to take the morning after pill rather than having a first trimester abortion.

    I am beginning to wonder if the fix could be in by planting somebody in a press conference to ask whether the Holy See might move things along to the "next step in moral justification" masturbation. At least millions of lives will not be at risk who would have otherwise followed the old proscription of abstinence.

    Maybe that is to passive aggressive?

    The irresponsibility of this is breathtaking, really, but I am with you in staying aboard the ship and behind our Pope.

    I honestly hope he gets on it directly from his own mouth but at the end of the day, whatever he loosens, he loosens and whatever he binds, he binds. It was good enough for Christ.

    Somebody needs to get out there and stamp out the fire of "double effect". It is an urban legend this falls under double effect.

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  9. "I sometimes find myself wondering if anyone knows anything for sure these days? "

    Right now, we're learning about how the Church no longer thinks in terms of the Pope (alone, at least) as Christ's Vicar. Each bishop of his diocese is Christ's Vicar. The "full Church" can be found in each local church (diocese), assuming that local church has a valid bishop at the healm. The Pope has juridical authority, we're learning, over the bishop of a diocese, but not teaching authority. The only thing he can do is remove a bishop if he sees the need, but he can't explicitly take his authority to teach away--that comes directly from Christ, hence the thinking that each bishop is Christ's Vicar.

    This raises all kinds of questions, of course, about the relationship between bishops and the Pope.

    And further, we were discussing the distinctions above today in a morning class as if the Church was settled on a progression away from the monarchical setup to the more localized setup, yet in an afternoon class, where these same kinds of questions came up, it seemed as though there was still alot of debate about this among theologians and others, that the question of the Pope's authority and what precisely that means is unclear. There are sides in the debate, the Ultramontanists who view the Pope as having a 'special' authority over and above simply serving as Bishop of Rome, and then the view that all bishops are essentially equal, the Pope's power being very limited outside his own immediate jurisdiction.

    I forgot to mention in my comments yesterday about the advent homily that, in the Eucharistic Prayer, when the priest usually prayers for our Pope or Holy Father Benedict, Father ad-libbed and referred to him as the Bishop of Rome and then prayed for the local bishop.

    I think it's becoming more and more difficult to tell the difference between confusion that stems from honest theological debate over matters that are not certain and confusion over crazy priests who want to hijack the parish or seminaries so as to implement a pet agenda or theology.

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  10. As for me, despite everything, I'm sticking with the Roman Catholic Church and Christ's Vicar, Pope Benedict XVI.

    Me too, brother. Me too.

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  11. Carol - I don't think the pope at all meant that the condom was a moral act in any way, shape, or form. I think all he said was that it *may* represent a first step in a change of someone's way of thinking.

    Frankly, I think he gives too much credit to people who do those deeds, but it's not like he was talking about moral shades of grey. He didn't indicate in any way that sodomite prostitution could ever be a good act.

    And to be fair, even traditional Scholasticism recognizes that certain gravely sinful acts are more grave than others: bestiality is considered more disordered than sodomy for example. It doesn't mean that sodomy is okay.

    I mean, Hitler killed more people than Pol Pot, and Stalin more than Hitler, and Mao more than Stalin. No one says that makes Pol Pot the "best".

    I seriously doubt people were truly misled by what the pope actually said (as opposed to how the media spun it). Do you think anyone thought "wow I always thought sodomy was gravely evil, but now I know I can go out and sod til my heart's content as long as I use a condom!"

    He was talking about tiny smidgens of moral THINKING in people steeped in deep and degenerate grave evil.

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  12. Carol - sorry, I misinterpreted what you said. You were criticizing the media and the spin doctors, as well as the professional dissenters who latched onto this.

    I concur.

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  13. Carol - I concur as well. Your point about souls lost is very critical in all of this.

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  14. Thanks, yes, the irresponsibility of people who should, and in fact probably do know better, is maddening. These are the same people who won't shake your hand if you have a cold. I feel like saying "Listen, if you're attracted to somebody whose history makes you wonder if you best be running to CVS to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases, you better ask yourself what happened to that innate instinct that would make one say 'ewwwww'?"

    I don't know, maybe it's a woman thing but isn't it a little like toasting yourself a nice bagel, opening the fridge to get the cream cheese and finding green spots and mold on it? Wanting to then consume it with the wrapper on it should be a big red flag that something is going awry in the hat rack, no?

    Cut your loses and check out the beauty of men and women practising chastity and monogamy.

    The dumbing down of humanity is exasperating!

    I must admit that when the question was asked about whether it is ever morally justifiable to wear a condom, how I wish he said "No. Though the intention to prevent spreading disease may be good intention, the moral obligation is to abstain from relations completely to ensure there is a zero risk of passing HIV onto a partner." And the press conference the next day was a.. disaster. I couldn't help but thinking we saw a glimpse of something very close to the Pope that has a bit of a different agenda. How scary that must be as the Vicar of Christ.

    Anyone who blogs knows how easy it is for people to twist what you're saying or in some cases (hopefully seldom) flub up. The Pope has a pretty meticulous record.

    The good news is, all these folks may run out to buy the book and the catechesis in it seems pretty straight forward which could be a big "TA DA".

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  15. Good points, Carol.

    I remember when I was in college and there was a fishbowl with condoms in it at the front desk of the freshman dormitory (You may notice that this was not Franciscan University at Steubenville). This practice was instituted during some AIDS week or something, and they were free so that the students having sex with people they had never met in their lives would be "protected".

    Even apart from the noble virtue of Christian chastity, doesn't KNOWING WHO THE PERSON IS seem to be an appropriate preliminary before engaging in any kind of intimacy, much less sexual? I mean, would you let this person use your credit card?

    Even I, then a far-from-chaste youth, could see the utter stupidity and retarded (in the true sense of the word) values in all this. The fact that you can't just say "don't do things like that with people you do not know and are not prepared to commit to". Noooo, THAT would be repressive!

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  16. There used to be this view in Soviet Russia that the local government was what did bad; "if only Papa Stalin heard about this, he would fix everything!"

    There is a tendency of people to assume their views are right and proper, and the people they respect would automatically agree with them. Conspiracy theories begin with this sentiment. We must be willing to recognize that perhaps we are the one in the wrong in our assumptions, and it is not everyone else who is making a mess of things, but our ideas are too simplistic and need reform.

    The Pope's comments make sense if one is dealing with the issue as a pastor, who suggests prudence as the best way to engage the moral questions of the age. People often have a poor ability to comprehend their conscience; any pull to follow an element of the conscience is good, even if the objective good has not been met. This is exactly what Pope Benedict is working with in his comments, and what is said by the Vatican continues with this. There is no conspiracy to counter Benedict by the Vatican; there is, however, many people trying to keep a form of legalism in place and try to find ways to continue it. The Church has had a long history of such legalists-- if one studies history, one will note such legalists have often found themselves in schism (and often, heresy) -- they ignore mercy and grace and how that works on hardened hearts.

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  17. Mercury,

    LOL about the culture pushing young adults to sleep with somebody they wouldn't let use their credit card! I hate to ask, but was the school Catholic?

    My daughter tells me students are shacking up right in the same room with roomates laying in the bunks below. The irresponsible drunkeness (puking, screaming, pulling fire alarms) is repulsive. She just changed her dorm room and juggled roommates to see if it helps but says she wants to find a school near home that she can commute to. If you can spare a prayer, please remember her!

    Henry, I would do more diligence if you are truly interested in what is going on at the Vatican. There is indeed a cabal who is twisting and contorting and manipulating. The word conspiracy is good for drama, but what is going on would be more accurately described as apostates and fools around the Pope who once publicly said the effects of sin inside of the Church were terrifying. Another well known Pope fainted in the Sanctuary when he spiritually saw the ghouls behind the intellectual and spiritual chaos and created the prayer to St Michael.
    A country either creates a culture where sexuality is a sanctified expression of deep emotions and love, or it leads its people to believe it is an emotionless body function you have with any pig or whore you are lucky enough to bump into on your sojourn. Sadly, you can't have it both ways.

    The Pope did not say what you think he said and I would give very prayerful thought to mislleading anyone into believing. The pope dooesnt know sin is what is dulling the consciouses of the people and has decided the reform for this is advising them to use condoms as some form of prudence in moral questions. This would be the antithesis of his vocation.

    This is the very misleading of souls who are not in a state of grace for one reason or another I spoke about above. I don't know where you you got your ideas from, but whoever it was, is in deep doo doo. I will keep them in prayer!

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  18. michael r.9:58 AM

    "The quest for certainty and simplicity becomes dangerous when it leads to fanaticism and narrow-mindedness. When reason as such becomes suspect, then faith itself becomes falsified. It becomes a sort of party ideology that no longer has anything to do with turning confidently to God as the primordial ground of our life and reason. It is then that pathological forms of religiosity arise, for example, the quest for apparitions, for messages from the beyond, and the like. But instead of simply hammering away at fundamentalism - whose definition keeps getting broader and broader - theologians should ponder to what extent they are to blame for the fact that increasing numbers of people seek refuge in narrow or unhealthy forms of religion. When one no longer offers anything but questions and doesn't offer any positive way to faith, such flights are inevitable." --J. Ratzinger

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  19. michael r.10:14 AM

    ....that was from p.137, Salt of the Earth

    "Wherever you go, wherever a diocesan forum convenes or anything else of the kind takes place, you already know what questions are going to be posed: celibacy, women's ordination, and the remarriage of divorced persons. Those are definitely serious problems. But the Church is, as it were, constantly preoccupied with herself on a couple of fixed points. In the midst of all this, there is too little attention to the fact that 80 percent of the people of this world are non-Christians who are waiting for the gospel, or for whom, at any rate, the gospel is also intended, and that we shouldn't be constantly agonizing over our own questions but should be pondering how we as Christians can express today in this world what we believe and thereby say something to those people.
    In the consciousness of the Church, at least in Germany, a massive narrowing has taken place. We look only at ourselves; we are concerned only with ourselves; we lick our wounds; we want to construct a nice Church for ourselves and hardly see any longer that the Church doesn't exist for herself but that we have a word that has something to say to the world and that ought to be heard, a word that could give something. We are too forgetful of our real tasks." p.160

    Sorry for filling your box with all of the excepts, but this is a great book, and I believe he answers most of our questions. People seem to want to create a comfortable Church for ourselves, that bears little resemblence to the message of Christ.

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  20. No, the school was Tulane University in New Orleans - though I'm SURE Loyola across the street was doing the same thing.

    I'll try to remember to pray for your daughter.

    I like the debate y'all are developing here - though I don't think Henry actually said that things were "okay", only that a pastor tires to see inklings of good and then work with that. Sometimes that (and lots of prayer for the conversion of the sinner) may very well be the bet approach.

    Just as an example, I never understood nor accepted the Church's teachings on contraception until I started to see the effects of it in the country I was living in and in my own marriage, and until I understood the beauty and antiquity of the Christian virtue of chastity IN ITSELF. And that only came after lots of Rosaries, so I believe it was a gift hat broke through the dullness of my heart and the blackness of my intellect. Yes, "Blessed are they who don't see and yet still believe", but mot of us are foolish and stubborn.

    My point is, when people live in a society whose morals are totally inverted, where the word "chastity" has literally NO meaning to people, hen where does one begin? By preaching Hell to people who don't believe in it? By explaining Liguorian definitions of mortal and venial sin? Or do we begin with the idea that our choices can and do matter, and that we can indeed intend to love God and our neighbor. That's not enough to get to Heaven, but it may start one on the road.

    No, I don't think a gay prostitute wearing a condom has any charity in mind, but I think I see what the pope was TRYING to say, badly.

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  21. Once again, I would recommend caution against legalism and the assumption of "my thoughts are true, and if I don't see what I expect, there must be a scandal and apostasy all around the Pope." Taking more authority on oneself than one has is dangerous, especially for those who think they know the faith, but when something goes beyond a simple presentation they see error in what is said. One must make distinctions, as St Thomas Aquinas was known to point out. Making them does not indicate heresy or apostasy. One must look to the authorities and respect their office, and the Spirit which has helped raise them to that office. That should cause people to pause before they start thinking "they are in error!" Seriously, simplistic thinking is often used to created heresy -- for it is when one takes a portion of the truth and ignores the whole, heresy is formed.

    Once again, I would suggest one looks at history. Consistently, there will be legalists demanding their morality causing problems in the Church. The Novatians couldn't accept the Church's mercy to the lapsed: "Scripture says there is no more forgiveness, how can you go against Scripture?" The Donatists saw impurity as stopping the efficacy of sacraments. We can go on and on and on; Luther is a prime example, whose ways continue to inspire many in the Church today. He took used a moralism to reject the Church. Why is this typical in Curch history? Because, as the Saints have noted, Satan often uses the guise of the good to lead people astray.

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  22. Mike R.,

    Thanks for these beautiful passages from the book. I look forward to reading it.

    Mercury,

    Catholic colleges (and schools in general) are in a mess indeed.

    Contraception was my buggaboo too. I left the Church over it for some time. In terms of the people who were being 'pastoral' to me by telling me with a nudge and a wink that everyone is doing it and watered down the sinfulness of what I was doing, they actually impeded my conversion and kept me out of a state of grace for a decade or so. People believing they are being 'pastoral' by dulling a person's conscience are contributing to leading people away from truth, into rebellion with God and instead hinging that person's attraction to the "church" laterally - across the pews. It negatively impacts that person's life and in no circumstances does it ever lead them to truth or sanctifying grace. I think if you scratch the surface, you can see who the author of this kind of 'pastoral' approach actually is.

    A lot of things can happen to a person when you dull their conscience. They could get attracted to a person who will kill their animus and joy, self-esteem, soul or even body. Stupid choices that can impact the rest of their lives. Contributing towards the dulling of a person's conscience is actually a grave act and never a 'pastoral' one.

    Living in a society whose morals are inverted, over the roar of people dulling our consciences, what brings people back is people who will stand up with fidelity to truth and Christ and teach and preach whether convenient or inconvenient. For me, it was John Paul II, who kept grinding at my conscience in spite of the rebellion I was sinking into. Perhaps being dragged into by the culture would be more accurate. I had a seed of truth that he kept watering with truth. Even though I rejected him for it at the time, it was his fidelity that wouldn't let my own intellect rest in peace.

    The Pope would never participate in such a 'pastoral' response as to advise people to resort to condoms, because he is acutely aware that sin is the personal and cultural culprit. He can't leave them to the wiles of this culprit and in this darkness because it is the antithesis of Christ's Church.

    He was speaking about the spark of truth that indicates sexuality is not completely a narcisstic act and that spark can turn into a flame if we bodly proclaim the beauty of truth as we have come to know and undertand it.

    Proclaim truth loudly. Defender her from error. It is the only way.

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  23. Henry,

    The beauty of proclaiming the thoughts of Jesus Christ's Church is that they are not my thoughts. When you reduce something somebody is teaching that is directly from the Magisterium, claiming this is a personal opinion of a person that can be rejected, it is a disservice to the truth of the teaching of Christ's Church.

    Read up on the author of the prayer of St. Michael. How it came about. You may not be aware of the spiritual world but it indeed exists and it is explained throughout Scripture. As the Truth is delivered, the beast is waiting to devour It. This was true of Christ. It is true of Christ's Vicar on earth. It is true of each and every teaching of Christ's Church.

    This is not conjecture. It is as true and as real as Scripture.

    The Holy Spirit does raise us but He completely relies upon our free will to surrender to Truth. Some of us fall along the way. If you review Scripture you will remember that even Christ prayed fervently for His own Apostles that they would not fall to satan who was standing by to sift them like wheat.

    Many are sifted. Don't be among them and no not ever cause anyone else's conscience to be dulled to truth. Know truth. Preach truth and nothing but the truth.

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  24. http://cheekypinkgirl.blogspot.com/2010/11/news-to-me-pope-as-mouthpiece-for-trads.html

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  25. Carol

    So many confuse their interpretation of the Church's teaching to be the Church's teaching. This, again, is a way of self-deception where people are unwilling to learn and go forward and develop. Just like a Protestant with a Bible, so many Catholics, without proper understanding, demand their lack of understanding is "not my view, but the Church's."

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  26. Henry,

    It is simply too vague to reply that people are interpreting things outside of the magisterium. Learn, go forth and develop? There is an ambuguity to your assertions that I can't sink my teeth into and therefore it makes it difficult to zero in on to respond to you.

    What exactly is it that you believe to be conjecture, opinion or imagination?

    Thee are scriptural references in Genesis and Revelation which I reference and these are indeed the teachings of Jesus Christ's Church. They are not my personal opinion.

    The Word is delivered both in flesh and in teaching, the beast awaits to devour it. If you reject this, you are not rejecting an opinion of mine. This is a formal teaching of the Church.

    Do you reject any particular part of the Book of Revelation or do you reject the entire thing?

    What is it about what is happening at the Vatican or in the culture itself that makes it difficult for you to connect the dots. I am happy to respond with Church teaching but you have to be more specific.

    You seem to be implying that the Pope has changed the teaching of the Church and I lack undertanding or acceptance. This doesn't even make sense from a historical perspective for even if it were true that the Pope was teaching what you claim he is teaching (which I fully reject), the teaching of the Church comes from Humanae Vitae, a teaching from the Throne of the Vicar of Christ.

    Anyone who is in the loop of what is going on at the Holy See knows that there is a cabal there that is not acting in good faith. Their intellects muted and as a result their souls are in captivity. Some, perhaps most, know not what they do but they are 'doing it' - some of them in every conceivable way and their sins are impacting all of us.

    Even for those who are not 'connected' God has made what is happening perfectly clear to anyone who wants to see it. The twisting of the Pope's words came right out of the Vatican newspaper (though it is not officially the pope's newspaper!) and the regurgitation of that error was spewed forth from the mouth of a communications person representing him.

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  27. "Thee are scriptural references in Genesis and Revelation which I reference and these are indeed the teachings of Jesus Christ's Church. They are not my personal opinion."

    Your interpretation of them are not the same thing as being the teachings of Jesus' Church. Again, many people will say "see, I quote the Bible, therefore I am right. If you disagree with me, you disagree with God." No, because there is more to be done than merely quote verses. Texts out of context are pretext; texts taken out of context, without proper exegetical work, are not the same thing as God's truth. Again, explain to me what your lifting of verses and just using them and saying "see, it's not my opinion" differs from a Protestant following Sola Scriptura saying the same thing to reject the Pope?

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  28. Yes, many people quote the bible out of context in an attempt to affirm their theological errors or immmoral action.

    This is different than trying to repudiate that the Virgin Mary delivered Christ and that there is an evil power, a ancient beast and serpent who spends his life in pursuit of Christ and Christ's Church. Though you are free to reject it and advise others to reject it, it most certainly is God's truth.

    I am still not quite sure what it is you reject because you are still being ambiguous in your assertions but I am defintely able to unravel the specifics so that readers can make a judgment call, should you find yourself able to put your rejection more specifically into words.

    By the way Henry, a reader pointed out something to me in your photograph that I am now curious about. Is that a 'buddah' behind you on the mantle?

    To say there is any other interpretation out there for this particular citation of scripture from Genesis and Revelation is a rejection of Church teaching. This teaching is actually not open to anyone's intepretation. It is what it is.

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  29. Carol

    One, there is not just "one interpretation" to Scripture, but many levels of meaning to it. There are erroneous interpretations, but there are many complementary valid interpretations, which the Church understands and mentions.

    Two, again, we must not assume our interpretation of Scripture (or a Magisterial statement, or the comments of a saint, or even of someone else) are themselves necessarily correct. It is, again, often the case that those in error will quote saints, popes, and the like to validate their error, forgetting that heresy is the grasping of one truth in such a way that other aspects of the truth are neglected or rejected. The "this is true" does not mean our interpretation or use of it is true.

    Third, it's St Josaphat.

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  30. Henry,

    St. Josephat? I don't mean the statues, I mean the gold figurine that is sitting down in front of the statutes.

    I can't quite put my finger on the quality of the ambiguity of denying scripture but let me take another crack at it.

    There can be many levels of depth of theology that Christ was crucified but anyone trying to undermine His Crucifixion by saying it is a matter of interpretation is doing a disservice to the Truth.

    If somebody is citing the Church's teaching of Sacred Scripture on the Eucharist, there are many spin doctors, but the teaching is what it is and there is no room for judgment on it. There is only rejection and the fruit of that rejection: watering down the teachings by claiming it isn't Church teaching because there are all kinds of interpretations.

    And so it is with the Scriptural citations of the Virgin giving birth to the Word and the Beast.

    To say that there is another interpretation on these teachings that makes the Church's interpretation 'untrue' is deceptive. I don't know who told you to evangelize this way, but it is very grave. I hope that is not what they are doing at Catholic University. I thought they had cleaned up their act

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  31. It is St Josaphat.

    As for Scripture, there are many authentic interpretations and many inauthentic ones. This is something the Church has taught many times. The different levels of Scriptural meaning are one of the ways the Church teaches this. The Church does not believe there is one and only one interpretation to every verse, but it does point out there are false interpretations. There is nothing vague about this -- the fact that you might want Scripture to mean only one thing, when the Church says otherwise, should give you pause. The fact that you want to assume your own interpretations are true instead of recognizing the whole hermeneutical process, and recognizing we can fail in that process (often based upon our own ideologies which engages eisigesis and confusing it for exegesis) is also indicative of the individualistic problem which ignores authority.

    "What difference does it make if God speaks in person or if he speaks through ministers, be these angels or men. 'But,' you may protest, 'men are often mistaken in their apprehension of what is God's will in cases of doubt, and so may lead us astray.' And what is that to you, who are more ignorant than they are?" St. Bernard of Clairvaux, On Precept and Dispensation, IX.21.

    "Putting aside all private judgment, we should keep our minds prepared and ready to obey promptly and in all things the true spouse of Christ our Lord, our Holy Mother, the Ecclesiastical Church." St. Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, Rules for Thinking With the Church #1.

    "I believe it is the devil, who, seeing that there is no path which leads more quickly to the highest perfection than that of obedience, suggests all these objections and difficulties under the guide of good." St. Teresa of Avilla. Book of Foundations, V.

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  32. Henry,

    I don't think we are on the same spiritul plane for sure. The figurine I am looking at appears to be a golden idol, and now that I blew it up closer, it appears to be a woman with. Some extra limbs.

    I would be most inerested in the name of the theologian who told you that The Blessed Virgin giving birth to the Word and the Beast whopursues Christ and his folowers is some kind of private interpretation and not definative teaching. By any chance, was it the same person who gave you that statue and told you it was St Josephat?

    :o)

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  33. OHMAGOD! CAROL! I can see your pores when I enlarge your photo!

    May the saints preserve us.

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  34. Gee, maybe I should find out about the antiaging pills from Harvard. Seems I have wasted a lot of money in Lancome and Chanell.

    If I ring up a dermatologist, I will let him know St. Josephat appears to have a serious case of jaundice, has flopped onto the floor and is sporting an up-do.

    I don't think my sun worshiping and breakdown of melanin has anything at all to do with the discussion but it is germane if somebody is trying to tell you there is some other interpretation of the Virgin and the beast and there is a buddah, a quiji board or crystal ball in their parlor!

    Let's be mature?

    Really, it should not be this laborious or insulting to proclaim the basics of Catholic teaching about the devil using people to twist teaching so that a nation turns into babylon due to the effects of sin or to affirm that the Pope would not degrade the severity of sexual sin in a culture by advising roulette amoung HIV infected people looking for a place to make a deposit.

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  35. Now now, so long as Lancome and Chanel come in alabaster jars, you have nothing about which to worry.

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  36. The discussion is not about the interpretation of a specific passage of the Apocalypse (which, nonetheless, can still have multiple meanings), but rather something more general. Stop playing this game of: making some broad comments here and other places, then try to divert the discussion away from those broad statements and say "well, I guess you reject this." Yes, that text in the Apocalypse has multiple meanings (read the Fathers). But that is not the question, and people saying this are not therefore rejecting the Marian interpretation. The issue, rather, is how you view yourself as the authority to judge the Church. Read Unam Sanctum. Moreover, you would do well to read Danielou's "Holy Pagans of the Old Testament."

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  37. michael r.6:21 PM

    Carol, you may be interested to know that the Vatican has quite an extensive collection of Buddha statues in it's collection; as well as an Egyptian mummy, which I've always found very weird. I could never understand the need to house a mummy in the Vatican. We may need to get the troops together to rid the place of all of the symbols of apostasy.

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  38. I don't know, I'm rather fond of Quan Yin and the Mother of God. ;)

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  39. michael r.7:35 PM

    Thom, we don't need a syncretistic controversy.

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  40. At this point I can't really seem the harm. It's not as if the conversation has been edifying or productive. :-p

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  41. There have been many times throughout my life in youth ministry or with friends or brothers and sisters in Christ and definitely within my own family when they have been intrigued or put some credence into "cystals" or the occult or some form of pagan or false god or power when I have raised somebody's consciousness. I don't know why this act of Christian charity has been responded to in the ways you have but it is certainly disappointing to see grown men act this way. These things are spiritually dangerous, frankly.

    If you are ever at the Vatican,you will note there are no images of false gods painted by Michaelangelo, nobody sane there uses mummies or buddah in their spiritual practices and worship and you won't find those images anywhere on the altars anywhere in Rome so I'm a little lost as to your reference.

    Henry,

    Still confused? Let's try it one more time.

    You are certainly personally free to reject that there is a battle for the soul inside of the Church and that battle wages from the Vatican down through the Bishops' Conference, through each Archdiocese, in every parish and priest and all the way down inside every family and every soul.

    To claim that this battle is not revealed all throughout Scripture starting at Genesis, through the Old Testament, spoken of by Christ and the Apostles and testified to in some rather gory detail using symbolism in the Book of Revelation -- and that this is not Church teaching -- it is an error to claim you know of people whose opinions refute this as anyone who refutes this is in error. If you name somebody specifically who refutes this and cite that refutation, we can get down to business but you have spent a great deal of time making ambiguous references to these individuals. I've never heard of any reputable Catholic who has and I live in Boston which is the mecca for apostates and heretics. This is not in dispute and could never be in dispute by anyone rational.

    It is also unsound, no matter who told you, to imply that there are people who will refute the effects of sin upon a soul and upon the entire culture of specific nations over our 4000 years of JudeoChristian history. Sin dulls the conscience and the consequences of that are the person is no longer able to tell right from wrong, lies from truth, good from evil and when that happens, they are separated from God. Your sins affect me, my sins affect you and so on and so forth. This is how an entire nation crumbles and is eventually destroyed by God when it gets too far out of control.

    This is why the Pope would never, ever, so long as he is sane (and this is one is very sane) give up and resort to telling people to carry on with what their sins against God and against nature using condoms instead of teaching repentance that leads to the Sacrament of Confession and a state of grace.

    What you are attributing to him is the antithesis of the Catholic faith and Christ's Church and it is in error. No matter whose opinion tells you otherwise, I would not pass out any of that kookaid because it is adding to the big mess of errors and sins.

    I am not under any requirement to convince you but it is my duty to Christ to correct any crooked path somebody lays out for another soul.

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  42. It's "Buddha," and "mummies" are buried dead.

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  43. Carol

    What I am attributing to the Pope? Carol, you constantly attribute to many people all kinds of things which they do not hold to. I have said something which is true: the Pope is encouraging the development of conscience. The Vatican has stated that the development of conscience is valid for all as a good. You are misreading this as therefore saying the Vatican has said using condoms is an objective good -- no one has said it. You need to make the distinction between subjective development and objective good. The confusion is when people think the two are one and the same: they are not.

    And why is it everyone who thinks "there is a war going on" think "and I am on the right side"? As the Saints constantly point out, look into the war into your own life and let God be God. Looking to some war outside is a distraction from the war within. By saying, as you do, "all Scripture indicates there is a spiritual war" is fine; the jump you make with that in defining that war is where logical and spiritual errors develop.

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  44. Oh, and you will find the Sistine Chapel has the Sibyls.

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  45. Henry,

    Isn't life funny? I see you as attributing things to people they do not hold to. After reading what you have said all over the internet about the Pope's statement, I can tell you that if you were trying to lead readers to understand he was speaking about the development of a conscience, it did not come off that way.

    It is rather like claiming you are faithfully proclaiming teaching but you simply are trying to tell people how there are alternate explanations to what faithful people are teaching, or you are prolife and so is Obama and Sr. Keehan depending on how you look at it and you spend all your time attacking people who correct those errors.
    If you ever come across that faithful theoligian who can back your alternate opinion that the meme of the Bible is not a story about the pursuit of Christ, His Church and His followers by the beast, write about it and send me the link, would you? Meanwhile, I would run some google searches to see if St Josephat was a little yellow man who looks like a woman and sits in the lotus position with his up do. Just a thought.

    I have another very important truth to reveal to you. Have you ever looked up in the sky to see birds flying in a v-formation and noted that every single time, one side is longer than the other?

    There are many people like Al Gore who have very complex opinions about the reasons why one side is longer than the other. You could spend your life studying all the opinions of this very convoluted phenomenon but I know, with 100 certainty, the reasons why. There are more birds on one side.

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  46. Carol

    You continue to respond with non-sequiturs and lies. The fact that you are unable to appreciate:

    1) Scripture has multiple meanings
    2) That you jump from an interpretation of Scripture to "therefore I am correct" which is invalid and what heretics and schismatics have always done. "Oh, there is a battle" That was what Luther also said. No one has denied this, what they have denied is what you come out of it "And this is what the battle means, this is what is going on, and look at me, I am right and everyone else is wrong!!!!! It's a conspiracy!" Seriously, get a grip -- Jesus said we should look to ourselves. Looking to others to trumpet oneself is not a sound spiritual condition.
    3) I have not said Obama is pro-life. One could vote for Obama and be pro-life. Do you understand distinctions? It seems like you do not. Of course, the same things you apply on others, when presented to your own associations you complain about. Again, get the plank out of your eye.
    4) Just because you cannot understand what I have said does not mean what I have said is not clear. Much of what you say clearly indicates someone who has not fully formed themselves in the intellectual tradition of the Church, and you ridicule the Church's teachings based upon your misunderstanding of them. And just because you misunderstand them does not mean the Church is unclear: usually ideologues have problems with what is clearly before them. You would do good to engage spiritual direction and look after yourself instead of focusing on scandals -- especially when you show you do not understand the Church's teaching. Humility goes a long way. Thus, might I suggest:
    5) You read works on and by the Desert Fathers?
    6) I know you will continue to use ad homimens and engage in more non-sequiturs as your methodology, and I don't expect you will follow my advice here. But I offer it in good faith, hoping you will learn silence before you embarass yourself further. I mean, the Sibyls are obvious.

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  47. Thom,

    The point is, the Catholic religion uses dead people in their spiritual practices too and if you scratch the surface, you will see the difference between mummies and the communion of saints. Every Altar in fact has a relic of one of them, sometimes. Their entire body. We don't call them mummies. Check it out.

    Henry seems to have a way of drawing some interesting virtues out of you. Take the pulse and see how it measures against the prayer of St. Francis. I don't have an SFO after my name though so I am sure you are the expert.

    Have anice day.

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  48. Henry,

    One can be prolife and vote for a regime of slaughter when there was another prolife alternative is another urban legend ginned up by the Joan Chittister crowd. Here's another pearl of wisdom for your think tanks: When you lay down with the dogs, you get up with fleas.

    Do check out the v-formation of those birds and images of St. Josephat.

    Have a great day.

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  49. michael r.8:57 AM

    Another combox full of heresy-baiting...

    Carole, I am fairly familiar with the Vatican and it's treasures. The Vatican houses one of the great museums of the world. And there is a whole collection of Buddha's as well as Islamic artifacts, as well as a mummy. It is considered part of our cultural heritage, though I have always believed that the mummy should be returned to Egypt; afterall, it is the remains of a real person. I don't have a clue what is on Henry's shelf, but my shelves include a Buddha or two. Does that say something about me or my faith?

    You should really read the writings of theologian Ratzinger. The certitude that you claim is not possible. And, I am not attacking you. Peace+

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  50. Michael,

    What the V houses as gifts are not part of our religion and worship practices anymore than the Smithsonian houses Nazi memoribilia as a witness that you should be venerating them in your living room.
    Does that help?

    So yes, if the Sacramentals and spiritual deposit of the Catholic religion does not complete you and you house budda or any other false idol, it sadly does speak volumes to me and this is not an attack upon you either.
    In Jesus, Carol

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  51. Carol, your comments are entirely out of line both in civil discourse and for someone who purports to be a faithful Christian.

    How dare you attack my vocation?

    Terry, you have a very interesting fan club.

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  52. Thom,

    I am sorry that you feel that your vocation is under attack, that was certainly not my intention.

    In a discussion with my brothers about numerous misunderstandings about their faith, including the understanding of false idols warehoused in the Vatican museums as some kind of secret code that we are to venerate and worship these idols as part of our Catholic spiritual practice and as the discussion took place, I simply asked you to review your contributions in relationship to the prayer of St. Francis.

    This was a converstion that is, and was, spiritual in nature and one that I entered into in good faith knowing the conversation may lead to a discovery of what may be leading people to opinions that are not part of the Catholic deposit of faith. There was no more ill will to it than seeing my own daughter come home from a Catholic college with a crystal hanging around her neck or some copper bracelet with magical powers to cure headaches. It was a conversation in good faith about what Henry has on his mantle.

    It seems every time Henry is around, strange things start to happen in com boxes when one expresses the opinion of the Church in this or that matter. One might reflect upon this trail and what my pores and alibaster jars of Lancome align with being open to spiritual conversation.I am subservient to your expertise in Franciscan spirituality, of course.

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  53. bs. You're sarcastic, and turn to personal insults and change the topic when an actual theologian- namely Henry- calls your histrionics for what they are. My "alabaster jar" comments were an attempt to inject a little humor into an otherwise nauseatingly hateful exchange. (I do hope, however, that you appreciated the scriptural connotations that I alluded to with Lancome in an alabaster jar.)

    Quite frankly, Carol, you come across as a very mean person. I know that sounds naive, but I can't think of a better way to say it. I don't think that Henry is the common denominator in these fouled-up conversations- it seems to be you. Henry commented here long before you ever showed up.

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  54. Thom,
    Why do you assume my sarcasm isn't humor? You want your insults to be seen as humorous, don't you?

    The exchange on my end was not at hateful though the animus directed towards me was. It is an act of charity to correct error and in fact is borne out of love.

    Many people who know mw and love me find my sarcasm extremely amusing. Further, I believe if you review this chain, you will dind many personal insults diected at me "liar", etc. I did not coil up in the corner and whine about it, I simply moved the conversation along.

    Rather than viewing my comments as mean, may I invite you to consider another perspective?

    Henry is undermining the faith with his errors, he is misleading people and numbing consciouses with intterpretations of the Catholic religion that are unsound. I am deeply disturbed about the effects this is having upon souls, including Henry's. But mostly, I know of many situations like the suicid of a teenager who was introduces to unsound ideas and eventually fell far enough from Grace and God to kill herself.

    Henry does not want to be told what he is doing and saying is in error and reacts with venom. People such as yourself react by attacking the messenger because you pick up on Henry's viotrol. Then, others join the donnybrook.

    The American Catholic has banned Henry for tactics they recognized. At one time, Inside Catholic had hundreds of commenters but they were driven out by the foolishness and have moseyed over to Fr Zs.

    Instead of picking up on Henry's spirit, try to see the discussions as good faith and to be open to what I am saying.

    You may be surprised by what you see.

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  55. I like how you mischaracterized the conversation on here, Carol, on your blog. This is the norm for you, isn't it? It wasn't a discussion about "The kicker is, it can be the most innocuous conversation, like saying there are effects of sin upon a soul, a culture, a country - or in Scripture, there the Woman delivers the Word Made Flesh and as the beast waits to devour Him, is in pursuit of Him, the Bible is a big old story from Genesis to Revelation about the pursuit - or sin has an effect upon the soul, upon the culture, upon a nation."

    No. Instead you started talking about the "village idiot" and making wide-sweeping comments about those around the Pope.

    The rest of your blog post is as poorly thought out as your representation of this conversation. My discussion of Peter Lombard (do you know who he is?) didn't "water down and mute consciences with intellectual trip." Rather, I had some thoughts on a passage of The Sentences. I pointed out, in the middle of them, the Church does not define when ensoulment happens, and pointed out that at another time, it was seen as quite late. I also pointed out, however, and this is the real kicker and what is important: no matter when it happens, abortion is rejected. This is important because when we discuss abortion in a culture which does not believe in the soul, talking about the soul will not be convincing. Thus, as I suggested, it is important to understand how the Church condemned abortion, no matter when ensoulment takes place -- this response will allow for proper discussions with those who don't believe in the soul.

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  56. Henry,

    There are two sides of a conversation. You are on one side and I'm on another. That doesn't make what I experience on my side a distortion of the conversation.

    I don't know who told you that the Church doesn't define when 'ensoulment' happens.

    The Blessed Virgin was conceived without sin. Common sense should tell you that there is a soul at the moment of conception when everyone else receives original sin but Mary did not.

    There has to be a recepticle to place the original sin into or in Mary's case the decision was made to make her different from the rest of us.

    There are a lot of people out there who make a mountain out of a molehill.

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  57. Mary, concieved without sin. The Immaculate Conception.

    This is a teaching of the faith that cannot be disputed no matter how many theologians torture themselves over it.

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  58. Carol

    If you will point to my blogpost, perhaps you would also do well to read the links I gave. That would answer as to where one can read about the Church not defining the moment of ensoulment.

    I also discussed how the immacutate conception does not indicate ensoulment -- the immaculate conception has to deal with Sts Joachim and Anna, and the fact that in the production of Mary, there was no concupiscence and all that entails. It is a miraculous conception. We can believe (as I do) that ensoulment also takes place at the time of conception, but the teaching of the immaculate conception itself does not define the moment of ensoulment; it only says that when it occurred, Mary's pure flesh was united with a pure soul (I would recommend reading Scotus sometime).

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  59. Henry, It really doesn't matter what you linked to.

    Where do you think the original sin goes to at the moment of conception? Our armpits?

    Where does original sin reside?

    Where is its home?

    The teaching of the Church is that original sin is in the soul. Therefore, the while every mortal human received original sin at the moment of conception, a light should dawn that the soul was there to put it into. Mary was spared concupicence because God the Father knew 16 years later, the Holy Spirit was going to father a Child, who, by the by, had a Divine Soul before He was conceived. He is One with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

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  60. n.b. - like the word "liar" and "slanderer" - "village idiots" is a term of endearment.

    :O)

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  61. Original sin is not a "something," but a corruption of the original integrity of human nature. This corruption affects the whole of the human person, in the flesh (concupiscence) and in the soul. You asked where the idea was stated, and I gave references which can show this is indeed stated by the Church: the time of ensoulment is not defined. You now say you don't care. In reality, the issue is how you too quickly simplify things, and indeed, in doing so, one can find problems, such as dualism, creeping up in your response. And your unwillingness to listen to the Church and recognize the flexibility the Church gives to difficult questions demonstrates once again says enough.

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  62. n.b. cross out "demonstrates"

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  63. Hen,

    I am not going back and forth with ridicoulousness.

    Sin resides in the soul, including original sin. Original sin was given to each one of us at the moment of conception. Therefore, the recepticle to house the sin is present at conception.

    It is that simple.

    You have to get up pretty early in the morning to fool me!

    Telling women otherwise is plating a seed of temptation that the devil may exploit in a moment of crisis and weakness. It is a very serious and frankly upsetting thing to watch you do.

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  64. michael r.8:38 AM

    Interesting academic debate. Henry, I read your post and the comments over at Vox Nova. I agree with you, 100%. The issue of ensoulment needs to be divorced from the abortion debate. Carole seems to think she knows a lot about theology, but doesn't seem to be able to acknowledge that a number of saints and venerables have believed that ensoulment occurs well after conception, including St. Thomas Aquinas. (He also didn't accept the idea of the Immaculate Conception, btw; though seems to have indicated he would defer to the judgement of the Church....which didn't come for many centuries later.)

    Venerable Mary of Agreda, in her Mystical City of God, declares that God revealed to her that ensoulment occurs after conception, and it occurs at different times for girls and for boys. I discovered this more than thirty years ago, and remain convinced this is the reason she has not moved beyond venerable to full sainthood.

    Carole, how do you explain the ensoulment of monozygotic twins? Does it start with one soul at conception, and then the one soul splits into two souls? Or are there two souls contained in the one zygote?

    Life is frequently messy, seldomly neat and tidy; and this is why we have need for theologians in the Church.

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  65. Wow. Somebody pinch me.

    God is omnipotent, that's how. Even padre pio could be in two places at one time.

    I have not been reading here very long but i do hope and in fact pray, that if this tripe has been allowed to mislead souls in some kind of a good old boys club to fuel somebody's self esteem, that the priests reading will take the opportunity to straighen the crooked paths.

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  66. Michael R

    Thank you. I'm surprised at how some people are trying to act like I am justifying abortion through what I said, when I made it clear the opposite is the case. Indeed, I think one of the points is that as long as people are tied to questions about the soul and when ensoulment takes place, they are becoming stumbling blocks, for they prevent us from speaking to those who do not believe in the soul and helping them understand why we oppose abortion. They are helping the cause of abortion by ignoring where the conversation should lie. It is sad.

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  67. michael r.9:12 AM

    Your logic escapes me, Carole. And frankly it sounds like a bunch of SSPX tripe. Sadly, I suspect that is where you derive your theology. You don't seem to be able to reason yourself. When pressed with difficult questions, the answer is that God is omnipotent? ...because St. Padre Pio could fly???

    Yes, everything is possible with God, but how is the Church to deal with such questions? As I earlier suggested, please read some books by J. Ratzinger. I hope we do agree that he is the valid head of the Church...

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  68. Henry, I read your posts - great points, and I am with you and Carol (yes, you agree!) that life DOES begin at conception. It makes sense in terms of psychosomatic unity and all that. Doesn't the idea of ensoulment after the creation of the body reek of some bad Platonist baggage?

    Anyway, I think you are right that arguing with pro-abortion people who do not believe in the soul is problematic when our argument is "that's when God creates the soul". It always helps to have as many theological, philosophical, and scientific tools in our inventory as possible.

    It's also clear that those Doctors and Fathers who believed that ensoulment occurs later would have NEVER EVER argued for the legitimacy of abortion, so that liberals who try to make use of this are firing in the dark.

    And anyway, the Church teaches that to impede the generative act is gravely sinful - that should give people a clue about how She approaches abortion. It's not just murder - it's tampering with God's will and design. This dovetails nicely with the Church's stance on the sanctity of sex and the gravity of its misuse.

    And, looking at it from that perspective COULD even be helpful to turning around those couples who oppose abortion, yet see not problem with contraception, or those who oppose abortion, yet lead sexually immoral lives.

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  69. Mercury

    Correct, looking at abortion outside of the realm of ensoulment does lead to discussions such as contraception and tie in together with the contraceptive debate. I don't remember if I brought it up in the VN piece, but I know I've discussed it before with people. There is much to the way the Fathers would address people where they are at which we need to learn today. Thank you!

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  70. I'm sorry, you're going to have to go easy on me today. If you haven't already heard the news, Mylanta is being pulled out of every store. Let mercy rain down!

    Michael

    With respect to my Padre Pio reference, you make him sound like Rudolph but in actuality in addition to levitating, he was able to bilocate. This man's specific gifts of the Church you are, of course, not obligated to believe. However, these mystical gifts are freely given to many saints over the years and have been part of our faith to help people understand God's omnipotence to be everywhere at all times. I dont' want to blow your mind but Christ, His actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity is present in every Sanctuary. The gifts given to mortal saints are a microcosim of this mystical phenomenon and are very much part of Catholic teaching.

    So yes, Christ is able to entrust a soul not only to twins but at the exact same moment of conception of every infant all around the world and this is due to His Omnipotence. Anyone rejecting this teaching, you be in big doo doo.

    Permit me to also explain how the rubbish of questioning the entrustment of a soul at the moment of conception is causally related to abortion.

    Every Catholic child, woman who is taught, without question and affirmed in our community by everyone the definitive teaching of the Church would never, ever interrupt a pregnancy after the moment of conception because she knows what she would be doing.

    When that same woman is then offered the kookaid that 'nobody knows' when a soul is entrusted, the question is them put in her mind and at a weak moment in a crisis in her life at a time of an unexpected pregnancy, the devil will claw his way into that doubt and work on her intellect to drive her to kill her own child.

    So yes, when any 'theologian', priest, nun, teacher feeds a soul 'alternate' tripe that plants a seed of doubt in her mind is causing that woman to sin if she ever falls to the temptation.

    This is what happens on the ground level in the spiritual world when dissent is planted into the minds of Catholics. Just so that you are aware of what is going on when you try to sell people goofy theology.

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  71. Again, for the record, to say planting the seeds of doubt (that aer actually against the teachings of the Church in the matter) leads to assisting women away from abortion is really outlandish.

    It does the exact opposite.

    You plant seeds of doubt that are acted upon in a week moment and you are collaborating in that woman's sin.

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  72. p.s. to Michael,

    Implying I am a sedevanist and your sincerity in hoping I can agree with you that the Pope is the head of the Church gave me a hearty-har-har. Even better than saying I have big pores!

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  73. SSPXers, while vile, aren't sedevacantists.

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  74. michael r.12:34 PM

    Hey...let's try to run this thing up to 100 comments!

    Carole, I stand by everything I have said. BTW, conception is not instantaneous. It takes place over a period of days. Fertilization alone takes about twenty-four hours.

    Furthermore, the zygote can be subdivided; twins are not formed until about the fourteenth day? As a soul cannot be subdivided, how is it possible that there be a soul present at that juncture? That's a difficult question, isn't it? The Church & it's theologians need wrestle with such questions. I am not qualified. But I do know that it is through that crucible of discussion & intense debate that the Church arrives at it's conclusions. Some people like to fancy that the Pope sits around in his apartment all day dialoguing with God and the Saints, and this is how Holy Writ is done, but it's seriously not the way it is done. I'm sorry if you think that anyone who raises questions, raises doubts. Look at the quotations from the writings of the Holy Father.

    I am a huge fan of Padre Pio, and have been for about forty years. I know all about him. By coincidence, I gave a second class relic of Pio to someone who is in this very combox with us. Really.

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  75. He even venerates it, miserable heathen that he is.

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  76. I remember how beloved Padre Pio was when I visited Italy: his statue was all over the place, usually right next to Pope John Paul II. I didn't get relics of him (I did get St Francis of Assisi, St Anthony of Padua and St Catherine of Siena). However, the relics I collected the most was rocks from Mt Sinai when I went to Egypt. I can't even count how many I've given out. The good thing: since they are small, it's unlikely people will walk on that holy ground with shoes!

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  77. You are of course free to stand by what you said. I am just stating for the record that that there is a formal teaching of the Church on a matter where people have been led to believe finding answers about Catholic teachings are matters of listening to other people's opinion.

    Conception takes place at ferilization in the theological sense of when a soul is entrusted. We do not need to throw the baby out with the bath water just because we are not in there with the microscope watching it!

    You don't have to express your sorrow to me about planting questions by advising people to listen to unsound theology. The only stake in the matter I have is the duty to unravel it for anyone who is genuinely interested in knowing and to make sure any woman who may read this down the line is pastorally pointed to the Church.

    You might call it sealing the cracks in their conscious. The apology goes to God.

    .)

    I am pleasantly surprised with the disrespectful way you spoke about Padre Pio to learn of your devotion. Amen to that.

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  78. Henry, good for you. Sweet. I have a relic of Padre Pio though I do not have a particular devotion to him. Same with my first class relic of Mother Seton..no particular devotion. My other relics I use quite frequently. Nothin beats the Blessed Sacrament sitting in my soul when I am in a state of grace. That ismy treasure on earth.

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  79. Carol ... I really don't think Henry was excusing abortion in any way or sowing any seeds of doubting anyone's mind. Those "unsound theologians" (read: medieval Scholastic Doctors of the Church) who denied the immediate ensoulment at physical conception would have argued against abortion just as vehemently as any modern Pope or Saint has ever done.

    The point is, no matter when ensoulemnt occurs, abortion is and always has been a grave, grave, evil. No decent theologian has ever disagreed on that point, but they have, in fact, disagreed on when ensoulemnt occurs.

    Henry's point is just that there are ways to argue for the grave evil of abortion with out directly referencing the presence of the soul. We all agree that the soul is there, but what of the person who doesn't? It's like a fundamentalist Protestant arguing with the biology teacher about evolution by citing the Bible.

    Although I do think it's almost impossible to argue its immorality without reference to God - often God must be acknowledged before moral truth can begin to be grasped.

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  80. Mercury

    I'm a bit more positive of debating morality with people, even if they do not (consciously, at least) believe in God. Sometimes it is the revelation of: oh, I do believe in good and evil which leads to one realizing they do believe in God. I think Lewis was brilliant in bringing up how we all like "fair play" as a foundation for moral discussions, and from there, to showing we do believe in transcendentals (which then point to God). Of course, there are many ways to do this, but I also think this goes back to Benedict and what he is pushing for -- and that goes back to Augustine's theology of choice. We all search for the good, however, often what we end up choosing is a limited good, inordinate and out of place in relation to the Good. The call of God affects us all, even those who do not consciously realize it. When we can find this is being done, in some fashion, it can then be raised higher and further to develop one until they see The Good, which happens to be God.

    In this way, for example, Buddhist moral discussion is quite pragmatic, but it still shows what Augustine himself is talking about: moral discussions tend to start with our own grasp for the good, in our understanding of it, and that includes, our understanding of what is in it for us. That it should not be the end of the discussion, I agree. And that it is much easier to discuss morality with someone conscious of God is, of course, true -- at least to a degree (because of how people's conception of God can get in the way and cause them to think something is God-desired, which is not, leading them away from the good). But again, this all brings us back to Benedict and the Augustinian tradition of choice - one which always points out that we do wrong because of our imperfect grasp for the good.

    I hope that makes sense!

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  81. Mercury,

    I was not ascribing intentions. I am testifying to the consequences.

    Let me try this another way.

    Let's say you had a daughter and you homeschooled her and taught her every teaching from the Catechism. You teach her the Magnificat and Immaculate Conception on the teaching of the creation of a soul. You teach her about abstinence until marriage and reserving her sexuality for her husband.

    She develops faithfully.

    Then one day, somebody comes along to tell her that her parents were. Only teaching her their opinion and she must never take that to mean it is the teaching of the church. They tell her that she must take God out of her discernment. Confuscious say there is a pastoral way for her to understand sexuality and when the child in her womb stops being a blob of cells.

    They tell her the Pope understands that the teachings need reform and that its okay to protect herself with condoms when she wants to have sex with people who might give her some kind of filthy sexual disease.

    Whether it was an intention to confuse her really doesn't matter because she is now confused.

    Furthermore, she may in a moment of passion remember confusious and leaving God out of her discernment and fall to sin.

    There are consequences to whatt is being done.

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  82. I understand, but that is not what Henry did, nor is it what he ascribed to the pope.

    What you say reminds me of the priests who clearly disregard Humanae Vitae in counseling couples, for example. That's insidious and dangerous to souls.

    But that's not what Henry said.

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  83. Mercury,

    Humanae Vitae hasn't seen the light of day here for 30 years at least. The malfeasance is breathtaking.

    I take it from your comments, you have not done diligence on what Henry is writing about the entrustment of a soul at conception and the Pope and condoms outside of this site?

    For instance, are you aware that Henry rejects the belief that God was aware of Christ before He was conceived in Mary's womb?

    Henry completely rejects that God planned the creation of the Blessed Virgin and endowed her with the gifts she needed at the moment of conception. God had no knowledge, according to Henry, that He was creating Mary for the conception of Christ 16 years later.

    That's what you said Henry, over at Vox Nova, correct? God did not know Mary before she was conceived and did not know Christ before He was Conceived. Her Immaculate Conception was unplanned by God. Explain it to Mercury.

    Merc,

    There isn't a woman alive - except for Mary (who actually also had knowledge of Christ before He was conceived because Gabriel informed her!) who knows she is pregnant at the moment of conception and so the only purpose to telling her what she carries in her womb is a blog of cells without a soul would have no purpose whatsoever outside of being nefarious. It is to undermine what a woman carries in her womb from the moment of conception - a creation of Christ with a soul and with original sin in that soul that was put there at the moment of conception.

    I know a lot of people outside of my religious community. Colleagues, people who disagree with the teachings of the Catholic Church. I have never had to distance myself from my faith to explain why we believe what we believe. Everyone knows I am a practicing Catholic and they respect it even though they disagree with me. When they have asked me about abortion or gay marriage, all that is necessary is the 'splaining of our positions. There is no need at all to start telling them there is no soul in a blob of cells in order to convince them about our teachings from the moment of conception to natural death. I don't know how you reconcile that this would be helpful to people who are uncatechized. If anything, it dissolves our rationale.

    God Bless and Nighty Nights!

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  84. Thank you, Carol. I read Henry's articles, and I don't think I got that impression (at least not from what I read). But I will of course, let him speak for himself.

    I agree with what you said at the end, though - I usually have no problem explaining my beliefs as they are, but Henry was on to something before when he mentioned Lewis and the "Tao" and "fair play" - sometimes people will only react to little tiny inklings of truth, but they will react.

    I do not know what you're saying about Henry and God and foreknowledge and all that - but I see nothing in his articles that give the impression that abortion is ever okay, or that the Church does not teach clearly on the gravity of this evil. The man seems very well versed in the Doctors of the Church, and is not getting his info from modernists like Küng, Curran, or Schilbeeckx (sp.?).

    I do not have a dog in whatever fight y'all have - I think you've both made good points though.

    Now let's see if we can get this comment count up to 100 :), I don't think poor Terry ever gets that pleasure.

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  85. "God had no knowledge, according to Henry, that He was creating Mary for the conception of Christ 16 years later."

    No. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Once again, you would do well not to look to what others say for the sake of an attack on them, because it leads to errors like this.

    I did not say this. I pointed out God's knowledge is in eternity. Thus, pointing out "before you were born, I knew you" is nothing to do with ensoulment, but with God's eternal knowledge. This is why I pointed out it could read, "Before you were conceived, I knew you." This indicates, once again, God's knowledge of someone is outside of the issue of ensoulment.

    Moreover, I pointed out that the proof-text people use often is abused, because it is really a specific verse about Jeremiah and his call from God. If you read the whole verse, and not just cut out a few words, this is very clear. I said one could make an argument, and valid, for God's foreknowledge of others is similar, but my point still stands: this is not a good proof-text for the time of ensoulment, and it really is a verse in particular about Jeremiah's call. One problem I see with many people when reading Scripture is they arbitrarily take verses out of context to apply them to themselves without doing the work necessary to show how it applies to them: which will require knowledge of the original point of the verse, then extrapolating beyond it and showing what such extrapolation is possible. Proof-texting does not do this.

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  86. Mercury

    I'm glad you liked my point, based in part, on Lewis' thoughts. I think it really connects to the whole discussion, and helps explain Pope Benedict. Also, the whole Augustinian tradition on choice really helps people -- if they would learn it -- because it points how sin comes from an inappropriate application of the good. When thought of in this way, Benedict's statement resonates strongly. Of course, it also goes with much of Catholic theology which many do not know, which is its criticism of dualism, which looks at evil as an actual substance. Thus, when I tell people because Satan exists, he is not pure evil, many will call me a heretic, even when I point out this is found throughout the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. They do not understand that evil is a corruption of the good and can only reside as a parasite on some good. Existence itself is a good. To exist is to have some good, for existence participates in Being, which is The Good. This goes back to some earlier discussion in this thread -- how dualism is easily accepted, and used to explain things, but in doing so, people end up with errors -- such as evil as a substance.

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  87. Henry,

    You make a distinction between God knowing a person before they are born and knowing them before they are conceived.

    In your thesis, three things happen and all of these happen at different times:

    1. God has knowledge of us before we are born.

    2. Conception takes place.

    3. At some point, He goes back into the blob of cells and thinks up what kind of a spirit and gifts and animus he will need to endow creates the soul and endows the soul to carry out the plans "He knows", needs and desires us to carry out, plops in the original sin and fires up the animus and immortal spirit.

    Aside from being inefficient, this thesis is incompatible with the fullness of the teaching of the Immaculte Conception.

    Here is the fullness of the teachings of the Magnificat and Immaculate Conception.

    1. God knows us before we are born and he has plans He wishes and desires us to carry out.

    2. He creates the immortal soul and endows it with the animus and spirit it will need to carry out these plans. In the case of Mary and Christ, they were two perfect Human souls. In our cases, we get the stain of original sin and concupiscence. In both the cases, the creation of the body and soul of the person took place at the moment of conception.

    A woman's magnificat takes place when she learns she is pregnant. Irrespective of when that is, she is executing a soul with a spirit and an animus. She in fact is derailing whatever plans God had made for that life for His kingdom.

    It is impossible to believe in the notion that the creation of the body and the soul take place at separate times and be in assent with the fullness of the teachings of the Church with respect to the Magnificat and the Immaculate Conception.

    When somebody tries to correct your theological errors, you would do well not to take it as some kind of sin againsts the omnipotence of the henry.

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  88. Mercury,

    You don't ever have to say "abortion is okay" to mislead a woman or place a temptation at her feet.

    Note the serpent merely offered the innocuous looking apple and Eve then offered it to Adam. He simply planted doubts which is t he far more effective way of leading people into sin.

    There are two aspects to clouding up the teaching. One is outright dissent and the other spends time planting doubts that a soul is endowed to the body at conception.

    One facet looks a bit innocuous on its face. So what if Henry wants to teach the body and soul fuses at different times.

    But the serpent is a cleverhole and at the level of a woman's intellect and soul, this is the seed of doubt where she can ponder whether the unexpected pregnancy could be a blob of cells that she can vacuum out of her womb.

    There is absolutely no reasoning to ponder out loud whether the soul and body fuse at different times when we know for certain that they take place at the same time with absolute certainty because of the teaching of the Immaculate Conception.

    It is a different gift of the Church to be able to recognize how planting doubts are effecting matters of the soul. Not everyone has it and when they are pointing out it, people get steamed under the collar because their self-esteem and pride wants to cling to notion their intellect is superior and all knowing. Others who don't have the gift can only see the surface of what is being said but can't find the real "errors". Similar to the people offering up the notion that they can elect a man who will head up war against the sanctity of life because he will put a chicken in every pot. More welfare doesn't make up for electing a man who will heighten the annilating a certain class of people but a lot of people don't get it unless they can see the matters of the soul.

    Peace.

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  89. Carol

    Why is it every time you misrepresent me, and I correct that misrepresentation, you keep trying to push further to show how wrong I am? To correct someone, you must first grasp and represent what they say, which you have not. You still do not understand the distinctions which the Church itself acknowledges. The Church has good reasons as to why it does not define the time of ensoulment. Your mockery of the question could be asked "if God knows everyone from eternity, why did God wait until a specific point in time to ensoul anyone" Of course, when you begin to answer that question, you can begin to see how your response does not really engage the question of when ensoulment takes place, which again, the Church has said she does not define. There are reasons why Fathers and Doctors of the Church, who are far holier and knowledgeable than us, did not see what you see out of Scripture. Perhaps if you are willing to engage them and explore why they thought differently, you would do yourself some good.

    Finally, one last time: anyone who has read what I wrote sees I believe ensoulment takes place at conception, and indeed, the soul is at work in forming the body. I pointed out how this is what one finds, for example, in the Cappadocians. Believing this, however, does not say the Church has defined it this way: it has not. The Church has wisely said this is an open question -- I follow the prudence of the Church and will not say people are heretics for following what the Church says is open! I also understand the questions and find, as others pointed in here, why there are difficulties in believing it happens at conception -- such as the question of twins. But again, instead of just twisting and misrepresenting people to feel superior, you would do well to engage people in honesty, deal with what they said, and stop lying about them.

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  90. I think it is important to understand what defined statements are. Case in point, someone COULD have denied the Immaculate Conception in the 1840s without being a formal heretic, even if, as I assume, the opinion would have been odd and rare at that point.

    Or, even more pertinent to today: the Church has never defined what happens to unbaptized babies who die. If one were a heartless wretch, on is FREE to believe they all burn in Hell, though then I would question that person's idea of God and His love. For a long time, Limbo was such the prevailing doctrine that it can be found in catechisms all ove rthe place, and was the stock answer to "what happens wehn ..." sort of questions.

    The prevailing theological opinion today, which seems to be that of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI (and the one I ascribe to), is that God, who wants the salvation of all, may provide some means unknown to us to bring these little ones ot Him, and that we may HOPE that they are saved.

    These are all very different opinions and one can accept or deny them and others. What one cannot do is say "original sin doesn't matter", "Baptism isn't all that necessary", or "God does not want all to be saved", or the Calvinist "God positively wants some or most to be damned". But the Church has NOT defined this, even if the Catechsim of the Catholic Church puts its weight behind the third opinion.

    I think all Henry was doing was saying be careful what we take as defined doctrine when it's really only the prevailing and most likely theological opinion (which we all believe, along with the Holy Father and his successors, and allthe great Saints of our age including Blessed Theresa of Calcutta). It IS defined that abortion is always evil and gravely so - so grave it will get you excommunicated. But the moment of ensoulment is not defined in the strict sense - and one is free to believe otherwise, however stupid and boneheaded it may be.

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  91. Henry,

    What I have been trying to explain to you is that though you say you are faithful to teaching, you are presenting materials in such a way as to make it appear as if the Church has an open door to prudence in matters that they actually do not. Church teaching often has to be taught congruent with other documents to lead you to the understanding of the Church.

    For instance, you know the priests a few posts down that was all dressed up in makeup with half-naked people and they were all doing a looney dance in the Liturgy?

    Technically, there is nothing in the GIRM that says a priest cannot do a Liturgy wearing his mother's dress and makeup with half-naked men. Technically, he could have shown up in his mother's high heels with a copy of the GIRM to say there is prudence in the matters of the Church.

    You can't teach things to others this way saying there is prudence in this matter or that matter while you yourself are faithful to Church teaching without scandalizing souls.

    There IS a teaching of the Church on when a soul is bound to the body and it IS at the moment of conception. Therefore, it is unecessary to pull out anything any other less fortunate soul wrote who couldn't connect the dots to confuse others.

    The same holds true with the teachings of the church to Catholics that in a presidential race against a trecherous tyrant of murder for the unborn and a prolifer, Catholic teaching gives consent to voting for the trecherous murderer. The teachings of the Church are that there is no value to voting for Hitler because think it would be nice for living people to have a chicken in every pot. This is a misappropriation of prudence and people who have told you so are not liars and slanderers.


    The same holds true for Obama. The assault against life matters is too grave to teach that there is prudence in the matter. The teaching of prudence is for when there are two hitlers and one may only wish to annialate unborn when another would wish to annialate even the living of a certain race of people.

    Obamacare funds abortions in spite of the Hyde Amendment which is actually a joke on the ground level because of what they set up through the back door. People who have told you so are not trying to make you feel inferior or attacking you.

    There are many things which you do not have the complete picture on and your presentation of pieces of the puzzle saying there is prudence is doing damage to souls and to the mission of the Church.


    I have repeatedly stated that I am correcting the errors out of concern for people's soul. Most people are uncatechized and do not know how to put the pieces together to get to complex teaching. I do not feel any kind of superiority as none of this is attached to my ego. It is a duty and a love for Christ and his souls Henry.


    I will speak no further on this matter. Any woman reading this now or in the future to find out whether the child she is carrying in her womb is a blob of cells without a soul and she can proceed with abortion should not see the silence as an acceptance or affirmation of what Henry posts in response to this.

    To get to the teaching of the Church on when our children receive their soul, you have to connect the dots I have connected above and the child you carry received his or her soul at the moment of conception. God has plans for this life and will provide for your every need and bless you for your obedience.

    In Christ.

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  92. "There IS a teaching of the Church on when a soul is bound to the body and it IS at the moment of conception."

    No there is not. That is constantly what you fail to understand. It is not defined teaching.

    More importantly, your statement, "you are presenting materials in such a way as to make it appear as if the Church has an open door to prudence in matters that they actually do not" continues to be false.

    The problem is -- you misrepresent what I say, you keep being called on it, and you keep digging yourself deeper into your own hole.

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  93. And even IF ensoulment happened after conception, abortion would still be gravely evil. No one among the Church doctors as ever said otherwise, and neither did Henry to my knowledge.

    Well, that's 93.

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  94. What you and others fail to understand Henry is that there IS, you simply don't know how to put the picture together nor have and there is nothing false about this conclusion.

    No amount of calling anyone informing you so a liar and a slander or seeker of superiority makes what you are saying true.

    Any priest from Boston who sees ther is no definitive docoment that tells you you can't wear your mothers high heels to say Mass better not get any bright ideas!

    I nominate Terry as the man with the most patience on the internet.

    94

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  95. Carol

    Might I suggest, one more time, for you to look to this url: http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/medical_ethics/me0116.htm

    After all, you linked to a response from the National Catholics Bioethics Center. So why not read this?

    Plus, someone who misrepresents what others say and talks about not knowing how to put pictures together -- ironic, isn't it?

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  96. Henry, this may come as a complete shock to you, but often, a peasant will point out the obvious. As I said above, there is no teaching about doing a Mass in your skivvies unless you know how to get to the answer.


    There is an answer in the Magnificat and the Immaculate Conception.

    It is not a misreperesentation to enlighten people who do not see it. It happens all the time in Church history. This is how, many times, a definitive teaching is promulgated.

    So again, I say to you that the teaching is clear to one who is enlightened about it. It is right under their noses.

    Since you claim to believe what I am saying is true, I would invite you to spend your efforts affirming what you say you know to be trie instead of looking for loopholes to ponder. I am telling you of the dangers of doing so in many of your writings.

    Planting seeds of doubt has consequences and I once again invite you to stop.

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  97. Carol

    Once again you ignore the evidence and demand things which the Church does not demand. You call it "planting seeds of doubt." I call that what you are doing is that; you are telling people the Church's decision to leave it free is in error, and the Church is ignorant. You plant seeds of doubt against the Church.

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  98. Just a few more and Terry Nelson will be a blog superstar like Mark Shea ... 99

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  99. michael r.2:50 PM

    100

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  100. Henry,

    Not surprisingly, that is not what I am saying!

    I am saying that the teaching IS defined in the Immaculate Conception and the Magnificat.

    As is often the case, if every priest in town began to follow the liturgical rubrics of the priest a few posts down if you wrote a thesis defending what he is doing by saying there is no definitive teaching. Of the Church, they would say holy cow, webetter get on this and clarify the teaching before we have a big mess on our hands.

    This is often how teachings, which are already teachings are clarified. Very often,errors are spread by exploiting doubts, which is your moniker.

    Dissent, confusion, bad law, immoral behavoir spreading as virtue, war, liturgical madness....many things help tighen and define. This does NOT mean the teaching was never there to begin with.

    50 or so posts up, one of your own colleagues rightly said that how clarifications are promulgated sometimes arise out of situations that pop up. You cannt have it both ways.

    I can tell you with 1000 percent certainty that souls of regular schmoes like us are endowed at conception with a big ole stain of original sin and Mary's soul was spared the sin in her Immaculate Conception.

    I would adopt a new moniker than sewing seeds of doubt, or adopt silence in a matter that you are not able to definitely teach withou looking for holes of prudence you think are there.

    Calling people liars and slanders and clipping and pasting imagined sins may be another habit you ought to ask buddah about next time you see him or her or whatever it is. It doesn't feel ver feng sui. It feels more fung go on this end of it.

    Ok, I am out. Terry is my new hero!

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  101. michael r.4:04 PM

    Sheesh. You should be ashamed of yourself, Carol. You are guilty of ad hominem attacks. Like I suggested a few weeks ago, perhaps you should talk to your own bishop if you are so proud of the good work you are doing for the Church. Oh yeah, that would be a Cardinal that you believe is in grave error on any number of counts. You can't go to the Pope either, for the same reasons.

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  102. Well, the real news here is that this comment box is over 100. Congratulations, you're as cool as Mark Shea, even without getting in any fights with your commenters. Of course, to be as cool as Fr. Z you've got to get a lot more followers. May I suggest a feeder feed?

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Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.