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January 23, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Editor’s Note: In a column a few weeks ago, we wondered if “political correctness” had something to do with the omission in the Mass readings of verses 26 and 27 of the first chapter of the Letter to the Romans, where St. Paul delivered a devastating condemnation of homosexual behavior.
One of our readers, G.T.G. of Maine, posed this question to the U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat of Divine Worship and was told by Associate Director Fr. Dan Merz that the omission was the work of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome. Fr. Merz said that the revised introduction to the Lectionary published in 1981 included the following paragraph:
“77. The omission of verses in readings from Scripture has at times been the tradition of many liturgies, including the Roman liturgy. Admittedly such omissions may not be made lightly for fear of distorting the meaning of the text or the intent and style of Scripture. Yet on pastoral grounds it was decided to continue the traditional practice in the present Order of Readings, but at the same time to ensure that the essential meaning of the text remained intact. One reason for the decision is that otherwise some texts would have been unduly long. It would also have been necessary to omit completely certain readings of high spiritual value for the faithful because those readings include some verse that is pastorally less useful or that involves truly difficult questions.”
We don’t have a problem with this general principle, but we wonder who made the specific decision to omit verses 26 and 27. Like G.T.G., we fail to see how these verses would make the reading “unduly long,” and we agree with him that “it is absolutely necessary that vital instruction from the Scriptures on sexual purity not be omitted at Mass in these morally trying times,” especially when “we are facing a long march through the institutions of our culture by a militant, aggressive U.S. homosexual juggernaut.”

Q. I continue to be a Catholic by choice for many years but, with the current attacks on faith, I lack an answer on one issue and will appreciate your comments. There is beyond question one true God of creation, who created this world and universe, but how do we respond to those who say in effect that He cannot exist because who created Him? And can we really say that He always existed? — R. P., New Hampshire.
A. No one created God. He already existed from all eternity and is responsible for bringing everything else into existence. We surmise this because when we look around the world, we cannot find anything that was not caused by something else. If there ever were a moment at which nothing existed, nothing could ever exist, and it doesn’t help to extend the line of causes back indefinitely. The only conclusion we can reach is that at the beginning of the line there was an uncaused cause, something that already existed and was not caused by something else. That Uncaused Cause we call God.
In their Handbook of Christian Apologetics, Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, SJ, offer 20 arguments for the existence of God, including “the argument from change.” Noting that the material world is in a constant state of change, the authors say that “nothing changes itself,” but must be acted upon by some outside agent. “The whole universe is in the process of change,” they say, “but we have already seen that change in any being requires an outside force to actualize it. Therefore, there is some force outside (in addition to) the universe, some real being transcendent to the universe. This is one of the things meant by ‘God’ (p. 50).”
Kreeft and Tacelli sum up the argument from change this way:
“Briefly, if there is nothing outside the material universe, then there is nothing that can cause the universe to change. But it does change. Therefore, there must be something in addition to the material universe. But the universe is the sum total of all matter, space, and time. These three things depend on each other. Therefore, this being outside the universe is outside matter, space, and time. It is not a changing thing; it is the unchanging Source of change” (pp. 50-51).

Q. I notice that the advertisement placed by Food for the Poor in the December 12 edition of The Wanderer quoted Job 24:8, NIV. However, the advertisement placed in the January 16 edition does not specify the translation used for the quotation of Jer. 1:4-5a — i.e., no mention of NIV. For the reason mentioned in my letter to Food for the Poor, I began to wonder whether Food for the Poor is a trustworthy organization. I noticed, of course, that FFTP’s ads in The Wanderer show Oscar Andres Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga, of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, as a member of the board of directors for FFTP.
But I wonder, does FFTP highlight its apparent endorsement by Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga in advertisements sent out generally, by U.S. mail or in publications whose intended audience is Protestant? I would like to give money to FFTP, but I wonder whether you have any additional information about the group as to its suitability for donations. — J.G.B., Alabama.
A. The NIV is the New International Version translation of the Bible. Food for the Poor’s translation of Job 24:8 is essentially the same as the Catholic New American Bible translation, which reads: “They are drenched with the rain of the mountains, and for want of shelter they cling to the rock.” The translation of Jer. 1:4-5a in the January 16 Wanderer, presumably from the NIV, is exactly the same as the NAB: “The word of the Lord came to me thus: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”
J.G.B.’s concern, as expressed in his letter to FFTP, is that the NIV translation of other verses in the Bible reflects the Protestant interpretation rather than the Catholic interpretation (on the word “tradition,” for example), and he wonders if it is appropriate for Catholics to contribute to the group. As can be seen from the two citations above, however, there is virtually no difference between the NIV and the NAB on these verses.
Now if FFTP were quoting in their ads Bible translations that contradicted the Catholic understanding of certain Scripture verses, then The Wanderer would not take the ads and knowledgeable Catholics would not contribute to the group. But that is not the case with these ads, and we see no reason for Catholics not to donate to the work of Food for the Poor.

Q. An article in The Wanderer a few months ago said that in France attempts were being made to change the wording of the Our Father from “lead us not into temptation” to “do not let us fall into temptation.” Wouldn’t it be a good idea to change the English to “do not let us yield to temptation”? — E.G., Florida.
A. You know, of course, that God would never lead anyone into temptation. As St. James has told us: “No one experiencing temptation should say, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God is not subject to temptation to evil, and he himself tempts no one. Rather each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (James 1:13-14).
The confusion arises because temptation can mean two different things: an inducement or enticement to evil, or a trial or test of faith. It is the latter meaning that Jesus had in mind when He taught us the Our Father, and this is illustrated in recent NAB translations of the Lord’s Prayer in Matt. 6:13 and Luke 11:4, both of which read, “do not subject us to the final test.” This is also emphasized in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 2863):
“When we say ‘lead us not into temptation’ we are asking God not to allow us to take the path that leads to sin. This petition implores the Spirit of discernment and strength; it requests the grace of vigilance and final perseverance.”
When we pray this petition, said Pope Benedict in his book Jesus of Nazareth, we are saying to God: “I know that I need trials so that my nature can be purified. When you decide to send me these trials, when you give evil some room to maneuver…then please remember that my strength only goes so far. Don’t overestimate my capacity. Don’t set too wide the boundaries within which I may be tempted, and be close to me with your protecting hand when it becomes too much for me” (p. 163).

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Angola: Catholic Priest Refutes Criticism of Church Practices

Lubango — The Southern Huila province?s Lubango city emeritus archbishop, Zacarias Kamwenho, rejected as false the claim that Catholic Christians worship images. Speaking on Sunday in the Muxima Diocese, in Lubango, the archbishop explained that Catholic Christians worship God instead,…Continue Reading

Ave Maria School of Law Wins Its HHS Mandate Case in Federal Court

The Obama Administration has suffered another defeat in its quest to force Catholics and people of faith to pay for abortion-causing drugs, as required by the HHS Mandate. Today the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida came down…Continue Reading

Catholic Educators Appeal to Obama Administration for Relief from HHS Mandate

Today a coalition including The Cardinal Newman Society, leaders of Catholic schools and colleges, and the expert attorneys of the Alliance Defending Freedom told the Obama administration that its latest rule mandating insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception, including abortion-causing…Continue Reading

Toronto schools hosting ‘LGBTQ’ conference for students as young as 11

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is hosting three student conferences within the span of eight days for the purpose of LGBTQ activism.  The conferences, which have been organized in collaboration with Jer’s Vision, will take place on October 28,…Continue Reading

The Synod and the Media: Culpable Naïveté or Shrewd Calculation?

Upon becoming director of media relations for the American bishops in late 1969, I quickly made a crucial discovery about my new employers. With just a handful of exceptions, the bishops were painfully naïve about the news business, yet convinced…Continue Reading

Chaldean Catholic patriarch suspends 10 priests, including 1 from El Cajon

SAN DIEGO – The head of the Chaldean Catholic Church has suspended 10 priests, including one from El Cajon. Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako issued a decree a month ago, demanding the priests return to Iraq or be suspended. Wednesday…Continue Reading

Retired Pope Says Interreligious Dialogue No Substitute For Mission

VATICAN CITY – Retired Pope Benedict XVI said dialogue with other religions is no substitute for spreading the Gospel to non-Christian cultures, and warned against relativistic ideas of religious truth as “lethal to faith.” He also said the true motivation…Continue Reading

California Forces Churches to Directly Fund Abortions, Churches Refuse to Comply

To the dismay of California’s people of faith, the California Department of Managed Health Care has reclassified abortion as a “basic health service” under the Affordable Care Act and ordered all insurance plans in the state to begin covering surgical…Continue Reading

Relax. God’s Still In Charge.

It’s an enormous challenge to maintain pristine doctrinal purity while at the same time respond to the experiential, personal, and difficult needs of married couples and families. Behind every arcane discussion of gradualism and natural law there are parents and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: The “Relatio Synodi” Is “A Significant Improvement Over The Text Of The ‘Relatio Post Disceptationem'”

In a third short interview with CWR, conducted by e-mail late yesterday, Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, offers his impression of the Relatio Synodi, comments on reports that the Synod has…Continue Reading

Synod Final Document Reaffirms Church Teaching

The final document of the Extraordinary Synod was released Saturday as the Synod Fathers voted to approve all 62 paragraphs, but with three paragraphs not receiving the normally required two-thirds majority vote. The three paragraphs, which in the past would…Continue Reading

Catholic Synod: Gay Rights Groups ‘Disappointed’

Catholic gay rights groups say they are disappointed after bishops rejected proposals for wider acceptance of gay people, which had the Pope’s backing. The call to “accept and value” homosexuals was in a draft report, but failed to win the…Continue Reading

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Today . . .

Pope At Mass: Christian Life Is A Continuous Battle Against The Devil

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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Writes Personal Ordinariate Of Our Lady Of Walsingham

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(Vatican Radio) Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has sent a message to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, which was established for former Anglicans in England in 2011.  The message was on the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict’s apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, which was released on November 4th 2009. The Pope Emeritus was responding to a letter he received…Continue Reading

Pope At Audience: The Church Visible And Spiritual

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(Vatican Radio)  “Often, we hear people say: the Church doesn’t do this …the Church doesn’t do that!’ ‘Tell me who is the Church? – ‘Well the Church is the priests, the bishops, the Pope …’ We are all the Church! All of us all of us Baptized! We are the Church, the Church of Jesus’”. This was the message at…Continue Reading

Pope At Angelus: Love Of God And Neighbour Are Inseparable

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Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Does Contraception Lead To Abortion?”

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Pass-Fail Grading: For The Professors’ Benefit?

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Contemporary Culture Encapsulated In A Single Sentence

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Synod Document Of October 13, 2014

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Elite Judges Think The Highest Judge Never Will End Their Misrule

By DEXTER DUGGAN Today people worry about globe-trotting terrorists, the transmission of the deadly Ebola virus, and the way contagions can cross borders when the government insists borders must be open for everyone’s alleged benefit. Meanwhile, unaccountable U.S. judges continue their contagion of immorality, as if God’s judgment never will come, maybe in little germs,…Continue Reading

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Regarding our recent column on advanced medical directives and particularly the Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST), A.M.V. of Florida writes to say that the American Life League provides individuals with a document called the “Loving Will,” which corresponds to Catholic teaching. She said that this document was “crucial with my mom’s situation” when she was admitted…Continue Reading

Temples Of The Holy Spirit

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Feast Of The Dedication Of St. John Lateran In Rome Readings: Ezek. 47:1-2, 8-9, 12 1 Cor. 3:9c-11, 16-17 John 2:13-22 Today we celebrate the feast of the dedication of a church building that many people have never heard of and also have no idea of its significance. In Rome, there are four major basilicas; the…Continue Reading

Message Of The Extraordinary Synod Of Bishops . . . We Ask You To Walk With Us Toward The Next Synod

(Editor’s Note: Below is the text of the concluding message of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, held October 5-19. This message was released on October 18. (See Fr. Kevin M. Cusick’s column in this issue, p. 2B, and the front page for reporting and commentary on the separate final document of the Extraordinary Synod.) + + +…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Redefining Marriage: Not About The Kids And The Picket Fence

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Following the Extraordinary Synod and the rollback on confusing language about same-sex attraction and the divorced and remarried in the final version of the Relatio Synodi document, the predictable reactions are coming in. Those who continue to hold Church teaching that marriage is only between a man and a woman are labeled as “bigots,” while…Continue Reading

Debunking The Sola Scriptura Myth… True Tradition And False “Tradition”

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Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Wolfgang

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Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Mary Claret

By CAROLE BRESLIN St. Anthony Mary Claret has something in common with at least three other saints. Like St. Peter Claver, he was born in northeastern Spain — over 200 years later. Like St. Pio of Pietrelcina, when he heard Confessions, he frequently could read the souls of the penitents, asking them about a sin that they had not confessed.…Continue Reading

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading