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November 16, 2013 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. During the upcoming Christmas season, we are almost certain to have homilies describing the Blessed Virgin Mary as an unwed mother. What is the best way of describing Mary’s marital status, her relationship with Joseph, and her perpetual virginity? — J.D.H., California.
A. The best way is to read carefully chapter 1 of Matthew’s Gospel, particularly where he says that when “Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly” (Matt. 1:18-19). Notice that Matthew calls Joseph Mary’s “husband” and says that Joseph had decided to “divorce her quietly” when he discovered that she was with child upon her return from visiting her relative Elizabeth. But how could Joseph divorce Mary unless they were already married?
If these plain words are not enough to convince someone that Mary and Joseph were married when Jesus was conceived, then one can explain that, according to Jewish tradition, betrothal was the ceremony that united the couple in marriage. The second stage came a year later, if the woman was a virgin, when she moved into the house of her husband. In his apostolic exhortation Guardian of the Redeemer, Pope John Paul II confirmed this tradition:
“According to Jewish custom, marriage took place in two stages: first, the legal or true marriage was celebrated, and then, only after a certain period of time, the husband brought the wife into his own house. Thus, before he lived with Mary, Joseph was already her ‘husband.’ Mary, however, preserved her deep desire to give herself exclusively to God” (n. 18).
Mary’s relationship with Joseph was that of a wife, although they had decided to forgo marital relations and live in a celibate relationship. At an audience in 1996, Pope John Paul shed some light on their consecrated virginity:
“It may be presumed that at the time of their betrothal there was an understanding between Joseph and Mary about her plan to live as a virgin. Moreover, the Holy Spirit, who had inspired Mary to choose virginity in view of the mystery of the Incarnation and who wanted the latter to come about in a family setting suited to the Child’s growth, was quite able to instill in Joseph the ideal of virginity as well.”
Commenting on the marriage of Joseph and Mary in his book To Know Christ Jesus, Frank Sheed said that the theory that Joseph was “merely brought in to keep the neighbors from talking would hardly be a marriage at all, but rather a mockery of marriage….We must think of them as truly husband and wife, with a true union of personalities, each bringing completion to the other, with a profound sharing of interests, sharing of lives, enriched by the special graces from God that their virginity called for….There was more love in that virginal family, more married love, than ever a family has known” (pp. 71-72).
The Church has always taught what St. Augustine taught in the fifth century, namely, that the Blessed Mother was “a virgin who conceives, a virgin who gives birth, a virgin with child, a virgin delivered of child — a virgin ever virgin.”

Q. Thank you for answering my question about why animals have to suffer, but I meant the suffering of animals in the wild, the savagery of their hunting and killing each other. What is the purpose of this type of suffering? — F.N., Iowa.
A. Animals were created by God to be at the service of man, who was given “dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth” (Gen. 1:28). “In God’s plan,” says the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “man and woman have the vocation of ‘subduing’ the earth as stewards of God. This sovereignty is not to be an arbitrary and destructive domination. God calls man and woman, made in the image of the Creator ‘who loves everything that exists,’ to share in his providence toward other creatures; hence their responsibility for the world God has entrusted to them” (n. 373).
Animals do not possess a rational soul that governs their choices, but rather they act on instinct, preying on other animals for food, for survival, or to protect their families. While suffering and pain are a consequence of original sin, and while Jesus came to earth to be God’s “Suffering Servant” to ransom us from our sins, and while we can join our suffering to that of Christ (cf. the Morning Offering) to help atone for our sins and the sins of the world, we know of no purpose that is served by the suffering of animals in the wild.

Q. How are we to answer someone who says that the Catholic Church is “anti-science”? — D.F., Pennsylvania.
A. You should say that not only is the Catholic Church not anti-science, but it was the Church that invented modern science. Fr. Nicholas Steno, a Catholic priest, has been called the father of geology; Fr. Roger Boscovich has been credited as the father of modern atomic theory; Fr. Gregor Mendel is the father of modern genetics; Fr. Georges Lemaitre first proposed the “Big Bang” theory for the birth of the universe; and some 35 craters on the moon are named for Jesuit scientists and mathematicians.
As J.L. Heilbron of the University of California at Berkeley, who is not a Catholic, has pointed out: “The Roman Catholic Church gave more financial aid and social support to the study of astronomy [from the 12th century to the 18th century] than any other and, probably all other, institutions” (The Sun in the Church, p. 3).
Furthermore, you can point out that the Catholic Church helped to rebuild Western civilization after the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century. It was the Catholic Church that preserved not only the Bible but the ancient secular writings of men like Aristotle, Plato, Cicero, Horace, and Virgil. It was the Catholic Church that began the system of universities in Europe, established the first hospitals, pioneered modern international law, and sparked the scientific revolution. For more details on this, see Thomas Woods’ book How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization.

Q. Can you provide some good reasons why women cannot be ordained to the priesthood? — K.E.R., Connecticut.
A. We can suggest four reasons. First, because the Founder of the Catholic Church, Jesus Christ, did not choose women to be priests. He had plenty of worthy women who supported Him during His ministry, including His own Mother, but He chose to ordain only men. This was no putdown of women, since Jesus demonstrated high regard for the women of His time, including the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:4-30, 39-42) and Mary Magdalene, who had the privilege of being the first person to see Jesus after His Resurrection (John 20:11-18).
Second, Jesus is our Eternal High Priest who chose to come to earth as a man. Since priests are supposed to be icons or representatives of our Lord, who stand in the person of Christ at the altar, it is fitting that only men should be priests. You wouldn’t choose a man to represent the Blessed Mother, so why choose a woman to represent Jesus?
Third, Christ is often referred to as the Bridegroom and the Church as His bride. That symbolism would be lost with women priests since the heavenly Bridegroom would be represented by a bride and you would have the confusing situation of two brides instead of a bride and groom.
Fourth, the Church cannot ordain anybody and everybody. Every sacrament must have the right “matter.” You can’t baptize with Pepsi, you can’t change beer into the Blood of Christ. Beer isn’t inferior to wine, anymore than women are inferior to men. Man and woman, like beer and wine, are of equal worth, but because Christ chose only men to be priests, only baptized males are the proper matter for Holy Orders, just as only bread and wine are the proper matter for the Holy Eucharist.
In his 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, Pope John Paul II infallibly proclaimed that “in order that all doubts may be removed in a matter of great importance…I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the faithful” (n. 4).

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Conference of Catholic Leaders Focuses On Future of Schools

April 22, 2014 10:31 PM By Peter Smith / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette More than 6,000 Catholic teachers, administrators and other educators launched a three-day national conference Tuesday morning at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center with spirited worship, upbeat talks and…Continue Reading

Parents’ group wants Catholic teachers to withdraw from World Pride Parade

BY THE CANADIAN PRESS APRIL 21, 2014  TORONTO – A parents’ group is calling on Ontario’s Catholic teachers’ union to withdraw from participation in this summer’s World Pride Parade in Toronto. Parents As First Educators president Teresa Pierre announced a petition…Continue Reading

‘Nothing Is Ever Without Hope,’ Ailing Cardinal George Tells Catholics On Easter

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Good Friday Reflection on the Nature of Sin

By Michael Terheyden 4/18/2014 Catholic Online (www.catholic.org) So when we look upon the crucified Christ today, let us take a long, hard look at the sin which resides in our heart and in our world. Let us then cast it aside and…Continue Reading

Roman Catholic bishops from England and Wales call for Church to allow priests to marry

JONATHAN BROWN  Thursday 17 April 2014 Roman Catholic bishops have called for the Church to take the historic step of allowing priests to be married amid growing signs of liberal reform under Pope Francis. The controversial issue is set to…Continue Reading

">Radical abortion bill dies in Colo. Senate after call to prayer, action

Denver, Colo., Apr 16, 2014 / 09:42 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Amid growing protests led in large part by the Catholic Church, the Colorado Senate on April 16 killed a controversial bill that could have banned all pro-life laws in the…Continue Reading

Catholic Priest Creates Arabic App to Support Persecuted Christians

BY MORGAN LEE , CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER April 16, 2014|11:13 pm A self-described Italian “technologic” priest has launched an Arab language version of his Catholic app that he hopes will support Christians in heavily persecuted Middle Eastern countries where printed breviaries are banned.…Continue Reading

Denver Archbishop Rallies Coloradans Against ‘Extreme’ Abortion Bill

Denver, Colo., Apr 16, 2014 / 12:32 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Archbishop of Denver on April 15 rallied opposition to a Colorado bill he says is “both extreme and dangerously ambiguous” in its ban on all abortion regulations and other…Continue Reading

CATHOLIC PARENTS BEG MASS. DCF TO LET THEIR HOSTAGE DAUGHTER CELEBRATE EASTER, FILE ‘HABEAS CORPUS’ MOTION

By: Raquel Okyay 4/16/2014 08:41 AM Parents of the ailing Connecticut teen held captive by Massachusetts authorities for more than a year are pleading with the bureaucrat captors to let them celebrate Holy Week and Easter with their daughter, whose health…Continue Reading

Common Core stirs controversy for Catholic schools

By Peter Doocy Published April 15, 2014 FoxNews.com Classrooms at some Catholic schools are undergoing a transformation, as decades-old traditions are being updated with Common Core state standards. Although the standards are not federally mandated for Catholic schools, dozens of dioceses…Continue Reading

Catholic League’s Donohue: Church’s Pedophilia Crisis Is Over

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Catholic Malta Legalizes Same-sex Civil Unions

Staunchly Catholic Malta has legalized same-sex civil unions and has given gay couples the right to adopt children. The vote comes nearly three years after the Mediterranean island nation legalized divorce. The Maltese parliament legalized same-sex unions and gay adoption…Continue Reading

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Pope Francis . . .

Why Do You Seek The Living Among The Dead?

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2014-04-23 Vatican Radio (Vatican Radio) Pilgrims thronged St. Peter’s Square, the long boulevard of Via della Conciliazione, spilling all the way down to the banks of the Tiber this Wednesday for Pope Francis’ weekly general audience, the first of the Easter season. The crowd was such, that the Holy Father’s open topped jeep took even longer than usual to tour…Continue Reading

Business: A “Noble Vocation”

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK There are two ways for a publication to provide a forum for a point of view that challenges the views of its editors. One is to pick an article that casts the other side in an unfavorable light, as peevish, unenlightened, and narrow-minded, the proverbial straw man. The other is to…Continue Reading

What God Has Put Together

By JOHN F. KIPPLEY (Editor’s Note: John F. Kippley is the author of Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality and other books and articles. With his wife Sheila, he is a coauthor of Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach. The commentary below is reprinted with permission from his blog at johnkippley.com. All…Continue Reading

Communicating With C.S. Lewis

By DWIGHT LONGENECKER (Editor’s Note: Fr. Dwight Longenecker is a parish priest in Greenville, S.C. Connect to his blog, subscribe to his weekly newsletter, listen to his radio show, browse his books, and be in touch at www.dwightlongenecker.com. (ZENIT News Agency made this text available. All rights reserved.) +    +    + “Have you heard? Fr.…Continue Reading

Contraception: The Ultimate Judas Kiss

By REY FLORES “Every time a married couple engages in the act of coitus, that act signifies life. By the union of their flesh, they express without words not only their unity, but the sacrament of new life. But when they contracept with a contraceptive mentality, their motive is to use the act which expresses…Continue Reading

After Calls To Prayer, Action . . . Radical Abortion Bill Dies In Colorado Senate

By KEVIN JONES DENVER (CNA/EWTN News) — Amid growing protests led in large part by the Catholic Church, the Colorado Senate on Wednesday, April 16 killed a controversial bill that could have banned all pro-life laws in the state. “Lift up your hearts in gratitude to God,” said Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila in a post…Continue Reading

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Office For The Liturgical Celebrations Of The Supreme Pontiff . . . The Way Of The Cross At The Colosseum Led By Pope Francis

“The Face Of Christ, The Face Of Man” (Editor’s Note: The following meditations for the Good Friday meditations in Rome were written by the Most Rev. Giancarlo Maria Bregantini, archbishop of Campobasso-Boiano, at the request of Pope Francis. (Because of space limitations, The Wanderer is reprinting only the meditations for the final stations, those immediately dealing with Christ’s crucifixion and…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . “Resurrexit Sicut Dixit!”

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Alleluia! He is risen as He said! Alleluia! A most joyful and grace-filled Easter celebration to all of our readers and their families. The octave of Easter is one long Easter day, the Sunday of Sundays. On this extended Easter “Day,” and every Sunday throughout the year, we identify ourselves as members of the one…Continue Reading

Mary’s Perpetual Virginity . . . Did Joseph Know Her As A Husband Knows His Wife?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 “And he [Joseph] did not know her till she brought forth her firstborn son. And he called his name Jesus” — Matt. 1:25. It seems pretty evident for those non-Catholic Christians who disagree with Luther and Zwingli on the issue of Mary’s perpetual virginity that, after the birth of Jesus, Mary would have…Continue Reading

Catechism Of the Catholic Church: Prologue

By Don Fier “Father, . . . this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ” (John 17:3). This Scripture verse, the opening words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), succinctly and beautifully expresses its very purpose. The CCC’s first paragraph goes on to expand on…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I read every issue of The Wanderer, including the reports on the lives of the saints by Carole Breslin, which I find to be most interesting. Do you know if the Catholic heroes of which she writes are published in a book? If so, I would like to have two copies. — R.D., Pennsylvania. A. Carole Breslin’s biographical sketches…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Adalbert

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Catholic Heroes… St. Bernadette Soubirous

By CAROLE BRESLIN Throughout the history of mankind, God has chosen the lesser person to be His messenger, prophet, or king. He chose, Moses, the stutterer, to lead the Jewish people out of the slavery of the Egyptians. He chose Ruth, the pagan Moabite, to be an ancestor of Jesus. He chose King David, the youngest of Jesse’s sons, to…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

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It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

February 13, 2014 by Anthony Esolen   It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly…Continue Reading

Why I am Pro-Life

February 4, 2014   Pro-Lifers   By Therese Recinella   Editor’s note. This tribute was posted on Therese Recinella’s Facebook account. She is graciously allowing us to reprint it in NRL News Today.   There are many things that I could say about my Dad, but what I want people to know is this: My parents faithfully raised 8 children…Continue Reading

Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

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How Much is One Billion Dollars?

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Planned Parenthood

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Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading