Tuesday 2nd September 2014

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December 28, 2013 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. What do I look for in a Bible for a Catholic boy who will be making his Confirmation in the spring? What Catholic Bible should I purchase? — E.C., via e-mail.
A. We would recommend The Catholic Teen Bible, which is published by the St. Jerome Press. It retails for $9.95 and is available from www.saintjeromepress.com or by calling 800-845-2648. In addition to the Bible content, the book also features short articles about many teachings of the Catholic faith. We would also recommend the Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church, popularly known as Youcat, which features an easy question-and-answer format. It retails for $19.95 and is available from www.ignatius.com or by calling 800-651-1531. If you have a local Catholic bookstore, visit there first.

Q. I have read your book about Jesus (“Who Do You Say That I Am?”) and wondered what you think about Bill O’Reilly’s book Killing Jesus: A History. — T.L.H., Massachusetts.
A. Actually, we thought it was quite good as a historical account of the life and death of Jesus, and we have decided to offer a lengthy review of the book in case some of our readers might consider giving copies to people who ordinarily would not read a religious book, but might read one on the best-seller lists that is not overtly religious. Killing Jesus really does make a strong case for what we believe about the God-man.
Although both O’Reilly and his co-author, Martin Dugard, are Catholics, they made it clear that their intention was not to write a religious book, but rather “an accurate account of not only how Jesus died, but also the way he lived and how his message has affected the world.” They summarized His impact on the world on page one:
“To say that Jesus of Nazareth was the most influential man who ever lived is almost trite. Nearly two thousand years after he was brutally executed by Roman soldiers, more than 2.2 billion human beings attempt to follow his teachings and believe he is God. That includes 77 percent of the U.S. population, according to a Gallup Poll. The teachings of Jesus have shaped the entire world and continue to do so.”
Relying on the four Gospels (about which they say “there is growing acceptance of their overall historicity and authenticity”), as well as books on Roman history, the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus, and visits to the places where Jesus lived and taught, the authors were mostly successful in accurately presenting the life of Christ. They also provided the context for His life by giving a brief history of some Roman emperors, including the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. and the reign of Caesar Augustus, who ordered the census that caused Jesus to be born in Bethlehem instead of Nazareth. The text was enhanced by the inclusion of many maps and illustrations.
Of interest, too, were the biographical sketches of key figures at the time of Jesus, including Herod the Great, his son Herod Antipas, the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate, and Caiaphas and Annas, the two high priests who instigated and directed the plot to kill Christ. Even those who know how the story ends will be able to feel the tension building as the plot unfolds and the authors say, “Jesus of Nazareth has six days to live.”
O’Reilly and Dugard tried to stay away from a religious life of Christ by the way they phrased things, but at the same time they offered evidence that Jesus was more than just a man. For example, in discussing the 12-year-old Jesus’ exchange with the rabbis in the Temple, the authors wrote, “Meanwhile, the Son of God, as Jesus will refer to himself for the first time this very day, listens with rapt fascination as a group of Jewish scholars shares insights about their common faith.”
Later, as Jesus was preparing to enter Jerusalem on a donkey on what we now call Palm Sunday, O’Reilly and Dugard said that “Jesus has led a life that is a continual fulfillment of Jewish prophecy,” and they proceeded to list a dozen prophecies from the Old Testament that were fulfilled only by Jesus. They also gave some credence to Jesus’ miracles by saying that “stories of Jesus turning water into wine and making the lame walk and the blind see have so electrified the region that it is now commonplace for almost anyone with an ailment to seek him out.”
They came close to endorsing miracles directly by writing, “Witnesses say he is performing miracles once again. In one startling account out of the town of Bethany, a man named Lazarus came back from the dead. And Lazarus was not recently deceased. He was four days dead and already laid in the tomb when Jesus is said to have healed him before a great crowd. Lazarus’s body already reeked of decomposition when Jesus ordered that the stone covering the tomb entrance be rolled away. This was not just an act of healing but a display of powers far beyond those of a normal human being.”
That last sentence could have been written by Archbishop Fulton Sheen in his book-length Life of Christ.
On page 259, O’Reilly and Dugard reported on Mary Magdalene’s arrival at the tomb on Easter morning only to find the tomb empty. “To this day,” they wrote, “the body of Jesus of Nazareth has never been found.” We turned the page expecting that the book had ended. But instead, we found the authors noting that “Scripture puts forth that Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. After his body was found missing, the Gospels state that Jesus appeared twelve times on earth over a forty-day period. These apparitions range from a single individual to groups of more than five hundred on a mountain in Galilee. Some in that large crowd would speak vividly of the event for years to come. A quarter-century later, the disciple Paul included the mountain appearance in a letter to the Corinthians.”
O’Reilly and Dugard said that Jesus “would go down in history not just as Jesus or Jesus of Nazareth, but as Jesus the Christ, the Messiah.” They went on to describe His influential role in history down to the present time, noting that this role had been cited approvingly by George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and Ronald Reagan.
The authors finished the book by summarizing the fate of the apostles, as well as that of Pilate, Caiaphas, and Herod Antipas, and they chronicled the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in AD 70, just as Jesus had predicted forty years earlier. “It is interesting to note,” they said, “that in many parables, Jesus of Nazareth predicted harsh things for the city of Jerusalem. There is no question those things came true.”
About the only thing in the book that we would take issue with was the statement that the Virgin Mary “was pregnant out of wedlock.” This of course is not true, as we have mentioned many times in the past, but it is the conventional wisdom. Perhaps in future editions of the book, which has sold well over a million copies in a short time, O’Reilly and Dugard will take note of the fact that “betrothal” in the Jewish tradition meant that a couple was married. They might also pay closer attention to Matt. 1:19, where it says that Joseph, on learning that Mary was with child, “decided to divorce her quietly,” something he could hardly do unless they were married.
The authors also gave the correct interpretation of the Gospel references to the “brothers and sisters” of Jesus by saying that “the Catholic Church believes that Mary remained a virgin throughout her entire life” and that “the Church considers the siblings mentioned in the Gospels to be Jesus’ cousins,” although the authors added that other “Christian sects” disagree with this interpretation. They further noted that Pope Pius XII in 1950 issued an infallible pronouncement that the final moments of the Virgin Mary’s life “were not marred by the grave,” which is another way of saying that she was taken up to Heaven body and soul, a dogma that Catholics refer to as her Assumption.
We would also suggest that the authors quote more of Jesus’ sayings on the cross. They only quoted our Lord twice (“I thirst” and “It is finished”). We would have thought that they might have at least mentioned His astonishing statement about His brutal tormenters: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” Or His fascinating colloquy with the Good Thief, who asked to be remembered “when you come into your kingdom” and heard the consoling words, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
This dramatic scene of repentance and forgiveness ought to have been included.
(Editor’s Note: James Likoudis is also reviewing this book for The Wanderer.)

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Pope: When we become worldly, we lose Christian flavor

Vatican City, Aug 31, 2014 / 09:39 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Christians must avoid the temptation to conform to the world, Pope Francis cautioned Aug. 31, stressing that they should instead allow their faith to transform the world around them. “Christians…Continue Reading

Catholics, Keep Away, Lest You Hear What You Ought Not

The former president of Ireland Mary McAleese will deliver the Rosemary Goldie Lecture at Sydney Town Hall on Sunday week but local Catholics, it seems, are being discouraged from attending. The Catholic Weekly newspaper refused to take advertisements for the lecture which…Continue Reading

“Adopt a Christian from Mosul” to respond directly to Iraq’s emergency

AsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis’s urgent appeal “to guarantee all necessary assistance – especially the most urgently needed aid…Continue Reading

Federal Judge Blocks Texas Law That Would Stop Abortions at Most Facilities Across State

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal judge Friday threw out new Texas abortion restrictions that would have effectively closed more than a dozen clinics in the state. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel sided with clinics that sued over one of…Continue Reading

Tax-funded PBS To Air ‘After Tiller’ Documentary Glorifying Late-term Abortionists

Pro-life activists are up in arms after the taxpayer-funded Public Broadcasting System (PBS) announced it will air the pro-abortion documentary “After Tiller” – named for George Tiller, the notorious late-term abortionist who boasted of killing more than 60,000 unborn babies before he…Continue Reading

Outcry flares over California abortion push in Catholic colleges

August 27, 2014 “California Catholics are no longer safe to practice their faith within their own institutions.” Sacramento, Calif., Aug 26, 2014 / 03:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Amid backlash from religious liberty and education advocates, Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration…Continue Reading

SATANIC ‘BLACK MASS’ GETS GREEN LIGHT FROM U.S. CITY

Concerns mount about ‘dark powers that this invites into our community’ The Catholic Archbishop of Oklahoma City has agreed to drop a lawsuit against a satanic cult that plans to perform a “black mass” in the city now that the…Continue Reading

California reverses: Catholic colleges must now pay for all abortions

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Two California Catholic universities must cover elective abortions in the health care plans they provide employees, according to a decision released Friday by Governor Jerry Brown. The affected schools are Loyola Marymount University and Santa Clara University. The decision comes…Continue Reading

Catholic Church Warns Pro-Lifers About Ice Bucket Challenge Donations

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Why Top Catholic Education Organization Says Common Core Could Threaten Religious Liberty

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It’s hard to engage in interfaith dialogue when your head has been cut off.

  By Benedict Kiely In times of evil, prophets who see it in what Ronald Knox called a “clear light” are not necessarily heeded, though they are desperately needed. Such a man was Hilaire Belloc, as Monsignor Knox described him at…Continue Reading

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Pope at Santa Marta: Find The Living Jesus In The Gospel

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(Vatican Radio) We need to proclaim the Gospel with humility not with ‘wise words’ because Jesus Himself is the power of the Word of God, and only those who have an open heart can receive Him said Pope Francis Monday morning, as he resumed his daily mass at Santa Marta after the summer break. Commenting on the readings of the…Continue Reading

Slaughter of the Innocents . . . Sex-Selective Abortions in India

Rome, August 31, 2014 (Zenit.org) Father John Flynn, LC The ratio of female to male infants continues to decline in India and a recent report by the United Nations warned that urgent action is needed to reverse the trend. The report, “‘Sex Ratios and Gender Biased Sex Selection: History, Debates and Future Directions,” was published by the organization UN Women. The ratio has…Continue Reading

The Absent Father — A Meditation

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Senior Chaldean Official Says… Islamists Have Long Been Planning To Empty Iraq Of Christians

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Why Pope Benedict Called For The Rebirth Of The Church

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… The Natural And Supernatural “Keys Of The Kingdom”

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Priestly Celibacy: Unnatural? Or…Supernatural? The Levitical Priesthood

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God Reveals His Name

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Catholic Replies

Q. My nine-year-old grandson asked why, on August 15, the Gospel of Luke about the Visitation was read when it was the Feast of the Assumption. What should I tell him? — E.C., via e-mail. A. You can tell your grandson that there is no Gospel reading about the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven because that event is not…Continue Reading

Justice And Charity

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Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . St. John The Baptist

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Catholic Heroes . . . Pope St. Pius X

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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

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Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

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Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

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