Tuesday 23rd July 2019

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June 21, 2019 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. I asked my parish priest if one can be a conscientious objector with respect to paying taxes when your government uses your money for things antithetical to your belief system, such as giving money to Planned Parenthood. Before he gave me what I thought was a good answer, he wanted to know if I had gone to a Jesuit college and if this was a Jesuitical question. I told him I had not gone to a Jesuit college and, in fact, had told my children that if they wanted to go to Boston College or Georgetown, or some other Jesuit-run institution, they would have to pay their own way. But my question is, what did he mean by Jesuitical? — D.D., via e-mail.
A. Jesuitical has two meanings, the first of which is tame, that is, “of or concerning the Jesuits.” The second meaning is pejorative, that is, “dissembling or equivocating, in the manner associated with Jesuits.”
Some members of the Society of Jesus are known for their circular reasoning in an effort to skirt around the clear meaning of some moral question. One might wonder, for example, if Pope Francis, a Jesuit, has engaged in some Jesuitical argumentation in not a few of his statements, particularly in Amoris Laetitia, where he phrased things in a way that could open the door for allowing those living in adultery to receive Holy Communion.
But a classic example of the Jesuitical approach was provided by Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal of Venezuela, the superior general of the Society of Jesus. In an interview in February 2017, Fr. Abascal was asked about the words of Jesus that said a divorced person who marries again commits adultery.
He responded that “there would have to be a lot of reflection on what Jesus really said. At that time, no one had a recorder to take down His words. What is known is that the words of Jesus must be contextualized. They are expressed in a language, in a specific setting; they are addressed to someone in particular.” Does this mean that all the words of Jesus must be reexamined and that they do not have an absolute value, he was asked.
“Over the last century in the Church,” Fr. Abascal replied, “there has been a great blossoming of studies that seek to understand exactly what Jesus meant to say….That is not relativism, but attests that the word is relative. The Gospel is written by human beings, it is accepted by the Church, which is made up of human persons. . . . So it is true that no one can change the word of Jesus, but one must know what it was!”
The Jesuit superior general said that he agrees with Pope Francis that it is not a case of doubt, but of “discernment.” He said that he is not doubting the word of Jesus, but rather “the word of Jesus as we have interpreted it. Discernment does not select among different hypotheses, but listens to the Holy Spirit, who — as Jesus has promised — helps us to understand the signs of God’s presence in human history.”
Asked if personal conscience, “after discernment, tells me I can receive Communion, even if the norm does not provide for it,” Abascal said:
“The Church has developed over the centuries, it is not a piece of reinforced concrete. It was born, it has learned, it has changed. That is why ecumenical councils are held, to try to bring developments of doctrine into focus. Doctrine is a word that I don’t like very much, it brings with it the image of hardness of stone. Instead, the human reality is much more nuanced; it is never black and white, it is in continual development.”

Q. In a recent issue of The Wanderer, a columnist said that “contrary to popular belief, there is nothing in the Diary of St. Faustina about going to Confession or receiving a complete pardon on Divine Mercy Sunday.” However, the enclosed information shows the contrary to be true. — C.R.K., Pennsylvania.
A. According to our copy of St. Faustina’s Diary, the Polish saint heard the words: “I desire that the first Sunday after Easter be the Feast of Mercy. . . . Ask of my faithful servant [her confessor Fr. Sopocko] that, on this day, he tell the whole world of My great mercy; that whoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete remission of sins and punishment” (nn. 299, 300). And in paragraph 699, Faustina says that she heard:
“My daughter, tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My Mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy.
“Every soul in its relation to Me will contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.”

Q. A Protestant friend of mine says that his Bible differs from my Catholic Bible in the number of books because the Catholic Church added seven books to the Bible. What is the truth about this? — R.B., via e-mail.
A. The truth is that seven Old Testament books — those of Judith, Tobit, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus (or Sirach), Baruch, and 1 and 2 Maccabees — were omitted from the canon of Scripture that was confirmed by the Catholic Church late in the fourth century. Here’s the background:
When the Old Testament was translated into Greek about two centuries before Christ by 72 Hebrew scholars (hence the description of this translation as the “Septuagint,” a word meaning “seventy”), it contained all 46 books that Catholics recognize today. But around the end of the first century AD, a group of rabbis in Palestine compiled an Old Testament canon that excluded the seven books mentioned above.
Jews and Protestants today use this Palestinian canon for their Old Testament, although some Protestant Bibles contain the seven books under the heading of “Apocrypha,” which to them means not inspired by God. There is no truth to the charge that the Catholic Church “added” these books to the Old Testament section of the Bible.
They were there at the time of Jesus, who frequently quoted from the Septuagint version. In fact, of the 350 quotations from the Old Testament that appear in the New Testament, 300 are from the Septuagint.
At the time of the Protestant revolt in the sixteenth century, men like Martin Luther made sure that the seven books remained excluded from the Old Testament, mainly because they contradicted Luther’s theories and opinions. The Right Rev. Henry Graham, in his book Where We Got the Bible, explained:
“He [Luther] had arrived at the principle of private judgment — of picking and choosing religious doctrines; and whenever any book, such as the Book of Maccabees, taught a doctrine that was repugnant to his individual taste — as, for example, that ‘it is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from sins,’ 2 Macc. xii, 46 — well, so much the worse for the book; ‘throw it overboard’ was his sentence, and overboard it went” (p. 45).
Msgr. Graham said that Luther also “mutilated” some books in the New Testament: “For example, not pleased with St. Paul’s doctrine, ‘we are justified by faith,’ and fearing lest good works (a Popish superstition) might creep in, he added the word ‘only’ after St. Paul’s words, making the sentence run: ‘We are justified by faith only’. . . . What surprises us is the audacity of the man that could coolly change by a stroke of the pen a fundamental doctrine of the Apostle of God, St. Paul, who wrote, as all admitted, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. But this was the outcome of the Protestant standpoint, individual judgment: no authority outside of oneself” (pp. 45-46).

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The deposit of faith has not been guarded, instead it has been fragmented & corrupted especially in the areas of marriage, family & sexuality. I pray that bishops & all Catholics will return anew to this font of revealed truth & pray for cleansing & renewal in God’s life & grace.

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Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

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Today . . .

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

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Catholic Replies

Q. I am a senior citizen who has a collection of old prayer books, holy cards, leaflets, and pamphlets, as well as large-size holy pictures that are nicely framed. I will be moving soon and our local St. Vincent de Paul thrift store is no longer there. Can you help me to find some person or organization who would be…Continue Reading

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