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August 23, 2019 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Editor’s Note: Are you looking for some solid Catholic books for your high school religious education program, books that have been found to be in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Then you should get copies of the five-volume Catholicism Series. The topics covered include the Creed and Apologetics (Catholicism & Reason), the Commandments and Sacraments (Catholicism & Life), Salvation History (Catholicism & Scripture), Marriage & Family (Catholicism & Society), and Medical-Moral Issues (Catholicism & Ethics).
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Q. When a friend saw me coming out of Mass on the Feast of the Assumption, she asked why Catholics believe in the Assumption since the word does not appear in the Bible. What could I have said to her? — A.M.G., via e-mail.
A. You might have said that not everything Catholics believe is explicitly mentioned in the Bible. For example, you won’t find the words “Trinity” or “Purgatory” in the Bible, but there is clear evidence in Scripture for both of these doctrines. Neither will you find mention of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, which means that she was free from original sin from the moment of her conception in the womb of her mother, St. Anne. This dogma is not explicitly stated in Scripture, but it can be inferred from the words of the Angel Gabriel, who addressed our Lady as “full of grace” (Luke 1:28).
If Mary was full of grace at the time of the angel’s visit, then she was full of God’s divine life and completely free from all sin, including original sin. Jesus granted her this privilege because He wanted to be born of a pure and sinless mother.
Our belief in the Assumption of Mary into Heaven is a corollary to the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. The reasoning behind this other Marian dogma is that, since Mary was free from original sin, and the corruption of the grave is a consequence of that sin, she did not suffer that corruption. It is not unreasonable to think that Jesus would want His Mother to share in His bodily glorification since it was her body that sheltered Him for nine months.
Publicly stated belief in this doctrine can be traced back at least to the sixth century, when St. Gregory of Tours wrote that the Lord Jesus came to Earth at the end of Mary’s life and commanded that her holy body “be taken in a cloud into Paradise, where now, rejoined to the soul, it rejoices with the Lord’s chosen ones, and is in the enjoyment of the good of an eternity that will never end.”
While the Church from her earliest days believed in the bodily Assumption of Mary into Heaven, it was not until 1950 that Pope Pius XII, after consulting with bishops all over the world, infallibly proclaimed as a divinely revealed dogma that “the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”
There is an interesting sidelight to this in that the Holy Father also witnessed, like the thousands of people in Fatima, a miracle of the sun just before and after his proclamation of the Assumption. He said that he observed this solar phenomenon four times — on October 30 while walking in the Vatican gardens, on October 31 and November 1, the day he defined the dogma, and on November 8, but never again. Perhaps our Lady was showing her approval for Pius XII’s action by granting him a miracle similar to the one in Fatima on October 13, 1917.

Q. One thing that has puzzled me is why people who say they are against abortion don’t want pictures shown of what happens to the baby in an abortion. They say the pictures are too gruesome and will turn people off. Can you give me an answer to this objection? — M.C., Florida.
A. Having been in the pro-life movement for a long time, we have never been persuaded by this argument. If not showing pictures of aborted babies is the way to bring about an end to abortion, why does the abortion total continue to go up? What has the polite approach accomplished since Roe v. Wade in 1973? How many babies have been saved? How many on the “pro-choice” side have had their minds changed by sparing them the horrible pictures?
It reminds us of being told by sincere pro-lifers not to use the word “murder” when talking about abortion because that was too harsh a word. The dictionary defines murder as killing a human being “unlawfully and with premeditated malice.” But isn’t that what abortion really does? And no Supreme Court decision can make murder legal, anymore than the court was right when it made slavery and segregation legal.
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. That was certainly true during the civil rights protests of the sixties. How many people were influenced by seeing demonstrators hit with fire hoses or menaced by dogs? Or think of the effect that pictures had on the American people during the height of the Vietnam War. Who can forget the photo of the naked little girl running down the streets of Saigon, or the policeman shooting a man in the head? Pictures like these helped to turn the American people against the war.
What do you think would happen if more people knew exactly what the word “abortion” means, and what an aborted child looks like? Difficult as it may be to believe, a lot of people still have no idea of what abortion really is. This atrocity is sanitized with such euphemisms as “termination of pregnancy” or “reproductive health care.”
When popular author and speaker Ben Shapiro was asked at a college event what he thought the best debate tactic against a pro-abortion person would be, he responded: “Show them a picture of a dead baby. End of story.”
These pictures might be “uncouth,” said Shapiro, but “they’re true. The fact is that people have a ‘You Ruined My Day Syndrome,’ which is that they don’t want to see things that are ugly in everyday life, and if you show them things that are ugly, they get upset. Well, you have to make people feel not morally superior for wanting to kill kids — and these are kids.”
He recalled walking past a pro-life exhibit at the 2012 Democratic Convention, and “they were there with these pictures of aborted babies. And I walked past and thought what most people from big cities thought — ‘Wow, how gauche!’ I mean, those are ugly pictures; should I really have to look at that in the public square? That’s really ugly, and then I realized that’s probably how people treated pictures of slavery back in the 1850s; that’s probably how people treated pictures of the Holocaust in the 1940s.
“The bottom line is that maybe if it’s that ugly, you should do something about it instead of whining about how ugly it is. It’s not a matter of personal choice. I have a stake in whether my neighbor gets murdered, and I have a stake in whether my neighbor’s baby gets murdered, too.”

Q. Regarding the question of what to do with religious items when someone is cleaning out their home, my mother’s house had an abundance of old Bibles, statues, rosaries, etc. Because I thought many of them had been blessed, I did not want them to get into the hands of someone who might misuse them. I was able to give them to a priest, who assured me that he would place them in a casket at a funeral, and they would be buried with the deceased person. I understand that this is proper, especially for torn or broken religious items. — M.A.M., via e-mail.
A. Thank you for your suggestion. Thank you also to those who wrote in with suggestions in answer to the original letter about disposition of religious items. We forwarded your names to the reader who asked for help.

Q. In a recent column, you addressed the question of the meaning of the Archangel Michael’s name (“who is like God”) as if “who” in the English translation was a relative pronoun. I am pretty sure it is an interrogative pronoun, the name being, like many Hebrew names, a whole sentence, translatable as “Who is like God?” So the question of in what way Michael is like God does not arise. Many artistic depictions of him show him with a shield inscribed “Quis Sicut Deus?” — A.W.T., via e-mail.
A. Thank you for your comments.

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I wonder how someone becomes an abortion doctor

Like what's going on in your mind when you choose that as your career

"Kill some babies? Hmmm.. yeah I guess I can see myself doing that for the next 30 or so years"

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Missouri AG refers 12 former Catholic priests for potential prosecution after abuse probe

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American Catholics Must Stand with Hong Kong

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Survey on Catholic belief in the Eucharist prompts calls for better catechesis

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Kamala Harris’ “Medicare for All” Plan Will Force Americans to Fund Abortions

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Pew report: Only half of America’s Catholics know what the Church teaches about Communion

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Tucker Carlson: big business is now at war against your family

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

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  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. There appears to be some speculation that Pope John Paul I was murdered during the Vatican Bank/Mafia scandal in the late Seventies, especially in the actions of Jean-Marie Cardinal Villot, who appeared shortly after the Pope’s death and essentially was responsible for cleaning and removing all possible evidence from the Holy Father’s bedroom. Your input, please. — R.B.K., via…Continue Reading

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Catholic Replies

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