Wednesday 16th October 2019

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October 4, 2019 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Editor’s Note: In past columns, we have stated that we will enjoy the company of family and friends in Heaven. This is confirmed by St. Cyprian, a fourth-century Father of the Church. A meditation from one of his letters appeared in the September issue of Magnificat. Among other things, the former bishop of Carthage said of the glory of Heaven:
“What will be that glory, and how great the joy of being admitted to the sight of God! To be so honored as to receive the joy of eternal light and salvation in the presence of Christ the Lord, your God! To greet Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the patriarchs, apostles, prophets, and martyrs! To rejoice with the just and with the friends of God in the Kingdom of Heaven, in the delight of the immortality that will be given! To receive there what eye has not seen nor ear heard, what has not entered into the heart of man!
“The Apostle predicts that we will receive even greater things than we perform or suffer here, when he says: The sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing with the brightness about to come upon us and which will be unveiled in us (Romans 8:18). When that unveiling has come and when the brightness of God shines about us, honored by the condescension of the Lord, we shall be as blessed and joyful.”

Q. I remember, as a child, being with my mother as she lighted candles in church by a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. What is the purpose, meaning, and value of lighting a candle in church? — E.S., New Jersey.
A. In her Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices, Ann Ball explains:
“Candles were and are commonly used before shrines toward which the faithful wish to show a special devotion. The candles burning their life out in front of a statue are symbols of prayer and sacrifice. The custom may have begun with the custom of burning lights at the tombs of the martyrs in the catacombs. There, lights were kept burning for periods of time as a sign of unity with the Christians who remained on earth” (p. 101).
In his Dictionary of the Liturgy, Fr. Jovian P. Lang, OFM, says that “symbolically, the candle represents Christ as the light of the world (Easter Vigil). Illumination by candlelight is usually a sign of joy.” He says that “a candle can be considered a sacramental, and it is burned by the faithful before relics, shrines, and images of Christ or the saints. As such it is a show of honor by the person who lights it, believing it is the proper way of offering thanksgiving or obtaining aid in seeking the fulfillment of a petition. Blessed candles are lit during storms; they burn during a person’s final hours, or are placed beside the corpse. The blessing of St. Blase occurs with two crossed candles” (pp. 79-80).

Q. With regard to the controversy over the words “lead us not into temptation” in the Our Father, could we not use what some French-speaking Catholics use? The French translation is, “let us not succumb to temptation.” Wouldn’t these words be less controversial than the words English-speaking Catholics use now? — R.C., Massachusetts.
A. Sure they would, but as Msgr. Charles Pope said recently, changing the words would obscure the fact that “while God does not directly tempt us to sin, He does lead us forth into life and into a world that has temptations and, as James says, when we have stood the test, we will receive the crown. God sends us forth with His graces, but will not cancel our life in order to preserve us from all temptations, trials, or difficulties. Rather, through Jesus He says, ‘In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33).”
Msgr. Pope said that “of course, God leads us into temptation, into tests and trials — for our own good! He does not Himself tempt us, but He permits some degree of it, assisted by His graces, in order that we grow and our virtues develop. In asking that He not lead us into temptation, we are asking that He not lead us there without sufficient graces.”
The Monsignor said that “changing the Our Father covers all this over and distorts the image of God as Father. ‘Lead us not into temptation’ is the most straightforward and linguistically accurate rendering of the Greek. . . . It should not be altered. Rather, we should alter our view of the Father and regain a better and more balanced notion of true fatherhood. Almost every commonly read English Bible renders it as ‘lead us not into temptation’ or ‘do not bring us into temptation.’ And for the good reasons already stated, leave it alone.”

Q. I need an explanation for 1 Tim. 3:1-13, where St. Paul talks about bishops being married and controlling their children, and also hints that women were deacons back then. – D.H., Iowa.
A. In footnotes to this passage in the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament, it says that “candidates for pastoral ministry should not be married more than once in their lifetime (3:12). Paul does not specify why, but his teaching elsewhere suggests (1) that widowers who remain unmarried will be better able to devote themselves to the Lord’s work (1 Cor. 7:8, 32-34) and (2) that widowers who pursue remarriage may be lacking the self-control expected of a minister of the Gospel (1 Cor. 7:9, 36-38).”
1 Tim. 3:5 logically assumes that if a married bishop cannot control his own family, how can he be expected to control his Church family?
Yes, there were married priests in the early Church, but priestly celibacy has been practiced in the Church since early in the fourth century (cf. The Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy by Christian Cochini). Recent Popes have reaffirmed this ancient tradition of the Church for these reasons:
First, it follows the example of Christ Himself, who promised great rewards to those who have “given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:29).
Second, it allows priests to focus exclusively on serving Christ and the Church, without at the same time worrying about wives or children. They are called to a higher fatherhood and have many more “spiritual children” than in an ordinary family. Married clergy in other religions, torn between their families and their congregations, have expressed appreciation for the celibacy required of Catholic priests.
Third, it provides space and time for serious prayer and development of a deep bond with Christ, whom the priest is called to share with the world.
Fourth, it is a foreshadowing of Heaven, where there will be no marriage.
And fifth, it is wonderful example of commitment and sacrifice under sometimes difficult circumstances, and it gives credibility to priests when they ask their people to make great sacrifices for God.
As for deaconesses in the early Church (cf. St. Paul’s reference to one named Phoebe in Romans 16:1), these women were not ordained. They assisted the clergy in charitable works and in their sacramental ministry when appropriate, for example, in the Baptism of female catechumens. This is confirmed in canon 19 of the Council of Nicaea in 325, which said that “we have made mention of deaconesses, who have been enrolled in this position, although, not having been in any way ordained, they are certainly to be numbered among the laity.”
Some 50 years later, Epiphanius wrote in his Panacea Against All Heresies:
“It is true that in the Church there is an order of deaconesses, but not for being a priestess nor for any kind of work of administration, but for the sake of the dignity of the female sex, either at the time of Baptism or of examining the sick or suffering, so that the naked body of a female may not be seen by men administering sacred rites, but by the deaconess.”
There have been hints in recent years about ordaining women as deacons, but it’s not going to happen, even in these crazy days. Those promoting this would then lobby for women priests, which Pope St. John Paul ruled out forever in an infallible pronouncement in 1994.

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Within 5 year of gay "marriage" being legal, we have:

* Transgender kids
* Gay sex taught to pre school
* 150 genders
* Drag Q. story hour
* Decriminalization of knowingly transmitting AIDS
* Grown men in girl's bathroom.

This is NOT progress. Not born that way
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Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

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Catholic Replies

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