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July 16, 2021 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. The Bible seems to present two different images of God — the Old Testament God of anger and wrath and the New Testament God of love and mercy. How can we reconcile this? And how can we explain the destruction of tribes and nations in the Old Testament to make room for the Israelites? — W.R., Tennessee.
A. First of all, there were things that God permitted under the Old Law that we don’t find under the New Law. We are not saying that the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament; they are the same God. As Dr. Peter Kreeft has written:
“The opposition between nice Jesus and nasty Jehovah denies the very essence of Christianity: Christ’s identity as the Son of God. Let’s remember our theology and our biology: like Father, like Son. But is not God a lover rather than a warrior? No, God is a lover who is a warrior….In fact, every page of the Bible bristles with spears, from Gen. 3 through Rev. 20. The road from Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained is soaked with blood. At the very center of the story is a cross, a symbol of conflict if there ever was one. The theme of spiritual warfare is never absent in Scripture, and never absent in the life and writings of a single saint.”
Recall that it was “nice Jesus” who said that He had come to Earth to spread division, not peace, to set fathers against sons and sons against fathers, and mothers against daughters and daughters against mothers (cf. Luke 12:51-53). It was “nice Jesus” who called the scribes and Pharisees “blind fools” and “blind guides” and who compared them to “whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth” (Matt. 23:27). And it was “nice Jesus” who said that those who do not care for the poor and needy will be cast “into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41).
In explaining the extermination of tribes and nations in the Old Testament, Fathers Leslie Rumble and Charles Carty wrote in volume three of Radio Replies:
“The Jews had God Himself as their Supreme Ruler, even as regards their earthly welfare. Those who abandoned God for idolatry were guilty of treason, and punitive measures were justified. Also, they were giving themselves up to all manner of wickedness and immorality, and did not deserve to retain a life they were so abusing. God, therefore, the Supreme Author of life and death, decreed their extinction, but only after they had been afforded an opportunity to repent and return to Him. Those who refused to repent were to be put to death, and no tie of friendship was to hinder the execution of justice. . . .
“God is the Author of life, and we have no right to live longer than He wills. He who makes a thing has the right to unmake it, if it does not fulfill the purpose for which He made it. God has no obligation to keep rebellious men in existence, and He can appoint any given means of removing them from this world; above all, when it is supremely necessary to impress the gravity of man’s obligations upon others” (pp. 33-34).
Think of how many times those in the Old Testament rebelled against God after He rescued them from slavery in Egypt. How many times they disobeyed Him. How many times they created and worshiped false gods. How many times they turned their backs on Him and committed all kinds of evil deeds. Yes, God is loving and merciful toward those who repent of their sins. But He is angry and just toward those who refuse His love and who stubbornly and persistently oppose His teachings and lead others to do the same.
We sometimes wonder how much longer God will put up with the wickedness and immorality that is so rampant in our world today. How long before He lowers the boom on our corrupt civilization? Perhaps we have been spared thus far because, as St. Paul said, “Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more” (Romans 5:20). The grace of so many good people trying to keep His Commandments, praying the rosary daily, offering up their Masses and Communions for the Church and the world, and worshiping God in the Blessed Sacrament. Perhaps we will find out some day just how important these holy practices were in sparing our world from the Creator’s just judgment.

Q. Why are the bishops so reluctant to deny Holy Communion to public figures, like President Biden and Nancy Pelosi, who publicly and persistently reject Catholic teaching on such vital moral issues as abortion and same-sex behavior? How are we to respond to those bishops who say that to do so would be to “weaponize the Eucharist?” — F.A., via e-mail.
A. You would have to ask individual bishops why they are reluctant to deny Holy Communion to politicians who transgress vital moral teachings of the Catholic Church while claiming to be “devout Catholics.” Some bishops have long been in bed with the Democrat Party, and some of their pronouncements appear to have been lifted from the Democrat platform. Others fear the loss of billions of dollars in government grants to Catholic agencies if they single out those Catholic politicians who publicly advocate for the slaughter of the unborn and want to compel taxpayers to fund this slaughter by getting rid of the Hyde Amendment.
And still others, like Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, contend that denial of Holy Communion is nothing “other than the weaponization of Eucharist and an effort not to convince people by argument and by dialogue and by reason, but rather to pummel them into submission on the issue.” His statement comes after nearly fifty years of argument, dialogue, and reason that, as far as we know, has not persuaded a single pro-abortion Catholic legislator to come out against what Vatican II called an “unspeakable crime.” Wouldn’t you think that “devout Catholics” like Biden and Pelosi would follow the teachings of their Church on abortion? Isn’t that what it means to be a devout Catholic? Media defenders of these two politicos confirm the belief of the perpetrators of fake news that the only good Catholic is a bad Catholic.
Granted, no politician should be denied Holy Communion without his bishop having first spoken with him or her privately, seeking from them recognition of the evil of abortion and repentance for promotion of this evil. If repeated efforts to change the heart of the sinner (cf. Jesus’ advice in Matt. 18:15-17) are unsuccessful, and the sinner “obstinately persists[s] in manifest grave sin,” then the person is “not to be admitted to Holy Communion” (canon 915).
The Church isn’t weaponizing the Eucharist; Catholic politicians are. They are the ones who are saying that a person can repeatedly reject long-held Church teaching and still receive Holy Communion. But weren’t they taught since second grade that a Catholic must be in the state of grace, that is, free from serious sin, in order to receive Communion worthily? Aren’t they familiar with the warning of St. Paul that “whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. . . . For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Cor. 11:27-29)?
What Holy Mother Church is doing here is not just defending the right to life of the unborn; she is safeguarding the integrity of the Holy Eucharist. She is saying that one must not approach the sinless Lord while stained with sin, and not just the sin of abortion, but also any of the thirteen sins enumerated by Jesus in chapter seven of Mark’s Gospel, including unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, envy, deceit, licentiousness, and blasphemy. “All these evils come from within and they defile” a person, said Christ (Mark 7:23).
Giving Communion to those proudly promoting grave evils is scandalous because it will lead some Catholics into thinking that they, too, can go to Communion while in a state of mortal sin. It also jeopardizes the eternal salvation of the offending politicians by facilitating their repeated sins of sacrilege, that is, contemptuous abuse of the Holy of Holies.
Denying Holy Communion to manifest public sinners demonstrates that the Church’s mission is the salvation of souls, not appeasement of an aggressively secular culture.

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