Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Google Search #8 "Why do Catholics...Baptize Babies?"

This is the second in a series of articles which are based on the top 9 google searches which come after "Why do Catholics..." in the search suggestions. I start at the ninth and will work my way to #1. If you have follow-up questions or comments, please post them below.

The topic of today's blog is "Why do Catholics Baptize Babies?"

Obviously many people from various Christian traditions do not baptize infants. They say only adults or people of a certain age at least should be baptized because it has to be a conscious act as opposed to something that you are forced to do as an infant and have no choice over. They would say "how can somebody accept the Lord Jesus Christ unless they are of a certain age and can explicitly give consent?". However Catholics would say that the faith is passed down from parents to children and that the parents are the first teachers of their children.  Children do not necessarily need to give explicit permission for everything that is done to them. And as you will see there are many benefits of baptizing infants and potential pitfalls of neglecting to baptize them.

 When we look in the Bible one of the things that Jesus says over and over again is go and baptize all people in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. He further goes on to say that unless one is baptized that they cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Catholics throughout the centuries have taken these Commandments very seriously because he doesn't give an exception. Jesus does not say for example that unless a person is baptized "assuming they have reached the age where they can consent to baptism", they cannot be saved. No, instead the command to baptize everyone is explicit and no exceptions are given.

 We also can look at history and find that from very very early in the church, much before any Protestant denominations existed, infant baptism was the norm. All Christians practiced it. It was not until the Reformation that certain Christian sects began removing infant baptism and instead started practicing only adult baptism.  There are many sources of Christian literature that date back to the first one or two centuries of Christianity explaining infant baptism and how it is performed and it is seen as something that naturally occurs for all Christian families. I would suggest looking at the Wikipedia article on this subject because they go into great depth and give a very well-rounded explanation for this practice.

 But when you think about it on another level,  children do not verbally consent to anything until a later age and we must wait even longer before they are old enough to make an independent conscious decision to do something. However just because that is the case does not mean we withhold our culture and values and beliefs from a child until they are of the age where they can make a conscious and personal decision about it. For example we do not wait until a child is 12 or 13 years old to teach them what is right and wrong or to teach them about God or to teach them our language or values. We do that right from the very start when they're very young. Baptism is a form of initiation into the Christian family and into a relationship with God himself. Why would we withhold this amazing gift that God has provided to us just because this is a child who cannot explicitly consent to it. There are many examples of consent in our lives that do not apply to children. For example we would not withhold medicine from an infant simply because they cannot verbally consent to taking it. And if we listen to Jesus and he says baptism is necessary for salvation who are we to say "I think you forgot to mention that this only applies to people of a certain age, Jesus."

 Thank you for reading this article. If you have any questions or comments please by all means feel free to leave them down below. In terms of the article I was referencing on Wikipedia that can be found here.

Monday, February 20, 2017

REAL ARTICLE: Google Search #9 "Why do Catholics...Confess to a Priest?"

Sorry about my last article earlier this morning which didn't publish. Here is the real article. I hope you enjoy. Please leave comments and questions below:

This is the first in a series of articles which are based on the top 9 google searches which come after "Why do Catholics..." in the search suggestions. I start at the ninth and will work my way to #1. If you have follow-up questions or comments, please post them below.

The topic of today's blog is "Why do Catholics Confess to a Priest?"

As a child, the concept of confession to a priest always seems someone scary. It seemed like you would go into a dark room and there would be a priest on the other end and you would be very terrified and you would have to reveal all of your embarrassing secrets and once you were done the priest would sit in judgement and tell you just how terrible and horrible of a person you were. Afterwards he would probably go and tell other people all of the stuff you had done and anytime after that whenever you saw him in public he would look at you judgmentally.

 However after I experienced my very first confession which I admit I do not remember very well I can tell you that this is not what happened at all. I felt good about doing it. But as years went by there have been long periods of time where I did not go to confession. But I can guarantee you that every time I do I feel really good about myself. It's practically indescribable how good one feels after confessing one's sins and feeling completely forgiven by God.

 Obviously so far I'm just talking about emotions. But my first point as to the legitimacy of the sacrament of confession is the emotional and spiritual benefits that we derive from it. At first many people are skeptical about it, they fear the worst. But once they experience love and forgiveness it is an indescribable feeling that you can attain nowhere else. One thing I often say is that many people are willing to spend a lot of money speaking to psychologists or therapists or psychiatrists or a whole multitude of people who are willing to listen. They put forth their problems and the professional listens to them and give them advice on how to live a better and happier life. People who are cognizant of mortal sins they have committed generally feel bad about those. And they want to go somewhere where they can get them off their chest and receive spiritual counseling and get back into the grace of God.

 Many people object to the institution of the sacrament of confession because they say there is no need to go to a man to confess your sins. They say why not simply go directly to God? But again I would ask in response the same question rhetorically when it comes to psychologist: Why must we go to speak to somebody about any mental or psychological issues that we are having? Why not just find information at a library and solve the problem ourselves? But for anybody who has ever experienced a powerful negative emotion can tell you, trying to completely resolved an issue totally on your own can sometimes be very difficult if not impossible.

I would like to add a caveat to say that according to Catholic theology forgiveness obviously can be given directly from God and we do not need to go to confession to receive forgiveness. However this applies under certain circumstances and certain conditions. For example your contrition must be perfect. This can sometimes be difficult to attain.

 Also it is very important to remember that according to Catholic theology it is not the man called a priest who is forgiving your sins. It is God himself. In fact according to Catholic teaching there is only one priest and that is Jesus Christ and the men we call priests are actually acting in the name and in the person of Jesus Christ himself becoming somewhat his hands and feet on this Earth. It is the same thing when the priest is saying the prayers of consecration to change the bread and wine into the body and blood soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. The priest is not doing this by his own power but rather he is re-presenting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary. Therefore Jesus is not being sacrificed again and again at every Mass but rather the one and only sacrifice is being  re-presented to us in the modern day. Everything the priest is doing is done in what's called Persona Christi which means in the Person of Christ. It's as if Christ himself is doing it. Therefore when a person goes to confession and the priest hears the confession and gives him absolution he is doing so in the Person of Jesus Christ and not by his own power.

I can imagine at this point that many people are asking where is the proof of this from the Bible? The main biblical proof for the existence of confession is when Jesus Christ tells his followers to tell their sins to one another. He is specifically talking to the apostles who he is giving a special Ministry to. Through Apostolic succession other Bishops retain his power which Jesus intended to pass down after he had departed from the Earth. Therefore he is telling the new apostles to listen to sins. Also he tells the same apostles that they have the power to forgive sins on Earth. But again we must always remember and stress that it is not the apostles or Bishops or priests themselves who are forgiving the sins but God himself. Many times throughout the Bible it is said that only God can forgive sins and therefore we do not contradict this because we do not claim that it is the actual man, the priest, who is himself forgiving sins.

 This is just a brief overview of some of my thoughts about the sacrament of confession. Obviously there are thousands of more pages that could be and have been written about this subject already. So by all means if you're looking for anything else please go look for it. If you would like specific biblical references to any of the allegations I have made please feel free to ask me for them in the comments section below. Also keep in mind comments can be anonymous, you do not need to register in order to leave a comment on my blog. I thank you very much for stopping by today and I will be posting a new question and answer tomorrow as we count down the top 9 things people have searched for in relation to why Catholics do certain things.

Sorry about Lack of Article

Hey guys, there was supposed to be an article today about why Catholics confess to a priest. Unfortunately I didn’t publish it in time. It should be available later tonight or tomorrow morning. The other articles in the series should be available on time. Sorry about any inconvenience!

Google Search #9 "Why do Catholics...Confess to a Priest?"

This is the first in a series of articles which are based on the top 9 google searches which come after "Why do Catholics..." in the search suggestions. I start at the ninth and will work my way to #1. If you have follow-up questions or comments, please post them below.

The topic of today's blog is "Why do Catholics Confess to a Priest?"

Friday, February 03, 2017


An extremely disturbing and worrisome trend that I have been seeing over the past couple of years is people having much more concern, love, and compassion for animals than they do for human beings. This is extremely worrying and troubling because it means that our values as a society are completely screwed up. Just yesterday I was watching a movie called XXX starring Vin Diesel as Xander Gear. As they are introducing one of the female characters they showed her with a rifle pointed towards a lion in Africa. The lion was in the crosshairs and it seemed as if she was about to shoot the lion but then she moved her scope over slightly to see three human beings. They were carrying bows and arrows and we're about to shoot a lion. What did she do? Well of course she shot the humans. One she shot the gun out of his hand and the other she just shot in the leg and then she proudly declared that she was making the playing field more even and implied that the three humans would now be eaten by the lion. This produced for her a large amount of pleasure and joy in the thought that this lion would now feast upon its potential killers.

I'm assuming most people feel exactly the same way as this and that's why I'm so disturbed with this trend in our society. In the Book of Genesis God clearly places human beings above all animals and says that we are the stewards of animals and that they are part of our dominion over the Earth. However we have completely reversed this to the point where a human life is practically meaningless to most people and they would much rather see a human or many humans being killed than an animal. We witnessed this back when Cecil the lion was killed by a hunter. Now keep in mind having a regulated lion hunt which brings in tens of millions of dollars and is very specific about what people are allowed to kill can actually be hugely beneficial to the overall lion population. This is something I've talked about at length in other areas and you can look up information about this on the internet. But that's not the point I want to make here because even if there is no overall economic value to killing a lion we should not feel as if killing a lion or any other animal for that matter is anywhere near equal to killing a human being which is far far worse. One of the Ten Commandment is Thou shalt not murder. But when they say this they're not referring to animals because animals cannot be murdered per se. Animals can be killed but they cannot be murdered because murder involves one person killing another.

 One of the reasons that most people now value the lives of animals more than humans is because they have no moral basis on which to make decisions. They do not understand that human beings have a very special relationship with God because they are born and will live for all of eternity hopefully with God who created them. Animals on the other hand lack rationality and are not fully aware of their own existence and therefore they do not live forever but their animal soul dies when they die. Because people have no basis in morality anymore, they have no way of telling what is more valuable than anything else. They believe that all animals are more important and more valuable than human beings which is absolutely sad and will lead to tragic consequences. One of the things that I've noticed is that many people who become animal rights activists do not do so because they care so much about animals but because they have a deep hatred for humans I was at work one time and a lady said that if she sees a video of a human being being injured or killed, most of the time she will burst out laughing. However if she ever sees a video of an animal being hurt in any way shape or form she will break down sobbing and become very upset. This is an extremely anti-human position to take.

 In the Book of Genesis God gives humans dominion over the entire Earth and tells them to use the Earth to advance their own cause. We are in control of all of the animals of the earth and have dominion over all of them. But sadly we are losing our value for human life. That's one of the reasons why abortion is so prevalent and also know euthanasia is becoming completely out of control. It's sad and disgusting that we will care more about random animals then we will about our fellow human beings. Often the same people who are out advocating on behalf of dumb animals will at the same time advocate euthanizing anybody who they do not want to take care of or do not have time for any more. Let's end this absolute hatred of human beings and start living as God wants us to live once again.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Breaking news


Explosion in France. Not trying to have the details yet. Continue to follow this story to find out more.


Today I received a question from a reader of the blog in reference to the article found here. Here was the question:

Interesting thoughts to have stumbled upon, that birth control is completely immoral for a practicing Catholic. However, I don't think it's as black or white as that.How about in cases where a woman is on certain medications that would prevent healthy pregnancies (for the baby and/or mother), yet they are married? Should they never be intimate with their spouse? Or risk their (or future child's) health? I think of course the answer should be "no."It's not exactly a common case, of course, but some women, after having certain cancers or hormonal conditions are put on birth control pills for optimal health and well-being. Sometimes this is just for a short time, but for others, it's for years. Where would the Catholic church stand on this, in your opinion?

According to Catholic doctrine, birth control cannot be used as an artificial way of preventing pregnancy. However, if a medication is prescribed to treat a particular condition, and as an unintended side effect, prevents pregnancy, then it is morally licit. So it all goes back to the purpose. Kind of like taking drugs to get high would be immoral, but taking drugs to treat an ailment which incidentally caused the person to be high, that would not be immoral.

With regards to the other question, if a woman knew for certain that giving birth to a child could cause damage or problems for her or her child, then this would be a legitimate reason to avoid having sex during fertile times in order to reduce the chance of conception. It would also be acceptable to refrain from sex altogether. The church accepts people understanding their bodies and fertility and doing what is necessary to avoid pregnancy. This does not violate natural law. Sort of like if you knew eating late at night causes weight gain and you avoid this, that is not wrong. But purging after eating would probably not be considered okay.

Again, with adequately serious reasons, Catholics are permitted to take steps to avoid pregnancy, which do not involve artificially altering the way the human body functions.

Hope this helps. If anyone has any further questions, let me know!

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Catholic Mass is sometimes a FREE FOR ALL

Have you ever watched a movie which shows a Catholic Church? Usually it is somewhat dark with beautiful architecture all around. You can see a section where there are many candles lit, there are statues and icons of many things all over the place. There are beautiful wooden pews and there are people all around in the pews kneeling down praying silently. Some are probably attending Eucharistic adoration and worshiping Jesus Christ in the holy sacrament. There may even be incense. There is a deep spirituality happening in these scenes. It is a place to go for contemplation, to feel God's presence and to reflect on life.

 Well if you're looking for such a place I suggest that you find them in movies because lately these scenes do not often reproduce themselves and real life very much anymore. Usually when I walk into a Catholic Church people are talking and laughing and shaking hands and patting others on the back and telling jokes and so on. The sad part is that this doesn't just happen before Mass or after Mass this happens during Mass! There is almost no sense of reverence whatsoever. That's why I like to say that Catholic Mass with the vernacular translation and with the catchy homilies by the priest has become basically a free-for-all.

 Today I went to mass and they were having multiple baptisms at the same time. Baptisms are one of the worst times to go if you want to see people acting as they should. During the entire mass in which their child will be baptized into the sacrament of initiation of the Catholic church and become part of the body of Christ, most of the people in attendance again are laughing and joking and telling jokes and playing with the baby and talking very loudly and not paying any attention whatsoever. My question is why are they even there? I think a lot of the time it's because the grandmother or grandfather of the child insists that the child be baptized and that's what happens. But these people have no interest or no information or no knowledge about the church whatsoever and so their presence is just a token appearance. They have no interest or intention of ever continuing to attend mass in any way shape or form. They are simply there to placate the desires of their parents by having the children baptized.

 But I suspect that this may also be the logic behind why so many people act so inappropriately during mass. Even today just before communion actually I saw a woman popping gum or some other form of food into her mouth. It wasn't even as if she had accidentally come into the church with gum in her mouth. She specifically put gum into her mouth right before going up for communion. This is basically a sacrilege and completely unacceptable and wrong.

 I understand that many priests nowadays have this extreme desire to appear hip and trendy and to be seen as a social justice warrior and so on. But these behaviors and activities must end and they must end immediately. People need to be informed on a daily basis that they are attending the holy sacrifice of the mass that was instituted by Jesus Christ and his re presentation of his passion and Death on the cross at Calvary for our salvation. If people actually understood this would they really be telling jokes and laughing out loud in such a context? I really sincerely doubt it. And if they do continue to laugh and joke and carry on even after they understand the meaning of what is happening I think they need to be told by the priests to get out of there. I can already see people's response to what I am saying. They are shocked and aghast that I would ever suggest somebody be told to leave the church. But is this a Catholic Church where we are presenting the body and blood soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ? Or is this some kind of bar downtown where we can go and have a few drinks with buddies and make a few jokes? Well if it's the former then it's really not out of place to tell somebody who has no idea what's going on to leave. There's really no point in even being there if you have no interest in it.

 But as usual I would really like to hear what you have to say on this topic so please add your comments below and we'll continue this whole discussion in the comments section. Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch: a true pro-life judge!

I'm so glad to see that President Donald Trump has appointed Neil Gorsuch as nominee for Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Gorsuch has a reputation for being very pro-life and in favor of religious liberty. For example he ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby in their lawsuit to prevent them from having to provide contraception even though it was against the religion of the owners of the company. Also he prevented group of nuns from being forced to pay for contraception which was mandated by Obamacare.

Gorsuch is only 49 years old and so we can expect many decades of this pro-life Advocate being on the Supreme Court. And if all goes well Roe versus Wade will be brought back before the court and a new ruling will be made in which case it is very possible that it could be overturned in abortion could be made illegal in the United States of America. We can only hope.

Looks line Gorsuch's Prolife Credentials are Legit!

Trump Selects Supreme Court Justice: Neil Gorsuch

Breaking News!! Trump has chosen a new supreme court justice. Judge Neil Gorsuch.

More to come on his prolife credentials later.


[VIDEO] Bishop Violently Attacked by Thug DURING MASS!

Very shocking and disturbing video has emerged from New Jersey of Bishop Manuel Aurelio Cruz being punched in the face during Mass by an assailant identified as Charles Miller who is aged 48 years old and a citizen of Newark. Charles Miller apparently had no criminal record before this incident. In the video Mr. Miller just casually saunters up to the altar and people immediately become very suspicious because parishioners should not be approaching the altar at this time during the Mass. Then all of a sudden out of nowhere Mr. Miller attacks the priest by punching him in the face. Very fortunately there were guardian angels in the form of police officers immediately available to end the altercation. Although Bishop Cruz has been able to since address the congregation about the incident he nonetheless had injuries which resulted in him needing 30 stitches in his face and also many of his teeth became loose.

Of course because our mind have been poisoned to believe that all Catholic priest abuse children many people are assuming that Mr. Miller was once an altar boy and that he was sexually assaulted by Bishop Cruz. But there is absolutely not one shred of evidence for this assertion but I guess people will continue to believe whatever they want to believe. The fact of the matter is that Catholic priests were no more likely to abuse children than anybody else and any other denomination or religion. In fact, many studies have suggested that the incidence was in fact lower. But we also know that the priests who did these things were horrible, horrendous people who deserve strict punishment and that most of them were gay and that's why they targeted boys as opposed to girls.

 My only caution is not to just jump on the bandwagon and believe that Bishop Cruz was abusing anybody in his role as priest or bishop. This is jumping to conclusions and making assumptions that are not validated and this is extremely unChristian Behavior.

Catholic Response to TRUMP Bans 7 Countries

So a lot of people are very upset with Donald Trump's newest announcement that he will be banning people from 7 different countries.  The countries that are being banned include Iran Iraq Syria Sudan Libya Yemen and Somalia. These countries have been known to export dozens of  terrorists into other countries who have committed savage acts of violence.  However some people say the US has no business Banning people from entire countries. It should be done on a case-by-case basis. For instance if somebody is determined to be a terrorist or have terrorist ties then it will be legitimate to ban that particular person but not to ban an entire country.

 There are a number of problems and things that people are not looking at the situation. First of all no country has a moral obligation to accept any and all refugees from any other place in the world. It is a Prudential judgment how many people a particular country will take in. This can be debated. For one thing Donald Trump won the election which means that he was given a mandate by the People based on what he said he would do during the election. One of his promises was to ban Muslims until we can figure out what exactly is going on and help us to deal with the situation. People decided that this was the best thing to do in this case and they voted for him and now that's what he's banning some people on a limited basis. Again this doesn't affect moral teachings in this area because this is a prudential judgment. We are not obliged to take in every and all refuge in the entire world.

 Secondly, reports from Gallup and others have indicated that approximately 138 million people would and really want to come to United States to live as immigrants. However each year the United States takes in just 1 million people which represents .7% of the total who applied. This means that the United States refuses immigration to 99.3% of people who want to come. Obviously the country must arbitrarily decline Millions upon millions of applications to become immigrants. To me it does not seem overly crazy for the United States to ban people from a few countries that have been known to support and export terrorists into other countries. Another way to look at it is to realize that beforehand the United States was banning 99.3% of immigrants into the country. Now they are increasing that to 100% for certain countries. It's not as if the US was taking every single Refugee from all around the world and now they've suddenly stopped taking anybody from anywhere. The chances already of entering the United States as an immigrant were infinitesimally small.

 The people  who have a real moral obligation to take care of refugees are the actual countries themselves where the refugees live. We must make sure to place the blame on what is causing all of these refugees in the first place. For instance there are wars being caused by Islamic extremists which are displacing millions of people. We have to realize that the Islamic extremists are the people to blame not the United States or Donald Trump just because he doesn't want to allow terrorists to come into the country.

 Anyway as usual many Catholics and Christians in general have made the question of immigration and allowing and refugees the number one issue in their faith. But this is far from the truth. We must more than ever focus on being good moral and decent people. If you want to help somebody else, clothe the naked or feed the hungry please go ahead and do so but that does not mean that if somebody does not want to take in people from certain regions of the world which have been known to sponsor terrorism that that makes them a bad person no more than you not inviting every single person you meet into your home to live there makes you an evil person.

 Plus we are entering into the realm of prudential judgement which means that there can be a legitimate debates among Catholics on this issue. This is unlike abortion where there is no room for legitimate debate on that topic. It's morally wrong and that's all there is to it. However when it comes to immigration and accepting refugees that is a different story. In those cases we must follow our conscience is to decide what is the most moral way to proceed but we cannot vilify others just because they do not share our opinions. I've heard some pretty awful nasty things coming from so-called Christians and Catholics on this issue. They will call anybody who disagrees with them Hitler and they will say that anybody who supports immigration limits are the same as Hitler. Well I want to make 100% clear that Hitler actually slaughtered millions of innocent people. If all Hitler did was prevented immigration into Germany from certain other countries nobody would even know his name anymore. So let's calm down the rhetoric and try to have some good will towards other people who may not share our opinions word-for-word.

Monday, January 30, 2017

"More things Jesus never said":

TRUMP stands up for Christians

Yesterday, Sunday, January 29, 2017, trump wrote the following:

He's absolutely right! According to the Center for the Study of New Religions, in 2016, Christians were the most persecuted religion in the world. 90,000 Christians were executed for their faith. Obama pretty much did nothing. Our Canadian Prime Minister doesn't even care about Christians who are being persecuted. He has focused exclusively on bringing in Muslims into the country.

I think a lot of people are upset because Donald Trump is challenging this view of many people that all religions are absolutely identical. So saying that we need to stand up for Christians who are being persecuted more than any other religion is really terrible to these people. They somehow think specifically mentioning the plight of Christians will diminish their belief that all religions are the same despite the fact that they are absolutely and completely different in practically every way.

Christians have a view of the universe and of God which is very spiritual and goes beyond our human nature. However Muslims do not have the same view. Islam is a very human religion which sees God as sort of a master and that we must serve him or we will be punished severely. However if we obey our Heavenly master then we will be rewarded with lots of food and virgins and all of our carnal desires will be fulfilled.

Christians have a much more spiritual and transcendent view of the afterlife and the rewards that are in store for those who follow God's will. Another difference is that Islam would find it repulsive to call God Father. They do not see God as a father but as a harsh master who is punishing people for disobeying him. Christians obviously on the other hand see God is a loving father who is loving them so much that he would do anything for them including giving his only son to die for them so that they could have eternal life in spiritual union with God.

It's so refreshing to finally have a president of the United States who is willing to call things what they are. He says that Christians are suffering and he actually uses the word Christian. He doesn't just say many people of various different faiths or something very generic like that. He points them out and he names them. Secondly he points to the root cause of so many of our world problems which is Islam. He doesn't beat around the bush and call it "other people" or radicalism or some other generic euphemism. He comes right out and calls it what it is - Islamic extremism.

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Photo Credit: CBC News
There are very few details yet, but it seems not long ago, there was a shooting at a Quebec City mosque. One report says there are 5 dead. This happened in Quebec City, which is in the province of Quebec in Canada. In total there are about 250,000 Muslims in the province of Quebec out of a total of about 8.18 million, or about 3%.

Quebec was once the hub of Canadian Catholicism, but since the 60s, Quebec has turned strongly against the Church. There was a massive revolt. It's so bad that most Quebecois swear words are words from Catholicism, such as references to the tabernacle, the wounds of Christ, the chalice of Holy Communion and more.

Let's hope this incident is now over.

More information here:
Globe and Mail
Global News

Thursday, January 26, 2017

What I think faithful Catholics want to see from Pope Francis

Pope Francis needs to focus way more on speaking to the faithful about personal sanctity and how to achieve peace and joy in our lives. He seems to spend an awful lot of time talking about the environment or calling pro-lifers and people who like the traditional Latin Mass “rigid” and other mean words. Basically any traditional Catholic can find himself at the end of a critical comment by the pontiff. What’s going on with this? A couple of days ago, he issued a statement about the US election where he insinuated that Trump’s rise is the same as HitIer’s and we must be very weary of Trump as president for the same reasons. I don’t recall him mentioning anything about how Trump is pro-life and has ended funding for international ab0rtions.

The thing I also find is that the pope will say pro-lifers and traditional Catholics are rigid and mean-spirited and not loving enough, but then he will say things like capitalism is the greatest evil, and just use very over the top language when describing people or behaviors he doesn’t like. He bashed anyone who questioned his encyclical about giving communion to divorced and remarried Catholics. So while he is saying some people are mean, he acts very meanly himself.

I think part of the blame lies in the reporting that we hear. Whether or not the pope is aware, the media yearns for stories of dissent, or for any indication the Church will accept their immoral views. So those stories are widely reported with glee. The pope has issued strong statements opposing ab0rtion and many lgbt causes, but these are less reporter and often when they are it’s in the context of something like “although he has said x, the pope is changing the direction of the church”.

As I’ve said before I think the pope should stick to official pronouncements and seek to avoid confusion rather than adding confusion through off the cuff interviews on an airplane or issuing encyclicals and denouncing anyone who asks questions about it. These actions add confusion which we definitely don’t need right now.

Monday, January 09, 2017

The Young Pope: My Review

First of all, I want to mention that I haven't watched all episodes of this new show called "The Young Pope" yet. In fact, I have not watched complete episodes. What I have watched is a large selection of 1-5 minute clips available on YouTube of this show.

The show seems somewhat interesting from a fictional point of view. But I think it's very far from reality. As with most shows and movies from secular sources, they portray the Vatican, the pope, and cardinals in a very particular way. Let me know explain.

In most fictional portrayals of the Holy See, the pope and cardinals are seen as very and exclusively political. They have little, if any, spiritual aspect whatsoever. Usually cardinals are scheming and plotting in order to advance their own causes. They are seeking most power, but also wealth and notoriety. These "church politicians" have people blackmailed, assaulted, or even killed to advance their evil. Plus they are so powerful, little can be done about it.

This particular series is no different. It is produced by Sky and HBO, and it has a clear resemblance with the Sopranos, also produced by HBO. The pope, played by Jude Law, is ambitious, rigid, and Machiavellian. He is a control freak and power hungry. He is not very Christ-like.

The activity within the Vatican seem no different than within a political party or something portrayed on West Wing, except in West Wing the characters aren't nearly as evil.

In the show, the pope and cardinals discuss doctrine as if it is as changeable as the policies of any political party. For example, the pope and a bishop who was almost elected are discussing abortion. But the way they talk about it was the bishop was urging the pope to change the Church's teaching on abortion. To say that it's not the intentional killing of a human person and therefore murder. They made it seem like the pope, on a whim, could easily just change the Church's teaching.

This betrays a complete lack of understanding of how doctrine works. It's not a "coincidence" that most popes don't change anything with regards to doctrine. Rather, once something is declared a doctrine it does not change. The only things that are changeable are disciplines. For example, not eating meat on Friday is a form of penance and practice, but not an eternal moral law. Therefore, a pope, or the church in general can change this teaching. But the Church does not see itself as having the ability to change the teaching on murder or abortion or marriage, or other issues such as this. I hope that makes sense.

The sad part about all of this is that people are left with completely incorrect views of how the Church functions and the people in it. The pope isn't a politician who can change any law, no more than a physicist can change any law of physics, even if he is the head of a department. Also, after watching the show, many non-Catholics and fallen away Catholics are left with the impression that the pope and cardinals, and others in the Church are conniving, ambitious, immoral people, which is very far from the truth. To see why, we need look no further than the last several centuries of popes to see their personal holiness which is usually exemplary.

For example, both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI were known for living very simply. JPII didn't even usually remember what he ate because he was too focused on his dinner guests. They had small rooms and did not live in luxury. To improve himself spiritually, John Paul II would even use a discipline or small whip to "mortify" his flesh. These great holy men would pray (and in the case of Benedict XVI continue to pray) for hours daily for the needs of the Church and the world.

The papacy is not somewhere a traditionally ambitious person would want to end up. Most of a pope's days are spent entertaining guests and dignitaries, attending events and making big decisions. When a bishop is first elected pope, he goes to a room to get his outfit. This room has been dubbed the Room of Tears, given that most new popes break down in tears upon realizing the huge responsibility they are now charged with. Pope Benedict XVI made clear his desire not to be pope, but when elected anyway, he accepted.

On the bright side, it is possible that if people find this show interesting, they may seek more information themselves. Perhaps in their search they will find the truth and be attracted to it.