Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
Some people think the tornado in Joplin, the fire in Slave Lake, Alberta, the Earthquake in Japan, etc. are all caused by God to show his displeasure in humanity or that particular community. I would like to state my objection to such notions and my belief that they are contrary to our Catholic faith.
God IS the initial cause of all things on Earth, so in a sense he is responsible for hurricanes. But it is important to distinguish between God's permissive will, which are things God allows to happen but does not cause, and his ordained will, which are things God specifically wills and acts to create.
I think these natural disasters easily fall under the category of God's permissive will. He set into motion the laws of physics which govern how to world works. These include volcanoes, earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, floods, etc. They may seem to cause a lot of destruction, but they are necessary for the Earth to function properly. Without these natural occurrences, the Earth simply would not exist at all.
It may seem bad to us, but ultimately it's a good thing. For another example, let's look at nature. Sometimes things look messy or unpleasant, like when a lion kills an antelope. There's lots of blood and the antelope dies. But in the long run this is a good thing because it allows the food chain to continue.
Also, although these deaths are tragic, we must remember that no one lives forever on this Earth. We must always be prepared to meet God. So far in Joplin, there have been 142 confirmed deaths. These people died in an unexpected way. However, many people die in other ways each year in the United States. For example, in 2009, 33,808 people were killed in car crashes in the country. Obviously, it's crucial that people are always ready.
If God caused the Joplin tornado, did he also cause the deadly traffic accidents? Does he cause the deaths of people who die of old age? Unless one says God steps in to cause each of these deaths, I do not think it is reasonable to attribute to God only certain deaths which come in the form of natural disasters.
The Catholic understanding is that the fall of Adam and Eve is what brought death into the world. This is because of the stain of original sin. But there's good news! Jesus Christ came to pay the price for our sins so that we can enter into heaven.
People sometimes also try to look for signs for the end of the world. But this seems to me to be a pointless activity. First of all, the end of the world doesn't matter in one sense because when a person dies, that's the end of "their" world. Also, the Bible clearly states, in the words coming from Jesus himself, that no one knows the day or the hour of the end of time. So my suggestion is to stop guessing. :)
Posted by Phil Lynch at 12:55 am
Thursday, May 26, 2011
So a nun was doing a form of dance in front of the altar. Although he intentions may be good, dancing is not appropriate in this location. As an example, playing cards is fine, but playing them on the altar is a no-no.
The Church is not condemning dancing. It is simply saying dancing as a correct time and place.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 3:54 pm
This is a great article about our "rights-based" society, where having children isn't a blessing but a right, one which people can demand from the government. Obvoiusly this is a violation of natural law. This concept I believe stems from our acceptance of contraception and abortion. People feel as though they have absolute power over their reproduction. Therefore, when they are unable to reproduce, they are being denied some sort of right they have attained. Click below to read the full article.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 1:26 am
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Posted by Phil Lynch at 4:40 pm
The news that a pastor has announced that today will be the day of the rapture does not seem to have caused a huge stir among Catholics. I went to my local church today where they have confession before Mass. The lineup did not seems out of the ordinary, although it was a relatively good number of penitents. Obviously it does not seem Catholics in general, at least where I am, have taken much heed in these apocalyptic predictions.
I think one of the big reasons for this is that as Catholics we are always reminded of what Jesus said when he told his followers that they will not know the time nor the hour of the end of the world.
I wrote a more extensive article on this subject here.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 4:23 pm
A pastor by the name of Harold Camping has predicted the world will end on March 21, 2011, and will happen sequentially from one time zone to the next, at 6pm local time. Here are some thoughts I had on this from a Catholic perspective, which I emailed to several friends today:
I heard about this pastor who is predicting the end of the world. He's not the first and won't be the last. I remember reading about the leader of a Christian sect and he predicted the end of the world sometime in the 1800s. He became very popular, but once the specific date he had predicted came and went, his popularity plummeted. However, I seem to remember he insisted there was some kind of error in his calculation and he basically tried again.
Anyway, in terms of the rapture, to be honest, it's not spoken of much if at all in Catholic churches. I've never heard a priest give a homily (sermon) on the rapture. I guess the idea is that the most important thing is our own relationship with God. And that you have to be always ready.
The whole idea of the rapture generally revolves around a couple of ideas. One is the reign of Jesus Christ over the world. Some people who tend to interpret the Bible very literally believe the reference to a "thousand year reign" means Jesus will be the literal king of the entire planet for one thousand years. The Catholic Church, and the historic interpretation (Augustine, e.g.) is that the reign of Christ is now, since his time on earth onward.
The other idea is the tribulation. That's a period of a lot of bad stuff. Again, some will look at more natural things like natural disasters, violence, etc. being expected during this time. The Catholic position is that this may be the case, but the most important thing about the tribulation is people falling away from faith in God, and moving toward self-gratification and worshiping themselves, and basically turning away from God.
The tribulation is also the time of the Antichrist. There is a singular Antichrist, but there's also the idea of plural antichrists, and this is in the Bible also. These would be people who are consciously working to destroy faith and things like that.
But like I said, Catholics don't usually talk about the rapture or the tribulation. We generally just talk about the Final Judgment. But I think much more emphasis is placed on Particular Judgment, which is after one individual dies, he is judged and then is either destined for heaven or hell. The Final Judgment would apply at the end of the world for those who are still living.
As I mentioned, the Bible keeps saying you know not the day nor the hour of the second coming. So I'm not sure how people can give specific dates.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 2:19 am
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Posted by Phil Lynch at 3:00 am
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
When people say the "Catholic Church", should the two words be capitalized? Yes. Very often in the media, I see people write "The Catholic church", but I would argue this is incorrect. "Catholic Church" is a single entity and it is a proper name. Catholic is not an adjective describing one particular church. Rather, the whole term signifies one entity.
The only time "Catholic church" could be legitimately used is in reference to a solitary church building. For example, "The Catholic church down the street". I think sometimes this error is made out of ignorance, but other times I think it is a subtle jab at the Church, a way of diminishing it somehow. You'll notice I wrote "the Church", because again, it is referring to a specific entity, a proper noun.
If you know a lot about grammar, and would like to challenge what I've written here, feel free. This is not iron-clad, but I think I am correct.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 11:41 pm
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Tonight, May 10, 2011, for a second night in a row, George Stroumboulopoulos began his eponymous show by promoting gay marriage. He could hardly contain his enthusiasm for Sean Avery`s public service announcement in favour of homosexual marriage.
Well tonight, an NHL players agent Todd Reynolds, vice-president of Uptown Sports, rebuked Avery by saying:
"Very sad to read Sean Avery's misguided support of same-gender 'marriage.' Legal or not, it will always be wrong,"
He tweeted again saying: "To clarify. This is not hatred or bigotry towards gays. It is not intolerance in any way shape or form. I believe we are all equal."
George was furious. He went on a tirade about equality and how Reynolds in fact is a bigot. He said he is fine with freedom of speech but some people are just plain wrong! George wondered aloud where this players agent got his moral code. "The Bible?", asked George. He then went on about how the Church is not in charge of marriage, the legal system is, and who, asks George, is the legal system? Well, we are of course!
First of all, George is absolutely an unequivocally wrong about gay marriage. Secondly, his show is becoming a real drag when every episode he's either promoting gay marriage or bashing religion. He has very little class.
So let's get into it. Kids have a natural right to be raised by their parents. The state believes this right to be so strong that it creates unions which are strong and long-lasting. The main purpose of marriage is for any potential children. It's not because the state is somehow recognizing that two people love each other.
Gay marriage has nothing to do with gay rights or treating gays fairly or equally because the state really doesn't give a darn how anyone feels about anyone else. Two people who don't even love each other are legally allowed to marry.
Nowadays everyone is so concerned about their own personal rights that it must trump any other rights, even those of children. Children are mere accessories to fit people's lifestyles.
Marriage has a definition. People need to stop and think about that. Well, if it has a definition, what is it? My definition is the union of a man and a woman which is inherently procreative.
So, what would the new defintion change to? Perhaps two people who want to get married. Any two people. Well, this would have to include father-daughter marriages if they are consenting adults, or sibling marriages. We have to keep religion and morals out of the equation of course, so no one would be allowed to object to either of these scenarios.
But why limit it to two individuals. Why not polygamy? Maybe 5 people, 10? The sky's the limit. Once morality is gone from the equation, as well as rights of children, as well as any form of basic definition, polygamy is not only possibly legal, it MUST become legal.
So then every type of union would have to be recognized as valid. By doing so, marriage would lose all meaning. The state would have no need to recognize such unions since anything goes. It would be of absolutely no benefit to the state to recognize any and every relationship.
As I said, the state recognizes certain unions are marriages because it is best for the children. Of course, that's far from anyone's mind, especially George Stroumboulopoulos. To them it's all about gay rights. No one ever says it is a matter of children's rights.
Any children in a gay family don't have either a maternal or paternal influence as the case may be. That puts children at risk. If gay marriage is equal to heterosexual marriage then it is equally legitimate for a child to be raised by a parent and a same-sex partner as it is for a child to be raised by his biological parents.
There are other reasons too. Gay marriages are inherently infertile. They can never produce a child. Therefore immoral activities like IVF, embryo destruction, and other such methods must be used satisfy the desires of these couples.
Once again, people are terrible at distinction. Gay marriage proponents would have us believe that gay marriage is somehow about human rights. It isn't. It's about destroying traditional marriage.
It also has other negative effects. For example, EVERYONE is forced to not only allow but accept gay marriage. Dissent is not tolerated. Adoption agencies, run by religious groups, are FORCED to shut down because they will not adopt to gay couples. Therefore thousands of children do not go to good homes. OH WELL. At least the gay agenda is being catered to.
Or how about religious organizations being FORCED to rent out their halls and venues for gay couples and gay marriages, even though it violates their morals.
The list goes on.
Don't be fooled. The issue of gay marriage affects everyone. People are not allowed to even have a differing point of view on the matter. They must conform to a new morality which emerged less than 20 years ago. Those who don't are punished.
George Stroumboulopoulos STOP using your show as a platform to spew your hatred of morality and religious institutions. You advocate freedom, yet you cannot bare to have anyone express an opinion which differs from your own. Imagine if there was a show bashing non-religious people or opposing gay marriage. It would be hauled before the stupidly-named human rights tribunal before someone could pronounce your last name.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 11:19 pm
Posted by Phil Lynch at 1:18 pm
Everyone keeps saying that gay marriage won't affect anyone else, so why care? Well, once again here is another example of gay marriage affects lots of people. Not only are Catholic organizations forbidden from adopting to only heterosexual couples, the city can pass an official resolution condemning the Church for not doing so, and get away with it with impunity. Don't try to say gay marriage doesn't affect others.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 3:27 am
Posted by Phil Lynch at 2:57 am
Monday, May 09, 2011
Posted by Phil Lynch at 1:26 pm
Posted by Phil Lynch at 1:09 pm
Thursday, May 05, 2011
Kresta In The Afternoon: Just-war scholars: Killing of bin Laden justified: "by JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND The term “just-war doctrine” never surfaced in President Obama’s announcement Sunday night that U.S. forces had k..."
Posted by Phil Lynch at 5:06 pm
This is a video by Fr. Frank Pavone. He seems to come from a similar point of view as me. You can read my article on this issue here.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 3:00 pm
As everyone knows, Bin Laden was killed a few days ago in his hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan. My question is, as Catholics should we rejoice at this news or see it with sadness?
My first reaction to the death of Osama Bin Laden I guess was surprise. After 10 years, they had killed him. But I wasn't happy that he was dead. Not joyful. I am against the death penalty, and I always think it's best to capture someone rather than kill them.
Later, I heard that he was unarmed when killed, which seemed to make it even more morally problematic. This was countered by the reports that he in some way "resisted". The details of this are unclear. If he was unarmed, and the soldiers had deadly weaponry, it would seem unlikely that his "resistance" would merit a lethal shot. But I wasn't there so I cannot really comment.
In one article I read here, the author contrasts the opinion of the pope's spokesman with that of Mike Huckabee:
A Presbyterian blogger this week highlighted the contrast between the words of Pope Benedict XVI’s spokesman on Monday and those of Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and a Southern Baptist minister.
“Faced with the death of a man, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibility of each and every one of us before God and before man, and hopes and commits himself so that no event be an opportunity for further growth of hatred, but for peace,’’ said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman.
Huckabee said in a statement: “Welcome to hell, bin Laden.’’
He added: “It is unusual to celebrate a death, but today Americans and decent people the world over cheer the news that madman, murderer, and terrorist Osama bin Laden is dead.’’
I certainly agree that as Christians, we do not rejoice over the killing of any human being.
My overall opinion is that if possible, we should have captured Osama Bin Laden, rather than kill him. Usually in moral philosophy, a non-threatening person cannot be killed for any reason. However, a threat can be legitamitely neutralized, even if that may involve lethal force.
The catechism has something on this:
2266 The State's effort to contain the spread of behaviors injurious to human rights and the fundamental rules of civil coexistence corresponds to the requirement of watching over the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime. The primary scope of the penalty is to redress the disorder caused by the offense. When his punishment is voluntarily accepted by the offender, it takes on the value of expiation. Moreover, punishment, in addition to preserving public order and the safety of persons, has a medicinal scope: as far as possible it should contribute to the correction of the offender.
2267 The traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude, presupposing full ascertainment of the identity and responsibility of the offender, recourse to the death penalty, when this is the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.
"If, instead, bloodless means are sufficient to defend against the aggressor and to protect the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
"Today, in fact, given the means at the State's disposal to effectively repress crime by rendering inoffensive the one who has committed it, without depriving him definitively of the possibility of redeeming himself, cases of absolute necessity for suppression of the offender 'today ... are very rare, if not practically non-existent.' 
I bolded a pertinent part of the quoted text. The Church affirms the right of the state to execute someone if no other means will suffice in containing their danger. So, the real question becomes, was the execution of Bin Laden strictly necessary in order to secure safety for people. This is a point which I believe can be legitimately argued either way.
But this caveat is very strict. Pope John Paul II was very much against the death penalty, stopping short of saying it is always immoral. His opinion was that we have a right to protect ourselves but our modern society provides the necessary infrastructure to do so without resorting to capital punishment.
But that's our "modern society". What about in a developing country like Afghanistan or Pakistan? Could Osama Bin Laden be effectively contained or was his execution necessary? I'm not sure the answer to this question.
Another complicating question is whether or not this extra-judicial execution was legitimate or moral. In the case of imminent danger, lethal force must sometimes be used, even in the absence of a judicial process, barring the possibility of other legitimate methods.
Obviously killing any person is a grave moral situation and can never be taken lightly. The end does not justify the means so strictly speaking, killing Bin Laden for some perceived benefit may not be sufficient reason.
I will refrain from making a final moral judgment on this situation. I will simply say that life is sacred and we must protect it.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 2:12 pm
When someone asks how legalizing gay marriage will affect them, this is one example:
Catholic Charities Might Stop Adoption and Foster Care Service - KWQC-TV6 News and Weather For The Quad Cities
Posted by Phil Lynch at 12:45 pm
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Not sure where I heard this before or if this is the exact quote, but I think it's a good thing to think about in relation to abortion:
If abortion is not murder, no explanation is necessary.
If abortion is murder, no explanation is sufficient.
Sometimes abortion advocates will use the so-called "difficult cases" to argue that abortion should be legal. But, if abortion is not killing a baby, and it is just a clump of cells that is being extracted, no explanation is necessary. People have warts removed all the time and do not feel the need to explain it to others. They certainly don't use rape or incest as an argument to keep wart removal legal.
On the other hand, admitting that the baby in the womb is a real person, then no explanation will suffice in the taking of an innocent life. This would be no different than killing a 3-year-old because the mother was raped.
I believe this is a quick and effective saying.
Posted by Phil Lynch at 4:29 pm
A good story but somewhat motivated by the wrong reasons, at least the wrong primary reasons. Russia is getting worried about its plummeting birth rate, so the country is implementing measures to stop it's atrociously high level of abortions. More babies are aborted in the country than are born. Some of the measures being implemented is that women will be told the risks of having an abortion to their bodies and future fertility. Also, doctors can refuse to perform the procedure. This is all obviously good news, whatever the motivation. However, the primary reason to end abortion should not be to sustain the population or continue economic growth, but rather because it is the murder of innocent children.
Here is the article:
Russia considering abortion restrictions to slow population collapse | LifeSiteNews.com
Posted by Phil Lynch at 1:55 pm
A good story but somewhat motivated by the wrong reasons, at least the wrong primary reasons. Russia is getting worried about its plummeting birth rate, so the country is implementing measures to stop it's atrociously high level of abortions. More babies are aborted in the country than are born. Some of the measures being implemented is that women will be told the risks of having an abortion to their bodies and future fertility. Also, doctors can refuse to perform the procedure. This is all obviously good news, whatever the motivation. However, the primary reason to end abortion is not so sustain the population or continue economic growth, but rather because it is the murder of innocent children.
Here is the article:
Russia considering abortion restrictions to slow population collapse | LifeSiteNews.com
Posted by Phil Lynch at 1:51 pm
This is a discussion you may not hear much around here. In Uganda, a political leader who is Anglican received communion at a Catholic Church. Of course, this is not permitted. Now, if this happened around here, some people would probably react, but the bishop would probably not react as strongly as the Ugandan one did. Check out his quote:
Expressing his disapproval, Lwanga said: "We were shocked to see an Anglican taking Holy Communion. We have seven sacraments and this one highly differentiates us from other Christians who have only one. We Catholics believe in the Holy Orders sacrament, which empowers the episcopate, the priesthood and the diaconate. That is why non-Catholics are not supposed to take Holy Communion."
Lwanga is the bishop of the area. His words are not mean or rude, he simply clarifies the Catholic position. I think this type of clarification is necessary from time to time. If it is explained properly, people are not offended. I have had non-Catholic friends attend Mass with me, and in some way or another I let them know that non-Catholics should not receive communion. Non-Christians usually accept without question. But non-Catholic Christians are sometimes a little harder to convince, but if done properly, no one needs to be embarrased or upset.
A lot of times, priests or bishops may turn a blind eye to a violation of the rules in the spirit of not offending anyone. But I think offense can be avoided if things are explained with love. So if you went to a non-Catholic and just said "Only Catholics can receive communion, so don't you dare go up!" that would probably be offensive. However, a better alternative may be to say something like "You probably already know this, but communion is for those in communion with the Catholic Church, however you can approach the priest for a blessing if you would like. How does that sound?" Asking the question at the end allows them to express their opinion on the matter, giving you a chance to explain further if necessary. Never phrase in terms of them not being worthy or "good enough". Also, don't be over-apologetic. Phrasing it as something normal and "not a big deal" will make them feel less out of place or strange.
As Peter says, we have to speak the truth, but do it with love and reverence. Don't forget the second part!
Here's the article:
allAfrica.com: Uganda: What's Wrong With Otunnu Receiving Catholic Eucharist
Posted by Phil Lynch at 1:47 pm
Fr. Ray Earle, who served as pastor at St. Teresa's for several years celebrated his 25th anniversary as a Catholic priest this past evening, May 3rd, 2011. I remember Fr. Ray when I was younger attending St. Teresa's parish. After leaving St. Teresa's, he spent several years in Marystown. Fr. Steve Courtney gave the homily, where he presented many funny stories about Fr. Ray, including a funny incident involving fire on a fishing trip.
Congratulations Fr. Ray Earle on your 25 years as a priest. I hope the next 25 are even better!
Posted by Phil Lynch at 12:07 am