Are there people in Hell, now? The Big Dogs speak and a little puppy whimpers.

I just finished leading an 8 week Adult Faith Formation class called  ‘The Mystery of God’ by Bishop Robert Barron and Word on Fire ministries. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to explore some tough questions about God such as His nature and providence, the problem of evil in our world, and the mystery of the Holy Trinity (to name a few). Since class time is very limited, I always encourage the participants to email me with any troubling questions they may have. I recently received a question about Hell that had such an interesting slant that I felt compelled to share the question, and my response, in an SCT blog post.

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Making Babies and Salvation – There Really is a Connection

Simple Catholic Snapshots

  • Catholic theology recognizes that salvation is an unearned, undeserved gift from God.
  • Catholic theology also includes the fact that we must “participate” in our own salvation.
  • Non-Catholics theology emphasizes that salvation is the work of God only .
  • Non-Catholics deny a role of mankind in his/her salvation.
  • Babies, those divine miracles of life, is an example useful in resolving tensions between these Catholic and non-Catholic positions.

 

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The Noise of the World is Boiling our Souls

Simple Catholic Snapshots
  • The barrage is relentless
  • Slowly and imperceptibly we are dying
  • We must find a way out
  • We must become the silence

There’s an old story about how best to cook a frog. The parable points out that if you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, the frog will instantly react and jump out of the pot, thus saving his life. If, on the other hand, you place the frog into a pot of warmish water, the frog is happy enough and stays put. The parable continues that if you then start to slowly raise the temperature of the water, even to boiling, the frog will not notice and eventually will meet his demise.

So goes the story of a frog, so goes the story of our souls…

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What Catholics Must Believe – Dogma, Doctrine or Discipline?

Simple Catholic Snapshots
  • In a Previous Post, I concluded that to be a true Catholic you must:
    1) Be Validly Baptized
    2) Believe the Required Teachings of the Catholic Church, and
    3) Live a Sacramental Life in Communion with the Body of Christ – The Church.
  • The Required Teachings (#2) of the Catholic Church are called Dogmas and Doctrines
  • Dogmas and Doctrines can not change
  • Dogmas and Doctrines only apply to issues of Faith and Morals
  • Disciplines are teachings and practices that can change
  • Belief in Disciplines is optional.

In this post I’ll explore what is meant by a Dogma, a Doctrine and a Discipline. I’ll describe in concept where they come from and how they are form our faith. Finally to get specific, I’ll present a list of the 258 Dogmas of the Catholic Church (that I could find) that all the faithful must believe.

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What Does It Mean To Be Catholic?

Simple Catholic Snapshots

How would you explain Catholic Christianity to an outsider? Could you even begin to concisely describe your faith? After a bit of struggling, here is what I think it means, and what it takes, to be Catholic.

To Be Catholic Means:

  • Be Validly Baptized With the Form and Matter of Baptism as Subscribed by Jesus Christ
  • Believing and Professing the Required Teachings of the Catholic Church on Faith and Morals
  • Participate in the Communion of the Church by Living a Sacramental Life of Obedience of the Faith

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For Greater Glory: Viva Christo Rey!

A good friend of mine recently loaned me a movie entitled “For Greater Glory” which is a chronicle of the Cristeros War (1926-1929); the grass roots response of Mexican Catholics against the oppressive atheistic Mexican government.

Normally, this might be just another shoot-em-up action movie but given the current pressures against the Catholic Church, religious freedom in the United States and the persecution of Christians in the world, this movie  represents so much more.

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The Blessed Legacy of Charlie Gard

I’m sure that by now most of you have heard the tragic story of little Charlie Gard. The medical and legal battles surrounding 11-month old Charlie have brought global attention to the meaning of life and the proper dignity of death. More specifically, the swirl has centered on the question of who determines the value of human life and who bears the burden and responsibility for making end-of-life decisions. It seems the legal maneuvering and skirmishes for temporal control of Charlie’s destiny will soon be over.  The dust will settle and we will soon begin to forget. As tragic as Charlie’s physical situation may seem to be, a real tragedy will result if we do forget and fail to learn. In this blog I would like to offer some personal commentary and observations in the case of Charlie Gard – as testimony to his precious life and its immense value. Continue reading “The Blessed Legacy of Charlie Gard”

Wonder Woman of the Ages – The Blessed Virgin Mary

Simple Catholic Snapshots
  • The Marvel Comic Wonder Woman was created and published in 1941.
  • A demigoddess, the Marvel Comic Wonder Woman was formed from clay and given life and superhuman powers by the Greek gods.
  • The Marvel Comic Wonder Woman (a.k.a Diana Prince) helped found the Justice League to fight crime and promote social justice.
  • The original Wonder Woman was born 2000 years ago.
  • A humble Jewish girl, she was born to human parents Joachim and Anne.
  • With a simple “yes”, this original Wonder Woman (a.k.a. Theotokos) brought perfect justice into the world.

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I Love Jesus…Because I’m Muslim? Part 2

In my previous post, I shared a story of a bumper sticker seen this week. I commented on that message from a Christian point of view, namely that Christianity is certainly not the homogeneous faith demanded by St. Paul:

10 I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brethren. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? … (1 Cor 1:10-13)

More specifically, that post was a call to action for all Christians. If we are truly the evangelists to the world that Christ intended then we better begin honestly examining our respective differences and vigorously try to close the gaps. This will require personal humility from all and a constant focus on our love of Jesus Christ and His love for us. To be sure, this will be a difficult task but not impossible. Without sounding melodramatic, I don’t think it is too much to say we seem to be standing at a turning point in historical Christianity.

But that was the last post. In this follow-up, I want to look at the bumper sticker from the position of Islam. I want to quickly summarize what the Muslim woman might have really meant and intended with that bumper sticker. I want to shed a little light on Islam and what they believe about Jesus.

 

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I Love Jesus…Because I’m Muslim?

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a woman pull up in the adjacent left turn lane and stop slightly ahead. The light turned before I got a good look, but her stature and the habit she was wearing was a tip-off that this was a Catholic nun on the move. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to completely read her yellow and green bumper sticker but the ‘heart’ symbol and the word “Jesus” confirmed my fleeting conclusion.

At the next stop light we were once again together and imagine my surprise when I was able to read the entire bumper sticker:

Wow, first impressions can be so wrong. Hijab, not a habit. Muslim, not Catholic. But Loving Jesus?

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