A bit of light, holiday reading: Benedict XVI responds by letter, to an Atheist.

Exclusive to the Register, we publish below the first English translation of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s letter to the militant Italian atheist, Piergiorgio Odifreddi.

In September, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica printed extracts of the letter whose full contents were published in Italian on Nov. 23 by the German-language agency Kath.net.

The Pope Emeritus sent the letter in response to a book Odifreddi wrote in 2011 entitled Dear Pope, I’m Writing to You. The work was a critique of certain arguments and lines of thought found in Benedict’s theological writings, beginning with his 1967 volume Introduction to Christianity, and including his book Jesus of Nazareth, which he wrote as pope.

Full text

For more than 1900 years, the serenity and peace of the Catholic Faith and the certainty of the Church’s immutable doctrine were widely recognized as products of the fullness of divine grace and truth, which she alone possessed.

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But now all has changed… dreadful days have come upon us which the appeasing rhetoric of modernized Christians cannot hide: the Revolution of the atheist world has entered the Church and is wearing everything down.

There is no longer any stability and the Church appears to have entered into a perennial Revolution which changes everything continuously: confusion in the rites, confusion in doctrine, confusion in morals, confusion in discipline.

You do not know if the truth of today will be the same tomorrow. Many, priests and faithful, rush around anxiously in order not to be left behind, adapting themselves in whatever way they can, to this wearisome confusion.

The one who is truly seeking God in this revolutionary Church, is left frightfully alone.

What to do in this suffocating atmosphere? And what not to do?

First of all, it is important not to be beset by agitation, it is important not to react like revolutionaries: that would be like treating a disease, which is precisely what the Revolution is, with the same illness. The revolutionary spirit, even when it pretends to save the good, will never be the solution.

Instead, it is essential to stay really outside of the Revolution, by living Catholicism integrally in the stability that was there, before the Revolution invaded everything.

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Editor’s note: Vatican II is what happens when God finally steps aside and permits the men who run the Catholic Church to pursue all the desires of their hearts.

Atheism explained (so even a fool can understand it)

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Submitted by Bob Stanley

Megan Hodder was a young, avid reader of the New Atheists, but her life changed when she read the work of their Catholic foes

I looked for absurdities and inconsistencies in the Catholic faith that would derail my thoughts from the unnerving conclusion I was heading towards, but the infuriating thing about Catholicism is its coherency: once you accept the basic conceptual structure, things fall into place with terrifying speed.

“The Christian mysteries are an indivisible whole,” wrote Edith Stein in The Science of the Cross: “If we become immersed in one, we are led to all the others.”

The beauty and authenticity of even the most ostensibly difficult parts of Catholicism, such as the sexual ethics, became clear once they were viewed not as a decontextualised list of prohibitions, but as essential components in the intricate body of the Church’s teaching.

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Unlikely story: An avowed atheist’s conversion.

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For the first time in my life, I prayed, and said. “Dear God. There is no logical way you could possibly exist, and even if you appeared before me in the flesh, I would call it an hallucination. So I can think of no possible way, no matter what the evidence and no matter how clear it was, that you could prove your existence to me.

But the Christians claim you are benevolent, and that my failure to believe in you inevitably will damn me. If, as they claim, you care whether or not I am damned, and if, as they claim, you are all wise and all powerful, you can prove to me that you exist even though I am confident such a thing is logically impossible.

Thanking you in advance for your cooperation in this matter, John C. Wright.” — and then my mind was at rest. I had done all I needed to do honestly to maintain my stature as someone, not who claimed to be logical, objective and openminded, but who was logical, objective, and openminded.

Three days later, with no warning, I had a heart attack, and was lying on the floor, screaming and dying.

-Then I was saved from certain death by faith-healing, after which–

-I felt the Holy Spirit enter my body, after which–

-became immediately aware of my soul, a part of myself which, until that time, I reasoned and thought did not exist-

-I was visited by the Virgin Mary, her son, and His Father-

-not to mention various other spirits and ghosts over a period of several days–

-including periods of divine ecstasy, and an awareness of the mystical oneness of the universe-

-And a week or so after that I had a religious experience where I entered the mind of God and saw the indescribable simplicity and complexity, love, humor and majesty of His thought, and I understood the joy beyond understanding and comprehended the underlying unity of all things, and the paradox of determinism and free will was made clear to me, as was the symphonic nature of prophecy. I was shown the structure of time and space.

-And then Christ in a vision told me that He would be my judge, and that God judges no man. I mentioned this event to my wife. Then about a month later, when I was reading the Bible for the first time beyond the unavoidable minimum assigned in school, I came across the passage in the book of John, a passage I had never seen before, and to which no Christian in my hearing had ever made reference, which said the same thing in the same words.

-And then I have had perhaps a dozen or two dozen prayers miraculously answered, so much so that I now regard it as a normal routine rather than some extraordinary act of faith.

So I would say my snide little prayer was answered with much more than I had asked, and I was given not just evidence, and not just overwhelming evidence, but joy unspeakable and life eternal.

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Verses about divine judgment from the Gospel of St. John:

(John 3:17) For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world: but that the world may be saved by him.

(John 5:22) For neither does the Father judge any man: but hath given all judgment to the Son.

(John 5:30) I cannot of myself do any thing. As I hear, so I judge. And my judgment is just: because I seek not my own will. but the will of him that sent me.

(John 7:24) Judge not according to the appearance: but judge just judgment.

(John 7:51) Doth our law judge any man, unless it first hear him and know what he doth?

(John 8:15) You judge according to the flesh: I judge not any man.

(John 8:16) And if I do judge, my judgment is true: because I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.

(John 8:26) Many things I have to speak and to judge of you. But he that sent me, is true: and the things I have heard of him, these same I speak in the world.

(John 12:47) And if any man hear my words and keep them not, I do not judge him for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

(John 12:48) He that despiseth me and receiveth not my words hath one that judgeth him. The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Truth or friction?

The Catholic Church, since the time of the apostles, has preached the faith as the truth.  I have already quoted St. Peter to the effect that the apostles and their converts “were not following fictitious tales.”  Jesus Christ proved the truth of his assertions about himself by rising from the dead.  As St. Paul explains in Chapter 15 of his first epistle to the Corinthians, the resurrection of Christ was a matter that could be verified with eyewitnesses, not only the apostles, but many others, as well (cf. CCC 641-44).  In addition, the many prophecies that our Lord fulfilled by his birth, life and death, give further proof of the truth of the revelation committed by him to his Church (cf. CCC 156 and 522).  It is with arguments of this kind that we must defend the doctrines of the Catholic Church, not by seeking to prove that the Catholic religion is more useful than any other.

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The late Alexander Solzhenitsyn on the Culture of Death

In one sense, of course, the secular fundamentalist experiment which was the Soviet Union floundered and fell after almost a century of bloody excesses culminating ultimately in the killing of tens of millions of people. But it did flounder and fall in the late ’80s and early ’90s. But what we’re really talking about here is big government, and big government animated by a secular fundamentalist philosophy. In other words, ultimately, that enemy is still very much present and we are still in danger of lurching blindly in a belief that problems can be solved by big government and that problems that are caused by the lack of God can be solved by a godless response.

So in that sense the lessons haven’t been learned, and the lessons haven’t been learned in the West, absolutely, that we could be lurching toward a secular fundamentalist big government, regardless of whether or not it quotes Karl Marx, it’s basically of the same spirit. That’s exactly what Solzhenitsyn was getting at in his Harvard address — that the spirit that unites communism and decadent materialism in the West is this secular fundamentalist materialism, this atheism at the root of politics and the root of society and how that leads ultimately to a culture of death.

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ATHEISM

The belief that there was nothing. And nothing happened to nothing. And then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything. And then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason whatsoever into self-replicating bits, which then turned into dinosaurs.

Makes perfect sense!

Submitted by Doria2

Looks like Atheists don’t believe in logic, either.

Link

10 Reasons to Reject Socialism


1. Socialism and communism are the same ideology

Communism is but an extreme form of socialism. From the ideological standpoint, there is no substantial difference between the two. In fact, the communist Soviet Union called itself the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1922-1991) and communist China, Cuba and Vietnam define themselves as socialist nations.

2. Socialism violates personal freedom

Socialism seeks to eliminate “injustice” by transferring rights and responsibilities from individuals and families to the State. In the process, socialism actually creates injustice. It destroys true liberty: the freedom to decide all matters that lie within our own competence and to follow the course shown by our reason, within the laws of morality, including the dictates of justice and charity.

3. Socialism violates human nature

Socialism is anti-natural. It destroys personal initiative – a fruit of our intellect and free will – and replaces it with State control. It tends to totalitarianism, with its government and police repression, wherever it is implemented.

4. Socialism violates private property

Socialism calls for “redistributing the wealth” by taking from the “rich” to give to the poor. It imposes taxes that punish those who have been able to take greater advantage of their productive talents, capacity to work or thrift. It uses taxation to promote economic and social egalitarianism, a goal that will be fully achieved, according to The Communist Manifesto, with the “abolition of private property.”

5. Socialism opposes traditional marriage

Socialism sees no moral reason for people to restrict sex to marriage, that is, to an indissoluble union between a man and a woman. Furthermore, socialism undermines private property, which Friedrich Engels, founder of modern socialism and communism along with Karl Marx, saw as the foundation of traditional marriage.

6. Socialism opposes parental rights in education

Socialism has the State, and not parents, control the education of children. Almost from birth, children are to be handed over to public institutions, where they will be taught what the State wants, regardless of parental views. Evolution must be taught. School prayer must be forbidden.

7. Socialism promotes radical equality

A supposed absolute equality among men is the fundamental assumption of socialism. Therefore, it sees any inequality as unjust in itself. Private employers are quickly portrayed as “exploiters” whose profits really belong to their employees. As a consequence, they rule out the system of wage earning.

8. Socialism promotes atheism

Belief in God, who unlike us is infinite, omnipotent and omniscient, clashes head-on with the principle of absolute equality. Socialism therefore rejects the spiritual, claiming that only matter exists. God, the soul, and the next life are illusions according to socialism.

9. Socialism promotes relativism

For socialism there are no absolute truths or revealed morals that establish standards of conduct that apply to everyone, everywhere, and always. Everything evolves, including right and wrong, good and evil. There is no place for the Ten Commandments, neither in the private mind nor in the public square.

10. Socialism mocks religion

According to Karl Marx, religion is “the opium of the people.” Lenin, founder of the Soviet Union, agreed: “Religion is opium for the people. Religion is a sort of spiritual booze in which the slaves of capital drown their human image, their demand for a life more or less worthy of man.”

May God protect America from socialism.

Link

Further evidence that suffering is often, a gift from God

Father John Powell,
a professor at Loyola University in Chicago,
writes about a student in his Theology class:

I heard that Tommy had terminal cancer.
Before I could search him out, he came to see me.

When he walked into my office,
his body was very badly wasted
and the long hair had all fallen out
as a result of chemotherapy.

But his eyes were bright and his voice was firm…

‘Tommy, I’ve thought about you so often; I hear you are sick,’ I blurted out.

‘Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It’s a matter of weeks…’

Read the whole story

Submitted by Doria2

Philosophy 101: Naturalism vs Christianity

Naturalism

Naturalism is a worldview that asserts that the universe is a closed system in which matter and energy are the only realities. This perspective rules out the existence of any supernatural beings including God. According to naturalism, the world operates according to natural laws in which there are a series of cause and effects. Because the universe operates according to natural processes there are no miracles or events that have any supernatural cause. Thus, everything in the universe is subject to scientific study and verification. Naturalism would be consistent with materialism and monism in which all of reality is inherently connected to the physical realm. Naturalism disagrees with dualism and its assertion that reality is made up of two distinct substances—the material and the immaterial. This rejection of dualism means that naturalists do not believe that people have an immortal soul that can survive physical death. For naturalists, the present life of a person is the only life he or she will ever have. There are no past lives to due to reincarnation nor is there a future life in some state of bliss or torment.

Because naturalism rejects any concept of the supernatural this view is intrinsically linked with atheism, the belief that there is no God. Naturalism also usually leads to the rejection of moral absolutes since there is no divine being or law that determines standards for right and wrong. Thus, naturalism often leads to ethical relativism in which individuals and societies are free to determine their standards for right and wrong.

David Hume was a key figure in laying a philosophical basis for naturalism. He refuted the idea of miracles claiming that testimonies of miracles were most likely false reports. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was also important in that it offered a purely naturalistic explanation of origins. Naturalism is well-represented today and is the prevailing worldview in the academic and scientific communities of the West.

Christianity and Philosophy

Christianity is often viewed as one of the world’s major religions, but Christianity also offers a philosophy of life that has greatly influenced Western society for nearly two thousand years. Thus, to ignore Christianity in the study of philosophy is a great mistake.

Christianity was founded by Jesus of Nazareth (c. 4 B.C.–A.D. 33) who is famous for his teachings, miracles, death, and resurrection from the dead. The Christian movement was furthered by Paul of Tarsus who through his missionary travels took Christianity to many areas of the known world. Much of Judaism is found within Christianity such as beliefs in one God and a linear view of history in which God will eventually triumph over evil and establish a new heavens and a new earth. Christianity differs from Judaism, though, in its assertion that Jesus was the divine Son of God and the Messiah of Israel. Christianity also uniquely asserts that Jesus’ death on the cross was a substitutionary atonement for the sins of the world.

While Christianity itself is rooted firmly in the life of Jesus and the writings of both the Old and New Testaments, this religion has often intersected with the discipline of philosophy. Some early Christians rejected any merger between Christianity and philosophy. For example, the church father, Tertullian, (160–225) declared, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” to show that Greek philosophy has nothing to do with Christianity.  Other church fathers, though, were positive toward the value of philosophy. Justin Martyr (c. 100–165), for example believed that God scattered “the seeds of his Logos [Word]” throughout the world before sending Jesus. Thus, Justin believed that the world had experienced some truths of God through philosophy even before Jesus came into the world. Justin also held that Christianity brought to fulfillment some of the insights of classical philosophy including that of Platonism. Another church father, Clement of Alexandria (c. 150–215), asserted that God gave philosophy to the Greeks in order to prepare them for the coming of Christ. Thus, Greek philosophy was not a competing worldview. According to Clement, Jesus was the fulfillment of philosophy.

The influential theologian and philosopher, Augustine of Hippo, also viewed philosophy favorably. Although acknowledging that some areas of philosophy were not valuable, he believed that there was no reason why Christians should not adopt the good things of philosophy and use them in their Christian walk and witness. Augustine, himself, relied upon several major teachings of Plato and Plotinus, the founder of Neo-Platonism. Augustine credited Neo-Platonism for helping him reject the Manichean view that all reality was material. Augustine also adopted Plato’s theory of forms, placing these “forms” in the mind of God. In fact, until the thirteenth century, the Christian church often looked favorably upon the ideas of Plato. During the thirteenth century, though, Christian scholars rediscovered the writings of Aristotle. Thomas Aquinas (1225–74), for example, attempted a merger between Aristotelian ideas and Christianity. Aquinas used Aristotle’s concept of a Prime Mover who caused all motion in the universe as support for his idea that the Christian God must have created and designed the universe.

Dictionary of Philosophy (A-Z)

“Knowing”

The existence of God is a profound matter, and never something that should be treated perfunctorily. That “I believe God exists” and that “I know Him” are among the deepest things that a Christian can say, and are a confession of the grace of God. We have been given something that is consonant with purity of heart, and should thus confess it extreme humility.

More importantly, we should approach these profound mysteries with careful devotion and awe.

That there are those in our modern world who spurn God’s existence as absurd is tragic. But it should not be a cause for us to treat them as though they were idiots. More foolish are those who too easily assert God’s existence without the proper awe and humility that such a statement properly requires.

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Doctor provides frank answers to questions about his abortion practice

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“Abortion is an issue to me that – scientifically, ethically, politically, legally – in my heart of hearts I favor legal, properly-performed abortions. Anybody who demonstrates against us, in my experience – and it’s always tied to some religious organization – to me, they are no different than Osama bin Laden and his creed. Because you cannot talk to them, their minds are closed, they think that God talks to them, which in my point of view is psychotic.”

“I feel sorry for them, for all who walk down that road of brainwashing, but you know, some people are just susceptible to brainwashing. But despite that, no religious terrorism will stop me from doing what I think is the scientifically right thing to do.”

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“The Origin of the Specious”

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(Posted 06/16/09 www.RemnantNewspaper.com) At a scientific convention in Chicago in 1980, over 150 of the world’s leading evolution experts faced the facts of the fossil record and virtually pronounced the death of Darwinism.

They admitted that after 120 years of digging, the fossil record showed that there are no fossil links between one species and another, i.e., there are no transitional fossils. Thus, it was acknowledged that there is indeed a genetic barrier between species which renders impossible the theory that mankind evolved from apes.

These findings should have buried evolutionism forever as a serious scientific concept. Yet, the opposite has happened. Staggering numbers worldwide have continued to embrace evolution’s false doctrines in preference to scriptural and other evidence relating to man’s true origin.

Writing in Nature, vol.123, evolutionist D.M.S Watson offers a typically atheistic, yet revealing, explanation for this phenomenon: The theory of evolution”, he says, “is universally accepted not because it can be proven true but because the alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.”

There we have it! Evolutionism is not science versus religion but religion versus religion. It is the religion of those who oppose God, even if that opposition contradicts all that human reason and the laws of nature dictate.

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Submitted by Doria2