Answered today on Yahoo Answers: A question about our redemption in Jesus Christ.

Question: So god required a sacrifice and then he sacrificed his son who was also himself?

Answer: Not exactly.

The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three divine and distinct persons who essentially constitute the one, true God.

1 X 1 X 1 = 1

The 2nd person of the Holy Trinity (the Son) took on flesh and became man, while never ceasing to be God. We know him as Jesus Christ.

Jesus did for the human race what Adam failed to do: He remained totally and completely obedient to God the Father, even unto death on the cross.

Since Jesus is the eternal God, it is impossible for him to commit any type of sin, so Jesus is immune to the wickedness and snares of the devil. Jesus’ act of total obedience to his heavenly Father, as one of us and on our behalf,  served to appease God’s wrath (due to our sins) redeem mankind and “make” the peace between man and God.

When Jesus permitted the forces of evil to unjustly put him to death, he became the perfect and spotless sacrifice for the sins of the world and the forces of evil became subject to divine judgment, subsequently forfeiting the dominion over all the earth that they enjoyed after “the fall of man”.

When he rose again three days later, Jesus defeated death and proved his claim to divinity, as well as his mastery over Satan, sin and death. Jesus is now the King if Kings and Lord of Lords, wielding all power over heaven and earth, death and hell.

Fallen mankind does not have that type of power. Only Jesus does.

Through faithful allegiance to Jesus Christ, along with baptism into his church, the power to overcome death becomes available to all who truly seek it. This is primarily a function of divine grace, which is a free gift from God.

All we need do is accept God’s saving grace (which Jesus deliberately obtained for us by his life, death and resurrection) and make a free will choice to cooperate with that grace, as a full, faithful member of his church, and then, hope for the best.

God will do the rest. His grace is sufficient.

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How can the Church think and act in a missionary way when she does not believe any more in her own identity and mission?

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During the past fifty years nothing has been more harmful to the safeguarding and the transmission of the Faith than this escalating ecumenism which is nothing other than the religious “dictatorship of relativism.”(Cardinal Ratzinger) This evil has changed the way in which the Church sees Herself.

She no longer comprehends herself as the Mystical Body of Christ, as the sole Bride of the Lamb that was slain, as the unique way of salvation. It is exactly this ecumenism which transformed the missionary Church into one ecumenical community of dialogue amongst others.

Against this background of ecumenism, it is a tragi-comedy in the making to summon the Church to joy in the Gospel and to attempt her into change her into a missionary Church.

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Whenever the Church has abandoned the notion of beauty, it has lost precisely the power that it hoped to cultivate—its ability to reach souls in the modern world.

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The Greatest Post-Vatican II Catholic Art

Is it any wonder that so many artists and intellectuals have fled the Church? Current Catholic worship often ignores the essential connection between truth and beauty, body and soul, at the center of the Catholic worldview. The Church requires that we be faithful, but must we also be deaf, dumb, and blind? I deserve to suffer for my sins, but must so much of that punishment take place in church?

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An interesting post on the rationality of evil

Dennis Prager , in this episode of his Prager University series of videos, takes on an ever popular heresy:  evil is irrational.  This heresy is popular for any number of reasons but doubtless it all boils down to the belief, completely unfounded in human experience, that reasonable people will agree on what is good and what is evil.  The experience of the last half century in the West should have knocked that bit of foolishness into a cocked hat.  Agreement on good and evil in practice is largely a matter of convention.   If the social norms of a people come under challenge, we quickly see apparently reasonable people disagreeing on such fundamental questions as whether an unborn child has a right to life, or whether sex outside of marriage is evil.

Concepts of good and evil are either based on revelation from God, or are matters of opinion to be argued about.  Fewer people in our society believe in revelation, hence good and evil become matters of opinion for debate.  When the debate is joined we often find that there is little agreement on goals and that therefore what is rational to each individual takes varying paths to differing goals.  Widespread disagreement on good and evil also causes the State to grow ever larger to enforce the version of good held by those in power in the State.

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Witchcraft and other occult practices

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The Witch of Endor (1st Samuel 28:7)

All witches believe in the power of charms and spells – indeed witchcraft is largely about exercising this power. What are we to think of this claim to spiritual power through charms, spells, and curses? From my experience and from consulting people from this and other countries, I have not the slightest doubt that spells and curses do have power, can really affect people, including people who do not know that they have been the object of spells and curses. I am even more certain however that Jesus can protect his followers from any and every spell and curse, even though they may sometimes have to pass through a difficult time.

Last year I spoke with an English Catholic doctor who had been working in the Pacific islands. Quite a number of times people who had been cursed would be brought to the hospital. There was nothing wrong with them physically, but they simply and rapidly faded away and died. He said to me how frustrating it was. He would tell them with vigour that there was no medical reason for them to die – but they did die! A missionary from Nigeria told me of a similar case, in which a healthy young man at the university after being cursed by a witch simply declined and died within two weeks. A member of our monastic community who comes from Ghana assures me that witch doctors’ curses and spells in that country can have real power to harm, including harming people who do not know that they have been cursed. (A Dutch medical anthropologist working in Ghana confirmed this.) A Catholic doctor in this country consulted me about the case of a woman here who had been cursed by another woman at work – and the health of the first woman collapsed and remained collapsed in a way which was medically inexplicable.

A Catholic man from the third world came to us one evening seeking help. He had been a university lecturer and indeed a government minister in his country. His wife, from whom he has separated, was very deeply involved in witchcraft and she had got him cursed by ‘experts’. His life was now in a state of total disarray and he could not concentrate to read a book or write letters – and there were other very difficult problems. In the name of Jesus we prayed against all curses and demonic attacks. He was immediately much better, and after a few more sessions he was able to work normally again. He then got a responsible job in an organisation helping the third world.

In nearly all third world countries the people living there seem to believe in the power of curses and spells. Indeed, their lives may become an existence of fear and misery, unless they have a truly living faith in Jesus. Increasingly also in our own country and the rest of the first world, people are coming up against the power of the occult and witchcraft. How sad it is to find Catholics, including some priests, who do not believe in the existence of demons and who therefore are not able fully to help so many needy people.

Doubtless quite a proportion of the people who come for this sort of help are just imagining things. But there are certainly many others who are not just imagining. On a number of occasions I have thought it was all imagination and psychological sickness, only to find out later that I was wrong. (A lonely widow from the third world came to us for help on account of the voices she was hearing. We prayed. the voices continued and I thought she was simply suffering from schizophrenia. However a very gifted and experienced Anglican exorcist prayed with her, delivered her from one or more evil spirits, and the voices ceased.)

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Excerpted from:

I Saw Satan Fall – The Ways of Spiritual Warfare by Benedict Heron OSB

No Pope should make a habit of offering his spontaneous reflections to the world.

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Given the adversarial relation between the Church and the world—it is the height of naiveté to deny it—the Supreme Pontiff must be careful to weigh every word and phrase he chooses to utter in public, for the world will eagerly seize upon any ambiguity or telling omission in order to declare triumphantly that a new breach has appeared in the citadel and that the invasion of the Church by worldly thinking has made a stunning new advance. Thus a Pope’s pursuit of “simplicity” and “sincerity,” if it leads to the idea that the Pope must shun all formalism in his public addresses and “speak from the heart,” can come—inevitably will come—at the expense of all the faithful and at the risk of undermining the very credibility of the Church herself.

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Editor’s note: We’ve all heard the phrase, “The devil’s in the details.” It is also equally true that lack of detail might also serve evil purposes. When a pope makes vague, open-ended statements in public, he incites both scandal and dismay – while at the same time, reinvigorating the enemies of the church – who twist his imprecise language to their own nefarious ends.

Pope Francis: “You can not serve God and money.”

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Vatican City ( AsiaNews) – ” You can not serve God and money “, ” greed , in fact, is the root of all evil “, “it corrupts” and “its power is so great, it can make you deviate from [the path of ] faith”, it even “robs you of faith, it weakens it and you lose it”. And when one does something for money that countermands the first commandment, he or she “is guilty of idolatry.”

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Editor’s note: I applaud Pope Francis for his clarity on this matter. Just one question … why do we have many of our bishops running dioceses with assets running into the hundreds of millions of dollars? Wouldn’t the Church be better off with more bishops – in much smaller dioceses – in charge of fewer hard assets?