A good article explaining the fine points of the Sacrament of Reconciliation

…in my experience, the Sacrament of Reconciliation ranks right up there with Marian Dogmas among the Church’s teachings that prompt the most questions from those inquiring about the Catholic Faith.

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A reader’s premise: Women are second class citizens in the Catholic Church.

by Doug Lawrence

(This particular commentary is excerpted from a recent Catholic Q&A posed by one of our readers.)

Reader’s Premise: Women are second class citizens in the Catholic Church.

Doug responds:

You have a right to that opinion, but it seems to me that your opinion is based on a popular but erroneous secular humanist/feminist misconception.

The Catholic Church is not a club, not a social group, not a democracy, and certainly not merely an earthly organization. The Catholic Church is the communion of all true believers in Jesus Christ, spanning both Heaven and Earth, whose main purpose is the salvation of souls and the glory of God.

“Fairness” is a matter for divine judgment, as it doesn’t and truly cannot exist in this fallen world.

Our blessed hope is that God will take care of these seeming inequities for us in the next age, when he rights every wrong and makes all things new. In the mean time, we are called to have faith in God and in the only Church that Jesus ever founded, for the purpose of our salvation.

The “door” to the Catholic Church remains the sacrament of baptism, which is open to males and females, alike.

Once baptized, both male and female Catholics, without exception, are adopted children of God, members of the church, living temples of the Holy Spirit, citizens of Heaven, and co-heirs with Jesus Christ.

Catholics of both sexes have equal access to the Mass, the sacraments, and all the other spiritual and substantial resources of the church.

Catholics of both sexes remain children of God’s grace, equal in their God-given spirituality, and equal when it comes to potentially being declared saints of the church.

Catholics of both sexes, by virtue of their baptism, are members of the Royal Priesthood of the Faithful, empowered to approach God personally in prayer, at will, and empowered to share the authentic Catholic faith with any and all who might inquire.

It is only in regard
to the Catholic Ministerial Priesthood
and the Sacrament of Matrimony
where certain distinctions
are necessarily made, as to gender.

It is noteworthy that not just women … but also married men … are typically disqualified from serving in the ministerial priesthood. This would seem to invalidate a very substantial part of the feminist argument.

Meanwhile, the Catholic faith tradition has, as its greatest saint, universal patron, Mother of the Church and Queen of Heaven … the Blessed Virgin Mary … the Holy Mother of God … already truly blessed beyond measure … the authentic, God-ordained role model for every faithful Catholic … regardless of gender.

In light of all this (and more)
it seems to me, the ladies are winning!

May God bless you, shower you with his abundant grace, and lead you to eternal peace and harmony in Jesus Christ, our savior.

Doug

Father Z on priests, holiness, and avoiding a spiritual peril.

Turning priests or bishops into idealized icons of holiness is fraught with spiritual peril.  Admire the admirable, of course.  But we need a necessary corrective in our admiration, namely, that the sole Holy One of God is Jesus Christ, the only perfect High Priest and actual minister of all graces which Holy Church’s ministers have the honor to mediate.

An accusation leveled at a priest is a horrible thing, because it is nearly impossible today for a priest to have a fair hearing. There is no perfect justice or charity in this world, but these days falsely-accused priests don’t get anything like even the world’s “justice”.  But even when priests are guilty of that by which they are accused, it doesn’t surprise me that priests are sinners or in the worst cases commit bad crimes.  Yes, priests and bishops should be held to high standards.  After all, even the devil holds them to high standards.  The devil hates priests and works tirelessly to trip them.  Holy Orders doesn’t make a man less human.  Should I be surprised that priests are sinners?  I am a sinner.

The bottom line is that you cannot depend on the personal holiness of priests or bishops for your own personal holiness.  The only true Holy One is the Lord.

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“The Priesthood” by Father Peter Joseph

Introduction by Eamonn Keane

…Given the widespread misunderstanding regarding the origin and nature of the ordained priesthood both inside the Catholic Church itself and beyond, a problem that has been exacerbated by the clerical sexual abuse scandals of recent times, I thought it would be worthwhile to produce a series of articles on the priesthood. As the first in the series I publish below an article authored by Australian theologian Fr. Peter Joseph titled The Priesthood. The article was first published by the Catholic Adult Education Centre in Sydney in 2009 as INFORM 120: Faith & Life Matters. I am grateful to the editor of Inform for giving me permission to reproduce the article here in my RenewAmerica column. It is the first time it has been published online.

Read The Priesthood by Father Peter Joseph

Editor’s note: The most essential and primary role of the priest is to offer sacrifice to God, for the people. The Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Catholic Holy Eucharist is the primary reason that we Catholics, for our ministers, require nothing less than suitably ordained priests.

And while every Catholic priest is indeed also a minister … not every minister is a priest … since only suitably ordained ministers (ordained in and through the Catholic Sacrament of Holy Orders, by the Catholic bishop’s duly authorized, laying on of hands) receive (among other things) the power from God to change ordinary bread and wine into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, at Mass.

The Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the holiest sacrament of the altar further underscores the fact that Catholic priests are true priests indeed … since at Mass, they offer up for us to God … nothing less than Jesus Christ … who remains the only acceptable sacrifice for the sins of the world.

Since priests carry on the ministry of Jesus Christ, literally acting in Jesus’ place … assisting the bishops in their task of teaching, sanctifying and governing … it’s not surprising that clerical failings and scandals wound so deeply the hearts of the Catholic faithful.

All the more reason we Catholics should demand strict oversight of our seminaries, and total accountability from those who are in charge of priestly formation and education … something which has been substantially out of control now, for several decades.

The Basis For All Seven Sacraments Can Be Found In the Bible

Baptism in Holy Scripture

Mt. 3:1-17: 1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” 4 Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair, and a leather girdle around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 7  But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit that befits repentance, 9 and do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened  and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; 17 and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son,  with whom I am well pleased.”

Mt. 28:16-20: 16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshipped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

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