Nun teaching the authentic faith in Catholic school shocks teachers, bewilders students, outrages parents

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Sister Jane Dominic Laurel (The Terrible?)

The Rev. Tim Reid, pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, sent an email lauding the nun, saying “she represented well the Catholic positions on marriage, sex, same-sex attraction and proper gender roles … The Church has already lost too many generations of Catholic schools students to … a very muddled and watered-down faith.”

Charlotte Catholic High School has invited parents to a meeting Wednesday night to air concerns many of them – and their kids – had about a recent speaker’s comments about homosexuality, divorce and single parents.

Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, a Dominican nun based in Nashville, Tenn., addressed a student assembly on March 21. Days later, some students launched an online petition that called her comments “offensive and unnecessarily derogatory.”

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Editor’s note: In the roughly 4,500 year history of the Judeo-Christian religions there is a long standing tradition of killing prophets who dare to proclaim the authentic Word of God to the people. It’s amazing that so little has changed, over the years.

I ran into much the same type of thing while teaching an 8th grade Confirmation Prep Class at a local Catholic Religious Education Program. I made the “mistake” of (privately) asking each student if they were in the habit of regularly attending  Sunday Mass. Since nine of twelve students did not, I devoted our next class session to a review of Church teaching on worship, Mass attendance, Holy Days of obligation, etc. I also explained that, absent extraordinary circumstances, deliberately missing Mass on a Sunday or a Holy Day, objectively constituted a mortal sin.

The resulting “firestorm” of parent complaints necessitated a special meeting before the next scheduled class, where the Religious Ed director and I personally met with half a dozen irate parents. After absorbing twenty minutes worth of critical comments and vitriol, I read aloud the three paragraphs most pertinent to the Sunday/Holy Day Mass obligation, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

The Sunday obligation

2180 The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass.”117 “The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day.”118

2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor.119 Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.

2182 Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to his Church. The faithful give witness by this to their communion in faith and charity. Together they testify to God’s holiness and their hope of salvation. They strengthen one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Then I asked if there were any questions. You could have heard a pin drop!

The Transfiguration

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Seen at The Catholic Treasure Chest Website

What may come of beating a dead horse – or a seemingly uncooperative donkey!

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Read the latest from Monsignor Charles Pope 

My Jewish friends say that Christians have it wrong. Is that true?

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Q: My Jewish friends say that Christians have it wrong. Is that true?

A: No offense to anyone … but Christianity isn’t wrong.

The Jews were always expecting the arrival of a temporal ruler who would restore Israel to glory … glory that would exceed even that of the heady days of King Solomon. They built their most cherished religious traditions around that prophetic event, but things didn’t work out quite the way they expected.

That’s not surprising, considering the obscurity in which most biblical prophecy is couched, the limitations of man’s intellect, and the fact that God chose to provide some the most critical information only at the very “last minute” in a most unusual, unexpected way.

The Jews also failed to understand that such a thing would require a rather lengthy, multistage process:

1) The Messiah would come and give his life to redeem mankind from eternal slavery to Satan, sin, and death, inaugurating the Kingdom of God on earth, something which is indeed invisible, but which (none the less) exists any time and anywhere the Holy Spirit accepts an offer to indwell a human soul.

Supernatural peace and divinely inspired justice is part and parcel of “citizenship” in the Kingdom of God … something which is presently and typically achieved through the holy Sacrament of Christian Baptism, which (among other very good things) also makes one a member of the Church.

2) For an indefinite period of time, known only to God, the Christian (Catholic) Church, empowered by Jesus Christ and his grace, would be tasked with teaching and baptizing all who would accept the authentic Gospel message … the “good news” of salvation in God’s grace, and the fulfillment of the promises God made to Abraham, in the person of Jesus Christ.

3) Having died, risen again, and now seated at the “right hand of power” in Heaven, Jesus the Messiah will indeed one day return, bringing an end to the present system of things, judging the living and the dead, and installing a new, heavenly order, which will achieve all that was ever promised to Israel and more, right here on a newly renovated earth.

The reason the Jews do not understand all this is because God purposely never revealed all the details of his plan to the prophets and the patriarchs of old, since if he had it would likely have become virtually impossible for Jesus, the true Messiah, to successfully accomplish what he was first sent here to achieve.

It was Jesus who personally provided the additional divine revelation that serves as the key to all the Hebrew Scriptures. Reject Jesus Christ (and/or the teachings of his authentic Catholic Church) and you reject the truth, remaining forever in darkness.

The Jews, as a nation, cruelly rejected Jesus in the time of his visitation. None the less, God graciously gave them 40 years to recover from their mistake … during which time many Jews did indeed accept the truth of Christianity, as many continue to do today.

After that period, the Temple, Jerusalem, and the entire worship system that had been built around it, was totally and utterly destroyed.

Meanwhile, the Christian Church had become a truly universal, authentically salvific, world-wide faith … open to all … Jew and Gentile alike, constituting the “new” People of God.

With Jesus Christ at the head, it remains so to this day.

The Pope and Infallibility: What’s the deal?

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Q: The Pope and infallibility: What’s the deal?

A: All the genuine prophets of old were also endowed with the power of infallibility when they spoke the “word of the Lord” to the people of Israel.

Caiaphas, the hopelessly corrupt high priest who sent Jesus to his death, was able to speak infallibly, according to the power of his office, occupying the “Chair of Moses” (John 11:49).

When speaking on matters of faith and morals, as the chief pastor of the Church, and when he declares himself to be doing so, the Pope is also capable of speaking infallibly, occupying the “Chair of Peter”.

While this matter was officially confirmed by the whole church only a couple of hundred years ago, it was understood and accepted by the church since the earliest days, mainly because when God himself says that he will bind in Heaven whatever you (the pope) choose to bind on earth (Matthew 16:19) that is just about as infallible as any non-divine human can get.

Near as we can tell, over some 2,000 years, the pope has spoken infallibly in that way, only TWICE.

Nothing new, novel, or abusive there, at all.

Is everyone who submits to God’s will a Muslim?

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Q:  If Muslims are called to be submissive to God’s will, does that mean that everyone who willingly submits to God’s will is actually a Muslim?

A: The key question should be: By what means can one actually discover and correctly discern the authentic will of God?

Muslims claim that God revealed himself to Mohamed. Hence, Muslims base their understanding of God’s will essentially on their particular interpretations of Mohamed’s Quran.

Jews claim that God revealed himself to them through Abraham, Moses, and other prophets, many of whom the Jews and Muslims revere in common, so the Jewish understanding of God’s will isn’t very far removed from that of the Muslims.

Muslim fundamental beliefs are codified in Sharia Law, which is very similar to what the Jews know as their own Mosaic Law (the Ten Commandments) along with several hundred related statutes and ordinances.

On the other hand, Christians take what was first basically revealed to the Jews and then build upon it, using the authentic teachings and personal revelations of Jesus Christ.

Jesus claimed to be the fulfillment of all the original scriptures … the Messiah … the promised savior of the world … making possible the reconciliation of mankind with God … just as God had originally promised … and Jesus died and rose again from the dead to prove that what he claimed was true.

While the Jews and Muslims know only the Old Testament God of wrath, Christians know a God of tender love and gracious forgiveness … resulting exclusively from the atoning work of Jesus Christ.

Anyone who adamantly remains mired in the past fails to get the complete message, and is likely to remain in fear and relative darkness, forever. That is hardly a position from which to properly discern the authentic will of God.

But thanks to Jesus Christ, who is (among other things) the light of the world, Christians know without a doubt that God loves us, that he wants us to know him, to love him, and to serve him, in this world and in the next, and that he (God) will provide everything necessary to make that possible … simply because he loves us … and that he’ll accomplish his will primarily through the good offices and sacraments of the only Church that Jesus Christ ever founded, for the purpose of our salvation.

So … since Muslims and Jews accept only the early, relatively obscure, and essentially incomplete portions of God’s divine revelation, they miss the most important and most fulfilling part of the message … redemption, peace, rest, and gracious pardon from God’s justifiable wrath.

Their world view remains skewed, and their discernment of God’s authentic will, fatally flawed.

Alternatively, faith in Jesus Christ, his teachings, and his Church, provides Christians with all the missing pieces of the puzzle, resulting in grace, rest, freedom from inordinate concerns about divine judgment and wrath, personal peace, and eternal life.

All of this should permit Christians (ideally, at least) to love God and to love their neighbor … which is indeed the express will of God, according to Jesus Christ … who ought to know, because he IS God … and he told us as much, as he went about preaching in first century Palestine … fulfilling all that had been written in the books of the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets.

How Well Do You Know the Holy Spirit Spirit – the Spirit of Truth?

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The Holy Spirit is one of three distinct Persons that make up the one eternal God. Each person of the three is God, yet they exist together in a form we describe as the Holy Trinity. (CCC 685 i.e. Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Regardless of which divine person (or persons) may appear to be working at any given time or during any given event, the three persons of the Trinity always act together, eternally united in a mysterious and very special way. (CCC 266)

It may help to think of God the Father as the sovereign architect of all that is seen and unseen; of God the Son as the literal and personal, eternally begotten expression of God’s infinite love and justice. You might think of God the Holy Spirit as the expression of the infinite love which the Father has for the Son, and the Son for the Father … full of divine power, wisdom and glory.

There’s a great mystery here and much we can’t understand. Study the Bible and Catechism for the next 50 years or so and you might begin to appreciate the awesome nature and workings of the Holy Trinity. For now, I suggest you accept it on faith.

Saint Thomas Aquinas explained that each person of the Trinity is of one and the same eternal, uncreated, godly “essence” … so each is indeed the one, true God. If you’re comfortable with third grade mathematics, the Holy Trinity can also be handily described by the following equation: 1 x 1 x 1 = 1.

More of What We Know About The Spirit of Truth

We know the Holy Spirit as the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. (CCC 246)

He is the “Mighty Wind” who swept across the waters of the young earth and the “Breath of Life” who introduced Adam to his soul. (Genesis 1:2 and Genesis 2:7)

He guided pairs of every creature into Noah’s Ark and later, He personally opened the fountains of the great deep and the loosed the floodgates of heaven. (Genesis 7: 9 – 11)

He is the fiery Destroyer of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 19:24)

He is the One who quickened the infertile womb of Sarah, granting faithful Abraham a beloved son. (Genesis 18:14)

It is the Holy Spirit who hardened the heart of Pharaoh and who led the Israelites out of Egypt. He is the “Pillar of Cloud” and “Pillar of Fire” who protected His people in the desert and showed them the way. (Exodus 10:1 and Exodus 13:22)

The Holy Spirit is the strong “Burning Wind” who parted the Red Sea. (Exodus 14:21) He is the “Finger of God” who rendered the Ten Commandments in stone. (Exodus 31:18)

It was He who stopped up the River Jordan so His people could pass over on dry ground (Joshua 3:17) and it was He who caused the walls of Jericho to crumble. (Joshua 6:20)

The Holy Spirit guided the smooth, solitary stone that was launched by David’s sling, defeating Goliath, the hulking beast and mortal enemy of Israel. (1st Samuel 17:49)

He has spoken through the Prophets (and inspired all the writers of the Bible). The Holy Spirit is also the source of all authentic Old Covenant and New Covenant sacred Tradition.

To save His prophet Daniel, he sent an angel to shut the mouths of hungry lions. (Daniel 6:22)

With the consent of the Virgin Mary, He conceived the baby Jesus in her womb. (Luke 1:26)

He is the power behind every miracle. (Exodus 9:16, 2nd Kings 17:36, Psalms 77:14, Psalms 105:27, Isaiah 22:21, Jeremiah 16:21, Daniel 4:3, Matthew 9:2, Mark 1:27, Luke 1:35, Luke 4:14, Luke 4:36, Luke 5:17, Luke 9:44, Luke 10:19, Luke 24:49, John 1:12, John 17:2, Acts 1:8, Acts 4:33, Acts 10:38, Romans 1:3, Romans 9:17, Romans 13:1, Romans 15:13, Romans 15:19, 1st Corinthians 6:14, 2nd Corinthians 3:14, 1st Thessalonians 1:5, 1st Peter 4:14, 2nd Peter 1:3)

He dwelled within the Tabernacle in the desert (Exodus 33:9) and in the Holy of Holies on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. (1st Kings 8:10) Today, He sanctifies our Church (John 14:16) and dwells within every baptized, faithful and repentant Christian. (2nd Corinthians 6:16)

The Holy Spirit descended like a dove on the baptized Jesus (Matthew 3:16) and it was through the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus, fully man and fully God, perfectly accomplished His divine mission.

Acts 10:38 Jesus of Nazareth: how God anointed him with the Holy Ghost and with power, who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

It is the Holy Spirit who darkened the sky and shook the earth on Good Friday (Matthew 27:45-51) rending the veil in the Temple from top to bottom, leaving it desolate, and 3 days hence, along with the Father and the Son, restored and glorified Jesus’ broken and crucified mortal body, raising him up, never to die again. (Romans 8:11)

On Pentecost, visible as tongues of fire and audible as wind and thunder, He anointed Mary and the Apostles (and on all those gathered together with them), and presided at the birth of the Holy Catholic Church. (Acts 2:1)

He remains the Paraclete (advocate) and Spirit of Truth who guides the Church throughout history, protecting it from doctrinal error. (John 14:16)

At Baptism, the Holy Spirit sweeps sin from our soul and takes up residence there, indelibly marking us as adopted children of God, members of the Church, citizens of Heaven, and co-heirs with Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 4:30, Galatians 4:7)

At Mass, it is the Holy Spirit who transforms ordinary bread and wine into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. (CCC 1375)

Through the other Sacraments, particularly Confirmation and Holy Orders, that same Spirit scribes additional marks, imparts special graces, and bestows unique spiritual gifts. (CCC 1317, CCC 1121, CCC 800)

Just before our Savior returns, the Holy Spirit will speak through God’s elect, revealing the “Man of Sin” (Antichrist, false-christ, the Beast) to all those with “eyes to see” and “ears to hear”. (2nd Thessalonians 2:3)

It is the Holy Spirit, who will, at the end of the age, transform our mortal bodies into glory and renovate the earth with holy fire, making all things new again. (2nd Peter 3:7 -12, Revelation 21:1)

We know all this and more about the Holy Spirit because it was revealed; first, by Jesus Christ, and later by the Spirit himself, working through the Apostles and their ordained successors; the Bishops of the Holy Catholic Church.

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