"The Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth it is this, and Protestantism has ever felt it so; to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." (-John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine).

"Where the bishop is, there let the people gather; just as where ever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church". -St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca 110 AD)a martyr later thrown to the lions, wrote to a church in Asia Minor. Antioch was also where the term "Christian" was first used.

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic." -CCC 811

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

CNA: This is Mongolia's first native priest: Father Joseph Enkh Baatar

By Antonio Anup Gonsalves

Fr. Joseph Enkh Baatar celebrates his first Mass, Aug. 28, 2016. Photo courtesy of Mbumba Prosper, CICM
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Aug 30, 2016 / 04:47 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- On Sunday Mongolia witnessed the ordination of its first indigenous priest, Fr. Joseph Enkh Baatar, a 29-year-old man who represents the first fruits of 24 years of missionary work in the east Asian country.

Bishop Wenceslao Padilla, the prefect of Ulaanbaatar, ordained Joseph Enkh Baatar a priest at an Aug. 28 Mass at St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in the Mongolian capital.

“Fr. Joseph’s ordination is a blessing of God and a moment of immense joy and inspiration for our young Mongolian Church,” Chamingerel Ruffina, a member of the organizing committee for communications at the National Catechetical Center of Mongolia, told CNA Aug. 30.

The first modern mission to Mongolia was established in 1922 and was entrusted to the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. But under a communist government influenced by the Soviet Union, religious expression was soon thereafter suppressed.

Bishop Padilla, a member of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, was one of the first three missionaries allowed into Mongolia in 1992, after the fall of communism. He became superior of the mission in Mongolia, and was instrumental in helping to discern Fr. Baatar's vocation.

The bishop praised God for the historic moment of the apostolic prefecture's first native vocation, and prayed that many more such vocations would arise to help the local Church.

The Mass was concelebrated by Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla, apostolic nuncio to Mongolia and Korea; Bishop Lazarus You Heung-sik of Daejon, in South Korea; and more than 100 priests from South Korea and Hong Kong.

More than 1,500 persons attended the Mass, including dignitaries of foreign embassies, local Orthodox churches, and Buddhist monks. The Mass was followed by joyous festival.

Ruffina commented that “This meaningful liturgical celebration of the sacrament of priestly ordination conducted in their own indigenous language gave an opportunity to the faithful to actually witness in proximity, to celebrate, and to understand the various steps in preparation for the priesthood and the ordination rite.”

The faithful of Mongolia had prepared for the event by reciting a novena to St. Paul to strengthen their missionary spirit during the Year of Mercy.

Fr. Baatar was born June 24, 1987. He lost his father at a young age, and his sister introduced him to the Catholic faith. His dream of joining the priesthood was initially postponed, due to his family's strong desire that he complete his university studies.

After graduating with a degree in biotechnology and with the support of his family, he then applied to become a seminarian for the Prefecture Apostolic of Ulaanbaatar.

Fr. Baatar entered the Daejeon seminary in South Korea, and was ordained a deacon in December 2014.

Concluding the Mass, the newly ordained priest profoundly thanked his family and his mentors at the seminary, especially Bishop You. He also praised the important role played by Bishop Padilla through his support of his vocation.

Fr. Baatar urged the faithful to pray for his priestly ministry so that he could faithfully fulfill his ordination motto, chosen from the gospel of Luke: "Deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow me."

“I thank the Lord who has called me to serve Him through the priesthood. I am also grateful to all the people who have helped me respond to this calling,” Fr. Baatar expressed.

Bishop You reminded the new priest that “the best way of announcing the good news is a life of witnessing.”

Commenting on the vast missionary work that lies ahead in Mongolia, the South Korean bishop said, “Fr. Joseph, being a Mongolian citizen, has to live as a missionary in his own country.”

Ruffina also recounted that the parishioners of Saint Mary’s parish gave Fr. Baatar a Bible which was handwritten by the parishioners themselves.

A young family ministry volunteer, Clara Gantesetseg, told CNA that “the ordination gift of Fr. Joseph Enkh is sign of hope to our people in Mongolia, and a special a gift during this Year of Mercy.”

Clara noted that “Fr. Joseph’s indigenous roots, his cultural and life experiences of his own and the people, will help to transcend the teachings of the Church to the local culture for better understanding, and also will foster interreligious dialogue.”

Among the guests at the Mass was the Abbot Dambajav of Dashi Choi Lin Buddhist Monastery. He praised the efforts of the Catholic Church and encouraged Fr. Baatar to take up the responsibility of helping the Mongolian people. He also gave the new priest a blue khadag, a ceremonial scarf, as a mark of friendship.

Ruffina pointed out that the Buddhist monk's participation and his kind words of encouragement will further forge bonds of friendship and interreligious dialogue between the communities for peaceful co-existence.

A little over half Mongolia's population is Buddhist, and following the decades of communist rule, 39 percent of Mongolia's population is non-religious. Islam, shamanism, and Christianity have mere footholds among the people.

The Prefecture Apostolic of Ulaanbaatar serves all of the estimated 1,200 Catholics in the country, which has a population of 3 million. In 2014, the local Church had three diocesan priests, who were aided by 14 religious.


Article shared from Catholics Striving for Holiness


Do I properly conduct myself inside the Church and attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with love, affection, attention, taking care of the details of piety which Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is really present in the Holy Eucharist, deserves from me?

Dear friends: In preparation for the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Corpus Christi), we shall take up 9 simple but very important reminders regarding CHURCH AND MASS ETIQUETTE. As St. John Paul II once said directing himself to the priests, “a priest’s worth depends on the worth of his Eucharistic life, above all his Holy Mass” (Speech, Feb. 16, 1984). And St. Josemaria wrote:

How great is the value of piety in the holy liturgy! I was not at all surprised when someone said to me a few days ago, talking about a model priest who had died recently: “What a saint he was!”—“Did you know him well?” I asked.—“no,” she said, “but I once saw him saying mass.”
-St. Josemaria, The Forge, n. 645.

We can apply these ideas and examine ourselves: How is our love for Jesus in the Holy Mass, in the Eucharist? Our love for Christ is palpably manifested by the love and attention we place to how we attend and take care the Holy Mass and how we comport ourselves inside the Church.


“Love our Lord very much. Maintain and foster in your soul a sense of urgency to love Him better. Love God precisely now when perhaps a good many of those who hold Him in their hands do not love him, but rather ill—treat and neglect him. Be sure to take good care of the Lord for me, in the Holy Mass and throughout the whole day!”
-St. Josemaria, The Forge, n. 438



The Church is the house of God and a holy place of worship. Hence, we must show our respect and devotion by avoiding inappropriate actions such as:

  • INNAPROPRIATE POSTURE: slacking, crossing one’s legs (too relaxed, not a liturgical posture)
  • EATING: the Church is not the appropriate place to take some snacks, chew a gum, or take softdrinks ….Another issue would be to feed infants or children who have not reached the age of reason: there’s no problem with that. Nor is there a problem in places where there is a heat wave and the infants or elderly have the risk of dehydration…they can bring a bottled water if there’s a need.
  • APPROPRIATE ATTIRE: What dress would you wear when you are to meet an important person? You would wear something elegant, presentable and appropriate for the occasion. The Holy Mass is a divine moment and it is important to be well-groomed and dressed appropriately with clean clothes. Modesty as well is a must. One cannot wear the same clothes for the Mass and for sports or for the beach. Help others to live the Mass well by living the virtue of modesty, avoiding to attract people with one’s inappropriate attire. It is a holy celebration –the commemoration of Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection- and your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, so cover it as it is only meant for your loved one.
  • USE OF PHONES IN SILENT MODE: I once saw a sign on the wall of the entrance to a Church in Manila depicting a PHONE with a SLASHED SIGN and with the caption below: “TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONES SO YOU CAN STAY TUNE-IN WITH OUR LORD” and below, another illustration, showing the dress code and the inappropriate dress for Mass (sleeveless shirts, very short shorts, mini skirts). Out of respect to Our Lord and to contribute to a prayerful and recollected atmosphere, let us avoid at all costs the use of smartphones during the Mass. If one has a justified reason (a doctor on call, a sick person in the family, emergency calls…) one may attend to calls in a discreet manner, having the phone in a silent or vibrate mode and quietly leaving the Church rather than receiving the calls or texting inside the Church.
  • Nevertheless, smartphones have to possibility to contain religious, spiritual books and including the missal…so if you see a person using his smartphone, don’t commit the error of making a harsh, pharisaical judgment, even just mentally, for he may be doing his mental prayer, spiritual reading or following the Holy Mass with his e-book missal.
  • SILENCE AND SPIRIT OF RECOLLECTION: The Church as a house of prayer must be a tranquil place conducive for prayer. It is not the proper place to make chit chats with an acquaintance or friends. There will be other places and opportunities for that. If you have children who are crying or who make a lot of noise during the Holy Mass, kindly bring them outside the Church so as to help the priest and the faithful follow the Mass with attention. By doing so, you are living charity to your fellowmen. On the priest’s part….patience…no need to get angry but rather take advantage to pray for the baby and his parents.


  • Social etiquette requires different modes of greeting a person as a sign of courtesy and respect: Japanese make the bow, friends shake hands, soldiers salute their superiors, people stand up when an important person passes by… Jesus is truly present in the tabernacle and AS A SIGN OF SUBMISSION, ADORATION, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, FAITH, RESPECT AND LOVE, WE BEND OUR KNEE WHEN WE PASS IN FRONT OF THE TABERNACLE.
  • In some Churches, the tabernacles are placed on a side altar and IT IS A VERY GOOD CUSTOM TO LOOK FOR THE TABERNACLE TO GREET OUR LORD UPON ENTERING THE CHURCH.
  • The presence of Our Lord inside the tabernacle is indicated by a LIGHTED VOTIVE CANDLE and/or a VEIL COVERING THE TABERNACLE.


  • The altar represents Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the reason why the priest, in the beginning of the Mass, bows (makes a “reverence” in front of the altar) and kisses it: a kiss directed to Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • When we enter the Church and see the altar (without the tabernacle located in the center), as a sign of reverence, we make a bow towards the altar which represents Jesus Christ.


  • The Eucharistic fast is calculated from the time you finished eating till the moment of Communion and not till the beginning of the Holy Mass. So you see, it’s quite easy J
  • The reason behind the Church law to live the Eucharistic fast (from food and liquids other than water) is to remind the communicants that we are not receiving an ordinary bread but the Body of Christ, Christ Himself.
  • Those who are sick are not obliged to live the fast.


  • We must ARRIVE ON TIME, WHICH MEANS AT LEAST 5- 10 MINS BEFORE THE START OF THE MASS TO RECOLLECT ourselves and spend a few minutes of prayer.
  • If we wouldn’t want to be late for an important job interview, or for a meeting with a very important person, the more reason we wouldn’t want to be late for the Holy Mass, where it is God who awaits us.


  • The Second Vatican Council’s document on the Sacred Liturgy, “Sacrosantum Concilium” encourages the faithful to actively participate during the Holy Mass.
  • ACTIVE PRESENCE: We must not forget that it is possible to be present in the Church (and its vicinities, e.g., outside the Church where men prefer to stay or young people who wish to be with their friends) without having attended the Holy Mass…so some effort we have to exert to make the most out of the commemoration of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord, which we celebrate in the Holy Mass.
  • LISTENING WITH ATTENTION: Using a missal or a mass leaflet helps a lot to follow the readings with attention and get the most out of the Word of God and the Holy Mass in general.
  • HOMILY: We, priests, must prepare our homilies in order to transmit the Word of God, avoiding at all costs, lengthy, fuzzy sermons which bore the faithful and losing a very important opportunity in catechizing and evangelizing those who are present. Homilies which last more than 10 minutes are usually counterproductive. Simple, few, concrete ideas with practical application based on the readings of the Mass nurture the soul of our brethren.


  • For example, we STRIKE OUR BREAST during the “I confess” to signify our contrition; we STAND UP during the Gospel as a sign of respect to the Word of Our Lord Jesus Christ or readiness to do God’s will; we KNEEL DOWN during the Consecration as a sign of adoration and faith on the miracle of the Transubstantiation when the bread is converted into Christ’s Body and the wine, to His Blood. Those who have problems of kneeling down due to weakness, old age, or illness (gout, arthritis etc.) may remain standing.
  • On the PRIEST’S part, when HE OPENS HIS HANDS during the Collect prayer, Prayer over the Gifts and Prayer after Communion, this gesture directed towards heaven is a sign of humble supplication towards the Blessed Trinity to listen and grant his pleas on behalf of the faithful: the priest is a mediator between God and man.
  • When he PUTS HIS HANDS PALMS DOWN OVER THE GIFTS, He invokes God to send the Holy Spirit towards the bread and wine he is about to consecrate “in persona Christi”, meaning “in the person of Christ”. When he genuflects after the consecration of the bread and wine during which the miracle of the Transubstantiation occurs, he does it out of adoration towards the Real Presence of Christ!
  • LET US LEARN TO PRAY NOT ONLY WITH OUR MIND AND LIPS, BUT WITH OUR ENTIRE BEING AS WELL, doing the gestures which correspond to us during the different moments of the Holy Mass, putting our heart in them as well. With this, we pray with our entire being: body and soul.


  • As a sign of our faith and love towards the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, it is important to show some REVERENCE AND AFFECTION TO OUR LORD BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER WE RECEIVE THE HOLY COMMUNION.
  • BEFORE: Make ACTS OF FAITH, ACTS OF LOVE, SPIRITUAL COMMUNIONS. Above all, we should ask ourselves if we have the proper dispositions to receive Our Lord, i.e., if we are in the STATE OF GRACE (with no mortal sin).
  • DURING: When we receive Communion, it is important to acknowledge God’s Real Presence with a sign of reverence which could be a BOW, or KNEELING DOWN…depending on the customs and circumstances in each church or diocese.
  • THE IDEAL WAY TO RECEIVE OUR LORD IN COMMUNION IS TO RECEIVE HIM BY MOUTH. Why? To avoid the possibility that some small particles of the Sacred Host will remain in our hands(if we are to receive it in this manner)and get lost or dropped on the floor. Nevertheless, you have the freedom to choose if in your diocese, your Bishop allows reception of Communion by hand. But the priest cannot force you to receive it by the hand if you wish to receive Communion by mouth.
  • AFTER: Recollect yourself and be aware that you have God in your body and soul! These are the MOST IMPORTANT MINUTES OF THE WEEK (OR DAY). And when two people who are in love are together, they make the most out of it and they are not at all in a hurry to part ways! It is logical and advisable then that you talk to Our Lord: thank Him, tell Him that you love Him, say sorry for your sins, ask Him a lot not only for your needs and those of your loved ones, but for the Pope, for the needs of the Church, of those who are suffering due to whatever cause, for the holy souls in purgatory, for the conversion of sinners, for vocations….Have a big heart and it’s time to be an insistent beggar to Our Lord!


  • The Holy Mass ends AFTER the priest gives the blessing and says: “The Mass is ended, go in peace” (or another formula. As a sign of good education and respect, WE REMAIN STANDING TILL THE PRIEST LEAVES THE PRESBYTERY.
  • If we have received communion, it is good to spend some few minutes of THANKSGIVING to Our Lord in our body and soul, PHYSICALLY PRESENT IN OUR BODY (DON’T FORGET: THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT MOMENT OF THE WEEK!), then leaving the Church quietly so as not to distract others. We must avoid being in a hurry, leaving the Church immediately: it could be a sign of lack of delicacy with Our Lord.
Well, these are some ideas which will help us live the proper Church and Mass etiquette out of love, respect and devotion for God really present in the Holy Eucharist. I’m sure there are more details which could be added, since love takes care of little things and consists in small details of affection, but for now, this would be sufficient.

Praying daily for the spiritual fruits of this page.
Do help me pray for this intention as well.
Take care and God bless you and your loved ones!

-Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei. CATHOLICS STRIVING FOR HOLINESS. We are also in Facebook: www.facebook.com/CatholicsstrivingforHoliness Hope you like our page and invite your friends as well to do so in order to help more people.

If you have friends who do not have a Facebook account but you think would benefit from our posts, they can receive our posts by email once they follow us and subscribe in www.catholicsstrivingforholiness.com

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

VATICAN RADIO: Pope Francis receives Facebook CEO in private audience

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met with Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, and his wife, Priscilla Chan, on Monday in a private audience in the Vatican.

A statement released by the Holy See Press Office said: “They spoke about how to use communication technologies to alleviate poverty, encourage a culture of encounter, and help deliver a message of hope, especially to those people who are most disadvantaged.”

(Photo source:  Facebook Page of Vatican Radio)

Monday, August 29, 2016

NCR: This Anti-Christian Graffito May Be Earliest Depiction of Crucifixion

Article from National Catholic Register
By Matthew Archbold
26 August 2016

We are mocked in popular culture. We are attacked by the government. But this, as we know, is nothing new for Christians.

In fact, it's rather fitting that perhaps the earliest surviving depiction of Christ crucified might just be anti-Christian graffiti. Discovered in 1857, carved into a wall near the Palatine Hill in Rome, the graffiti is believed to have been drawn around 200 AD. The central figure of the drawing is a crucified figure with the body of a man and the head of a donkey or ass. To the left of the crucified figure is a man raising his hand in presumed worship. A mocking inscription accompanies the drawing which says "Alexamenos worshipping his God."

The donkey head must have been a prevalent slander at the time as, Tertullian, a convert, countered the accusation in his writings:

"…you have dreamed that our God is an ass’s head. This sort of notion Cornelius Tacitus introduced. [2] For in the fifth book of his Histories [5.4] he begins his account of the Jewish War with the origin of the race; and about that origin as about the name and religion of the race he discoursed as he pleased. He tells how the Jews, liberated from Egypt, or, as he thought, exiled, were in the wilderness of Arabia utterly barren of water; and how, dying of thirst, they saw wild asses, which chanced to be returning from their pasture (it was thought) to slake their thirst; how they used them as guides to a fountain, and out of gratitude consecrated the likeness of a beast of the kind. [3] Thence came, I think, the assumption that we too, standing so near Jewish religion, are devoted to worship of the same image." Tertullian, Apology. 16: 1-3

Arrows of derision have been targeting Christians since the beginning. It doesn't make them hurt less to know that they've been flown at us for 2,000 years. But we also know it is our response to it that matters.

We are called to love those who mock us, deride us. We are called to continually persevere in loving God, even at the cost of the world's view of us. We have countless examples of love and faith overcoming derision and violence throughout the millennia from Stephen the Martyr to Maximillian Kolbe and countless others.

And yes, it would seem we even have the example of Alexamenos too. In a lesser known scribbling on an interior wall dated around the same time, there was written what seems like a response to the blasphemous message. It reads "Alex is faithful."

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Asawa ng Ka Eraño G. Manalo at Ina ng Ka Eduardo V. Manalo ang Bagong 'Jezebel' ayon kay G. Jose Ventilacion

Mula sa blog ni G. Jose Ventilacion
Hindi ito karapat-dapat itawag sa Ka Babylyn kundi kay Gng. Cristina “Tenny” V. Manalo sapagkat natupad sa kanya ang pagkakahalintulad kay Jezebel.

  1. Tulad ni Jezebel, si Gng. Tenny ay nagdulot ng isa sa mga pinaka malubhang suliraning pagka-bahabahagi.
  2. Tlad ni Jezebel, si Gng. Tenny ay nanghikayat sa mga lingkod ng Diyos na lumabag sa kautusan ng Diyos nang siya ay manawagan sa Youtube.
  3. Tulad ni Jezebel, si Gng. Tenny ay nakikialam sa Pamamahala ng Kapatid na Eduardo V. Manalo dahil tumatangap at sumasagot si Gng. Tenny Manalo ng sulat ukol sa Ordenasyon ng mga Manggagawa.
  4. Tulad ni Jezebel, si Gng. Tenny ay nakikialam sa Pamamahala ng Kapatid na Eduardo V. Manalo dahil tumatangap at sumasagot ng sulat ng mga nagbabalik na na-disiplinang Ministro at Manggagawa.
  5. Tulad ni Jezebel, pinakikialaman ni Gng. Tenny ang mga gawain at pasya ng ating Tagapamahalang Pangkalahatan, ang kapatid na Eduardo V. Manalo dahil sa kanilang hindi pagpapasakop at pangunguna sa mga kapatid na sila ay tulungan dahil sila ay diumano’y nasa panganib.
  6. Tulad ni Jezebel, ang ginawa ni Gng. Tenny ay humantong sa pagpatay ng mga inosenteng tao at mga propeta na maaaring ihalintulad sa pagkapamahak ng kaluluwa ng mga ministro at mga kapatid na natiwalag dahil sa ginawa nilang paghihikayat upang lumaban sa Pamamahala.
  7. Tulad ni Jezebel, pinarusahan si Gng. Tenny ng Panginoong Diyos at siya ngayon ay Tiwalag.
  8. Tulad ni Jezebel, ang ginawa pananawagan ni Gng. Tenny ay nagbunga ng paglabag ng ilang mga kapatid sa mga aral ng Diyos.
Samakatwid, kitang kita natin kung kanino natupad ang nasusulat sa Biblia tungkol kay Jezebel sa katauhan ni Gng. Cristina V. Manalo at ito ay kailanman hinding hindi ang kapatid na Babylyn V. Manalo.

Tanong ko lang: Bakit di nila SINABI sa Ka Eraño G. Manalo noong nabubuhay pa ito na ang asawa pala niya, at ina ng mga magiging anak nila (at ina mismo ng nakaupong Executive Minister) ay isa palang 'JEZEBEL' sa makabagong panahon?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Aleteia: Despite threat from ISIS, 100 children receive First Communion in Iraq


The first communion Mass in Alqosh was an historic moment for a “frontier town” that has been under threat from the militants of the Islamic State (IS) for a long time. Now it can “hope for peace and normalcy” around these hundred children, said Mgr Basil Yaldo, auxiliary bishop of Baghdad and close associate of the Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako.

The Chaldean primate presided over the ceremony that was attended by “all the priests of the city, the nuns and more than 700 people. The faithful were excited because for the first time, the patriarch celebrated communions in the community.”

Like many other towns in Iraqi Kurdistan, Alqosh too welcomed scores of refugees.

“Life in the area is almost back to normal,” said the vicar of Baghdad. “We hope that soon the whole plain [of Nineveh] can be liberated from the jihadists, and that refugees can return to their villages.”

The work to secure the area, he added, has “already started and for the past two days Iraqi troops have launched the battle to liberate the villages surrounding Mosul.”

…Addressing the boys and girls who received the first communion, Patriarch Sako urged them not to abandon their land, the city of Alqosh, but to stay and help in the reconstruction “because there is a (Christian) heritage to be preserved. ”

The Chaldean primate, Mgr Yaldo noted, also called on young people to “be stronger, come to church and participate in the life of the Christian community as one participates in the life of a family.”

After the service, the children asked Patriarch Sako some questions. One of them, Mgr Yaldo noted, said that when he “grows up he wants to become a priest to serve the poor and the needy.”

The patriarch could not hold back his emotion after listening to such words, adding that “it is important to support and share the suffering.”

Read it all. God bless every one of them and keep them safe.

Friday, August 12, 2016

“Apocrypha”: Why It’s Part of the Bible

August 11, 2016 by Dave Armstrong
Source: Patheos

Codex Sinaiticus (4th century): text of Matthew 6:4-32. This manuscript included all seven deuterocanonical books [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]
[Written in 1994; from A Biblical Defense of Catholicism: pp. 259-264]


(Bible verses: RSV)


The Old Testament in Catholic Bibles contains seven more books than are found in Protestant Bibles (46 and 39, respectively). Protestants call these seven books the Apocrypha and Catholics know them as the deuterocanonical books. These seven books are: Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus (or, Sirach), and Baruch. Also, Catholic Bibles contain an additional six chapters (107 verses) in the book of Esther and another three in the book of Daniel (174 verses). These books and chapters were found in Bible manuscripts in Greek only, and were not part of the Hebrew canon of the Old Testament, as determined by the Jews.

All of these were dogmatically acknowledged as Scripture at the Council of Trent in 1548 (which means that Catholics were henceforth not allowed to question their canonicity), although the tradition of their inclusion was ancient. At the same time, the Council rejected 1 and 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasses as part of Sacred Scripture (these are often included in collections of the “Apocrypha” as a separate unit).

The Catholic perspective on this issue is widely misunderstood. Protestants accuse Catholics of “adding” books to the Bible, while Catholics retort that Protestants have “booted out” part of Scripture. Catholics are able to offer very solid and reasonable arguments in defense of the scriptural status of the deuterocanonical books. These can be summarized as follows:

1) They were included in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament from the third century B. C.), which was the “Bible” of the apostles. They usually quoted the Old Testament scriptures (in the text of the New Testament) from the Septuagint.

2) Almost all of the Church fathers regarded the Septuagint as the standard form of the Old Testament. The deuterocanonical books were in no way differentiated from the other books in the Septuagint, and were generally regarded as canonical. St. Augustine thought the Septuagint was apostolically sanctioned and inspired, and this was the consensus in the early Church.

3) Many Church fathers (such as St. Irenaeus, St. Cyprian, Tertullian) cite these books as Scripture without distinction. Others, mostly from the east (for example, St. Athanasius, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Gregory Nazianzus) recognized some distinction but nevertheless still customarily cited the deuterocanonical books as Scripture. St. Jerome, who translated the Hebrew Bible into Latin (the Vulgate, early fifth century), was an exception to the rule (the Church has never held that individual Fathers are infallible).

4) The Church councils at Hippo (393) and Carthage (397, 419), influenced heavily by St. Augustine, listed the deuterocanonical books as Scripture, which was simply an endorsement of what had become the general consensus of the Church in the west and most of the east. Thus, the Council of Trent merely reiterated in stronger terms what had already been decided eleven and a half centuries earlier, and which had never been seriously challenged until the onset of Protestantism.

5) Since these councils also finalized the 66 canonical books which all Christians accept, it is quite arbitrary for Protestants to selectively delete seven books from this authoritative canon. This is all the more curious when the complicated, controversial history of the New Testament canon is understood.

6) Pope Innocent I concurred with and sanctioned the canonical ruling of the above councils (Letter to Exsuperius, Bishop of Toulouse) in 405.

7) The earliest Greek manuscripts of the Old Testament, such as Codex Sinaiticus (fourth century), and Codex Alexandrinus (c. 450) include all of the deuterocanonical books mixed in with the others and not separated.

8) The practice of collecting these books into a separate unit dates back no further than 1520 (in other words, it was a novel innovation of Protestantism). This is admitted by, for example, the Protestant New English Bible (Oxford University Press, 1976), in its “Introduction to the Apocrypha,” (p.iii).

9) Protestantism, following Martin Luther, removed the deuterocanonical books from their Bibles due to their clear teaching of doctrines which had been recently repudiated by Protestants, such as prayers for the dead (Tobit 12:12, 2 Maccabees 12:39-45 ff.; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:29), intercession of dead saints (2 Maccabees 15:14; cf. Revelation 6:9-10), and intermediary intercession of angels (Tobit 12:12,15; cf. Revelation 5:8, 8:3-4). We know this from plain statements of Luther and other Reformers.

10) Luther was not content even to let the matter rest there, and proceeded to cast doubt on many other books of the Bible which are accepted as canonical by all Protestants. He considered Job and Jonah mere fables, and Ecclesiastes incoherent and incomplete. He wished that Esther (along with 2 Maccabees) “did not exist,” and wanted to “toss it into the Elbe” river.

[Later clarifying note, added on 9-13-07: the red words I no longer agree with, as stated, based on subsequent in-depth research that I have undertaken since 1994, when this was written (perhaps it was written as early as 1991). Like any careful, conscientious researcher, I sometimes (gladly) modify — even sometimes reverse — earlier understandings with further study. For my current opinions on Luther and the canon, see:

11) The New Testament fared scarcely better under Luther’s gaze. He rejected from the New Testament canon (“chief books”) Hebrews, James (“epistle of straw”), Jude and Revelation, and placed them at the end of his translation, as a New Testament “Apocrypha.” He regarded them as non-apostolic. Of the book of Revelation he said, “Christ is not taught or known in it.” These opinions are found in Luther’s prefaces to biblical books, in his German translation of 1522.

[Later clarifying note, added on 9-13-07: Luther softened or rejected these more radical opinions in later, revised prefaces, some 20 years later, so that I would write this portion of my first book differently today, in light of my research done since 1994]

12) Although the New Testament does not quote any of these books directly, it does closely reflect the thought of the deuterocanonical books in many passages. For example, Revelation 1:4 and 8:3-4 appear to make reference to Tobit 12:15:

Revelation 1:4 Grace to you . . . from the seven spirits who are before his throne. (cf. 3:1; 4:5; 5:6)

Revelation 8:3-4 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God. (cf. 5:8)

Tobit 12:15 I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One.

St. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:29, seems to have 2 Maccabees 12:44 in mind. This saying of Paul is one of the most difficult in the New Testament for Protestants to interpret, given their theology:
1 Corinthians 15:29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?

2 Maccabees 12:44 For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead.
This passage of St. Paul shows that it was the custom of the early Church to watch, pray and fast for the souls of the deceased. In Scripture, to be baptized is often a metaphor for affliction or (in the Catholic understanding) penance (for example, Matthew 3:11, Mark 10:38-39, Luke 3:16, 12:50). Since those in heaven have no need of prayer, and those in hell can’t benefit from it, these practices, sanctioned by St. Paul, must be directed towards those in purgatory. Otherwise, prayers and penances for the dead make no sense, and this seems to be largely what Paul is trying to bring out. The “penance interpretation” is contextually supported by the next three verses, where St. Paul speaks of “Why am I in peril every hour? . . . I die every day,” and so forth.

As a third example, Hebrews 11:35 mirrors the thought of 2 Maccabees 7:29:

Hebrews 11:35 Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life.

2 Maccabees 7:29 Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in God’s mercy I may get you back again with your brothers. [a mother speaking to her son: see 7:25-26]

13) Ironically, in some of the same verses where the New Testament is virtually quoting the “Apocrypha,” doctrines are taught which are rejected by Protestantism, and which were a major reason why the deuterocanonical books were “demoted” by them. Therefore, it was not as easy to eliminate these disputed doctrines from the Bible as it was (and is) supposed, and Protestants still must grapple with much New Testament data which does not comport with their beliefs.

14) Despite this lowering of the status of the deuterocanonical books by Protestantism, they were still widely retained separately in Protestant Bibles for a long period of time (unlike the prevailing practice today). John Wycliffe, considered a forerunner of Protestantism, included them in his English translation. Luther himself kept them separately in his Bible, describing them generally as (although sub-scriptural) “useful and good to read.” Zwingli and the Swiss Protestants, and the Anglicans maintained them in this secondary sense also. The English Geneva Bible (1560) and Bishop’s Bible (1568) both included them as a unit. Even the Authorized, or King James Version of 1611 contained the “Apocrypha” as a matter of course. And up to the present time many Protestant Bibles continue this practice. The revision of the King James Bible (completed in 1895) included these books, as did the Revised Standard Version (1957), the New English Bible (1970), and the Goodspeed Bible (1939), among others.

15) The deuterocanonical books are read regularly in public worship in Anglicanism, and also among the Eastern Orthodox, and most Protestants and Jews fully accept their value as historical and religious documents, useful for teaching, even though they deny them full canonical status.
It is apparent, then, that the Catholic “case” for these scriptural books carries a great deal of weight, certainly at the very least equal to the Protestant view.

Meta Description: Catholic explanation of why the deuterocanon, or so-called “Apocrypha” (seven books) belongs in the Bible.

Meta Keywords: 46 books, 73 books, Apocrypha, apocryphal books, biblical canon, Book of Esther, canon of Scripture, canonicity, deuterocanon, deuterocanonical books, Latin Vulgate, Old Testament, rest of Esther, septuagint, St. Jerome, The Bible

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Historic Christian Teaching Against Contraception: A Defense by Sherif Girgis

Photosource: Carribean360
By Sherif Girgis
The Public Discourse
August 10th, 2016

The Catholic Church’s teaching on contraception, common to all Christian denominations for 1900 years, is not arbitrary. It reflects a moral truth. And the Catholic Church can never revise it. Part one of two.
Forty-eight years ago last month, our story reached a dramatic climax. But it began in the dawn of Christianity, with a document called the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (or Didache). Written thirty to fifty years after Christ’s death, it gives the earliest evidence of a Christian condemnation of contraception. For the next 1900 years, it was the view of every Christian body—East and West, Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox—that contraception by spouses was immoral. (Its use outside of marriage wasn’t much discussed since non-marital sex was deemed sinful anyway.) It was even denounced, vociferously, by Reformers such as Luther and Calvin. In 1930, but only then, a single Protestant denomination cracked open the door to spousal contraception—but only for serious reasons. Soon, however, that and almost every other denomination had flung it wide open.

And the Catholic Church held firm. As the sexual revolution spread and “population bomb” panic swept the West, there were rumors and fervent hopes that the Church would change. The birth control pill had just been invented, and some thought it different in kind from condoms and other barriers. Perhaps (they reasoned) it wasn’t really contraceptive. A commission established by Pope Paul VI to study the question tried to split the difference. Its 1966 report concluded that any effort to sterilize spouses’ sex acts would fall within the ancient teaching against contraception; but it urged abandoning that teaching.

Two years later, in 1968, Pope Paul VI stunned the world. His encyclical letter Humanae Vitae affirmed the historic Christian teaching against “any action which is done—either in anticipation of marital intercourse, or during it, or while its natural effects are unfolding—so as to impede procreation, whether that is intended as an end … or as a means.”

What he taught, in other words, is that it’s always immoral to act with the intent to sterilize spouses’ sexual acts, by any means and for any reason. And for good measure, he warned that a wide embrace of contraception would spell disaster for marital fidelity and public decency, for men’s respect for women and governments’ respect for the family. These words earned him the derision of Western cultural leaders in thrall to the ideology of sexual liberation, but they proved prophetic.

Paul VI also wrote—as John Paul II would reaffirm—that this principle was no mere regulation for the day-to-day life of the Catholic community, subject to change. It wasn’t like the requirement to give up meat on Fridays in Lent. It was required, they taught, by the “natural moral law.”

Why? Because a married couple’s choice to contracept goes against the human good. But there isn’t just one right account of why and how. The Church is in the business of preaching the Gospel, not running philosophy seminars. It doesn’t usually endorse particular philosophical arguments.

Nevertheless, drawing on thinkers such as Elizabeth Anscombe, Alex Pruss, and Germain Grisez, I’ll venture a few moral reasons for its teaching on contraception. I’ll show how rejecting it undermines other Christian teachings on sex ethics. And I’ll end on a more concrete note, suggesting that the use of contraception isn’t just wrong in principle; it can harm real-life marriages in tragically tangible ways.

Some dimensions of our lives are sacred, good for us in themselves. Morality requires treating these basic human goods—these core aspects of our well-being—as more than mere tools for other ends. It tells us to pursue them as we can, to honor them, and never to choose directly against them—which is simply to serve and honor human beings in these different dimensions of their lives. Thus, murder and mutilation are wrong because they involve choosing directly against the basic human goods of life and health. The inherent value of personal integrity and community makes lies and hypocrisy wrong. And so on.

In other words, the natural moral law—which Christian teaching reflects and extends—is about living well, which means loving well. It’s about serving the true good of everyone touched by our actions. It is a law of love. To act immorally, to sin, is always a failure of love, of full devotion to the human good.

Contraception Violates Marriage

The conjugal union of husband and wife—marriage—is one bedrock human good, one basic form of love. By its nature, it is deepened by the bearing and rearing of new people. But to thwart what so crowns a marriage is to choose against this good itself, against marital love. And choosing against a basic good or form of love is a sin.

Thriving Catholic Churches in the Arabian Peninsula!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Christian Post: Atheist Journalist Sohrab Ahmari Announces Conversion to Catholicism After Jihadis Kill French Priest

August 1, 2016|4:38 pm

Sohrab Ahmari.
Last week's killing of a French priest by radicals associated with the Islamic State has inspired atheist Wall Street Journal writer Sohrab Ahmari to come out publicly about his plans to convert to Catholicism.

After the news broke that Father Jacques Hamel had been killed by radicals who raided the Church of the Gambetta in the Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray district of Normandy last Tuesday, the Iranian-born Ahmari announced in a tweet:

"#IAmJacquesHamel: In fact, this is the right moment to announce that I'm converting to Roman Catholicism."

Ahmari later deleted the tweet and pinned another tweet the following day.

"To new followers: I deleted my tweet professing my conversion, to avoid drawing internet-crazies' attention to my church," the tweet explained.

In response to published reports and tweets that incorrectly claimed he was converting to Christianity from Islam, Ahmari clarified in another tweet that he is actually converting from Atheism.

Although Ahmari publicly announced his conversion only after Hamel was killed, his decision to convert was not inspired by Hamel's martyrdom.

A source close to Ahmari told The Christian Post that Ahmari has been under instruction with a Roman Catholic priest for some time now but Hamel's death was what prompted him to announce his conversion plans.

Ahmari was born in Tehran and moved to the United States when he was 13 years old. He earned a law degree from Northeastern University and was inspired to become a journalist because of the disputed 2009 Iranian elections.

Ahmari has been published in The Boston Globe, The New Republic, The Chronicle of Higher Education and works as an editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal's European edition.

In response to the attack in Normandy last Tuesday, Ahmari praised French President François Hollande for declaring that France is "at war" with the Islamic State.

"I support that sentiment because it's still ahead of where many other European governments are in terms of recognizing that what's happening is a low-grade jihadist insurgency targeting all of Europe, and many governments are in denial," Ahmari said in a video interview on WSJ.com. "As far as the Hollande government goes, at least it's a first step to recognizing the adversary and to say there is a war. That is more than can be honestly said of President Obama."

Ahmari added that he thinks European governments are being too reactionary and are not mobilizing to defeat the extremist threats.

"What you see is governments lurching from attack to attack and being very reactive," he said. "If something like [the Normandy church attack] happens, France ramps up sales of artillery to the Iraqi government. ... But you don't see that full-scale mobilization that really needs to happen."

Another area of concern that Ahmari warned about is the Islamic State's growth in Libya.

"No one is paying attention to this vast stretch of territory becoming an 'ISISistan,' if you will," Ahmari stressed.

CNA: New Iraqi priests bring joy amid years of sadness, displacement

By Elise Harris

Roni Salim Momika is ordained a priest in Erbil's Aishty camp for the displaced Aug. 5, 2016. Courtesy of Fr. Roni Momika.
Erbil, Iraq, Aug 8, 2016 / 03:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Fr. Roni Salim Momika, one of three priests ordained in an Erbil refugee camp Friday, said the event has turned the dreary mood of displaced Christians into one of joy, which he hopes will give them the strength to stay in their homeland.

“My feeling is happy, happy!” Fr. Momika told CNA after his Aug. 5 ordination, adding that he feels “something inside” that makes him deeply joyful.

He was ordained a priest of the Syriac-Catholic Church alongside his friends and fellow deacons Emad and Petros in the large, prefabricated church inside Erbil’s Aishty 2 camp for the displaced, which is home to some 5,500 people forced to flee their homes due to ISIS.

The ordination, he said, “will give hope to (the people)” in the camp, mostly Syriac Catholics from Qaraqosh, who for two years have been forced to live as refugees.

Fr. Momika, who is from Qaraqosh, noted how Aug. 6 marks the exact two-year anniversary since ISIS attacked his hometown, driving out inhabitants who didn’t meet their demands to convert to Islam, pay a hefty tax or face death.

“We left Qaraqosh during this time two years ago,” he said, explaining that it’s been “a time of challenge” and “a time of sadness” for the Christians.

However, while the anniversary could serve as a reminder of the bleak and uncertain reality for Christians in Iraq, the sight of three young men being ordained to the priesthood has instead made it “a happy time, a hopeful time, and a good time,” Fr. Momika said.

“Before it was a bad day because we became refuges and ISIS entered to Qaraqosh, but now this day became a good day because it’s our ordination and we give hope to our people,” including the hope “to stay here,” he said.

Fr. Momika, Emad, Petros and another seminarian named Paul were all forced to flee Qaraqosh when ISIS attacked in 2014.

Before being forced to leave, Momika and his sister were among the victims wounded in a 2010 bombing of buses transporting mainly Christian college students from the Plains of Nineveh to the University of Mosul, where they were enrolled in classes.

Since the Qaraqosh seminary was closed following the 2014 attack, the then-seminarians were sent to finish their studies at the Al-Sharfa Seminary in Harissa, Lebanon. After completing their studies in Lebanon, they returned to Iraq for their deaconate ordination, which took place March 19.

Since then, Paul decided to serve in Baghdad, and was ordained there roughly 20 days ago, while Fr. Momika and the others were ordained in Erbil.

Archbishop Yohanno Petros Moshe, Syriac Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, Kirkuk and Kurdistan, the priests’ bishop, was the one who celebrated their ordination Mass in the Aishty camp.

Fr. Momika, whose family fled to Erbil after leaving Qaraqosh, said that while the church only has a capacity of about 800 people, about 1,500 showed up for the ordination.

Several of his family members were able to come for the ordination, including his father, sister and many others who traveled from Baghdad, Aqrah and other cities to be there.

Until now Fr. Momika has worked with the youth and led the women’s groups inside Erbil’s refugee camps. The priest said that for now he will remain in Erbil and continue to serve in that capacity, but it’s up to Archbishop Moshe to decide “if I will stay here or not” in the long run.

As a newly ordained priest surrounded by violent persecution, Fr. Momika said that he wants “to stand with the refugees” despite the “the danger (in their) lives.”

He said he wants to give the Christians “power, hope, and courage to continue their lives and stay with the poor people” and those who are suffering, adding that for him, the essence of his role and vocation is “to give Christ to the people.”

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Q&A: Priestly Vestments, Is it Biblical?

Question: My Friend Born Again ask me. Why it is Important to Wear your Priests a Vestment?? And Where are the Biblical Verse???

There's nothing unscriptural about vestments. God commanded that they be used in the Old Testament. Look at Exodus 28:2:

For your brother Aaron you will make sacred vestments to give dignity and magnificence. You will instruct all the skilled men, whom I have endowed with skill, to make Aaron's vestments for his consecration to my priesthood. These are the vestments which they must make: a pectoral, an ephod, a robe, an embroidered tunic, a turban, and a belt. They must make sacred vestments for your brother Aaron and his sons, for them to be priests in my service. They will use gold and violet material, red-purple and crimson, and finely woven linen.

The rest of the chapter gives details on each garment.

Nothing in the New Testament requires abolition of priestly vestments. Our Lord attacked the Jewish leaders for a number of sins, but he never condemned their priestly garb. It's true the early Church didn't use the Old Testament vestments, but this is because Christians didn't want to identify their leaders with the Jewish priesthood.

Part of the problem for Fundamentalists is that vestments set priests apart from the laity. Fundamentalists object to a ministerial priesthood in the Church. They see vestments as a way of expressing a distinction between clergy and laity.

On this they're right, but there's nothing wrong with such hierarchical distinctions. The New Testament is full of them (Acts 20:28; Eph 2:20, 4:11; Phil 1:1; 1 Tm 3:1-13; Ti 1:5).

Within Fundamentalism there's also an unhealthy opposition set up between the spiritual and the material realms. There is an anti-incarnational attitude which views the use of anything material as superstitious. The distaste for vestments is but one example of this.

Fundamentalists who say Catholic priests adopted distinctive dress in the fifth century to put themselves above the laity have got it backwards. Actually, it was the laity who changed their attire, not to distinguish themselves from priests, but to keep up with fashions.

Catholic priests simply retained their manner of liturgical dress. Priestly vestments are no more than stylized secular Roman garments which have accrued symbolic, liturgical significance over the centuries.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Q&A: Did the Church add the Deuterocanonical books to the Bible at the Council of Trent?

Source: Catholic Answers

Full Question

Is it true that at Trent the Church added the seven Deuterocanonical books (Judith, Tobit, 1 & 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Baruch, and Ecclesiasticus) to the Bible ?

No. The Council of Trent (1545-1564) infallibly reiterated what the Church had long taught regarding the canons of the Old and New Testaments. Pope Damasus promulgated the Catholic canons at the Synod of Rome in A.D. 382, and later, at the regional councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397, 419), the Church again defined the same list of books as inspired.

The canons of the Old and New Testaments, as defined by Pope Damasus and the Councils of Hippo and Carthage, were later ratified (though the books were not enumerated individually) by the later Ecumenical councils of II Nicaea (787) and Florence (1438-1445). Although the Council of Trent, in response to the Protestant violation of the Bible by deleting the seven Deuterocanonical books plus portions of Daniel and Esther, was the first infallible conciliar listing of each individual book, it certainly did not add those books to the canon.

If that were the case, how could Martin Luther and the other Reformers have objected to the presence of those books decades before the Council of Trent if they weren't in the canon to begin with and were added by the Council of Trent?

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