Wednesday, December 30, 2015

In his own words, Luther condemns himself

The Diet of Worms, Germany, in 1521, where Martin Luther was excommunicated 

Luther's Own Statements
by Fr. Henry O' Connor, S.J., 1884

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Dear Friend in Christ,
Peace and greetings to you and your family.
On behalf of our entire team at the St. Paul Center I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and an outpouring of blessings in the Church’s Year of Mercy.
God has worked wonders for us since last Christmas — and the wonders show no sign of slowing down or letting up. So I’m taking this time, at Christmas, to thank you.
You’ve helped make this our greatest year yet.
This year the Center doubled in size with the addition of Emmaus Road Publishing. This expands our mission to include publishing books, not just writing them.
Also this year we released our first-ever Journey Through Scripture Bible study on video, “The Bible and the Virgin Mary.” In just these few weeks since it came out hundreds of people have accessed the study. This is part of a bigger plan to take our life-transforming Bible studies to as many people as possible all over the world. You’re making it possible.

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This year we expanded the scope and reach of our academic publications. We now publish two of the most important scholarly journals in the Catholic world: Nova et Vetera, the premiere journal of Catholic Theology and, of course, Letter & Spirit: A Journal of Catholic Biblical Theology, which we founded more than a decade ago. Both periodicals have been crucial in forming the next generation of seminarians, priests, and bishops.
With your support, we’re reaching into universities and seminaries, homes and parishes. We’re also reaching into prison cellblocks, where our Bible studies and other resources have proven immensely popular. We’re happy we can help so many prisoners experience God’s mercy in the coming year.
I draw energy for this work from all the letters you send us … your prayer requests … your notes of encouragement … and your generous contributions.
We want to help ALL Catholics have their hearts set on fire as they read the Bible from the heart of the Church. We want their eyes to be opened in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread, just like the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
I cannot thank you enough for making all of this possible. But there is still so much left to do. Please keep us in your prayers.
Your generous support, when combined with the gifts of many others, will make a huge difference, and empower us to expand our work to reach more people than ever.
I’m so grateful for you and the blessing you’ve been… and I pray that the Lord will continue to bless you in 2016.

In Christ,

Dr. Scott Hahn

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Paraphrasing the Summa: First part, Question 3, article 2

Article 2. Whether God is composed of matter and form?

This question is very much related to Article 1, whether God has a body.  The answer to that question is, "no, God does not have a body."  A body is composed of matter and form.  God does not have a body, because God is not composed of matter and form.
Objection 1. It seems that God is composed of matter and form. For whatever has a soul is composed of matter and form; since the soul is the form of the body. But Scripture attributes a soul to God; for it is mentioned in Hebrews (Hebrews 10:38), where God says: "But My just man liveth by faith; but if he withdraw himself, he shall not please My soul." Therefore God is composed of matter and form.
The first objection uses Scripture the same way that the last series of objections did in Article 1.  This one says that Scripture says that God has a soul.  A soul is defined as the combination of spirit and body.  Therefore, since Scripture is the Word of God, God must have a body attached to His soul.  And if God has a body, He has matter and form.
Objection 2. Further, angerjoy and the like are passions of the composite. But these are attributed to God in Scripture: "The Lord was exceeding angry with His people" (Psalm 105:40). Therefore God is composed of matter and form.
Again, Scripture is blamed for depicting God as angry and passionate.  Since these are attributes of men, then this objection concludes that God must have matter and form.
Objection 3. Further, matter is the principle of individualization. But God seems to be individual, for He cannot be predicated of many. Therefore He is composed of matter and form.
Again, bodies are composed of matter and form and are the reason why men are individuals.  Since God is referred to as an Individual, then He must have a body composed of matter and form.
On the contrary, Whatever is composed of matter and form is a body; for dimensive quantity is the first property of matter. But God is not a body as proved in the preceding Article; therefore He is not composed of matter and form.
St. Thomas says that anything composed of matter and form, is a body.   And in Article 1, we proved that God is not a body.
I answer that, It is impossible that matter should exist in God.
First, because matter is in potentiality. But we have shown (I:2:3) that God is pure act, without any potentiality. Hence it is impossible that God should be composed of matter and form.
In Article 1, replies to objections 2 and 3, we showed that God is pure action.  He is never at rest.  And only bodies can be at rest.  Since bodies are composed of substance and shape.  And God can't have a body, then God is not made of substance and shape.
Secondly, because everything composed of matter and form owes its perfection and goodness to its form;
*This doesn't make sense, unless we look at an example.  Let's talk about a particular type of matter and the many uses which it can be "formed" into.

Clay can be formed into cups, jugs, pots, bowls, dishes, ash trays, etc.  So, clay is the matter.  The form is the shape of the matter, so that would be either the form of a cup, pot, etc.  And the goodness (i.e. what its good for) of the form is the use to which it is put.  Therefore, goodness of a cup is as a container of liquid for drinking.  The goodness of a dish is a container of food for eating.

St. Thomas, then, is saying that the use (i.e. goodness) of a particular material is determined by the shape into which it is cast.
therefore its goodness is participated, inasmuch as matter participates the form.
By "participated", I think he means, "determined".   Therefore, the substance determines the use.  Again, let's look at an example.  We wouldn't use water as a cup.  Or wood to contain fire.  We could use clay for both of those purposes.
Now the first good and the best--viz. God--is not a participated good, because the essential good is prior to the participated good.
We can't really speak of God as having a use nor as being good for this or that.  God is all good.  All goodness comes from God.  No one determines to what use God is to be put.  God determines to what use everything else is to be put.  God is the First Cause.
Hence it is impossible that God should be composed of matter and form.
Since God is the First Cause, then it is impossible that He should be limited by a body.
Thirdly, because every agent acts by its form; hence the manner in which it has its form is the manner in which it is an agent. Therefore whatever is primarily and essentially an agent must be primarily and essentially form. Now God is the first agent, since He is the first efficient cause. He is therefore of His essence a form; and not composed of matter and form.
God is all good and therefore can not be limited to a particular substance which would limit Him to a particular use.  God is infinite and thus formless.
Reply to Objection 1. A soul is attributed to God because His acts resemble the acts of a soul; for, that we will anything, is due to our soul. Hence what is pleasing to His will is said to be pleasing to His soul.
God is said to be a soul because, a soul's actions resemble God's actions.  Therefore, that which is pleasing to His will is said to be pleasing to His soul.  I believe this is called a simile.  The actions resemble each other, but they are not the same.  Therefore, God does not have a soul.
Reply to Objection 2. Anger and the like are attributed to God on account of a similitude of effect. Thus, because to punish is properly the act of an angry manGod's punishment is metaphorically spoken of as His anger.
In the same way, anger and passion are attributed to God in the same way.  Metaphorically.
Reply to Objection 3. Forms which can be received in matter are individualized by matter,
Shapes and molds which can be given to substances, are made unique by those substances.
which cannot be in another as in a subject since it is the first underlying subject;
 And once a substance is thus shaped it is made unique and can not be duplicated.
*As in, no two snowflakes are alike.  
although form of itself, unless something else prevents it, can be received by many.
We all recognize the shape and form of a snowflake.  Therefore, many individuals can receive the same form.  But each one is unique in some way.
But that form which cannot be received in matter, but is self-subsisting, is individualized precisely because it cannot be received in a subject; and such a form is God. Hence it does not follow that matter exists in God.
But there is one Shape which can not be received by any substance because it is already Unique.  For there is only one God.

Now, he's making the Old Testament the rule of faith

Back on the Berean article, the same guy is making the Old Testament the rule of faith and of higher authority than the New Testament.

I'm sure he's doing it unintentionally.  But it just goes to show how much (or how little) they understand what they are reading in Scripture.  Here's an excerpt of the discussion.

>>>Tradition, magisterium, and Scripture were all present,>>>

Which means that Scripture is not alone.

>>> but Scripture was alone as the most authoritative rule of faith and life.>>>

You do realize that the Bereans were searching in the Old Testament, right?  So, what you are saying is that the Old Testament is the most authoritative rule of faith and life?

>>>After all, the Bereans examined the tradition>>>

The "word".  They equated the "traditions" with the "word".  And they received it with all readiness.

Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

They received the “word” of God.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

 ye received the word of God which ye heard of us

>>> according to the standard of the Scripture. >>>

According to the Old Testament.

So, you’re arguing that the Old Testament is a more authoritative rule than the Word of God which the Bereans received from the Church.

Essentially, you're saying that the Old Testament is more authoritative than the New Testament, because the Apostles were teaching the New Testament Traditions of Jesus Christ before they were written down in Scripture.

You do realize this, right?

Why do Catholics make such a big deal about Mary?

Monday, December 28, 2015

He grants the presence of Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium and calls it, "Scripture alone"?

Really strange.  A fellow on the Bereans article at Catholic365 says:

What De Maria has missed in the Bereans is that, while the tradition and the magisterium were present, they were not believed, until they were tested against the standard of the Scripture. 
The funny thing, is that he describes this process as Scripture alone?

But, yes, tradition, magisterium, and Scripture were all present in the account of the Bereans. It was Scripture that was shown to have the higher authority, however. This is Sola Scriptura at work.
 I'm assuming he is serious and sincere.  But it is really weird how he jumps to certain conclusions.  He says,

1.  It was Scripture that was shown to have the higher authority

There is nothing in the Scripture which says that.  And it is safe to assume that if the Apostles had not instructed them, they would not have understood and continued in their ignorance.  Here is what Jesus told the Jews before:

John 5:38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.  39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
That is the same situation in which the Berean Jews found themselves.  They had possession of the Old Testament Scripture, but they could not recognize Jesus Christ in them in order that they might have eternal life.  It took the authority of the Church, which they readily accepted, to lead them to that conclusion.   Without the Church, with only the Scripture, they would have remained in their sins.

2.  This is Sola Scriptura at work.

Even if we grant the Scriptures a higher authority, which is not against Catholic Teaching by the way. The Catholic Church teaches neither that the Scripture has greater or lesser authority than Sacred Tradition.  And there are several Catholics in good standing, amongst them, Dr. Scott Hahn and I believe, Pope Emeritus Benedict the 16th, who would agree with that doctrine.  So, even if we grant the Scriptures a higher authority, how do you jump from that to Scripture alone?

It makes no sense.

A King to Behold

A King to Behold: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord
Listen Here!

Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:-12,7-8, 10-13
Ephesians 3:2-3,5-6
Matthew 2:1-12

An "epiphany" is an appearance. In today's readings, with their rising stars, splendorous lights and mysteries revealed, the face of the child born on Christmas day appears.

Herod, in today's Gospel, asks the chief priests and scribes where the Messiah is to be born. The answer Matthew puts on their lips says much more, combining two strands of Old Testament promise - one revealing the Messiah to be from the line of David (see 2 Samuel 2:5), the other predicting "a ruler of Israel" who will "shepherd his flock" and whose "greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth" (see Micah 5:1-3).

Those promises of Israel's king ruling the nations resound also in today's Psalm. The psalm celebrates David's son, Solomon. His kingdom, we sing, will stretch "to the ends of the earth," and the world's kings will pay Him homage. That's the scene too in today's First Reading, as nations stream from the East, bearing "gold and frankincense" for Israel's king.

The Magi's pilgrimage in today's Gospel marks the fulfillment of God's promises. The Magi, probably Persian astrologers, are following the star that Balaam predicted would rise along with the ruler's staff over the house of Jacob (see
 Numbers 24:17).

Laden with gold and spices, their journey evokes those made to Solomon by the Queen of Sheba and the "kings of the earth" (see 
1 Kings 10:2,252 Chronicles 9:24). Interestingly, the only other places where frankincense and myrrh are mentioned together are in songs about Solomon (see Song of Songs 3:64:6,14).

One greater than Solomon is here (see 
Luke 11:31). He has come to reveal that all peoples are "co-heirs" of the royal family of Israel, as today's Epistle teaches.

His manifestation forces us to choose: Will we follow the signs that lead to Him as the wise Magi did? Or will we be like those priests and the scribes who let God's words of promise become dead letters on an ancient page?

Bereans contra Sola Scriptura

Friday, December 25, 2015

What is it about Christmas?

Merry Christmas Everyone!

May God bless you and your whole families on this glorious day!

Hail Full of Grace!

Gospel According to Saint Luke

Chapter 1

[26] And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,[27] To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. [28]And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. [29] Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. [30] And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.

[31] Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. [32] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.[33] And of his kingdom there shall be no end. [34] And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? [35] And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

[36] And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: [37]Because no word shall be impossible with God. [38] And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. [39] And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda.[40] And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth.

[41] And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:[42] And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. [43] And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? [44] For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. [45] And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.

[46] And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. [47] And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. [48] Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. [49] Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name. [50] And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him.

[48] Shall call me blessed: These words are a prediction of that honour which the church in all ages should pay to the Blessed Virgin. Let Protestants examine whether they are any way concerned in this prophecy.

[51] He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. [52] He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. [53] He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. [54] He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy: [55] As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.

[56] And Mary abode with her about three months; and she returned to her own house.