Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Analysis of a Conversion - Why I left the Catholic Church, I didn't like to kneel.

Kneeling?  Yep.  Kneeling.  I didn't like to kneel

In the last, "Analysis of a Conversion", I related how, when I was about 5 years old,  my grandmother taught me about the power of the faith of a mustard seed.  And how I completely missed the point.

In the conclusion of that article, I said that my grandmother didn't do anything wrong.  That is what you are supposed to do, teach the little children.  That's not the case this time.

Before I go on, I have to tell you something about my grandmother.  She was tiny, all of 4' tall, but she was powerful.  When I was 18 years old, she could lift me bodily.  She had to do it, one day, because I had passed out from a fever.

And, she could kneel forever when she was praying.  And she couldn't understand why others wouldn't do it.  I don't think it ever occurred to her that they couldn't do it.

My Grandmother

My grandmother was one of those grannies that always had a Rosary wrapped around her knuckles.  She seemed to be in constant prayer.  And she was a little Theologian.  Many of the things she taught me, come back to me when I'm reading my Bible or the Catechism.  She's the one who first said to me, "have the faith of a mustard see and you can do anything", "we are in this world to suffer", and "don't worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself."  I had no idea that these were lessons straight from Scripture.  And they are principles by which I live my life today.  But in that day and age, it was different.  I had no idea what she was talking about.

The poor thing was always trying to organize Rosary prayers in the neighborhood.  But when people got wind of it, they avoided her like the plague.  Because she didn't broach slouching, standing or sitting from anyone less than 90 years old.  Everyone had to kneel to pray.

So, the result was that she would go out in search of lost sheep to gather for prayer.  But while she was searching for one, the rest would scatter.  The only ones who would remain was her equally faithful sister and the grandson, when he didn't escape.

At that age, I couldn't sit still for very long.  Much less kneel.  The result was that prayer became a very unpleasant experience for me.  Something to be avoided at all costs.  And since I avoided prayer, I lost out on the graces which one accumulates with prayer.  Thereby making it easier for me to fall away from the faith.

Now, my grandmother had the best of intentions, but she was a bit too zealous for the rest of the world.  And, in my case, she expected a bit too much from a child of my age.  But for every cloud, there is a silver lining.

Therefore, I believe that kneeling may have been one of the reasons why I fell away.  But when I came back to the Faith, I was determined not to make the same mistakes that my own parents had made.  So, whenever I pray, I invite my children and I am just happy that they join me, no matter what posture they prefer.

And I'm happy to announce that, thanks be to God, to my knowledge, my four children are still faithful Catholics.  Some of them are over twenty years old, now.

What?  Are you saying we shouldn't kneel to pray?

No, no, no.  I kneel all the time now.  Especially in the Mass.

But at that age, I was neither mentally nor spiritually ready to KNEEL and pray.  I think I might have prayed if they had simply requested of me, one Hail Mary and an Our Father.

Whether I was spiritually ready is open to question.  However, I can safely assume that most of the grownups were mentally and physically capable of kneeling and praying.  But, few of them were spiritually ready, either.  Its as though my grandmother were Jesus and she asked them, "can you not spend one hour with me?"  And most of them said, "No."  And scattered.


The lesson I draw from this, is that faith is not coerced.  People are at all stages in their journey of faith.  Some can happily and readily kneel to pray.  But some are struggling even to sit nearby and listen to others pray.

So, let's not add to their burdens.  Let's make prayer a pleasant and joyful experience for all concerned.

Does Jesus condemn people for their good works?

A Protestant said:
In Matt. 7:22-23, We see an account where Jesus condemns people on the day of judgment. Why would they be condemned? They were appealing to their faith in Christ and their works for their salvation. By adding any works into the active salvation, it means that the work of God is not sufficient but that needs to be perfected, completed by human effort. This is why salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It cannot be by faith and any of our works.
I wonder,  how can they get it so twisted?  What I do know is that Scripture prophecies that this will happen:

2 Peter 3:15-16King James Version (KJV)
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 
Let's look at Matt 7:21-23 with a little more care:

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
This can be understood to mean that simply considering oneself a Christian is not sufficient to enter heaven.  It is Christians who admit that Jesus is Lord.  Yet, unless they do the will of the Father, they will not be admitted into heaven.

This directly contradicts the Protestant teaching that says, "All you need to do is confess Christ and you will be saved."

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Now, these people have the impression that they can judge their own souls.  They recount to Jesus that good which they claim to have done.  Yet, Jesus casts them out.

That directly contradicts the idea that one can declare himself saved, whether by their claim to having faith or by their claim to anything else they have done.  Christ is the Judge.  Not anyone else.

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
 So, unless you do the will of the Father, you will be cast into the Lake of fire.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Paraphrasing the Summa: First part, Question 1, Article 4

 Question 1: The nature and extent of sacred doctrine.

Is Christian doctrine revealed by God?  Does it teach us about the supernatural as well as the natural?
Article 4. Whether sacred doctrine is a practical science?
Is Christian doctrine an applied science?  In other words, is Christian doctrine a body of knowledge which teaches how to apply true sciences to solve problems?
Objection 1. It seems that sacred doctrine is a practical science; for a practical science is that which ends in action according to the Philosopher (Metaph. ii). But sacred doctrine is ordained to action: "Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only" (James 1:22). Therefore sacred doctrine is a practical science.
 The first objection uses Scripture to designate Christian doctrine merely as a body of knowledge which teaches us how to overcome problems.
Objection 2. Further, sacred doctrine is divided into the Old and the New Law. But law implies a moral science which is a practical science. Therefore sacred doctrine is a practical science.
Christian doctrine is divided into Old and New Law.  Law implies justice and ethics.  These are practical applications of life.  Therefore, Christian doctrine is not a true science, but an applied science, like Engineering which uses mathematics and other sciences to design vehicles, dwellings and roads.
On the contrary, Every practical science is concerned with human operations; as moral science is concerned with human acts, and architecture with buildings. But sacred doctrine is chiefly concerned with God, whose handiwork is especially man. Therefore it is not a practical but a speculative science.
A speculative science is not one which "speculates" in the sense of guessing or hoping.  A speculative science considers that which is true but does not apply it to mundane problems.

St. Thomas says that applied sciences deal with human creations.  And moral sciences deal with human behavior.  But Christian doctrine deals with God and God's creations, especially man.   Therefore it is not a practical or applied science, but a speculative science.
I answer that, Sacred doctrine, being one, extends to things which belong to different philosophical sciences because it considers in each the same formal aspect, namely, so far as they can be known through divine revelation. Hence, although among the philosophical sciences one is speculative and another practical, nevertheless sacred doctrine includes both; as God, by one and the same science, knows both Himself and His works. Still, it is speculative rather than practical because it is more concerned with divine things than with human acts; though it does treat even of these latter, inasmuch as man is ordained by them to the perfect knowledge of God in which consists eternal bliss. This is a sufficient answer to the Objections.
In this case, St. Thomas does not address each objection individually, but addresses them with one general response.

Essentially, he says that Christian doctrine is a speculative science which includes aspects of God's revelation which can be applied towards achieving union with God and man's salvation.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Busy week for Catholics in the USA


09/23 at 1:00 PM ET
Cardinal Robert Sarah delivers his keynote speech at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

Pope Francis in America

Pope in America!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Paraphrasing the Summa: First Part, Question 1: Article 3

Question 1:  The nature and extent of Sacred Doctrine

Is Christian doctrine from God?  Does it teach us about heavenly things?

Article 3. Whether sacred doctrine

 is one science?

Is Christian doctrine one body of knowledge or a mixture of subjects?

Objection 1. It seems that sacred doctrine is not one science; for according to the Philosopher (i.e. Aristotle) "that science is one which treats only of one class of subjects." But the creator and the creature, both of whom are treated of in sacred doctrine, cannot be grouped together under one class of subjects. Therefore sacred doctrine is not one science.
The first objection seeks to disqualify Christian doctrine as a science on the grounds that Christian doctrine is not strictly about one subject.  But, about two.  It is about God and about man.
Objection 2. Further, in sacred doctrine we treat of angels, corporeal creatures and human morality. But these belong to separate philosophical sciences. Therefore sacred doctrine cannot be one science.
The second objection adds to the first that there are even more subjects treated in Christian doctrine, such as angels and animals as well as ethics and justice.  Therefore, the objection concludes that Christian doctrine is a mixture of disciplines and not specifically one.
On the contrary, Holy Scripture speaks of it as one science: "Wisdom gave him the knowledge [scientiam] of holy things" (Wisdom 10:10).
The Angelic Doctor objects to the objection by a reference to Scripture.  Wherein,  it says that Christian doctrine gives us the knowledge (i.e. science) of God's will.  Therefore, since Scripture regards Christian doctrine as one body of knowledge, it is one science.

I understand "holy things" to mean, "those things which God wills us to do and to know".  
I answer that, Sacred doctrine is one science.
St. Thomas emphatically states that Christian doctrine is one body of knowledge.
The unity of a faculty or habit is to be gauged by its object, not indeed, in its material aspect, but as regards the precise formality under which it is an object.
Wow!  That's complicated.  Let's break it down.

 A faculty, like sight.  Sight is the habitual faculty of the eye.  The eye constantly sees things without having to remember to do so.

The unity of a faculty?  In this context, we are not considering the faculty of sight.  We are considering the faculty of understanding.  I don't know what he means by "unity".  Perhaps, cohesiveness.  But let's move on.

Gauged - measured, evaluated.
Its object -  What is it that we are trying to understand?  Christian Doctrine.
Material aspect -  form
Precise formality? - In order to understand this, we need to answer the question, "What form does Christian doctrine take?"  It is passed down to us in teaching, by word and by epistle.

What quality do both the word and epistle share?  They are divinely inspired.

So, let me try to paraphrase that complicated sentence.

We are better able to understand Christian Doctrine, not by studying the immediate and human source of the teaching (i.e material aspect) , but by recognizing that it is revealed to us by God (the precise formality of being divinely revealed).

 For example, man, ass, stone agree in the one precise formality of being colored; and color is the formal object of sight.  Therefore, because Sacred Scripture considers things precisely under the formality of being divinely revealed,
In this sentence, St. Thomas is equating Sacred Scripture with Christian doctrine.  And he says that Sacred Scripture evaluates holy things precisely as sight evaluates colors.  Which corresponds to what we said above.
whatever has been divinely revealed possesses the one precise formality of the object of this science; and therefore is included under sacred doctrine as under one science.
Therefore, the evaluation of holy things is the object of this body of knowledge. Therefore, the evaluation of holy things is the science of Christian doctrine.
And therefore, Christian doctrine is one science dedicated to the evaluation of that which is divinely revealed.
Reply to Objection 1. Sacred doctrine does not treat of God and creatures equally, but of God primarily, and of creatures only so far as they are referable to God as their beginning or end. Hence the unity of this science is not impaired.
The first objection to treating Christian doctrine as a science is that science is about one thing.  Whereas Christian doctrine is about several.

St. Thomas denies this and explains that Christian doctrine is mainly about God. And makes reference to others only with respect to God as their Maker or Savior.  Therefore, Christian doctrine is one science.
Reply to Objection 2. 
The second objection says that Christian doctrine treats of many things. Therefore it is not one science.
Nothing prevents inferior faculties or habits from being differentiated by something which falls under a higher faculty or habit as well;
St. Thomas replies that there is no reason why a science should not refer to secondary and inferior attributes and abilities.
because the higher faculty or habit regards the object in its more universal formality, 
The more important abilities or behaviors evaluate data in a general sense.
as the object of the "common sense" is whatever affects the senses, including, therefore, whatever is visible or audible.  Hence the "common sense", although one faculty, extends to all the objects of the five senses.
Normal intelligence (common sense) interprets all experiential data collected by our five senses.  In the same way, Christian doctrine interprets all Divinely revealed data, whether the data be with regards to the natural or supernatural order.
Similarly, objects which are the subject-matter of different philosophical sciences can yet be treated of by this one single sacred science under one aspect precisely so far as they can be included in revelation. So that in this way, sacred doctrine bears, as it were, the stamp of the divine science which is one and simple, yet extends to everything.
In addition, that which is revealed by God can not be limited to supernatural knowledge alone.  Because God has revealed to us much knowledge about the natural world.  Therefore, Christian doctrine is one body of knowledge even though it regards both natural and supernatural elements.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Analysis of a Conversion - Why I left the Catholic Church, the devil made me do it

I've been talking with people of many faiths for over 20 years, now.  During that time, I've met a great number who fell away from the Catholic Church.  Catholics are, by far, the largest group of Christians.  By ourselves, we total over 1 billion.  But, somewhere, I heard that the 2nd largest Christian group, is fallen away Catholics.  In the US there are 71 million Catholics and 36 million ex-Catholics.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could get them all back?

Let's pray for that.

But, I digress.  In this article, I would like to begin to analyze how I fell away from the Church.  Its a subject that is dear to my heart.  I have often thought about it and tried to analyze it, in order to come up with a plan to keep my own children from reliving my mistakes.

Why I left the Catholic Church - The devil made me do it.

Believe it or not, I think my journey out of the Catholic Church began when I was about 5 years of age.

Just as Satan tricked Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Satan tricked me when I was of a very tender age.  

I went to pre-kindergarten and kindergarten.  I don't remember everything about those days, but I do remember my first day at school.  I remember my kindergarten teacher harshly introducing me to her style of authority by slapping one of my fellow students on the back with her ruler.  This impressed me so much, that I preferred wetting my pants to raising my hand and letting her know that I needed to go to the bathroom.

When I think back, I know that I was a very innocent and faithful little boy.  I remember counseling my fellow students to be good.  I remember that when I was asked how babies were made, I responded, "God gives them to people when they get married."  So, I believed in God in those days.

But I also remember that, one day, as I was preparing to go outside and play with my friends.  I was standing near the door of our small apartment.  My grandmother came out of the middle room, obviously excited.  She stopped me and pointed at something in her hand.  It was a tiny seed.  And she said, "Do you know, that if you have this much faith, you can tell a mountain to move and it will move?"  

I don't remember saying anything in reply.   Although, I may have said, "I have more faith than that!" If I didn't say it, I thought it.  After my grandmother's lesson, I stepped outside with the idea that I would put that new knowledge to a test.  After all, I lived in an area surrounded by mountains.  I could test this premise, easily.  I knew that I had more faith than that little seed.  So, I walked to the corner of the street where I could have an unobstructed view of our largest mountain and I said, "Move!"  I waited a few seconds. 

Just as I suspected!  Nothing.  It occurred to me that this test might be a little unfair.  After all, that was the largest mountain.  Maybe it was too big for God to move.  So, I looked at the smaller mountain, next to that one.  And I said, "Move!"  Again, I waited a few seconds.  

Still, nothing.  Again, maybe this test was also, unfair.  There were some clouds over the little mountain.  They were little clouds and light.  Obviously.  Maybe the little mountain was also too big for God.  But these little clouds, they were nothing at all.  If what my grandmother said was true, then these little clouds should be easily moved in the opposite direction that they were traveling.  So, I looked at them and said, "Move!"

Again, nothing.  

Now, that whole thing might seem innocuous enough to all of you.  But, I remember having the distinct thought, at that moment, "Maybe God doesn't exist at all."

Where did that thought come from?  As I think about it now, I know where it came from.  It came from Satan.  It was a little weed that he planted that would grow later in my life.

Think about it.  My grandmother didn't do anything wrong.  She was instilling her faith in her grandson.  Who would have imagined that this grandson would go out and turn the entire lesson upside down?

What lessons can we draw from this?

I think the lesson we can draw boils down to the Parable of the Sower.  In Scripture, Jesus tells us that we preach the Word like a farmer sows his seed.  Sometimes those seeds fall on ground that is not ready to receive it.  And, I, was obviously, not ready to receive that word on that particular day.

On that day, my grandmother did everything right, in accordance with the culture of the day.  Today, most of us wouldn't dream of letting a 5 year old have the run of the streets.  In those days, parents wouldn't dream of letting their children stay indoors.  It wasn't natural.  Children were supposed to be outdoors, playing with their friends.

Homeschooling was unknown amongst Catholics.  My grandmother gave me a short lesson that day.  But it wasn't something she was accustomed to doing.  Nor was it something that I would have probably allowed.  Even at that age, I knew how to sneak out of the house to avoid all kinds of things, like taking baths, doing chores and going to church.

So, another lesson we can draw, is this.  There's no way I can blame my grandmother for anything that she did that day.  She did all that she knew she was supposed to do.  There was another force at work that day.  And that force tricked another innocent, the way he tricked Adam and Eve, so many centuries ago.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Paraphrasing the Summa: First part, Question 1, Article 2

 Question 1: The nature and extent of Sacred Doctrine

Is Christian doctrine of God?  Does Christian Doctrine teach us about heavenly things?
Article 2. Whether sacred doctrine is a science?
Is Christian doctrine a study of  heavenly principles?

Objection 1. It seems that sacred doctrine is not a science. For every science proceeds from self-evident principles. But sacred doctrine proceeds from articles of faith which are not self-evident, since their truth is not admitted by all: "For all men have not faith" (2 Thessalonians 3:2). Therefore sacred doctrine is not a science.
No, Christian doctrine is not a science.  Since Christian doctrine is above reason and many men do not believe it, then it is not a human study.  Therefore, it should not be taught as though it is a true body of knowledge, that is, a science, since it can not be proved.
Objection 2. Further, no science deals with individual facts. But this sacred science treats of individual facts, such as the deeds of AbrahamIsaac and Jacob and such like. Therefore sacred doctrine is not a science.
A science deals with general principles of the world, such as thermodynamic laws, mathematical equations, and movements of the stars.  But Christian doctrine is about the lives of certain important characters.  Therefore, it is more of a historical discipline, than a science.
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Trin. xiv, 1) "to this science alone belongs that whereby saving faith is begotten, nourished, protected and strengthened." But this can be said of no science except sacred doctrine. Therefore sacred doctrine is a science.
The opposite is true.  St. Augustine of Hippo, a great doctor of the Christian faith once said that Christian doctrine teaches the general principles of salvation.  It is the only body of knowledge dedicated to this purpose and is therefore a science.
I answer that, Sacred doctrine is a science. We must bear in mind that there are two kinds of sciences. There are some which proceed from a principle known by the natural light of intelligence, such as arithmetic and geometry and the like. There are some which proceed from principles known by the light of a higher science: thus the science of perspective proceeds from principles established by geometry, and music from principles established by arithmetic.
Furthermore, I add Christian doctrine is a science because there is more than one kind of science.  There are the sciences which teach the general principles of the natural world, such as arithmentic and geometry.  And then, there are the sciences which seek to explain the arts.  These are higher sciences which move beyond but do not contradict the principles we learned from arithmetic and geometry.
So it is that sacred doctrine is a science because it proceeds from principles established by the light of a higher science, namely, the science of God and the blessed. Hence, just as the musician accepts on authority the principles taught him by the mathematician, so sacred science is established on principles revealed by God.
So, Christian doctrine comes to us from God and from God's prophets. But just as musicians accept mathematical principles.  So, Christian doctrine depends on those principles of our faith revealed by God.
Reply to Objection 1. The principles of any science are either in themselves self-evident, or reducible to the conclusions of a higher science; and such, as we have said, are the principles of sacred doctrine.
The first objection stated that all sciences proceed from self evident truths.  St. Thomas disagrees with that idea.  Some sciences proceed from principles which are not self evident to many men because they are higher sciences.  This is the case with Christian doctrine.
Reply to Objection 2. Individual facts are treated of in sacred doctrine, not because it is concerned with them principally, but they are introduced rather both as examples to be followed in our lives (as in moral sciences) and in order to establish the authority of those men through whom the divine revelation, on which this sacred scripture or doctrine is based, has come down to us.

The second objection states that Christian doctrine is not a science because it deals with certain people's lives.  St. Thomas says that these lives are provided as examples of the principles which we must hold in order to be saved and in order to provide the reasons why we must obey those through whom God's truths were passed down. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Priests for Life in the Media

September 14 - September 21, 2015
The Gospel of Life on Radio Maria
Airing: 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday, September 15 and rebroadcast at 2 a.m. Thursday, September 17 and midnight ET Monday, September 21 (11 p.m. CT Sunday). Go to to listen online. 
Why is the World Meeting of  Families so important and why is it vital to include a pro-life symposium as part of it?
Find out on Radio Maria, a Christian voice in your home.
Ask questions by emailing us ahead of time at
Shows are archived at and
Defending Life on EWTN
Brand new show!
Airing on EWTN TV: 2:30 a.m. ET Wednesday, September 16 and on EWTN Radio Saturday, September 19 at 6:30 p.m. ET and Sunday, September 20 at 5 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET. You can also stream EWTN online by going to and clicking on the "television" tab.
Mom and her daughter are silent no more!
Meet Andrea and Maddie Pearson, a courageous mom and daughter who spoke about their abortion losses at this year’s March for Life. Andrea, a regional coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, mourns the child she aborted, and Maddie mourns the sibling she never knew.
For more information and details, go to
The Catholic View for Women on EWTN
Airing on EWTN TV: Friday, September 18 at 10:30 a.m. You can also stream EWTN online by going to and clicking on the "television" tab.
Join the co-host and EWTN Rome Bureau Chief Joan Lewis for an in-depth look at the two newest saints who sat in the Chair of St. Peter: St. Pope John XXIII and St. Pope John Paul II.
Go to for more information.
Gospel of Life TV on NRB and SkyAngel
Airing on National Religious Broadcasters network (NRB), Wednesday, September 16 at 4:30 p.m. ET. The NRB Network is on DIRECTV, channel 378. Gospel of Life is archived on the NRB Network Roku channel for seven days from the original air date. 
Also airing on SkyAngel 2 on Friday, September 18 at 6 a.m. ET
This Week on NRB:  Is This What You Mean?
This Week's Topic on SkyAngel: Laborers in the Vineyard
More Special Appearances
Father Frank Pavone will talk about his much-anticipated new book, "Abolishing Abortion," with Craig Roberts on KFAX at 8:15 p.m. ET Sept. 15. Listen online at
Fr. Frank will be on WallBuilders Live on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at and will be available after 12:30PM(ET) at the following link:
Hear us on EWTN radio on Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo.  Fr. Frank will be on with Teresa on Friday, Sept 18 at 8:35am ET.  ​Call-in to the live show with questions at 877-573-7825. For more information and to listen to the live show on the internet, go to .
See additional radio and TV appearances of our team, and other programming details, on the online media schedule, and please spread the word!
And remember, there are many ways we can stay connected on social media, and to get an idea, visit Along with Facebook and Twitter, you can connect with us on LinkedInInstagramPinterestGoogle PlusTumblrFlickr and YouTube .
Please, remember to support our work at
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To contact us please email

Priests for Life
PO Box 141172  Staten Island, NY  10314
Activating the Church to End Abortion!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Catholic vs Protestant paradigms - How we read Scripture,...

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Thank You,
Joe Sweeney

Thursday, September 10, 2015

You don't believe in Baptism?

What is St. Paul saying in Romans 7:25?

Lighthouse Catholic Media storeMy original commentary on Romans 7 can be found here.  I was recently reading it over and thought it needed some editing for better understanding.  I hope you like it.

Here we go.  Let's break down the whole chapter and part of chapter 8 to boot.

Romans 7King James Version (KJV)
Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?

St. Paul is talking about the Law of Moses.

Don’t you know, brothers, and I’m speaking to the Jews, because they know the Law, that the Law has power over a man, as long as that man lives?

For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the Law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the Law of her husband.

Let’s look at it this way.  A man is married to the Law as a woman is married to a man.  As long as the man lives, she is bound to him.  But when he dies, she is loosed from him.

So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

While he lives, she may not marry anyone else, or she commits sin.  But if he dies, she is free to marry anyone else without committing sin.

So, as long as the Law was in force, the Jew was bound to it.  He could not belong to another Faith or Religion.  But when the Law passed away, the Jew was no longer bound to it.

Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

Now then, my Jewish brothers, you are dead to the law through the Body of Christ.  

Ok, what does that mean?  Remember, the Jews were married to the law.  But Christ fulfilled the law, in His Body, when He was sacrificed for their sins.  (We’re talking about the Jews, right now.  Christ died for all men’s sins.  But lets focus on the Jews.)

When Christ fulfilled the law, the law passed away.  It was no longer in force.  So, the law had died.  The Jew is now free to be bound to another Law.  The Law of Christ.

So, why does St. Paul say that the Jew had died to the Law?  Because, in order to become a Christian, we must be baptized.  And being baptized, we die with Christ in order to be reborn in His image.

For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

Remember that St. Paul is speaking to former Jews.  And he is also a former Jew.  That is why he says, “we”.  

Let’s break it down:
When we were in the flesh - meaning, before dying with Christ in Baptism.
The motions of sin - Concupiscence, temptations.
Which were by the law - according to the Law or which were revealed in the Law.
Did work in our members to bring for fruit unto death - were moving us to commit sin and thus to destroy our souls.

So, in other words, “Before we were Christians, while we were still under the Law, we were tempted to violate the Commandments of God.  These temptations of the flesh, if we acted upon them, would cause us to sin and thus to lose our salvation.

But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

But now we are delivered from the law - For us, the Law is no longer valid.
that being dead wherein we were held; - when we were in the flesh, we were dead to the Spirit.
that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. - But now, we are alive in the Spirit because by the grace of God, we have overcome sin.

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

Am I saying that the Law of Moses was sinful?  By God, I would never say such a thing.  Because without the Law, I would never have known that I was committing sins.  Unless the Law had told me that coveting a woman was a sin, I would not know that lust was sinful.

But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.

A man does not commit sins if he does not know that they are sins.  But after I learned what was sin by the Commandments, I was still tempted to sin.

For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

When I was young, I did not know about the Law and I committed no sin.  But when I learned the Commandments, I was no longer free to do all that I wanted.

He is speaking here, of the age of reason.  Let me give you an example.  My Father in Law, God rest his soul, was a wonderful man, but when he lived with us, he cussed all the time.  My daughter’s first words were some of his choicest selections.  And everyone thought it was cute.  

But, if she had continued speaking like that when she was older, she would have had her mouth washed with soap.

10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.

Therefore, although the Commandments were intended for my freedom, I felt constrained.

11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.

Because sin tempted me and lured me and I could not resist.

12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

So, the Commandment is good and holy and intended for our good.

13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.

So, then, did the Commandment cause me to sin?   No!  But, although the Commandment identified the sins and forbid them, I could not resist.

14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Because the Law is of God, but I am a man, a son of Adam, with original sin.

15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

The result is that I do things which I don’t want to do because they are sinful.  And when I want to do good, I don’t.  I wind up doing what I don’t want to do.

16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

And that is evidence that the Law is good.  Because I want to keep the Law, but I can’t.

17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

So, when I sin, I don’t do it intentionally.  

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

But concupiscence and temptations dwell in my flesh and I don’t know how to overcome them.

19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

And therefore, I find myself committing sins, unintentionally.

20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

So, if I commit unintentional sins, it is because of my fallen nature.

21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

So, there is another law that is in my flesh, which prevents me from obeying God’s Law.

22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

Because in my heart, I love God’s Law.

23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

But the law of Original Sin keeps me captive to the temptations of my flesh.

24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

O poor me!  How shall I be saved from these temptations to sin?

25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. - This is possibly a word-play reference to the Eucharist.  Eucharist means “thanksgiving” and is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.  When one consumes the Eucharist in a worthy manner, he gives thanks to God through the Body of Christ.

So, even though I do my best to do good, I find myself committing unintended sins.

Romans 8King James Version (KJV)
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

It follows that there is no law against those who are one with Christ, who seek to avoid sin and do good in accordance with the Spirit.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Because the requirements of the Law of Christ have freed me from the law of sin in my flesh.

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

The Law of Moses could not remove sins from the flesh.  But God sent His own Son, in the appearance of a sinful man, in order that He would destroy sin, in the flesh. 

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Thus giving us the grace to overcome sin and obey God’s Laws.

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

Those that pine after the deeds of the flesh are dead. But those who live according to the Spirit are alive.

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Those who seek to do the sins of the flesh will die.  But those who seek to do the deeds of the Spirit, will live.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Because the flesh is against God and will not submit to His law.

So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

So, all who live according to the temptations of the flesh will be condemned.

Essentially then, this whole treatise is summarized in Rev 22:13-15:
Revelation 22:13-15
King James Version (KJV)
13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.


De Maria

PS see also Romans 8