General Discussion (5)

ImageIf there’s something of interest in the news that’s not covered in one of the topic threads, or you have a question to ask, a comment you’d like to make about anything under the sun, more or less, this is the thread for you. However, please check first, to ensure that you haven’t missed a topic thread.  Readers have occasionally gone straight to the General Discussion thread to post news that is already the topic of a thread or to ask a question that is already being discussed elsewhere. So, do your Sherlock Holmes before posting here, please and thank you!

Feel free, also, to share your favourite spiritual reading books, prayers and devotions. Whatever.

Enjoy!

To read General Discussion Thread (1) click here (2) click here (3) click here
(4) click here

Is Watching TV Sinful?

television“A child came to confession one day and accused himself of having serious temptations against the angelical virtue, perhaps even of having given in, by thoughts and, who knows, maybe in actions.

However, the priest sought the cause of such a misfortune: “So, do you have television at home?” he asked.  The child had to admit it and that he did watch the cursed box, sometimes behind his parents’ back, sometimes with them, as a family, and that was the cause of his temptations.

The priest gave the unfortunate and sorrowful child the holy absolution, but could he give it to his parents?

Dear Christian parents, are you CONSCIOUS of your terrible responsibility?  Do you realize that due to the weakness of accepting and of keeping at home that tool, a source of corruption of minds and souls, you are the cause of unsuspected damages to innocent souls?  Because of your cowardice, souls, tender and pure, are stained by the infamous sin?  These children will stand up at the last judgment and will accuse you of having been the cause of their damnation….

Let us remember the Saviour’s grave words: “He that shall scandalise one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt.XVIII,6).

Do you understand, by this sad example, what is an occasion of sin?  Our catechism teaches us that we must avoid not only sin, but also the occasion of sin and that it is as grievous to put ourselves (or to put others) in the occasion of sin as it is to commit the sin itself, when we know by experience that we will fall into that sin.  (…).

Let us suppress courageously all the occasions of sin for ourselves and for those under our care.  Let us determine at this time to get rid of the dirty box.  Give it back to your dealer and let there be no more mention of it.  Instead, you should re-establish the nice family oratory, you should enthrone the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and that of Our Blessed Lady.  And long live Jesus Who will have freed you from a nasty slavery!”

By a Catholic Bishop

Examination of conscience for Catholic Parents:

Have you voluntarily exposed yourself to the occasion of sin by sinful curiosity, by watching impure movies, or indecent plays or videos?

Have you listened with willful pleasure to immodest language on TV?

Have you harmed anyone’s soul by giving scandal, destroying this soul by bad example?

Have you, by your wicked words, deeds or bad example, ruined innocent children?

Have you exposed your children to impure temptations resulting from watching TV?

Have you kept a TV in your home knowing it is an occasion of sin for you and your children?

Have you allowed your children to watch TV, especially without your knowledge and consent?

Importance and Power of Motion Pictures:

As long ago as 1936, Pope Pius XI, warned of the dangers of the cinema.  “It admits of no discussion that the motion picture has achieved these last years a position of universal importance among modern means of diversion.  There is no need to point out the fact that millions of people go to the motion pictures every day; that motion picture theatres are being viewed in ever increasing number in civilized and semi-civilized countries; that the motion picture has become the most popular form of diversion which is offered for the leisure moment not only of the rich but of all classes of society.

At the same time, there does not exist today a means of influencing the masses more potent than the cinema.  The reason for this is to be sought in the very nature of the motion pictures projected upon the screen, in their popularity and in the circumstances which accompany them.

The power of the motion picture consists in this, that it speaks by means of vivid and concrete imagery which the mind takes in with enjoyment and without fatigue.  Even the crudest and most primitive minds which have neither the capacity nor the desire to make the efforts necessary for abstraction or deductive reasoning are captivated by the cinema.  In place of the effort which reading or listening demands, there is the continued pleasure of a succession of concrete and, so to speak, living pictures.

(…) Since then the cinema, being like the school of life itself, which, for good or for evil, teaches the majority of men more effectively than abstract reasoning, it must be elevated to conformity with the aims of a Christian conscience and saved from depraving and demoralizing effects.

Everyone knows what damage is done to the soul by bad motion pictures.  They are occasions of sin; they seduce young people along the ways of evil by glorifying the passions; they show life under a false light; they cloud ideals; they destroy pure love, respect for marriage, affection for the family.  They are capable also of creating prejudices among individuals and misunderstandings among nations, among social classes, among entire races.

The motion picture is viewed by people who are seated in a dark theatre and whose faculties, mental, physical and often spiritual, are relaxed.  One does not need to go far in search of these theatres: they are close to the home, to the Church and to the school and they thus bring the cinema into the very centre of popular life.

Moreover, the acting out of the plot is done by men and women selected for their artistic ability and for all those natural gifts and the employment of those expedients which can become, for youth particularly, instruments of seduction.  Further, the motion picture has enlisted in its service luxurious appointments, pleasing music, the vigour of realism, every form of whim and fancy.  For this very reason, it attracts and fascinates particularly the young, the adolescent and even the child.  Thus at the very age when the moral sense is being formed and when the notions and sentiments of justice and rectitude, of duty and obligation and of ideals of life are being developed, the motion picture with its direct propaganda assumes a position of commanding influence.

It is unfortunate that, in the present state of affairs, this influence is frequently exerted for evil.  So much so that when one thinks of the havoc wrought in the souls of youth and of childhood, of the loss of innocence so often suffered in the motion picture theatres, there comes to mind the terrible condemnation pronounced by Our Lord upon the corruptors of little ones: “whosoever shall scandalize one of these little ones who believe in Me, it were better for him that a mill stone be hanged about his neck and that he be drowned in the depths of the sea.”  (Matt. XVIII, 6).

Pope Pius XI: Encyclical Vigilanti Cura, June 29, 1936

The Dangers of Television:

“But television, besides the element it shares in common with the other two inventions We have spoken of for the spreading of information, has a power and efficacy of its own.  Through the medium of television viewers are enabled to see and hear far-distant events at the very moment at which they are taking place and in this way the illusion is created that they are actually present and taking part in them.  This sense of intimacy is greatly enhanced by the home surroundings.

The special power which television has of giving pleasure within the family circle is to be reckoned its most important feature (…).  If there is any truth at all in that text: ‘a little leaven currupteth the whole lump’ and if the physical development of young people can be arrested by an infectious germ and prevented from reaching full maturity, how much more havoc can be wrought upon the nerve-centres of their religious life by some insidious element in their education sapping their moral vitality!  It is a matter of common experience that children are frequently able to resist the violent onset of diseases in the world at large, whereas they have no strength to avoid the disease that is latent in the home.  It is wrong, therefore, to endanger in any way the sanctity of the home and the Church who as her right and duty demand, has always striven with all her power to prevent these sacred portals from being violated under any pretext by the evils television shows.

Unless wise counsels exert an immediate restraining influence on the use of this art, the damage will be done; a damage which will affect not merely individuals, but the whole of human society – and indeed it is not an easy matter to assess the amount of damage that may already have been caused.”

Pope Pius XII:  Encyclical Miranda Prorsus, (Sept. 8, 1957)  Source

Comment

Increasingly, I meet parents who have stopped using TV except as a means of viewing DVDs.  Is this something all Catholics ought to do? 

Notice: STV Game Show – Spot the Lie…

Notice: STV Game Show – Spot the Lie…

This afternoon I received the following email from Scottish Television.

I hope you’re well. Please excuse the unannounced email however I’m hoping you might be able to help. I am working on the new series of the hit STV game show The Lie hosted by Susan Calman. We gave away thousands of pounds last year and are looking for teams of two to come forward and take part to win big! They could be friends, colleagues or family members just as long as they already know each other and think they could have a go at spotting “the lie”. We are looking for contestants from all over Scotland, applicants must be 18 or over and the deadline (12th August) is fast approaching so any help spreading the word would be much appreciated. I have attached a poster for your viewing with details on how to apply for the show. I would be most grateful if you could maybe you would consider putting the poster up on your staff /public notice boards, and even better to post it on your intranet, facebook or twitter account. I can send through a poster if necessary. Can you let me know if this is at all possible? I look forward to hearing from you soon

Kindest Regards Warren Atkins

I replied to say that were the show asking for volunteers to spot the lies told about the Catholic Church we would be inundated with offers, but in any case I would post Warren’s email on the blog and leave it to our readers to choose whether or not to participate.  He gratefully accepted.  You can read all about The Lie if you click here

Then, if you would like more information or to contact the show direct, you can email warren.atkins@stv.tv 

Vatican II Necessary – Kidding, Right?

Vatican IIBy Russell Shaw…

Why did we need the Second Vatican Council? Did we need it at all? Hearing those questions, most Catholics who’ve thought about Vatican II would probably cite renewing and updating of the Church as solid reasons for the ecumenical council.

That answer isn’t wrong. But a half-century after Vatican II (it took place between 1962 and 1965) it’s clear that a much larger purpose was at work, with Church renewal and updating its handmaids.

You start to see that when you consider a common objection to the council:

“Other ecumenical councils were convened to handle particular problems. Early councils dealt with heresies about Christ. In the 16th century Trent had to respond to the Reformation. Vatican I in the 19th century faced the challenge to the authority of the pope and the bishops—but it was interrupted and didn’t say much about bishops.

“By contrast, there was no crisis requiring Vatican II. By the middle of the last century, the Church was strong and united in the faith. So this was a council that wasn’t needed. Wouldn’t it have been better to leave things alone?”

No, it wouldn’t. The Church faced a grave problem then—indeed, it still does—and an ecumenical council was required to address it. What problem? No less than the crisis of modernity itself, especially the comprehensive undermining of humankind’s self-understanding and its disastrous consequences for faith, underway in the West for at least a century or more before the council.

This process had many sources, but three especially stand out:

Darwinism—popularized evolutionary theory reducing the human person to no more than a higher animal; Marxism, whose deterministic account of history eliminated free choice; and Freudianism, no less deterministic, which explained human behavior as the acting out of  sublimated impulses from libidinous realms of the psyche.

Capping it off was Friedrich Nietzsche, who boldly announced the death of God—the bourgeois deity of 19th century Christianity, that is—and predicted that a new morality of power vested in a superman (ubermensch) would soon emerge. Hitler apparently took that to heart.

Ordinary people were understandably slow in absorbing all this, but it was gospel for the Western cultural elites of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In due course it filtered down to the masses—a process speeded by the horrors of two world wars. Here, then, was the crisis of modernity that Vatican II needed to confront.

Pope St. John XXIII put it clearly in his opening address to the council on October 11, 1962. The “greatest concern” of Vatican II, he declared, was to guard Christian doctrine and teach it “more efficaciously.” That included the truth about “the whole of man, composed as he is of body and soul” and created by God not only for life on earth but for eternal life in heaven.

The council did its best, and that was pretty good. Central to its teaching was the Christocentric affirmation that it’s Christ who “fully reveals man to himself and makes his supreme calling clear” (Gaudium et Spes 22). The Church has been developing that exalted vision of human dignity ever since, most notably via the personalism of Pope St. John Paul II.

Yes, an enormous amount remains to be done to recapture lost ground. But don’t tell me Vatican II wasn’t needed. It was, urgently. The problem hasn’t been the council but the lack of focus in its implementation— including the constant, distracting bickering about liturgy. And saying Vatican II wasn’t necessary is surely no help.

Russell Shaw is the author of more than twenty books, including three novels and volumes on ethics and moral theology, the Catholic laity, clericalism, the abuse of secrecy in the Church, and other topics. He has also published thousands of articles in periodicals, among them The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, L’Osservatore Romano, America, Crisis, Catholic World Report, The National Catholic Reporter, and many others. From 1967-1987 he served as communications director for the U.S. Catholic bishops and from 1987-1997 was information director for the Knights of Columbus. He lives in Washington, D.C.  Source

Comment

I consider the above article to be taking “delusion on a grand scale” to  new heights.  If you agree, please explain why… I’m still trying to find my bottle of smelling salts…

Pope Francis The Great… Betrayer

Pope Francis to group of Protestant visitors filmed with him at the Vatican…

“I’m not expecting any of you to join the Catholic Church. Please understand that’s not what this is about. What we are talking about is a unified position to go before the world and say we are proclaiming Christ as the only hope of salvation.”

To read more quotes from Pope Francis to individuals click here

Comment:

It is very elementary Catholic theology indeed, that we cannot separate Christ from His Church. How can someone be elected to the highest office in the Church without believing that fundamental truth?  How many other bishops and priests do not believe that the Church is necessary for salvation? How can we have a true relationship with Christ, if we reject the Church which He established?  Clearly, the unbelievable things Pope Francis is saying to all and sundry do not form part of the authentic  teaching of the Church and must be rejected as his own (incredible) opinions, and it must concern us all that he is leading souls seriously astray. Apart from praying, and using all available means to educate ourselves and our readers on key doctrines, however, is there anything we can do about this scandalous pontiff? Should each of us be writing to Pope Francis, as individuals, to ask him what he is playing at?  What does he think he’s doing?  Of course, most of us would use more diplomatic language, that’s a given, but should we be engaged in contacting the Pope to… well… ask him what the dickens is going on?  We could say that we no longer know the answer to the age-old quip: “Is the Pope Catholic?”  Well?

Media Silence: Christians Persecuted in Iraq – Not That You’d Ever Guess…

Christians-Flee-Islamic-Threats-316x237The plight of Christians and other minority groups in northern Iraq has taken a turn for the worse, according to reports, as thousands fleeing regions controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, have been robbed of their possessions at ISIS checkpoints.

ISIS, a Sunni extremist group that advocates Islamic Shariah law, is reportedly persecuting Christians in Iraq, forcing them to flee their homes in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, even as Muslims in Baghdad showed solidarity with persecuted Christians by joining them in symbolic protests across the city. Mosul is one of the holiest cities of Christianity in the Middle East and the ancient churches of Mosul are some of Christianity’s oldest.

At a rally in Baghdad, many Christians who arrived in the city after fleeing the violence of ISIS in the north held up signs that read, “I am Iraqi, I am Christian.” They were joined by Muslims expressing solidarity with the Christian community, also holding up the same signs, a report said.

ISIS reportedly issued an ultimatum to Mosul’s Christians ending Friday, to either convert to Islam, or pay the Islamic tax for non-Muslims known as jizya, or leave Mosul. However, a day before the city’s minority communities fled, ISIS took away the option of paying the tax and staying back, reports said. 

“The world must act, speak out, consider human rights,” Bishop Shlemon Wardooni of the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch and head of Iraq’s largest churchsaid on Sunday, adding that the Iraqi state was weak and divided and Muslim leaders had remained silent. “We haven’t heard from clerics from all sects or from the government,” he told Reuters.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, on Sunday, condemned the treatment of Mosul’s Christians, saying it showed “the extreme criminality and terrorist nature of ISIS” while U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said ISIS actions were akin to “a crime against humanity.”

Pope Francis, in his weekly public prayers on Sunday, said: “I learned with great concern the news that came from the Christian communities in Mosul. Today they are persecuted. Our brothers are persecuted. They’ve been driven away. They must leave their homes without being able to take anything with them.”

On Sunday, about 200 Muslims attended the rally in Baghdad, with some marking themselves with the Arabic letter “N” for “Nazarene,” or Christian.

Christian leaders thanked Muslim supporters for standing up for their right to live in Iraq. “What gives us hope is a group of citizens – I do not want to say Muslims but they were Muslims – from Baghdad carrying slogans saying ‘I am Iraqi, I am Christian,’” Maysar Bahnam, a priest at Mar Korkis Catholic Church in Baghdad, told Al Arabiya. “They prayed in solidarity with us, saying that we are people from this land.”

On Twitter, hashtags such as #WeAreN and #IamNasrani served to share news and pictures of the plight of Iraqi Christians, and for helping organize support demonstrations.

Families leaving from the checkpoints on the eastern side of the city were reportedly harassed and robbed of their possessions. People also reported that money, jewelry and documents were taken from them, while the Daily Beast reported that women had crucifixes torn from their necks. Christian families and church leadership were among the last of Mosul’s minority communities such as Shabak, Shia, Yezidi, Turkmen and Kurds to leave the city, according to reports.

Comment

It seems odd that this savage persecution of Christians is not all over the news here in the UK. Isn’t it?  

Pope Paul VI Enthusiastic About The Spirit of Novelty Within the Church

PopePaulVI3

Reader, Jim Paton from Perth, submitted the following extract from the text of the General Audience of Pope Paul VI on 2nd July, 1969. It is not available in English on the Vatican website, but you can read the original text by clicking on the photo of Paul VI. All emphases have been added by Jim, and all commentary below is from Jim in blue type.
We look forward to reading your thoughts on this rather startling speech from a pontiff due to be beatified in October. 

“Beloved Sons and Daughters!

We want to welcome the great words of the Council, those that define the spirit, and in summary form the dynamic mentality of many, inside and outside the Church, at the Council relate. One of these words is that of novelty. It’s a simple word, much used, very sympathetic to the men of our time. Flow in the religious field is wonderfully fertile, but poorly understood, it can become explosive. But it is the word that was given to us as an order, such as a program. Indeed there has been billed as a hope. It is a word bounced down to us from the pages of Scripture: “Behold, (saith the Lord). I will do new things “; is the Prophet Isaiah that speaks well; he echoed St. Paul (2 Cor. 5, 17), and then the Book of Revelation: “Behold, I am making all things” (21,5). And Jesus, Master, it is not himself an innovator? “Ye have heard that which was said to the ancients. . . But I tell you. .” (Mt. 5), he repeats in the Sermon on the Mount. The baptism, the beginning of the Christian life, it is not itself a regeneration? “We must walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6: 4). And so the whole tradition of Christianity, tending towards its perfection; it continually takes the concept of novelty, when he speaks of conversion, reform of ‘ascetic perfection. Christianity is like a tree, always in the spring, in the process of new flowers, new fruits; is a dynamic concept, it is an inexhaustible vitality, is a beauty.

 [Jim: I have never seen Scripture twisted like this before. This is diabolical]

A NEW SPIRIT

And the Council has presented us so. Two terms have qualified; renewal (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 8 in the end; OptatamTotius, introd.), and update; this term, which Pope John gave free course, and was now in the current language, and not only in Italy (cf. AAS, 1963,p. 750); two words that speak of novelty; one referring to the field rather than inner spiritual; the other to the outer, canon, institutional. Our concern is very much that this “spirit of renewal”  (that’s how it is expressed by the Council: Optatam Totius, in the end) is to be all inclusive and kept alive. It responds salient aspect of our time, which is all in rapid and massive transformation, that is in the process of producing innovations in every area of ​​modern life. It rises spontaneously in the mind of the comparison: the whole world is changing, and religion is not?   It does not occur between the reality of life and Christianity, especially the Catholic one, a discrepancy, a detachment,mutual misunderstanding, mutual hostility, one runs, the other is still: how can they get along? how can it claim Christianity to influence life today?  And here is the reason of the reforms undertaken by the Church, especially after the Council; here is the Episcopate intent to promote the renewal corresponding to the needs of the present   (cf. Message to the Clergy of the Episcopate Trentino and South Tyrolean, 1967);   here is the Religious Orders ready to reform their statutes; here is the Catholic Laity qualify and articulate to the laws ecclesiastical; here is the liturgical reform, which everyone knows the extent and importance; here is the Christian education to re-examine its methods of pedagogy; behold, all the canonical legislation under review for renewal. And how many more consoling and promising new sprout in the Church in order to certify the new vitality, that even in these years so gory for religion demonstrates the continuous animation of the Holy Spirit! The development of ecumenism, guided by faith and charity alone is enough to score a progress almost unpredictable in the street and in the life of the Church. The hope, which is the Church’s gaze towards the future, fills his heart, and he says even as he throbs in new and loving waiting. The Church is not old, it is old; time is not the fold, and, if it is faithful to the principles of intrinsic and extrinsic his mysterious existence, the rejuvenated. It does not fear new; live by it. As a safe and fruitful tree by the root,it draws to itself every cycle its historic spring.”    Paul VI, General Audience of July 2, 1969. Source: Vatican Website

Comment

Along with the above, it might be worth mentioning, as it names Paul VI, the encyclical Redemptor Hominis (Pope John Paul II);  Article 3 states the following:

“Entrusting myself fully to the Spirit of truth, therefore, I am entering into the rich inheritance of the recent pontificates. This inheritance has struck deep roots in the awareness of the Church in an utterly new way, quite unknown previously, thanks to the Second Vatican Council, which John XXIII convened and opened and which was later successfully concluded and perseveringly put into effect by Paul VI, whose activity I was myself able to watch from close at hand.”

If it was unknown previously, then it it doesn’t belong to the deposit of faith. If it doesn’t belong to the deposit of faith then we can be assured that it isn’t the Spirit of truth that to which Pope John Paul II was entrusting himself. Further, the Popes have no mandate to teach this since it is novelty, which means that the faithful do not need to follow the new teachings of these men.

One other thing: where  Paul VI says “here is the Episcopate intent to promote the renewal corresponding to the needs of the present”  this goes against the perennial teachings of the Church, e.g.

“To use the words of the fathers of Trent, it is certain that the Church “was instructed by Jesus Christ and His Apostles and that all truth was daily taught it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.”Therefore, it is obviously absurd and injurious to propose a certain “restoration and regeneration” for her as though necessary for her safety and growth, as if she could be considered subject to defect or obscuration or other misfortune. Indeed these authors of novelties consider that a “foundation may be laid of a new human institution,” and what Cyprian detested may come to pass, that what was a divine thing “may become a human church.”   [Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, August 15, 1832]

Catholicism & The Commonwealth Games, Glasgow 2014 – The Problem…

animated scots flagCelebrating the Gift in Sport

Pope Francis gives blessing to Glasgow conference

 Pope Francis has sent his good wishes and prayers to athletes and theologians gathering for a conference in Glasgow on the eve of the Commonwealth Games.

Sponsored by the Bishops Conference of Scotland, Celebrating the Gift in Sport will explore how sport and faith can combine to champion the gifts of each person – especially people with disabilities – while promoting values of solidarity and respect.

The conference takes place on Thursday 17 July (9.30am to 5pm) at Blessed John Duns Scotus church hall (Ballater St, Glasgow G5 0YT) in the Gorbals.

It will be opened by the Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, who said: “With his message for our Conference, Pope Francis has shown himself close to all athletes and to everyone who enjoys sport as a means of celebrating the sheer joy of the gift of life and of promoting the dignity and potential of the human person.”

 The Archbishop added: “The Glasgow Commonwealth Games is an ideal opportunity for us to celebrate that gift and proclaim the dignity, respect and purpose that God bestows on all people, no matter their ability or nationality.”

Speakers at the conference include 2004 Olympic sprint relay champion Jason Gardener, Special Olympian Leanne Peter, paralympian Frank McGuire, former British Taekwondo champion-turned broadcaster John Cullen, Gordon McCormack chair of Scottish Disability Sport, and Professor John Swinton and Christina Gangemi of the Kairos Forum at the University of Aberdeen.

Members of the Cornerstone Community will tell how sport has changed their life, building up their confidence and providing opportunities to influence wider society.

Conference ticket (£40 per person) includes lunch – simply come along on the day and pay at the door

Programme of speakers and topics

Comment

The entire tone of the “Games” material coming from the Catholic Church in Glasgow is ecumenical. Check out the Programme of speakers and topics for the above conference, held yesterday, if you haven’t already done so. The problem, arguably, is that this major event, which will be reported not only across the UK but around the world, is an opportunity missed for the Catholic Church. There’s been  no conference organised to invite athletes, visitors, spectators, whoever, to come and learn about Catholicism, just some vague talk about celebrating “the Gift” in sport,  vaguely  linking “Faith” and sport. I’ve yet to be convinced that the Archdiocesan authorities mean “The Catholic Faith”, so, if you think you can do so, convince me!

Otherwise, share your ideas about how the Church might have used this event to spread knowledge and understanding of our Catholic religion.  Should the Church be engaging in some good old fashioned evangelisation during the next couple of weeks when the city of Glasgow will be alive with visitors from around the globe? If so, what sort of events could have been offered? Or is it enough just to have some kind of “Faith presence” in place?

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