14/9: Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross – Timely Reminder of Victory…

O God, Who this day dost gladden us by the yearly feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: grant, we beseech Thee, that we who on earth acknowledge the mystery of Redemption wrought upon it, may be worthy to enjoy the rewards of that same Redemption in heaven.  From the Collect of the Mass of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross…

Comment: 

As the horrendous crisis in the Church continues and deepens, and – incredibly –  is set to become even worse with the forthcoming Amazon Synod, today is perhaps one of the best Feasts on which to recall that the battle is already won, that by His death on the Cross, Our Lord has beaten the powers of darkness, and that by living out our vocation to be Soldiers of Christ, in whatever way we can, we show our divine and Catholic faith in that truth.    In the words of St Paul to the  Ephesians:  “Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood: but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places… (Ephesians 6:11ff)

Weary as we may well be at this continuing and worsening crisis, shouldn’t even the shortest reflection on the suffering, crucified Christ serve as a  an incentive to us to face, with renewed energy, our Confirmation duty to be Soldiers of Christ?  Shouldn’t even a passing glance at the Cross make us more than ever determined to battle, with all our might, those same “principalities and powers” attacking Christ’s Church in our times?  Or, as more than one person has told me recently, have you had enough?

 

Family Unity… At All Costs?

The central place of the family in society is clearly taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Issues surrounding the ideal of family unity is in the news this week, due to the resignation of the Prime Minister’s brother, Jo Johnson, who is both a Member of Parliament and a Government minister. 

Headlines like this (Guardian headline below) have added to the Prime Minister’s woes, as he is attacked on all sides for the crime of trying to do what the majority of us asked him to do in the referendum of 2016 – take us out of the European Union…

The news of Jo Johnson’s resignation reminded me of the dilemma facing all too many Catholics, these days, as they choose, in conscience, to move from attending the new Mass in their local parishes, to attending a traditional Mass elsewhere.  This has led to friction within families, as I’m certain, Jo Johnson’s decision has caused disquiet, to say the least, within his family.  Indeed, on a popular news programme, one commentator opined that he doubted if the brothers “would ever recover from this.” 

So, the question is, what price family unity?  There are people (in my own circle) who believe that family unity trumps everything else – although, scratch beneath the surface, and often what they really mean is “keeping up the appearance of family unity” trumps everything else.  

Share your thoughts on this – is there a line to be drawn?  Is there a limit to family unity/loyalty?  Look at that Guardian headline again and ask yourself if anything, absolutely anything, should come before family…

 

30/8-20/9: Relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux Tour Scotland – To What Purpose?

Editor writes…

I’ve been persuaded to visit one of the destinations listed here to honour the great Saint Thérèse of Lisieux while her relics are in Scotland.  It didn’t take too much arm-twisting; she was my favourite saint, during my childhood and I took her name at my Confirmation. 

I wasn’t sure about posting a thread on the topic, however, given a previous discussion where a Catholic journalist pronounced herself protestantised because she lacks attraction to lots of Catholic practices, such as indulgences.  I don’t think she mentions relics but it’s really a given that she would rank the veneration of relics alongside the rather “superstitious” practice of seeking indulgences click here

Indeed, in a previous discussion, we had a very outspoken critic of the practice of venerating relics – one of those critics, long gone,  who only paid us a visit now and then, for the apparent purpose of pulling us all to bits.  Anyway, she strongly objected to the veneration of relics.  I’ve tried, briefly, to locate that thread but without success.  Maybe she’ll come on again to repeat her objections.  Our luck can’t hold out forever 😀

In any event, faced with having to explain the purpose of such a tour, where the faithful essentially make a pilgrimage (long or short journey),  in order to venerate the relics of a saint, what would you say – what IS the purpose of the veneration of relics – check here for some interesting facts about this practice, including examples from Sacred Scripture.

Finally, are you pleased that the relics of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux are here in Scotland… right now?  Will you travel to one of the destinations – see the itinerary here.   If not, why not? 

Can Only Catholics Be Saved? Really?

American Blogger, Margaret USA, is keen for us to discuss the following article, taken from One Peter Five blog…

“… thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.” (Matt 16:18-19)

It is a truth revealed by God that there is absolutely no salvation outside of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is the true Church of Jesus Christ, instituted by Jesus Christ for the sanctification and salvation of the souls of men; how could there possibly be salvation outside the society instituted by Jesus Christ for our salvation?

The Catholic Church is not an invisible society, but a visible one, and there are not two Churches, one visible and the other invisible. It follows from this that it is necessary for salvation to be a member of the visible Catholic Church. There is no invisible Catholic Church. However, it is possible that a person could be, invisibly, a member of the Catholic Church, which is visible. Thus, a person in invincible ignorance of the true Faith who does not know of the necessity of membership in the Church for his salvation would not be held by the Almighty as guilty of a sin that he is not responsible for. Such a person might be, by grace, a member of the Catholic Church.

It is extremely dangerous, to say the least, to remain outside the Catholic Church, when the Catholic Church is the divinely instituted means of our salvation. One becomes a member of the Catholic Church either by baptism or by grace, and, visibly speaking, one becomes a visible member of the Catholic Church by baptism, because that is precisely the visible ceremony that makes men members of the Church. But Protestants, who do have a valid baptism, are not Catholics; for the Church is defined as the visible society of those who profess the faith of Christ, partake of the same Sacraments, and are united under the government of their lawful pastors under one visible head (that is, the pope). Protestants are, however, in an imperfect but real (or, to put it the other way, a real but imperfect) communion with us, and they are Christians, but they are not per se members of the Catholic Church. Catholics have used the phrase “separated brethren” to denote Protestants (and, I suppose, Orthodox and others) for two hundred years or so. The Second Vatican Council uses the phrase “fratres a nobis sejuncti” — the brethren separated from us. The word “separated” denotes the imperfection of the communion; the word “brethren” denotes the real communion that is, nevertheless, imperfect.

To state “there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church” does not mean that no Protestant, Jew, Muslim, etc., could be saved, but if he were saved, it would be by virtue of the Catholic Church and not his erring sect or religion. If he were saved, it would be because he was, by grace (or in the case of Protestants, by baptism), a member of the Catholic Church. Everyone who is in heaven is a member of the Church Triumphant and, ipso facto, a Catholic.

I do not think many people will deny that there are good and holy people in other religions. But this does not lessen the importance of the fact that all the graces in the world enter the world through the Catholic Church.

A person who knows that the Catholic Church is the true Faith, and refuses to enter it, cannot be saved. This is the perennial teaching of the Magisterium and is affirmed by the Second Vatican Council in the document Lumen Gentium.

The Catholic Church is the Church. It is not a part of the Church, or a denomination of the Church; it is the religion instituted by Jesus Christ, outside which there is no salvation. It is the only religion instituted by God Himself, and it is the only religion pleasing to God.

It is the duty of all men on Earth to enter the Catholic Church and to submit to her authoritative teaching. It is God who speaks to men, not through Scripture only, but also through the Sacred Tradition and the universal Magisterium of His Church. We must believe what Christ teaches us through His Church; faith that is at least implicit, in all that God has revealed, is necessary for salvation (and there are certain truths also that must be believed explicitly).

It is a great sin against charity to encourage people to persevere in their errors. Error will not save anyone. The truth of Jesus Christ — which includes the truth of His Church, which is His Immaculate Bride and His Mystical Body — will save people. People have a right to the full truth of the Gospel and should not be denied any part of it. They therefore have a right to know the truth: that Catholicism is the true religion; that the Catholic Church is the Church of God, which is endowed with authority, infallibility, and indefectibility, and will teach the true Faith and preserve the sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ until the end of time. Membership in it is necessary for salvation.   Source

[Author] David Mitchell was born in England and lives there his wife, whom he married in December 2018. David was educated at the University of Durham and was received into the Catholic Church in 2008, while he was a student. He has a B.A. in music and an M.A. in performance and sings in his church choir, where he and his wife met. He has taught music and Latin and currently undertakes freelance music work.

Comments invited…   

Hymn: O Take Me to Thy Sacred Heart

Enjoy this beautiful and very moving hymn in honour of the Sacred Heart. 

Feel free to share your personal devotions, prayers, other hymns to the Sacred Heart, and any experiences which will interest and edify our readers and bloggers.  

Thanks to Peter who sings the hymn so beautifully, and to Raphael for his excellent organ accompaniment. 

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, we place all our trust in Thee!   

Technology Vs The Spiritual Life …

Comment: 

Some parents try to put off the day when their offspring are allowed smartphones and thus unsupervised access to the internet. This, however, can cause bad feeling and cultivate rebellious attitudes in the young towards their concerned parents. And once they reach the older teenage years, it really isn’t possible to ban things, not when the youngster has a job or unthinking relatives who buy them technological presents for birthdays and Christmas.   

Having established a routine of family prayer and spiritual reading, some parents have witnessed a weakening of their children’s faith, which, rightly or wrongly, they blame on the technological craze.  If a teenager prefers YouTube to spiritual reading, that’s a problem, they argue.  

What’s the answer?