For as long as I can
remember, the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church have been
constantly attacked, criticized, and even watered down (or attempted
to do so) by those that should know better. Although, it doesn't
surprise me to see these things, it is still a source of anguish to
see Christ attacked in such ways. One common objection to an
Apostolic teaching of the Church would be that of the Sacrament of
Penance or better known as Confession; the most common objection to
Confession is that it was 'created' by the Catholic Church and has no
basis in the roots of historical/biblical Christianity. Ironically,
this objection is primarily held by those who are often ignorant
(usually willfully ignorant) of both historical and biblical
Christianity! Let's help set the record straight by taking a look
into the Catholic Encyclopedia:
According to the Council of Trent, the consensus of all the Fathers always understood that by the words of Christ just cited, the power of forgiving and retaining sins was communicated to the Apostles and their lawful successors (Sess. XIV, c. i). It is therefore Catholic doctrine that the Church from the earliest times believed in the power to forgive sins as granted by Christ to the Apostles. Such a belief in fact was clearly inculcated by the words with which Christ granted the power, and it would have been inexplicable to the early Christians if any one who professed faith in Christ had questioned the existence of that power in the Church. But if, contrariwise, we suppose that no such belief existed from the beginning, we encounter a still greater difficulty: the first mention of that power would have been regarded as an innovation both needless and intolerable; it would have shown little practical wisdom on the part of those who were endeavoring to draw men to Christ; and it would have raised a protest or led to a schism which would certainly have gone on record as plainly at least as did early divisions on matters of less importance. But no such record is found; even those who sought to limit the power itself presupposed its existence, and their very attempt at limitation put them in opposition to the prevalent Catholic belief. Turning now to evidence of a positive sort, we have to note that the statements of any Father or orthodox ecclesiastical writer regarding penance present not merely his own personal view, but the commonly accepted belief; and furthermore that the belief which they record was no novelty at the time, but was the traditional doctrine handed down by the regular teaching of the Church and embodied in her practice. In other words, each witness speaks for a past that reaches back to the beginning, even when he does not expressly appeal to tradition.
St. Augustine (d. 430) warns the faithful: "Let us not listen to those who deny that the Church of God has power to forgive all sins" (De agon. Christ., iii).
- St. Ambrose (d. 397) rebukes the Novatianists who "professed to show reverence for the Lord by reserving to Him alone the power of forgiving sins. Greater wrong could not be done than what they do in seeking to rescind His commands and fling back the office He bestowed. . . . The Church obeys Him in both respects, by binding sin and by loosing it; for the Lord willed that for both the power should be equal" (On Penance I.2.6).
- Again he teaches that this power was to be a function of the priesthood. "It seemed impossible that sins should be forgiven through penance; Christ granted this (power) to the Apostles and from the Apostles it has been transmitted to the office of priests" (On Penance II.2.12).
- The power to forgive extends to all sins: "God makes no distinction; He promised mercy to all and to His priests He granted the authority to pardon without any exception" (On Penance I.3.10).
- Against the same heretics St. Pacian, Bishop of Barcelona (d. 390), wrote to Sympronianus, one of their leaders: "This (forgiving sins), you say, only God can do. Quite true: but what He does through His priests is the doing of His own power" (Ep. I ad Sympron., 6 in P.L., XIII, 1057).
- In the East during the same period we have the testimony of St. Cyril of Alexandria (d. 447): "Men filled with the spirit of God (i.e. priests) forgive sins in two ways, either by admitting to baptism those who are worthy or by pardoning the penitent children of the Church" (In Joan., 1, 12 in P.G., LXXIV, 722).
- St. John Chrysostom (d. 407) after declaring that neither angels nor archangels have received such power, and after showing that earthly rulers can bind only the bodies of men, declares that the priest's power of forgiving sins "penetrates to the soul and reaches up to heaven". Wherefore, he concludes, "it were manifest folly to condemn so great a power without which we can neither obtain heaven nor come to the fulfillment of the promises. . . . Not only when they (the priests) regenerate us (baptism), but also after our new birth, they can forgive us our sins" (On the Priesthood III.5 sq.).
- St. Athanasius (d. 373): "As the man whom the priest baptizes is enlightened by the grace of the Holy Ghost, so does he who in penance confesses his sins, receive through the priest forgiveness in virtue of the grace of Christ" (Frag. contra Novat. in P.G., XXVI, 1315).
These extracts show that the Fathers recognized in penance a power and a utility quite distinct from that of baptism. Repeatedly they compare in figurative language the two means of obtaining pardon; or regarding baptism as spiritual birth, they describe penance as the remedy for the ills of the soul contracted after that birth. But a more important fact is that both in the West and in the East, the Fathers constantly appeal to the words of Christ and given them the same interpretation that was given eleven centuries later by the Council of Trent. In this respect they simply echoed the teachings of the earlier Fathers who had defended Catholic doctrine against the heretics of the third and second centuries. Thus St. Cyprian in his "De lapsis" (A.D. 251) rebukes those who had fallen away in time of persecution, but he also exhorts them to penance: "Let each confess his sin while he is still in this world, while his confession can be received, while satisfaction and the forgiveness granted by the priests is acceptable to God" (c. xxix).
On August 5th of this year, Disney aired an episode of Doc McStuffins, entitled “The Emergency Plan” which depicted a doll “family” with two lesbian mothers with two children. The entire premise of the show is focused around a young girl, referred to as Doc McStuffins, and pretends to act as a doctor and fix toys as a doctor would treat patients. In this episode, Doc and friends encounter a lesbian doll family where chaotic events cause the toys to react without much of an emergency plan to counter whatever may befall them. So, Doc and friends come to the rescue and show this unnatural family how to better prepare for emergencies as if seeing two mothers together with children is perfectly normal.
This is unfortunately nothing new for Disney, the organization has steadily pushed boundaries of depicting sexual immorality as common-place such as the newly released 'Beauty and the Beast' where Gaston's chummy buddy, Lefou, flamboyantly swaggers and flirts throughout much of the film. Even Disney's affiliate companies such as Pixar have hidden little gay 'easter-eggs' for the ever watchful and studious.
By Sadeer Farjo, JD
Over the past few months, you may have heard some chatter about whether Trump is conservative or not. When it comes to nominating federal judges he is placing some solid judges that will defend human dignity and protect our religious rights. Take for example his recent nomination for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals where Trump nominated an unapologetic Catholic, Amy Coney Barrett.
It's no secret that in our days there are many within the Catholic Church who should know better have taken in to novelties and outright heresy. We also know that even from the highest ranks in the Church there is a great deal of confusion seemingly flowing from top to bottom. With the release of Pope Francis' Amoris Laetitia, the Church has largely been left in a sort of division. We see Cardinal against Cardinal, Bishop against Bishop, Priest against Priest, and even strife between the laity. In particular, Amoris Laetitia Chapter 8 on 'Accompanying, discerning and Integrating Weakness' has given many in the Church to question if official Church teaching on certain matters have changed. Sadly, many have taken the opportunity to criticize the Pope and clergy primarily because many of us do not understand what it means to recognize authority in the Church. Many forget that it was Christ Himself who instituted the hierarchy of the Church and for that matter, many have forgotten that the Holy Spirit is Always with the Church but Christ NEVER promised those in the Church would cooperate with the Holy Spirit. So moving forward, let's tread fearfully into this discussion and ask God for the graces to maintain a steady devotion to the Church as we work to expose wickedness running rampant in the Church.