Needed: A New Church Policy toward Islam [Pt. 1]

Needed: A New Church Policy toward Islam [Pt. 1]

POPE-TURKEY/

By William Kilpatrick, January 28,2015

In a speech to Egypt’s top Islamic authorities, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called for a “religious revolution.” Why? Because he believes that Islam has problems: “That corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the centuries … is antagonizing the entire world.” He continued: “Is it possible that 1.6 billion people should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants…?” He then warned the assembled imams not to “remain trapped within this mindset” but to “reflect on it from a more enlightened perspective.”

Three Part Series 1However you interpret el-Sisi’s remarks, it’s clear that he believes the problems of Islam are not the fault of a tiny minority. He seems to think that a great many are to blame, and he particularly singles out Islamic religious leaders, whom he holds “responsible before Allah” on “Judgment Day.” And, most tellingly, he refuses to indulge in the this-has-nothing-to-do-with-Islam excuse favored by Western leaders. Rather, he states that “the entire umma [Islamic world]” is “a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world” because of “the thinking that we hold most sacred.”

By contrast, after his visit to Turkey, Pope Francis compared Islamic fundamentalists to Christian fundamentalists and said that “in all religions there are these little groups.” A little over a year ago in his apostolic exhortation, he joined the ranks of those who say that terror has nothing to do with Islam by observing that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.”

So the leader of the largest Muslim country in the Arab world thinks that the entire Islamic world is suffused with dangerous and destructive thinking, and the leader of the Catholic Church thinks terror is the work of a few misunderstanders of Islam.

Or does he?

It’s very likely that when world leaders say that terror has nothing to do with Islam, many of them do so for reasons of state. In other words, they are afraid that if they say anything else they will provoke more violence.

Is this the case with the Pope? My guess is probably not. The Pope does not seem the type to dissemble. He, along with many of the bishops, seems to genuinely believe that Islam is a religion of peace that has been hijacked for nefarious purposes.

Still, even if many prelates do entertain doubts about the peaceful nature of Islam, it can be argued that the present policy of saying positive things about Islam makes sense from a strategic point of view. A great many Christians live as minorities in Muslim lands, and the wrong word might put them in danger. After Pope Benedict’s Regensburg reference to the violent nature of Islam, Muslims took out their anger on Christians living in their midst. And things have worsened since then. Christians in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan, and elsewhere already live at peril of their lives. Why make it any worse for them?

There’s another argument for this power-of-positive-thinking approach, although it’s an argument that’s best left unsaid. One of the unspoken hopes of Church and secular leaders is, undoubtedly, that such an approach will set in motion a self-fulfilling prophecy. Keep saying that Islam is a religion of peace and eventually even the Islamists will believe it and begin to act peacefully.

Of course, jihadists aren’t the main target of this strategy. Even if hardcore Islamists remain unmoved by this flattering of their faith, the tactic will—or so it is supposed—have the merit of reinforcing moderate Muslims in their moderation. If Catholic prelates were to start criticizing Islam itself instead of the terrorist “betrayers” of Islam, they would risk alienating peaceful Muslims. A hardline policy might even have the effect of pushing moderates into the radical camp. Better, from a strategic point of view, to stress our commonalities with Muslims. If they see us as a brother religion, they are more likely to protect the Christians in their midst.

Whether or not this is the reasoning at the Vatican, I don’t know. But such a strategy is not without merit. In Islam, blasphemy and slander are taken quite seriously and any criticism of Islam or its prophet can be construed as blasphemous. Slander is defined even more loosely. One of the most authoritativesharia law books defines it as “saying anything about a person that he would dislike.” That covers a lot of territory. So the argument that drawing attention to the violent side of Islam will only incite further violence is a compelling one.

On the other hand, there are good reasons for questioning the Church’s accommodative approach. The primary and most practical one is that it doesn’t seem to have worked. The let’s-be-friends approach has been in place even since Vatican II, but other than dialoguers congratulating themselves on the friendships they have made, it hasn’t yielded much in the way of results. Christians in Muslim lands are less safe than they have been for centuries. So, for that matter, are Muslims themselves.

What’s wrong with the diplomatic approach? Well, look at it first from the Islamic point of view. Islam is a religion that respects strength. It was spread mainly by the sword. To say that it is a peaceful religion might elicit reassuring responses from those Muslims who, like their Western counterparts, are constrained by diplomatic protocols, but from others it elicits scorn. The Ayatollah Khomeini put it this way: “Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those are witless.”

Muslims of Khomeini’s ilk don’t care whether or not others think of Islam as peaceful, they only care whether God is on their side. A weak response from the enemy, whether on the battlefield or from the pulpit proves that he is. Appeasement on the part of prelates reinforces the conviction held by many Muslims that Christianity is an inferior religion, not worthy of respect. By the same token, it reinforces the belief that Islam is the superior religion, deserving of special respect. “Allahu akbar” doesn’t mean “let’s dialogue”; it means “God is greater” and its specific meaning to Muslims is that their God is greater than your god. Duke University recently reversed its decision to allow the Muslim Student Association to chant the call to prayer from the massive chapel bell tower, but if the decision had held it would not have been seen as a sign of Duke’s commitment to cultural diversity but as a sign that it is on the road to submission. Duke was founded by Methodist Episcopalians and was originally called Trinity College. The Muslim call to prayer includes the words “Allahu akbar,” and the Allah they call upon is decidedly not a Trinity.

Islam, which considers itself to be the best religion on the planet, is also the touchiest religion on the planet. The way you show Islam respect is not by treating it as an equal but by treating it with deference. Not doing or saying anything to offend Muslims might seem like a wise strategy, but once you adopt it, you’re already on a slippery slope. Islam has an insatiable appetite for deference, and there is no end to the things that offend Muslims. The word “Islam,” after all, means submission, and that, ultimately, is how non-Muslims are expected to show respect. Catholics who are worried about offending Islam might note that in Saudi Arabia the mere presence of a Catholic church is considered offensive. Will the wearing of a cross by a Christian student at Duke someday be considered intolerably offensive to the Muslim students? How much of your weekly salary would you be willing to wager against that eventuality?

Of course there are many Muslims who are tolerant and open-minded, but in much of the Muslim world they keep their open-mindedness to themselves. What about them? The Church’s current “diplomatic” policy runs the risk of increasing their sense of hopelessness. Islam is an oppressive religious and social system. Many Muslims feel trapped by it. President el-Sisi acknowledged as much when he urged Egypt’s imams not to “remain trapped within this mindset.” When Christian leaders won’t acknowledge the oppression, it reinforces the “trapped” Muslim’s belief that he has nowhere to turn. The problem is compounded when Church leaders insist on expressing their respect for Islam and their solidarity with Islamic religious leaders. Muslims who are disaffected from Islam aren’t likely to convert to another religion which proudly proclaims its commonality with the faith they would love to leave.

The current approach is unlikely to win over many Muslims. At the same time, it’s likely to alienate a lot of Christians. For one thing, it does a disservice to Christian victims of Islamic persecution. As I observed in a previous column:

Such an approach also tends to devalue the sacrifices of those Christians in Muslim lands who have had the courage to resist submission to Islam. It must be highly discouraging to be told that the religion in whose name your friends and relatives have been slaughtered is prized and esteemed by the Church.

That’s not to say that Church leaders shouldn’t exercise discretion in what they say. During World War II, Vatican officials understood that saying the wrong thing about the Nazis could result in retaliation against both Jews and Catholics. On the other hand, they did not go out of their way to express their esteem and respect for Nazis and thus risk demoralizing Christians who lived under Nazi control. In order to protect Christians and Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe and later in Communist-controlled Eastern Europe, the Vatican did exercise a degree of diplomatic caution. But that diplomacy was based on an accurate understanding of Nazi and Communist ideology. It’s not at all clear that today’s Church leaders possess a correspondingly clear-eyed understanding of Islamic theology/ideology. The current outreach to Islam seems to be based more on wishful thinking than on fact. And, as Pope Francis himself observed in Evangelii Gaudium, “Ideas disconnected from realities give rise to ineffectual forms of idealism” (232).

“Ideas disconnected from realities” is a good way to describe the Church’s Islam policy. That policy does not seem to have done much to prevent persecution of Christians in Muslim lands. How about Catholics who do not live in the danger zones? Catholics who live in the West and rely on the Church for their understanding of Islam can be forgiven if they still remain complacent about the Islamic threat. That’s because there is absolutely nothing in recent official Church statements that would lead them to think that there is anything to worry about.Lumen Gentium? Nostra Aetate? The Catechism of the Catholic Church? Evangelii Gaudium? All discuss Islam, but not in a way that would raise the slightest concern. The Catholic who wonders what to think about Islamic terrorism and then consults his Catechism only to find that “together with us they adore the one, merciful God” will likely conclude that terrorists are distorting and misinterpreting their religion. Confident that the Church has spoken definitively on the matter, he’ll roll over and go back to sleep.

Conversely, Catholics who do not rely strictly on the Church for their assessment of Islam are in for a bout of cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, they know what the Church says. On the other hand, they can read the news and note the obvious discrepancy. As time goes by and as car bombings and beheadings occur at more frequent intervals in the West, dissonance is likely to be replaced by disrespect. Church officials who keep repeating the one-sided narrative about “authentic” Islam will lose credibility. Catholics won’t necessarily lose their faith, but it will be sorely tested. At the least, they will stop trusting their bishops on this issue. The trouble with “ideas disconnected from realities” is that they eventually do bump up against realities, and when they do, the bearers of those ideas lose respect. A good case can be made that Catholic leaders should pursue a policy geared toward weakening Muslims’ faith in Islam (a proposition I will discuss in the next installment), but the current policy seems more likely to undermine the faith that Catholics have in their shepherds. It’s ironic that a Catholic can get a better grasp of the Islamic threat by listening to a short speech by President el-Sisi than by listening to a hundred reassuring statements from Catholic bishops.

Of course, it’s not enough to simply criticize the Church’s current policy without proposing a viable alternative option. That’s something I propose to do in my next column.

Editor’s note: In the image above, Pope Francis meets with the Grand Mufti of Istanbul Rahmi Yaran during his three day state visit to Turkey last November.

Published on Jan 5, 2015

In a speech delivered at Al-Azhar on December 28, 2014, Egyptian President Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi called to combat extremist ideology and said: “We need to revolutionize our religion.” Calling for “religious discourse that is in keeping with its times,” Al-Sisi warned that “the Islamic nation is being torn apart and destroyed” by extremism.

By

William Kilpatrick taught for many years at Boston College. He is the author of several books about cultural and religious issues, includingPsychological Seduction; Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right From Wrong; andChristianity, Islam and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West. He is also the author of a new book entitled Insecurity. His articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Catholic World Report, National Catholic Register, Aleteia, Saint Austin Review, Investor’s Business Daily, and FrontPage Magazine. His work is supported in part by the Shillman Foundation.

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3 Steps to Understand How Humanity Participates in Natural Law

3 Steps to Understand How Humanity Participates in Natural Law

Leonardo da Vinci, Cardiac Anatomy.

1. Eternal Law – A type of Divine Wisdom of God that moves all things to their end.

2. Divine Law – The historical laws of Scripture given to man through God’s self-revelation.

2.a. The Old Law – Extrinsic focus, fear, and earthly rewards – foreshadows the NT
2.b. The New Law – Intrinsic focus, love, and heavenly rewards – Perfects the OT

3. Natural Law – The Eternal Law of God imprinted on all things, from which “they derive their respective inclinations to their proper acts and ends.”

4. Human Law – Laws of governments that are dictates of practical reason from the general precepts of Natural Law.

Leonardo da Vinci, sketches of the brain.

1. Do all men know Natural Law?

Eternal Law is the type of Divine Wisdom that moves all things to their end. In his treatment on Eternal Law, Aquinas teaches that man does not know Eternal Law directly, but can know the law by its effects. Just as one may know the sun by its sunlight. Eternal Law is imprinted on all things and all things partake in Eternal Law; and, it is from this imprint that all things “derive their respective inclinations to their proper acts and ends.”1

How may one describe the “respective inclinations to their proper acts and ends” in humanity? The Angelic Doctor states, “wherefore [the rational creature, i.e., man] has a share of the Eternal Reason, whereby it has a natural inclination to its proper act and end: and this participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called the natural law.”2 In his treatment on Eternal Law, Aquinas differs from some ancient philosophers by stating all men may know Natural Law. The vehicle by which man knows Natural Law is reason and understanding. Here, Aquinas makes a second important distinction – some men will understand more, some less. Aquinas is not promoting an egalitarian view of reason. All men may know, but all men will not know equally.

In clarification by contrast, the rational animal of Creation, i.e., the human, participates in Natural Law by reason, but the irrational animals participate in Natural Law by an “inward motive principle.” Note the important implication that humanity participates in Natural Law by choice.

2. What is a habit?

Aquinas’ first question is whether or not Natural Law may be spoken of as a habit. What is a habit? A habit is a series of acts that constitute a practice. The Philosopher, Aristotle, defines a habit as “a disposition whereby someone is disposed, well or ill.” Those habits which habituate the person toward the good, we call virtues. Those habits that dispose the person to evil are call vices. A person’s habits define who they are. Following Aristotle, Aquinas notes that habits are a species of quality. In this light, the Philosopher states, “a habit is a quality which it is difficult to change.”3

There are naturally good habits, which are called the Natural Virtues or the Cardinal Virtues, i.e., prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude. Prudence is the “elective habit” the habit of right reasoning. Justice is the habit of proper order and the highest virtue of the State. Temperance is the habit that holds a person to reason in the face of something pleasurable. Fortitude is the habit that holds a person to reason when something would push it away in fear. These are called the Natural Virtues because they are available to all men. Is Natural Law, then, like a natural virtue?

3. Is Natural Law a habit?

Is Natural Law a habit? Aquinas makes the distinction between that which is a habit and that which persons hold as a habit. Natural Law is a habit in the second sense. In in first notion, Natural Law cannot be an essential habit of humanity, because Natural Law is “something appointed by reason.” Natural Law is the Eternal Law of God imprinted onto man, but man’s participation in Natural Law comes through understanding. Here, Aquinas highlights infants and the wicked as those who do not participate in Natural Law. Consequently, it is not an essentialhabit of mankind.

Natural Law is a habit in the second sense. Aquinas makes the distinction that indemonstrable principles themselves are not habits, but they are the principles of the habits. Consequently, Natural Law insofar as it is indemonstrable is not a habit, but it is the principle behind many habits. For example, St. Basil speaks of synderesis as a “law of the mind.” Synderesis may be summarized as a habit by which a man knows what is good and what is evil. In Aquinas’ understanding, synderesis would be the habit that has as its principle Natural Law, but Natural Law itself would not properly be a habit, but a law. It follows, that Natural Law would also be the principle behind all the Natural Virtues discussed above.

The next question Aquinas takes up in his discussion on law is what are the precepts of Natural Law? Or rather, if Natural Law is the principle of good habits, what is it that Natural Law imports to those who reflect on it? What are its general moral precepts?


SPL on Aquinas’ Treatment of Law – Summa Theologica Reference

  1. Law and the Common Good: 9 Introductory Catholic Questions – I-II.90
  2. Think Like a Catholic: 7 Questions on the Four Laws – I-II.91
  3. 4 Reasons God Gave Us Scripture (Divine Law) by Aquinas – I-II.91.4
  4. Does the Law Exist to Make Men Virtuous? 6 Thoughts from Aquinas – I-II.92.1
  5. 4 Other Questions on Virtue and Law – I-II.92.1
  6. Divine Government: 6 Questions by Aquinas on the Eternal Law – I-II.93
  1. Natural Law: This list is a summary of I-II.94.1 []
  2. Natural Law & Scripture: While there are many examples, Aquinas uses the following as an example of an innate moral compass in man: “The light of Thy countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us”: thus implying that the light of natural reason, whereby we discern what is good and what is evil, which is the function of the natural law, is nothing else than an imprint on us of the Divine light. It is therefore evident that the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature’s participation of the eternal law. []
  3. Habits: For more on habits and the source for the given quotes, see ST I-II.49.1-2. [

Readings & Reflections: Thursday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time, January 29,2015

Readings & Reflections: Thursday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time, January 29,2015

Our lamp is to be placed on a lampstand so that we will “rouse one another to love and good works. We should not stay away from our assembly.” To us has been entrusted “the Blood of Jesus.” To those who approach their faith “with a sincere heart and in absolute trust” even “more will be given.” “He who made the promise is trustworthy.”

AMDG+

Opening Prayer

“Lord, you guide me by the light of your saving truth.  Fill my heart and mind with your light and truth and free me from the blindness of sin and deception that I may see your ways clearly and understand your will for my life.  May I radiate your light and truth to others in both word and deed.”  Amen.

Reading 1
Heb 10:19-25

Brothers and sisters:
Since through the Blood of Jesus
we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary
by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil,
that is, his flesh, and since we have “a great priest over the house of God,”
let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust,
with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience
and our bodies washed in pure water.
Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope,
for he who made the promise is trustworthy.
We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works.
We should not stay away from our assembly,
as is the custom of some, but encourage one another,
and this all the more as you see the day drawing near.
The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 24:1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6

R. (see 6)  Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Alleluia Ps 119:105

  1. Alleluia, alleluia.
    A lamp to my feet is your word,
    a light to my path.
    R.Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel
Mk 4:21-25

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket
or under a bed,
and not to be placed on a lampstand?
For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible;
nothing is secret except to come to light.
Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.”
He also told them, “Take care what you hear.
The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you,
and still more will be given to you.
To the one who has, more will be given;
from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – To those who have more will be given

The first time I read through today’s gospel I was bothered by the last verse which said: “to those who have, more will be given, from those who have not, what little they have will be taken away.” I felt confused as I wondered how Jesus could allow such a situation, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

“Let him who has ears to hear me, hear! He said to them another time: Listen carefully to what you hear.” Listening to God means opening our hearts and minds to the Spirit so that whatever little wisdom, knowledge and understanding have been sowed in our hearts will grow with His grace. So that with His help, we may gain a deeper understanding of God and His will for everyone. So that our hearts may never wallow in mediocrity and immaturity that we can even entertain thoughts that God can be unfair and so lopsided in favor of the rich and against the poor.

Jesus wants us to be sensitive to the Spirit and to carefully listen and react to the leadings of Spirit if we have to mature in our spirituality. Listening to the Spirit and being under its total control means taking heed how we hear His Word. It means never closing our hearts to God as even the bit of wisdom that we think we have, will be shown for what it is, nothing.

Our Heavenly Father has sowed His Word on so many souls through Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Yet a big number have turned their backs on Him and have left Him.  Some were there for a ride and when life became a bit rough they decided to jump ship. Others could not decide to have a relationship with Him for a lot of reasons, career or family, while there are so those who say, not yet Lord I am still enjoying life and what the world has to offer me.  Still some are ambivalent in their feelings for the Lord that they are in the habit of withholding their trust in God that He is never given a chance in their lives.

God dwells within everyone’s soul. He is only waiting for us to open our hearts and our lives to the Spirit’s healing and guidance. Life could only take on a richer path if we could bring ourselves to listen to the Spirit, trust the Spirit and be led by the Spirit.  Even as Jesus said: “Let him who has ears to hear me, hear!  Listen carefully to what you hear.”

The challenge that confronts all of us is not only to believe and abide by the Spirit Whom we do not see but to open our hearts to the Holy Spirit, keep them open and trust in the Holy Spirit’s presence.

If we are able to open our hearts to God and His Spirit, we will be endowed with the gift of his friendship- His grace.  Peter and his fellow fishermen found an abundant and rich catch when they opened their hearts to Jesus and allowed Him to lead them. If we develop the habit of waiting on the Lord and listening to Him Who at every moment dwells within us, He will guide our hands and strengthen our hearts to know what is good and have it abundantly. We will be blessed with the strength to do it and persevere in it.

The rich man who wanted to follow Jesus yet could not give up His wealth and his good life appeared to be good and decent yet he could not listen to what Jesus was telling him. He could not totally open his life to Jesus that he silently drifted away from Jesus. Awaiting him were greater riches, much more than he ever had and could ever imagine.  But he could not allow God to prevail.

If the time comes when we have to face our Heavenly Father and there is nothing we can present to Him, no great heart, no grand spirit, nothing to love with, nothing to greet the Lord with, we will realize how poor we have been. Because we didn’t listen to what the Spirit kept telling us, we would have wasted our lives and would have become the poorest of the poor. Indeed, “to those who have, more will be given, from those who have not, what little they have will be taken away.”

But if we listen to the Spirit and allow the spirit to prevail and follow, we will have more and more of Jesus and we can be more like Jesus. With no promise of payback, He voluntarily gave his life on behalf of the people He loved.  Likewise, if we find the value of life as we give it away, then God had made us richer in every way for we have been blessed with more of what we need to reach our Father’s kingdom.

This is how Jesus touched me today and the value of His words to me as He spoke: “In the measure you give you shall receive, and more besides. To those who have, more will be given; from those who have not, what little they have will be taken away.”

If we listen to the Spirit and give our lives to God and His people, grace and blessings will be upon us.  The more we die to our very selves and give our lives away, the more we will have life…  even till eternity! The more we surrender to the Spirit, the more we will have Christ!

Direction

Listen to the Spirit, trust the Spirit and be led by the Spirit by applying God’s Word to our lives.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, let your Word be my Guide, my Counselor, my Comforter and my All in All. In Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Reflection 2 – Let your little light shine

Mammoth Cave National Park is a major tourist attraction in southern Kentucky. Deep below the surface of the ground lie about 300 miles of passages carved from the rock by flowing water. A tour guide leads you through the passages until you reach a large underground room. The guide then turns off the light. For what seems a very long time, you sit in pitch-black darkness, waiting for your eyes to grow accustomed enough for you to make out something. But not the tiniest ray of light reaches your retina; you cannot even see the person sitting right beside you. At long last the guide strikes a match. And that tiny flicker seems almost blindingly bright.

In today’s gospel Jesus talks about placing a lamp in such a way that it will illuminate the whole room. He himself, of course, brings light to the whole world. And we who have seen his light are called to follow his example.

Some people have enough sparkle that we say they light up a room just by walking into it. Few of us are so gifted. Yet each of us can bring a little bit of light into someone’s darkness. Think of how a tiny flicker of light blazes against the intense darkness of Mammoth Cave.

Surely each of you knows someone who is sitting in darkness – the darkness of illness or grief or loneliness. Take just a moment today to bring a ray of light. Something as simple as a phone call could shine as brightly as the summer sun. (Source: Carol Luelbering, Weekday Homily Helps. Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, January 29, 2009).

Reflection 3 – More will be given

“It remains to describe the three degrees of perfection accessible to people. The first degree of an interior life, leading to God’s high truth, is when a person turns inward in search of the marvelous evidences and the ineffable gifts of the hidden deity, and this results in a state of soul called jubilation. The second degree is destitution of spirit, in which the soul experiences a special drawing of God amid a terrible process of stripping and deprivation. The third is a transcending movement of the creature into a God-like form, uniting the created spirit with the uncreated deity; this may be named essential transformation. Of those who attain to this last degree, we can hardly believe that they will ever fall away from God.

“To the first degree we attain by meditating on the evidences of divine love everywhere found in earth and heaven. O how much has God favored us among all his creatures. The whole world blooms with the beauty of God, who overwhelms all creation with his gifts for our sakes. How tenderly has he not sought us out, invited us and admonished us, and waited long and patiently for us. For us he became man, suffered, and died, offering his blessed soul and body to his Father for our sakes; and to how indescribably close a friendship has he not invited us. How long has the Holy Trinity waited for us, that we might share the divine joy eternally. Let a person but deeply ponder all this, and the interior rush of heavenly joy will overpower him, and his poor body will be too weak to endure the strain” (Source: Fr. John Tauler, O.P., +1361 A.D., Magnificat, Vol. 16, No. 11, January 2015, pp.

ChurchMilitant.TV News 01-28-2015

ChurchMilitant.TV News 01-28-2015

Published on Jan 28, 2015

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The Vortex: Smuggling in Sodomy

The Vortex: Smuggling in Sodomy

Published on Jan 28, 2015

Too many clerics have spent their careers smuggling sodomy into the sanctuary. Time to expose it.

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Michael Voris gives a series of short talks, answering questions coming in response to his talk on homosexuality in Nigeria.

In this talk from Nigeria, Michael Voris speaks about the grave evil presented as good – homosexuality. “Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (cf. Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10), tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intinsically disordered” (CDF, Persona humana 8). They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved” (CCC: 2357).

Pope Francis: Don’t be an absent father. Your family is counting on you

Pope Francis: Don’t be an absent father. Your family is counting on you

Published on Jan 28, 2015

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January 28, 2015. The Pope’s weekly catechesis was all about the family, so it was quite fitting that he played a bit with this baby, before starting the audience. He talked about the family unit and the need to raise kids right.

POPE FRANCIS
“In the past, kids were raised under an authoritative rule. In some cases this was very overwhelming. But now, what we see in households is the other extreme.”
He also talked about another serious problem, which is absent fathers. From fathers who are simply not in the picture, to those who spend all their time and energy on work.
POPE FRANCIS
“So young people end up without a path, virtual orphans without someone to trust in. They become orphans of ideals that awaken the heart. Instead, they turn to false idols that steal their hearts.”
There are strong families out there, but these challenges, he explained, cannot be ignored. He also gave some insight into what he will focus on next week.
POPE FRANCIS
“Some of you may say, ‘But Father, you’ve been too harsh and negative. You only focused on absent fathers and the consequences this brings.’ Yes it’s true. I want to underline this point today, because next Wednesday during my catechesis, I will focus on the beauty of fatherhood. That’s why I wanted to start off with this dark chapter, so I can then focus on the light. May God help us understand these situations. Thank you.”
This colorful group, put the finishing touches on the audience. The thousands of people in the audience seemed to enjoy it and so did the Pope.

St. Augustine, The Movie Part 1-2

St. Augustine, The Movie Part 1

Published on Sep 4, 2014

Augustine was born in 354 in the municipium of Thagaste (now Souk Ahras, Algeria) in Roman Africa. His mother, Monica, was a devout Christian; his father Patricius was a Pagan who converted to Christianity on his deathbed. Scholars believe that Augustine’s ancestors included Berbers, Latins, and Phoenicians.[19] He considered himself to be Punic. Augustine’s family name, Aurelius, suggests that his father’s ancestors were freedmen of the gens Aurelia given full Roman citizenship by the Edict of Caracalla in 212. Augustine’s family had been Roman, from a legal standpoint, for at least a century when he was born.[21] It is assumed that his mother, Monica, was of Berber origin, on the basis of her name, but as his family were honestiores, an upper class of citizens known as honorable men, Augustine’s first language is likely to have been Latin.[19] At the age of 11, he was sent to school at Madaurus (now M’Daourouch), a small Numidian city about 19 miles south of Thagaste. There he became familiar with Latin literature, as well as pagan beliefs and practices.[23] His first insight into the nature of sin occurred when he and a number of friends stole fruit they did not even want from a neighborhood garden. While at home in 369 and 370, he read Cicero’s dialogue Hortensius (now lost), which he described as leaving a lasting impression on him and sparking his interest in philosophy.[24]

At the age of 17, through the generosity of his fellow citizen Romanianus,[24] Augustine went to Carthage to continue his education in rhetoric. Although raised as a Christian, Augustine left the church to follow the Manichaean religion, much to the despair of his mother.[25] As a youth Augustine lived a hedonistic lifestyle for a time, associating with young men who boasted of their sexual exploits with women and men. They urged the inexperienced boys, like Augustine, to seek experience or to make up stories about their experiences in order to gain acceptance.[26] It was during this period that he uttered his famous prayer, “Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet.”[27]

At about the age of 19, Augustine began an affair with a young woman in Carthage. Possibly because his mother wanted him to marry a person of his class, the woman remained his lover[28] for over thirteen years and gave birth to his son Adeodatus,[29] who was viewed as extremely intelligent by his contemporaries.[30] In 385, Augustine abandoned his lover in order to prepare himself to marry an heiress.[31]

Teaching rhetoric
During the years 373 and 374, Augustine taught grammar at Thagaste. The following year he moved to Carthage to conduct a school of rhetoric, and would remain there for the next nine years.[24] Disturbed by the unruly behavior of the students in Carthage, in 383 he moved to establish a school in Rome, where he believed the best and brightest rhetoricians practiced. However, Augustine was disappointed with the Roman schools, where he was met with apathy. Once the time came for his students to pay their fees, they simply fled. Manichaean friends introduced him to the prefect of the City of Rome, Symmachus, who had been asked to provide a professor of rhetoric for the imperial court at Milan.[32]

Saint Augustine and Saint Monica (1846), by Ary Scheffer
Augustine won the job and headed north to take up his position in late 384. At the age of thirty, he had won the most visible academic position in the Latin world, at a time when such posts gave ready access to political careers. During this period, although Augustine showed some fervor for Manichaeism, he was never an initiate or “elect”, but remained an “auditor”, the lowest level in the sect’s hierarchy.[32]

While still at Carthage, he had begun to move away from Manichaeism, in part because of a disappointing meeting with the Manichaean Bishop, Faustus of Mileve, a key exponent of Manichaean theology.[32] In Rome, he is reported to have completely turned away from Manichaeanism, and instead embraced the scepticism of the New Academy movement. At Milan, his mother pressured him to become a Christian. Augustine’s own studies in Neoplatonism were also leading him in this direction, and his friend Simplicianus urged him that way as well.[24] But it was the bishop of Milan, Ambrose, who had most influence over Augustine. Like Augustine, Ambrose was a master of rhetoric, but older and more experienced.[33]

St. Augustine, The Movie Part 2

Published on Sep 10, 2014

Saint Augustine On The Fall Of Lucifer

Saint Augustine On The Fall Of Lucifer

Published on Sep 29, 2014

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7 Sorrows of Mary are the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit

7 Sorrows of Mary are the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Published on Sep 16, 2014

In this video, Dr. Marshall explains how the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit correspond to the seven sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Who is Mary according to Scripture? Please click this link to watch the video on Who is Mary according to Scripture?

7 Reasons to Love Saint Thomas Aquinas plus 4 Catholic videos

7 Reasons to Love Saint Thomas Aquinas plus 4 Catholic videos

Happy Feast Day of Saint Thomas Aquinas!!! To celebrate I’ve uploaded a new Catholic video: “Saint Thomas on Nature and Grace.”

Published on Jan 28, 2015

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And here are four more videos on Saint Thomas Aquinas. Saint Thomas Aquinas pray for us!!!

7 Reasons to Love Saint Thomas Aquinas

Published on Jul 4, 2014

Dr. Taylor Marshall previews one of his New Saint Thomas Institute Lessons: 7 Reasons to love Saint Thomas Aquinas from newsaintthomas.com

Did Thomas Aquinas deny the Immaculate Conception? The answer may surprise you?

Published on Dec 5, 2014

Some scholars say Saint Thomas Aquinas denied the Immaculate Conception. Dr. Taylor Marshall answers the question, and covers the passages in Scripture that point to this beautiful doctrine in the Catholic Church.

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Thomas Aquinas on the four sections of Hell:

Published on Oct 13, 2014

Dr Marshall explains the descent of Christ into Hell and the 4 Sections of Hell according to Thomas Aquinas.

Thomas Aquinas on the Creation of Eve: Is Woman a Misbegotten Male?

Published on Jul 8, 2014

This is going to be controversial! Today we look at the classical medieval understanding of female as it relates male. We do so by looking at the Genesis account and getting into some dicey theology. Thomas Aquinas locks horns with Aristotle on this issue of “woman as misbegotten male.” I think you’ll find this video especially interesting and helpful. I look forward to the comments!!!

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