Index : C
While the title of our conference is "The Call of Christians to the Apostolate", I would like to offer a subtitle, because I wish to concentrate on the laity. And consequently, to speak as passionately of the responsibility of the laity in the apostolate. Never in the history of Catholic Christianity has there been more emphasis on the responsibility of the laity in the apostolate. Even more specifically, never before, has been greater need for the laity to evangelize, especially in the apostolate of religious education. Everything in Christianity, everything depends on our faith.
In my judgment, the most significant feature of the New Code of Canon Law is its clear, extensive and strong doctrinal content. Relative to consecrated life, the New Code leaves no doubt what a life consecrated by vows in the practice of the evangelical counsels is all about. The Code identifies this life unambiguously and builds the canons or laws firmly on this doctrinal foundation---in a way and to a degree that was never so plain in the history of the Catholic Church.
"Those who quote the spirit of Vatican II have seldom read the documents either of the council itself, or the papal encyclicals interpreting
the council that came after."
"Nowhere in the New Testament is capital punishment outlawed. On the contrary, the New Testament not only recognizes the right of the State to exercise authority in the name of God, but enjoins obedience to the State in applying the laws of God to its citizens.
But Sacred Scripture needs to be explained. As we reread the early Church's interpretation of the rights of civil authority, we find a remarkable thing. From the beginning there were two variant interpretations of State authority relating to war and capital punishment. One interpretation was openly pacifist, and the other was non-pacifist." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"The capital sins are really the basic manifestations of our fallen human nature. And the corresponding virtues are the principal ways in which God wants us to grow in sanctity." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Why should faith in Mary, as one Protestant theologian puts it, be the "sword of separation" between Catholic and non-Catholic Christianity? Fortunately we have an excellent guide in this matter in Cardinal Newman, who himself passed through all the stages of prejudice against Catholic devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and finally became an outstanding defender of her dignity against the attacks of her enemies.
"In his Apostolic Exhortation, Catechesi Tradendae, Pope John Paul
II says some very pertinent things about "Catechesis and Sacraments."
What he says deserves to be quoted in full. It hits the nail on the head,
by relating two factors in the Church's apostolate that should not be separated,
namely sacramental devotion and sound doctrinal instruction." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
The Twentieth century is the most homicidal in the history of the human race. Its principal claim to this tragic title is the widespread legislation of abortion on a scale and with a violence unknown in all the ages of mankind. Not surprisingly, therefore, the Holy Spirit would provide the means we need to cope with this global crime of genocide. It is the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
104. Against what does Pope Paul VI especially warn the bishops? He warns them to be perfectly loyal to the teaching of Christ on the Real Presence and to promote tirelessly the worship of Jesus Christ who is living among us in the Blessed Sacrament. (MF 75)
"For if the sacred liturgy holds the first place in the life of the Church, the Eucharistic Mystery stands at the heart and center of the liturgy, since it is the font of life by which we are cleansed and strengthened to live not for ourselves but for God, and to be united in love among ourselves." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
The last person we would expect to suggest as a model for catechists is the Little Flower, St. Therese of Lisieux. Her short life of twenty-four years, from 1873-1897, was spent with her family until the early teens; and then the rest of her days in a cloistered Carmelite convent. Needless to say, these are not exactly what we associate with teaching the faith. Yet she has been declared a doctor, which means teacher, of the universal Church. The key to understanding how St. Therese is a model for catechists can be found in her autobiography. She tells us volumes on what is the principal task of a catechist. A catechist is useless unless he or she is a channel of grace.
As Catholics who possess the fullness of revelation, we cannot be indifferent to the spiritual needs of millions of our fellow-Americans who have lost what, through the mercy of God, we have received. Perhaps the Protestant world is too close to be seen in perspective as the fruit of tragedy, the worst in the history of Christianity. We are rightly interested in converting pagans in India and Africa, and no sacrifice should be spared in the effort. But the needs at home are equally pressing and, in some ways, more urgent, because of the impact that a vital Protestantism in the States is making outside the country, as in the invasion of Latin America.
Over the centuries, the Church has often issued decrees defending Catholic morality. Among these decrees more than one has condemned the practice of homosexuality. Until recent years, however, the more common term used by the Church was "sodomy" and not homosexuality. The reason for the shift in vocabulary has been mainly the widespread denial that sodomy is anywhere formally condemned by Sacred Scripture. Another reason is that homosexuality has become so prevalent in the modern world that one psychological science after another has developed a library of literature defending the practice of homosexuality.
Why a catechism on the angels? Because we need one. There is such a preoccupation with human psychology and physiology as almost to exclude the whole world of reality which is at once intelligent and deeply involved in the affairs of men. Even in Christian circles, the complaint has been justly made that "the angels have taken flight from Catholic schools of thought," with only token attention from some professional theologians.
The origin of this magazine goes back to Cardinal Jose Sanchez, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy in Rome. During meetings that Inter Mirifica (legal arm of the Marian and Ignatian Catechists) had with Cardinal Sanchez he was the one who first proposed the magazine.
The Catholic Catechist's Manual is intended to assist those who are training to give religious instruction in the Catholic faith.
Its purpose is very practical: to provide a systematic method of preparing persons to teach the fundamentals of the Catholic religion.
Thus parents, teachers in Catholic schools and parishes and others will find here a useful home study program.
"The future of the pro-life movement throughout the world depends on the Roman Catholic Church. To know this is to begin to understand the real issues underlying the wanton murder of over fifty million unborn children every year. To believe this is also to see some hope of stemming the tide that has made the 1900s the most homicidal century in human history." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
The ninth article of the Creed proposes our faith in the second great work of the Holy Spirit after the Incarnation. It is by His power that the Church came into being on Calvary. It is by His power that the Church continues to sanctify a sinful human race. And it is by His power that we hope to enter the Church Triumphant in heaven after having struggled successfully in the Church Militant on earth.
"The mystery of the Holy Trinity is the most fundamental of our faith. On it everything else depends and from it everything else derives. Hence the Church's constant concern to safeguard the revealed truth that God is One in nature and Three in Persons." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"The need for ecumenism goes back to the first century of Christianity. Within a generation of Christ's establishment of the Church by His death on the cross, there were divisions among His followers. One letter of St. Paul after another is eloquent witness to the growing dissension among those who call themselves Christians. Among these divisions, the first in magnitude and consequences was the separation of the Eastern Christians from union with the Bishop of Rome." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
It is common knowledge that something drastic has happened to the family in the modern world. Countries like the United States reveal such a breakdown of marriage as Western civilization has not known in 2000 years
. There are many reasons for this rebellion against the family and revolution against marital stability.
Where are vocations to the priesthood and the religious life mainly fostered? In strong Catholic families. When do these vocations flourish? When Catholic families flourish. When do vocations wane? When Catholic family life is weak.
In one simple statement, we may say that marriage and the family needed redemption because they were both deeply steeped in sin. When we speak of the fall of man, we must remember this means not only the fall of man as an individual, but the fall of man as a social being. Or again, the fall of man means not only the fall of single human beings, but the fall of human society. Everything that we associate with original sin for the individual person should be applied also to what we may call the original sin of human society, and for our purpose, of the human family which is the basic unit of society.
The Catholic Catechist's Manual and the Question Book for Catechists by Reverend John A. Hardon, S.J., are sound in doctrine and innovative in method. In these books, Father Hardon brings together the teachings of the Church and the Second Vatican Council. He presents a direct and creative spirituality based on the teachings of our Popes. This course is adapted to our age and our culture.
The year 1960 promises to begin a new era in national thought on the subject of Church and State relations in America. Stimulated by their hopes or fears, writers in every religious tradition have undertaken to show why it would be good, or bad, for a Catholic to be in the White House. About a dozen major religious bodies have expressed their judgment in formal resolutions that range over the whole scale of public opinion, from the highly critical Southern Baptists to the mild and almost approving Augustana Lutherans.
We know that Christian reunification on any large scale is only a dim possibility. Nine centuries of separation from Rome for the Eastern Churches and four centuries for the Protestants cannot be erased in a decade. Time, patience, prayer and sacrifice will be needed, and always an apostolic zeal that responds to the prayer of Christ, "that they all may be one," even to the point of heroismknowing that the salvation of souls is at stake.
We have been reared in this tradition of pluralism and, although our Catholic conscience tells us otherwise, the atmosphere we breathe urges preservation of the status quo and suspects any effort to change in the direction of uniformity as a threat to the national culture. This is part of the problem we face if we would be responsive to the Holy Father whose call for unity, also directed to the United States, is only an echo of the Incarnation, whose purpose was to bring all men to Christ, in the union of His Body which is the Church.
Immediately we see that The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan is not just another book to read. It is not a mere reference work to consult. It is not even simply a useful guide to the great Catholic literature of the ages. It is a carefully planned method of self-education whose goal is to acquire the mind of Christ through having our minds influenced by the great Catholic minds of the Churchs two thousand years of literary history.
The Catholic Church has been persecuted in every period of her history. However, the first three centuries of the Christian era are commonly known as the Age of Persecution because they show how promptly and aggressively the Church's enemies came to fulfill Christ's prediction to His followers, "If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you."
The Fathers of the Church were those saintly writers of the early centuries whom the Church recognizes as her special
defenders of orthodoxy. And the Patristic Age is the period during which they lived.
Years in the making after being decreed by the Council of Trent, the Roman Catechism is an authoritative synthesis of what
Catholics should believe, how they are to live, and how they are to worship God through the sacraments and prayer.
"The twenty-first ecumenical council of the Catholic Church was first announced by Pope John XXIII on January 25, 1959. He opened the council on October 11, 1962, and closed the first session on December 8 of the same year. After Pope John's death in 1963, his successor, Pope Paul VI, reconvened the council, which had three more sessions in the fall of each succeeding year. The closing session ended on December 8, 1965. A combined total of 2,865 bishops and prelates attended the council, which issued sixteen formal documents
" - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"The future of the human race depends on the Catholic Churchs teaching on abortion. This is the statement I wish to prove in this lecture. Before we go any further in my presentation, let me first explain what I mean. I mean that the survival of the human race depends finally on the acceptance of the Catholic Churchs two thousand years teaching that the killing of unborn children is murder." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Be assured that there are two kinds of martyrdoms, the red martyrdom of blood, and the white martyrdom of professing ones faith with heroic courage in the face of virulent opposition from hostile forces in a society that militates against the Catholic priesthood." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Hundreds of questions and answers covering a multitude of topics about the Catholic faith and what the Roman Catholic Church teaches.
Anyone familiar with the Catholic Church in the closing years of the twentieth century knows that there is a crisis of identity in millions of once totally dedicated minds. The term "Catholic" has been used by so many people with so many different meanings that even among the elect there is confusion. Yet, by her own claims, the Roman Catholic Church has remained substantially the same, since the first Pentecost Sunday to the present day. This is easier said than proved. So that a more profound reason for assembling a Reading Plan was to provide factual evidence that Catholic continuity is reality and not rhetoric.
By The Catholic Reformation I mean the spontaneous resurgence of Catholic thought and spirituality that spanned the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries. During these three hundred years, the Catholic Church lost whole nations by their separation from the papacy. But she also experienced an unprecedented renewal in every aspect of divine faith, of moral fervor and personal sanctity, of religious education and missionary zeal, and of organized Christian charity in the practice of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
"There are pressing reasons why a Catholic should know the history of the Churchs doctrine on contraception. In Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul appeals to the "landmarks in the human Christian vision of marriage," and to the "teaching of the Church on the regulation of birth," for declaring that artificial contraception is forbidden by divine law. To see some of these landmarks and the unbroken teaching of the Church is more than ever necessary today, when the papal pronouncement is called into question. The authority behind the pronouncement is nothing less than Christs indwelling Spirit which He promised His Church "to teach you all truth." What Humanae Vitae proposed has always been held in the Church of God." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"It must seem strange to write a book on The Catholic Understanding of the Bible. But, it will not be strange once we realize two things: that every major religion in the world has what it calls its Bible, and that among Christians, the Bible is variously understood. Not to speak of the Catholic understanding of the Bible would be confusing, to say the least, and even misleading. The Bible is not just the Bible. It is the foundation for Christianity. Everything depends on three things: what books form the contents of the Bible, how the Bible is translated, and most importantly, how the Bible is interpreted." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"My plan here is to address myself to the defense of Catholic religious education in the home. I say defense because for two centuries, Catholic Americans have practically identified Catholic schooling with institutions as the bedrock of religious instruction. Some people still do not realize that we are living in a different world. The massive breakdown of once-flourishing Catholic school system is only part of the picture." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
In a recent issue of the American Mercury, under the title of "Fund for Whose Republic?" one of the editors critically examines the seven years record of the Fund for the Republic and finds it seriously wanting. He describes it as "the non-respectable left-wing of the wide-ranging Ford Foundation family."
I could not do justice to the depth of spiritual hunger among the students, which is not being satisfied in the present system of university education. Each contact with the undergraduates gives further evidence that they want to learn desperately about mans relations with God.
"Some people may be surprised at the pressure and propaganda that have arisen in our day against the celibacy of priests in the Catholic Church. But it should not be surprising, as the history of the Church, from the beginning, amply testifies. It was, in fact, the unwillingness of so many priests to remain celibate that tilted the pressure in favor of Protestantism in the sixteenth century. There were many other factors doctrinal, theological, political that cost so many millions to Catholic unity. But in my estimation, the center of the issue was priestly celibacy." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"For many years the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration have conducted Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
The charism that attracts us above all else is our burning veneration for the mystery of the Holy Eucharist after the example of St. Francis. Here we gain the strength to make our entire lives an act of ceaseless adoration for whoever adores, subjects himself completely to God and places himself unconditionally at His disposal. True adoration takes place whenever man offers himself totally to the Father whenever he, like Francis, becomes prayer."
I doubt if any single aspect of the Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council had caused more confusion and worry among the faithful than the Eucharistic Liturgy. From many parts of the Western world come reports of not a few Catholics who have simply stopped going to Mass, others who insist on having the Mass celebrated only in Latin and adoring to the Tridentine Ritual. How many times I have been seriously asked by people whether the present celebration of Mass in the vernacular and following one of the new canons was valid. I have heard of people walking out of Sunday Mass, and there are movements and publications crusading for a return to the pre-Vatican liturgy and some even daring to question the authority of the Second Vatican Council because it sanctioned what these people call a betrayal of Catholic liturgical piety
Whatever else the Mass is, it is meant by Christ to be a prayer, in fact, the most sublime prayer that a creature can make to the Creator and the one most pleasing to God.
In the history of the Church, community life has existed from apostolic times. The community of Christians living at Jerusalem after the Lords Ascension set the pattern for the future, and no community since then can afford to ignore this biblical paradigm. St. Luke, disciple of the peregrinating St. Paul, has left us a cameo description of how this first community lived.
No single papal document in modern times has received more publicity than Pope Paul VIs encyclical Humanae Vitae. Months before it was published on the feast of St. James the Apostle, July 25, 1968, the secular press of the world predicted a change in the Catholic Churchs position on contraception. When the document was issued, its uncompromising stand on artificial birth control became an acid test of Catholic orthodoxy. For the first time in centuries, the term "dissenters" came into popular use. Those who disagreed with Humanae Vitae came to be identified as dissenters from the Churchs ordinary, but infallible, teaching authority.
"Giving into one's lustful drives is irrational. Chastity is more than prudent self-control. To practice chastity there must be chastity of the eyes, chastity of the ears, chastity of thought and chastity of desire." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
We have been, as you know, reflecting on various aspects of marriage. I thought that in todays class and later classes we would talk about marriage also but emphasizing chastity and the Churchs teaching which, as you know, is so heavily under fire from the secularized world in which we are living. The present lecture, therefore, is on chastity and charity. We instinctively know that there is a connection between chastity and charity.
"The clearest teaching of our faith on the necessity of chastity for attaining eternal life is in Christ's sermon on the mount. He is telling his followers that the Old Testament prohibition of adultery is not enough. If we wish to reach heaven we must not only control our bodies, we must master even our minds." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"On several dramatic occasions Christ had children brought to Him that He might bless them, embrace them and identify them as models for His followers to imitate. Clearly when Christ identified children as the patterns that we are somehow to pattern our lives on if we are going to be His disciples and even as He tells us, if we are going to be saved, He could not have meant that we are somehow to return to our early childish years
He was identifying as the Scriptures have over the centuries identified, certain qualities of childlikeness that should be for us the paradigm to imitate." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"But the Church also encourages the faithful to receive the Sacrament of Penance often, and not only after committing grave sin. That is why the faithful today need some guidance in their choice of a confessor." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
God chose Mary because of her humility. Everything about the Annunciation depicts Mary as a humble person who is troubled by the Angels extraordinary praise. Proud persons like to be praised, but they never get enough. Mary was far from being proud. She had vowed herself to virginity and she inquired, "How can this be so?" when told she was to be the Mother of the one Who is to come, even though she was vowed to virginity. Though she did not understand, she accepted because she believed in Gods omnipotence. "Be it done unto me."
The second marvelous blessing that the Risen Christ gave us was the institution of the Papal Primacy. We dont often use the expression, papal primacy. Just a word of preliminary explanation, by this we mean that, the Bishops of Rome, as successors of St. Peter possess the fullness and supremacy of authority in teaching, in law-giving and in sanctification, in the Church founded by Christ.
Consequently, it is not only not surprising but should be obvious that what the Church first needs today is for her members to deepen and clarify and strengthen their faith convictions. If their faith is what it should be, all else has the promise of a true renascence in piety and the service of ones neighbor. But if their faith remains weak or confused, or contaminated with error, the bright promise of a reformation in the Catholic Church will turn out to be a dream or, worse still, a deceptive mirage.
We do not normally think of Christ or speak of Him as our strength. More frequently we refer to Him in terms He used of Himself when He said He was the Way, the Truth and the Life. Moreover, we usually ask our Lord to give us strength, but we seldom think of Him precisely as not only giving us strength, but as being our strength. What, then, do we mean when we talk about the Savior as literally the strength on which we rely and without whichbetter, without whomwe would be unequal to the trials of life?
The foundation of Christian morality is not a set of rules. It is not even a list of commandments. It is a person. It is Jesus Christ.
If there is one aspect of Christs life on earth stressed by the evangelists, it is to show how truly human Jesus was. He was conceived and born of a human mother. He was nursed and nourished by her. For thirty years, He lived and slept and ate at Nazareth. So human was His behavior at Nazareth that when He spoke at the synagogue at Nazareth, His fellow Nazareans rose up in protest. Jesus had told them that the prophecy of Isaiah was being fulfilled. This man claimed to be the Messiah! All of this is important to keep in mind as we approach the most dramatic occasion in the gospels, when Jesus Christ was strengthened by an angel during His Agony at the Garden at Gethsemane.
There is no prima facie evidence why a Catholic should know more than his basic obligations to the Church and how to remain a faithful member of the society to which he belongs. On reflection, however, we can see many reasons why a deeper understanding is more than useful, especially in modern times, and in several ways becomes essential for those who profess what the world around them does not believe. Since the Church is a divine institution which the Son of God personally established and during His visible stay on earth revealed as a continuance of the Incarnation, it would be less than ungrateful not to learn all we can about that marvelous reality which Christ "so loved that He delivered Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her and present to Himself the Church in all her glory." If knowledge of any kind ennobles the human mind, and its value is determined by the sublimity of what is known, knowledge of the Church must rank near the acme of created science because it deals with nothing less than God, dwelling in His creatures and uniting them in a Body of which He is the invisible Head.
The historical work of Christ during His visible stay on earth has a variety of aspects that range through the whole gamut of Gods revelation of His own nature and perfections, of His infinite love for us even to the death of the cross, and of our duty towards Him in order to return to God. Yet the master idea of Christs message is epitomized in the single word that was most frequently on His lips, the Basileia of the evangelists, or the kingdom. All that He taught was somehow identified with the kingdom, from the opening of His public life when He began to preach repentance, "for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," to His dying profession before Pilate that "my kingdom is not of this world, my kingdom is not from here." Christ used that word "Church" only twice to describe the society He was founding. He spoke of His kingdom in almost every chapter of the Gospels, so that whatever concept they give us of the Church must be looked for in this notion of the kingdom.
Among the elements of Catholic Christianity most controverted by those who oppose her claim to divinity is the Roman Primacy, which she says may be traced in a direct line from St. Peter to the reigning sovereign pontiff. Up to this point we have seen the evidence in the Gospels that Christ established a hierarchical society with a commission to give the world that revelation He had received from the Father. In order to preserve this society in permanent cohesion and doctrinal integrity, He gave it a juridical structure and vested the Apostle Peter with an authority that was unknown till then in the story of Gods dealings with His people. Quite literally, Peter was made a Vicar of Christ, with power to bind and loose on earth and the assurance that his actions would be ratified in heaven.
Among the criticisms of the Catholic Church in modern times, perhaps the most trenchant was expressed by the German rationalist, Adolph Harnack, in the course of a series of lectures which he gave at the University of Berlin on The Essence of Christianity. "To contend, as Roman Catholicism does, that Christ founded a kingdom and that this kingdom is the Roman Church is to secularize the Gospel. In the early days, Roman Christians shed their blood because they refused to worship Caesar, and rejected religion of the political kind. Today they do not, indeed, actually pray to an earthly ruler, but they have subjected their souls to the despotic orders of the Roman papal king." In order to meet this objection which lies at the root of anti-Catholicism, it is not enough to know that Christ founded a religious society, or that He made Peter its visible head, or even that Peter exercised a special authority over the rising Christian communities. We must see whether the sequence of Christ, Peter and Rome is only a later development and therefore an arrogant pretence, or a historical fact based on authentic evidence and going back to the earliest days of the Church. The end-point of our investigation will be the middle of the fourth century, after the Council of Nicea, by which time the Roman See was admittedly recognized as the final arbiter in Christendom in matters of faith and morals.
There are two basic positions in the medley of world religions outside the Catholic Church. One group of religious bodies professes lineal descent from the society that Jesus Christ established during His stay on earth. These are all the churches of Christendom separated from the unity of Rome. Another and larger group has either no historical dependence on the teaching of Christ, or, as in Mohammedanism, the relation is negligible. And these are the countless Oriental and African cults whose origin is generally pre-Christian and in some cases, like the primitive religion of China, has a traceable ancestry from third millennium B.C. Any reasonable Catholic will ask himself what right he has to claim that his Church, alone of all the religious systems in the world, has the fullness of divine revelation and the guarantee of absolute truth. How does he know?
Up to this point, our study of the Catholic Church has been primarily historical and apologetic. We examined the Church from the early beginnings in the Gospel, through the apostolic age and the centuries of persecution, with special emphasis on the Roman primacy as the most important visible bond that unites modern Catholicism with the society that Christ established. We also determined that of all the religious bodies in the world, only the Catholic Church has the right to profess divine authority for her actions because, like her Founder, she confirms the profession by working miracles of power and wisdom which no other body can claim. From now on our treatment will be dogmatic, drawing on the Church's teaching about her own nature and prerogatives, and thus gaining a deeper insight into that mysterious reality which of all human institutions is the most loved when its character is properly known, and the most hated when perverted and misunderstood.
Before entering on a dogmatic examination of the Mystical Body, it is well to recall that the Church has given us the analytical principle by which the mysteries of faith can be understood, however dimly, by the aid of divine grace. In treating of the relation of faith and reason, the Vatican Council stated that although divine mysteries can never be comprehended by reason alone, nevertheless, when enlightened by faith, "reason attains some, and that a very fruitful understanding of mysteries, from the analogy of those things which it naturally knows." Accordingly, though revealed truths like the Trinity, the Incarnation and the Mystical Body are beyond the capacity of the human mind to apprehend directly until the beatific vision, still by means of comparisons and similarities with known things in nature, we can penetrate ever more deeply into the mysteries of faith.
As described in St. Paul and the tradition of the Fathers, the Church is not only a Body, with visible head and members and a juridical structure, it is also the Body of Christ. He bears a relation to the Body which is so intimate that Augustine often equates the two and, as in the phrase "Christ preaches Christ," practically identifies the Lord with the Society that shares His name. Our penetration into the mystery will follow the same analogy, comparing the Church to a human Body and Jesus Christ in the role of its Founder who brought it into existence, its invisible Head who gives it life and sanctification, its constant support by His divine Spirit and its loving Savior by His cross and eternal redemption. Reflection on these affinities underlay the Gospel of St. John and the Pauline Epistles, and occasioned the most sublime insights of the great mystics. Under different similitudes, the alliance of Christ with the Church, as Bridegroom with His Spouse and the Vine with the Branches, is the inspiration of the Christian liturgy and the material for constant prayer.
The historical origins of the adjective "Mystical" to describe the Church as the Body of Christ may be traced to the first Apostles Peter and Paul. In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle of the Gentiles urges them to "preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit," and to the Philippians he describes the Christian community as "a fellowship in the Spirit." St. Peter is somewhat more explicit when he calls the Church "a spiritual home." Gradually the concept of the Church as a spiritual society became so common that practically all the Fathers favored the name and went a step beyond the Pauline phrase by combining two ideas that were found separated in the Scriptures, namely, Body and Spirit. Clement of Alexandria in the early third century spoke of "the spiritual Body which is the holy Church," and Tertullian clearly distinguished between "the spiritual Body of Christ" and the Church, and the "carnal body of Christ" as a human being.
When papal infallibility was defined by the Vatican Council in 1870, the non-Catholic world reacted with spontaneous hostility. With rare exception, the secular press denounced the definition as "a scheme of spiritual, social and coercive despotism," which made the pope "temporal ruler of the world, and authorizes him to supplant, by force, every form of civil government." By this act, "Romanism declares war against intelligence; as three hundred years ago it commanded the earth to stand still in its course among the stars, with the same authority and the same impotence it today commands the human race to stand still in its greater career of advancement and hope. It is a sad end for one of the mightiest institutions of history; but henceforth the Papacy goes its own way of decay aside from the great movements of the world." While these sentiments are now modified, at least in their tone of ridicule and fear of papal aggression, the substratum of repugnance towards the Church's infallibility has not radically changed. Those outside the Church properly recognize it as "the great divide" which separates Catholicism from other Christian bodies. Catholics see it as the guarantee of the Church's fidelity to the teachings of her Founder.
Shortly before his conversion to the Catholic Faith, Cardinal Newman wrote to a friend who was concerned about his rumored change of allegiance from Anglicanism to the Church of Rome. His sentiments offer a graphic insight into the subjective and human side of the doctrine, Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. "As far as I know myself, Newman told his correspondent, "my one paramount reason for contemplating a change is my deep, unvarying conviction that our Church is in schism, and that my salvation depends upon my joining the Church of Rome. I may use argumenta ad hominem to this person or that; but I am not conscious of resentment, or disgust, at anything that has happened to me. I have no visions of hope, no schemes of action, in any other sphere more suited to me. I have no existing sympathies with Roman Catholics; I hardly ever, even abroad, was at one of their services; I know none of them, I do not like what I hear of them." And two months later, on the eve of his reception he asked himself "the simple question: Can I be saved in the English Church? Am I in safety, were I to die tonight."
The term "ecumenical" has a variety of meanings. Its etymology comes from the Greek, oikoumene, which means "the inhabited world." St. Matthew used the term to describe the prophetic promise of Christ, that "this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world, for a witness to all nations." Later on the same word was used to designate the universality of the Church, as in the Martyrdom of Polycarp (156-157), where the writer says that before his death, Polycarp had prayed "for the Catholic Church throughout the world." A century later, it became the technical term for a general council of the Church. Thus, according to St. Athanasius (295-373), "the word of the Lord uttered by the ecumenical synod of Nicea abides forever." Non-Catholic writers on the subject of religious unity have appropriated the term and invested it with connotations that are quite alien to Christian tradition. They either speak of an "ecumenical reformation (that) asserts the unity of the Church in the midst of the disunity of the churches," or more accurately, "the Ecumenical Movement is a movement toward one universal Christian Church throughout the whole inhabited world." For our purpose, we shall understand the ecumenical movement in the latter sense, as a revolutionary change in religious attitude among non-Catholic Christian bodies throughout the world, that for the first time since the Reformation are seriously trying to solve the problem of their disunity."
The question of Church and State and the problems to which their relation has given rise, are as old as Christianity. In a true sense there was no problem of Church and State before the advent of Christ when, for all practical purposes, the public authority was regarded equally competent in the field of religion as in the secular domain. With the coming of the Catholic Church, however, an essential change was introduced by her Founder, who transferred to her the sphere of religion and the whole moral direction of mankind independent of the power of the State. Our immediate purpose is to see the development of this mutual relation between two disparate societies, one derived from nature and created by the social instincts of the human race, the other based on the supernatural order and founded by the Incarnate Son of God. As we go through the history of their relationship, the issues of Church and State will be seen to fall into two categories, those which are immutable because flowing from the natural law or determined by divine revelation, and others that are adaptable to different times and ages and even in the same period may vary according to different circumstances.
The end-point of our study of the Church is her relation to the State in our own country, viewed in the light of the principles already seen and now examined in reference to the United States. There is more than speculative value in this closing analysis. As must be clear to anyone who recognizes the Church's divine authorization, the rights she has received from her Founder need to have external, juridical freedom for their salutary exercise. What precisely is her freedom in America, what is the legal status of organized religion, including the Catholic? Not to understand his position before the government will inhibit a Catholic in a dozen ways, where familiarity with the law and its interpretation can help him to profit maximally from the liberty he enjoys under the American Constitution.
One final and practical consideration on Church and State relations in America still has to be made. If the attitude of the civil government towards religious bodies was generally cooperative and sometimes concessive to an extreme, what is the attitude of the Catholic Church toward the principles of American government? Is it critical or neutral, favorable or merely tolerant? Certainly the answer will be complex and calls for a variety of distinctions. Yet some estimate of the Church's appraisal becomes indispensable to meet the current rise of secularism which affects (and threatens) the juridical status of Catholic interests like education in the United States.
In theological language, we may speak of Christs exorcisms as miraculous manifestations of His divine power. What is miraculous about Christs deliverance of possessed people is the simplicity of how Christ made the deliverance, the few words He spoke, especially the immediate response of the evil ones in obeying His commands when they were told by Christ to leave their victims.
"The spirituality of St. Paul derives all its meaning and finds all its purpose in one dominant mystery of the Christian faithnamely, the person of Christ as the natural Son of God. After all, what is Christianity except the religion of a human being who was and proved Himself to be the Incarnate God?" - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Fr. Johrn Hardon, S.J., S.T.D. explains what a miracle is and tells us about the three levels of natural
laws that God can surpass and thus perform a miracle: physical, moral and intellectual miracles.
"I would like to address myself to another aspect of the priesthood, namely, the priest's faith in the Eucharist, directing our attention to
the specific aspect of the subject by reflecting prayerfully on "Christ in the Eucharist - Presence and Reality". It is perhaps remarkable that
we should consider what must seem like a strange title, because most Catholics, including priests, are not accustomed to separate the two
words "presence" and "reality" when they speak of the Blessed Sacrament." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
We may say the Catholic Church has remained the one true church with Gods grace because She has remained firm in preserving the teaching of Christ on chastity. Basically, we will look at two aspects of this gigantic subject. First, briefly, what was the Old Testament understanding of the sixth and ninth commandments of the Decalogue? And then, what was Christs teaching on these commandments?
"I would like to address the subject of Catholic home schooling in the tradition of the Catholic Church, and my plan is to cover three areas of a large subject. What has the Catholic Church considered as home schooling in the Church's history? Secondly, why is home schooling necessary? And thirdly, how should home schooling be done most effectively?" - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"For many people the subject of our present conference must seem strange. What connection is there between chastity and the pro-life movement? There is more than a connection. There is the dependence of a building on its foundations. Chastity is the foundation of the pro-life movement." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
The Disciples of Christ, together with the Churches of Christ that derive from them, form the largest religious body of purely American origin (1964, about 1,780,000 members; Churches of Christ, 2,250,000). They are also the recognized leaders in promoting a noncreedal form of Christianity. Although the term Christians, as members of the Churches of Christ are called, is sometimes applied also to the Disciples, the latter are really a distinct denomination and their official name is Christian Churches, International Convention.
The family as a group of persons of common ancestry began with the human race. But if we are to understand the meaning of the Christian family, we should know something of the family in pre-Christian times. The reason is that Christ elevated the family to a dignity and stability that simply did not exist before He came into the world.
"This then brings us face to face with the gravest duty of believing Catholic parents. They must be convinced that their primary responsibility as parents is to prepare the children that God gave themfor eternal life
Parents, in Gods plan, are to conceive and give birth to, and nourish and educate their children for life after bodily death. After all, the only purpose that God has in having parents here on earth is that they might raise families for everlasting life in heaven
Parents must always keep this vision clearly in their minds. We are fathers and mothers of children for heaven." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Our subject is "The Christian Family As Gods Gift to the World." The word "Christian" is essential. Certainly the family is a gift of God. But the family, as we Catholics understand the term, came into existence only with the coming of Christ.
Christian marriage in the family is a life-long commitment to selfless love. This selfless love is impossible without superhuman strength from God
Christian spouses and their families are a living witness to Christ's power to work moral miracles in the world today.
"I would therefore like to rephrase the topic and expand it into a sentence, which might more accurately be called a thesis: "The Future of Christianity, Notably Its Evangelization, Gravely Depends on a Balanced Understanding of the Modern Communications Revolution." My plan is to briefly analyze the following elements of the topic: the two principal forms of communication; revolutionary changes in each of these two forms; [and] significance of these changes for evangelization." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Everything in our lives depends on our faith in God becoming man. When His mother told the angel, "Be it done to me according to your word," the infant creator of heaven and earth became man. No human language can explain how important was this event. When God became man, the infinite creator became a finite creature without ceasing to be God.
The most fundamental need of human beings is to know the truth. Unless they know the truth, they cannot choose what is truly good. What is truly good is that which leads us to eternal life. The focus of the present issue of The Catholic Faith is on our right to the truth. There is a profound reason for addressing ourselves to this subject. It is the widespread ignorance of the truth with devastating consequences that have made our century the most homicidal in the history of the human race.
The first reaction to a subject like sex and Christianity, or even sex and sanctity, is wonder and misgiving. We have become so accustomed to associate sex with sin that even our vocabulary has been affected. The first thought that comes to most people's minds on hearing words like impurity or immorality is some failure against chastity, as though there was something basically wrong with the use of sexual faculties, or as though the essence of evil was sin against the sixth and ninth commandments of the Decalogue.
"Of the many subjects that we could talk about on Christmas day, I thought the most appropriate would be to speak on Christmas and the Eucharist. There are many aspects to their relationship, but I believe that there are mainly three: (1) both Christmas and the Eucharist are facts; (2) both reveal a mystery; and (3) both are meant to teach us a profound and not easily learned lesson." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Most people take for granted that we number the years as we do. This year is 1990 A.D. But behind the number is not only a fact of history; it is the turning point of history. It separates two ages in the annals of the human race: "Before Christ" (B.C.) and "in the year of the Lord" (A.D.), since the birth of Jesus Christ." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"This, then, is our focus in this chapter. It is to see how God used a very human, human being, whose faith enabled him to achieve what most writers on Columbus do not recognize. It is one thing to say that Columbus discovered America. It is something else to realize that he opened the door to the most phenomenal spread of Christianity since the time of St. Paul." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
As we have been doing we will have a master theme: in this case, the Church. And we will look at our subject first from the vantage point of the Old Testament and then from the New. We begin first of all by noting that as sacred scripture views the redemption no one is finally delivered from sin and reaches Heaven alone. Perhaps the single most significant fact, in the context of which we are speaking, is to tell ourselves Christianity is not a solitary religion. The Messiah foretold in the Old Law and Jesus Christ who instituted the New Law, is our redeemer. Even though it is I, the individual who please God will be saved, but no one will be saved alone.
At least 10 denominations in America are called Churches of God and, though juridically distinct, they reflect a common reaction against denominationalism in all its forms. The very name implies a profession of faith in God as the only founder of the Church and a protest against other "man-made" institutions.
This will be the so far longest sustained theme of the retreat on the Church. We have seen how the Israel of old was already the Church in embryo. With the coming of Christ, He began forming the Church when He called the apostles. We saw that essential to the Catholic understanding of the Church is that within the Church are those originally ordained by Christ and ever since administering the sacraments. Especially the five we identified in Christs name. Without the priesthood there is no (I dont say no Catholic Church), there is no Church. The only church that the Son of God founded was the one in which having chosen twelve men He conferred on them a share in His own divine powers.
"In presenting the Churchs pastoral plan at the beginning of the Third Christian Millennium, our Holy Father Pope John Paul II reminded us strongly that it is not a question of some 'new program,' which we must invent, but rather 'the plan found in the Gospel and in the living Tradition' of the Church. In short, the Churchs pastoral plan is Christ Himself dwelling with us through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit into our souls. The plan is our life in Christ or holiness of life through daily conversion. It is the 'larger and more demanding normal pastoral activity,' which helps each of us and the whole Church to meet the 'high standard of ordinary Christian living' (Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte, 'At the Close of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000,' Jan. 6, 2001, nos. 29-31)." - Archbishop Raymond L. Burke
The historical origins of the adjective "Mystical" to describe the Church as the Body of Christ may be traced to the first Apostles Peter and Paul. In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle of the Gentiles urges them to "preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit," and to the Philippians he describes the Christian community as "a fellowship in the Spirit." St. Peter is somewhat more explicit when he calls the Church "a spiritual home."
A body of churches that separated from the Disciples of Christ in 1906 and ever since have distinguished themselves as rigid constructionists in "restoring primitive Christianity." See CHRISTIAN CHURCHES (DISCIPLES OF CHRIST). The name Churches of Christ is loosely applied also to many of the older New England churches and to local units of the Disciples of Christ.
"Now when you are baptized, who knows, whats the first thing that happens to
you when you were baptized? What happens when youre baptized? (Answer not
clear, explaining what happens during baptism.) OK, but what happens inside?
("You become, you become the child of God.") OK. You become a child of God.
We become children of God when we are baptized. Now what does that mean?" - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
For our basis of integration we shall take a body of religious facts which are frequently met in Latin and Greek. These will be evaluated with a view to profiting the student both academically and spiritually, and doing this by drawing upon the very essence of the pagan and Christian religions. As the subject of integration we shall use the transformation of gods into men and men into gods, which run as a theme through all the ancient classics.
Apostolic Constitution for the Pomulgation of the New Code of Canon Law, Sacrae Disciplinae Leges - Pope John Paul II.
The invitation of Jesus, "Come and see" (Jn 1:39), is the golden rule of pastoral work for promoting vocations even
today. (Vita Consecrata, no. 64). All believers share the responsibility of promoting the gift of the priesthood, the religious life and other forms of consecrated life. The Church cannot survive without the witness of those who follow Christ with "an undivided heart." Unfortunately, many of us have forgotten the
The one thing which many individuals do not realize is that Our Lord has already called you to follow Him in your Baptism.
"The immediate focus of the Eighth Commandment is falsehood that does injury to one's neighbor. Harm to another person's reputation, therefore, is the special prohibition of this divine mandate. A person's reputation may be injured in various ways, notably by detraction and calumny or slander. Detraction is the unjust violation of the good reputation of another by revealing something true about him. Calumny or slander differs from detraction in that what is said or imputed about a person is not true." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
with the current interest even among non-Catholics in the Church of Christ as the Mystical Body, we should not overlook what St. Robert Bellarmine has to say about a subject in which the Church herself considers him the outstanding authority." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
A religious center which welcomes Protestants of all denominations in a specific community is known as a community church. Mainly a United States development, the community church offers religious services designed to satisfy the felt religious needs of all without contradicting the beliefs of any. Individual community churches may belong to one or more denominations (such as Methodist, Baptist, or Presbyterian) or have no denominational affiliation, operating entirely on their own. For this reason it is said that the true community church can be recognized by the spirit in which it conducts its life and work, rather than by its relationship to any Protestant denomination.
Common name for independent local congregations with no formal denominational affiliation. Their growing number and influence are a typical phenomenon of American democracy in the field of religion. While the term community church goes back to the 19th century, systematic grouping of such bodies is a recent development. The guiding principles of the Council of Community Churches (1950) faithfully reflect the spirit of its member churches and may be taken as representative of the individual congregations.
We know and the Church has been teaching us that religious life is part of Christian revelation, indeed, that it is a mystery. And, like all other mysteries, religious life is not only to be believed, but as far as is possible with Gods grace, to be understood. In fact, to believe means to understand, to see with the eyes of faith what the natural man cannot comprehend.
Our focus of attention in this study is on community and more specifically on religious community.
Bellarmine represents a landmark in the history of Catholic theology. His life of seventy-nine years, from 1542 to 1621, spanned the time immediately following the Protestant Revolt. Luther died in 1546, Henry VIII in 1547, Melanothon in 1560, Calvin in 1564. St. Robert was therefore a contemporary of the original rebels against the authority of the Church and historically became the first comprehensive exponent of Catholic doctrine against the attacks of the Protestants. This fact is important to keep in mind in studying his doctrine on the relation of non-Catholics to the Church. Living during the period of a mass rebellion against Papal authority and having personal experience for many years in Northern Europe with first generation apostates from the faith, it was inevitable that his attitude toward non-Catholics should be one of uncompromising rigor in opposing their errors, softened only by his love for them as "the straying sheep" with whom he pleaded to return, at the cost of salvation, to their Fathers house.
This Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is just that. It concentrates all the essentials of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in question and answer form.
It was not, however, until after the great persecutions, when peace was restored to the Church, that anything like a scientific examination was begun into the exact nature and function of miraculous phenomena. St. Augustine, in his controversy with the Manicheans, formulated the first theological definition of miraculum. Shortly after his conversion in 387, he wrote a treatise for his friend, Honoratus, still a Manichean, inviting him to accept the Christian faith. After pointing out the need for revelation, Augustine shows how reasonably the word of God may be embraced when fortified by miracles. He adds: "I call a miracle anything which appears arduous or unusual, beyond the expectation or ability of the one who marvels at it." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"The present article must seem strange for two reasons. What can we possibly mean by growth in chastity? In the language of all cultures and the experience of all people, chastity is a virtue that you struggle to preserve. Seriously, is there such a thing as growing in chastity? So, too, the sacrament of Confession was instituted by Christ to restore us to the state of grace after we have lost God's friendship by committing mortal sin. What does Confession have to do with growing in any virtue, including the moral virtue of chastity?" - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
The sacrament of confession is closely related to priestly and religious vocations. It is not too much to say, in most cases, the sacrament of penance is a condition for recognizing, following, and remaining faithful to a vocation. How so?
Jesus Christ instituted the sacrament of confession on Easter Sunday night. As St. John describes the event, "the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, Peace be with you, and showed them His hands and His side." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
It is remarkable how frequently we now hear or read about celibacy, among priests or religious, and how comparatively less often we hear about consecrated chastity.
We shall approach this delicate topic under the following headings: Chastity as the virtue of temperance, Chastity as the virtue of charity, and Chastity as a lifetime imitation of Jesus Christ.
Lets make sure we understand the consecration is the carrying out of Christs
command to Saint John, "Behold, your mother." It is one thing to have a mother, which we all have; it is something else (and how much more important) for the children to recognize and appreciate and love and be devoted to their mother.
"In almost any group of Catholics today, one hears the question frequently asked, "Are you a conservative or liberal Catholic?" Or perhaps it is posed, "Are you charismatic?" Then again the speaker may interrogate his audience about his familiarity with renewals, retreats, liberation theology, centering prayers, Cursillo or any other currently popular movement or practice within the Church. Oftentimes people feel that the answer to such a question involves deep philosophical pondering. Semantics aside, there can be only one answer to these questions. But before that reply is supplied, and its rationale, one need examine the rather bizarre practice of describing our faith in social and political terms and the implications of such nomenclature." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
How to contact The Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association (Eucharistic Adoration Directory), Inter Mirifica (Fr. Hardon's home study courses),
and Eternal Life (Fr. Hardon's catechetical materials).
(From a retreat given to the Handmaids of the Precious Blood)
"There is an obvious risk in talking about contemporary spirituality. The suspicion may be raised that the spiritual life has different forms
in different ages, and that perhaps even the essence of sanctity changes with the times. It may also suggest that Christian perfection somehow
depends on being up-to-date, which in more biblical language would mean conformity to the world and the world's models of greatness. It may
even intimate that unless a person has first learned the art of being (what is now a "sacred word") "relevant", that person cannot be holy." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"You might say this piece will be two articles in one. First we shall see how the practice of contraception inevitably leads to the loss of the true faith. Then we shall look at how contraception leads to eternal death." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"People who practice contraception become habitually selfish. Experience shows that their selfishness will not even exclude killing the unborn child that was unwillingly conceived." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Our purpose here in this present lecture is to look at the New Testament stories of conversion and then draw some very serious lessons from what the Gospels teach us about what? About what is sin, how we can be reconciled with God after having sinned, and, what is most important, why God allows sin in order to do a greater good than would have been possible had there been no sin." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Does anyone doubt that America needs to be converted? When the Holy Father spoke to the youth in Denver in 1993, his urgent theme was to pray that America might not lose its soul. The soul of America is Christianity. Christianity is the principle of our national life. As our nation becomes increasingly de-christianized, it loses more and more of its source of vitality. Unless the moral disease is cured, America as the nation we still call the United States, will disappear." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Secularist leaders in growing numbers are telling the people that America needs an "entire separation of Church and State." In answering these radicals we can argue from theoretical principles, showing a priori that a complete dichotomy between Church and State would remove the moral basis of human authority and consequently destroy the fabric of civil society. Another approach is the existential method of examining the history of our country to see what evidence there is for harmony between Church and State which has contributed to the peace and prosperity of America in the past and should, therefore, promote the same results in the future.
With rare exception the Supreme Court has consistently recognized that most Americans are citizens of two societies, Church and State, and that consequently they have rights and privileges which no political power may take from them. The purpose of the present study is to review the classic decisions in which the Supreme Court of the United States has proved its character of guardian of the peoples rights to worship and believe in God according to their conscience. Although Catholics figure in only one of these decisions, they are all very pertinent to the current problem which faces the Church in America of protecting her divinely committed interests for the salvation of souls.
The most important area of Church and State co-operation is that of education. It is also the most delicate because it involves something more than collaboration in external details and presupposes a degree of harmony on the deepest issues that affect a mans relations with God and his fellowmen. There is room for serious difficulties even in the ideal situation where Church and State leaders share the same ideas about the nature of man and his final destiny, as seen in medieval Europe or in modern Spain. But where, as in America, the people are so widely divided in religious belief, we should expect the problem to be complicated beyond solution. Yet, unexpectedly, the history of the country shows that religion and the government have cooperated in the field of education in many ways, not just incidentally but through concerted effort, and with calculable benefits to both parties.
The devil is called the god of this world not because he made it, but because so many people serve him with their worldliness.
An excellent article that gives information about: 1) the establishment of the Feast of Corpus Christi; 2) a Eucharistic Procession - Corpus Christi; 3) readings and prayers for the Corpus Christi procession; and 4) notes for Corpus Christi organizers: altar preparers, ushers, altar servers, and organist.
"Between these two, surrender and suffering, or as I prefer, sacrifice and the cross, lies the whole price range of divine love. Go where you will, seek where you will, consult whom you will. Pray, read, speculate and meditate as much as you will, you will always come back to this fact of the spiritual life and there are no exceptions. The love of God is paid for as Christ paid for the love of His Father with the hard currency of willing sacrifice and the holy cross." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Our subtitle is the heart of St. Paul. It is impossible to read much of St. Paul's letters without being struck by the price he paid for his zeal in proclaiming Jesus Christ. So the descriptions he gives of the trial he experienced in the apostolate are among the most graphic in human literature and they are certainly most poignant in biblical revelation. Even in the distance of 1900 years we still shudder at what he wrote, what he underwent, and wonder how one man could suffer so much and survive so long as he did in preaching the word that God, announcing to every one that "Jesus is the Lord believe in Him and be saved." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"St. Paul's greatest trials, I repeat, St. Paul's greatest trials were not the physical hardships he endured. Although we know they were extreme, they were not the humanly impossible travels that he made. They were by any estimation, heroic. His worst anguish was the rejection he saw of Christ by those specially chosen who were God's chosen people of the Old Law." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Councils of the Church are authorized gatherings of bishops for the purpose of discussing ecclesiastical problems and passing decrees on them. In Roman Catholic terminology, if all the bishops are called to participate, thus actually representing the Christian world, the assembly is called general, or ecumenical, which means universal; if only part of the hierarchy is invited, the council is particular.
"Grace is one of the most complex, ramifying and difficult of subjects, yet one most fruitful to mind and soul. We like to characterize the world of grace as a hidden world, within the world that we know rather well. Our most real life is lived within. Hidden from the measuring instruments of physical science, unknown to most non-Catholics, too little realized by many Catholics, there lies an invisible world of light and beauty and power, a world of creatures throbbing with a life that is divine, a world that is of vital importance to every human being. What is it? The world of grace, where Christ is King." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Why do we have sacraments? To give us grace. But is grace the ultimate, the end of the line? Is it an end in itself, a gift of God which we are simply to have, a treasure just to be hoarded? No, grace is not just an ornament. It is that, but more; it is a marvelous reality that points and inclines us to something. To what? To the Beatific Vision, Love, Enjoyment (or Fruition a word St. Thomas might prefer) of the Divine Essence and Persons. The end of grace is a sharing in the activity and happiness of God, in the Beatific Vision of the Divine Essence. In this almost incredible Vision, there will be no species, idea, thought between God and this inmost me, nothing created will intervene; the Divine Essence itself will be united to my mind as the quasi-species and the term of this Vision." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"Sanctifying grace. St. Thomas, following St. Augustine, declares that the justification of the ungodly
is greater than the creation of heaven and earth (l-2qll3a9). Since the former is a supernatural work of the highest order and the other only natural, more glory is given to God in justification than by all perfections of nature. Is justification, then, the greatest supernatural work? No, the Incarnation of the Word and the beatification of the just in heaven are greater." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"In considering sanctifying grace we have been considering created grace. But there is another grace, greater than sanctifying grace: Gods gift of Himself to us. In heaven God will give Himself to us in the Beatific Vision, but even here below He gives Himself to the just in a very real, if mysterious way, to help them to the Beatific Vision. God, the Triune God comes to dwell in our souls and there produces a supernatural organism which deifies our souls and enables them to perform deiform acts." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"The following pages are a composite of all the principal declarations of the Church on the subject of divine grace. Arranged in chronological order, these documents give us not only a purview of Catholic theology on the subject but place into our hands a synopsis of the Churchs authentic teaching, on which speculative theology builds and to which every theory should conform." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"In the Old Testament, people made covenants which served the purpose of a spoken agreement summarized by a ritual ceremony that took the place of a written agreement. A covenant is also a Sacred Agreement into which people entered and it was sealed by a sacred rite. Social covenants were made quite often in the Old Testament." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"The existence of angels, their spiritual nature, the fact that there are good and bad angels, the fall of the evil spirits of their own free will, and the role of the devil in bringing about the fall of man are doctrines of the Catholic faith solemnly proclaimed by the Church." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"My purpose in the next few pages is to get just one idea acrossa crucial one on which everything else depends: to show that religious life in the United States today is going through the most serious crisis in its history. I am not ready to say the crisis is either good or bad. Only the future can tell. I am not even prepared to say what brought the crisis about. I am only sure that a crisis exists and that we ought to do something about it." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"In a word, faith is part of our very nature as rational human beings. However,
it is one thing to believe in other people and something else to believe
in God. To believe in what people tell us is called human faith. To believe
in what God has revealed is called Divine faith. To be still more clear,
Divine faith properly so called is the assent of our intellect to what God
has revealed, not because we comprehend what God tells us is true, but only
because we accept a truth on His authority who can neither deceive, or be
deceived." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
"In the United States alone, over 150 parishes have been closed in just three dioceses within the last few years. Most of the once flourishing, Catholic elementary and secondary schools have been closed. Catholic seminarians in our country have dropped by 90% in the last thirty years. Attendance at Sunday Mass, in not a few dioceses has dropped from 50-80% since the close of Vatican II. Behind this phenomenon is the loss of faith among so many once believing Roman Catholics." - Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Simply stated, Cyprian teaches two things: 1) although Christ wanted His Church to be united, dissension has entered through the wiles of the evil spirit; 2) unity is to be restored by submission to the authority of the pope. Cyprian explains that we must be on our guard not only against persecution from outside the Church. Our greatest danger is from the devil, sowing seeds of discord within the Church. In Cyprians vocabulary, the evil spirit is the Enemy.