Monday 5 September 2016

Why Be Catholic (2)


None of us is free of suffering in this world. Whether we believe in a loving God or not we all have trials and tribulations in life, and all of us will ultimately die. Catholicism may not make these tribulations and death easier to get through, but it does provide an understanding of them and give a purpose to them beyond the random chance with which the atheist must content Himself.

[a] Catholics believe suffering and death came into the world by the hand of the devil who, by tempting man to self-rule, turned man away from God who alone is life, happiness and peace. It was by turning us to self and away from God and His life, happiness and peace that the devil brought us all the opposites to God: sorrow, suffering and death (Gen.3v1-19); with all the sickness, suffering and tragedies that now invade our lives. Christ entered suffering and death with us so as to rise again for us, and make of them a new path to eternal life, happiness and peace through Him.

[b] We believe that when people suffer serious illness no effort is to be spared to bring about relief from anxiety and pain -but without killing the person (we are to eliminate problems, not people). Those who suffer in any way, health or social oppression, are seen as sharing in the cross of Christ and as such, bringing great graces into the world that help and sustain us all. As St Paul says, we make up in our flesh that which is lacking in Christ’s afflictions (Col.1v24). What lacks is nothing intrinsic to His sufferings, but our participation in them, so that by sharing His Good Friday we can also share His Easter Sunday.

[c] On the Person of God, while Hollywood says “The Force be with you”, Catholics say “The Lord be with you”, for we know the living life-force of the universe to be the Living God. Further, the Living Life-Force (whom we call ‘God’ for want of a better word) has told us He is a Trinity: one God in three equal Persons; God the Father; God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28v19). Each of these Persons is fully God, a bit like an equilateral triangle has three equal sides -only in God each Person is the complete God whereas in the triangle each side is not the whole triangle.

[d] Catholics believe the God the Son became one of us -became Jesus Christ- (Jn 1v1-4; 11) so that by dying with us then rising for us, He could make death the door to Heaven for all who will follow Him (Jn1v12).

[e] We believe Jesus Christ is God because He claimed to be God (John.5v23 & 10v30) and proved it by rising from the dead. We believe in His Resurrection from the dead because those who witnessed it (His disciples) died torturous deaths rather than deny it.
We believe that Christians on earth, the holy souls in Purgatory and the saints in Heaven (Rev.7v9;14) form the ‘Mystical Body of Christ’ (Rom,12v4-5), those in heaven being ‘a great cloud of witnesses’ spurring us on (Heb.11v39-12v1) and praying for us (Rev.7v14).

[f] We believe the Supreme Saint is the Blessed Virgin Mary, for she is
the enemy of the devil (Gen.3v15);
the Mother God in His Human Incarnation (Lk.1v43);
sinless (Immaculate) from her conception in her mother’s womb: full of grace (Lk.1v28);
the spiritual mother of Christ’s disciples (Jn.19v27; Rev.12v17)
our intercessor (Jn.2v3);
blessed above all women (Lk.1v41)
and Queen of Heaven (Rev.12v1 -it was always the mother of Israel’s kings who reigned as their Queen, 1 Kings 2:10-25, not one of their [many!] wives).

[g] We believe in Heaven and Hell because Christ spoke of them (Matt.25v46), and because there has to be a place in eternity for those who have chosen God and for those who have rejected God.

[h] Heaven is the enjoyment of God’s eternal life, love, happiness and peace; hell is all opposites: a situation of eternal hatred, turmoil and despair. That said, we believe God does not ‘send anyone to hell’; those who go to Hell are those who reject God by choosing to live contrary to His Ten Commandments. God’s judgement is the ratification of a decision they made by their ‘lifestyle choices’  -their refusal to conform their character to His.

[i] We believe grace is the indwelling of God in the human soul (1,Jn.2v24); that it is an intimate, spiritual union with Him. Grace is built by the Sacraments, prayer, purity and good deeds; sin is built by self-direction and by ungodly entertainments which feed the mind on promiscuity, vulgarity, violence, the occult etc. Prayer is essential because it is our conversation with God: we cannot be on good terms with someone to whom we do not speak. 


  1. A few years ago, a friend of mine, an orthodox Jew, sighed and told me, "I wish I knew why we are here and what meaning there is to our being here"...(my paraphrase). I automatically responded, "We are here to know God, to love Him, to serve Him in this life and to be happy with Him in the next. My friend was startled and asked me how I came up with that. I responded that it was the first thing I remember being taught in my Catholic Faith. ...the conversation then moved on to other things.

    From my orthodox friend, I learned a lot about how the Jewish people have suffered. ...especially in the Holocaust of WWII. I think what the Jewish people suffered during that time has marked them...not only that generation but all generations from then on. My friend is definitely marked by the Holocaust I think, even though it is at least a generation removed.

    Interestingly enough, when I mentioned the "Holocaust of abortion" in another conversation, my friend got extremely angry with me, saying that there is only ONE holocaust, and nothing can compare with that. I did not argue. Not sure I agree with that though, but then, I did not live, or have relatives live through that Holocaust. ...but I am living through this "holocaust", where the most vulnerable, the unborn, are unprotected.'s practically difficult to give these young pre-born babies shelter and a place to many did for the Jews who were persecuted. And more recently, another 'holocaust' has been added: assisted euthanasia for the old, the sick and the dying.

    My comment is a bit melancholy and meandering Father. My apologies. I do however, notice that when suffering is spoken of, then comments tend to decrease. On the IPeter5 blog, a commenter, Brian Kopp, who is also one of the writers of the 1P5 blog, posted the following about the current state of the world, and suffering. (This is in response to a post Steve Skojec had written about suffering).
    'Our times are post Christian and therefore "7 times" as demonic as the pagan times our ancestors defeated with Catholicism.

    I'm convinced that the present battle won't be won now except by prayer and fasting - coupled with real and freely accepted redemptive suffering.

    Our culture is obsessed with sex, pleasures, comfort, leisure and satiety.

    We know this will end soon, and severe difficulties are directly ahead, along with real suffering and crosses. It's unavoidable now.

    Since we "know" these crosses lie directly ahead anyways, due to our collective decadence and sin, can we start sharing the idea to tell God beforehand that we accept these crosses, and offer them up to the Father, for souls, the restoration of the Church, and the conversion or confounding of the men in Rome, who are behind this "progressive" heterodox agenda?"

    No one replied to his comment, nor 'upvoted' it. I understand that Mr. Kopp is in the process of recovering from a debilitating stroke, where it was doubtful whether he would live. He knows what he is talking about in posting that comment.

    I am more of a coward. I cannot offer my sufferings in advance, because I still hope to be spared the brunt of them. It's hard to embrace suffering. I can only pray that I do the right thing if and when the time comes...something along the lines of what Father MacRae, the wrongfully imprisoned (for 23 years, as of now) priest wrote: (My paraphrase): When suffering comes, we can either let it deform us, or let Christ Our Lord use it to transform us. At this time, I can only pray that I do the latter.

    God bless

    1. Thank you, GC.
      I understand your friend being defensive about the word Holocaust, which was such a terrible injustice inflicted on the Jewish people. But I think it can and does apply equally to abortion, since it means ‘wholesale destruction’ (and it can apply to other things as well, such as in ‘Nuclear holocaust’).
      I like the comments by Brain Kopp, and echo the words of father MacRae. Thank you for supplying them.


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