Monday, May 30, 2016

Discussing the Differences Between Transubstantiation and the Sacramental Union

There aren't too many Lutherans that I know in my life, and those that I do are either former Lutherans or the practice of their faith isn't one that has many outward signs. That's why I was pleasantly surprised to have a great conversation with a Lutheran who belongs to the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church. In response to a meme on the different ways that various religions describe the Real Presence in the Eucharist, this person took the time to explain what Lutherans (at least those who claim to be LCMS) actually believe. While we know as Catholics that Lutherans don't possess valid sacraments, we are both close in our theology regarding the Eucharist. This was a very productive and informative discussion we had, and a very civil one as well. Below is the following conversation, with some closing thoughts by me after. My words will be in blue, and my Lutheran friends's (we'll call him John) in red. There were many people taking part in this conversation, but I'll just focus on the relevant parts of John's points and our the conversation between the two of us:
The Victory of Eucharistic Truth over Heresy- Peter Paul Rubens

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Part II of Intro to Eastern Catholic Churches... Plus a Preview of Part III: The Alexandrian Rite

The second part of my essay series on the Eastern Catholic Churches is live over at This specific essay deals with the Armenian Rite which houses the Armenian Catholic Church. If you missed the first part of the series, which briefly went over the many different sui iuris Churches and rites, you can check that out HERE.

The third part of this series should be going live this coming week and will be on the Alexandrian Rite. This is a liturgical tradition many in the West might not have too much interaction with, outside of the occasional Coptic Orthodox Church, which dwarfs the Coptic Catholic Church in size. Here's a preview of that essay for you to check out now, and I'll post the link to the full article once it's live this coming week.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Is God Capable of Changing His Mind?

I have to say, I enjoy replying to people's comments and questions in comboxes on matters regarding our Catholic faith. i often learn just as much as they do. I feel so fortunate to have a nearly 2,000 year old institution, where basically all the answers on a myriad of subjects have been given to almost an infinite number of questions. Recently, I saw someone asking how it was possible that God was always the same in both Testaments of the Bible; in that He never changed His mind.This person was not being belligerent at all, but genuinely asking. Here's part of what he wrote:
"God never changes His mind about anything? Incest used to be fine, then it wasn't. Gathering firewood on the Sabbath used to be grounds for a painful execution, then Jesus pronounced it was fine after all. I'm not saying God changes His mind on everything. I'm just trying to figure things out and for many many reasons the Bible confuses me."
First off, I was thinking on a philosophical level that God is a fully actualized Being. All potentialities have been explored and actualized by him. If He had the potential to "change His mind", then He wouldn't be God, the Supreme Being. How can pure Act, Being itself, change? It's something that I can reach by thinking it through, but not all are familiar with classicla theism. Here's the answer that I gave him, thanks in part to some great posts from this thread over on Catholic Answers' forums:
Stoning of a violator of the Sabbath from the 1545 Luther Bible

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Armenian Catholic Church: A Preview

Recently I posted an essay I had written on the Eastern Catholic Churches that was to serve as a sort of introduction for those not very familiar with Eastern traditions. This was to be the first in a series with subsequent articles going more in depth in regards to each different liturgical rite of the Church. Unfortunately, my time has been limited as I've been working overtime, have a new addition at home to look after, and other things coming up as well. There's a lot to research with these essays, so my posting will be pretty sporadic here for the next few weeks as I get these essays done in my spare time.

My next essay on the Armenian Rite will hit Catholic365 on Monday night, with the next in the series on the Alexandrian Rite coming out the following Monday. Here's a preview of the next essay to hold things over, and I'll post a link here to the full essay once it's live.
The Armenian Catholic Cathedral in Gherla, Romania

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Guilty of Selectively Using Scripture?

A friend of mine recently posted an article from a big Evangelical website, Relevant Magazine. In it, the author gives a list of five things that he thinks Christians should admit about the Bible. I have to admit, some of the author's points are pretty good... but then there are some thing said that makes you scratch your head. Simply, all these problems could be solved if we looked to how the Catholic Church has always interpreted Scripture.
Christ Preaching at Capernum- Maurycy Gottlieb

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Further Dialogue on Transubstantiation, Salvation and the Church's Authority

The following exchange took place in the combox of an article I had written in response to another combox discussion I had had with the same Protestant Calvinist. The article I had written was entitled "Transubstantiation, Scripture and Church Authority" and you can see the original conversation here on this blog. This was another learning experience for me, as I was able to better express my Catholic faith on items I had never gotten the chance to fully articulate. We will call the person I am debating with "Tom" and his words will be in red, mine in blue. A couple other Catholics joined in the conversation, represented by the purple and green fonts, one of which was a parish priest (who will be denoted in green).

Tom still believes that the Church has no authority to claim that what happens during the Sacrifice of the Mass is transubstantiation, and still won't concede that the Eucharistic species truly become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The conversation gets a bit skewed at certain points, but we get it reeled back in to the main subject points of transubstantiation and Church authority, as well as what salvation really means. Therefore, you will notice at some points I'll skip ahead in the conversation (marked by ellipses) so as to keep this dialogue somewhat on-track and readable. As I said before, if anything, it proved a great learning experience, and showed me why the Protestant understanding of the Eucharist and the hierarchy of Christ's Church is deeply flawed.
The Four Doctors of the Church

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Primer on the Eastern Catholic Churches

Being part Ukrainian, and being Catholic, I've always had the best of both worlds: being able to take part in the great patrimony and traditions of the Latin and Byzantine Churches, that is, the Churches of the East and West. Many Roman Catholics, though, don't have this opportunity, and often are left scratching their heads asking, "what ARE the Eastern Catholic Churches?" In the first of a series of essays, I give an introduction to the various Eastern Catholic Churches, with each future essay going into each particular liturgical tradition, or rite, of the Catholic Church. I hope to have my next article on the Armenian Catholic Church up soon. You can check out the full article over on, but here's a snippet from the article:

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Are Religious Objections the Only Objections to Abortion? Hillary Clinton Seems to Think So

I was struck by an article that had floated onto my webpage recently where presidential candidate Hillary Clinton suggested that too many women are denied abortions. In her comments on the matter, she said:
"Far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth. All the laws we’ve passed don’t count for much if they’re not enforced... Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed."
How ridiculous is this? Bill Donahue of the Catholic League was right on the money when he said in response, "Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church’s teachings on abortion. It’s time for Hillary to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge." But I also think it's ridiculous for another reason. Mrs. Clinton really seems to believe that the only real objections to abortion are those that stem from a religious or cultural basis. That couldn't be further from the truth, as seen by the myriad of secular and feminist pro-life groups. But sometimes, some Christians really push away those that are non-religious and pro-choice with their rhetoric. It's pretty easy to know that abortion is wrong with out being religious, and I think it's time that all those that are pro-life use more arguments that are strictly secular at certain points, as the science is certainly behind us on the pro-life side, and not on the pro-choice side.
March for Life Berlin 2012