Saturday, April 19, 2014

Without the resurrection, the Christian faith itself would be dead

"The Christian faith stands or falls with the truth of the testimony that Christ is risen from the dead.

If this were taken away...the Christian faith itself would be dead. Jesus would then remain purely human, and his authority would extend only so far as his message is of interest to us.

He would no longer be a criterion; the only criterion left would be our own judgment in selecting from his heritage what strikes us as helpful...

Only if Jesus is risen has anything really new occurred that changes the world and the situation of mankind. Then he becomes the criterion on which we can rely. For then God has truly revealed himself." (Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth)

How can we find God's revelation today, the criterion on which we can rely?

Jesus' revelation was transmitted throughout the centuries through the Church he built on Peter, the Rock.

Thus, it is imperative that we listen to Peter's successors and the teachings of the Catholic Church, for then we will be listening to the God's own revelation.

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See free leaflet Ten Reasons the Catholic Church is the One True Church of Jesus. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sub judice rule and the forgotten virtue of epikeia, a reasoned liberal interpretation of the law

Faithful pro-lifers are unusually silent in the face of the pending Supreme Court decision on the Reproductive Health Law, while the pro-choice, pro-RH writers and leaders are having a heyday in the press.

I hope the anti-RH and prolifers are not overly cautious due to the sub judice rule, the non-public commentary of pending court cases -- which "applies almost exclusively, or at least most of the time, to criminal proceedings.. and is stricter with lawyers than with the press."

Moreover, national public morality of the highest importance should have precedence over these judicial niceties, as per the Catholic moral doctrine of epikeia.

Epikeia, the reasoned, liberal interpretation of the law, is in fact a virtue, according to no less than St. Thomas Aquinas!

Thomas explains that "since human actions, with which laws are concerned, are composed of contingent singulars and are innumerable in their diversity, it is not possible to lay down rules of law that would apply to every single case. In framing laws, legislators attend to what commonly happens."

Epikeia  comes from the Greek epieikes, meaning reasonable. It is defined as "an indulgent and benign interpretation of law, which regards a law as not applying in a particular case because of circumstances unforeseen by the lawmaker. The lawmaker cannot foresee all possible cases that may come under the law, and it is therefore reasonably presumed that were the present circumstances known to the legislator he would permit the act, e.g., a mother presumes that she may miss Mass on Sunday when there is no one present to care for her baby."(SQPN)


This doctrine proves once more the primacy of reason -- over everything else, including the law.

And the reasonableness of the Religion of the Logos, the religion according to Reason.

Importance of leafleting


Why are leaflets important?

One of the most successful Catholic evangelizers, St. Francis de Sales, converted 72,000 Calvinists, who at first rejected his preaching, through pamphlets.

The great American evangelist Billy Graham once declared: "Nothing surpasses a tract [a Christian leaflet] for sowing the seed of the Good News."

Great revolutions in history for good or for ill were preceded by "proganda movements" using short and effective written materials distributed to the populace. Included here are the Philippine Revolution and the anti-Catholic revolution which generated the Post-Vatican Crisis, during which thousands of priests and nuns left the faith.

Modern warfare too uses written materials as part of psychological warfare to achieve military objectives. 

Putting together ideas from an Evangelical writer and the US Military Psychological Operations Manual, the advantages of leaflets are:

  • Leaflets are an opening for further discussion.
  • They respect the freedom of the person. People read it whenever they want.
  • These papers can enter people's houses, when people can't.
  • They forestall heated arguments. 
  • Printed materials tend to have more prestige and credibility than oral persuasion. 
  • Their content is permanent.
  • Leaflets can be hidden and kept in private. 
  • They can explain complicated topics with greater clarity.
  • They can be re-read and further digested.
  • Leaflets are easy to pass on to others, producing a wider multiplier effect.
St. Josemaria once said: Let us cover the world with printed paper. 

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Free leaflets available in this blog are: 



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

CATHOLIC CHURCH AND ITS CATHOLIC SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES



Here are some Catholic documents I have put together that can be a framework for the laity and the hierarchy to work together to keep our Catholic schools faithful to Catholic doctrine and morals.

I. EX CORDE ECCLESIAE: 

OBJECTIVE:
·         “every Catholic University, as Catholic, must have...fidelity to the Christian message as it comes to us through the Church.”
·         “One consequence of its essential relationship to the Church is that the institutional fidelity of the University to the Christian message includes a recognition of and adherence to the teaching authority of the Church in matters of faith and morals.” 

ROLE OF BISHOPS:
·         Bishops have a particular responsibility to promote Catholic Universities, and especially to promote and assist in the preservation and strengthening of their Catholic identity, including the protection of their Catholic identity in relation to civil authorities. 

·         This will be achieved more effectively if close personal and pastoral relationships exist between University and Church authorities, characterized by mutual trust, close and consistent cooperation and continuing dialogue. Even when they do not enter directly into the internal governance of the University, Bishops "should be seen not as external agents but as participants in the life of the Catholic University." (EC 28)

·         Each Bishop has a responsibility to promote the welfare of the Catholic Universities in his diocese and has the right and duty to watch over the preservation and strengthening of their Catholic character. If problems should arise concerning this Catholic character, the local Bishop is to take the initiatives necessary to resolve the matter, working with the competent university authorities in accordance with established procedures and if necessary with the help of the Holy See. 

EXPECTATIONS FROM FACULTY
·         In ways appropriate to the different academic disciplines, all Catholic teachers are to be faithful to, and all other teachers are to respect, Catholic doctrine and morals in their research and teaching. 

·         In particular, Catholic theologians, aware that they fulfil a mandate received from the Church, are to be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church as the authentic interpreter of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.
  
II. CANON LAW

Can. 808 Even if it is in fact Catholic, no university is to bear the title or name of Catholic university without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority.

Can. 810 §1. The authority competent according to the statutes has the duty to make provision so that teachers are appointed in Catholic universities who besides their scientific and pedagogical qualifications are outstanding in integrity of doctrine and probity of life and that they are removed from their function when they lack these requirements; the manner of proceeding defined in the statutes is to be observed.
§2. The conferences of bishops and diocesan bishops concerned have the duty and right of being watchful so that the principles of Catholic doctrine are observed faithfully in these same universities.

III. BENEDICT XVI: ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND BETRAYAL OF CATHOLIC IDENTITY

·         Any appeal to the principle of academic freedom in order to justify positions that contradict the faith and the teaching of the Church would obstruct or even betray the university's identity and mission

·         Teachers and administrators, whether in universities or schools, have the duty and privilege to ensure that students receive instruction in Catholic doctrine and practice. This requires that public witness to the way of Christ, as found in the Gospel and upheld by the Church's Magisterium, shapes all aspects of an institution’s life, both inside and outside the classroom. 

IV. FRANCIS: UNAMBIGUOUS MORAL TEACHING AND CATHOLIC IDENTITY

In my Exhortation on the Joy of the Gospel, I stressed the missionary dimension of Christian discipleship, which needs to be evident in the lives of individuals and in the workings of each of the Church’s institutions. 

This commitment to “missionary discipleship” ought to be reflected in a special way in Catholic universities (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 132-134), which by their very nature are committed to demonstrating the harmony of faith and reason and the relevance of the Christian message for a full and authentically human life. 

Essential in this regard is the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors. It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especially in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness. And this is important: its identity, as it was intended from the beginning. To defend it, to preserve it and to advance it!


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Is Jesus God?

A powerful video that shows an atheist's journey to belief in Jesus based on a nationwide research on the rational basis of this belief is Lee Strobel's The Case for Christ. The video, based on Strobel's bestselling book, can be watched online here. I highly recommend this film. The DVD is available in many Evangelical and Catholic bookstores. 

Strobel reached the conclusion that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God. 

But he did not actually say that Jesus is God. As an answer to this most important question, a powerpoint presentation that I prepared can be found here

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Catechesis on Contraception of Fr. Roberto Latorre: Free digital versions

Download the Catechesis here: Word, pdb, epub, mobi.

A worldwide survey just showed that a gaping  hole in the doctrinal formation of Catholics is on the immorality of contraception. This holds true even for some of the most faithful Catholics around world, the Filipinos.

Here is a solution: Fr. Latorre's A Catechesis on Contraception hailed as "the material needed to fill the vacuum of ignorance and confusion among present day Catholics. The Catechesis is presented in a direct and precise language leaving very little room for misinterpretation and misunderstanding."

Download the Catechesis here: Word, pdb, epub, mobi.

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Useful also is this one-page leaflet: Science Facts on Contraceptives.

Download it here

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Science Facts on Contraceptives

This is the latest update of a one-page leaflet first issued under the title Science Facts on the RH Bill. 
The world’s leading scientific experts and extensive research found in peer-reviewed science journals have already resolved the key questions surrounding the use of contraceptives. 

Download the one-page flyer here.


    1.  The pill and the IUD kill children.
When does human life begin? At fertilization, when the sperm penetrates the egg. This was the “overwhelming agreement in countless scientific writings”, and of top experts (including scientists from Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic) at an eight day hearing of the US Senate.[1] This is science’s “final answer”, as per the American College of Pediatricians.[2]
Do birth control pills and the IUD kill the young human being? Yes. After trying to prove that the pill is not abortifacient, Dr. Walter Larimore found 94 studies showing that the pill does kill the young human baby -- after the egg has been fertilized. He published his findings in the scientific journal of the American Medical Association, and stopped prescribing the pill.[3]  The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of 2005 showed that the intrauterine device brings about the “destruction of the early embryo.”[4]

      2.      The pill injures women’s health.
Is the pill safe?  The International Agency for Research on Cancer in a 2007 study made by 21 scientists reported that the pill causes cancer, giving it the highest level of carcinogenicity, the same as cigarettes and asbestos.[5] A 2010 study showed that it “carries an excess risk of breast cancer.[6] It also causes stroke,[7] and “significantly increases the risk” of heart attacks.[8] Several scientific journals have stated that the natural way of regulating births has no side-effects, and is 99 % effective.[9]
 
      3.       Wide use of contraceptives destroys the family.
Will the greater availability of contraception improve the stability of families?  Wide contraceptive use leads to more premarital sex, more fatherless children, more single mothers, more abortions, according to the studies of Nobel prize winner, George Akerlof: “As we have documented, the norm of premarital sexual abstinence all but vanished in the wake of the technology shock.”[10]

      4.      Wide contraceptive use leads to greater poverty.
Is contraceptive use correlated with poverty? Akerlof linked increased number of fatherless children and single mothers with greater poverty. In another research study, Akerlof concluded that contraception leads to a decline of marriage, less domesticated men, more crimes and more social pathology and thus more poverty. [11]
Isn’t population control connected with economic development? “No clear association” is the answer of Simon Kuznets, Nobel Prize winner in the science of economics.[12] Many later studies confirmed this, including a 2003 study of the RAND Corporation, a world leader in research associated with 30 Nobel Prize winners.[13]
      5.      Wide condom use promotes the spread of AIDS.
Will the wide use of condoms lower the rate of HIV/AIDS in a country? It will increase it, according to the “best studies”, concluded Harvard Director for AIDS Prevention, Edward Green.  Availability of condoms makes people willing to take greater sexual risk, thus worsening the spread of AIDS.  He showed that fidelity and abstinence are the best solutions to the epidemic.[14] A 2011 research at The Lancet links hormonal contraception with double the risk of AIDS.[15]
Help dispel ignorance of these science facts. Give copies to many people, especially to leaders and to media.  TODAY!


[3] Larimore and Stanford (2000). "Postfertilization effects of oral contraceptives and their relationship to informed consent"  Arch Fam Med 9 (2): 126–33.
[4] Stanford and Mikolajczyk (2005). "Mechanisms of action of intrauterine devices: Update and estimation of postfertilization effects". American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (W.B. Saunders Comp) 187: 1699–1708.
[5]"Combined Estrogen-Progestogen Contraceptives"  IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans 91. 2007.
[8] Baillargeon, McClish, Essah, and Nestler (2005). "Association between the Current Use of Low-Dose Oral Contraceptives and Cardiovascular Arterial Disease: A Meta-Analysis". Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (The Endocrine Society) 90 (7): 3863–3870.
[9] P. Frank-Hermann, et.al., The effectiveness of a fertility awareness based method to avoid pregnancy in relation to a couple's sexual behaviour during the fertile time: a prospective longitudinal study, Human Reproduction 22 (5): 1310–9: “the pregnancy rate was 0.6 per 100 women and per 13 cycles when there was no unprotected intercourse in the fertile time”. British Medical Journal, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Lancet, Contraception, Fertility and Sterility.
[10] Akerlof, Yellent and Katz (1996), "An Analysis on Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States", Quarterly Journal of Economics (The MIT Press) 111 (2): 277–317;
[11] Akerlof, “Men Without Children,” The Economic Journal 108 (1998)
[12] Kuznets (1974) Population Capital and Growth, Norton

[14] Green (2011) Broken Promises: How the AIDS Establishment Has Betrayed the Developing World . Polipoint Press

[15] Hefron, et. Al, (2011) Use of hormonal contraceptives and risk of HIV-1 transmission: a prospective cohort study, Lancet Infect Dis 2011 Oct 4

 Download the one-page flyer here.