March 2018

The Lord’s Descent into Hell

 

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BC421757-8587-4D76-B7C2-05991A305BC5UPDATE: I recommend this article by Catholic World Report. Very good. Click HERE

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It is being reported that Pope Francis denied the existence of hell and said those unrepentance souls just disappear. The Pope does believe in hell but he ought to more careful who the hell he talks too and how he says things.

He met with an atheist journalist named Eugenio Scalfari who claimed it was an interview —  and that in the “interview” the pope denied the existence of hell.

The Vatican is scrambling to fix the mess and claims no interview was granted — it was just a discussion and that the Pope does indeed believe in hell.

Why the Pope gets himself into these messes and why he is not more careful is a mystery to me.

However, we have to realize the Pope often says things ambiguously which are then translated poorly. One could wish he would be more careful and not cause confusion and scandal. Unless, of course, that is his purpose.

It seems unlikely however that the pope would deny the existence of hell especially since it is established doctrines in the Catholic Church.

Here is an article that I think is pretty balanced and objective discussing most recent situation swirling around the Vatican this week.

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JESUS:

Jesus said that those who refuse to help others will be eternally punished. “Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:45–46).

CATECHISM:

“The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, “eternal fire.” The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs” (CCC 1035).

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Dangerous Playground or Safe Bible Study?

by Steve Ray on March 29, 2018

167644-131-D9F95DA9Imagine children running and tussling unsupervised in a playground. Now imagine the playground surrounded by deadly dangers: a sharp cliff dropping down a thousand feet to one side, a field of land mines, poisonous snakes in the sand, and a bog of quicksand on the other sides. With anguish you watch the children decimated as they fall prey to the dangers around them. They plunge from the cliff to the rocks below, are screaming from the bite of vipers and are gasping for air as they sink in the quicksand.

Now imagine the same children playing in the same playground, but now they are carefully supervised and the area is surrounded by a chain-link fence. To be in danger now a child would have to disregard all the rules, disobey the supervisors and climb over the fence. You relax, a sigh of relief passes your lips, and you begin to chuckle at the children’s antics.

MAIN-children-playing-outsideThis is an analogy of Bible study. Two recent misconceptions have plagued Catholics. Ask around and find out for yourself. The average Catholic in the average parish frequently accepts two unhappy fallacies. First, that Catholics aren’t supposed to read the Bible since it is not important or they fear they will invariably misinterpret it and end up confused. Second, they may associate Bible study with Protestantism.

Well, isn’t the Bible hard to understand? Aren’t Catholics forbidden to read the Bible? Shouldn’t we leave Scripture study to priests and religious? If laymen study the Bible, don’t they interpret it incorrectly and go off the deep end?

I had just written the above paragraph and mentioned “Bible Study” when a parish priest visiting our home lamented, “Oh, if I could only get my parishioners over the deep-seated fear that if they study the Bible they will somehow become Fundamentalist Protestants!”

This sounds strange to us ex-Fundamentalists because it was the love and study of the Bible that brought us into the Catholic Church. Yet, this subtle fear prevents many Catholics from dusting off the family Bible and making a go at personal study.

0ac3ae028a7675be6fb43552f9593dd0--son-quotes-epic-quotesOur imagined playground, fraught with dangers, illustrates the situation nicely. Are there real dangers associated with studying the Bible? Do pitfalls lie to the left and right? Yes, of course. The fear is not without foundation. Survey the landscape of Christian history and you will see well-meaning individuals and groups strewn in every direction. The carnage and division brought about by the “Bible-only” theology is apparent for everyone to see.

Yet we also see many who have loved the Bible deeply, studied it studiously, and have done so without casualties. They have reached the dizzying heights of biblical study and through it have grown to love Jesus and the Catholic Church with ever deepening ardor. What differentiates the two? Why do some stumble and fall by the wayside, while others “play” with a joyful, utter abandon—almost carefree in their study of Scriptures—and, seemingly, with no fear of falling?

The fence and the supervision make all the difference. They provide a barrier between the children and destruction. They allow the child to frolic with carefree abandon. What do the fence and the supervision represent in our illustration?

The fence is the Sacred Tradition preserved in the Church and the supervision is the magisterium of the Catholic Church. These two things—readily available to any who desire them—are what makes the difference. The dangers are real, but the protections and guidance provided by Jesus in his Church are just as real. Those who stay within the fence and yield to the supervision will study the Scriptures with great benefit, and I may add, with deep joy and pleasure.

IMG_4369The Catholic Church has provided the most wonderful resource to combine the fence and the supervision. It is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Read the Bible with an open Catechism which is a wealth of wisdom and a compilation of the Church’s tradition, the teaching of the Popes and Fathers and councils. It is also an excellent summary of the teaching of the Church’s magisterium—which simply means “office of teacher.”

It is high time that Catholics wake up and discover the riches that have been deposited in their account. The Bible is a gift from God. The treasure is ready for withdrawal! Dust off the Bibles, cast aside paralyzing fears, learn the basic rules of biblical interpretation, observe the protective parameters of Church teaching, and frolic to your heart’s content!

St. Jerome said, “Ignorance of Scripture is an ignorance of Christ.”

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For Self Study to Investigate Further:

What does the Church teach about personal Bible study (CCC 133)? What kind of access or restriction should be placed on Catholics regarding the Bible (CCC 131)? How does the Bible speak of itself and its use by God’s people (Rom 15:4; 2 Tim 3:14–17)? Read Psalm 119. What is the Psalmist’s theme and passion? What value does the Psalmist place on the Scriptures in Psalm 19:7–11? Is the Bible the only source of God’s revelation (1 Thes 2:13; 2 Thes 2:15; CCC 80–82)?

Even though the Sadducees studied the Scriptures assiduously, what did Jesus say of them (Mk 12:24)? Do the Scriptures always have a plain meaning and are they always easy to understand (2 Pet 3:15–17; Acts 8:29–31)? Based on these verses, is everyone’s understanding of Scripture equally valid? Does everyone have the same ability to understand the Scriptures (Heb 5:11)?

Should individuals research the Scriptures for themselves (Acts 17:11)? Is the interpretation of the Bible ultimately left up to each individual and what place does “private interpretation” have in the interpretation of Scripture (2 Pet 1:20)? Where does the authoritative interpretation of Scripture have its source (CCC 84, 85, 95)? Who has the ultimate right to protect and interpret the Bible (CCC 119; Acts 20:27–31; Titus 1:9)? What is the “pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Tim 3:14–15)? Who or what has judicial authority over a believer (Mt 18:17)? How are the faithful to respond to the protective teaching authority of the Church (CCC 87, 88).

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QUOTES FROM SAINTS, POPES AND COUNCILS

7855f89cda3fe2e13a2438c124cccdf3--patron-saints-catholic-saintsSt. John Chrysostom

” ‘I am not,’ you will say, ‘one of the monks, but I have both a wife and children, and the care of a household.’ Why, this is what hath ruined all, your supposing that the reading of the divine Scriptures appertains to those only, when ye need it much more than they. For they that dwell in the world, and each day receive wounds, these have most need of medicines. So that it is far worse than not reading, to account the thing even ‘superfluous:’ for these are the words of diabolical invention. Hear ye not Paul saying, ‘that all these things are written for our admonition’?”

Pope Gregory I

“The Emperor of Heaven, the Lord of men and angels, has sent thee his epistles for thy life’s behoof; and yet, glorious son, thou neglectest to read these epistles ardently. Study then, I beseech thee, and daily meditate on the words of thy Creator. Learn the heart of God in the words of God, that thou mayest sigh more ardently for the things that are eternal, that your soul may be kindled with greater longings for heavenly joys.”

Second Vatican Council

“The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures just as she venerates the body of the Lord….Easy access to sacred Scripture should be provided for all the Christian faithful…Since the Word of God should be accessible at all times, the Church by her authority and with the maternal concern sees to it that suitable and correct translations are made into different languages, especially from the original texts of the sacred books.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph 113)

“Read the Scripture within ‘the living Tradition of the whole Church.’ According to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church’s heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God’s Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture (‘…according to the spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church’).”

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My Past Articles for Holy Week; Current Radio Shows this Week

March 28, 2018

Over the last few years I’ve answered some questions and commented on the events of Holy Week. Here are links to those articles: How long was Jesus on the Cross? How long was Jesus in the grave? Was Jesus crucified naked or covered? Welcoming New People at Mass this Week; you may be an answer […]

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Patrick Coffin Interviews Lizzie Reezay about her Conversion

March 27, 2018

Watch the new video of Patrick Coffin interviewing YouTube star Lizzie about her conversion to the Catholic Church HERE. To see my book Upon this Rock which helped Lizzie click HERE.

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Are You Born Again? Questions I Answered on Catholic Answers Live

March 23, 2018

You can click here to listen to the show or click here for other listening options. Questions I Answered on Catholic Answers Live Topic: “Are You Born Again?” 1.   What do you say if someone asks “Are you born again”?  What is the Catholic understanding of being Born Again? 2.   A former Catholic, now Evangelical […]

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Are You Born Again?

March 21, 2018

I posted this for the listeners of Catholic Answers Live on Wednesday evening, March 21. I will post the audio link as soon as it is available and a list of all the questions we answered. It seems that God is kind of predictable in a way :-) since He always starts new things in the […]

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People at the Foot of the Cross

March 21, 2018

I will only have this up until the end of today and will post it again next week on Wednesday. I did this show with Teresa Tomeo this morning and promised the document for those interested after the show. Click HERE for the PDF document. Click HERE to listen to the show which starts at 12 […]

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Holy Land with Fr. Sean Sheridan – President of Franciscan University of Steubenville

March 20, 2018

Our next three trips have been completely sold out for months — our trip in June is the next one with seats open, but only less than 15 seats and they are filling fast. Just a head’s up if you want a great time of year and a marvelous chaplain!

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Short Thought on If or When it’s OK to Break from the Church

March 19, 2018

We must admit that the Catholic Church today is the same organization with unbroken continuity with that organization (Church) started in the 1st century. A reading of the Apostolic Fathers, the hinge figures between the Apostles and the later 1st and  2nd century, makes that clear. The question is whether at some point the one […]

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Joseph the Sissy or Joseph the Worker – Feast Day of the Worker

March 19, 2018

Today is the Feast day of St. Joseph the Worker! There are some pictures of Joseph I don’t appreciate so much. They present him almost as soft, effeminate like he just came out of a beauty parlor. It appears he never worked in the real world and has not a wrinkle on his clothes or […]

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Does God Pick the Pope? [implied, Did God Pick Pope Francis]? by Jimmy Akin

March 14, 2018

Does God Pick the Pope? by Jimmy Akin “When Pope Benedict was elected in 2005, I was overjoyed.As much as I loved John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger spoke to me in a special way, and I was thrilled when he became pope. I was puzzled, though, by the way people began announcing him as “God’s choice” and […]

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Two Seats have opened up on our April Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

March 14, 2018

Our April Holy Land trip has been sold out for months but a couple just had to drop out so two seats are open but will go fast. If you know anyone interested call (866) 468-1420 or visit http://www.footprintsofgodpilgrimages.com/pilgrimage/holy-land-wi…

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My Intro Speech for Elijah and Elisha Premier

March 13, 2018

I didn’t know that my brother was recording this but now I’m glad he did. I’m happy for the tribute I gave to my 96 year old mother at the beginning. She was proud and pleased We thanked Joe Reynolds and Skyline Productions  and the conclusion after the movie.

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Virtual Pilgrimage Podcast

March 12, 2018

I recently gave talks at the Lansing Men’s Conference in Michigan. The Director of Evangelization asked me for an interview which I read away agreed to. He wanted to talk about pilgrimages and the effect it has on people and what we do and more. Here’s what he wrote… “We just posted our “Armchair Catholic” […]

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World premiere of new “Footprints of God” film on March 9th in Canton, Michigan

March 7, 2018

Host and creator Steve Ray will present and discuss Elijah & Elisha: Conscience of the Kingdom, the ninth film in the popular series from Ignatius Press. March 2, 2018 CWR Staff The Dispatch 2Print Steve Ray, host and producer of the “Footprints of God” series, in Jordan overlooking the Holy Land. (Photo: www.footprintsofgodpilgrimages.com) Steve Ray is best known as […]

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