Teaching & Suggestions

I thought of a helpful illustration to explain why “cradle Catholics” are often unable to explain and defend the Catholic faith. The example has its weaknesses, but it does help get the point across.

As an American I asked myself this question: if some one trained to attack America intellectually approached me on the street and challenged my country, would I be ready and able to defend the USA? Would I know all the historical details, dates, and facts? Do I know the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Supreme Court rulings or even the ancient documents that preceded the birth of our nation—the documents and events that formed the foundation for our government?

The answer is simple: “No, I would not be prepared.”

But I am an American. I love my country. I was born here and believe in the principles and love the freedom that are American. I know my country has many problems and I do not love everything that is American. But I would be unprepared to explain and defend the details and documents of my nation even though I love the USA and would readily stay an American citizen rather than join another country.

This is much the same as a “cradle Catholic” like those in the Philippines. They are often ashamed that they cannot defend the faith, but they are like me as an American. I was born American and never been in a situation where I had to defend my country in a rigorous intellectual debate. Filipinos have been Catholics for 400 years. They love their faith, the Lord Jesus, Mama Mary and the Catholic Church. But for 400 years they have been a Catholic nation and never needed to “defend” it. They only needed to love it and obey it.

But now the wolves are approaching their islands and making great inroads devouring the flock. The attack comes not only from cults and sects, but also from modernism and Americanism. They are pursued from every side. They are pushed to leave the Church, to join the cults and sects or to pursue pleasure, money, and sin.

Just like I would I need to take the time and energy to study my country and its history, so they are now required to learn their faith in a new and energetic way to defend the faith and their children. The time for comfort is over. The time to study and learn is here. No longer can the Filipinos—or anyone who has been born and raised Catholic—sit back and take the faith for granted. It is time for war! It is time for defense! It is time to get to work!

I do not criticize “cradle Catholics” for not knowing their faith. I understand the situation. But now we must begin rigorous study and learning—our children and our faith are at stake. We have no time to to waste. We are called to re-evangelize and defend Mother Church! God bless us all as we serve Our Lord.

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When confronted with this at Mass a while ago I wrote a letter to the priest which became an article in Catholic Answers Magazine. Article HERE. The priest said there was no miracle when Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish. All he did was teach selfish people to share and they pulled extra loaves and fish from their picnic baskets and shared them with everyone. The sharing was so generous that there was a whole lot left over.

jesus-feed-5000-300x225In John 6:1-14 it says Jesus fed 5,000 men plus women and children. When Jesus fed the 10,000+ people, he didn’t really do a miracle, right?

He just taught everyone to care and share, right? You’ve probably heard that homily, right?

The people had all brought picnic baskets which they kept hidden up under their robes.

Jesus convinced them all to pull out their picnic baskets to share with everyone else. The REAL miracle was not multiplying loaves and fish, but in teaching selfish people to share.

Isn’t that sweet? And after they shared their food Jesus taught them all to sing “Kum Ba Ya” and they joined in the liturgical dance. A good time was had by all! Or so say some trendy homilists!

Click here for more info or to buy, only $5

***Click on the image to learn more about Steve’s talk DEFENDING THE EUCHARIST: YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT ***

Well I had ENOUGH of that nonsense. I sat at Mass on Corpus Christi Sunday and heard the priest insult the intelligence of everyone in the church. He also insulted the Word of God and the tradition of the Church. He twisted the Gospel reading like a rubber nose.

I almost stood up to protest but my good wife said, “Steve, no! Go home and write!” So I did.

About 12 pages later I had written a very thorough response to the trendy priest and to all others who preach this nonsense. I sent a copy to the priest, to his bishop and to Catholic Answers. It was then published in the January 2008 issue of THIS ROCK Magazine.

CrossingTheTiberSm.jpgI hope this thorough rebuttal of nonsense will be copied and given to every homilist who insults us with such pablum. Hopefully we can put this insulting claptrap to bed once and for all.

For the whole article in THIS ROCK click here. My book CROSSING THE TIBER deals extensively with the Eucharist in the Old and New Testaments and the first five centuries of Christianity. You can learn more here.

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I received a few e-mails from a gentleman and his wife, obviously both good and excited Catholics who had recently had a real encounter with Jesus that had revived their faith and filled them with joy and emotion. Brian and his wife were disturbed that I talked so much about the Catholic Church when the important things was a personal relationship with Jesus that sets our heart on fire.  So I responded to him to demonstrate that Jesus is not divided from his Church.
DEAR BRO STEVE,
I SENT SR. BRIEGE’S TESTIMONY FOR YOU TO HEAR FOR THE SIMPLE REASON THAT SHE TOO, LIKE THE MUSLIMS WHO ARE FINDING CHRIST, AND MANY OTHERS AND IF I CAN HUMBLY INCLUDE MYSELF HAVE TASTED THE LORD AND HE IS GOOD. AND I BELIEVE THAT THIS EXPERIENCE OF KNOWING JESUS CHRIST IS NOT FOR A FEW BUT FOR ALL MANKIND.
     [His wife had written earlier with a very strong sense that Catholics did not follow Christ like they should and she could hardly stand being in parishes with them because she knew Jesus and it was obvious to her that the others did not. They expected all Catholics to be like them and felt that they were almost, it seemed to me in earlier e-mails, not real Christians.]
       BUT YOU I AM NOT ABLE TO UNDERSTAND. YOU SEEM TO SAY THAT ALL CATHOLICS ARE IN CHRIST. MY UNDERSTANDING IS IF CHRIST IS IN YOU THE HOPE OF GLORY THEN U JUST NOT ONLY KNOW IT BUT WILL WANT TO GO AND SHARE HIM FOR OTHERS TO ALSO TASTE HIM AND DO WHAT IS HIS PLAN FOR THEM.
      SO I HEARD A FEW OF YOUR TALKS ON YOUTUBE AND ITS ALL MOSTLY ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING A CATHOLIC AND I HEARD SISTER BRIEGE WHO SAYS THAT ITS JESUS CHRIST FIRST. ONE MUST ENCOUNTER CHRIST AND THEN THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING A CATHOLIC.
     THANKS ALOT.  LOVE U IN JESUS,  BRIAN
So I wrote a short response to maybe help Brian and his wife understand things in a more balanced position. Maybe the dialog will be of help to a few others as well.
********************************************************
Dear Brian and Marlene:

It is not Jesus OR the Catholic Church. It is Jesus AND the Catholic Church. Not everyone has emotional or super-spiritual feelings. Some people like Mother Teresa was devoid of such did not FEEL Jesus all the time but she was in Christ—she was closer to Christ than many who have lots of spiritual feelings.

It seems to me that it is a somewhat Protestant, Pentecostal idea that you expect yourself and others to have all these feelings. The Christian life is by faith, not by feelings. Feelings, emotions, the sense of the presence of God, the sense of the filling of the Holy Spirit are all great things. If they accompany our daily life, we are blessed. But the Christian life is primarily by faith and obedience to Christ.
It is important not to go around judging people, thinking since you have this experience with the Holy Spirit that you are more spiritual or close to God than a person who is close to God in other ways — through the Eucharist, prayer, devotion. To set yourself apart as more spiritual sounds to me much like the Pharisees.
Be happy for your experience of the Holy Spirit. All Christians have received the Holy Spirit through Baptism and Confirmation. Not all have understood or appropriated this great gift, but not Catholics or other Christians have learned their blessing and many experience him in different ways. You cannot put the Holy Spirit in a box and think he has to work the same with every person. Just because you have one experience does not mean that to be spiritual and close to God and filled with the Spirit that I have to be just like you.
Anyway, God bless you and keep you and make his face to shine upon you. I cannot write about this any more since I am in Israel and a large group of people are arriving today and I will be guiding them through the Holy Land — including the Upper Room where the Holy Spirit first fell on the day of Pentecost. God bless and it has been nice talking with you.

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How We REALLY Got the Bible – the Facts Simply Presented (print this out, hand it out)

May 16, 2019

This is just one page of Bob Sullivan’s excellent little tri-fold handout to explain how we got the Bible. It is from the Catholic and historical perspective without all the Protestant biases and twisting of history. I think you enjoy the whole thing which you can see here. You can print this out, fold it […]

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The Eucharist: the Flesh Profits Nothing

May 12, 2019

Since we are in Capernaum today, I decided to share a few words related to the site. I was recently asked a related questions questionic Answers Live. Capernaum is where Jesus said “Eat My Flesh; Drink My Blood.” I thought it would be appropriate to answer an e-mail I received a while ago from a man named […]

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How Long Was Jesus in the Tomb? Another Contradiction?

April 20, 2019

“For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:38-40) Skeptics claim to have discovered an error in the New Testament —claiming Jesus was not in the tomb […]

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Welcoming New People at Mass this Easter – They May Be an Answer to Someone’s Prayers

April 16, 2019

We get busy on during the Easter Season. We don’t have a lot of respect for people who go to church only on Christmas and Easter. We may be irritated that seats are taken and the church is noisy. But, you are praying for your family and friends to come back to church and MAYBE these […]

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A Recent Discussion with Steve Wood about all things Catholic

March 12, 2019

I spent a delightful half hour talking with my friend Steve Wood (www.Dads.org) about all things Catholic and apologetics.

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Did God Die on the Cross? How Can God Die?

March 1, 2019

Almost every day I get questions. I always try to answer, even if briefly. Today I received a question from Raymund in the Philippines. He is part of a apologetics group and they got very hung up on whether God died on the cross. Here is his e-mail: Greetings Mr. Stephen:  I am a great follower […]

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Baptist at the door, “Are you born again?” Prepare yourself to answer them!

February 21, 2019

Grilled salmon sizzled on his plate as Andy and his family sat down for dinner. No sooner had they crossed themselves to bless the food than the doorbell rang. Andrew dragged himself to answer the door while his family began eating. Two smiling faces peered in the door. “Good evening, we hope we’re not interrupting […]

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Mass with 2 Protestants and 1 Crucifix

January 5, 2019

A while ago we went to Mass with two Protestants.  As we walked in the door — there it was, as big as life — a CRUCIFIX with the Body of Our Lord hanging over the altar. I knew what the Protestants were thinking — I used to think the same — “CATHOLICS ARE WRONG, JESUS IS […]

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Jesus Was A Jew and Why You Can’t Understand the Bible without Knowing That

December 28, 2018

Since we are at the Western Wall today, where the Temple stood in Jesus’ day, it is appropriate to discuss this. Jesus loved the Jewish Temple and called it his Father’s house. ************************************************ Jesus was a Jew. This fact may escape the casual reader of the New Testament, but it is crucial to understanding Jesus […]

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What Bible Verses has the Church Defined – Definitively?

December 21, 2018

It is sometimes mistakenly charged that Catholics are not allowed to read the Bible for themselves and that the Catholic Church has dogmatically defined about every verse — and forces its interpretation down everyone’s throat. This is very far from the truth. In fact, the Catholic Church has never come up with a list of verses […]

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Six Rules for Dealing with Non-Catholic Family & Friends

December 19, 2018

I have added a 7th rule – Be patient. Six Rules for Dealing with Non-Catholic Family and Friends (especially over the holidays)  Steve Ray “I can’t believe you are thinking about being Catholic. Have you lost your mind? Why in the world would you leave biblical Christianity to follow a religion based on men’s tradition? […]

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Why Did God Allow Man to Sin? “O Happy Fault of Adam”

December 18, 2018

This is a question that has puzzled people from the beginning. If God is good and all powerful why didn’t he stop Adam and Eve from sinning? Fair question. Of course we all know that he took the risk of giving us free will so that we could choose to love him. I don’t want […]

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Catholic Church: “Don’t Read the Bible!”

December 1, 2018

We often hear that the Catholic Church has forbidden the reading of the Bible! Have you heard this? Yeah, me too! But, this is another one of those big myths which has worked its way into the popular dialog but one that has not been proved from Church teaching and documents. There are two good […]

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