What is immortal, the body or the soul? The soul is immortal, not the body, because the body came from dust and to dust it shall return until the end of all time. Therefore, fear not who/what can kill the body, but what can kill the soul through mortal sin, condemning it to eternal death (cf. Mt 10:28).
Is Hell just for demons? – Response to a question
The question was asked, “Is Hell just for demons?” The brief answer is a definitive “no.” Hell is not just for the Devil and his demons, but also for people who die in unrepentant mortal sin. Hell is not a metaphor as so many like to make it out to be in our present times, neither is ‘hell on earth’ the real Hell.
Is the death penalty just? – Response to a question
The question has been repeatedly asked, “Is the death penalty just?” Here is the response from the mind of the Church.
YOU SHALL NOT KILL
Pope Blessed Paul VI
“Go out into the world and make every effort possible in every way to restore the dignity of man, and all that it implies! I stand foursquare with modern theologians who hold that prudentially and historically capital punishment does not fit into the greater contemporary theological awareness of the worth of each individual on earth” (Speech to the Bishops at closing of Vatican Council II, Vatican City, 1965).
Note: Paul VI removed capital punishment from the fundamental law of Vatican City in 1969.
Pope Saint John Paul II
“On this matter there is a growing tendency, both in the Church and in civil society, to demand that it be applied in a very limited way or even that it be abolished completely. The problem must be viewed in the context of a system of penal justice ever more in line with human dignity and thus, in the end, with God’s plan for man and society. The primary purpose of the punishment which society inflicts is “to redress the disorder caused by the offence”.46 Public authority must redress the violation of personal and social rights by imposing on the offender an adequate punishment for the crime, as a condition for the offender to regain the exercise of his or her freedom. In this way authority also fulfils the purpose of defending public order and ensuring people’s safety, while at the same time offering the offender an incentive and help to change his or her behaviour and be rehabilitated.
“It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent. In any event, the principle set forth in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church remains valid: ‘If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person’” (Encyclical, Evangelium Vitae ¶56, 1995). Continue reading “Is the death penalty just? – Response to a question”
Christianity 101 – The ‘elder brother’ syndrome
It seems to have become the fashion these days, particularly in the US, to tell other Catholics who might disagree with one’s particular take on Catholicism that, “You are not Catholic.” The phrase, “You are not Christian,” tends to be hurled in a parallel manner by those of Protestant bent, in particular the evangelicals. Both phrases, however, are theologically incorrect, not to mention that such phrases are often used as weapons toward the ‘undesirable’ other Catholic/Christian by the ever-so-correct under the rationalization of evangelization. An analogous weapon seems to be the phrase, “You are not part of the Body of Christ.”
Leaving aside, for the moment, that the word Catholic means universal, not parochial, thus any parochialism or tribalism under the name of the Faith is to be eschewed, one becomes a Catholic Christian by being baptized with the Trinitarian formula in the Catholic Church. In a similar manner, one becomes a Christian, as the term has been appropriated and is understood by several evangelicals, by being baptized by another Christian using the Trinitarian formula. And let us not even consider here the baptism of desire and the baptism of blood.
So who is a ‘real’ Catholic? Who is a ‘real’ Christian?
Both of the above persons given as example are real Christians and the first is a Catholic Christian. This ontological change occurs no matter whether one of them professes what is either to the liking or the disliking of the other. Both of them form part of the Body of Christ, since both have been validly baptized with the Trinitarian formula – irrespective of whether the self-righteous like it or not, or if they can or cannot prop up their own egos. Whether one is a practicing Christian or a practicing Catholic, or a good/bad Christian or a good/bad Catholic, does not enter into the equation.
For Catholics, therefore, to tell other similarly baptized Catholics, “You are not Catholic,” because the former disagree with the latter, is an oxymoronic, but highly misleading, statement that is unreflective of the truth. The widespread use of these phrases also reveals what seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding on the part of the ‘phrase-throwers’ (who would ‘evangelize’ others), in relation to what and who constitutes the Church and the Body of Christ. This leaves one wondering if the situation is not one of the proverbial case of the blind leading the equally blind. The same holds true for those who consider themselves just Christians.
Can a person become evil? Correcting the inadequate catechesis of some Christians in the United States
A tendency has arisen and seems to be increasing these days among some Christians, Catholics included, in the United States to regard human persons and their personalities as evil in themselves. Discourses and language such as, for instance, a “distorted and evil soul” or “becoming evil” is being used more and more often to describe “evil people,” or “evil personalities,” who are regarded as “lost souls.” Apart from the fact – obvious even to children – that no Christian, no Catholic, should ever use such language these days in relation to other persons, to consider an individual or a group of individuals as evil per se does not reflect the teachings of the Church.
To give a succint example that is easily understood by the many, not even in the case of a person who is perfectly possessed by evil spirits does the Church consider that individual 100% “evil,” despite the actions he or she may have carried out while under the influence of personified evil. Let alone in the case of people who are not possessed in such a manner, or even harassed by evil or obsessed.
Hence for some Christians and Catholics to consider and describe their fellow human persons in terms of the language referenced above is to manifest inadequate catechesis in the teachings of the universal Church, including Patristics, at best. And to manifest unexpunged self-righteousness – spiritual pride – at worst. The use of such language, therefore, in relation to fellow man does not bring people closer to God. It just calls down His judgment upon oneself, since the judgment of human persons is arrogated to God alone.
Christianity is not what you are trying to make it out to be
These are just a tiny fraction of the calls coming out of the mouths of many Christians – in particular, nationalist-minded White Christians and Catholics – in the United States of America at present; a nation that used to pride itself on the greatness of its heart and its Judeo-Christian heritage. But Christianity is neither what you think it is, nor what you are trying to make it out to be, as Jesus Christ became incarnate to bring love, not hate, to a suffering world and the above samples of calls are nothing but examples of hate and/or incitements to hatred. Restoration, true life, and love have zero relationship to hatred.
By their fruits you shall know them (Mt 7:16).
Christianity has never been, nor is, neither will ever be about the dehumanization and scapegoating of the other – in particular, the disagreeing, the disagreeable, the non-White, the non-believing, or the differently-believing other, as God has granted free will to every human person. Violence in any way, shape, or form, and weapons are never the answer; never! Neither is attempting to restore Christianity as the order of the land through the end of a legislative barrel. God does not act like that; neither should the People of God.
Look at how much they love each other (Tertullian).
When self-identifying Christians and Catholics act or speak in the above-referenced manner, it should be noted that this is not genuine Christianity by any means, no matter what these persons may write or say they are and/or profess. That such individuals tend to do so under the name of Christianity, under the name of Catholicism even, makes it more of an abomination! Only a perversion of Christianity can produce such statements, such declarations, such calls, in accordance with the darkest desires of their hearts, not genuine Christianity illuminated by the Spirit of God. It is a deception at best.
Peace, love, charity, and unity shall not return to the land until We, the People – both left and right; Christians and non-Christians of all stripes – return to God with sincere repentance in the heart, because only Him Who Is Peace can grant the grace of true peace to the land and to the world. Only the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit can re-gather the people, the nations, into unity and fraternal love. Nothing else; no one else.
Christians in America – Am I my brother’s keeper?
With joy you call yourselves Christians and Catholics both in the public and in the private spheres. Indeed, you wear these labels proudly as an identity. You declare that you raise your children, if any, in the faith; even homeschooling them if necessary, and attend Mass in accordance with the holy days of obligation of the Catholic Church. You reportedly receive the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharistic with regularity and “do good works” whenever you can.
But are you – Christian?
You are blind to the plight, sorrows, sufferings, and tribulations of the people in your midst including the fatherless, the orphaned, the widowed, the isolated, the lonely, the grieving, and the strangers. You speak about Catholicism with authority, especially in relation to the need to give, the need for solidarity, the hot button issues of abortion, euthanasia, same-sex unions, communion for the divorced-and-remarried, and so on and so forth. But do you know how to give your life for others?
Do you know how to give one half of everything that you possess, like the widow with the mites and with joy in your heart, so that less fortunate others may start living in the dignity that befits all human persons? Or do you just give from your ready surplus, if even that?
You place a premium on strength as an indicator of adulthood and maturity, including spiritual maturity, considering those who are weaker, more vulnerable, as “losers” rather than “winners.” You do this all the while thanking God in your heart that you are, thanks to His grace, “not one of them.” But Christ came to eloquently anoint human weakness or human strength? How can the divine strength enter into a human person and become manifest throughout their being and actions, except in the presence of weakness, littleness, and vulnerability – the very qualities of losers according to your way of thinking?
You are deaf to the repeated pleas and cries for help from those suffering among you. You sleep at night; they do not sleep. You eat during the day; they do not eat except perhaps for the crumbs left over by the dogs. It is suggested that you actively help others who need your assistance, but you displace your responsibility to do so by responding “there are programs for that.”
Who is a Christian?
Is Hell reserved only for Satan and demons?
The question was asked, “Is Hell reserved only for Satan and demons?” The answer is in the negative. Hell is also reserved for human persons who die with mortal sin/s on their souls, for which they do not feel contrite. Hell is very real and everlasting.