Catholicism & Capital Punishment
Avery Cardinal Dulles
Catholicism & Capital Punishment
Avery Cardinal Dulles
A Meditation on Death
Very soon the end of your life will be at hand: consider, therefore, the state of your soul. Today a man is here; tomorrow he is gone.(I Macc.2:63) And when he is out of sight, he is soon out of mind. Oh, how dull and hard is the heart of man, which thinks only of the present, and does not provide against the future! You should order your every deed and thought, as though today were the day of your death. Had you a good conscience, death would hold no terrors for you; (Luke 12:37) even so, it were better to avoid sin than to escape death.(Wisd.4:16) If you are not ready to die today, will tomorrow find you better prepared?(Matt.24:44) Tomorrow is uncertain; and how can you be sure of tomorrow? Of what use is a long life, if we amend so little? Alas, a long life often adds to our sins rather than to our virtue!
Would to God that we might spend a single day really well! Many recount the years since their conversion, but their lives show little sign of improvement. If it is dreadful to die, it is perhaps more dangerous to live long. Blessed is the man who keeps the hour of his death always in mind, and daily prepares himself to die. If you have ever seen anyone die, remember that you, too, must travel the same road.(Heb.9:27)
Each morning remember that you may not live until evening; and in the evening, do not presume to promise yourself another day. Be ready at all times,(Luke 21:36) and so live that death may never find you unprepared. Many die suddenly and unexpectedly; for at an hour that we do not know the Son of Man will come.(Matt.24:44) When your last hour strikes, you will begin to think very differently of your past life, and grieve deeply that you have been so careless and remiss.
Happy and wise is he who endeavours to be during his life as he wishes to be found at his death. For these things will afford us sure hope of a happy death; perfect contempt of the world; fervent desire to grow in holiness; love of discipline; the practice of penance; ready obedience; selfdenial; the bearing of every trial for the love of Christ
Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance into the inmost depth of my soul. I was able to do so because you were my helper. On entering into myself I saw, as it were with the eye of the soul, what was beyond the eye of the soul, beyond my spirit: your immutable light. It was not the ordinary light perceptible to all flesh, nor was it merely something of greater magnitude but still essentially akin, shining more clearly and diffusing itself everywhere by its intensity. No, it was something entirely distinct, something altogether different from all these things; and it did not rest above my mind as oil on the surface of water, nor was it above me as heaven is above the earth. This light was above me because it had made me; I was below it because I was created by it. He who has come to know the truth knows this light.
O Eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity. You are my God. To you do I sigh day and night. When I first came to know you, you drew me to yourself so that I might see that there were things for me to see, but that I myself was not yet ready to see them. Meanwhile you overcame the weakness of my vision, sending forth most strongly the beams of your light, and I trembled at once with love and dread. I learned that I was in a region unlike yours and far distant from you, and I thought I heard your voice from on high: “I am the food of grown men; grow then, and you will feed on me. Nor will you change me into yourself like bodily food, but you will be changed into me.”
I sought a way to gain the strength which I needed to enjoy you.
But I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who is above all, God blessed for ever. He was calling me and saying: I am the way of truth, I am the life. He was offering the food which I lacked the strength to take, the food he had mingled with our flesh. For the Word became flesh, that your wisdom, by which you created all things, might provide milk for us children.
Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace
Everyone that has ever really taken the time to listen or read Blessed John Paul II will know that his love for the Blessed Mother began in his youth, after the passing of his own mother. He put his trust in her as Advocate and never looked back. Blessed John Paul II is on the cusp of being canonized a saint. This time next year he should be St. Pope John Paul II. II. Here is our future saint speaking about the Queenship of Mary from 1997 –
“Popular devotion invokes Mary as Queen. The Council, after recalling the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin in “‘body and soul into heavenly glory’”, explains that she was “exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords (cf. Rv 19:16) and conqueror of sin and death” (Lumen Gentium, n. 59).
In fact, starting from the fifth century, almost in the same period in which the Council of Ephesus proclaims her “Mother of God”, the title of Queen begins to be attributed to her. With this further recognition of her sublime dignity, the Christian people want to place her above all creatures, exalting her role and importance in the life of every person and of the whole world.
But already a fragment of a homily, attributed to Origen, contains this comment on the words Elizabeth spoke at the Visitation “It is I who should have come to visit you, because you are blessed above all women, you are the Mother of my Lord, you are my Lady” (Fragment, PG13, 1902 D). The text passes spontaneously from the expression “the Mother of my Lord” to the title, “my Lady”, anticipating what St John Damascene was later to say, attributing to Mary the title of “Sovereign”: “When she became Mother of the Creator, she truly became queen of all creatures” (De fide orthodoxa, 4, 14, PG 94, 1157)…In looking at the analogy between Christ’s Ascension and Mary’s Assumption, we can conclude that Mary, in dependence on Christ, is the Queen who possesses and exercises over the universe a sovereignty granted to her by her Son.
The title of Queen does not of course replace that of Mother: her queenship remains a corollary of her particular maternal mission and simply expresses the power conferred on her to carry out that mission.
BY EDWARD PENTIN
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has reportedly said that he retired from the papacy after a “mystical experience” and because “God told me to.”
The news comes from an anonymous source who visited the former pope a week ago, according to the Zenit news agency.
Asked why he resigned, the pope emeritus said, “God told me to,” but added that he had not received any kind of apparition or similar phenomenon. Rather, it was a “mystical experience” in which the Lord planted a seed of “absolute desire” in his heart “to remain alone with him, secluded in prayer.”
According to the source, this mystical experience has lasted throughout these past months, increasing “more and more” his longing for a unique and direct relationship with the Lord. It has not been an “escape” from the world, he reportedly said, but a means of seeking “refuge in God and living in his love.”
He also said that the more he sees of the “charisma” of his successor, Pope Francis, the more he realizes that his decision to resign the papacy was “the will of God.”
Despite living a cloistered life in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican Gardens, Benedict XVI does occasionally receive visitors privately. A few weeks ago, a seminarian at the North American College was surprised to be invited to the pope emeritus’ quarters to have a private conversation.
But during these meetings, Benedict XVI remains very prudent and typically discreet. He doesn’t reveal any secrets or say anything that may weigh on the new pontificate. He wishes to avoid declarations that could be thought of as “words said by the other pope,” Zenit reported.
At most, he will express wonder at how the Holy Spirit is working through his successor or he will talk about how his decision to resign was the result of Divine inspiration.
<blockquote><p>Hell is not a threat by God. It’s a diagnosis of the stakes for which we play and the consequences of being the sort of fallen creatures we are in the sort of universe this is with the sort of God who made it. When the doc says "If you persist in your behavior without change you will get liver cancer and you will die" he’s not threatening you. He’s stating a fact. The cancer is not being sent by the doc to kill you. It’s the fruit of the stuff you are doing. The doc is there to heal you. But the healing requires the diagnosis.</p><p>Jesus’ diagnosis is that our race is sick with sin. Hell is the fruition of a life obstinately ordered toward sinful selfishness. The endstage of sin is hell just as the endstage of cancer is death. It’s not an extra added punishment for sin. It’s just what sin fully is. So it’s not something God does to us. It’s something we do to ourselves. God is not Daddy Dearest, standing there threatening to shove you into the box of scorpions forever “to teach you a lesson” if you don’t clean up your room this minute. He is the guy on the beach waving his arms and trying to get the oblivious (and contemptuous) bathers out of the surf and into the Land Rover that will speed them to high ground before the tsunami makes landfall. He has done and continues to do absolutely everything—including die—to make sure that we don’t lose the life of grace for which we were created. In short, he is Emmanuel—God with us—not against us.</p><p> Read more via <a href=’http://www.ncregister.com/blog/mark-shea/scruples-and-the-fear-of-hell’>Scruples and the Fear of Hell |Blogs | NCRegister.com</a>.</p></blockquote>
August 8, 2013
The Obama Administration’s contraceptive/abortifacient/sterilization mandate will begin to be enforced against nonprofit religious schools, charities and health care providers on January 1, 2014. In the weeks to come, Congress must decide whether to address this problem before that deadline.
Members of Congress should continue to be urged to co-sponsor the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R. 940, S. 1204), and to work for its approval in the next "must-pass" bill needed to keep the federal government operating. Government must not force Americans to violate their religious and moral beliefs on respect for life when they provide health care or purchase health coverage.
Congress is now in its summer recess (August 5-September 9). The recess presents special opportunities to contact your Members and urge their support for H.R. 940/S. 1204. Members will be in their home districts and states. They will be learning what is important to their constituents, and this will influence their actions when they return in the fall. Please consider taking one or more of the following actions:
- Meet with Members in their local offices.
- Ask questions at town hall meetings.
- Step forward to talk with Members at county fairs and other public events listed on Members’ schedules.
- Write letters-to-the-editors for local papers and newsletters in response to stories or editorials related to conscience rights.
- Participate in radio and TV call-in shows. Members and their staffs read the local papers and track local media.
Always be polite and respectful. Full contact and scheduling info can be found on Members’ web sites at: www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.
Of course, if you have not yet sent e-mail messages to your Representative and two Senators urging support of H.R. 940/S. 1204, you can do so by clicking on the link below. A note: You also will be able to send a separate message to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) using his special Speaker’s web form.
Some background. Under the new health care law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requires most health plans to cover “preventive services for women,” including drugs and procedures that many citizens find objectionable for moral and religious reasons. These objectionable items include sterilization, FDA-approved birth control (such as the IUD, Depo-Provera, ‘morning-after’ pills, and the abortion-inducing drug Ella), and “education and counseling” to promote these to all “women of reproductive capacity,” including minor girls. Under the final rule released by HHS on June 28, the mandate allows only a very narrow exemption for a “religious employer,” chiefly aimed at what HHS calls “houses of worship.” Other religious organizations offering education, health care and charitable services do not qualify for the exemption. The mandate will be enforced against them beginning January 1, 2014, under an “accommodation” that only changes the way the objectionable items must be provided to all employees and their dependents. There is no exemption or delay for individuals, or for businesses owned and operated by families with moral or religious objections.
Thanks for all you do in support of life!
Click the link below to log in and send your message:
Jesus appeared to a young American woman on December 17, 1988 as the King of All Nations. He said, “This image is to be a sign that I rule Heaven and earth, and My Kingdom, My Reign, is near at hand. . . . I give this image to mankind as a source of graces and of peace. My Most Holy Mother is preparing the great triumph. The triumph of her Immaculate Heart ushers in the Reign of My Love and Mercy. . . . I have come to entrust to you a message of great importance for the world. I tell you, My very little one, the days are coming when mankind will cry out to Me for mercy. I tell you, My child, that in these times only one thing will be given as a remedy. I Myself AM that remedy!!! Let souls give devotion to Me, through My Most Holy Mother, as ‘Jesus, King of All Nations’. ” (Journal 7, 14, 159-160).
H/T Divineoffice.org From a letter attributed to Barnabas The new law of our Lord
God has abolished the sacrifices of the old law so that the new law of our Lord Jesus Christ, which does not bind by slavish compulsion, might have an offering not made by man. On another occasion he says to them: When I brought your forefathers out of Egypt, I gave them no commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices. I said not a word about them. What I did command was this: Do not contrive any evil against one another, and do not love perjury.
We are not stupid; surely we ought to understand our Father’s kindly purpose in this. He does not want us to go astray as they did, nor to ask how we are to approach him. Here is what he says to us: The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken heart; the fragrance pleasing to the Lord is a soul that gives glory to its Maker. You see, my brothers, we must carefully seek after our own salvation; otherwise, one who is bent on deceiving us will insinuate himself and turn us aside from the path that leads to life.
God spoke of this once again when he said to them: On such a day you are keeping a fast that will not carry your cry to heaven. Is it that sort of fast that I require, a day of mortification like that? But to us he says: Is it not this that I demand of you as a fast—loose the fetters of injustice, untie the knots of all contracts that involve extortion, set free those who have been crushed, tear up every unjust agreement. Share your food with the starving; when you meet a naked man, give him clothing; welcome the homeless into your house.
Accordingly, we must flee from all vanity and show an utter hatred for the deeds of the evil way. Do not turn inward and live only for yourselves as though already assured of salvation; join together rather and seek the common good. For, as Scripture says: Shame on those who are wise in their own judgment and think themselves clever. Rather, let us become spiritual; let us be a perfect dwelling place for God. As far as we can, we should dwell upon the fear of God and strive to keep his commandments, finding our delight in his observances. The Lord will judge the world without respect to persons; everyone will receive his just deserts; if he has been good, his good works will go before him; if wicked, the wages of sin will lie in wait for him. We must never relax our efforts as though our calling were already realized. Never let us fall asleep in a state of sin, lest the prince of wickedness gain power over us and snatch us away from the kingdom of the Lord.
My brothers, grasp this further point: You see the Israelites rejected, even after the many signs and wonders worked among them; let us then see to it that we are not found among those of whom Scripture says: Many are called, but few are chosen.
William Lane Craig is one of the sharpest Christian apologists today, especially on questions about God’s existence, Jesus’ Resurrection, and objective morality. The Evangelical philosopher travels around the country giving workshops and lectures, but he’s best known for his public debates with well-known atheists and skeptics. (You can watch many of them online through his excellent Reasonable Faith website.)
During these debates, Craig has a very short time to make a clear and compelling case for God. One of his favorite arguments, on which he wrote his doctoral dissertation, is the kalam cosmological argument. Christians have many arguments for God, but the kalam has become increasingly popular because it is straightforward, easy-to-remember, and modern physics affirms one of its crucial premises (note: the argument doesn’t depend on science, but the latest science strongly affirms it.)
The kalam argument is fairly simple:
1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause for its coming into being.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause for its coming into being, outside of itself.
Yesterday, Craig released a short five-minute video covering the basic argument. Watch it a few times, remember the in’s and out’s, and you’ll be prepared next time someone tells you, “There’s no evidence for God!”