Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Carleton Lifeline Seeks Restitution

The young are leading the Pro-Life fight.  Just see my earlier article where Lila Rose is highlighted, and now this.  The Pro-Life group at Carleton University is not taking it anymore, and good for them.  Bullies have to be swatted down hard.

Here is a press release from them:
Carleton Lifeline, the pro-life club at Carleton University, has sued the University and its administration for the discriminatory treatment they have been subjected to during the 2010-2011 academic school year.

“We believe that the behaviour of the University is actionable. We have suffered discrimination and intimidation, we have been arrested and threatened and we are seeking restitution”, said Ruth Lobo, President of Carleton Lifeline. “The University’s discriminatory actions are shocking, to say the least. We want to ensure, through law, that this behaviour is not repeated at Carleton University ever again.”

Lifeline is asking the Court to declare that Carleton University and its administration have breached their own internal policies regarding freedom of expression, academic freedom and discrimination. As such, Lifeline is also requesting that the University is ordered to comply with these internal policies.

On October 4, 2010, Carleton University had members of Lifeline handcuffed, arrested, charged and fined with trespassing for attempting to display an exhibit that the University administration deemed disturbing and offensive due to the graphic nature of the display. In November 2010, Carleton University’s administration provided Lifeline with an ultimatum regarding the expression of their opinions and threatened further arrests.

“Carleton University has allowed other exhibits using graphic images on campus” commented Albertos Polizogopoulos, Carleton Lifeline’s lawyer. “Clearly the University opposes Lifeline’s message and not its medium. This is censorship and viewpoint discrimination and it violates Carleton University’s internal policies."

To view a copy of the Statement of Claim, please visit

For more information, please call Carleton Lifeline at 613-600-4791 or Lifeline’s lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos at 613 -241-2701 Ext: 243

The Truth Will Set You Free

Live Action and the Fight to End Abortion

For the past several years, Lila Rose and a committed group of young pro-life advocates have been working to use new and social media to bring the truth of (expose really) Planned Parenthood's practices in abortion out into the open.  They have created videos and posted them to raise awareness of what goes on behind closed doors.

These videos have been created by having young people present themselves as underage pregnant girls, as pimps and other sex workers, at many of the PP clinics in the US, where they have produced consistent videos of the actions of staff at these clinics, actions that appear to be highly illegal, and actionable, actions that are meant to further the real aims of PP, or so they must since they are so consistent.

Live Action did not make up the scenarios that they have gone in and presented for the purpose of getting their videos.  They have researched the actions of PP, and have been very aware that even when PP has been brought before the courts in particular cases, or sufficient smoke has been raised as to their actions,  the Main Stream Media has turned a blind eye to PP and their deeds and misdeeds, and this has gone on for years and years. 

And so, Lila Rose and her band of young people have found their voices in alternative media, and their videos of misdeeds have been viewed by many, many people.  Eyes are being opened to the evil of abortion as never before.

What has come as a surprise to me is that some in the pro-life movement have spoken against the methods of Live Action.  Doctor Peter Kreeft, a noted Catholic writer and teacher has spoken out in support of them here.   As he writes, those against the actions of Live Action are dealing more in moral legalism than the truth.

Jesus spoke to us in parables, that were made up stories to prove a point.  Were they lies?  They certainly were not factually true.  Last night millions of North Americans watched NCIS on television.  In that series Mark Harmon portrays Jethro Gibbs, an NCIS Special Agent.  It is a work of fiction, from beginning to end, like most other shows on television. Yet, we enjoy these shows and do not think of them as lies. 

So, why do some of us get indignant when a group of young and very courageous pro-life advocates research scenarios about the actions of PP and then present themselves in similar roles to discern the truth.

Please watch what Glenn Beck reported on his show last week.  This YouTube video has been seen by over 20,000 people as of this morning, and deserves to be seen by more.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Let's Get Real - Whatever That Means

A thoughtful and thought provoking commenter at Where the Rubber Hits The Road - Martin, who writes cogently from an anti-religious bias responded to Father Tim's linking to my posting on "Rational Human Beings - An Oxymoron" as I hoped he would, and expected that he might.  It was his use of the word "RATIONAL" in a previous comment thread that had prompted my article in the first place.
On matters religious, Martin and I are not likely to reach accord, and he seems to hold in some measure of disdain many things religious.  He, like Small Town Guy, Father Tim's most prolific anti-Catholic commenter makes it a point to share his opinions from time to time.

Here is what he said in the comment thread on my article at Father Tim's blog:
Hi Michael,

An interesting and thoughtful reflection on what it means to be "rational".

I often suspect that "rational" is more of an aspirational goal for our species than something we actually possess.

To clarify - when I used the word "rational", I used it in the following 2 senses:

a) logically consistent and internally coherent
b) grounded in reality

I think some religous folks can be logically consistent and internally coherent. If one accepts their many premises about reality, then one may rightly conclude that much of what they say and do is quite rational in the sense of (a).

As you might suspect, I part company with many religious folks when their premises are not grounded in reality. While their premises MIGHT be true, these premises are often inconsistent with reality and therefore not rational in the sense of (b).

Having said this - I readily acknowledge that some religous views are neither logically consistent, internally conherent, nor are they grounded in reality. I think we have all met folks who would fit that description.

I apologize if my use of the word "rational" was confusing or sounded condescending. I intended neither.

So, basically in the original article I wrote, I came to the conclusion in more words than this, that
"rational" is a relative term, and as I said in my own comment on the thread, it is elusive. 

So, in explaining his meaning of rational, Martin concluded that the term has two senses:
a) logically consistent and internally coherent

b) grounded in reality
But, again like rational, both of these are relative terms.  I concur that they pick up the flavour of the word rational.

The key word though is "reality."  It is interesting that Martin said in reference to "religious people" that their premises thought they "MIGHT be true", "these premises are often inconsistent with reality ."

Reality is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as follows:
1: the quality or state of being real

2a (1) : a real event, entity, or state of affairs
(2) : the totality of real things and events
b : something that is neither derivative nor dependent but exists necessarily
So, I am challenged to understand how something MIGHT be true, but not grounded in reality.  However, I do not think that Martin mispoke as much as he presented conventional wisdom.  Conventional wisdom is another really good oxymoron.

Are people who agree with me dealing with reality whereas those who do not agree with me are not?  And is anyone grounded in reality, or is reality too fluffy a word to put boundaries on?

Albert Enistein said this about reality:
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
John Lennon had this to say about reality:
A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.
John Lennon is not available to answer the question that comes to my mind reading his quote, but if he were here in my reality I would ask him how many dreamers it takes to make something real.  On the other hand, I can't ask Einstein for further explanation either, though I think his statement is sufficient unto itself.

The problem with words and terms like "rational", "consistent", "coherent", and "realistic" is that they are like "beauty" - found only, or at least, in the eyes of the beholder.

Speaking of beauty, maybe we can recall the closing lines of John Keats Ode on a Grecian Urn from 1819:
"Beauty is truth; truth, beauty -- that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
All the above not withstanding, I consider myself a rational human being.  I am a husband, a father, hold a university degree, and was qualified as a Chartered Accountant.  At 60 years of age, I am not the brightest bulb in the pack, but with the age of compact flourescents, I get some brightness out of my lower wattage.  I believe that what I write is both logically consistent and internally coherent, and for me, at least totally realistic.

One time I wrote about a particular miraculous healing of arthritis that happened for me here.
I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church, and walked away from my faith at age 20, when I believed at the time that it was not "logically consistent and internally coherent", and also for me at the time was not "totally realistic."  Over the ensuing decade, I had occasion to learn that the lack of consistency and coherence was in me, not in the Church and Christianity.

So, what is reality anyway? 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Rational Human Beings - An Oxymoron?

I find that Father Tim Moyle's blog, "Where the Rubber Hits the Road" provides a good source for things to ponder, particularly things that have a religious bent to them.   What can be telling though are the particular nuances of the comments placed there to some of the articles. 

I find it interesting that links to my own articles that Father Tim has found worth linking at his site receive many comments there, which is an oblique way of commenting to me about what I have written, though the commenters don't usually comment at my blog site.  The same applies usually, I have noticed, to other article links that Father Tim posts.

Recently, Father Tim linked an article from the National Catholic Register about 144 dissident German theologians, who want the Church to stand on its head, and basically deny much of what it has taught about the priesthood, and human sexuality.  However, like most article links that Father Tim posts, the article itself becomes an orphan as commenters wander down a new thread, or two, that might have some relationship to the actual article, but usually doesn't.

But, a particular comment by Martin, a frequent commenter, though not in the league of Small Town Guy for word count or even comment count, caught my eye.  He was responding in this comment thread to Father Michael Smith, a parish priest who formerly taught at St. Peter's Seminary, and is known by Father Tim.  Father Michael was responding in the thread to Lady Janus, and to "Anonymous" or two Anonymi, not sure which, and finally Martin surfaced as he oft times does, with this gem:
. . . you don't have any objective evidence whatsoever in support of your religious propositions. The best you can do is some vague arm waving about subjective experiences you or others have undergone, or mumble about unbroken lines of tradition, or philosophize that no one can prove that your propositions are untrue...but in the end, you have little to nudge the rational mind anywhere nearer to your beliefs.

The bold is mine, because it was the word "rational" that got my attention.

There are interesting definitions of the word Rational available for our cogitation.  Here are relevant ones from
1. agreeable to reason; reasonable; sensible: a rational plan for economic development.

2. having or exercising reason, sound judgment, or good sense: a calm and rational negotiator.
3. being in or characterized by full possession of one's reason; sane; lucid: The patient appeared perfectly rational.
4. endowed with the faculty of reason: rational beings.
5. of, pertaining to, or constituting reasoning powers: the rational faculty.
6. proceeding or derived from reason or based on reasoning: a rational explanation.
Rational is just such a reasonable and sensible word.  It conveys so much, or so it seems.

Martin appears to be as rational as any other commenter to that or other of Father Tim's posts, though some of the commenters tend towards bloviating.  So, if I catch the drift of his comment, he is rational, and those who think, in this instance that faith matters, and for those of us particularly of the Catholic faith, the Catholic faith matters, must therefor not be rational, since they/we are unable to convince his rational mind of the merits of their/our beliefs.

Ambrose Bierce started a reference book he called "The Devil's Dictionary" back in about 1881.  In it, he redefines some common English words with a little humour, but also some tongue in cheek sensibility.  Here is how "rational" is defined in The Devil's Dictionary:
RATIONAL, adj. Devoid of all delusions save those of observation, experience and reflection.
Now, there's a definition that I can hang my hat on.  Under this definition, Martin is rational.  Under this definition, Father Michael Smith is rational, and also Lady Janus.  Heck, I even qualify.  As for the Anonymous commenter, who did not sign his or her name, bloviating probably is more appropriate than rational.

Human beings are sentient (having the power of sense perception or sensation; conscious) usually, though consciousness is a relative term.  What we are is feeling beings, and those feelings have deep roots, and serious impact on our rationality.  They also cause us to have delusions as to the truth and rationality of things we observe, experience and reflect upon.

Frankly, we do not have to look hard around us to see that "rational human beings" is probably oxymoronic, more than rational.  For me to self define as rational, is a lot like self defining as humble.  For others to observe me as rational, says more about us both being in agreement about what I have come off as so rational about, than it is an observation of my rationality.

In other words, in my humble opinion, rational is a word that cannot be used alone, without being used as a qualifying adjective.  If you want to tell me you are a rational liberal, rational conservative, rational Catholic, rational atheist, rational witch, rational homosexual, at least then I can have a sense of the delusions that motivate you, and we can pretend to be rational together.

I am a rational married Catholic, heterosexual, conservative male, or at least me and the guy in the mirror in the bathroom think so.  I didn't ask My Dear Wife for her opinion on this last statement, in case she might dissent.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Persecution - Overt/Subtle

In a posting earlier today about Said Musa, a Christian in Afghanistan, that is clearly being persecuted for his Christian faith, I intentionally made a concluding comment as follows:
Persecution of Christians, Catholic or Protestant, takes many forms. This is the most overt form, though the criticism that fundamentalist Christians level against Catholics and their faith is little different, just not as violent.

It has the same root cause, ignorance, and the determination to be right at the expense of others freedoms and beliefs.
My comment begat a particular response from Small Town Guy over at Father Tim Moyle's blog where I put a link to it, as I expected it would. It became all about him, and about his excuses for behaviour that is unpleasant at least, persecution at worst. 

I have been contending for some time that systematic highjacking of a Catholic blog by a fundamentalist claiming to be a Christian, wherein he makes fatuous claims about the Catholic Church, quoting his interpretation of the Bible, as well as presenting as fact the writings of Lorraine Boettner, Jack Chick, and now even Avro Manhattan, is a form of persecution.

Well, as expected STG has his own take on it as follows:
Unfortunately Michael sees any comments which are critical of RC teaching, doctrines, or the dark side of RC history as "persecution" and brands it as persecution of the same kind as the tragic real persecution of christians as in this article, only without the violence.

I don't think he really understands freedom of speech or the meaning of the word persecution if he throws the word around so easily. I could ask if he thinks it was right or persecution for a Danish newspaper to publish cartoons of Islam's prophet with a bomb tied to his headcloth?

If one believes in freedom of speech for himself, he should be willing to allow others to have the same right even if he disagrees with the comments, without crying persecution. Can he disagree? Yes of course.
Well, let's see if STG has grounds for his response.  Let's start with the definition of persecution.  Persecution means:
1. To oppress or harass with ill-treatment, especially because of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or beliefs.

2. To annoy persistently; bother.
Now, if I go on to a fundamentalist blog, and participate in a dialogue on equal footing with those there on say, the Real Presence in the Eucharist, where I express Catholic teaching as documented, and accept that that is not what our Protestant brothers and sisters believe, then there is not likely any persecution in that.  Difference of opinion is not persecution.

If however, I go to their blog site, and consistently hijack postings about topic A and turn them into my own fatuous ramblings about the truth of the Bible, and how those there don't get it, maybe we are moving into another arena, the arena of persecution.

That is ill treatment in my humble opinion, based solely on religion, and it also fits definition two, as I am both bothered by it and find it annoying with persistence.  Persecution has less to do with the persecutor than it does with the one or ones being persecuted.  I have very little credibility to say I am not persecuting you, whereas you as the recipient of my venom are the only one who can readily determine if persecution has occurred.

STG threw in the "freedom of speech" thing.  In other words, it is his humble opinion that he can say whatever he wants because in this country (both Canada and the USA) we have laws that protect freedom of speech.

That would be a good point if that were all there is.  With freedom of speech comes responsibility for the speech that we communicate.  But, if you cannot police yourself, in Canada, we have the Canadian Human Rights Act, and similar law in each of the provinces and territories.  The Canadian Act has a section, Section 13, that deals with abuse of free speech as follows:
13. (1) It is a discriminatory practice for a person or a group of persons acting in concert to communicate telephonically or to cause to be so communicated, repeatedly, in whole or in part by means of the facilities of a telecommunication undertaking within the legislative authority of Parliament, any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.


(2) For greater certainty, subsection (1) applies in respect of a matter that is communicated by means of a computer or a group of interconnected or related computers, including the Internet, or any similar means of communication, but does not apply in respect of a matter that is communicated in whole or in part by means of the facilities of a broadcasting undertaking.
So, here's the deal.  If I consider that STG has been exposing Father Tim, and all Catholics who hang out at his blog, to hatred or contempt on the grounds of religious discrimination, I have the freedom to file a claim with the Canadian HRC.  By the way, I can file a claim with the Canadian Human Rights Commission even if I personally do not feel injured by his ramblings.

In reality, I am also free to not read what he writes, and to ignore it for what it is.  So, usually as soon as I see that he has written a comment on the blog, I move right past it, after checking for key words.  That is the higher ground.  It does not make what he is doing any less of a persecution, but it is a higher ground, and really the one we as Christians are called to. 

Of course, we as Christians are also not called to pretend that we are more righteous than others of God's children, but that's another story.

No Ordinary Hero

Said Musa

The following was brought to my attention by Father Tim Moyle, in an article he linked to and commented on this morning here.

Said Musa is a Christian in Afghanistan, though he was raised a Muslim.  That is a crime there, punishable by death.  So, he waits in a detention center for the inevitable.  Oh, and by the way Canadian, British and American troops over there are fighting to defend the government and people, including those who would kill this man.

Mr. Musa is an amputee, the father of 6 and husband of one woman,and a firm believer in the love and atoning mercy of Jesus Christ.

Here is how his original arrest came about as reported at Compass Direct News last November 16, from Istanbul:
Authorities arrested Said Musa, 45, on May 31, days after the local Noorin TV station broadcast images of Afghan Christians being baptized and worshiping. Though there were other arrests in May and June during the ensuing man-hunt against Christians, Musa is the only known Christian facing a court case.
The deputy secretary of the parliament had this to say about converts to Christianity:
The subject of Afghans leaving Islam for Christianity became national news following the Noorin TV broadcast and ignited a heated debate in the country’s parliament and senate. In early June, the deputy secretary of the Afghan parliament, Abdul Sattar Khawasi, called for the execution of converts.

“Those Afghans that appeared on this video film should be executed in public,” he said, according to news sources. “The house should order the attorney general and the NDS [National Directorate of Security] to arrest these Afghans and execute them.”
Here is a hand written letter from Mr. Musa reported yesterday in the National Catholic Register, though the letter was written last Fall, and was first published on November 16, complete with grammatical and language challenges:
“To the international church of world and to the President Brother Barak Obama President of the United States and to the head of ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] in Afghanistan!

“My name is Said Musa 45 years old. I have been working since 15 years as a Physiotherapist in I-C-R-C [International Committee of the Red Cross] orthopaedic centre in Kabul, Afghanistan. About four and a half months before by security force of Afghanistan I [was] captured, due to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world.

...Since that time I am in jail. The authority and prisoners in jail did many bad behaviour with me about my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. For example, they did sexual things with me, beat me by wood, by hands, by legs, put some things on my head, mocked me ‘He’s Jesus Christ’, spat on me, nobody let me for sleep night and day. Every person spat on me and beat me. Also the prosecutor wrote something wrong against me. He told from himself something wrong against me on my file.

“He is stimulating every day the prisoners against me, ‘He is also in jail due to spy for Iran country’, to reveal the church in Kabul. I’m in a very and very bad condition in the jail.

“I agree with long imprisonment about my faith even for long life. Because I’m the sinnest person in the world. Because sometimes they treated for died I refuse my faith due to died. Sometimes I tolerate the persecution but immediately I acknowledge my sin before Lord Jesus Christ: ‘Don’t refuse me before your holy angels and before your Father.’ Because I am very very weak and sinful man…

I am alone between 400 handlers of terrible values in the jail like a sheep. Please, please, for the sake of Lord Jesus Christ help me. Please send a person who should supervise my document and my file, what I said in it. My prosecutor has told something wrong to the judge because he asked [for] money but I refused his request. Please, please you should transfer me from this jail to a jail that supervises the believers. I also agree with died on cross of my pride. I also agree with the sacrifice [of] my life in public, I will tell the faith in Lord Jesus Christ son of God and other believers will take courage and be strong in their faith. Hundred percent I am stable to my word. I have family of seven - one wife, three daughters and three sons. My big son [is] about eight years old. One of my daughters can’t speak, she has some mental problems.

“This is a request from me to all over the world, people please help me. I could not have any person to help. For [the] sake [of] Lord Jesus Christ please pray and immediately help me and rescue me from this jail. Otherwise, they will kill me, because I know they’re very very very cruel and hard hearted!

“Your destitute brother in the world.

“Please my English writing is not enough good. If I did some mistake please forgive me! From Kabul Provincial jail.”
Barnabas Aid took up Mr. Musa's case back in the Fall, and published an article on November 16 to that effect.  The penultimate conclusion is important:
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Aid, said:

The West can no longer turn a blind eye while the Afghan regime that it fought to put in place imprisons and tortures ordinary Christians and is calling for them to be killed simply because of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
However, the final conclusion is most important:
Please Pray:
That the Afghan government will come under increasing international pressure to release Said and uphold the right to religious freedom throughout the country.

That the Lord will strengthen and uphold Said who, despite his ordeal, is determined to proclaim his faith in Jesus.
The Barnabas Fund article from February 7 had this to say here:
Hundreds of British (Canadian also) and US troops have lost their lives fighting a violent insurgency by the Taliban, whose hard-line Islamic regime was ousted in 2001. But despite these ongoing and costly efforts to support the new government and constitution, Afghan citizens - especially converts to Christianity - are being denied the fundamental right to choose their own faith. The constitution upholds international standards of human rights in theory, but in practice the government's policy towards converts appears no different from that of the Taliban.
Persecution of Christians, Catholic or Protestant, takes many forms.  This is the most overt form, though the criticism that fundamentalist Christians level against Catholics and their faith is little different, just not as violent. 

It has the same root cause, ignorance, and the determination to be right at the expense of others freedoms and beliefs.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Highways to Heaven

The Roads to Damascus, Emmaus, and Jericho

On the first night of the Parish Mission at San Xavier, this past Monday, Father Richard Gielow C.M., preached about the road to heaven.  He borrowed much of what he presented from a Baptist preacher, he met in Los Angeles, when he and his preacher brother Father Robert Gielow C.M. were there as Catholic chaplains of the Chicago Bears.  On the day when he first heard this concept, he and his brother had said mass for the Catholic members of the Bears and were invited to stay for a second service led by the Baptist preacher.

The Baptist preacher told all in attendance that no matter how important they thought they were, how rich how big, whatever, the way to heaven required them to travel on three roads.

The first road is the Road to Damascus that Paul was traveling when he was suddenly presented with the reality of Jesus Christ, and was brought to conversion.  As Father presented it, we must all come to conversion daily in our lives.  In essence the Road to Damascus is a road we travel each and every day of our lives. 

Like Paul, we each live in judgement of our fellow man, trying to justify our own actions and beliefs as the truth.  Like Paul, we live in spiritual arrogance.  We think we detest the evil in others, while being righteous ourselves.  But, the truth is that what we hate in others is what we see when we look into a mirror.  We might not actually  have or commit an abortion.  We might not actually kill someone with our bare hands or a firearm, or some weapon of mass destruction.  Paul, before Damascus was not evil because he wanted to be evil, but because he was blind to the good in other men, and to the truth about his own sinfulness.

For me, I detest most of the ramblings of a commenter on Father Tim Moyle's blog, Small Town Guy.  But, the truth is though his words are filled with self aggrandizement and arrogant judgement of the Catholic Church, from a revisionist and narrow view of history, that anger in his heart which he spews forth is no different than the self protecting anger that I carry in my own heart.

So, the Road to Damascus is not an event, like the moment of conversion that Paul encountered there, but the whole journey to Damascus that Paul took, from the moment he started until he arrived and encountered the Brothers there.  He had a moment of awakening, but a lifetime of conversion, as do we all.

The second road we must travel is the road to Emmaus. On that road, men who had been close followers of Jesus were walking after the Resurrection, and though Jesus walked along with them, they did not recognize him for some time.  Father Gielow told a personal story of not seeing Jesus that opened his eyes.

He was in Denver Colorado a number of years ago, preaching for the day (Sunday - a football Sunday at that) to 700 teenagers who were preparing for Confirmation.  As he stated, almost all of them did not want to be there, and so he worked hard for about 10 hours preaching, saying Mass, speaking to them.  By 8 PM he was exhausted and had headed back to the Basilica rectory, where he was staying, to rest.  As he approached the parking lot, he saw a man who looked dishevelled coming towards him, and carrying a bottle in a brown bag.  The man also had long hair down to the middle of his back.   He made the obvious, though erroneous, conclusion that this was someone who was down and out, and actually prayed to God to have someone else come and speak to him, as he was exhausted.

As he got out of his car, and beetled his way to the rectory door, the man approached him.  Father Gielow had reached into his wallet previously and had taken out a $5 bill to hand the man, if necessary.  As the man approached, he pulled out the bill and went to hand it to him.  The man said he did not want the money, but wanted to know if he could enter the Church to spend some time in front of the tabernacle, and also to fill his bottle with holy water for his home.  This incident brought home to Father the Road to Emmaus, and how we fail to see Jesus in each other.

For my friend Small Town Guy over at Father Tim's, the Road to Emmaus is elusive, since he is so busy telling anyone who will read his screed of the evils of the Catholic Church, that, like me in many of my fatuous ramblings, he cannot hear the voice of the Master.  As Jesus travelled with the men on the road, he listened to them, and conversed with them, meeting them in their grief, confusion, disbelief.  Yet, they did not recognize Him for who He was.  They did not know who He was until He broke bread with them and blessed the bread and them. Jesus did not judge them for their unbelief.  He walked with them.  He did not criticize their confusion at the events that had occurred.  He listened to them, loved them, and spoke gently with them.  In essence, He set an example for us to awaken our faith in His midst, in our daily lives.

But, should we awaken to our own sinfulness on our Road to Damascus, and should we become aware of His presence amongst us as we travel our Road to Emmaus, we must put our converted selves and our aware selves into action, and so we must travel the Road to Jericho.

On the Road to Jericho, a Jewish man had been robbed and beaten.  As Father Gielow described it, a priest happened by. The priest had priestly functions to attend to at the Church, things that were obviously more important to him than seeing to this injured man, and so he scampered on to what was more important (at least to him, if not to he injured man).  The Levite happened along next.  He was important in the administration of his parish/church, and had churchy things to handle, setting up for the bingo, preparing for coffee Sunday or whatever, and so he was too self important to minister to the injured man.

But along came a Samaritan.   Samaritans hate Jews, and it is mutual, not a lot unlike Catholic Christians, and many Protestant Christians.   But, when he came along, he set aside this animosity, and took it upon himself to help this man.  He did not look upon him as a Jew, an enemy, but as a man who had been injured and needed help.  He was colour blind.  Before he carried on with his own business, he looked after him, and even when he left to do his own thing, he left money to care for the man, and promised to return to pay any additional charges for his care.

This is where faith is put into action. Yes, our salvation is purely by the Grace of God, but "faith without works is dead", and so if we have been traveling to Damascus and Emmaus in our lives, we must also travel to Jericho, and make our faith have substance in the world we live in, not by our churchy words, but by our love inspired actions.

I bet that priest who passed by gave a rousing good homily in the synagogue that day, railing against those hated and hateful Samaritans, who so despise the Jews that they would kill them and torture them.  I bet he heard a lot of Amens, and "Preach it Brother" from the Levites that were present.  They might even have gone out from synagogue later that day, and beaten up a Samaritan, possibly even the one that had helped their Jewish neighbour. 

That's the thing with self righteousness.  It can pretty much justify any response to imagined or real injustices.  But, the Samaritan in this case was heeding the words of Jesus to love thy neighbour, and also to judge not lest you be judged. 

Which is easier; to stop what you are doing in your busy life to love a neighbour that you may never have met before, or to rail on about the differences between us?

Oh, one final thing.  The three Roads, to Damascus, to Emmaus, and to Jericho converge in a place we will all meet one day.  They converge at Golgatha, at the foot of the Cross.  There we will meet Him and each other face to face, the crucified Christ, the one who died to set us free from all the sin and corruption that has kept us from Him, and all those who have been His body here on earth.

There is a fourth road that meets there, for all roads lead to Golgatha.  It does not have a name, but it is a path of self righteousness, and judgement.  It is the road the priest and Levite were taking when they stumbled onto the Jericho road for a few moments.

There in the midst of Holiness personified, we will have no choice but to drop all pretence as to our own holiness, and self righteousness.  There, His eyes from the cross will pierce our being, as the sword pierced His side.  His love will wash over us, and in an instant we will have to choose between our own sin that has not drawn us closer to Him, but further away from Him, and Love personified. 

What road/roads are you taking to Golgatha?  If you see me on the Road to Jericho, will you stop to help me? If I see you there, will I stop to help you?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Does This Image Offend You? - I Didn't Think So. Me Either

What Makes Us Take Offense?

A while back, I posted an image of an aborted child.  It was real and it was graphic, as that child had been torn limb from limb during an abortion, which is what happens in an abortion.  It is the taking of an innocent life. 

One young woman who I know and respect very much wrote me personally to tell me that the image offended her (as I hoped it might) and explained her reasons for feeling offense.  I respect that she had the courage to personally tell me what she felt, rather than trying to carry on as if I never posted it and she never saw it.

We should be offended by that image, though we will be offended for different reasons, but should that image be censored for some reason?

How about this image?

This is an image from the Holocaust, the murder of over 6,000,000 Jews, mainly by the German armed forces during World War II.  This is historical fact.  It cannot be denied.  Many people did terrible things to others whose only sin was being Jewish, which most of us do not know to be a sin.  (It isn't, by the way.)

This image is publicly available, and is horrible in what it depicts.  Yet, we are not offended by it.  And we do not hate German people because of the sins of their fathers.  When we see something like this picture, we want to be sure that nothing like it ever happens again.  It is almost too horrible to imagine.

But, since Roe v. Wade, and other events that have propelled abortion into the prominence that it now has, we have seen abortion rise to an epidemic.  14,000,000 million American unborn children have been murdered in the last decade, and probably 1,400,000 or so Canadian unborn children.

If the numbers of the unborn who are killed are not staggering on their own, and the images not graphic enough for you and me to scream out that this must stop, what then will it take for us to demand an end to abortion in our countries.

Here is a picture of the man who was most responsible for the murder of 6,000,000 Jews.

Does anybody in their right mind want to praise this man, give him the Order of Canada, or give him accolades?  I thought not.

Yet, here is another man, who by fighting for the decriminalization of abortion, and running a series of abortion clinics, has led the charge that has resulted in the taking of the lives of so many unborn Canadian children.

This man, born in Poland 1923, and being Jewish, spent time in his youth, in a prison camp.  If any man on earth should know about Holocaust, he should.  He has been given the Order of Canada, for his work on behalf of Women.

Do we live in a wacky world or what?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Missionary Preaches a Mission at a Mission Just Off Mission Road

A couple of years ago, I had an Epiphany at the Church of the Epiphany on the Feast of the Epiphany in Normal Illinois.  So, it did not seem strange to me to go to the Mission of San Xavier del Bac, which is just a short distance off S. Mission Road outside Tucson, to attend a mission led by a missionary priest, Father Richard (Dick) Gielow C.M. C.M. means Congregation of the Mission, though we would more commonly call priests of his order Vincentians, after Saint Vincent de Paul, their founder.  It seems to me that when God wants me to get a word, He repeats it for me S-L-O-W-L-Y and often.

So, as I indicated in an earlier post here, My Dear Wife and I made our way to San Xavier for Monday night's mission start.

We had an opportunity to speak to Father Gielow at the end of the reception after the Mass and mission that evening.  He shared with us something that I believe is very important for a successful mission in the Catholic Church. Father Gielow has a deep love of the Eucharist, and so the one condition he and his twin brother Father Rober (Bob) Gielow C.M., who also preaches missions around the US, has for agreeing to do a mission somewhere is that the mission must be incorporated into the celebration of the Eucharist.  He wants the focus to be on the message, not the messenger, and since he is preaching Christ crucified for our sins, there is no better way in the Catholic Church than around the table of the Lord, and the Eucharistic celebration.

Father Gielow will be preaching his first mission in Canada, in BC later this year.  It came about because a snow bird from there, attended a mission he led in Phoenix recently, and then wrote to his pastor in Canada, asking him to invite Father Gielow to come and preach there.

After hearing Father preach at the Sunday mass, and then lead the first evening of the 3 evening mission, I suggest to any of my priest friends who might read this post, that bringing him to Canada to preach is likely to light a fire in your parish, or at least wake up a few to the beauty of the Eucharist and our Catholic faith in Jesus.

Salvation - a User's Manual and FAQ's

Musings on The Word of God And a Coffee Maker

Last Spring, two of our daughters bought My Dear Wife and I a Tassimo Coffee Maker.  At first, I did not want to abandon our drip coffee maker that makes 6 full cups in one go, for a machine that could do a Latte (even though I love Latte's) or hot chocolate, or specialty or normal coffess and even tea.  But over time it has grown on me, and the old coffee maker sits in the cupboard.  But, this coffee maker has some tips in the useful owners manual, which are helpful if you want it to work properly. 

Also, there are at the Tassimo site, Frequently Asked Questions and appropriate answers that are available for further edification.  The owner's manual predates the FAQ's, and over time the FAQs have come from someone trying to do something unusual, or usual but not fully documented.

As I lay in bed this morning about 3 am, it dawned on me that Christianity is a lot like our Tassimo.  Like the Tassimo, Christianity was an invention if you could call it that, at least for purposes of this article.  Where the Tassimo was invented by some pretty smart German engineers, Christianity was the brain child of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  The Tassimo is a way to brew hot beverages, whereas Christianity is a way of life meant to keep us from having very hot beverages and everything else hot in the hereafter.

The Tassimo comes with an owner's manual that included the things the inventors and manufacturers thought we needed to use it effectively to do what it was designed for.  But, it was written at a point in time, when Tassimo's were first coming to market.

Christainity has an owner's manual as well.  That manual is The Holy Bible.  Parts of the Bible were in fact written prior to the creation of Christianity (what we know as the Old Testament), and so they set the stage for Christianity in its early use.  But, much of the owner's manual was written long after Christianity was created by Jesus.  It was not an after thought, but came about because the inventor was no longer physically on site to guide the users of Christianity.

Before the Owner's manual was completed for Christianity, there was actually an FAQ of sorts.  The leaders of the Church (being the leaders of local churches) gathered to discuss what was happening.  There they tuned some of the practices, and appointed people to provide guidance to users of Christianity.  In fact, much of the owner's manual in the case of Christianity was letters written to respond to Frequently Asked Questions posed by early Christians.

Christianity is much more complex than the Tassimo.  As well, since it was a way of life, and not a coffee brewer, people who disagreed with it didn't just pitch their Tassimo, or not buy one.  They tended to murder the Christians to show their displeasure, which is a little more radical display of feelings.

Over time the FAQ's grew and the concept of the Magisterium of the Church came to being.  Though it was not a new concept, and is supportable from the Bible, it was a way of documenting things so that they would be available for all.

Just a thought!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

San Xavier Del Bac - White Dove of the Desert

Sunday Mass With a Surprise

Yesterday morning, My Dear Wife and I were trying to decide where to attend Mass.  For some reason, neither of us was particularly interested in attending Our Lady of Fatima, nearby, nor of travelling across town to Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, where I have been attending daily mass regularly for the last several weeks.  I looked on the Diocesan web site for mass times and places and suggested two parishes to herself.  One was the actual parish of Judge John Roll, one of those who died in the Tucson Tragedy a short while back.  The other was the Mission Parish of San Xavier del Bac.

San Xavier it was to be.  That immediately sparked both of our interests, and we set off for the 11 am Mass there.  San Xavier is named for Saint Francis Xavier.  San Xavier is one of the early mission churches, one of many throughout the West, particularly in California and Texas, that were part of early North American evangelization efforts by Franciscan priests and others in what was then New Spain.  The beginnings of the congregation date to Father Eusebio Kino, who visited the area in 1692.  He started construction of a first Church that was never completed in 1700, and the actual Church that is there now was started by Fr. Juan Bautista Velderrain in 1783 and completed in 1797.

Over the years the parish has become both a center of worship, and also a National Historical Monument, as it is the oldest European style architectural building extant in Arizona.  It is a Church and grounds of classical simple beauty, unlike what you would find elsewhere, and is holy ground.

We have visited it as tourists, but this was to be our first mass there.  It was also the first mass for Father Richard Gielow, a Vincentian priest, who will be preaching a mission there tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday nights, including evening masses.

Father Gielow preached a humorous, touching, inspiring homily about the Catholic faith, and invited all in attendance to return for the mission, as the focus would be praying for our family members who are not attending Church, due to a loss of or absence of faith.

Although we found mass to be prayerful and wonderful as always, we knew that we were to attend the mission, and so today we have been preparing ourselves for that.

My Dear Wife had received from one of our daughters news that a friend of hers had given birth and that the baby, though a good size and appearing well at birth has contracted some kind of illness that doctors are stumped to resolve currently.  She is quite sick, and we were asked to pray for her.  Her name, like that of our latest granddaughter is Charlotte, and herself printed a picture of this little one to take with us to the mission for prayers for her healing. (I invite you to include baby Charlotte in your prayers as well).

We are looking forward to this mission, which starts in about 2 hours our time here in Tucson.

I will be keeping all who read this blog in my prayers as well as our loved ones.

Every Tom Dick and Satan Knows Scripture

And Satan Knows It Best

Christianity is split largely between the Catholics and the Protestants, though there are so many splits among the Protestants that it is hard to tell denomination from denomination without some kind of score card.  But, the Catholics don't get off so easily either.  Catholics have abandoned their faith in droves, some surfacing with our Protestant brothers and sisters, but many just lapsing into nowhere land.

Somehow, many Catholics think they can earn their way into heaven, though that is not a Catholic exclusive.  Many mainline Protestants are of the same opinion. Just a thought!!  If you could earn your way into heaven, why did Jesus come to earth?  What a terrible waste of time that was, and besides that it hurt a HELL of a lot.  Sorry to burst your bubble, but you can't do it on your own, and He did win the right for you to go to heaven all by himself. 

The brain wave that led people to believe that they could beat down the gates of heaven by their innate goodness did not come from the bible, nor from any preaching of the Word by any Catholic priest or evangelist worth his or her salt.  We are to cooperate with Christ in His mission to set sinners free by living lives of holiness, goodness if you will, but it is cooperation, not salvation.

But, when it comes to using the Bible as a tool for d-evangelization no one does it better than our Protestant brothers and sisters, who call themselves "bible believers."  "Bible believers" is a pejorative term, meant to differentiate them from those who they claim do not believe the Bible - read Catholics, if you will. Somehow, they have an exclusive lock on the truths of the bible.  Although there are over 1,000 different denominations of bible believers, each of which believes something different from the bible, they do seem to have a common enemy, the Catholics.

That ought to give a clue as to how led by the Bible they actually are.  But, fear not Catholics, we put them up to it in the first place, so this is only giving us what we are due to a certain extent.

Pause for a moment.  About one thing Catholics and Protestants are unanimously in agreement, or should be, if they believe the basics of their faith.  The Bible is inerrant - ie.  It does not contradict itself, nor have one teensy weensy little error in it.  It is therefor TRUE, and strictly so.

So, let's take one little bit of scripture for example.  Jesus said: "This IS My Body," that Passover night when He gave the early Church the Eucharist.  The early Church believed that He said it IS His Body, wrote about it, celebrated it, even though they could not grasp it with their own minds, but had to take it on faith.  The canon of scripture followed along after, and in that scripture are references to this Eucharist and the celebration of it by believers.

This faith tradition has existed since the death of Our Saviour, and continues to this day in the Catholic Church, with no breaks.

So, about 500 years ago, the leadership of the Church was in turmoil and disobedience.  Serious sin had weaseled its way in to the hierarchy as lust in general and lust for power reared its ugly head.  Martin Luther and others rightly stood against the abundant sin.  However, they compounded that sin with their own pride, and decided to REFORM the Church, ie. form again, the Church that Christ had created. 

The devil had tempted Church leaders, and they fell to that temptation, creating an untenable situation.  But, pendulums swing both ways, and so in attempting to correct errors, the baby and the bath water both hit the curb, and the free for all began.  Sola scriptura, with its now over 1,000 variations crept in like a bad weed, and people calling themselves followers of Christ are now free to believe whatever they want the Bible to say and to mean, because they can find a similarly minded group out there proclaiming the Word of God in just the right flavour.

So, if the Word of God cannot be in error, and yet there are over 1,000 competing interpretations, who do you think might be behind it?  IMHO "Satan Knows It Best."  Oh, and he is LHAO about it.

Why are we prepared to give Slewfoot an upper hand in our faith?  Whose voice are we going to listen to?

Packers 31 Steelers 25

Call me Surprised!!

I live in London, Ontario much of the year, and Tucson Arizona during the winter.  So, I didn't really have a dog in the fight, or even a football team.  But, two really good teams played a whale of a game last night for the Lombardi Trophy, and it is making its way back to Green Bay, where Vince Lombardi made his name as former coach of the Packers.

But, for many watchers the highlights are the $100,000 a second commercials that were shown for the first time during the game.  $3,000,000 smackers for 30 seconds of eyeball time.  WOW!!

Since Apple finished their series of Mac/PC commercials a year or so ago, my favourites have been the eTrade baby commercials.  This morning I found this video of the out takes from the eTrade cutting room floor.  Actually the cutting room floor is where most of them belonged.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Humility Explained and Lived Out

I recently posted some thoughts on Eucharist in the Catholic context, called Real Presence, about what it means to us, and what it meant to the early Fathers of the Church.  Father Tim Moyle of Where the Rubber Hits the Road picked it up, and posted a link to it.  It then begat several comments over there, almost all of them from Small Town Guy, a man from BC, who regularly criticises the Catholic Church over at that blog.

The comments resulted in some dialogue between Father Tim and STG, and an act of humility on the part of STG, for which I want to give him a shout out.  It was a gracious and gratuitous act on his behalf, and will do more to improve communications than all the pontificating and criticism that has preceded it over the last several months.

Humility is an underrated virtue, held by some to be of great value, and poo pooed by others as contrary to this world we live in.  The latter on its own should be sufficient to indicate that humility has great merit.  Humility requires a great deal of faith and submission to the Divine Will, something that we, even and often more so Christians, seem to avoid through our spiritual arrogance, which is, of course, the diametric opposite of humility.

I came across the writings of the founder of Opus Dei, a highly regarded Catholic organisation, a man who was canonized in October 2002.  These thoughts of his of themselves are not biblical quotations, but are prudent and not inconsistent with biblical teachings.  Here then are some thoughts on what humility does not look like from the writings of Saint Josemaria Escriva:

The Seventeen Evidences of a Lack of Humility

1. To think that what one says or does is better than what others say or do
2. To always to want to get your own way
3. To argue with stubbornness and bad manners whether you are right or wrong
4. To give your opinion when it has not been requested or when charity does not demand it
5. To look down on another’s point of view
6. Not to look on your gifts and abilities as lent
7. Not to recognize that you are unworthy of all honors and esteem, not even of the earth you walk on and things you possess
8. To use yourself as an example in conversations
9. To speak badly of yourself so that others will think well of you or contradict you
10. To excuse yourself when you are corrected
11. To hide humiliating faults from your spiritual director, so that he will not change the impression he has of you
12. To take pleasure in praise and compliments
13. To be saddened because others are held in higher esteem
14. To refuse to perform inferior tasks
15. To seek to stand out
16. To refer in conversation to your honesty, genius, dexterity, or professional prestige
17. To be ashamed because you lack certain goods
One could sum up humility simply to say: "If you think you are, you aren't."  When we think of men and women, who in their commitment to follow Christ, have led exemplary lives or portions thereof, we can see in them true humility, the desire to do and see done the will of God, at any cost.  What could be of higher value than to grow smaller, as He grows bigger in us?

Humility is a journey, a journey of faith, that leads us to the foot of the Cross, where we will meet Him face to face.

May we all seek to be humble servants of the Master.  Thank you STG for showing us the way.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Real Presence

Catholics believe that Jesus Christ is really present in the bread and the wine that we receive in Holy Communion at the celebration of the Mass.   Our Protestant brothers and sisters, in their ignorance, think that the Catholic Church made this up, holus bolus.  However, if we made it up, we did so immediately after Jesus said it was so, and the early Fathers of the Church professed it.
So, if Jesus said it, and the early church leaders confirmed it, isn't it likely to be true?  How come, somebody can come along in the 1500's and decide that it is not so, and millions of Protesters go along with it.

Here from the Church Fathers web site is what early leaders of the Church said about the Eucharist:

“He took from among creation that which is bread, and gave thanks, saying, ‘This is my body.’ The cup likewise, which is from among the creation to which we belong, he confessed to be his blood. He taught the new sacrifice of the new covenant, of which Malachi, one of the twelve [minor] prophets, had signified beforehand: ‘You do not do my will, says the Lord Almighty, and I will not accept a sacrifice at your hands. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure sacrifice; for great is my name among the Gentiles, says the Lord Almighty’ [Mal. 1:10–11]. By these words he makes it plain that the former people will cease to make offerings to God; but that in every place sacrifice will be offered to him, and indeed, a pure one, for his name is glorified among the Gentiles” (Against Heresies 4:17:5 [A.D. 189]).

Ignatius of Antioch

“I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible” (Letter to the Romans 7:3 [A.D. 110]).
“Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes” (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110]).

Justin Martyr

“We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [i.e., has received baptism] and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus” (First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]).


“If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could he rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be his body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is his blood?” (Against Heresies 4:33–32 [A.D. 189]).
“He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life—flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord, and is in fact a member of him?” (ibid., 5:2).

Clement of Alexandria

“’Eat my flesh,’ [Jesus] says, ‘and drink my blood.’ The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children” (The Instructor of Children 1:6:43:3 [A.D. 191]).


“[T]here is not a soul that can at all procure salvation, except it believe whilst it is in the flesh, so true is it that the flesh is the very condition on which salvation hinges. And since the soul is, in consequence of its salvation, chosen to the service of God, it is the flesh which actually renders it capable of such service. The flesh, indeed, is washed [in baptism], in order that the soul may be cleansed . . . the flesh is shadowed with the imposition of hands [in confirmation], that the soul also may be illuminated by the Spirit; the flesh feeds [in the Eucharist] on the body and blood of Christ, that the soul likewise may be filled with God” (The Resurrection of the Dead 8 [A.D. 210]).


“‘And she [Wisdom] has furnished her table’ [Prov. 9:2] . . . refers to his [Christ’s] honored and undefiled body and blood, which day by day are administered and offered sacrificially at the spiritual divine table, as a memorial of that first and ever-memorable table of the spiritual divine supper [i.e., the Last Supper]” (Fragment from Commentary on Proverbs [A.D. 217]).


“Formerly there was baptism in an obscure way . . . now, however, in full view, there is regeneration in water and in the Holy Spirit. Formerly, in an obscure way, there was manna for food; now, however, in full view, there is the true food, the flesh of the Word of God, as he himself says: ‘My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink’ [John 6:55]” (Homilies on Numbers 7:2 [A.D. 248]).

Cyprian of Carthage

“He [Paul] threatens, moreover, the stubborn and forward, and denounces them, saying, ‘Whosoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, is guilty of the body and blood of the Lord’ [1 Cor. 11:27]. All these warnings being scorned and contemned—[lapsed Christians will often take Communion] before their sin is expiated, before confession has been made of their crime, before their conscience has been purged by sacrifice and by the hand of the priest, before the offense of an angry and threatening Lord has been appeased, [and so] violence is done to his body and blood; and they sin now against their Lord more with their hand and mouth than when they denied their Lord” (The Lapsed 15–16 [A.D. 251]).

Council of Nicaea I

“It has come to the knowledge of the holy and great synod that, in some districts and cities, the deacons administer the Eucharist to the presbyters [i.e., priests], whereas neither canon nor custom permits that they who have no right to offer [the Eucharistic sacrifice] should give the Body of Christ to them that do offer [it]” (Canon 18 [A.D. 325]).

Aphraahat the Persian Sage

“After having spoken thus [at the Last Supper], the Lord rose up from the place where he had made the Passover and had given his body as food and his blood as drink, and he went with his disciples to the place where he was to be arrested. But he ate of his own body and drank of his own blood, while he was pondering on the dead. With his own hands the Lord presented his own body to be eaten, and before he was crucified he gave his blood as drink” (Treatises 12:6 [A.D. 340]).

Cyril of Jerusalem

“The bread and the wine of the Eucharist before the holy invocation of the adorable Trinity were simple bread and wine, but the invocation having been made, the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine the blood of Christ” (Catechetical Lectures 19:7 [A.D. 350]).
“Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by the faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the body and blood of Christ. . . . [Since you are] fully convinced that the apparent bread is not bread, even though it is sensible to the taste, but the body of Christ, and that the apparent wine is not wine, even though the taste would have it so, . . . partake of that bread as something spiritual, and put a cheerful face on your soul” (ibid., 22:6, 9).

Ambrose of Milan

“Perhaps you may be saying, ‘I see something else; how can you assure me that I am receiving the body of Christ?’ It but remains for us to prove it. And how many are the examples we might use! . . . Christ is in that sacrament, because it is the body of Christ” (The Mysteries 9:50, 58 [A.D. 390]).

Theodore of Mopsuestia

“When [Christ] gave the bread he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my body,’ but, ‘This is my body.’ In the same way, when he gave the cup of his blood he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my blood,’ but, ‘This is my blood’; for he wanted us to look upon the [Eucharistic elements] after their reception of grace and the coming of the Holy Spirit not according to their nature, but receive them as they are, the body and blood of our Lord. We ought . . . not regard [the elements] merely as bread and cup, but as the body and blood of the Lord, into which they were transformed by the descent of the Holy Spirit” (Catechetical Homilies 5:1 [A.D. 405]).


“Christ was carried in his own hands when, referring to his own body, he said, ‘This is my body’ [Matt. 26:26]. For he carried that body in his hands” (Explanations of the Psalms 33:1:10 [A.D. 405]).
“I promised you [new Christians], who have now been baptized, a sermon in which I would explain the sacrament of the Lord’s Table. . . . That bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, is the blood of Christ” (Sermons 227 [A.D. 411]).
“What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that the bread is the body of Christ and the chalice is the blood of Christ. This has been said very briefly, which may perhaps be sufficient for faith; yet faith does not desire instruction” (ibid., 272).

Council of Ephesus

“We will necessarily add this also. Proclaiming the death, according to the flesh, of the only-begotten Son of God, that is Jesus Christ, confessing his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven, we offer the unbloody sacrifice in the churches, and so go on to the mystical thanksgivings, and are sanctified, having received his holy flesh and the precious blood of Christ the Savior of us all. And not as common flesh do we receive it; God forbid: nor as of a man sanctified and associated with the Word according to the unity of worth, or as having a divine indwelling, but as truly the life-giving and very flesh of the Word himself. For he is the life according to his nature as God, and when he became united to his flesh, he made it also to be life-giving” (Session 1, Letter of Cyril to Nestorius [A.D. 431]).
“We will necessarily add this also. Proclaiming the death, according to the flesh, of the only-begotten Son of God, that is Jesus Christ, confessing his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven, we offer the unbloody sacrifice in the churches, and so go on to the mystical thanksgivings, and are sanctified, having received his holy flesh and the precious blood of Christ the Savior of us all. And not as common flesh do we receive it; God forbid: nor as of a man sanctified and associated with the Word according to the unity of worth, or as having a divine indwelling, but as truly the life-giving and very flesh of the Word himself. For he is the life according to his nature as God, and when he became united to his flesh, he made it also to be life-giving” (Session 1, Letter of Cyril to Nestorius [A.D. 431]).
So, when a well meaning, but ignorant, brother tells you that Lorraine Boettner said this or that denouncing the Eucharist, or that some former priest like Bennett, has said this or that against the Eucharist, you may feel free to tell him to get his facts straight.  You may also tell him that if he really believed in "sola scriptura" that he would have already had the truth about the Eucharist readily available.

Oh, and when he carries on with some other wacky reason why the Eucharist cannot be what we Catholics believe it to be, I recommend that you tell him to go pound salt, because the truth is the truth, and all the fatuous rambling to try and change it, doesn't (change it.)