Monday, April 30, 2012

The Music of Seven Sorrows

Today, I'm going to tell you about the band called Seven Sorrows.

This is the bio I pulled off of Incidentally, this is where you can download some of their songs for free.

"Seven Sorrows is a Catholic band unashamed to proclaim the truth of the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church. We are proud to be conservative, bound to the Holy Father, faithful to the Magisterium, consecrated to the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of Mary, and we are not afraid to speak against that which goes against Catholic beliefs, such as abortion, contraception, pornography, premarital sex, immodest dress, drunkenness, etc."

They are considered a Catholic metal band, but I think they create something beyond any easy genre classification. Check out their website.
I love their logo. You can see it at their site, right here.

I'll pick just two songs to review for you.

"Forgotten Virtue part 1" combines raw metal with  what I'll describe as a sort of alternative/indie sound. Guttural and melodious vocals combine to present poetic lyrics on the theme of dignity and modest dress. Here is a taste of the lyrics:

Claim to want respect

Then you must change your ways

Your clothes are revealing and all they show is shame

"Saints and Sinners" is my favorite of their songs. It portrays Jesus' raw, pure, love. For some reason it reminds me of how passionate for my babies I felt right after giving birth. You know, when you're sweaty and exhausted, but exhilarated, and you just want to hold, gaze at, and protect your babies? Oh man, you feel the same way when your babies grow up and become runaway teens. (Trust me on this.) Then, I'm reminded of how much more God loves than we humans ever could and I'm blown away. Anyway, that's how I feel about that song.

A sample of the lyrics:

You may trip

You may stumble

You may fall

But I don't want to watch you burn

I will suffer for you

Here's a more eloquent review of "SevenSorrows" at CatholicMetal. I'm no music reviewer (as you've probably gathered), but I know what I like and I enjoy sharing it.

Oh, I nearly forgot, you can also listen to Seven Sorrows on the catholic etc. music player.

Why God is a "He"

Is God literally a male? Jesus took on a human male body, but outside of that, God has no physical body. God revealed Himself to be male to the ancient Jews, Jesus was born male, and Jesus referred to the Father in male terms. It makes sense to me because the Church is considered female--the bride of Christ.

Where do we see this "bride of Christ" thing in the Bible? Ephesians 5: 25-32 is an example of that theme. And Christ refers to himself as the bridegroom in Matthew 9:15, Mark 2:19, Luke 5:24.

All of this is enough for me to obey sacred tradition and what I believe to be God's plan, and continue referring to him as male.

However, in reading Handbookof Catholic Apologetics, by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, I came across an additional argument. It had to do with the fact that nature--meaning the whole physical universe--was created by God, not birthed by Him. "As a man comes into a woman from without to make her pregnant, so God creates the universe from without rather than from birthing it from within and impregnates our souls with grace or supernatural life from without." (Kreeft & Tacelli p.104)

I find that beautiful.

Risking getting into a whole other territory, I'll just mention that this makes it clear why Jesus chose men to be his Apostles and why we still today hold that He intended a male priesthood. A priest stands for Christ at the altar--he performs "In Persona Christi,"(in the person of Christ). A priest is meant to be Jesus' representative--His regent. A regent, as you know, is a person or persons who rule while the real ruler is away. Jesus is the one true priest, but he appointed regents (the Apostles).

Sunday, April 22, 2012

When Atheists Judge You

When I was pregnant with my first child I was young, unmarried, and because I was so liberal, rather proud of myself. I had a feeling she would be a boy. Yes, she. I was totally wrong. But at the time, I was convinced she was a boy. I was in college at the time--literature major--and many of the professors were man-hating Christian-hating, loaded with "white guilt," liberals. My history professor was one of the worst. "White, Christian males are bad. They're responsible for all of the ills of the world." When you're hormonal, thinking you're carrying a white male in your belly, this is hard to take. My unborn baby had already been judged unfit. Maybe it was all of the tears I'd shed after that class, but the liberal scales started to fall from my eyes. These people who always said Christians were judgmental, well, weren't they being judgmental themselves?

In my experience, atheists verbally attack Christians, not for behaving as Christians, oddly enough, but for behaving as atheists. With the rise of the internet, they have a whole new arena in which to work.

Obviously I'm not talking all atheists. The majority don't bring up matters of faith, or when they do pop up, they're respectful, open minded, and judge people as individuals rather than preconceived stereotypes. Sadly, the atheist "haters"(people who comment on blogs, on YouTube, at a party, etc. for the sole purpose of saying hateful things), are so much more in-your-face than your average atheist that you must remind yourself that the average atheist is in fact, behaving quite like a Christian. In this post, I'm not talking about those atheists.

So, what are things atheists criticize? Typically, not praying, though they do scoff at our faith, as if they didn't have faith in anything unproven. They conveniently forget that Darwinian evolution is only a theory. (BTW, Catholics are free to believe in evolution. See below)*

They criticize us for behaving as atheists. They latch onto the stereotype of a judgmental, self-righteous, hateful person with no room in his/her heart for love. They assume our faith is without reason and that we haven't thought it through. And they accuse us of being robots with no mind of our own. Essentially, Hate-filled robots. That would make a catchy band name.

Maybe there are mean Christians, but I daresay they are Christian only in name. A person with genuine faith in Christ tries to put their whole life into living with His values: love, humility, generosity, stewardship over the earth, self-sacrifice. Yes, sometimes we fail. We get grumpy and snap at somebody. We give in to selfishness. We're not perfect. But it's not because of our religion that we behave badly, as the atheist believes-- without proof ;-)  but when we go against our religious principles.

The atheist view is that we're all just jumbles of cells formed into animals by chance. The species popped up and thrived because some individuals happened to be more fit than others. And we have no souls.

 Why do "hater" atheists not simply shrug when they see a Christian behaving as if we're all animals and that survival of the fittest is the rule of the day? Shouldn't they be happy to see somebody living those values? No. Because deep down, they know we were made for more. They recognize evil and good in spite of their disbelief in God. They know in their hearts there in a standard for GOOD that human society didn't invent. It's without scientific explanation. It doesn't match their proposed worldview. But they cannot ignore the inner sense of right and wrong put into them by The Creator.

But why do they attack random Christians with false judgments? Christians who may be good people? Why not get to know somebody before seeing them only as a stereotype? Maybe some atheists were hurt by a bad Christian. And we all know if you're harmed, by all means, hate everyone from that religion, ethnic group, or gender for the rest of your life and teach that hatred to your children and students so they can pass it on to theirs. :p

As for Christianity being without reason. Well, can't know that without investigation. Some Christians simply know it's true, but can't tell you why. Many of these are beautifully close to our Lord and very good people in the best sense of the word good. Others have examined and studied their faith and have figured out there is very good reason for it. I'll go into that on another post. This one has grown longer than I usually like.

But if you do want proofs of God's existence, please see Peter Kreeft's website.

*God created all things. He is the prime mover. If he wants to create a new species out of a preexisting one, He can. And worlds better than we can, I gather from the evidence. We've bred flies like you wouldn't believe and all the scientists could see were more flies. We've bred dogs. We get quite a variety from mastiffs and cockapoos, but they never evolve into anything but dogs. If evolution created species, then it wasn't by chance.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Papal Authority: Peter as the First Pope

St. Peter 6th C.

Some people don't believe that Jesus meant for the bishop of Rome, that is, the Pope, to be the head of His church. They think that when Christ said "You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church and to you I will give the keys to Heaven," He didn't really mean that Peter and the popes after him are to be his vicars on earth. People say that the Catholic Church invented papal authority. So, my question would be, When did the Catholic Church invent papal authority?

Let's take a jog backwards through history, shall we? Hmm, I see before Pope Benedict XVI, there was Pope John Paul II. John Paul I, before him. Paul VI, before him. Oh gosh, with 265 popes from today extending all the way back to St. Peter, this could take all day, and it wouldn't tell us when exactly the church supposedly started making up this papal authority thing.
Pope chart available here.

Let's look at old writings. That's what we do when researching historic events, right? Either that, or we can take a trip with Doctor Who on the TARDIS. :)

A.D. 597- Here's a quote from a letter from Pope St. Gregory I to Bishop Eulogius of Alexandra. "Your most sweet holiness has spoken much in your letter to me about the chair of St. Peter, prince of the apostles, saying that he himself now sits on it in the persons of his successors..." Oh dear! It sure sounds like papal authority, doesn't it? Guess the great conspiracy has already taken root by that time. Maybe we'll look earlier in history for some sign that these popes weren't really popes.

A.D. 367 - St. Optatus of Milevis wrote, "You cannot deny that you know that upon Peter first in the city of Rome was bestowed the episcopal cathedra, on which he sat, the head of all the apostles (for which reason he was called Cephas), that in this one cathedra, unity should be preserved by all..." Oh my! Another vote for papal authority. It's funny, because I've heard other more recent (protestant) explanations about Simon-Peter's naming. But that's a tributary I won't travel in this post, but you can go to this CatholicAnswers site to learn more about that.

A.D. 189 - St. Irenaeus of Lyons wrote this in, Against Heresies. This is a long quote, but I'll give the key phrases. "...Tradition universally known Church founded and organized at Rome...For it is a matter of necessity that every church agree with this church, on account of its preeminent authority..." I don't even need to comment. It's pretty clear.

A.D.80 The Shepherd of Hermas. "Therefore shall you write two little books and send one to Clement [Bishop of Rome] and one to Grapte. Clement shall then send it to the cities abroad, because that is his duty."

And now I'm looking at Acts of the Apostles and seeing clearly that Peter is the leader of the apostles. It would be tedious to highlight each passage that points to this. Now, obviously Jesus knew Peter wouldn't live forever, so he had to pass on the keys. I mean, notice how the apostles took it upon themselves to replace Judas (Acts 1). Unless you're going to toss out all of Acts, you're going to have to admit that Jesus kept the church alive though the apostles with Peter as the head.

For me, all the evidence points to the fact that the early Christians felt Jesus intended papal authority, and that when Jesus said, "Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah: flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee also, that you are Cephas, and on this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it" (The Diatesseron 23 [A.D. 170]) he meant for Peter to be His right hand man in His church on earth.

For more information see Jimmy Akin's book The Fathers Know Best and, especially this page or this one, but also search around that site. You'll read stuff by people way smarter and better educated than myself. I'm just a Catholic blogger in love with Jesus and truth. :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

My God, my God...

Why does Jesus say, in Mark 15:34 "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (or sometimes "abandoned" me)?

Did you know he's quoting Psalm 22? I urge you strongly to read it in its entirety. It journeys through the crucifixion. The speaker in Psalm 22 is mocked, scorned. His hands and feet are pierced. His garments are divided. They cast lots for his clothing. Sound familiar?

Yet the Psalm ends triumphantly.

No Bible handy? No problem. You can visit United StatesConference of Catholic Bishops to read Psalm 22 and other Bible passages.

Have a blessed Good Friday.


For God So Loved the World

Am I lovable? Is the question a person sometimes asks him or herself. We are on a world where people feel pain and misfortune, so this is not a surprising question. And it's one I will answer in a moment.

You have a God who enfleshed Himself, becoming a human being, a person, an individual, like you. He didn't have to. He's God.

Why did he do such a thing? He walked among people, rich and poor. Sick and healthy. Very sinful people and some not so sinful. God loves every person because we are all of us his children. To demonstrate his love, God--in the second person of the Trinity--Jesus, allowed himself to be executed as a criminal in a most painful and humiliating way.

John 15: 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (NAB)

So, yes, I'd say you are lovable. You cannot argue with God and hope to win. :)

To read about suffering, I'd recommend this Q and A piece at Catholic Answers.

Have a blessed day.

Crucifix in Mexico

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Quick Holy Week Post

It's Holy Week. Get yourself over to Aggie Catholics blog and check out the post of a nifty video Holy Week in Two Minutes.  I love it because it covers Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday all in the space of... get this, two minutes--hence, the title- "Holy Week in Two Minutes" ;) 

It talks about why we Catholics do the washing of the feet, venerate the cross, and all that good stuff.

And have a blessed Holy Week.

the washing of the feet