7 Quick Takes Friday (set #166)

This week: The nature of Mass and a wonderful new video, presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz for Ascension Press. Fixing the pope’s pizza problem (sometimes bold action is required). Dr. Gerald Schroeder suggests a scientific proof for God. On a related note, science struggles to understand even common things. Skiff and AJ reflect on pews. Deducing the rules for religious self-identification of the comically biased media. The evil rich do not pay their fair share (or so many have been told to believe).

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I heard an explanation of the Mass recently that left me sad. Too many Catholics understand the source and summit of Christian life far too poorly. In this case, enlightened by the offered instruction alone, none would have been able to articulate its fundamental, intrinsic nature. It is the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is a SACRIFICE. The once and for all, everlasting sacrifice of Christ for the salvation of mankind. The instruction I heard referred to the Altar of Sacrifice as a “table”. It most certainly is not. Ascension Press (as usual) “gets it” in this new video:

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Pizzeria co-owner Enzo Cacialli read that the Holy Father missed being able to go out to a pizzeria. So he made a special pizza and “delivered” it personally to Pope Francis’ speeding popemobile.

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Scientist Dr. Gerald Schroeder believes there is a relatively straight-forward proof for God. He holds doctorates in both science and physics from MIT. I remain doubtful (of this “proof” and a need for one, not doubtful of God!). It is at least interesting…

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Science does not purport to be the means to all knowledge. In fact, it addresses only a fairly narrow subset. Lack of scientific proof does not make anything false (otherwise, we would no longer need scientists to uncover new knowledge). Sometimes, even common, everyday things elude scientific understanding.

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This is the second Lumen Entertainment “What’s What In the Church” video. Skiff and AJ (the characters) reflect on pews:

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This is funny and so true! The wacky dudes and dudettes at Lutheran Satire have again produced an insightful video. This time, the (completely biased, anti-Christian, liberal) media’s apparent rules for recognizing religious self-identification:

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Everybody (at least most liberals) understand as a matter of faith the “fact” that the rich do not pay their fair share. UCLA Professor of Economics Dr. Lee Ohanian, speaks for Prager University:


Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was begun by Jennifer Fulwiler and is now continued by Kelly Mantoan. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Kelly for hosting this project!

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Elsewhere: Cardinal Walter Kasper

Many in the German bishops’ conference have been strongly lobbying against unchangeable doctrine, if not formally then in practice. They have been the primary force behind the widely reported attempts to manipulate the Synod on the Family. As I noted previously, their Cardinal Walter Kasper has led the charge on a non-stop, worldwide media blitz.

Cardinal Kasper has had not only the ear of the liberal media, but also that of the Holy Father. The crux of his proposal is to admit to the Eucharist some who are objectively living in a state of mortal sin. Personally, I do not see how that would be even remotely possible. Neither do many of Kasper’s fellow Cardinals. Fortunately, there are credible reports that his support is finally waning.

Most of us know very little about Cardinal Kasper and what he believes. As a Prince of the Church, you might assume that it is in line with her teaching. It turns out, not so much. Joe Sparks writing for Catholic Household takes a close look at Cardinal Kasper’s statements and in particular his book Jesus the Christ. There, Kasper generally dismisses the transfiguration, walking on water, quieting the storm, raising the dead, the miraculous catch of fish and feeding the multitude as legends. Such a belief is squarely at odds with that which all faithful Catholics must hold.

When Walter Kasper approaches the topic of Jesus Christ, one has the impression that he finds it impossible to know exactly how many of the events related in the Gospels actually transpired. While he defends a “basic stock of historically certain miracles,” he casts considerable doubt on the historical reality of a number of Gospel accounts. In his acclaimed work Jesus the Christ, he wrote regarding some of the Gospel miracle accounts:

“A number of miracle stories turn out in the light of form criticism to be projections of the experiences of Easter back into the earthly life of Jesus, or anticipatory representations of the exalted Christ. Among these epiphany stories we should probably include the stilling of the storm, the transfiguration, Jesus” walking on the lake, the feeding of the four (or five) thousand and the miraculous draught of fishes. The clear purpose of the stories of the raising from the dead of Jairus’s daughter, the widow’s son at Naim and Lazarus is to present Jesus as Lord over life and death. It is the nature miracles which turn out to be secondary accretions to the original tradition.

The result of all this is that we must describe many of the gospel miracle stories as legendary. Legends of this sort should be examined less for their historical than for their theological content. They say something, not about individual facts of saving history, but about the single saving event which is Jesus Christ. To show that certain miracles cannot be ascribed to the earthly Jesus does not mean that they have no theological or kerygmatic significance…   The probability is that we need not take the so-called “nature miracles” as historical.” (Jesus the Christ, p. 90-91)

One could give many more examples that show a disturbing trend to spiritualize the actions of Our Lord as recounted in the Gospels. Even the Resurrection accounts of Our Lord do not emerge unscathed from Cardinal Kasper’s reductionist hermeneutic, with the story of the empty tomb receiving particular attention from Cardinal Kasper:

“[Mark 16] begins with a definite improbability. The wish to anoint a dead body, which has already been put in its shroud in the tomb, three days later, is not given any explanation, such as being a custom of the time, and is unintelligible in the climatic conditions of Palestine. The fact that the women do not realize until they are already on the way that they would need help to roll back the stone and enter the tomb betrays a degree of thoughtlessness which is not easy to explain. We must assume therefore that we are faced not with historical details but with stylistic devices intended to attract the attention and raise excitement in the minds of those listening…” (Jesus the Christ, p. 127)

There is a great deal more. Read the entire piece: The Gospel According to Cardinal Kasper: Did the Miracles and Prophesies of Jesus Really Happen?

Father Dwight Longenecker also comments on this in Does Cardinal Kasper Believe in Friendly Ghosts?

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7 Quick Takes Friday (set #165)

This week: The latest issue of New Evangelists Monthly awaits your perusal. The folks at Lumen Entertainment launch a new series of 1 minute, catechetical short films: What’s What in the Church. Chris Stefanick on saying “yes” to Jesus. Jeff Harris illustrates our president’s view. The largest cave in the world. How dark were the “dark ages”? Ben Shapiro looks at American Jewish identity.

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New Evangelists Monthly

Issue #27, March 2015, of New Evangelists Monthly is ready for your enjoyment! Scores of faithful Catholic bloggers have contributed their very best pieces from February. Contributing authors this month include: Adam Crawford, Chris Capolino, Nancy Shuman, Virginia Lieto, Birgit Jones, Allen Hebert, Cindy Hurla, Christian LeBlanc, Carolyn Astfalk, Tracy Smith, Jamie Jo, Ellen Kolb, Blythe Kaufman, Barbara Schoeneberger, John Schroeder, Nicole Ernest, Kathleen Laplante, David Wong, MC, Timothy McCormick, Margaret Felice, Molly Oshatz, Monica McConkey, Fr. Gerald Souza, Lisa Ponchak, Mary Beth Brummond, Tony Agnesi, Lawrence and Susan Fox, Melanie Jean Juneau, Jennifer Hansen, Anabelle Hazard, Debbie Gaudino, Jenn Tatum, Lisa Laverty, Michael Seagriff, Sr. Margaret Obrovac, Rick Becker, Nancy Ward, Jessica and Manny Archuleta, Fr. Chori Jonathin Seraiah, Shannon Evans, Dn. Scott Dodge, Melissa Overmyer, Fr. Tucker Cordani, Fr. Ben Hadrich, Leslie Klinger, Matthew Plese, Bonnie Way, George Sipe, Jim Curley, Ellen Gable Hrkach, Ruth Ann Pilney, Michael Brandon, Lyn Mettler, Heidi, Heidi Knofczynski, Bartimaeus Timeo, Barbara Szyszkiewicz, Rich Maffeo, Elizabeth Reardon, Rita Buettner, Fr. Adrian Danker, Roxane Salonen, Brantly Millegan, Shannon Vandaveer, Mark Langley, Matt Nelson, Sue Elvis, Sr. Maresa Lilley, Matt McCormick, Mike Landry, Thomas and Deborah Richard, Rebecca LaBriola, Sarah Thèrése, Rose O’Donnell, Laura Pearl, Barbara Hosbach, Jeff Walker, Fr. Errol Fernandes, Justin Soutar, Larry Peterson, Vinny Carr, Drusilla, David Torkington, Philip Kosloski, Reese Cumming, Larry T, Mallory Hoffman, Emily Davis, Ashley Woleben, Ruth Curcuru, Rick Rice, Joe LaCombe, Jennifer Cerino, Dennis McGeehan, Laura Kazlas, Kathryn Cooper and Ishmael Alighieri.

This monthly “meta-magazine” showcases faithful Catholicism from theology to family life and “everything in between.” Enjoy it now at NewEvangelists.org.

Read Now

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This is something new and a little odd. The folks at Lumen Entertainment make these “What’s What In the Church” videos. They are very short and very basic. Here are Skiff and AJ (the characters):

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This week, Chris Stefanick explores saying “yes” to Jesus.

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Often (usually?) Jeff Harris at Sword of Peter doesn’t have to be all that clever. Really, just illustrate the news:

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Hang Son Doong (located in Vietnam) is the largest cave in the world. No small “hole in the ground”, this is more like a journey to Middle Earth. This video was shot at the entrance and a the first two “dolines” (skylights – 2.5 and 3.5 km in) by a drone.

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One of the big misrepresentations of history (along with the Crusades, the Inquisitions,and Galileo of course) is the “dark ages.” Even the label “dark” sounds ominous. Professor Anthony Esolen (a sharp guy, BTW) takes an honest look at those times for Prager University.

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Ben Shapiro looks at American Jewish identity. Unfortunately, it’s political, not religious…


Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was begun by Jennifer Fulwiler and is now continued by Kelly Mantoan. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Kelly for hosting this project!

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Believing Christ

Guest contributor:   Ed Trego

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

This is probably one of the most well-known verses in Christianity. It’s on display at virtually every sporting event and most anywhere else someone can manage to get a sign of some kind to display it on. I would expect that virtually everyone reading this, if asked, do you believe in Jesus, would respond with a resounding “Yes!”

We would all agree that we believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and our savior. But there’s more to being a Christian than simply making that statement. While we all may believe in Jesus, we must also believe Jesus. You see, there’s a difference here. Believing in Jesus as the Son of God is not the same as believing what He tells us.

Some people who profess belief in Jesus chose to be very selective in their belief of what He taught while on earth. Even people who proudly proclaim John 3:16 are sometimes not so certain they believe it as it is stated rather than as a concept of Christianity. For instance, some say that Catholics should not pray for intercession from Mary and the Saints. They are dead, we are told, and we shouldn’t pray to the dead. But if we reread John 3:16 it states very clearly that those who believe in Jesus shall not perish but have eternal life. If we believe what is said, rather that just accepting the concept, we must believe that Mary and the Saints are alive and well. They are quite capable of praying for us just as still living friends pray for us. While they may have died physically, their soul remains alive and in the presence of God. Otherwise John 3:16 is not factual.

If we are to be the followers of Jesus, we must be willing to accept His teachings, even though we may not fully understand them in this world. Jesus, during His life, made a habit of raising the bar on what it takes to be accepted into God’s Kingdom. He didn’t preach exceptions, He taught obedience. Anything less is unacceptable. He didn’t require that we understand, only that we believe Him. He recognized that there are many mysteries in our faith. Many we will not understand until we are in the kingdom of God. However, not understanding doesn’t equate to not believing. I don’t understand love in a practical sense, yet I know love exists and I experience it. Just because I don’t fully understand it doesn’t lessen the beauty of love.

Jesus told the thief on the cross, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) I would expect the thief, though physically dead, was spiritually alive with Jesus in Paradise as promised. If he was not alive in eternal life, and therefore unable to experience paradise, of what worth was Jesus’ promise”

The fact of life after death is central to our Christianity. To deny that Elijah, Moses, Mary, the Saints, and the thief on the cross are alive in paradise is to deny the words of Jesus and ignore John 3:16. Remember that Jesus met with Elijah and Moses at the transfiguration. “And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them, and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus.” (Mark 9:2-4) If Elijah and Moses were not still living, this passage can not possibly be true.

Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews, failed to understand Jesus’ teaching that one must be born again to enter the kingdom of God. “Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born? Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can this be?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand this?” (John 3:4-10) Just because we can’t explain or prove something, we must still believe it if Jesus said it.

Jesus said “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks as a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:72-28) We all would agree that adultery is wrong and sinful. But what if it’s our own son or daughter who is committing adultery? Or if not adultery, fornication by living with someone to whom they are not married. You see, agreeing that something is a sin is not necessarily the same as believing it in our own lives and actions. We choose to ignore rather than lovingly confront such actions. But that isn’t what Jesus said; there were no family exemptions or equivocations involved. Adultery is sinful and those who practice it will not enter the glory of heaven. To believe otherwise is to deny the truth of Jesus as well as the commandments. To allow a loved one to continue a sinful life without trying to convince them of their error, is also failing to love them. What parent would willingly allow their child to jump out of a twenty story window to their death? Yet we allow our children to risk their eternal life rather than lovingly trying to persuade them to change their ways. While we may not have the ability to change their way of life, we still have the responsibility to try, through prayer, and loving admonition.

Let’s also not forget that Jesus clearly stated that we don’t have to physically commit adultery to be guilty of the sin of adultery. If we look at another with lust in our heart, we have already committed the sin. Our culture is awash with pornography, both soft and hard core. To view these images pushes us toward adultery, whether actual or in the spirit. Movies all too frequently glorify wanton sexuality as well as adultery and fornication. Even commercial television has fallen to lows in the barely veiled presentation of these sins. We are tempted to seriously consider these acts when we they are everywhere in our culture. Satan strives to tempt us to sin; these images are a powerful weapon to achieve that end.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” (John 6:53-56) It can’t be said any more directly than Jesus said it; we must eat His flesh and drink his blood if we are to raised up on the last day. Yet many would say that the Eucharist we receive is merely a symbol. As a Catholic, one of my greatest joys is receiving my Lord in the Eucharist. And yes, I am receiving the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ in that small wafer and that wine. I can’t explain how that happens, but I have absolutely no doubt that it does. I can’t prove it scientifically, but I can prove it spiritual. I know that I have received my Lord, just as I know that love exists even though I can’t prove that scientifically either. Otherwise I am putting my own meaning to the words of Christ rather than believing Him. For those who would argue, I would suggest reading John 6:64-66. “But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the father.” After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer walked with him.”

Jesus meant exactly what He said. If you doubt His sincerity, think about those who walked away. Jesus did not rush after them and try to bring them back. He didn’t say, “Oh, don’t leave, I was only talking figuratively. I didn’t really mean you have to eat my flesh and drink by blood.” He let them leave. And consider this. By leaving they were condemning themselves to hell. They had known Jesus and had been taught by Him. Yet, when believing Him was too hard for them they turned away from Him. That decision, unless repented and changed, can only result in eternal condemnation. If you don’t believe Jesus meant that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood, then you also have to believe that He allowed those disciples to condemn themselves to hell rather than change or water down His words.

In our churches today, there are many who claim belief but fail to believe. There are sometimes referred to as cafeteria Christians. They will accept Jesus as the son of God, but not as truly and wholly present in the Eucharist. They would never dream of murdering anyone, but will accept abortion, the murder of the most innocent of all. No one argues that envy is wrong, yet many jealously desire the goods and wealth of others. The list goes on and on. If we simply read the commandments and reflect on what they truly mean, we will see how common it is to accept the general idea, but reject the specifics. If we are to believe Jesus, the specifics matter. We must not only hear the words of Jesus, we must respond. We must not stop with the overview, we must look for and believe the details as well. Only through believing Jesus and the teachings He left us are we to enter the kingdom of God. Some of the teachings are hard; some we will never understand in this world. Still, if we are to truly believe in Jesus, we must hear the teachings and act upon them.

“Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25)


The above meditation is a chapter from Ed’s new eBook “The Narrow Gate”. Available now for only $1.99 on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo and other fine publishers.

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Support Archbishop Cordileone

Faithful bishops around the country are concerned by the examples some teachers in their diocesan Catholic schools present to children in their care. Certainly it would be best if the teachers were all faithful Catholics. However, dissident Catholics and non-Catholics are also offered positions provided they do not lead students astray by words or actions […]

New Evangelists Monthly – March 2015, Issue #27

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From the archive (set #6)

Tomorrow is time for New Evangelists Monthly to begin a new edition. Today, I would like to bring to your attention 3 original, brief essays that you may have missed. If you don’t have time to read all three, I especially recommend the first one — The burden of hate. When we think about those […]

Elsewhere: the Pope of Germany

The Church has always, always been under attack from outside and within. Many of the heresies which had to be resisted originated from her own clergy. It was German priest Martin Luther who led the Protestant schism. One very significant threat today again originates from Germany. That fissure (from which “the smoke of Satan has […]

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