Palm Sunday, Still One of the Most Anticipated Religious Practices in the Philippines Despite the Pandemic

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Today, the Minor Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel in Tayabas City, Quezon Province was full (3 persons per pew) for the 8:00 am mass despite the pandemic. I arrived not so early so I had to sit outside the church with others (about 200 of us). Proper measures were observed the entire time with some police officers in uniforms visible around the church to remind the faithful of their duties towards their country while practicing their faith. I thank God for their dedication. I felt even more thankful when I spotted some of them holding both their baton and palm branches in their hands.

Lent and Easter are the most important seasons for the Church. During lent, the faithful prepare themselves spiritually for the celebration of Easter which is the day when our Lord Jesus Christ conquered death by his resurrection. The Sunday before Easter is called the Palm Sunday.

In Matthew chapter 21, the evangelist recorded Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. In verse 5, he quoted Isaiah 62:11 and Zechariah 9:9; “Say to daughter Zion, ‘Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.” In verse 8-9, “Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowd that went before him and that followed him shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

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Palm Sunday is the day when the Church commemorates this part of the Holy Scriptures. This popular religious practice is something that the faithful anticipates every year. The preparation starts as early as the day before Palm Sunday. In the Philippines, those in the urban areas go to the market or in sidewalks near the churches to buy ready-made palaspas or beautifully woven young coconut leaves, while those in the provinces normally make palaspas by themselves. The above photo is my daughter holding a palaspas made by my father-in-law.

After the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and the blessing of palms leaves. The faithful stick these blessed branches into the corners of their houses especially in their home altars. We believe that Satan and his subordinates fear anything that is blessed by a priest, whom Jesus himself anointed through the Sacrament of the Holy Orders.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Four Points in the History That Pinoy Catholics Should Know

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Four points in the history that we, Pinoy Catholics, should know as we celebrate 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines. This is a quick and an easy history lesson to supplement our belief and to refresh our minds regarding the Catholic Church.

Indeed, despite the many attacks for centuries from the outside (and from the inside too), the Bridge of Christ (Eph 5:23, 2 Cor 11:2, Rev 19:7, 21:2, 21:9, 22:17) will remain One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic because Jesus Christ (her groom) who built this Church is one, holy, universal, and an apostle (meaning “sent”) by God.

  • AD 33 – Jesus founded a Church through Peter and his Apostles

    Although this is biblical, many do not believe this simple fact. They refuse Peter’s primacy and tweak the meanings of the verses in the Sacred Scriptures to accommodate their own reasoning. The truth is that Jesus left one singular Church through Peter. “And so I say to you, you are Peter (means stone or rock), and upon this rock I will build my church (one not many), and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)

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  • AD 40 – Apostles James (and Paul possibly) Christianized Spain

    Paul mentioned in his letter to the Romans that he would be seeing them on his way to Spain (Romans 15:24, 28). Whether this was realized or not, it does not matter the important thing is that Spain is one of the target region of evangelization of the apostles. James, as per history and Sacred Tradition, through the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of the Pillar, christianized Spain. In the year AD 40, He died as martyr and was buried in Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Galicia, Spain. His tomb is still in the Catholic Cathedral at the present time.

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  • AD 1521 – Spain Christianized the Philippines

    Birth year of Christianity in the Philippines. First expedition from Spain, via Mexico, reached the shores of Samar Islands in the Philippines. “Philippines” was the name given to the newly discovered country in honor of King Philip the ruler of Spain that time. Christianization began since then. Catholic Churches and schools were build by Spanish missionaries. The Catholic Church flourished in the entire archipelago for centuries.

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  • AD 2021 – The Philippines Celebrates 500 Years of Christianity

    The Philippine Church, despite the many problems inside and outside the church, continues to help the poor and the needy. She continues to proclaim and defend the Gospel of Christ with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

    All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

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Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

Why do Catholics Worship Images and Statues?

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This is a fair question a friendly non-Catholic would probably ask. But many angry anti-Catholics, who were used to be Catholics but never studied the faith, would ask differently. They would condemn us with statements like: “Catholics are idolaters because they worship images and statues by touching and kissing them, lighting a candle for them, and kneeling before them!” Many of our brethren who will hear such claims would begin to doubt on their faith especially when they hear the prohibitions of such actions in the Book of Exodus.

"You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth." (20:3-4)

So, why do Catholics Worship Images and Statues? Actually, we don’t! Because in Catholicism there is only one form of worship-the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist. It’s when we worship the Triune God through the sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ the Word of God incarnate. In the worship, we participate and commemorate his life, passion, death, and resurrection. There is no other form of supernatural worship other than the Holy Eucharist.

The evangelist John wrote in his gospel that “true worshipers worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.” (John 4:23) This is done in the Catholic worship when the priest invoke the Holy Trinity many times in the celebration of the Holy Mass especially during epiclesis.

Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray
by sending down your Spirit
upon them like the dewfall,
so that they may become for us
the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Look, we pray, upon the oblation of your Church
and, recognizing the sacrificial Victim
by whose death you willed to reconcile us to yourself,
grant that we, who are nourished
by the Body and Blood of your Son
and filled with his Holy Spirit,
may become one body, one spirit in Christ.
Pre-consecration and Post-consecration prayers

Also, what is prohibited is carving anything and then “bowing down before them or worship them” (verse 20:5). This is something unthinkable for Catholics because we know “there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and though whom we exist.” (1 Corinthians 8:6) We are not polytheists.

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So, when we encounter such attacks, we should not be troubled. We should simply insist, in a friendly way, this one form of worship in Catholicism. Whether they believe it or not, we have done our job letting them know of the truth. Unless we have a lot of time, knowledge, skills, and patience for a debate, which is most of the time not productive, we should avoid falling into their trap. They usually open the conversation with one topic, then if they feel they are losing, they would open new ones such as purgatory, papacy, priesthood, infant baptism, etc. The list is endless.

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The Church Should ‘Walk the Talk’ and Sell Her Wealth for the Poor

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The claim is similar to that of the anointing scene at Bethany when Mary (Martha’s sister) took a pound of costly ointment for pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. But Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’s disciples (he who was to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred dinarii (one year of individual income) and given the money to the poor?” (Matthew 26:9, Mark 14:5, John 12:5)

Indeed, many will say nowadays, especially during this time of pandemic, that the Church should ‘walk the talk’ and sell her wealth and help the poor and those affected by the crisis. I hope those who are demanding this really care about the poor and not because of their hatred against the Church? If they genuinely care about the poor then they are not like Judas who really did not care of the poor but himself (John 12:6). Perhaps they just need some enlightenment.

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We have to let them know that the Catholic Church is helping the poor since 30 A.D when our Lord Jesus Christ started his ministry. The apostles were imitators of Christ and this practice has been handed over from generations to generations. The Catholic Church (Not the Vatican) is currently the largest non-governmental provider of education and medical services in the world*.

Please take some time reading these short articles about the wealth that the Catholic Church does not have.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Many Leave the Catholic Church for These Two Reasons

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This is a Facebook post from Dr. Fernando Casanova, a well-known theologian, and an ex- pastor of a Pentecostal church in Puerto Rico. He did doctorate degrees in Seville, Spain and in Indiana, USA. His studies led him to the Catholic Church. Now he is a staunch Catholic and one of the most famous Catholic Faith Defender for Spanish-Speaking Catholics in the Americas region.

This is my translation in English: There are only two reasons for us to stop being Catholic:

  1. because of Ignorance,
  2. and because anything other than practicing our faith is easy.

This post in Twitter in 2014, earned 2,000 likes and 500 shares in just 11 minutes (when I took below screenshot).

What do you think of this statement?

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Steve Ray on Being “Born Again”

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Empower Philippines was live last Saturday 6th of June with Steve Ray as their guest. Steve was a protestant by birth who converted to Catholicism after thorough study about the Bible and the Church. He is a writer of many books including “Upon this Rock” and “The Papacy: What the Pope Does and Why It Matters”. He also is a frequent guest of many EWTN and Relevant Radio programs.

These are the things that I think most Born Again Christians do not realize as what I have learned from the video:

  1. On “Bible Alone” and on being “Born Again“(’22). Steve said that if we were 33 years old and we were there when Jesus died and rose again, we would never have read about the term “born again” because the Gospel of John was written only 77 years later. Even if it were written earlier, only the apostles would know about it because there was no printing presses and bookstores and we would have never read about it. How then would we have known how to get saved and be born again if we didn’t have the book?
  2. “Bible” or “Tradition” (’24). The Catholic Church added the Bible to the Church. When Jesus ascended to heaven he never asked his followers to read his book because there was no book. Instead, Jesus left behind 12 men, one of them carrying the keys of the Kingdom. The Bible is a product of the Sacred Tradition produced by the teachings and practices of the first Christians.
  3. The brightest Protestants become Catholics (’29). The best and the brightest of the Protestants are becoming Catholics. It’s the Catholics who don’t know their faith, the ignorant Catholics, who are leaving the Catholic Church because of moral or sexual issues. Many of them, the least trained, the most uneducated Catholics, are leaving to become Protestants because they’re easily enticed away. How can they leave the Church before they know? How can they leave before really studying everything about the Catholic Church?
  4. Catholics are born again the Bible way! (’36). Steve tells a story of a conversation he had with a Baptist pastor. Pastor: Are you born again? Steve: Yes, I am born again the Bible way! Pastor: What do you mean? Steve: First tell me what you mean by born again, and I’ll tell you what I meant. Pastor: You become born again when you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and savior and asking him to come in to your heart. Steve: These verses are not in the Bible. It is a Baptist tradition and not a Bible teaching. Being born again means to be born of water and spirit (which refers to Baptism).
  5. On being born of water and spirit (’39). Every time the Lord creates, water and spirit are involved. The Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2). God sent forth a dove (Spirit) from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground (Genesis 8:8, Peter 3:20-21). In the Exodus event, the spirit of God as fire-cloud protected the Israelites who were crossing the waters of the red sea (1 Cor 10:1-4, Isaiah 63:10-14). Jesus is the fulfillment of all this because when he himself got baptized in the river, the Spirit of God descended over him. This new creation through baptism is what Jesus meant about being born again. In fact, after he spoke to Nichodemus (John 3:3), Jesus and his disciples went down to the Jordan river to baptize. “Jesus saved us by the washing of regeneration and and renewal in the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). Something that Prophet Ezekiel already foretold (Ezekiel 36:25-17).
  6. “Born Again” used by Catholics before the Bible (’48). The word “born again” is always understood and used by Catholics referring to baptism even before the first Bible was made (around 380 A.D.) St. Irenaeus in 180 AD, who received the teachings of St. Polycarp, who received the teachings of St. John the Apostles, who received the teachings of Jesus, wrote: “He came to save all through means of Himself — all, I say, who through Him are born again to God — infants, and children, and boys, and youths, and old men.” (Against Heresies Book II, Chapter 22)
  7. Believing is enough, or may be not! (’55). Protestants usually use Acts 16:31 to support their teaching that believing in the Lord is enough to be saved. But the Bible never says believing “is enough”. In the contrary, it is by works that a man is justified, and not by faith only (James 2:24). Believing is only enough in emergency situations. A non-Christian, if dying and has one minute to live, it is enough to profess that he believes in Jesus and he will be saved. But in normal situations when we have years to live, we have to believe and follow Christ’s teachings.
  8. The opposite of “to believe” is not “to disbelieve” (’58). If you have an hour, days, months, or years to live, then we must study what really “to believe” means. The shortcut to this is to know from the scriptures what is the opposite of believing. Jesus makes it clear for us that the opposite of belief is not disbelief but disobedience. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” (John 3:36)
  9. The Sodomites have greater chance than those who only believe and not repent (’61). The believing crowd was following Jesus because of the miracles he performed but the crowd never repent and follow what he teaches. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes… But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.” (Matthew 11:20-24)
  10. On Infant Baptism (’70). Christian practices are drawn from the Jewish traditions. If the Jewish people like Jesus and John the Baptist were circumcised on the eighth day, then why should we condemn infant baptism? It was the faith of Jesus’s and John’s parents that brought them in to the covenant people of God. Same thing in Baptism which is “circumcision without human hands” in Christianity. “In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.” (Colosians 2:11-12)
  11. “I became Catholic because of the Bible.” (’81). Last but not the least, from the mouth of a former Baptist Born Again Protestant himself. He said, “I became Catholic because of the Bible.”

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Jesus Words “I Will Build My Church” Fulfilled in the Catholic Church

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In a previous post, I mentioned there that everything that Jesus did during his ministry was for our salvation. Jesus never did anything unnecessary and one of the most important things he did was the founding of one singular Church (Matthew 16:18). His Church is essential to our salvation because she is the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Timothy 3:15). Let us see if this Church is really the Catholic Church.

In English grammar, the word will is a modal. According to the British Council, we use modals to show if we believe something is certain or possible. We also use them to talk about ability, ask permission, and make requests and offers. Will is used to talk about what is going to happen in the future, especially things that you are certain about or things that are planned (Cambridge dictionary). And as per Collins dictionary, we use will in order to make statements about official arrangements in the future.

So, when Jesus said he will build his church, he was very serious about it. He was certain that Peter can lead his church as he planned. He was officially arranging a construction of his church upon Peter! Here is the full text of the story in Matthew 16:13-19:

13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock (“petrus”) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Many of the people claim to know Jesus Christ but only Peter-through God’s revelation-really knew who he was. Nowadays, many churches claim to know Jesus Christ but only the Catholic Church-through the Holy Spirit’s guidance-knows him best.

The Catholic Church by definition is the society of all baptized persons united in the one true faith under the authority of the Pope, the successor of Saint Peter. The Catholic Church is the only Church that God built in fulfillment to Jesus’s promise “I will build my Church”. Here are some reasons why:

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  1. The Catholic Church’s first leader after Jesus is Peter. For me this is not debatable because the Holy Bible and the world history can prove this fact. There is an unbroken link between our current leader, Pope Francis, and Peter.
  2. The Catholic Church is the only bride of Christ. The letters of Saint Paul and the book of Revelation puts the Church as the bride of Christ (Eph 5:23, 2 Cor 11:2, Rev 19:7, 21:2, 21:9, 22:17). There is no mention of a plural brides of Christ. That only bride in no doubt is the Catholic Church. It is nonsensical for other churches to claim that theirs is the bride of Christ, even worse, that theirs is another bride of Christ.
  3. The Catholic Church is the only Church who continues the full mission of Jesus. Jesus started his mission of salvation and his mystical body (the Church) continues his mission. Through the Catholic Church; Jesus continues to forgive sin through the Confession, cast out demons though the Exorcism ministry, baptizes through the Sacrament of Baptism, heals and cures the sick through the Church’s charitable institutions, appoints priests to minister his flocks, etc.
  4. The Catholic Church is the only Church who enjoys the binding and loosing authority. This is obvious because the other churches do not have Peter. Jesus delegated his authority to Peter, then that authority was delegated to the next popes. It is the same authority that our current supreme pontiff possesses. If Peter can exercise his authority to settle the issues about circumcision of non-Jews in Jerusalem, Pope Francis can also exercise his authority to make death penalty inadmissible.
  5. The Catholic Church has the surest way to heaven. The Sacraments are a big deal for our souls. The sacraments sanctify our souls so that we become ready for when the Lord comes or if we die prematurely. Without the sacraments we will have unhealthy souls. We all know that only those who washed their robes (Revelation 22:14) enter the gates. That means we should have healthy souls without any stain of sin upon entering the gates of heaven.
  6. The Catholic Church’s doctrine of Purgatory. Since nobody can enter with unwashed robes, the Catholic Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory as final purification of the elect based on the Sacred Tradition of the Church and reference to certain texts of Scripture that speaks of a cleansing fire (CCC 1031, 1 Cor 3:15; 1 Pet 1:7), which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.
  7. The Catholic Church is a visible Church with marks. Many non-Catholic churches claim that a real church should be an unseen group of saved people studying the Bible privately and that a visible Church with a hierarchy is not necessary. The Catholic Church is a visible Church with a hierarchy following Jesus’s examples. He, the master, chose twelve apostles and other disciples to proclaim the gospel to all nations. One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic are the marks of the Church not because she earned them by herself but because her founder, Jesus, is one, holy, universal, and an apostle (meaning “sent”) by God.

The Catholic Church, being the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Timothy 3:15) is necessary for our salvation. Let us then make efforts and pray that Jesus’s Gospel be made known to the whole world. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:3-4)

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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“Christ Is Enough and We Don’t Need the Church”, My Quick Defense

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Christ is the head who rules over his body which is the Church. Paul mentioned this inseparable union of Christ and his Church many times in his letters as we read in these verses:

Ephesians 1:22-23. [God] put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Ephesians 5:23. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Colossians 1:18. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
Romans 12:5. So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
1 Corinthians 12:27. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Therefore, the saying “Christ is enough and we don’t need the Church” contradicts the Bible and is simply not logical. It is “anatomically” impossible to be part of the existing head (Christ) without being a member of an existing body (Church). In fact, Paul’s analogy about “Christ-Church=Husband-Wife” in Ephesians 5 simply means that their is a special and inseparable bond of love between him and his Church. But, did Jesus really build a Church of his own? How many?

Everything that Jesus did during his ministry was for our salvation. Jesus never did anything unnecessary and one of the most important things he did was the founding of one singular Church (Matthew 16:18) to preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). And he continued to guide this Church through the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). This Church of the living God became the “household of God” and the “pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).

Since Christ found a Church or a house of God, any churches that were founded by humans are not part of the salvific plan of God and are “purposeless”. They will pretend to be new bodies of Christ which is simply impossible because there is already an existing body that Christ built through Peter (Matthew 16:18, John 21:15). So, if a new church in a neighborhood could not trace its beginnings back to Peter, then that church has no purpose at all. Why? Because only the house that the Lord himself builds has a purpose. Any human being who builds his own church labour in vain (Psalms 127:1).

“I will build MY church” means this singular Church is owned by Christ. Paul would call her as “Church or God” or “Church of Christ” in his letters. The naming does not matter because it does not affect the fact that she is the only Church owned by Christ. The truth is that Jesus did not specify the name of his Church. We only know it’s the Catholic Church because she is the only Christian Church we can trace back from the time of Jesus’s ministry until now.

In Acts 5, after Peter performed miracles and converted many, the Jews wanted to put an end of the early Church. But a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, defended the first Church and said “let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” These texts prove that the Church is not work of men but of God because she continues to exist today–the Catholic Church. Gamaliel’s words also implies that those who attack the Catholic Church are obviously “fighting against God”.

They fight against God and use his name in vain. Yes! Human beings who established churches using Christ’s or God’s name “speak against God wickedly”, making him “his enemies” because they take God’s name in vain (Psalms 139:20, Exodus 20:7, Deuteronomy 5:11). “Lo, here is Christ!”, they would say! But we should not believe them because they are false prophets shall even show great signs and wonders to deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:23-24).

This blog post is inspired by one of Cedar media‘s seminar videos conducted by Atty Marwil Llasos.

Try this simple quiz!

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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The 3 Objectives of Catholic Apologetics

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A Catholic apologist and an exorcist priest from the Philippines, Father Darwin Gitgano, highlighted these three objectives of Catholic Apologetics during an online meeting with a group of Catholic Faith Defenders Cooperators (some aspiring to be official Catholic Faith Defenders in the future) on May 24, 2020. The priest emphasized the importance of defending the Catholic Faith in our times today when many people thirst for the truth amidst all the confusions caused by the attacks against the Mother Church.

Apologetics is of course not to silence and condemn anyone who do not confess the Catholic Faith. It has to be done with a dose of ecumenism and should not cause enmity between the attacker and the defender. Many of us have experienced debates that ended up badly to a point of unfriending an opponent. This is because we want to shame them of their false beliefs instead of having a friendly conversation about each other’s views.

Catholic Apologetics, if done well, could lead many to rediscover the beauty of Catholicism and why becoming a Catholic and practicing the faith is of vital importance for one’s soul. In apologetics, numerous souls are at stake, so, an apologist should be well equipped with knowledge and skills prior to engaging in faith-based discussions. It would be better for “unprepared apologist who confuse more souls” if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea. This is how I understand Jesus’s words in Luke 17:2. So, here are what aspiring apologists should look forward in their future apostolate:

Explain our belief in God

First, Catholic apologists should be able to explain why they believe in God without using the Bible. Those who do not believe in God do not believe in the Bible or any written account about a person or happenings related to anything divine or supernatural. Still, an apologist can make use of reasoning Saint Thomas Aquinas and other philosophers use to prove that there is someone beyond time and space who has power over everything seen and unseen.

Explain Christianity

Second, apologists should be able to explain God’s plan of salvation for humanity through Jesus Christ. To our Buddhist and Hindu brethren, they will not believe in the Sacred Scriptures because they also have sacred writings of their own. They even have sacred traditions handed over to them by their ancestors. They have their own prophets and saints too. To our Muslim and Jewish brethren, we cannot use the New Testament because they focus more on the Pentateuch and the writings of the Old Testament. Still, there are ways to explain to them our stand in a diplomatic way without starting a fight with them.

Explain the Catholic faith

Third, and most importantly, apologists should be able to explain to other Christians why the Catholic Church is the ONLY church that Christ built under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in the person of a Pope as Christ’s representative. This time we can use the entire Bible, the Sacred Tradition and the history of Christianity to defend our stand. Therefore, it is imperative for an apologist to be familiar with the Holy Bible, its history and the messages God wants to deliver to mankind through it. An apologist should be able to make reference in the Holy Bible the teachings of Catholicism.

Conclusion

Catholic apologetics is not to shame non-Catholics of their beliefs or force them to confess the Catholic faith. Conversion is God’s job, although, we are all encouraged to help defend God and his Church against those who attack her. If we do not study our faith we become easy preys for those who want us out of the Church, and once we are out of the Church, we no longer have access to the sacraments (instituted by Christ) that keep our souls alive and healthy.

Read my other post:

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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Important Things to Know about Catholic Marriage

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Why Catholic Marriage is Always Right and why Catholic couples should avail of this wonderful sacrament a.s.a.p?

Marriage in the Catholic Church is a sacrament. It’s most appropriate name is “The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony”. There are seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation (or Chrismation), the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. Sacraments give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian’s life of faith (CCC 1210). Christ instituted the sacraments and it is from him that graces is obtained by the recipients of the sacrament. These are the points you might not know about Catholic marriages. A more deep dive on this topic can be done with the help of the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraphs 1601-66.

Christ instituted the Sacrament of Matrimony

Christ instituted all the seven sacraments. This is what Jesus himself said about marriage quoting Genesis 1, “‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:3ff; Genesis 1:27)

The Sacrament of Matrimony is a covenant not a contract

A contact is an exchange of goods, rights, vows, promises, etc. A marriage contract is a written or spoken agreement between two people so they can start building a family legally. God is not involved in these unions. A covenant is an exchange of selves. In matrimonial covenant, a baptized man gives himself to a baptized woman and the woman gives herself to the man.

Christ presides the ceremony through apostolic succession

Christ delegated his authority to Peter and the Apostles. That authority has been passed from generation to generation to our bishops and priests through the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Those who recently went out from the apostolic line do not have this authority and cannot avail or preside a valid sacrament of marriage. This is the reason why Catholics sin when they deliberately choose to attend a non-Catholic wedding ceremonies. Catholics can attend the reception but not the man-made wedding itself.

The couple is the minister and not the pastor

In a Catholic marriage, the pastor only presides the sacrament. The spouses are the ministers of Christ’s grace who mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. The deacon or the priest witnesses, presides, and gives the blessing of the newly wed. (CCC1623)

Husband and wife submit to each other

The Apostle Paul makes clear when he says: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her,… This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church” (Eph 5:25, 32). (CCC 1616, 1659) Husbands have roles different from those of the wives but they all perform the same mission. They are ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring. They also have the same dignity as human beings created in the image and likeness of God with the same chances of eternal life with God.

Unity, indissolubility, and openness to life

These are the essential properties of marriage in the Catholic Church: unity, indissolubility, and openness to life. “Conjugal love involves a totality, in which all the elements of the person enter – appeal of the body and instinct, power of feeling and affectivity, aspiration of the spirit and of will. It aims at a deeply personal unity, a unity that, beyond union in one flesh, leads to forming one heart and soul; it demands indissolubility and faithfulness in definitive mutual giving; and it is open to fertility. (CCC 1643)

Holy Matrimony refreshes the spouses’ souls

There are three sacraments involved in the Sacrament of Matrimony: Confession, Eucharist, and Matrimony. This means that all mortal and venial sins are gone after availing these sacraments. This is what sacraments really do: they sanctify the souls of the spouses so they can start fresh of their new mission which is to build a new community in their new household. And because Christ himself instituted the sacraments, Christ himself dwells with the newly wed, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another’s burdens, to “be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ,” (CCC 1642)

Matrimony creates a new domestic church

The Church is nothing other than “the family of God.” It is in the bosom of the family that parents are “by word and example . . . the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. Thus the home is the first school of Christian life and “a school for human enrichment.” (CCC 1655-57)

How can I ever express the happiness of a marriage joined by the Church, strengthened by an offering, sealed by a blessing, announced by angels, and ratified by the Father? . . . How wonderful the bond between two believers, now one in hope, one in desire, one in discipline, one in the same service! They are both children of one Father and servants of the same Master, undivided in spirit and flesh, truly two in one flesh. Where the flesh is one, one also is the spirit.

Tertullian, Ad uxorem. 2,8,6-7:PL 1,1412-1413; cf. FC 13.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!

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