DOMINUS PARS HÆREDITATIS MEÆ

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Hello father have you ever seen the movie zeitgeist? In on theory It claims the the whole Christian religion is based off the Egyptian god Horus.Of course the movie is just a bunch of conspiracy theories but I think the similarities are similar in the way they point things out

Hello,

There are certain movies, books, and articles, that are such nonsense, I would like to sue the author for the time in my life that was wasted when I watched, listened, or read their ideas.

At my age, realizing that I can never have that wasted time back, I just don’t bother. And I would like to be able to get in a time machine just to re-live my life and not spend a single minute on stuff that looks stupid, sounds stupid, and turns out to be criminally stupid.

If you are not yet 50 years old like me, please listen carefully. Fill your brain with stuff that is sensible and has a semblance of intelligence. If you are not filling your brain with substantial information, then go out and have fun, before you are decrepit and old and feeling like your life is spent.

You will never be young again, and you will never stop regretting the stupid people you listened to, the stupid movies you watched, and the stupid books you read, because in the end, it’s like getting brain damage, but instead of someone kicking you in the head, you get a “stupid virus” that lessens your intelligence.

For serious students of Egyptology, I would recommend “Gods and Myths of Ancient Egypt” by Robert Armour. The worship and rituals of Christianity is well documented in the “Oxford History of Christian Worship” by Wainwright and Westerfield-Tucker. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Hello father what does sobriety mean?? God bless you !

Hello,

It is the state of having a dispassionate, clear mind so that you can calmly make decisions which you can be at peace with.

Sobriety is the opposite of being drunk, high, foolish, rash,and imprudent.

St. Paul used the term of “sobriety” as a way of describing how Christians need to live their lives—in a state of sobriety so that they are alert to the commandments and prepared to treat others justly since they mind is not overwhelmed in the passions of the body. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Dear Father Angel, I'm sorry for my unpolite language in my last question. I had to specify myself while the letters were too many. Please answer, if you got time. God bless you.

Hello,

I don’t know what you are talking about. Please go through my blog carefully and read all the postings going back to when you asked the questions, okay?

It could be that your question was answered anonymously. Otherwise, I don’t have time right now to go back and research what you could be talking about. Off the top of my head I don’t remember any question from you. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Hello Father! I was wanting to know is it bad to fall asleep in adoration? I have a number of issues/illness and often I really struggle to sleep (to the point where I take medication to help me) but no matter what I do I always manage to fall asleep in adoration without meaning to! It just sort of happens and I feel guilty because sometimes I do let it happen because I am just so exhausted. Is it a bad thing?

Hello,

It’s not a sin when you can’t help that it happens.

However, and this may sound hard, people who have sleep disorders and the inability to stay awake should not attempt Adoration Holy Hours.

Pay Jesus a five minute or ten minute visit. Stay only as long as you are fully alert and awake. When you feel any tiredness, you need to get up and leave. Adoration is not a place for sleeping, and for others who may catch people doing this, it could be scandalous, as in, “Oh, is Jesus boring you or something?”

If you continue to stay in Adoration knowing that you are going to fall asleep, it is a bad thing, because you are knowingly placing yourself in the presence of the Lord without the ability to consciously be present to Him in return. Adoration is not like magical osmosis, where we get graces just by laying there unconscious. It is a relational moment, and we need to be alert for the moments when we are relating to people. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Playing Cards Against Humanity

Dear Father, is it a sin to play the card game “Cards Against Humanity”? I played it at a party I went to at the request of my friends. However, I refused to play any sexual cards, likewise, when it was my turn to judge, I told them that I would not accept such cards. Despite this, I still worry if I offended God.

Hello, 

I don’t know about that card game, but a general rule of thumb with fun, that makes it, “good, clean” fun is whether you feel more virtuous as a Christian afterwards, and whether you are at peace and proud to show this off as a Christian witness.

If there are things that are nasty, you really should learn to say no, as in “no”, as in see you folks later. Jesus warned us about blindly following the crowd:

He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? (Luke 6:39).

Half-way doing stuff is kind of like saying, “My friends invited me to an orgy, but all I did was watch.”

God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Years ago I borrowed some kids magazines from several people. Before I managed to give them back, we lost contact. Some of them moved out, some of them I don't even remember the full names of. I don't think they'd want the magazines back, given that those people are adult now, but I can't know for sure if I don't ask - and I can't ask, because I can't contact them anymore. I feel like a thief. What should I do in this situation?

Anonymous

Hello,

You will probably burn in hell and the magazines you stole will be used to either stoke the fires and make them hot, or demons will roll up the magazines and smack you on the head all the time.

Just kidding.

It’s probably too late to be worrying about this now. Just throw the magazines out and pray for the people who let you borrow them. They would probably be more in need of your prayers than those magazines. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

When did the distinction between formal and material heresy develop, if we can pin point it?

Hello,

I don’t know the answer to that question. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Father, Vatican should make you the patron saint of LOL's and tumblr. :p

Hello,

Haha. I have to be dead before I can be the patron saint of anything.

I like being alive at the present moment and don’t want to assume room temperature anytime soon :)

I think St. Jerome is a better candidate. His style of writing would have had all of us on the edge of our seat. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Father, is it a sin to use a non-Christian deity/mythological being name as an interjection while not believing in them? I've been using "oh Norns" (a Norse equivalent of the Greek Fates) and variations thereof recently, mostly because I'm writing a story in which a non-Christian character does use this interjection a couple of times and it somehow stuck to me. I know that apparently saying "by Jove" is not sinful, but what's the case with other deities/mythological beings?

Anonymous

Hello,

Language and words are powerful, instructive, creative, and form and mold us in many ways. Nothing is more powerful than a word and the idea it brings forth. So if we must cry out, speak out, blurt out, or just say something that invokes, it should be according to our Faith and the holy Names given to us by the Church. To pronounce the name even of a fictional deity in daily invocation is to replace what is holy with what is not holy.

Put another way, if a husband is making love to his wife, and he has to blurt out, and he says “Sally! Sally!” then Sally better be the name of his wife, or he is in serious trouble. We are espoused to God—nuff said.

God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Father Angel, I've heard some say that when one dies and their spirit appears before God, they'll either cast themselves into hell or purgatory according to the degree of shame of the sins that still marred their souls upon death. What do you think of that?

Hello,

I think that after brain death, heart death, rigor mortis, etc. the soul eventually leaves the body and goes before Jesus to be judged. And I think that Our Lord lets them see their whole life, and weighs it in the balance. Then it is not they, but the Just Judge, who will cast them into their fate depending on the option and choice they have made—for eternal life with God or against it. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

I just wanna say thanks for running this blog because not only is it good for those of us who have questions about the faith, goodness knows tumblr needs Jesus.

Anonymous

Amen. I receive those kind words in Jesus’ Name. Thank you anon. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Hello, Father. For the past month, I've had really bad anxiety about death. Thankfully, it has EASED so much now, and I'm not in a constant state of panic, and now I'm at the other end, I feel as though I am going back to real faith in God (I hadn't been very faithful/a strong believer for a few months). However, I am still obsessively thinking about death and the biggest fear is that I will die young/not in my own time. I've sought therapy, but faithwise, what can I do? Thank you + God bless

Anonymous

Hello,

I have dealt in the ministry with much suffering of the nerves, be it states of anxiety to panic attacks. I myself, in 2007, started to get too anxious when I fly so I have to take Xanax to board a plane, and it makes me feel so drugged and groggy that now I don’t fly anymore. And I used to fly all over the country visiting relatives and priests, so I am very sympathetic to what you are talking about.

But God has used those experiences to help me, to help others who deal with this kind of suffering.

Going to therapy is wonderful news, because the causes of anxiety and panic usually reside, not in reality, but in the fears of the mind. Therapy is the ability to speak to people about what is happening in our minds so that it, the mind, has less power to play tricks on our mental health and our nerves.

Spiritually, it is essential to work on the problems of impatience, of not forgiving, of not letting things pass, of not giving thanks to God for each day.

Parishioners in the midst of panic have at times told me that they pray, and pray, and pray, and nothing—God doesn’t care. God ignores them, they say. Besides, they admit that they are sinners and so they “deserve to be punished, or at least, ignored by God.” If God truly loved them, so they say, they would see spiritual joy, the grace of freedom from anxiety and depression, and miracles of healing would happen for them.

But what is a miracle? Is it like the fairy godmother from the Wizard of Oz who appears in a pretty bubble of light, says sweet things, and waves her wand round and round until you feel happy and go skipping down the yellow brick road? Is a miracle when God takes charge and does everything to our convenience and benefit?

In my personal opinion, miracles are very different, and actually far more common, than we realize. For the miracle I see happen often is the miracle of surrender, of finally giving in, of allowing God and His Son into our lives by faith to work with us in combating the effects of original sin and actual sin.

Getting to your anxiety of death, it could have various root causes, none of which have anything to do with God, who does not wish death for us but that we turn to Him and live, and have life to the fullest (John 10:10).

It could be a sort of holding on to negativity in any form. Negative anger, negative self-hatred, negative refusal to break fatalistic thought patterns, negative patterns of needing control and power and for people and situations to live up to our ideals—these are things we not only fall into doing, but stubbornly hold onto even when we have been made aware of them.

It could be a subconscious need for bad attention, sort of like, “No one loves me, no ones cares for me, no one appreciates me, but if I died, then at least at my own funeral people would cry and be sad and think about me, and think about what they should have done for me when I was alive.” That is actually pretty childish, and selfish, and yet we don’t call ourselves on that when we should.

Do we need for people to come to our funeral and cry and be hysterical for our validation, in order to assure ourselves of our self-importance?

The obsession with death also covers up something we do not want to face—intense self-hatred and depression because we think we are lame, we are idiots, we are useless, we are good for nothing, we are losers and pathetic misfits. And so at times people think of death often as a way of saying “I am not worthy of life. It would be so much easier, peaceful, even wonderful, if I could just disappear now and not exist anymore.”

And then, on the other hand, death and the obsession of death and dying can be the opposite. Instead of feeling we are useless, at other times we have “delusions of grandeur” and literally and want to control everything and everyone. It is a dangerous fantasy life when we imagine, in our minds, that everyone should be paying attention to our wise advice and doing what we expect of them.

On Tumblr, I see constant meltdowns about the illusion of grandeur—a person posts that others are “stupid, f*cktards, r*tards, a sorry excuse of a person, oxygen thief, waste of my time, a person to be killed before they reproduce….because, no, stop, no, I can’t even” and so on and so on.

Why the vicious words and theatrics of rage? Because I said something wise and you did not obey me. Because I am the paragon of political correctness and you did not submit to my truth. Because you are not letting me be your thought police and control you. I am your savior who must be able to tell you what to do, and you are unwilling to be saved.

It is no surprise to me that the very posters who act out on these angers find themselves posting sooner or later about their depression, their anxieties, and their panic attacks. Repressed and unhealed anger almost always has the fruit of depression as a byproduct.

This rage and these Tumblr meltdowns mask a very intense sickness—which is this:  In the absence of the serenity and tranquil peace which a nourished spirit gives us, we seek to become the god and the deity that we refuse to believe in or that we refuse to obey. 

There is a lot of anxiety and panic that flows from the inability to just let things go, to just accept, really, truly accept other people and give them permission to be human beings with their own problems and faults.

Even that sounds weird, but it would help a lot of mentally sick people to simply get up in the morning and say to themselves, “Today, from my lofty throne of power, control, and grandeur, I give the rest of you, in the whole human race, but especially on Tumblr, permission to disobey me and not let me have any control whatsoever of your thoughts and your lives.” LOL.

This goes to the heart of the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Basically, to transfer our godhead, our divinity, our supreme deity, away from ourselves, and to the real God, so that He can be God, and we can go back to being humble creatures.

It seems like preaching the obvious, but we are creatures, and yet deep in our warped minds, we fight our “creaturehood” because of the need to control and shape and mold others, and events, as if we were a fascist dictator.

Faith is the day to day spiritual warfare, the combat of the soul, to trust that there is a greater Intelligence than us, and He is a personal, kind, and benevolent Intelligence. He allowed another 24 hours to go by without imploding all the galaxies of our vast universe. He seems to do a decent job of running solar systems and planets. It is actually okay to let Him take charge and be God.

Through Jesus His Son, this Creator actually gave us a command to chill out, let things pass, surrender the control, stop the need to dominate others and fix their problems and just worry about our own problems today. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, in so many words, is basically an invitation, “Can we all just get along?” LOL.

Actually, the Gospel is more than that. It is a personal invitation that we were meant to be silly, to laugh, to have wonder and awe; we were meant to “take it all in” day by day, to savor this present moment and live our lives. And when we begin to experience the peace beyond all understanding which Jesus gives, we were meant to pay it forward. 

That is where the communal challenges of Christianity come in: love one another, serve the needy, comfort those who got kicked around, defend the people who are marginalized and booted out of the in crowd, forgive the people we would love to hate, gather the brethren at the table to break Bread from heaven, and finally, in turn, receive the love and goodness that others want to offer but which we push away.

And why do we push away the goodness that comes into our lives from both stranger and friend? I don’t know. Personally, I would like to see more people, Christians and atheists, talk to others as if something did not crawl up there and die and turn them into the distasteful person they seem to enjoy being.

Faith. Trust. Surrender. Letting time pass. Letting things pass. Learning and loving with Jesus’ guiding Hand. This is my struggle, and yours. This is part of the spiritual key that helps us unravel why we have allowed fear to invade the mind, and substitute a zeal for life, with an obsession about death. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Hello Father, I'm looking to take some classes at my Catholic college about Lost Scriptures and the formation of the Bible as we know it today. I was just wondering if would be wrong for me to read these "lost scriptures" and the "Gnostic gospels"? I'm sorry if you've already answered a similar question but I could not find anything that helped me. God bless!

Hello,

There are no “Lost Scriptures” or “Lost Books of the Bible.” These ancient texts were known to the early Church and studied, and firmly rejected as being without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

So, these books were rejected by the Synod of Hippo:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synod_of_Hippo

It is more accurate to describe them as apocrypha or even “reject books” and were excluded from the Biblical canon. If you want to study them or read them, there is nothing wrong with that as a Catholic.

The Church simply forbids us from reading these books as if they are equal to anything found in the Bible. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Hi Father, I have a couple of friends who are christian/protestant and they always invite me to their church functions. They have a very active youth group for ages 18-24, and honestly it looks like a lot of fun. I have been tempted to go but i always refuse because i am catholic and my parents don't think its right. The parish i currently attend does not have a youth group for people older than 18. Would it be okay for me to attend my friends youth group or functions?

Hello,

As long as your friends are willing to come to Mass with you and visit Catholic functions as well, I see nothing wrong.

When people expect you to attend their church gatherings, but don’t reciprocate your invitations, then the “ecumenical” spirit is not a two way street. Sometimes, a friendly invitation to youth group is the beginning of a process to proselytize you out of the Catholic Church.

Be astute and on your guard. However, if all you are going to experience is to have fun, read Scripture, and sing songs, I don’t see anything wrong with a few visits. It could give you ideas for starting a young adult ministry in your own parish. 

Most Catholics often want another church to cater to their needs without asking the question, “How can I respond to these same needs in my own spiritual backyard?” God bless and take care, Fr. Angel

Anti-Catholic bashing and bigotry

You can answer this publicly if you wish too.

An acquaintance of mine is reading ‘Far from Rome, Near to God’. I read one of the testimonies. It totally distorted and twisted the Catholic Church and its teaching, so much so, that I wanted to throw up. I know this person is reading it and believing it. I can tell this from our conversations. I literally don’t know what to do. I’m currently getting frustrated with this ignorance and distortion, and this person’s being so gullible and believing it.

Do you have any advice? Also do you have any comments or thoughts about this book?

— berad995

Hello,

This is what blacks, or “poor white trash” or what gays and lesbians feel when they are hated and put down, not for what they have said and done, but simply because they exist.

The difference is that while racism, social elitism and homophobia get plenty of condemnation in the media and social networks, anti-Catholicism is still a socially acceptable bigotry. You can not only get away with hating the Catholic Church, but there is a peer pressure to trash the Catholic Church as an evil and ridiculous cult.

The roots of anti-Catholic hatred go back to Elizabethan England, and were imported into the East Coast by Protestant colonizers, who were raised from childhood to despise Catholic “superstition” and “dangerous acts of sedition” against the righteous Protestant monarchs of England. Even in universities like Harvard, professors taught the “black legend” which made hyped up and exaggerated the Catholic failings of history, while glossing over and ignoring the roots causes of certain injustices of history.

In the 13 colonies, until the First Amendment was drafted, Catholics at times were forbidden from openly practicing their religion. Even then, Protestant preachers continuously preached about the “menace” that Catholics were to American democracy.

The term “Nativism” comes from a deeply held conviction that America, the U.S., was founded by God to be a white, Protestant, Anglo-Saxon (or Northern European) nation.

From the beginning, Catholicism was seen as idolatrous, immoral, and an anti-democratic, pro-monarchist seditious, treacherous movement. To be a true American, was to beware and vigilant of the menace of Rome!

During the arrival of Catholic immigrants from Ireland, France, Germany, and England in the 1800’s, nativist anti-Catholicism reached a fevered pitch. An entire political party called the “Know Nothings” was founded to combat “Rome, rebellion, and rum” which the immigrants brought with them. 

The Know Nothings were even permitted between the 1840’s and 1860’s to form gangs and mobs, and with permission of the local police, to burn down Catholic schools, convents, and churches back East.

In New York, they would go down to the docks with bats and literally seize and savagely beat on Irish Catholics as they arrived poor and starving from Ireland. Later on, Italians were the subject of vicious attacks as well. This was depicted in the movie, “Gangs of New York.” When pressed for details of their criminal conduct, these anti-Catholics would simply respond, “I know nothing,” hence the term “Know Nothing” party.

In the late 1800’s, people tired of the hatred of the Know Nothings when they saw how patriotic Catholic Americans served with bravery and distinction during the Civil War, and how numerous Catholics had given shelter, comfort, and charity to the sick, the dying, orphans and widows left over from that war.

But the Know Nothings were soon replaced by the Ku Klux Klan, who pressed on the struggle to foment anti-Catholic hatred. The Klan worried that Americans were becoming too accepting of Catholics. They warned Americans to defend only “the old time religion”—a catch phrase for untainted, Bible based Protestantism.

Protestant preaching during the Great Awakening, from practically every denomination, kept up a steady onslaught of anti-Catholic bigotry as well, from the 1800’s, well into the 1960’s, campaigning vigorously in many corners to defeat the Kennedy campaign from bringing the “Roman menace” to the White House.

There is actually a bibliography or library of classical books from the 1800’s that was utilized to convert Catholics out of the Catholic Church to “real Christianity.” 

There are such titles as Hislop’s “The Two Babylons” that “proves” that Catholicism is a modern form of Babylonian and Egyptian pagan idolatry, or “Fifty Years in the Church of Rome” by Chiniquy, with its sordid tales of Catholic priests trying to overthrow democracy.

A famous book is also “The Diary of Maria Monk” about the Canadian nun who describes how every nun is a whore, and every convent is a whorehouse. Maria Monk’s diary was actually the cause of a number of convents being burned down in the United States.

This heritage of bigotry is a gift that keeps on giving in the form of anti-Catholic bigotry across Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, the inner circles of the Democratic, Republican, Tea parties, etc. and across the literature of the “Pro-Choice” and Feminist movements. Even people raised Catholic often use the Know Nothing and Klan catch phrases to describe their Church, unaware of the roots of such words as “papalotry.”

So this is the background to the book you have written to ask me about.

"Far From Rome, Near to God" is, in its very title, an offensive and unChristian attitude to take toward Catholics. Even if a Protestant believes that Catholics are idolaters and sinners, it is neither Biblical nor very Christian to imply that people who "follow Rome" are far from God. After all, did not the Lord Jesus show love and compassion for the sinner and the publican?

Secondly, this book (“Far From Rome”) is written in the long tradition of gossipy, rambling, scandal mongering “testimonies” of people who can dish on the “nasty secrets” of Catholic life from the “inside.”

When Chiniquy wrote his book 150 years ago, he wrote in the exact same style—“Far From Rome” is an angry, bitter “tell all” where we see the old anti-Catholic diatribes repackaged by new haters. Nothing is new, really, under the sun.

I was a newly ordained priest over 20 years ago when “Far From Rome, Near to God” was published by anti-Catholic Protestants in 1993. I think it was bandied about as a “ground breaking” work because it was the testimony of 50 CATHOLIC PRIESTS who had “escaped the Church of Rome” in order to find Jesus Christ as “real Christians.”

The alleged priests portrayed in the book struck me as odd. They did not describe the Catholic Church of today. Most all of their stories were descriptions of pre-Vatican II seminaries, liturgies in Latin, and being forced to wear full habits and memorize catechisms.

It was even more odd that although the identities of five or six priests could be identified by me, the other 45 could not. These were the days before Google, and in “Far From Rome” these men could say they were priests but did not give enough information to check out their stories. I think that is kind of sneaky.

You are expected to read this book and trust its authors, but not verify their identities or what they say. I wondered if these men who claimed to have juicy dirt on the Catholic Church did not have their own dirt to hide? One of them, for instance, claimed to fall in love while he was teaching at an all girls, Catholic high school. Hmmm. Was he a “reborn Christian” or just another guy who seduced an underage girl and got kicked out of the priesthood?

The reason I heard about this book was because back in 1993, one of the locals who had left the Catholic Church gave a copy of the book to her Catholic relative and said, “Give this to your priest so that his eyes will be opened!” 

My eyes were opened, to see how gullible some adults are and easy to fool about the “errors” of the Catholic Church. If your friend has fallen for these distortions, be patient with him and simply challenge him. If he wants to learn about the Catholic Church, why doesn’t he just ask you for your opinion? Does he think so little of you now because you converted to Catholicism? Does he think that now that you are a Catholic, you are also a liar?

Also, if we live in 2014, why is he reading about the Catholic faith from these men who confessed to leaving the Catholic Church 30, 40, or even 50 years ago? “Far from Rome, Near to God” is decades old now. How is that an accurate picture of Catholicism?

If these men in the book were afraid to escape the Catholic priesthood because the Church is “so powerful” then why do so many priests continue to happily minister right now? After all, the Church is no longer powerful and it would be easy for more priests to “escape Rome”, no?

Ask your friend, also, why these ex-priests work so hard to accuse the Church of harming people? Because when we read the stories of Protestants who become Catholics, we find their stories to be uplifting and positive.

When ex-Protestants turned Catholic talk about their former Protestant churches and congregations, they speak of them as “devout” or “lovely” or “hard working” in the service of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Doesn’t this guy you know find it quite curious that these ex-Catholic priests could only say mean spirited and hateful things about the Catholic Church? How is that the sign of a “joyful, born-again Christian?” By their own admission, the men who write “Far From Rome” admit that they had a limited knowledge of the Catholic Church, which is a worldwide Church.

You see, a real conversion of a Christian should be a story of growth and maturity in dealing with new truths, new theological studies, new spiritual quests. It is a story where you speak of your sins and your failing and struggles, not those of others. It shouldn’t be a chance to trash your old church and stereotype the people there, most of whom don’t fall under labels or stereotypes.

What do you say to a Protestant friend who is reading through ignorance and wallowing in it happily like a pig in mud? As I said, be patient, but focus on parts here and there of the book and then just pick them apart with brutally honest questions. Under scrutiny, a gullible person will at least stop and think about what he is swallowing hook, line, and sinker.

Also, there are some links that can help you polish your skills as a Catholic apologist. It take a long time and long discussions in order to become good at defending the Catholic Faith. So be patient as well for yourself, because you are just beginning. At least you had the integrity to recognize bigotry and to call it out in the form of this book.

Here are the links:

http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2006/11/sola-scriptura-unbiblical-tradition.html

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2562697/posts

http://www.biblicalcatholic.com/apologetics/apolog.htm

God bless and take care, Fr. Angel