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MyCatholicSource.com Newsletter - September, 2014 [Plain text version]

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MyCatholicSource.com Newsletter - September, 2014

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IN THIS ISSUE:

* Greetings

* MCS News & Notes

* The Month of September: Dedicated to the Seven Dolors of Mary / The Sorrowful Mother

* A Few Reflections on Ignorance

* "A devotion eminently calculated to give us heavenly power..."

* Liturgical Feasts in September

* 'Catholic Trivia'

* Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Believe There is No Such Thing as Heresy? That All Beliefs Are Equal?

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Dear Friend,

"Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord." (cf. 1 Tm. 1:2, 2 Tm. 1:2)

Greetings to you and best wishes for a blessed Fall, which starts this month on 9/23 (UTC).

For those who have signed up to participate in our Sixth Annual Rosary Week (to be held from 10/20/14-10/26/14), we look forward to your participation and thank you for joining us. If you haven't already signed up for Rosary Week, please consider doing so now. We have tried to remove all possible objections (e.g. you can sign up as 'anonymous', you can participate for just one day, you can pray from any appropriate location, no e-mail address is required to sign up, you can pray at any time of day or night, the event is totally free). Please consider giving this worthy Catholic event a try. Others who have participated have left comments such as..."I love it!", "What a blessing!", "...it's very up lifting", "It has been for me and now for my wife also, very spiritually rewarding." We have also found the experience to be very rewarding and hope you will too. Please join us! Sign up today at www.MyCatholicSource.com/RosaryWeek

We send you our best wishes for God's blessings,

Your Friends at MyCatholicSource.com

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Prayer of Veneration of the Sorrowful Mother: "O God, in whose Passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon, a sword of sorrow pierced the most sweet soul of the glorious Mary, Mother and Virgin: grant in thy mercy, that we who call to mind her sorrows with veneration, may obtain the happy effect of thy Passion. Who livest." (Collect)

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MCS News & Notes

* Rosary Week: We cordially invite all subscribers and their loved ones to participate on our upcoming Sixth Annual Rosary Week to be held from 10/20/14-10/26/14. Participation is FREE & easy and can be done from any appropriate location - simply say a 5 decade Rosary each day that week (or for as many days as you can) for the indicated intentions. If you like, we can send you daily reminders so you won't forget. We hope you will join us in this 'spiritually rewarding' event. Please also invite your family, friends, and fellow parishioners to join in! Sign up now at www.MyCatholicSource.com/RosaryWeek

* Service Interruption: There will be an interruption in many of our services early next month (early October) due to vacations. Services affected may include: chat, posts processing, mailing list, ad/order processing, lending library, visitor correspondence, and news/blog. For dates of service interruption, please visit http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/cg/notices.htm . Although you may notice delays in the above services, access to the MyCatholicSource.com website itself should NOT be affected.

* Three Millionth Visitor Update: If traffic patterns persist, we think we may receive our 3-millionth visitor+ by mid November. Please visit often and help us reach this goal sooner. [+ Note: Number of visits is based on raw, unfiltered access logs. Excludes traffic prior to our 'official unveiling']

* New User-Submitted Article: A new user-submitted article has been added to the site. To view a list of currently available user-submitted articles, please visit http://mycatholicsource.com/mcs/ua/user_articles_index.htm

* We Want Your Opinion: We are presently trying out an animated image for Rosary Week on our home page at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/guide.htm . Please let us know what you think of this animated image. You can submit feedback online using the 'quick feedback' form at http://mycatholicsource.com/mcs/fdb/quick_feedback.htm . Thanks in advance for any feedback!

* Free Missal Giveaway: A generous individual recently donated a St. Andrew's Missal (for the Traditional Latin Mass) to our Lending Library. The missal appears to be in excellent/'like new' condition. It is hard-bound with gilded edges and colored ribbons. Unfortunately, the rather weighty missal may be somewhat cost prohibitive for our lending library (as the lending library requires that the borrower pay shipping both ways). Also, a missal would typically be used week after week rather than borrowed for set time period. We were therefore thinking it might make sense to 'permanently lend' (i.e. give) the missal to a visitor who is in financial need. We would be willing to cover the cost of USPS postage to forward the missal to one location in the U.S.A. to a visitor that meets the criteria below. If you would like this missal, and would promise to use it (and not resell it), are physically able to read small text in a relatively weighty missal, are in financial need, have a mailing address in the U.S.A., and regularly attend the traditional Latin ('Tridentine') Mass at a parish is under the authority of a diocesan bishop who is in full communion with the Pope, please reply to this e-mail by 9/10/14. In your response, please provide: (1) the name of the diocese in which you regularly attend the TLM, and (2) a brief sentence or two indicating why receiving this missal would be helpful for you (please do *NOT* provide any personal details). If we receive more than one request, we may select a recipient of our choosing based on the response received (e.g. based on who we deem might use it most or most benefit from it). Only one missal available. One time only offer. We are not responsible for publication/author/publisher, delivery issues, tax consequences, etc. We provide absolutely no guarantees whatsoever regarding this item or this offer. Our decisions are final with no right of appeal.

* Do you drink coffee? Did you know we can earn a percentage on coffee sales made via the Mystic Monk Coffee website ("Coffee Roasted by Real Monks")? If you are interested in ordering Mystic Monk Coffee to benefit our site, please use this link - http://www.mysticmonkcoffee.com/store/?aid=169 . Thank you for your support of our site!

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* Please visit our Notices page for timely news and other important information regarding MyCatholicSource.com - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/cg/notices.htm

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The Month of September: Dedicated to the Seven Dolors of Mary / The Sorrowful Mother

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"And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall, and for the resurrection of many is Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed." (Lk. 2:34-35)

"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother" (Jn. 19:25)

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Related Resources...

* Devotion to the Seven Sorrows - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/the_Blessed_Virgin/popular_marian_devotions.htm

* Mary / The Passion & Death of Jesus Reflections - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/qt/mary_our_mother_reflections_passion_and_death_of_Jesus.htm

* Scapulars (Incl. Black Scapular of the Seven Dolours of Mary) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/the_Blessed_Virgin/scapulars.htm

* Marian Prayers - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pr/prayers_and_hymns_Marian.htm

* Marian Facts - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/the_Blessed_Virgin/facts.htm

* Blessed Virgin Mary Reflections - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/qt/mary_our_mother_reflections.htm

* Blessed Virgin Mary (Papal Writings) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pd/classic_encyclicals_by_category.htm

* Marian Scriptural References - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/the_Blessed_Virgin/marian_scriptural_references.htm

* Blessed Virgin Mary (Topic Page) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/tp/topic_page-Blessed_Virgin_Mary.htm

* Mary, Our Mother Section - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/mary_our_mother.htm

Looking For Something Else? Try Our Various Indexes For 15,000+ Entries - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/help.htm

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"As the sun surpasses all the stars in luster, so the sorrows of Mary surpass all the tortures of the martyrs." (St. Basil)

"[W]hat anguish unutterable must have filled the soul of this Mother, when raising up her eyes, she sees the mangled Body of her Son, stretched upon the cross, with His face all covered with blood, and His head wreathed with a crown of thorns!" (Gueranger)

"Nor was Mary less than was befitting the Mother of Christ. When the apostles fled, she stood before the Cross and with reverent gaze beheld her Son's wounds, for she waited not for her Child's death, but the world's salvation." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church, 396 A.D.)

"In martyrs, the intensity of their love mitigated their sufferings, but with Mary it was different; the more she loved, the more she suffered, and the greater was her martyrdom." {Richard of St. Victor}

"The silence is again broken: Jesus speaks His third word, and it is to His Mother; but He does not call her by that dear name, for it would redouble her pain: 'Woman!' He says, 'behold thy son!' Then looking upon John, He says to him: 'Son! Behold thy Mother!' What an exchange was here for Mary! But oh! What a blessing it brought upon John, and through him to all mankind: The Mother of God was made our Mother!...[L]et us, today, gratefully receive this last testament of our Jesus, who, having by His Incarnation made us the adopted children of His heavenly Father, now, in His dying moments, makes us children of His own blessed Mother." (Gueranger)

Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Martyrs: "Mary, most holy Virgin and Queen of Martyrs, accept the sincere homage of my filial affection. Into thy heart, pierced by so many swords, do thou welcome my poor soul. Receive it as the companion of thy sorrows at the foot of the Cross, on which Jesus died for the redemption of the world. With thee, O sorrowful Virgin, I will gladly suffer all the trials, contradictions, and infirmities which it shall please our Lord to send me. I offer them all to thee in memory of thy sorrows, so that every thought of my mind, and every beat of my heart may be an act of compassion and of love for thee. And do though, sweet Mother, have pity on me, reconcile me to thy divine Son Jesus, keep me in His grace and assist me in my last agony, so that I may be able to meet thee in heaven and sing thy glories. Amen." (Raccolta)

Virgo dolorosíssima, ora pro nobis. [Latin for: Virgin most sorrowful, pray for us.]

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A Few Reflections on Ignorance

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"[I]gnorance...is the food of heresy" (Liturgical Year)

"[T]he worst of poverties is the ignorance of divine truths, because it would make a man poor and miserable for eternity" (Gueranger)

"In matters of religion, the majority of men in our times must be considered uninstructed." (Pope St. Pius X, "Acerbo Nimis", 1905 A.D.)

"How can that be true happiness which has no assurance of lasting in eternity, while the soul either in ignorance of the truth does not know what misery is approaching, or is, in its happiness, unhappily terrified?" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 420 A.D.)

"You, above all, know that many evils generally arise from ignorance of divine matters essential for salvation. Hence, you will understand that it behooves you to use every care and diligence that so detrimental a condition be prevented." (Pope Pius IX, "Quanto Conficiamur Moerore", 1863 A.D.)

"It is rather ignorance than ill-will which keeps multitudes away from Jesus Christ. There are many who study humanity and the natural world; few who study the Son of God. The first step, then, is to substitute knowledge for ignorance, so that He may no longer be despised or rejected because He is unknown." (Pope Leo XIII, "Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus", 1900 A.D.)

"We declare that a great number of those who are condemned to eternal punishment suffer that everlasting calamity because of ignorance of those mysteries of faith which must be known and believed in order to be numbered among the elect." (Pope Benedict XIV, as cited by Pope St. Pius X in "Acerbo Nimis", 1905 A.D.)

Error of Peter Abelard, CONDEMNED by the Council of Sens, c.1140 A.D.: "That they have not sinned who being ignorant have crucified Christ, and that whatever is done through ignorance must not be considered as sin." (Condemned Error, Council of Sens, c.1140 A.D.)

"What does ignorance of God beget us? Despair! A man who ponders all the evil he has done becomes anxious about himself. If he does not know how good and forgiving the Lord is, how willing to forgive and welcome him back, he falls into despair and becomes impenitent. He does not realize that Omnipotent Goodness could manage all his affairs, not wanting anyone to perish but that the sinner could be converted and live." (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church)

"A man who walks with open eyes may, indeed, turn aside from the right path, but a blind man is in much more imminent danger of wandering away. Furthermore, there is always some hope for a reform of perverse conduct so long as the light of faith is not entirely extinguished; but if lack of faith is added to depraved morality because of ignorance, the evil hardly admits of remedy, and the road to ruin lies open. How many and how grave are the consequences of ignorance in matters of religion! And on the other hand, how necessary and how beneficial is religious instruction! It is indeed vain to expect a fulfillment of the duties of a Christian by one who does not even know them." (Pope St. Pius X, "Acerbo Nimis", 1905 A.D.)

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Refs.

* http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/qt/coming_home_reflections_misc.htm

* http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/qt/coming_home_reflections_sin_rpntnc_forgiveness.htm

Note: For more Reflections, please visit http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/qt/reflections_categorized.htm

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"A devotion eminently calculated to give us heavenly power..."

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The following is taken from a 19th century publication by Fr. Faber entitled 'The Foot of the Cross; or, The Sorrows of Mary'. An imprimatur was not located on the work. [Note: We have made some changes to the original text (e.g. punctuation, capitalization & spelling changes, breaking apart paragraphs)]

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This imitation of Mary must be the lifelong attitude of Christians. She read off our Lord's Sacred Heart continually... [W]ho can doubt that Mary understood Jesus as no one else could do, and was in closer and more real union with Him than any saint could be? Hence no one doubts that her sympathy with Him in all His mysteries was of the most perfect description, and in keeping with her consummate holiness. We must therefore, learn her heart. We must strive to enter into her dispositions. An interior life, taken from hers, faint and disfigured as the copy at best must be, is the only one which is secure from manifold delusion. Yet nowhere can we penetrate so deeply into her heart, or be so sure of our discoveries, as in the case of her sorrows. Moreover the field for participation in the spirit of Jesus, which they open to us, is wider: for, immense as was His joy, nay even perpetually beatific, His life was distinguished rather by sorrow than by joy. Sorrow was, so to speak, more intimate to Him than joy. Joy was the companion of the Thirty-Three Years; sorrow was their character, their instrument, their energy, their discovery of what they were to seek. Thus a participation in the spirit of Jesus through the spirit of Mary is the true spirit of this devotion to our Lady's Dolours. Those, who have lived for some years amid their quiet shadows, can tell how they are almost a revelation in themselves.

But, when we speak of the spirit of this devotion, we must not omit to speak also of its power. We must not dwell exclusively on the spiritual effects it produces on ourselves, without reminding ourselves of its real power with God. In this respect one devotion may differ from another. One may be more acceptable to God, even where all are acceptable. He may promise prerogatives to one, which He has not promised to another. Now there are few devotions to which our Blessed Lord has promised more than He has done to this. There is a perfect cloud of visions and revelations resting upon it, and, in consequence, of examples of the saints also. Moreover there are reasons for its being so, in the nature of the devotion itself. We know what a powerful means of grace our Blessed Lady is, and our devotion to her must for the most part take its form either from her sorrows or her joys. Now, in her joys, as St. Sophronius says, our Lady is simply a debtor to her Son, whereas in her sorrows He is in some sense a debtor to her. St. Methodius, the martyr, teaches the same doctrine. Hence, if we may dare to use words which holy writers have used before, by her dolours she has laid our Blessed Lord under a kind of obligation, which gives her a right and power of impetration into which something of justice even enters. Yet when we think of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, of the immensity of His love for Mary, and of the great part of the Passion which it was to Him to see her suffer, we cannot for a moment doubt, without thinking of obligation, the extreme persuasiveness to Him of devotion to her dolours, a devotion which He Himself began, a devotion which was actually a solid part of His ever-blessed Passion. We draw Him towards us the moment we begin to think of His Mother's sorrows. He is beforehand, says St. Anselm, with those who meditate His Mother's woes.

And do we not stand in need of power in heaven? What a great work we have to do in our souls, and how little of it is already done! How slight is the impression we have made yet on our ruling passion, on our besetting sin! How superficial is our spirit of prayer, how childishly timid our spirit of penance, how transitory our moments of union with God! We want vigor, determination, consistency, solidity, and a more venturous aspiration. In short, our spiritual life wants power. And here is a devotion, so solid and efficacious, that it is eminently calculated to give us this power, as well by its masculine products in the soul, as by its actual influence over the Heart of our Blessed Lord. Who, that looks well at the saints, and sees what it has done for them, but will do his best to cultivate this devotion in himself?

In the affairs of this world steadiness comes with age. But who has not felt that it is not so in spiritual things? Alas! fervor is steadiness there, and that is too often but for awhile; when we have held on upon our way for some years, we grow tired. Familiarity brings with it the spirit of dispensation. Our habits become disjointed, as if the teeth of the wheels were worn down and would not bite. Our life gets uneven and untrue, like a machine out of order. So we find that the longer we persevere, the more we stand in need of steadiness. For behold! when we had trusted to the doctrine of habit, and dreamed that age would bring maturity in its own right, the very opposite has been the case. In easy ways and low attainments, and unworthy condescensions, and the facility of self-dispensing indulgence, in a word, in all things that are second-best, the power of habit is strong enough, indeed altogether to be depended on. But in what is best, in effort, in climbing, in fighting, in enduring, in persisting, we seem to grow more uncertain, fitful, capricious, irregular, feeble, than we were before. A worse weakness than that of youth is coming back to us, worse because it has less hopefulness about it, worse because time was to have cured the old weakness and now it is time which is bringing this weakness on, worse because it makes us less anxious, for we have hardened ourselves to think that we attempted too much when we were young, and that prudence indicates a low level where the air is milder and better for our respiration. Then do not some of us feel that the world grows more attractive to us as we grow older? It should not be so; but so it is! This comes of lukewarmness. Age unlearns many things; but woe betide it when it unlearns vigor, when it unlearns hope!

Rest is a great thing. It is the grand want of age. But we must not lie down before our time. Ah! how often has fervent youth made the world its bed in middle life; and when at last the world slipped from under it, whither did it fall? If we live only in the enervating ring of domestic love, much more in the vortex of the world, we must live with Jesus in the spirit of Mary, or we are lost. Let us learn this in increased devotion to her dolours. When we lie down to rest, we persuade ourselves it is but for a moment, and that we shall not go to sleep. But only let this most pathetic romance, which the destinies of humanity have ever brought before men, sound in our ears and knock at the doors of our hearts, and it will become in us a continually flowing fountain of supreme unworldliness. Torpor will become impossible. Oblivion of supernatural things will be unknown. We shall feel that rest would be pleasant, for awhile: but we shall disdain the temptation. Mary will teach us to STAND beneath the Cross.

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Note: For information on Devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Mary, please visit http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/the_Blessed_Virgin/popular_marian_devotions.htm

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Liturgical Feasts in September

The following is a listing of all liturgical feast dates for September as they appear at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/saints/feasts.htm

Note: (T) = Traditional, (N) = New (Novus Ordo)

Reminder: Feasts may be superseded / transferred / etc.

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September 1 - St. Giles (T)

September 1 - Twelve Holy Brothers (T)

September 2 - St. Stephen, king of Hungary (T)

September 3 - St. Pius X, pope (T)

September 3 - St. Gregory the Great, pope (N)

September 5 - St. Laurence Justinian (T)

September 7 - St. Cloud (T)

September 8 - Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (T)

September 8 - St. Adrian (T)

September 8 - The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (N)

September 9 - St. Gorgonius (T)

September 9 - St. Peter Claver (T)

September 9 - St. Peter Claver (N)

September 10 - St. Nicholas of Tolentino (T)

September 11 - Sts. Protus & Hyacinth (T)

September 12 - The Most Holy Name of Mary (T)

September 12 - The Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary (N)

September 13 - St. John Chrysostom (N)

September 14 - Exaltation of the Holy Cross (T)

September 14 - The Exaltation of the Holy Cross (N)

September 15 - Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary (T)

September 15 - St. Nicomedes (T)

September 15 - Our Lady of Sorrows (N)

September 16 - Sts. Cornelius (pope) & Cyprian (T)

September 16 - Sts. Euphemia, Lucy & Geminianus (T)

September 16 - Sts. Cornelius (pope) & Cyprian (N)

September 17 - Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi (T)

September 17 - St. Robert Bellarmine (N)

September 18 - St. Joseph of Cupertino (T)

September 19 - St. Januarius & others (T)

September 19 - St. Januarius (N)

September 20 - St. Eustace & others (T)

September 20 - Sts. Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang & companions (N)

September 21 - St. Matthew, apostle & evangelist (T)

September 21 - St. Matthew, apostle & evangelist (N)

September 22 - St. Maurice & others (T)

September 22 - St. Thomas of Villanova (T)

September 23 - St. Linus, pope (T)

September 23 - St. Thecla (T)

September 23 - St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) (N)

September 24 - Our Lady of Ransom (T)

September 26 - Sts. Cyprian & Justina (T)

September 26 - Sts. John de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues & companions (T)

September 26 - Sts. Cosmas & Damian (N)

September 27 - Sts. Cosmas & Damian (T)

September 27 - St. Vincent de Paul (N)

September 28 - St. Wenceslaus (T)

September 28 - St. Lawrence Ruiz & companions (N)

September 28 - St. Wenceslaus (N)

September 29 - Dedication of the Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel (T)

September 29 - Sts. Michael, Gabriel & Raphael, archangels (N)

September 30 - St. Jerome (T)

September 30 - St. Jerome (N)

Please Note: Above may exclude moveable feasts. For moveable feasts, try here: http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/latin_mass_and_tradition/traditional_liturgical_calendar.htm . For other feasts, try the MCS Daily Digest each day at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/cg/mcs_daily_digest.asp

Also...

9/17/14 - Ember Wednesday (T)

9/19/14 - Ember Friday (T)

9/20/14 - Ember Saturday (T)

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'Catholic Trivia'

1. Where does Scripture say to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling"?

2. Which are the prayers "most recommended to us"?

3. What does St. Aelred of Rievaulx call "the root of all evils"?

4. Which saint resurrected his pet trout, his pet lamb, and another fish?

5. Which ecumenical council dealt with the errors of Origen and Theodoret?

6. According to Pope St. Gregory the Great, what are the four marks by which pride betrays itself?

7. Scripture says that people must render an account of what on the day of judgment?

8. Complete the sentence: "Can. 1366 Parents, or those who take the place of parents, who ___ are to be punished with a censure or other just penalty." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

9. What does the "Leonine Wall" refer to?

10. What inscription appears on the wall of the Lateran Basilica in Rome?

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Answers:

1. Scripture says to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling" in St. Paul's letter to the Philippians (see Phil. 2:12).

2. "The prayers most recommended to us are the Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary, the Apostles' Creed, the Confiteor, and the Acts of Faith, Hope, Love and Contrition." (Baltimore Catechism)

3. "The root of all evils is self-centeredness just as, on the other hand, the root of all virtues is charity. As long as this poisonous root remains in the depths of the soul, even though some of the twigs on the surface may be pruned back, others will inevitably continue to sprout from the invigorated base until the very root from which these pernicious shoots spring up has been utterly torn out and nothing more remains." (St. Aelred of Rievaulx)

4. St. Francis of Paola resurrected his pet trout, his pet lamb, and another fish.

5. The Second Council of Constantinople (Constantinople II) dealt with the errors of Origen and Theodoret.

6. "There are four marks by which every kind of pride of the arrogant betrays itself; either when they think that their good is from themselves, or if they believe it to be from above, yet they think that it is due to their own merits; or when they boast of having what they have not, or despise others and wish to appear the exclusive possessors of what they have." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

7. Scripture says that people must render an account of "every careless word they speak" on the day of judgment and says that "By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned" (see Mt. 12:36-37)

8. "Can. 1366 Parents, or those who take the place of parents, who hand over their children to be baptized or educated in a non-Catholic religion are to be punished with a censure or other just penalty." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

9. The "Leonine Wall" refers to a 40 foot high by 12 foot thick military barricade built under Pope St. Leo IV for the protection of the Vatican during the turbulent 9th century.

10. On the wall of the Lateran Basilica in Rome, the following inscription appears: "Omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput" (Latin for: "The mother and head of all the churches of the City and the world").

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For more information concerning the topics above, try our General A-Z Index at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/help.htm

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You might also be interested in the Q & A and historical information which may be found each day on the MCS Daily Digest at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/cg/mcs_daily_digest.asp

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Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Believe There is No Such Thing as Heresy? That All Beliefs Are Equal?

It is good for Catholics to be able to defend their faith against attacks (or even simple questions) from those outside the Church. We therefore hope you may find the following "apologetics brief" helpful.

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Note: Text below is taken from http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/nc/non_catholics__truth_doctrine.htm

The following may be used as discussion points when discoursing with those outside the Church (or even among Catholics).

Topic: Do You Believe There is No Such Thing as Heresy? That All Beliefs Are Equal? (Note: Topic is directed at certain Protestants)

Consider:

* How can there be no such thing as heresy considering that Scripture speaks of heretics (that is, expounders of heresy)?

"After a first and second warning, break off contact with a heretic, realizing that such a person is perverted and sinful and stands self-condemned." (St. Paul, Ti. 3:10-11)

* How can all beliefs be equal when Scripture warns us repeatedly about error and false teaching?

"And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them." (Acts 20:30)

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching." (St. Paul, Heb. 13:8-9)

"If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him in your house or even greet him; for whoever greets him shares in his evil works." (St. John, 2 Jn. 1:10-11)

"For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths." (St. Paul, 2 Tm. 4:3-4)

"There were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will introduce destructive heresies and even deny the Master who ransomed them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their licentious ways, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled." (St. Peter, 2 Pt. 2:1-2)

"But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach (to you) a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed! Am I now currying favor with human beings or God? Or am I seeking to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ." (St. Paul, Gal. 1:7-10)

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"There are not enough hours in the day for me to recite even the names of all the various sects of heretics." (St. Ambrose of Milan, Doctor of the Church, 382 A.D.) 

"Even the heretics appear to have Christ, for none of them denies the name of Christ; yet anyone who does not confess all that pertains to Christ does in fact deny Christ." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church) 

"I exhort you, then, to leave alone the foreign fodder of heresy and keep entirely to Christian food... For heretics mingle poison with Jesus Christ, as men might administer a deadly drug in sweet wine...so that without thought or fear of the fatal sweetness a man drinks his own death." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, 2nd century A.D.)

"Our Lord Jesus Christ, when in His Gospel He testifies that those who not are with Him are His enemies, does not designate any special form of heresy, but declares that all heretics who are not with Him and do not gather with Him scatter His flock and are His adversaries: He that is not with Me is against Me, and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth" (St. Cyprian)

"Heretics bring sentence upon themselves since they by their own choice withdraw from the Church, a withdrawal which, since they are aware of it, constitutes damnation. Between heresy and schism there is this distinction to be made, that heresy involves perverse doctrine, schism separates one from the Church on account of disagreement with the bishop." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church, c. 386 A.D.)

"Therefore, heresy is so called from the Greek word meaning 'choice,' by which each chooses according to his own will what he pleases to teach or believe. But we are not permitted to believe whatever we choose, nor to choose whatever someone else has believed. We have the apostles of God as authorities, who did not themselves of their own will choose what they would believe, but faithfully transmitted to the nations the teaching received from Christ. So, even if an angel from heaven should preach otherwise, he shall be called anathema." (St. Isidore, Doctor of the Church, 7th century A.D.)

"And yet this same gentle and loving Saint [John the Evangelist] was the inflexible enemy of heresy; for heresy, by destroying Faith, poisons Charity in its very source. It is from this Apostle that the Church has received the maxim she gives to us, of shunning heresy as we would shun a plague: If any man come to you and bring not the doctrine of Christ, receive him not into the house, nor say to him 'God speed thee', for he that saith unto him 'God speed thee', communicateth with his wicked works (Jn. 1:10-11). St. John having one day entered one of the public baths, he was no sooner informed that the heresiarch Cerinthus was in the same building, than he instantly left the place as though it were infected. The disciples of Cerinthus were indignant at this conduct of the Apostle, and endeavored to take away his life by putting poison into the cup from which he used to drink; but St. John having made the sign of the cross over the cup, a serpent was seen to issue from it, testifying both to the wickedness of his enemies and to the divinity of Christ, This apostolic firmness in resisting the enemies of the Faith made him the dread of the heretics of Asia; and hereby he proved how justly he had received from Jesus the surname Son of Thunder" (Dom Gueranger)

"The Church, founded on these principles and mindful of her office, has done nothing with greater zeal and endeavor than she has displayed in guarding the integrity of the faith. Hence she regarded as rebels and expelled from the ranks of her children all who held beliefs on any point of doctrine different from her own. The Arians, the Montanists, the Novatians, the Quartodecimans, the Eutychians, did not certainly reject all Catholic doctrine: they abandoned only a certain portion of it. Still who does not know that they were declared heretics and banished from the bosom of the Church? In like manner were condemned all authors of heretical tenets who followed them in subsequent ages. 'There can be nothing more dangerous than those heretics who admit nearly the whole cycle of doctrine, and yet by one word, as with a drop of poison, infect the real and simple faith taught by our Lord and handed down by Apostolic tradition'... The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium. Epiphanius, Augustine, Theodoret, drew up a long list of the heresies of their times. St. Augustine notes that other heresies may spring up, to a single one of which, should any one give his assent, he is by the very fact cut off from Catholic unity. 'No one who merely disbelieves in all (these heresies) can for that reason regard himself as a Catholic or call himself one. For there may be or may arise some other heresies, which are not set out in this work of ours, and, if any one holds to one single one of these he is not a Catholic' (S. Augustinus, De Haeresibus, n. 88)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

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For more apologetics resources, please visit http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/non-catholics.htm

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In Closing...

"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own." (Jn. 19:25-27)

"Is there one who would not weep, whelmed in miseries so deep, Christ's dear Mother to behold? Can the human heart refrain from partaking in her pain, in that Mother's pain untold?" (From the Stabat Mater)

"I bless, praise, and highly commend you, holy and immaculate Virgin Mary, for taking your sorrowful station at the foot of Jesus' Cross, where you stood for a long time careworn and afflicted, transfixed by the sword of sorrow, as foretold by Simeon; for your many tears, which you abundantly shed; for the great loyalty and unwavering allegiance you manifested to your dying Son in his most dire moment; for the acute heartbreak you felt the instant he died; for your tear-filled countenance when you saw him hanging dead before your eyes; for your blessed embrace when in your Mother's arms you received him from the Cross and amid laments clasped him to your breast; for your dolorous journey to the sepulcher, walking behind those who bore that sacred corpse and seeing it placed in a tomb with a large stone sealing it; for your rueful return from the tomb and your entering your home where many of the faithful had gathered, and there you again bitterly bewailed the death of your loving Son. Inasmuch as everyone's eyes were upon you, they too broke out into tears." (Thomas a Kempis)

Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary: "Immaculate Virgin, refuge of sinners thou who, in order to atone for the injuries done to Almighty God and the evils inflicted on men by sin, didst accept with resignation the death of thy divine Son, be ever propitious toward us, and in heaven, where thou dost reign gloriously, continue in our behalf thy work of zeal and love. We would be thy children: do thou still show thyself a Mother. Obtain from Jesus, our divine Redeemer, that He may be pleased to apply to our souls the fruits of His passion and death, and deliver us from the bonds of our iniquities. May He be our light in the midst of darkness, our strength in weakness, our refuge in the midst of peril; may He strengthen us by His grace and love in this world, and grant us to love Him, see Him and possess Him in the world to come. Amen." (Raccolta)

"Can we say that we are walking in His footsteps if we are not on the road to Calvary?" (Liturgical Year)

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