Guerrilla Apologetics for Catholics

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All rights reserved. This is part one of the …Continue Reading. Over 5, people across the continents tuned in. On the eve of …Continue Reading. Pavone has. Burke Half a millennium after the Reformation, Germans are making trouble again for the Roman Church. He wrote this column on October 2, four days before the opening of the Amazon Synod.

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The Wanderer went to press this week on October 3. The suspension will have effect while the congregation considers an appeal of the decree. This nuptial imagery, which references in a particular manner the unitive …Continue Reading. This is confirmed by St. Cyprian, a fourth-century Father of the Church.

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A meditation from one of his letters appeared in the September issue of Magnificat. Among other things, the former bishop of Carthage said of the glory of Heaven: …Continue Reading. By FR. Jesus answers by telling them that if they had faith the size of a mustard seed they could command a mulberry tree to be uprooted …Continue Reading.

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CUSICK As the Amazon Synod draws nearer, set to take place in Rome this month, the headlines reveal a dueling of perspectives surrounding the role of celibacy in the ministry of the priesthood. Some doomsayers …Continue Reading. Why do some Catholics wear the ashes they receive on Ash Wednesday all day? They neglect their appearance, so …Continue Reading. Little by little the Catholic Church had lost its influence and then it became a prime target for both the revolutionaries and the government. Although neither party of the agreement held up to its commitments, the beginning of more democratic rule had arrived.

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Three years later a noble family gave birth to a man who played a significant …Continue Reading. Moral experience supports the Christian worldview. Everyone who has ever tried the moral life is aware that there is a deep tension within the human person, that the interior tendency towards evil must be combated if we are to live well, but that in spite of these inclinations we are not simply bits of fleshy flotsam borne along on the genetic tides. We are capable of choosing to live morally, of slowly putting ourselves back together, of placing reason on the throne of the soul, and of subjugating the appetites and the passions to her reign.

We know that as we approach a state of rational freedom, the interior disorder begins to dissipate; virtue ceases to feel onerous or tedious, and the demands of concupiscence become less clamorous. Yet experience also confirms that we are not capable, by means of will and reason alone, to attain complete happiness.

The flesh, however well subjugated, continues to make war on the spirit.


It is impossible to regain in this life what Adam lost in the fall. Neither a heroic effort of the will nor the constant reception of sacramental grace will eliminate pain, suffering, and death from human life. Christ, preparing to go to his death on the cross, makes it clear that the full restoration of man lies in heaven, that his kingdom is not of this world. Yet the Holy Spirit bestows gifts which are, in many cases, a partial renewal of our original powers. The gift of tongues as described in Acts hearkens back to the original language Adam used to name the animals, which was universally comprehensible.

The gift of understanding allows insight and wisdom which goes beyond the merely natural faculties of the intellect, just as the gift of infused knowledge did in Eden. Some of the saints were given extraordinary gifts of fortitude that allowed them joyfully to bear pains that mere nature could not have endured. The Gospel tells us that after the Crucifixion, many were raised from the dead cf.

Mt , and the early martyrologies are full of accounts in which mortality is briefly suspended so the watching crowds could see that the God of the Galileans is capable of literally overcoming death. Eden is lost, but we are occasionally given some reminder of our former glory, along with the promise of what we will be when we are fully restored, perfected, and divinized in the beatific vision. The Serpent and the Beast The Garden of Eden is not simply a small patch of ground near the headwaters of the Euphrates: It is all of Creation in microcosm.

It is cosmic in scale. Everything is present in the beginning. The full grandeur of Creation is not fully revealed until the end, until the "new heaven and the new earth" which Genesis anticipates and foreshadows. In Revelation, many of the themes and ideas in the Genesis account are revisited, but on a more mythological scale. Take, for example, the serpent. In images of the Genesis story, he is often depicted as a large snake, the size of a boa constrictor, or even a little innocent-looking grass snake sitting prettily on the branch of a tree. It seems unlikely that Eve could have been deceived into thinking that she was speaking with a harmless creature. But if Mary is the second Eve, Eve is also the first Mary, so the same serpent who would make war on Christ and the Church was there in the beginning to make war on the woman and on her children. What Eve saw was the tempter, at once terrifying and seductive, a being sufficiently awe-inspiring that it seemed to speak with the authority to challenge God.

The book of Revelation describes this creature as, "the great dragon. When Eve assents to be deceived by this serpent, she brings down on the world the series of curses that are consummated in Revelation. War, famine, pestilence, death, the disruption of the natural order, and the collapse of the world are not just harbingers of the end times: They are also the immediate consequences of the first sin.

Death entered the world, not only for individuals but for all of humankind. Once sin has wreaked havoc on the battlefields of history, the world will die. Only through the creation of a new heaven and a new earth will it be possible to eradicate the effects of Adam's fall. The Two Trees The recreation of the world is a long way off when Adam and Eve trudge sadly out of the Garden, but already, in the final lines of Genesis 3, salvation is being prepared.

There are two trees growing in Eden: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. Adam and Eve eat from the first, but are prevented from eating from the second. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is one of the most mysterious symbols in the Eden narrative. We are told that "when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate" Gn It is important to note here that the tree really is genuinely good.

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Eve had a perfectly ordered and rational human soul which found evil totally repugnant and unappealing. The temptation was to seek an objective good for disordered reasons, which is what happened.

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The temptation changes the way Eve perceived the forbidden fruit: She no longer sees its goodness in an ordered and disinterested way, but in a way that foreshadows the threefold concupiscence: The fruit is desirable to the flesh, it holds a sort of worldly glamour, and it appeals to pride. It is interesting to note that there is no tree of death or tree of evil within the garden, only the tree of the possibility of evil. When Adam and Eve eat they interiorize that potential and make it real. This creates a new relationship between man and Creation. Suddenly, all of the things that were "good" in the beginning have potential for evil.

That makes the image of a tree particularly apt because of the countless branches of knowledge which in our fallen condition represent a genuine danger:. Every field of human endeavor is poisoned because humanity now knows not only how to use knowledge for the greater glory of God, but also how to use it in disordered and damaging ways. The second tree is the antidote to this problem, but it is also dangerous. When God banishes Adam and Eve from the garden and the tree of life, bodily immortality is no longer possible.

It was an act of mercy that he did so. Those who choose to love and serve God could hardly find endless life in a valley of sorrows desirable; those who reject God must not be allowed to grow in their evil indefinitely or to continually inflict harm on others without ever being subjected to justice. God posts at Eden's gates "the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way" Gn Eden is permanently closed to man.