Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Catholic Defender: Failure Is Not An Option

Recently, one of my College Instructors posed an awesome question. In fact, he wanted us to give our perspective on it.


This question can be answered a number of ways, from an educational perspective, it is important to develop your education towards a good career.

Still, there will always be risks that you take, there will be success along with failures.

Sports is an important field for many. I grew up striving to play professional baseball, despite many great experiences, I would also share in defeats as well.

1 Timothy 4:7-9 states, "Have nothing to do with godless and silly myths. Train yourself in godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come."

This is key for me in answering the question. Faith, like anything else requires training. The RSV version of the bible uses the word "godliness" while the NAB version says "devotion". There will be times that we will fail because we will sin.

Hebrews 12: 1-2 states, "let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfector of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."

Faith is very important in every aspect of life. The tennents of our faith are still seen in fundamental ways. An example of this is looking at the six fiduciary duties of an agent selling property and homes. Obedience and loyalty are key important principals.

The key to success can be taken from the scripture I have provided, we are to train ourselves and then persevere. In regards to salvation, Jesus says, "But he who endures (perseveres) to the end will be saved" (Matthew 24:13), our faith "is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).

In the Military, sometimes we face certain uncertainty that our faith gives us strength. There are many challenges that can put you to the test. I have told people many times that as a father, if I teach and lead my children to be the best teachers, lawyers, soldiers, doctors, what ever their career might be, this is only a small part of my responsibility.

My first and most important responsibility is laying the foundation of faith for my children. I personally have been a Soldier, I have worked in security, I have been a college student, played baseball, I've done a lot of things. I am so thankful for my faith which has made me a better person.

As a husband and father, my faith has played a most prominant position. Despite some of my failures, my faith has helped me overcome the obsticals placed before me. Going back to the question, "If you knew you could not fail... What would you do with the rest of your life?"

I would lift the shield of faith, I offer the Lord my strength, my sword, my life and through this faith, I will live the rest of my life dedicated to His service.

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Friday, June 29, 2012

7 quick takes Friday

                                   --- 1 ---
Justice John Roberts has lost his mind and America will pay a grievous price for it.

I must admit that I have gone back and forth through shock, seething rage and smothering despair at Justice Roberts decision to join with the 4 demons in robes that are Sotamayor, Kagan, Stephens and Ginsberg.

Who could have imagined that the voice of sanity would be Anthony Kennedy, the flighty swing vote?

Chief John Roberts was supposed to be the man who steered the court towards principled, Constitutionalism. Judicial restraint, don't go past the framers intent.

The decision released yesterday was the very definition of Judicial activism. After striking down the argument that the commerce clause gave the Obama administration the authority to enact legislative tyranny, he throws them a life-line by waving his magic wand and saying *poof* "It's a tax". This was after team Obama argued-quite forcefully- that it wasn't a tax. So, essentially, Roberts argued that the authority that isn't an authority is an authority according to the tax that isn't a tax. I can only surmise that Obama threatened him or bribed him. Nothing else makes sense. This may have been our only chance to stop this monstrosity. Thanks, John. You just may have killed a country. Sleep well.

--- 2 ---
The feast of Peter and Paul
Together, they are responsible for at least 15 of the books of the New Testament (The authorship of Hebrews is in question). They were both martyred in Rome and they are both fixtures of the early Church. However, Peter was the Rock (Kephas) upon which the church was built and Paul always called him that, lest we forget.

                    --- 3 ---                                                 Independence day.
This just in. Independence day will not be this Wednesday as you might have thought. It has been moved this year, following the Court's outrageous decision. Our Independence will now be celebrated on November 6th. Mark your calendars.              
   --- 4 ---
For those of you who are not skeptical of the current election reporting calling it a neck and neck race or too close to call, consider this. Obama is currently polling below the critical 50% mark in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Colorado and Florida. All states he won in 2008. Wisconsin was a state he won in 2008 by 14 points, Michigan by 16, Pennsylvania by 11. In addition to this, Dems, and their media accomplices keep calling Arizona a battleground. Romney is eeking it 13. Neck and neck, my butt. Romney is going to win 40 states.

--- 5 ---
Shameless self promotion. We are supposed to have a debate tonight. If our opponent shows.
--- 6 ---
Deepertruthblog is working on a major project! A video series on the Book of Revelation and the antichrist. Stay tuned!
-- 7 ---  
Justice Roberts may have just given the election to Romney.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
Past DTB Quick Takes: June 15 June 8 | June 1 | May 18| May 11| May 4|

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Justice Roberts, are you drunk?

There is no secret that Justices Sotomayer, Kagan, Stevens, and Ginsberg are nothing more than leftwing political hacks in Robes. It is also no secret that there are Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts are the reliably constructionist ones.

That usually leaves the flighty Kennedy to decide which way the court will go. That is why when Americans, who actually believe in the Constitution heard Kennedy's incredulity of the arguments favoring the obviously unconstitutional Obamacare act, we were heartened that this legislative tyranny would be struck down.

Today, we are all in shock that Justice Roberts has gone over to the dark side and upheld this horrible law, using an argument that the Obamabots didn't even use. It's a tax increase.

One can only assume that he was hitting the bottle....or worse....he has lost his mind.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

*BEST OF DTB #192* A man of 10 decades

What is the measure of a life whose eyes have seen 10 of some the most significant decades in modern history? 10 decades unequaled in  technological advancement but also unmatched in gratuitous violence and bloodshed. On the day my Dad was born, in 1929, our nation was about the same distance from the Titanic disaster as we are now from the start of Bill Clinton's second term. The space that separated us from the miraculous events of Fatima and the end of World War 1 is now what separates us from 9/11.

My Dad entered the world just as the Roaring 20's were about to come to a crashing halt. He was 4 months old when the stock market dropped 11%. Try to imagine the Dow dropping by 1400 points today in a day. It is not merely a passage of time, my Dad is a living witness to some of the most violent transformation in world history, much of the impact of which will be debated for decades to come.

The man whose life has now spanned 14 Presidents, from Herbert Hoover to Barack Obama and 5 wars (serving in 2 of them), has been colored by what he has seen, in both good ways and bad.

As the few remaining grains of sand pour out from the hourglass of his life, a legacy will endure. 5 Sons, 14 grand-children (13 living, 1 deceased) and half a dozen great- great children will press on to renew the pursuit of what he always had hoped to acheive- a legacy of love, family and values and not one of monuments.

My Dad was married before his 22nd birthday and had endured the Great depression and 3 wars before he reached 40. He was married the same year that Bobby Thompson's shot was heard 'round the world and Doris Day sang the Tennessee Waltz. It was a different time, unimaginable to the eyes of today's generation. Dwight D Eisenhower was the President of the United States. That was the last time our nation was led by a war hero. American patriotism was at it's zenith, families were not afraid to leave their doors unlocked and kids prayed in school and said the Pledge of Allegiance. In my Father's family, his two sons were altar boys preparing for the priesthood.

Who could have guessed what was coming? It was the Pope who said we were about to enter a phase when families would have to become living martyrs for their faith because of the rise of evil in the world. Who could have known that it was the end of America's age of innocence?

It was on a Friday in November when shots rang out in Dallas, Texas. Those shots didn't merely take down a President, they shattered the innocence of a nation. The explanation given to a grieving nation was so absurd as to insult our collective intelligence. How fast we fell from the notion that our government could be trusted.

The assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy heralded the beginning of the reviled government, a trend that continues to this day.
So despised was Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam war that it ripped our nation in two like had not been seen since the civil war. Unfortunately, it divided our family, and that was the exact hell into which I was born.

Luke 12:52-54  52 For there shall be from henceforth five in one house divided: three against two, and two against three. 53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against his father, the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother, the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 54 And he said also to the multitudes: When you see a cloud rising from the west, presently you say: A shower is coming: and so it happeneth:

During the 1960s and early 70s, his two twin sons put him through sheer hell as they got into drugs and the wrong crowd and became involved in gangs and the anti-Vietnam war movement. It would only be fair to say that he put them through hell as well. There was war and there was my mother having a nervous breakdown. It was not a pretty time.

This, and the shockingly difficult transition to civilian life for this retired Army Master Sargent was a crushing blow that I am only now beginning to understand. It was in the midst of all the chaos that his other 3 sons grew up, having all 3been born, on military bases. My brother George was born in September of 1963 in Panama. It was only a couple of months before the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

My parents vowed that their next son would be named John Fitzgerald in honor of the memory of our nation's only Catholic President. As it happened, it was me who was born, in Fort Meade, Maryland, a year after George, almost to the day and I have carried the name John Fitzgerald Benko ever since. My parents never got over me becoming a Republican in the early 1980s.

My brother Jeff, the 5th son, was born in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. It was about three years later that my father retired from the army and him and my mom moved into the home in Lorton where they still live today.

On the day I was born, my father was 35 years old. He was almost 37 when his last son was born.

To put this in contrast, I turned 37, the day before 9/11, with my oldest starting her freshman year in high school and our baby boy having passed away 3 1/2 years before.

I have only now come to understand that my early relationship with my father was doomed from the start. This was a man that was beaten down by life in ways that I was about to learn.

My families story was one of almost constant tragedy and hardship and it was one of those tragedies where I can look back in retrospect and see just how painful it was for my father that he and I could not connect. The date was January 17th, 1977. It was a day after the 25th birthday of my father's twin sons and 4 days before the birth of his second grandchild. It was on that day that I was in a sledding accident that nearly cost me my life. As I went into seizures and a coma, my poor father rushed to the hospital. There were no cell phones then, there were no text messages, no updates of any kind. Just a 12 year old son desperately clinging to life, and a father speeding to be at his side.

It took about 45 minutes for my dad to get to the hospital in Fort Belvoir. By that time, the doctor's had come to the conclusion that my situation was grave and my poor dad arrived just in time to see me loaded into the ambulance and the ambulance speed away, rushing me to Walter Reed hospital in Washington, DC. No update, no text message.

This was before the day when every hospital had a helicopter and an ambulance was a fully functional ICU. Ambulances then were for one thing- get the patient to the hospital as quickly as possible. In my case, that meant 80 miles per hour or more, all the way to Washington DC, weaving in and out of traffic, shooting down the shoulders and the emergency lanes. My poor dad did not even know where I was going. He had only one option. He had to keep up with that ambulance no matter what. That is exactly what he did. It is about 50 miles from Manassas, VA to Fort Belvoir Va to Washington, DC and my father, who I have never seen drive more than 50 miles per hour, drove that whole distance with the gas pedal mashed to the floor, swerving, panicking, crying.

I didn't understand it until later, but when my dad broke through the door of that emergency room, I was barely clinging to life. I didn't see the white expression or the tears washing down his face and the sheer hatred I had towards my father froze my heart too much to allow me to believe it. Yes, at 12 years old, I hated this man and I firmly believed that he hated me. When the family told me what he looked like, I had to believe they were either lying or that it was my brother George who he thought was in that ambulance.

Can even God forgive such hatred?

I am not going to whitewash my relationship with my dad. It was hell. My anger towards him was not at all without merit but my hate was. Hate is a vile and corrosive poison that ruins lives, starts wars and leads to damnation.

What did my father receive for his heroic ride? He and my mother were given the news that they needed to prepare for the worst, that it was more than likely that I was not going to survive the night.

The key to learning to love someone is empathy. Empathy, not sympathy. To empathize with someone is to walk in their footsteps. It was only in the aftermath of my personal family tragedy that I came to understand how it is for a parent to be hated by their own child. This is a monstrous cross.

Through the years, I tried to reach this man and he tried to reach me. I was 38 years old when that finally happened.

We now understand each other.

I can now know that had I died that night in January of 1977, his chance to reconcile with me would have died with me. My Father is dying now but he is reconciled with God. Could that have happened if I had not lived?

This much I know. Without the hope of being fully reconciled with my kids, and seeing them reconciled with God, I don't know that I could have the will to live. Yesterday was very likely the last Father's day I will ever have with my dad but there have now been enough for me to say "well done, dad".

You taught me about love. You taught me about bearing burdens and carrying crosses. You taught me the values of honesty, integrity and that the most valuable things life offer are those that money cannot buy. Most of all, you taught me to never give up on life and love and that love really can move mountains. You made faith and forgiveness and salvific suffering real to me and not theological abstracts. You have pointed the way to heaven.

The value of the ascent to the summit is directly proportional to the size of the mountain. Yours is priceless.

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The Catholic Defender: A new look at YouTube

The following is a talk from Fr Robert Barron's keynote address at an Archdiocesan Congress in 2010.

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Catholic Defender: Coming Home

I know that many of us have gone off on our own at some time in our lives, some of us more than others. Some seems to parallel a cliff.

How important is it to be given a firm foundation? How important is it that Father's lead their families by example?

If Mom and Dad do not possess a strong foundation, how much more difficult is that for the youth of today?

1 Peter 3:6 states, "Likewise you wives, be submissive to your husbands, so that some, though they do not obey the word, may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, when they see your reverent and chaste behavior. Let not yours be the outward adorning with braiding of hair, decoration of gold, and wearing of robes, but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. So once the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves and were submissive to their husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord. And you are now her children if you do right and let nothing terrify you."

Now guys, this does not mean that you are to lord it over your wive, but to love her as you love your own self. When I read this text, I can't help remember the example left by St. Monica who prayed for her son, St. Augustine. Through her example and faith, her husband, Patritius was also converted. This continues to bring great hope for all parents who have prodigal son's and daughters. The real point of St. Peter here is service, we are to serve one another.

1 Peter 3:7 states, "Likewise you husbands, live considerately with your wives, bestowing honor on the woman as the weaker sex, since you are joint heirs of the grace of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered".

I place my wife on a pedestal, she is my hero in what she has done in her life. She was a nurse for many years offering the best quality care to all she served. She is God's greatest gift to me and my chosen spouse. We have supported each other in our hardships as well as life.

The family unit is under attack today by the anti-church movements and this is affecting young people all across the country. We need our Shepherds to rise up and lead more than ever. The recent attack on the Catholic Church by the Obama Administration has awakened a sleeping giant! The confusion is great among the ranks out in society and we desperately need the Church to be that moral compass! Pope Pius XII in 1950 was clear when he warned that the attack on the family was going to be so strong. To be a true Christian, you would have to be a "living Martyr".

St. Paul warns, "But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people" (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

1 Timothy 4:1-2 states, "Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared." There is so much the bible speaks regarding the importance of Fathers and Mothers to lead their children on the path of salvation.

Are we living in an age when the bible will be outlawed? When those in power will restrict your access to the bible? While still in Iraq in 2010, my Brigade Chaplain warned me that the Gay Agenda had already approached the Military Chaplaincy telling them they will have to modify what the preach from the pulpit. That is an infringement to the Constitution of the United States, but who seems to care?

2 Thessalonians 2:7 states, "For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way." The Lord will protect America only as long as America remains firm in following the Lord. The past few decades we have been on a slippery slope downhill, and that is why we are seeing a rise in rebellion. There is no better time than now to get things right with God.

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 states, "Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, 'At the acceptable time I have listened to you, and helped you on the day of salvation.' Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation". Prodigals, come home to the Catholic Faith. If you have not been to Mass in a while, check out your local Catholic Church, arrange a meeting with your Priest who will be happy to see you. If you have not been to Confession for some times, please go. If you are not Catholic, I invite you to check out the RCIA in your Parish. They will be happy to see you.

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Should make for interesting discussion

based on actual live and archive statistics recorded on our BTR channel.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

7 quick takes Friday

                                   --- 1 ---
The problem with running from God!
The question posed in John 6:69 always gets in the way. Frustration got the best of me this past week but, really, it all boils down to that question- to whom shall I go? If I run from God, I only run deeper into my own will and that only winds you up in a whale of trouble. Just ask Jonah.

So, though I am still exasperated at my own inadequacy and I come up dry every time I want to say or write something and I wish I could just hide, the universe isn't big enough to hide from God, so I need to suck it up and try again.
--- 2 ---
Devotion has a name, it's Tamara Benko. That's my wife of 26 years and 26 million frustrations and setbacks. I love this lady so much. She anchors me when I am about to lose my mind and she is the walking talking personification of never-give-up.                                         --- 3 ---                                                 Father's day is this Sunday. I guess on some level, I always thought this was kind of a hallmark holiday. This Father's day will be the 47th one for me and my Dad. For too many of those years, I had a terrible relationship with that man and that is something I am having a tough time forgiving myself for, especially in light of the fact that this will almost certainly be the last Father's day we share. Treasure your Dad, if you still have him.
                 --- 4 ---
Speaking of guilt, a certain level of it is healthy. Guilt is supposed to lead to change. When guilt is ignored, that's not a good thing. Yet, guilt that leads to scrupulosity and despair isn't good either. Corie Ten Boom said it best. There is no pit so deep, that God is not deeper still. I have to keep telling myself this. It isn't about what you have done, it's about who He is.

How long will it take me to learn that my feelings are not relevant to the question of salvation? In fact, the are often counter-productive. If my guilt causes me to become depressed and frozen in quicksand, what in the world has that accomplished?

As my wise friend Christie Martin put it, Is it not enough that you must carry your cross, that you let the devil beat you with it too? Christie is good at those Spiritual head slaps.

--- 5 ---
Having struggled with Depression for a long time, I was struck that the clinical condition uses the same term as what happens to the ground when hit by a giant boulder, falling from a great distance.Yea! That's what it feels like. Depression is as much environmental as mental, as much metaphysical as physical. In fact, Depression affects all of the four persons., but I believe it starts in the spiritual person and grows out from there. It starts from that basic frustration of seeking, and hoping to find, happiness and satisfaction in a world full of sorrow and hate and suffering and death.

On a logical level, this is roughly equal to trying to find a Buick in a cabbage patch but we are not logical beings. In our over-medicated world, we try to reduce everything to a health issue. Give me a break.

Last year, we interviewed a friend of mine, whose son fell from a church ceiling to his death.

Paxil isn't going to help with that.
--- 6 ---
Denial is often the root cause of addiction and that is the reason that the Serenity prayer is at the core of any religious based addiction therapy.

You all know it;

 God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference. 

It is written by a man named Reinhold Niebuhr and the message is pretty straightforward- God grant me the ability to see things as they really are and act accordingly. Ok, so you knew that. But did you know that the prayer is whispered during DTB's defacto theme song Higher Power ?

--- 7 ---  
Though I am back with the DTB group for the time being at least,  I am done with facebook. Has there ever been a more awful thing created in human history? For each of it's good and worthwhile purposes, I'll show you five ways it ruins lives, destroys reputations and productivity and causes people, you have never met, to drive you absolutely out of your mind.

For those of you who used it the right way, I apologize. But one more day on facebook and I was going to start hearing voices from dogs and having thoughts of climbing a radio tower. Good riddance. I do not yet know what role I am going to continue in at DTB but I am absolutely certain it will not involve a personal account on Facebook.
UPDATE JUNE 16: It appears the functionality of DTB is going to depend on my getting back on Facebook but I will be dropping people from my friends list who are a stumbling block for me.

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Past DTB Quick Takes: June 8 | June 1 | May 18| May 11| May 4|

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Catholic Defender: A return to Indulgences

Indulgences have been a very confusing subject for so many people. Recently, I've been asked about the selling of indulgences and the sin of simony.

Obviously, to abuse the Lord's gifts of indulgences would be wrong. As a Catholic, I have never paid one penny for receiving an indulgence. Did you know that you can obtain an indulgence for reading the bible at least 30 minutes a day? Praying devotions, this is the intent of indulgences.

There are no simularities of simony and indulgences, but there are those who want to distort and cause confusion, which happens to be the work of Satan. In the following, I want to give a good understanding and foundation of what the Catholic Church teaches concerning indulgences.

There has been a lot of confusion coming from those who reject Purgatory, praying for the dead, and the power to "bind and loose".

God's revelation shows us that he loves us and makes provision for us to re-establish our relationship with God through a series of Covenants.

Beginning in the Old Testament, God gives us the choice to follow and serve him or to reject him and turn away.

However, there is a consequence for our decision:

"Moses told the people, Take these words of mine into your heart and soul. Bind them at your wrist as a sign,and let them be a pendant on your forehead. I set before you here, this day, a blessing and a curse: a blessing for obeying the commandments of the Lord, your God, which I enjoin on you today; a curse if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord, your God, but turn aside from the way I ordain for you today, to follow other gods, whom you have not known. Be careful to observe all the statutes and decrees that I set before you today" (Deuteronomy 11:18,26-28, 32).

God is giving us either a blessing for our obedience to God's teaching and commandments or a curse for our disobedience. We are given free will to choose. With this choice, there is a consequence, an accounting that we will all be held accountable.

The Jews were given a glimpse, a foreshadow of the revelation that Jesus Christ would reveal through his new and everlasting Covenant. Jesus is the door, the rock of salvation. He holds the keys between heaven and hell. Jesus states, "Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the netherworld" (Revelation 1:18).

Jesus conquered death, "For Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the spirit. In it he also went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. This prefigured baptism, which saves you now" (1 Peter 3:18-21).

Jesus released the souls of purgatory through to the time of his coming. Matthew 27:51-52 states, "And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many".

Notice St. Matthew says that "many" saints were raised, not all. The implication would mean that this state (prison) was not totally emptied out.

To underscore this point, St. Paul writes, "May the Lord grant mercy to the family of Onesiphorus because he often gave me new heart and was not ashamed of my chains. But when he came to Rome, he promptly searched for me and found me. May the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day. And you know very well the services he rendered in Ephesus" (2 Timothy 1:16).

St. Paul knew full well that this "prison" was still in existence and he prayed that the Lord would have mercy upon Onesiphorus on that day when the Lord returns.

Jesus refers to this "prison" saying, "Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way; otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the constable, and the constable throw you into "prison". I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny" (Luke 12:57-59).

This is a clear indication of Purgatory and the importance of Indulgences. Kind of like the old TV commercials, "You can pay me now, or you can pay me later". The truth here is that you would rather pay up front now because it will cost you a whole lot more later on down the road. Spiritually speaking, Jesus gives this as a warning to show charity in this life, to judge fairly and to live God's commandments now.

Jesus said, "And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come" (Matthew 12:32).

Jesus is implying that sins will be forgiven in the next age, except if they blaspheme the Holy Spirit. There have been some thought what exactly this is, I remember some said it had to do with suicide.

That may be possible, but still, if someone asked forgiveness at the last moment, might they still be forgiven thus saved by Jesus? It might be more correct to say that the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit would be to never allow the Lord into your life, to reject him to your death.

This should not be a cause of distress if you ask the Lord for forgiveness through Confession. Jesus gives this power exclusively to His Catholic Church.

Remember, Jesus holds the keys shown in Revelation 1:18, however, as the master builder, Jesus states, "And so I say to you, you are Peter (Kepha), and upon this rock (Kapha) I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the KEYS to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what ever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 16:18-19).

John writes, "John 20:23, "Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained".

St. Paul would refer to this as "The Ministry Of Reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:18).

The Israelites would place scrolls (Mezuzah - Hebrew for door post) which held a container of verses from the Torah, a reminder of God's presence (Deut 6:4-9).

Moses instructs the people to "bind their wrist with a sign", and a pendant on their forehead the "Tefillin" that contained parchments of the Torah. This was a remembrance that God gave them a choice of a blessing or a curse.

Today, Christians have crucifixes and statues in their homes that reminds us of God's presence and we also wear chains that have religious medals and crosses. We can see our Catholic Faith foundations through the lens of our Jewish roots. These things should reflect the blessing of God in our lives. We should avoid the curse of disobedience at all times.

Going back to the Apostles power to forgive sins, St. John makes a very important message saying, "I write these things to you so that you may know that you have eternal life, you who believe in the name of the Son of Man. And we have this confidence in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours. If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly (Mortal), he should pray to God and he will give him life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly (Mortal)" (1 John 5:13-16A).

This is important, if the sin is not deadly, you pray for them, the person can make restitution through repentance and good works. By turning away from the sin. However, if the sin is deadly, that will require more from the sinner.

St. John writes, "There is a such a thing as deadly (Mortal) sin, about which I do not say that you should pray. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is a sin that is not deadly" I John 5:16B-17).

For the sinner with deadly (Mortal) sin, they must go to the Priest and go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. James 5:19-20 states, "My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins".

Indulgences are the "remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sin whose guilt has already been forgiven A properly disposed member of the Christian faithful can obtain an indulgence under prescribed conditions through the help of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints. An indulgence is the partial if it removes part of the temporal punishment due to sin, or plenary if it removes all punishment" Catholic Catechism (1471).

The selling of Indulgences in the 16th century was never a doctrine, but a wrongful practice that some abused. During the time when the Muslims took Jerusalem and the Holy Land, this made pilgrimages very difficult.

The Stations of the Cross were placed in and near every Catholic Church so the faithful could devote time and prayer locally. It was asked of the Church if giving Alms to the poor could be used for penance.

It began innocent enough, however, this practice became an opportunity that clearly was abused. From the first century, the Church forbade anyone to channel forgiveness for money. This was called the "sin of Simony" named after Simon the magician, who offered to buy the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:18-24).

At the Council of Nicaea, the controversy arose about penitents who wanted to return back to the Catholic Faith once the Roman Persecution had ended with Constantine s "Edict of Milan".

Some of the Bishops were opposed of them returning, however, the Church ruled that they could return. They were given some tough penances, but forgiveness was given by Christ from the Cross.

The Church does not bar anyone who needs to confess their sin except in cases where the Confession is compromised, the penitent is faking it, or there is some kind of sacrilege. Jesus gave the Apostles the authority to "hold them bound" for such situations.

I know of one reported case when Padre Pio instructed someone to return to the Confessional once they were ready to confess their sin. Jesus gave him and all priests the special gift to heal people dead in sin. Let us pray that people who have abandoned the Faith (the Prodigal Son's and Daughters), will return with thankful hearts!

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The Catholic Defender: Simon Magus

There is an old cult like heresy that is being packaged in a new age style heresy that models themselves after pre-Jerusalem Council (49 A.D.) Nazareans.

These were Jewish Priests who had converted to the Catholic Faith who tried to influence the infant Church to follow the Old Testament Law.

So, they are trying to bring back the Old Testament Sabbath, they reject the Trinity as they reject the Catholic teaching on God.

They deny the name of Jesus. They are really a non-Christian sect.

One of the things they continue to attack the Catholic Faith is the foundation of the Apostles.

They vehemently deny St. Peter ever being in Rome. They also are spreading their false teaching that Simon Magus was the first Pope.

Satan has always attempted to confuse and mislead, this is another attempt to attack the Papacy.

Simon Magus was baptized into the Faith by the Apostle Philip, he was captivated by the teaching of the Apostles.

From the book of Acts 8:9-24, it says, "But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.” And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (for as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.” But Peter said unto him, “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee, for I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.” Then answered Simon, and said, “Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.”

This figure, Simon Magus, is being used by these small cults to attack the foundation of the Catholic Faith.

Unfortunately for them, there is no truth to their assertions. During the Reign of Claudius people believed Simon performed miracles using magic acts, he was not utilizing the Holy Spirit but demons.

There is a lot of confusion even coming from those of the time. The Jewish Philosopher and historian, Josephus writes of a magician in the Court of the Roman procurator, Felix whose name was Simon.

It has been debated by scholars that this Simon was the same Simon Magus found in the bible. Is that true? Josephus writes of a "Simon" who was Jewish, Simon Magus was a Samaritan?

St. Irenaeus identifies Simon Magus as being one of the founders of Gnosticism and the sect of the Simonians.

St. Justin Martyr and St. Irenaeus both believed that Simon Magus went to Rome claiming that he was Christ.

A statue was erected that is claimed to be that of Simon Magus. It was even named "To Simon the Holy God"? Was this statue of Simon Magus, or perhaps another Simon called "Semo Sancus", a Sabine deity?

It really doesn't take much thought to see what these cults are trying to do. They want to tie Simon Magus with all the legend surrounding him and his early cult to the Papacy.

Cults like this want you to believe that Catholics worship the Pope, that the Pope declares himself to be God. If you check out our debates on May 4th and May the 11th, 2012, you can hear George claim that the Popes call themselves "god".

Simon Magus is remembered as the "Father of Heretics", his attempt to purchase the power of the Holy Spirit became a known sin called Simony.

According to Catholic Answers, they write: " Simony is the sin of attempting to buy or sell an office of the Church or a sacrament. The word "simony" does indeed come from the name Simon, but not from the name Simon Peter. It comes from the name of Simon the magician, who had heard the preaching of Philip in Samaria and had accepted baptism.

In Acts 8:9-24 we find the account of this Simon, who offered money to Peter in exchange for the power to lay hands on people to confer the Holy Spirit. From Peter came an immediate and sharp rebuke. Ever since, the notion of buying an office of the Church or of buying grace has been referred to as simony."

Early Church Father, Hippolytus addresses the free love doctrines of the Simonians who held to their images of Simon and his wife Helen as to Zeus and Athena.

Hippolytus would write, "if anyone, on seeing the images of either Simon or Helen, shall call them by those names, he is cast out, as showing ignorance of the mysteries."

There is no Early Church Father that speaks well of Simon Magus. There are various legends about his death. The Catholic Faith was founded by Jesus Christ who appointed St. Peter as the First Pope. St. Peter was crucified upside down at Vatican Hill in 67 A.D. Jesus foretold that St. Peter's death would glorify God.

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Catholic Defender: Them Copperas Cove Catholics

What a great day this has been, taking Jesus to the street is a great blessing outside our Church walls. St. Thomas Aquainus would have been proud! From the family of deepertruth, we want to wish everyone a very blessed day. The Feast of Corpus Christi is one of the most important because this is all about Jesus coming to us in the Eucharist. What a great truth, this is central for all Catholics.

We also want to congratulate Fr. Kurtis Wiedenfield who was ordained a Catholic Priest this past Saturday, 9 June 2012! He celebrated his first Mass today, Sunday, 10 June. He did a great job. The Lord is raising a great Army of believers at this crucial time in history.

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Catholic Defender: You Found Me

John 17:15-23 "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."

No matter where you have been nor what you have done, the Lord will forgive you and receive you back into the fold.

Sometimes we set out on a journey that leads us away from the Lord. When you go to Confession, the Lord takes those sins you confess and He throws them into the sea of forgetfulness and he remembers them no more.

We serve a Great God! He is the God of all creation who humbled Himself on a cross that we might live again through His death. He offers HImself to the Father on our behalf so that at Mass, we can renew the Covenant with Him in His glory.

Receive the Eucharist in the state of Grace and the Holy Spirit will enliven you to His life of Grace.

Do nor forsake prayer as this is the life line in spiritual growth.

Raise high the banner of Christ as a city on a hill. May they see Jesus in you through the good works you do, from the good words you say, and from the things you love.

For the Greater Glory, let us stand for Christ and His holy Catholic Church keeping the purity of our hearts clean and our motives true.

Most merciful God,
there are many in this city
who hate themselves,
who consider their lives worthless,
who have not known the healing of love.
Touch them with the wonder and power
of your transforming love
that their lives may be made whole,
that they may find fulfillment in life,
that they may rejoice in your blessing.

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Friday, June 8, 2012

7 Quick takes friday

                                   --- 1 ---
This is not just my explicit instruction to the members of my blogsite, but it is good advice to anyone operating a blog that aims to be taken seriously.

The trolls will naturally whine and cry that you are suppressing free speech or you are afraid of different opinions. Always remember that your Catholic blog has three purposes.

The first is to encourage and equip Catholics in their walk with Christ and their ability to contend for the faith. The second is to counter the false claims and arguments anti-catholics use to draw people out of the faith. The third is to evangelize and bring others into our faith.

To the extent that honest people are seeking answers to thoughtful, intelligent concerns about our holy faith, we should engage them. The trolls are not only incapable of rational, intelligent debate, they don't have anything to gain by advancing in it, since they hate us.

There is nothing to be gained by giving a platform to hecklers and petulant children who only seek to destroy what someone else has built. You should not respond at all to them.
--- 2 ---
In the shameless promotion Quick Take, version 3.0  I would invite you all to make sure and  listen to our interview with Catholic Apologist and internet radio host Colleen Hammond. Tonight on our blogtalkradio show.

--- 3 ---
You are making a big mistake if you look at last Tuesday's win by Scott Walker as a victory for just Republicans. The overt corruption and patronage of public employee unions has been a national outrage and the numbers of people victimized by out-of-control teachers, contractors and CPS caseworkers who victimize families is collosal. Breaking the stranglehold they have on state budgets and the unholy, incestous relationship they have with the very government agencies purporting to be watchdogs for us can only be a good thing. Less corruption in government, fewer rigged elections, and better educated and safer kids will be the good fruit of winning these kinds of battles against these union thugs. Everyone who is sincere about saving America should be celebrating this. This is to say nothing about reducing the mountains of debt.
                 --- 4 ---
My Father will be 83 years old tomorrow and the changes in his life have been staggering. I wonder, if he could have had a glimpse of 2012 when he was young if he would have even recognized our country. It probably would have been unimaginable to him that he could have a live full-color conversation in the palm of his hand with someone 8,000 miles away.

I think he would have been equally shocked by the prospect of a world that is so openly hostile to the very values of faith, morality and hard work that were the very fabric of American culture then. The idea of getting away to be unreachable is gone. Reconciling the notion of taking a phone on a fishing trip is something I just don't think he could have come to grips with.

--- 5 ---
If there is any remaining doubt that Barack Hussein Obama is completely out-of-touch with Americans, consider his statement today that the private sector is doing just fine.

I give every voter in America this challenge. If you agree with this statement, vote for Obama. If you disagree, vote for Romney. How many Romney commercials do you think this quote will be in this fall? June has not been kind to Barry and we are only 8 days in!
--- 6 ---
I am not sure what to make of the lawsuit aimed at the NFL by 2,000 former players regarding head injuries. It is not exactly a state secret that the NFL has become a very violent game. The NFL crackdown on the New Orleans Saints' bounty program is just a start. How about banning players like James Harrison and Ndamukong Suh if you want to be taken seriously?
The thug mentality has taken over the NFL. The players embrace it, the NFL responds with the occasional slap on the wrist.

--- 7 --- 
They haven't passed a budget in nearly 3 years. There are leaks of National security information putting our country in danger. 14 million people have lost their jobs. So, what is the big priority of the congressman for my district?

Banning foam cups from the House cafeteria.

Somebody please stop the planet. I need to get off

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!
Past DTB Quick Takes: June 1 May 18 May 11 May 4

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