Monday, July 29, 2013

The Catholic Defender: The Importance of Training

It was early 1985 while I was at Basic Training Fort Jackson, South Carolina, my Platoon was shown a movie of how the Russian Army trained.

It was to show us how our counterparts trained compared to our training. After the movie, we were invited by the Drill Sergeant to ask questions. I raised my hand and got permission to speak.

I said, "Drill Sergeant, I do not have a question, but more of a comment". I said, "It was interesting to watch how the Russians trained, but there is a major reason I preferred this uniform that I am wearing as opposed to the uniform that they wear."

"This uniform defends the right to freedom of religion, while our counterparts would think nothing of taking a club and beat up old men, women, and children for hiding in a barn praying to God."

With that people all around began to cheer. The Drill Sergeant was taken back as he was not expecting such a response.

After about 30-40 seconds of everyone busting lose with cheers and applause, the Drill Sergeant got his composure and gave that look and as fast as everyone erupted, it got very quiet very quickly.

In this picture, I am standing second to the Right.  Notice the old Viet Nam steel pot helmets!  This was definitely old school Basic Training.

There is a culture war taking place in our Country and if we do not stand up for our rights we will lose this liberty.  Just look at what this present Administration has done to the Military the past 4 years.

Pope Pius XII gave a stern warning concerning the attack on the Faith and the family in the last half of the 20th century and beyond.

He said that for a Christian to be a true Christian you would have to be a living martyr.

The attacks on the family and our Faith will be that strong. We need to get back down on our knees and intercede for America. It is not too late.

2 Chronicles 7:14 says, "and if my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land".
Right now we need it as the Secularists have gained the Judicial power using Court Judges to usurp the will of the American People. They are legislating from the bench pushing Secular Humanism and Socialism. We have serious issues today.

I went to Catholic School (St. John Le Lande) most of my grade school years, they didn't train me for these kinds of problems. People are losing their faith in a secular environment. We need to get back to the basics.

St. Peter instructs us to "Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame" (1 Peter 3:15-16).

A common question asked of me is: "Did Jesus have brothers according to Catholic teaching and what is your opinion of the Bible and what it says?" 

The Gospel of Mark, 6:3, tells us that Jesus was the Son of Mary, "and the brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon. And are not his sisters here with us?"

Looking at this off hand, it does not look good for the home team. Why the apparent contradiction?

On 12 August 1994, I was listening to Dr. James Dobson of "Focus on the Family" on WNJK Christian Radio.

One of his guests addressed himself as a former Catholic who basically left the Church because he read the bible and found Jesus had brothers.

He felt that the Catholic Church was going against the bible. How many times have I heard that? He could not cope with what he believed the bible was stating and what he was raised to believe.

I sat listening to this and realized a lot of people have gone astray with this issue. I felt that if only I could have reached him before he became solidified in his apostasy, I might have been able to share with him the truth of the scripture.

The breakdown begins with a language barrier, and social differences in the way society has changed.

In the days of Jesus, it was common for close relatives to be part of a family structure. First cousins were regarded as "brothers" and "sisters".

The translation from Greek into English does not explain this. The word "brother" is used in English several times in the New Testament, and only some were literal brothers like James and John.

Peter and Andrew were also brothers. However, in Greek, the original meaning could infer to cousins, friends, and countrymen.

The word "brother" is mentioned over 340 times in the bible. When St. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:23, he says,
"Peace be to the brother,..." which refers to all who love the Lord.

Take the case of Mark 6:3 and the "brothers of the Lord", James, John, Judas, and Simon.

When compared to Mark 16:40, these brothers can be identified with the help of John 19:25 as the Son's of Mary the wife of Clopas, who is identified by John as the sister to the Mother of Jesus.  Hence, "first cousin"!

Things are looking better for the home team. Another peace of evidence I will submit, take John 19:26, Jesus states, "When Jesus saw his Mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his Mother, 'Woman, behold your Son. Then he said to the disciple, behold your Mother.' And from that hor the disciple took her into his home". 

There are two point I want to make:

1. If Jesus would have had brothers, according to Jewish Tradition, Mary would have stayed with the next eldest brother.

2. Traditionally, John is considered by the Church to be the youngest disciple and most capable for this job in view of the missionary activity the Apostle took.

His role of 'Bishop' would not have been an advantage for Mary if she would have had other sons. Consequently, the followers of the Apostles such as St Ignatius of Antioch, St. Poly-carp, St. Ireneous of Lyons echoed Mary as "Mother of the Church".

It is well established from the writing of the Saints throughout the ages of the Church that Mary remained 'ever virgin". Some monk in the Middle Ages did not discover this teaching, but it has been handed down from the beginning.

I believe that current attempts to raise this issue of brothers of the Lord, are derived in closer observation, an attack on Mary. The teachings on Mary such as the Assumption, Coronation for example. None of the first Protestants rejected Mary or the teaching concerning him.

Later when the bible became the sole rule of their faith, and this not explicitly defined, the outcome is obvious. The Catholic Church must be faithful to that Apostolic Tradition which helps keep God's revelation in His word unchanging.

The issues facing the Catholic Church in the United States today, from the Secularist and the Extreme Protestant, are very similar in an unholy alliance. St. Jude states, "I now feel a need to write to encourage you to contend for the Faith that was once for all handed down to the holy ones. Let us work towards understanding growing in knowledge, using wisdom to trust God in His faithfulness to His word. We need to cooperate with His will.

It is important that Catholics train in the art of apologetics so that as a Church, we can improve our personal witness.  If a trainer can teach a dog new tricks as in this video, maybe we can learn from this.  I must warn you, this is really cute.

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