St. Ignatius of Antioch on the Real Presence

"[The Docetics] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead. And so denying the gift of God, these men perish in their disputatiousness. It would be better for them to love and so to rise again. (It is well for you to keep away from such persons and not even to speak of them in private or in public. It is better to keep to the prophets and especially to the Gospel in which the passion is presented and the resurrection is an accomplished fact.)" (Letter to the Smyrnaeans ~ 107 AD)

image from the 'Public domain' via wikimedia commons. Ignatius of Antioch

Can the Saints HEAR our prayers? (A Biblical Answer)

There are many ways, using Scripture, to explain that Saints CAN and DO hear our prayers. 

In ʻBiblical Evidence for the Communion of Saints  (2012) ʻ, there are some strong examples.

"Intercession of the saints is indicated in Revelation 5:8 (cf. 8:3–4), 6:9–10, and also somewhat suggested by the appearance of long-dead figures on the earth once again (1 Sam 28:12–15; Matt 17:1–3; 27:50–53; Rev 11:3). The saints are alive, they observe us (“cloud of witnesses”: Heb 12:1), pray for us (Rev 6:9–10), and hence it follows logically that they can hear our intercessory requests, as can guardian angels (Matt 18:10)."

Another powerful scriptural example is in Luke 16: 19-30 where Jesus discusses the example of the rich man in Hades calling on Abraham \ AND Abraham hears him! 

"19 There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And there was a certain beggar, named Lazarus, who lay at his gate, full of sores, 21 Desiring to be filled with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. And no one did give him: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass that the beggar died and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. And the rich man also died: and he was buried in hell. 23 And lifting up his eyes when he was in torments, he saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom: 24 And he cried and said: Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water to cool my tongue: for I am tormented in this flame. 25 And Abraham said to him: Son, remember that thou didst receive good things in thy lifetime, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted and thou art tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you, there is fixed a great chaos: so that they who would pass from hence to you cannot, nor from thence come hither. 27 And he said: Then, father, I beseech thee that thou wouldst send him to my father’s house, for I have five brethren, 28 That he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torments. 29 And Abraham said to him: They have Moses and the prophets. Let them hear them. 30 But he said: No, father Abraham: but if one went to them from the dead, they will do penance. 
31 And he said to him: If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe, if one rise again from the dead. " (Douay-Rheims)

Scripture CLEARLY shows an example of the humanly dead (Abraham) HEARING the call of another. AND Before such an argument is written off as ʻjust being an illustrative parableʻ it might be good to point out that Fathers of Church, including St. Ambrose of Milan and St. Thomas Aquinas, believed that this was a REAL event (Ambrose in: De excessu fratris 2.39; De offic. 3.22.136)(Aquinas in: STh., Supplementum q.98 a.4)

image from the 'Public domain' via wikimedia commons.  Crowning of the Madonna and Saints by Lorenzo Costa. 1501

Did Adam and Eve REALLY exist?

Yes Adam and Eve really did exist. And we are bound to believe it since its a teaching proximate to Faith (sententia fidei proxima)

Its explained very clearly and concisely in Ott which I recommend all Catholics get a copy of (Ott, L. (1957). Fundamentals of Catholic dogma.)

"The whole human race stems from one single human pair. (Sent. certa.)

Against the Pre-Adamite Theory (first expounded by the Calvinist Isaac de la Peyrère, 1655), and the view of certain modern scientists, according to which the various races are derived from several separated stems (polygenism), the Church teaches that the first human beings, Adam and Eve, are the progenitors of the whole human race (monogenism). The teaching of the unity of the human race is not, indeed, a dogma, but it is a necessary pre-supposition of the dogma of Original Sin and Redemption. According to a decision of the Bible Commission, the unity of the human race is to be reckoned among those facts which affect the foundations of the Christian religion, and which, on this account, are to be understood in their literal, historical sense (D 2123). The Encyclical “Humani Generis” of Pius XII (1950) rejects polygenism on account of its incompatibility with the revealed doctrine of original sin. (D 3028)."

image from the 'Public domain' via wikimedia commons.  Adam and Eve  by Cranach, 1533

'Donʻt be a HERETIC!' - Gallicanism

Gallicanism, initially most prominent in the 17th century in France, was the ʻtendency to enlarge the prerogatives of a national church—in the particular case, of the church of France—and to restrict proportionately the authority of the Holy See.ʻ ( W. Addis and T. Arnold. A Catholic Dictionary. , 1887)

In 1682 some French Clergy convened the writing of the ʻGallican Articlesʻ which clarified their position. Their most sticking article, which still rears its head today in the liberal factions of the those who claim to be Catholic, is the concept that Papal Power (in matters of Faith and Morals) is not absolute and that “The Pope has the principal share in questions of faith; his decrees regard all the churches and each church in particular; nevertheless his judgment is not irreformable, unless the consent of the Church be added.” (ibid)

Gallicanism was condemned by several Popes including Alexander VIII in his ʻInter multiplicesʻ (Aug. 4, 1690) Clement IX, and also Pius VI. 

Furthermore, with the Vatican I definition of ʻPapal Infallibilityʻ it was declared dogmatically that "the decisions, ex cathedra, of the Popes are “of themselves,” that is, without the intervention of a further authority, immutable and not by reason of the assent of the whole Church, as the Gallicans taught" (Ott, Ludwig. FCD, 1957.)

Today this heresy often manifests its ugly head through the concept of papal teaching NOT being binding because the ʻSensus Fideiʻ (sense of the Faithful) has not accepted it. Some hold that if a bulk of Catholics DO NOT accept a particular Papal teaching, then it is NOT something we are bound to . . . . This is often the favored heretical reasoning of cafeteria catholicism.  

A proper understanding of the ʻSensus Fideiʻ would be that those who deny a Papal definition would  ipso facto NOT be a part of the true Catholic Faithful ʻSenseʻ they claim to represent.

Listen to the Solemn Teachings of the Pope. DO NOT be a Gallican 

image from the 'Public domain' via wikimedia commons.  Auto-da-fé by Pedro Berruguete, 1500

Also see other 'Don't be a Heretic' posts here: Gallicanism / Ebionism

Will we need to eat food after the resurrection of the dead? (The Angelic Doctor answers)

A few weeks ago a friend of mine asked the question of whether or not we will require food in our resurrected state, after the resurrection of the dead. He further asked why, if we do NOT need food in our resurrected bodies, why did Christ eat with his disciples after his resurrection.

St. Thomas gives us a solid answer in addressing the question: "Whether All Will Rise Again to Animal Life so as to Exercise the Functions of Nutrition and Generation?" He answers the question about whether Jesus requires food in his resurrected state and more broadly answers the same question as it applies to us after the resurrection

“Objection 1. It would seem that they will rise again to the animal life, or in other words that they will make use of the acts of the nutritive and generative powers. For our resurrection will be conformed to Christ’s. But Christ is said to have ate after His resurrection (John 21, Luke 24). Therefore, after the resurrection men will eat, and in like manner beget.” (STh., Supplementum q.81 a.4 obj.1)

“I answer that, The resurrection will not be necessary to man on account of his primary perfection, which consists in the integrity of those things that belong to his nature, since man can attain to this in his present state of life by the action of natural causes; but the necessity of the resurrection regards the attainment of his ultimate perfection, which consists in his reaching his ultimate end. Consequently those natural operations which are directed to cause or preserve the primary perfection of human nature will not be in the resurrection: such are the actions of the animal life in man, the action of the elements on one another, and the movement of the heavens; wherefore all these will cease at the resurrection. And since to eat, drink, sleep, beget, pertain to the animal life, being directed to the primary perfection of nature, it follows that they will not be in the resurrection.

Reply Obj.1. When Christ partook of that meal, His eating was an act, not of necessity as though human nature needed food after the resurrection, but of power, so as to prove that He had resumed the true human nature which He had in that state wherein He ate and drank with His disciples. There will be no need of such proof at the general resurrection, since it will be evident to all. Hence Christ is said to have ate by dispensation in the sense in which lawyers say that a dispensation is a relaxation of the general law: because Christ made an exception to that which is common to those who rise again (namely not to partake of food) for the aforesaid motive. Hence the argument does not prove.” (STh., Supplementum q.81 a.4 resp.–ad.1)

So the Angelic Doctor clarifies that we will have no need of food in our resurrected bodies and that Christ partook of food (after the resurrection), not because he needed it, but to  prove to his disciples that he did indeed resurrect and did resume a real human nature (albeit glorified)

image from the 'Public domain' via wikimedia commons. Resurrection of the Flesh, by Luca Signorelli, 1502

When in Rome, do as the Romans do . . .

The famous adage ʻWhen in Rome, do what the Romans doʻ is often attributed to St. Augustine.  More specifically, however, the phrase is actually a paraphrase of the wisdom of  his mentor St. Ambrose that St. Augustine records in his 36th and 54th letter.

Here is the relevant passage from his 54th letter:

“When my mother followed me to Milan, she found the Church there not fasting on Saturday. She began to be troubled, and to hesitate as to what she should do; upon which I, though not taking a personal interest then in such things, applied on her behalf to Ambrose, of most blessed memory, for his advice. He answered that he could not teach me anything but what he himself practised, because if he knew any better rule, he would observe it himself. When I supposed that he intended, on the ground of his authority alone, and without supporting it by any argument, to recommend us to give up fasting on Saturday, he followed me, and said: “When I visit Rome, I fast on Saturday; when I am here, I do not fast. On the same principle, do you observe the custom prevailing in whatever Church you come to, if you desire neither to give offence by your conduct, nor to find cause of offence in another’s.” When I reported this to my mother, she accepted it gladly; and for myself, after frequently reconsidering his decision, I have always esteemed it as if I had received it by an oracle from heaven.”

(Augustine of Hippo. "Letters of St. Augustin". Trans. J. G. Cunningham. A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church. Ed. Philip Schaff, 1886.)

image from the 'Public domain' via wikimedia commons. Ambrosius Francisco de Zurbarán 

The Inerrancy of Holy Scripture

The doctrine of the ʻInerrancy of Scriptureʻ, though modernists try to force ambiguous concepts on it to blur its meaning, is quite simple to understand:

God cannot err nor could He author any error (Because He is God)

God is the Author of Scripture, both the Old and New Testaments (As declared in the Council of Florence as well as the 4th session of the Council of Trent) [DS 1333] [DS 1501]

3. Therefore Holy Scripture is COMPLETELY without error

Leo XIII, in Providentissimus Deus (1893), sums it up succinctly:

“The books, all and entire, which the Church accepts as sacred and canonical, with all their parts, have been written at the dictation of the Holy Ghost; so far is it from the possibility of any error being present to divine inspiration, that it itself of itself not only excludes all error, but excludes it and rejects it as necessarily as it is necessary that God, the highest Truth, be the author of no error whatsoever.”
[DS 3292]

image from the 'MORGUEfile' via creative commons