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Preface to A Comprehensive Apologetic

Preface

1. Purpose: The purpose of this resource is to draw people into a journey towards hopefully embracing a greater degree of objective and most probable truth as derived by applying the mathematical/philosophical Law of Non-Contradiction. We can use this intra-universal law to determine the most reasonable position on any particular matter – including those pertaining to attitudes towards human behaviour (as well as human behaviour itself). This approach provides us the opportunity to draw others into a greater awareness of a number of necessary conceptual distinctions that might not otherwise be discovered or considered. On account of this anchoring in logic (as defined by the Law of Non-Contradiction itself), these necessary conceptual distinctions (as well as their implications) may be more likely to be embraced on one’s own accord, simply as a matter of one’s own conviction to greater self-honesty about what they perceived to be true. This matters greatly because our behaviors (and our expectations of behaviour) are ultimately shaped by what we perceive to be true.

As well, where necessary conceptual distinctions become further embraced on one’s own accord, there arises a gradually-increasing interior obligation (driven by one’s own conviction to greater self-honesty) to use language that has the capacity to express those distinctions. This increased collective expression of said distinctions serves to subtly influence the language of the world around us, which can serve to further draw others into greater awareness of those distinctions as well. That is, these subtle linguistic nuances can gradually effect a world-wide transformation of thought with regards to behavioural norms and expectations, as already evidenced by a number of increasingly popular ideologies of this day. In saying that, we would do well to remember that one must first become aware of a particular distinction before they can consciously choose to evaluate the implications of that particular distinction and integrate it within their own worldview. Note that a deliberate interior evaluation of those distinctions (once they begin to be integrated into one’s own life) may lead a person to a life-changing conviction of heart in some way.

2. Church Authority: On account of this resource being anchored on the Law of Non-Contradiction and the socially-accepted value of pursuing a greater degree of understanding (out of one’s interior conviction to pursue greater truth and self-honesty), it does not rely on Church Authority to provide the foundation upon which to build. This is not to take away from Church Authority, but rather a deliberate response to the current reality in which an increasing amount of people (sadly even within the Church) reject Church Authority. For that reason, using the Law of Non-Contradiction as foundation provides an opportunity to evangelize more effectively in increasingly hostile environments because those who have a hatred for religion (especially the Catholic faith) have their disdain redirected from “Church Teaching” to truth itself.

This is important because as the people of the critical mass who have a sincere desire to pursue and embrace greater truths are brought to see via their own conviction to truth that many who attempt to deteriorate the Church actually reject objective and most probable truth (which the Church merely upholds), they will be more inclined to distance themselves (at least interiorly) from those people. This intentional distancing – which is always preceded by one’s conviction to greater self-honesty, erodes the overall societal influence of those who are attempting to deteriorate the Church. In other words, be reaching hearts in such a way that they may be more likely to be convicted of the truths upheld by the Church, the power of the critical mass (which has rejected truth) is lessened.

3. Intended Audience: Presenting concepts through the lens of an invitational narrative anchored on the human experience is an effective strategy to draw people into embrace a message for themselves on their own accord. However, this particular resource does not utilize this approach, for the purpose of maintaining focus on the pursuit of the objective and most probable truths themselves. Those who present this resource to their faith communities must trust that the Holy Spirit will reveal to them how certain experiential anecdotes may be introduced within, in order to better reach the hearts of their particular audience. On that note, be it known that this resource was intended specifically for those in a teaching capacity, whether they be clergy, religious, or invested laypersons. However, this resource was also written with the average Christian person in mind, for when obedient to their respective bishop, it is through them that the cultural climate of a faith community can be transformed for the better in a most profound way – from the bottom up (which is the most effective means of mobilizing the critical mass).

4. Approach: If presented appropriately, specifically through the lens of engaging a person within a journey as opposed to merely restating the Church’s position, people may come to experience a greater degree of empowerment (on account of their own choices to pursue the journey). It is that intentional engagement in a journey that draws people to a more profound interior conviction of truth. It is this deepening interior conviction of truth that draws about a greater confidence in one’s ability to share (and defend) their faith, in addition to inspiring them with the desire to do so. Thus, this approach draws forth the circumstance where people may desire to more profoundly serve the Church in obedience to their respective bishop, on account of first and foremost focusing on the shared journey.

One positive aftereffect of this approach is that it can lead to an improved state of faith education and pastoral care (on account of increasing the faith devotion of those serving and or on account of drawing a greater number of people into service). As well, it is known in the educational world that inspiring people to engage themselves in a journey towards a deeper understanding (reflective of the Inquiry Method) is one of the most effective educational practices. It allows for degrees of autonomy, a personalized narrative, and at certain times, experiential encounters. It is not always practical but it should be used when appropriate for it yields far better results with regards to people becoming convicted in their heart, as opposed to merely amassing “head knowledge.” This matters greatly because youth of this day are increasingly having their learning patterns shaped by this approach. Their brains are being conditioned to learn in this way – and in some cases it is now drawing them to choose to reject what they perceive is outside the narrative that they have come to embrace as a result of their prior experience. In recognizing this, we would do well to incorporate this particular educational approach for religious instruction whenever appropriate, especially under the guidance of an instructor who is capable of inspiring hearts to grow – led first and foremost by their own lived example.

5. Rationale: Approaching sensitive topics in this way can help shift the perception of the critical mass from possibly falsely believing that the Church commands obedience to correctly believing that the Church invites us to pursue a greater degree of truth (with respect to our state in life). Indeed, obedience is a sign of faith, but it is not commanded. That is, the Church has commandments, but because of the gift of the fullness of free will over our hearts, God never takes away our ability to choose the degree in which we should follow them. Nonetheless, this transformation in approach may serve to draw people into a deeper journey into the Church because the very invitation of pursuing a greater degree truth implies that there is a greater degree of truth worthy of being pursued to begin with.

This is important because those who experience interior positive reinforcement on account of the neurochemical response elicited via task completion are more likely to become engaged in a journey that is anchored on the pursuit of a greater degree of truth – which requires within it, incremental task completion. Neuroscience has brought forth the awareness that it is the male brain that is typically structured to respond in this way – and completely independent of one’s specific choice. Though male and female are equally valuable in the eyes of God and in the existence and function of humanity, we can be assured by what we now know about the neurochemical responses that teaching the faith in a way that emphasizes the journey towards greater truth (solving a mystery) will appeal more so to males than females. Thus, if we shift our teaching strategy to emphasize an approach that will appeal more so to the male brain, we can draw about a circumstance whereby young males will experience greater incremental success within faith instruction in school – because it will make better sense to them. It will be more likely to be internally (and subconsciously) perceived as something that they ought to be invested in, because the success they experience within this approach will affirm within their hearts that growing in the faith is something for men – and thus something for them to grow into. That is, if they perceive this, then the stage will be set for them to begin to perceive that growing into their faith is a necessary facet of their rite of passage into manhood. This of course is only strengthened with every positive male (and masculine) role model that they come to know within the Church community.

This trajectory can be further strengthened if the rest of the Church community chooses to minimize the instances that the faith is depicted in a way that a young person may interpret to be juvenile – for they will be inclined to let this go along with the rest of their childhood once they become aware of their desire to enter a rite of passage into manhood. In saying that, if a young male pursues the rite of passage into manhood with the underlying perception that they ought to grow into the faith, then we as a guiding church community become active participants in the gradual restoration of authentic masculinity – within the Church and within the world. This is because continuing to grow in the faith (especially into adulthood) will continuously draw us to a greater degree of dying to ourselves, and that is masculinity is – modeled first and foremost by none other than Jesus Christ Himself. What cannot be ignored is that where men are more inclined to die to themselves as a form of joyful self-sacrifice to the Lord (arising from an increased trust in Him), there are a greater number of joyfully accepted vocations to marriage, priesthood, and religious life – all three being foundational to the well-being of our faith.

 

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Should We Teach That Gay People Should Be Celibate?

More and more I hear of people like me (who have same-sex attractions as part of their story) who desire a deeper relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ within the community of the Catholic Church. Out of that desire, they are sincerely striving to make sense of how their life could fit within the Church. Some are striving to make sense of how they might fit in socially, while others are striving to make sense out of why God “picked” them (to experience these attractions), while even others are striving to figure out how they might be able to enter a gay relationship that wouldn’t break the “rules” of the Church. These of course are honest pursuits of greater understanding.

However, the root of these pursuits is the idea that “Gay people should be celibate.”

This idea is driving many people away from the Church, as personally described here.

What people don’t realize is that having celibacy as the primary objective, is tantamount to jumping on a life-long roller-coaster and merely “white-knuckling it” until you die. With “celibacy” as the primary goal, all you can do is hang on for the ride that you are “destined” for, for your entire life.  The problem with this is that it doesn’t give a person the opportunity to get off that ride; it doesn’t permit people to see beyond the ride itself.

The pursuit of celibacy in this way, is aimed at behaviour suppression instead of what Church is inviting us all into, which is the transformation of heart on account of our love of Christ (which of course will open us to growing deeper in virtue). Again, the “gay people should be celibate” way of thinking is focused on behaviour, while the Church is really calling us first to focus on the state of our hearts, and our openness to growing in the fullness of virtue.

The Church invites us to consider the state of our heart, so that we may become aware of how we are able to show our love for Christ more profoundly. People of course will begin to do that not when they are told they can’t do this or that (behaviour modification) but rather when they taste the joy from someone who is living a life of virtue (transformation of the heart) – and because of that, they come to want it for themselves.

For that reason, we need to be that living reason why someone would want to open their heart to growing in the fullness of virtue. If we are not the reason, then we are not offering a better garden than the one they are used to, so to speak. That means we have to look interiorly, and assess our own commitment to virtue, and recognize our commitment for what it is along the scale of radiantly attractive, to muted and stuffy. We have to be the better garden.

Until that occurs, the mind-set that “gay people should be celibate” as a primary objective will continue to spread, and will continue to frustrate people into leaving the Church. However, once people become convicted of their desire to grow in the fullness of virtue, the objective of celibacy (to “follow the rules”) falls away to the objective of pursuing a life of holiness – in which one of the fruits will be celibacy for those who are outside of a holy marriage (a marriage in which chastity is practiced and Christ is at the center).

In short, we need to shift our focus from “gay people should be celibate” to “all people should be holy.” In doing so, we let go of the false nuance that we should white-knuckle our way through life, and instead introduce the reality that the Lord Jesus Christ desires our hearts to be unified to His (for He knows His infinite love will fulfill us). When embraced whole-heartedly, this will manifest itself in a greater desire for holiness, but in God’s time, and in God’s way. All we can do in the meantime is walk with all those who choose to do so.

In that, we are one in the same, on a shared journey.

 

Self-Control and the Pursuit of Holiness

One might think that being a priest in a confessional would be like watching re-runs. The same sins come up over and over again. However, every priest I know approaches these re-runs with a great joy for they know that there has been a choice made by the penitent, to hopefully strive to turn his life back to God and start fresh.

Think about it – if we are going to confess our sins, why not confess to someone who has apostolic authority to offer absolution. Why? Well, as recorded in exorcism, Satan has said

What you have already confessed, I do not know.

See, they are not just dissolved in our universe, but absolved from our universe. That is, through an authentic confession to a priest who gives absolution in persona Christi, by the power and Authority of God, those sins are blotted out of the memory of fallen Angels, while we retain the ability to remember them but for the purposes of drawing glory to God and all that is Holy. That’s what every great conversion testimony has at it’s core! :)

The point being though, if fallen angels have their memory of a particular committed sin blotted out, then they can no longer use that particular committed sin against us.

What is a Committed Sin?
When we place ourselves above God and or use His creation counter to its purpose as structurally designed that is a committed sin. This comes in all forms (especially with regards to sexuality). Who tempts us to sin? Those who hate God and who hate us (because we still have the chance to turn back to Him and glorify Him). Who? Fallen Angels (Demons). Note that just as how we could be decieved by a fallen human entity, we could be decieved by a fallen angelic entity. And if you don’t believe that angels exist at all, then try praying the Rosary every day. It is so hard to do because there are legions of fallen angels who do not want you to do it.

Father Gabriel Amorth, Chief Exorcist of the Vatican writes:

One day a colleague of mine heard the devil say during an exorcism: “Every Hail Mary is like a blow on my head. If Christians knew how powerful the Rosary was, it would be my end.” The secret that makes this prayer so effective is that the Rosary is both prayer and meditation. It is addressed to the Father, to the Blessed Virgin, and to the Holy Trinity, and is a meditation centered on Christ.

Self-Control
If you are successful, observe the changes in your life after 30 days, and measure them against these promises. The thing is, to pray the Rosary for 30 days takes self-control, but we have been raised in a world that replaces self-control with the pursuit of self-gratification which is counter to every virtue including chastity.

If you recognize that you lack self-control in certain matters, with the help of God, and the growth in self-discipline, you can overcome that by His grace. It is He who works in you that makes it possible. It is not you alone. However, if you lack discipline and self-control to manage yourself at the little things, chances are you will be less successful at exercising discipline and self-control at the big things.

Discipline and self-control is something that we must practice daily, otherwise we won’t get good at it.

Test Yourself
Below is a list of ways you can practice self-control in the littlest of ways, which will lead to great of transformation over time – from being reactive to proactive in your life. Measure your daily activities against the items of this list, and take an honest inventory of where you are at.

1. When your alarm goes off, don’t hit the snooze button.
2. Open your day with a short prayer.
3. Get out of bed after prayer (or intimate time with your spouse).
4. Do x-many push-ups or sit-ups per morning, add one each day until you hit a target.
5. Set your bed before you leave your room.

6. Get dressed before you leave your room/bathroom.
7. Do not spend time on social media before work.
8. Control your portions at breakfast at home.
9. Have a well-balanced breakfast at home.
10. Shovel the driveway before you leave for work (winter).

11. Brush and floss your teeth.
12. Shower or wash daily.
13. Before bed, do remaining dishes.
14. Ensure unused lights are shut off.
15. No Internet after 8pm, and no Smartphone/Laptop in your room.

16. Have a set supper time.
17. Shave appropriately.
18. Plan your meals.
19. Pray before meals.
20. Pray the Rosary daily (25 minutes).

In Closing…
God’s Mercy is greater than our sins, but angels are greater than us. However, even the lowest in Heaven is greater than the highest fallen angel. For that reason, pray without ceasing, and watch your life transform.

 

 

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