Teaching & Suggestions

Why Are We Catholic?

by Steve Ray on September 22, 2017

This excellent little summary was prepared by the Faith Formation ministry in Escanaba Michigan and sent to me by Mike Cousineau. Enjoy and be challenged and edified. Sent it to a friend who needs to read it.

1.  St. Cyprian of Carthage, martyr & Bishop, wrote in 249 AD, “He who would have God as his Father must have the Church as his Mother.”

2.  Without the Catholic Church, there is no salvation.  All Protestant Christians, whether they believe it or not, are Christians because the Catholic Church exists.  Jesus prayed what is called the High Priestly Prayer in John, Chapter 17, when He said, “I pray that they are one Father, just as you and I are one.”  In the simplest terms, all Protestant Christians are wayward Catholics.  This statement would infuriate most Protestants.  That does not make this objective fact any less true.  We all have believed something, thinking it is true, only to find we have been misinformed.  Such is the case for every Protestant believer who thinks their denomination speaks nothing but truth.

3.  What happened?  Christian unity, as Jesus would have it, has fallen a long way from when the 12 Apostles were given the charge of going out to make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  To be clear about how difficult unity is to achieve, the Catholic Church has had many of its members disagree with certain doctrines of the Church.  The unity problem has always been real, which is always the reason for calling Church Councils, thus making many declarations of faith, known as Church Dogmas.  Dogma is a fancy word for a set of principles laid down by an authority that is incontrovertibly true.  There are 255 infallibly declared dogmas of the Catholic Church.

4.  How long did it take for a difference of opinion to filter into the newly formed Christian way of life?  We know from scripture it happened and it happened too often, resulting in the need for written instruction given to the Church by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus said to His disciples, “teach them all that I have taught you.”  Yet, as we know, people don’t like submitting to someone else.  Most people prefer to “be in charge” and that form of pride has resulted in differences of opinion, many times resulting in severe spiritual disagreements.

5.  Knowing spiritual disagreements would enter the Church, Jesus put a plan in place.  The plan included a hierarchy, with Peter in charge, as he was the Apostle given the keys to the kingdom.  Whatever the Church bound on earth was bound in heaven, whatever the Church loosed on earth was loosed in heaven.  Peter was the rock on which the Church was built.  Further, Jesus said He would be with he Church always & the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church.  It should be noted, given the nature of man, it seems God could have come up with a better plan.

6.  Did Jesus really want and expect the Church to remain as one, with disagreements settled through church authority? …

For all 20 reasons we are Catholic, click HERE for the full document.

{ 0 comments }

Since I am doing a show on this topic today with Spirit Catholic Radio (listen live from 9:10-9:40 AM Eastern time) and since will be at this site called Primacy of St. Peter along the shore of Galilee four more times this year…

…I thought I would share my teaching that I give all our pilgrims at this site. It is an explanation of St. John 21 where Jesus appoints Peter to be the shepherd of his sheep. (see my YouTube video below).

But there is much more here than meets the eye when you first read John 21, especially if you are reading in English.

What does the net, the 153 fish, the shoreline and the water represent? Did you know that Jesus and Peter used two different Greek words for “LOVE” in their dialog – but there is only one word used in English? Why couldn’t Peter say he really loved Jesus but was only his good friend.

This is a sample of the teaching I give at the holy sites in the Holy Land and I hope you enjoy what our group is listening to today :-)  This is my whole 20 minute talk expounding on John 21.

{ 4 comments }

St. Paul did not Write to Us!

by Steve Ray on June 28, 2017

When arguments about salvation arise between Catholics and Protestants, the Bibles are usually opened to Galatians and Romans. Are we saved by faith alone or are works involved? Protestants quickly accuse Catholics of teaching a salvation based on works and Catholics quickly point out that Protestants have swung the pendulum too far in the other direction by refusing to accept human cooperation and obedience as necessary to the process. As final proof of their point, Protestants will quote Romans 3:28: “For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.” That should end the argument right? Salvation is not by good works or obedience, but by faith alone? So, the combatants rush to the books of Galatians and Romans to solve this Catholic-Protestant disagreement. But there is a huge problem here. Paul did not write these letters to us and he knew nothing of the Catholic-Protestant debate. The huge problem we have is the problem of anachronism.
 
Do you know what the word “anachronism” means? According to the Collins English Dictionary it comes from a Greek word for “mistake in chronology” or “error in time reference”. Anachronistic is defined as “1. the representation of an event, person, or thing in a historical context in which it could not have occurred or existed; 2. a person or thing that belongs or seems to belong to another time.”

The problem is that when Paul wrote these two letters he was not writing them to us today. He was writing to the Gentiles and Jews of the first century. He didn’t know about the Catholic–Protestant debate. He was not writing to Germans like Martin Luther or Americans like us. He was writing to people two thousand years ago living in places like Iconium, Pamphylia, Lystra, Galatia and Rome. They were not having a raging Protestant–Catholic debate. These good folks were having a Jewish–Gentile debate which was a whole world away. To read our current situation back into Asia Minor, Palestine, and Europe of the first century is a classic case of anachronism.

Paul preached that uncircumcised gentiles could be saved without circumcision and a slavish obedience to the 613 laws of Moses–along with all the ceremonial rituals. Some Jewish believers, on the other hand said, “Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and if you want to become a Christian you must become a Jew first.” They couldn’t have said it any clearer than in Acts 15:1: “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” They want to impose the “works of the Law” referred to above in Romans 3:28 upon the gentiles. It had nothing whatever to do with Catholics and good works. It has to with Gentiles coming into the Body of Christ by faith and obedience, not by becoming circumcised Jews.

Abraham, the father of the Jews, was the prime example or case in point. Was he saved by circumcision and by obeying all the laws of Moses? Heavens no! He was saved while an uncircumcised pagan gentile living in Ur of the Chaldees, a thousand miles to east of Israel. Circumcision was only given as a sign of the covenant, not the means of salvation. And he did not obey the 613 laws of Moses since they would not even exist for another six hundred years or so. Abraham was saved by the grace of God and his belief and obedience and not by “the works of the Law” (See Romans 4 and James 2).

This is exactly what Catholics teach! We are not anachronistic. We understand Galatians and Romans  within their proper chronology. Paul wrote to that particular age and culture with its particular problems. We live in a different age and culture with different particular problems. But, even though Paul didn’t specifically write his letters to us, if we study the cultural climate in which they were written, and stay faithful to the tradition in which they were passed on to us, the Holy Spirit (the primary author of the letters) will help us apply the principles and truth of those letters to our current situation.

This coming week (June 14-18) we have an intense study of Galatians and Romans going on in our house from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Jimmy Akin is currently screaming his way across the entire USA on Amtrak and will arrive at our home Sunday evening. He will stay in one of our guest rooms and lead the discussion with a motivated group that wants to leave anachronism behind and discuss these two letters of St. Paul in their historical context. I will give you a report on our study in the days to come.

By the way, can you imagine how difficult evangelism would have been in the first century if every male who believed in Christ had to be circumcised? They would have asked Paul “You want us to cut off what?”

{ 2 comments }

A Quick Reply to Question about Cremation and Scattering the Ashes

May 23, 2017

I was asked a question about Catholics, cremation and the scattering of ash. Here is my brief answer: The whole issue of cremation goes back to the Romans. They denied the bodily resurrection so they often burned the body and if they were rich they put the ashes in urns and put them in the […]

Read the full article →

Who Are the Poor I’m Supposed to Care For?

May 7, 2017

As we leave our rented apartment in Rome and walk towards St. Peter’s Square I notice a ragged, filthy woman sitting on a piece of cardboard with a baby laying lethargically in her arms. She looks up with mournful eyes and pathetically mumbles something as she reaches out hoping I’ll put coins in her hand. […]

Read the full article →

Steve on Journey Home Explains His Discovery of the Catholic Church

May 6, 2017

This was a while ago but I just found it again and thought it would be good to share. Please feel free to send the link to others who are struggling with the Church or who you think might need a bit of an enthusiastic “nudge.”

Read the full article →

Joseph the Sissy or Joseph the Worker – Feast Day of the Worker

May 1, 2017

Today is the Feast day of St. Joseph the Worker! There are some pictures of Joseph I don’t appreciate so much. They present him almost as soft, effeminate like he just came out of a beauty parlor. It appears he never worked in the real world and has not a wrinkle on his clothes or […]

Read the full article →

How Long Was Jesus in the Tomb? Another Contradiction?

April 15, 2017

“For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:38-40) Skeptics claim to have discovered an error in the New Testament —claiming Jesus was not in the tomb […]

Read the full article →

Welcoming New People at Mass this Easter – They May Be an Answer to Someone’s Prayers

April 13, 2017

We get busy on during the Easter Season. We don’t have a lot of respect for people who go to church only on Christmas and Easter. We may be irritated that seats are taken and the church is noisy. But, you are praying for your family and friends to come back to church and MAYBE these […]

Read the full article →

Was Jesus Crucified Naked? (Updated 4/13/17)

April 12, 2017

A gentleman heard me on Relevant Radio earlier. I had mentioned on the air that one of the great humiliations of a crucifixion was that a man was crucified naked. This thoughtful gentleman wrote to challenge my comments. Below is his e-mail and my response. Dear Mr. Ray, Please correct your description of the Passion. […]

Read the full article →

Messy Parenting, Podcasts from Parents of Ten! Great Stuff with a Huge Following

March 30, 2017

  I am happy to call Michael Hernon a highly respected friend. He is also a successful husband and father of TEN! And yes, he has a great sense of humor, a lovely wife — and a great podcast for Catholic families — practical, biblical, funny, Catholic and easy to listen to. He and his […]

Read the full article →

Was Abraham Save by Faith Alone?

March 28, 2017

Today I am flying to Franciscan University of Steubenville to be the guest for Franciscan University Presents, the one-hour TV show produced by the University for EWTN. Mike Hernon hosts the program which is a round-table discussion with a guest and panelists from their Theology Department, Dr. Scott Hahn and Dr. Regis Martin.  Our topic will be Abraham, […]

Read the full article →

Where Does the Bible Say We Should Pray to Dead Saints?

March 1, 2017

Are saints who have physically died “dead saints” or are they alive with God? A friend named Leonard Alt got tired of being hammered by anti-Catholic Fundamentalists on this issue so he decided to write this article. I thought you might enjoy it too, so here it goes… Leonard writes: I wrote this note after […]

Read the full article →

Is God Like a GPS System?

February 24, 2017

There are a million reasons why God is NOT like a GPS system but I am in Australia and I made a wrong turn and my GPS started reprimanding me and saying “Recalculating!” For those who don’t know, GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It is a nifty little device that links up with positional […]

Read the full article →

Was Jesus Nice?

February 20, 2017

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me. “That was not very Christ-like.” This response usually comes after being honest to the point of making someone upset.  The implication is that Jesus was a cuddly little nice guy who was always smiling, always accepting with kind words – in […]

Read the full article →

Salvation by Faith Alone?

February 15, 2017

Since the days of Martin Luther it has been popular to reduce salvation to a sound bite. Salvation is not by works but by “faith alone.” However, the Bible seems to have another idea. In my book CROSSING THE TIBER I mention a few passages from Scripture to give a more biblical perspective. Here is […]

Read the full article →