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Tuesday 6 January 2015

An Unpopular Subject

St. Paul wrote: As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned (Titus 3:10-11).

And, again from St. Paul: When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. (Rom 2:14-16)

Pope Pius IX,  December 9th, 1854 said:
We must hold as of the faith, that out of the Apostolic Roman Church there is no salvation; that she is the only ark of safety, and whosoever is not in her perishes in the deluge; we must also, on the other hand, recognize with certainty that those who are invincible in ignorance of the true religion are not guilty for this in the eyes of the Lord. And who would presume to mark out the limits of this ignorance according to the character and diversity of peoples, countries, minds and the rest?

 in Quanto conficiamur moerore 10 August, 1863:
It is known to us and to you that those who are in invincible ignorance of our most holy religion, but who observe carefully the natural law, and the precepts graven by God upon the hearts of all men, and who being disposed to obey God lead an honest and upright life, may, aided by the light of divine grace, attain to eternal life; for God who sees clearly, searches and knows the heart, the disposition, the thoughts and intentions of each, in His supreme mercy and goodness by no means permits that anyone suffer eternal punishment, who has not of his own free will fallen into sin.

The problem is, of course, that without the sacraments, and especially Baptism, Eucharist and Confession, it is almost impossible not to fall into mortal sin with one's free will. It is hard to imagine anyone in today's world maintaining innocence, without mortal sin, being saved outside the Church, which gives us opporunities for grace over and over and over.

Sadly, God will actually stop giving grace if persons decide consistently to choose mortal sin over His Truth, either as given to all in natural law, as codified in the Ten Commandments, (which is the natural law "written in stone" ), and the holiness called for in the Beatitudes. Remember, only the perfect see God, so in addition, one must submit to purgation.

I am not sure there is such a thing as invincible ignorance for adults in this day and age of information glut. 

Yes, God gives sufficient grace to all men and women, but to those who turn towards Him, He gives more and more grace.

And, contrary to some clergy and lay people, a misinformed or underdeveloped conscience in a Catholic is not invincible ignorance.

Christ is clear on what one needs for salvation as seen in these passages: Mark 16:16, Luke 13:3 John 6:54.

And from the CCC: Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it. (CCC 846)

Discovered A New Church Today

Sacre Coeur Church in Sliema is one I had not found until today. In order to see churches, one must be there for Mass times, as most are locked-up immediately after Mass, which is very sad.

I went to nine o-clock Mass here and found this link for you to check out the photos.

I am rather amazed that the vast majority of Maltese and Gozitan churches do not have websites.

The way to find out Mass times is by checking this excellent site, but, it is not the same as having a gallery of photos and events. Parish life is simply not on line.

This, to me, indicates, that the youth are not interested, as most Maltese and Gozitans who actually go to church are not online, do not have email as I have discovered.

A few, yes....a few.

The lack of online interest also indicates that most tourists who come here do not go to church. In other words, the tourists are not Catholic, or even Christians.

The small Adoration Chapel behind the church is something else I just discovered. Located in an ancient building, connected to the convent of the Franciscan nuns, the chapel seem very old, but in reality was established in 2006.

I am glad I found it!

Now, interesting from a historical/theological view

Brief timeline.....

God promised the Messiah, the Christ Saviour in Genesis, written about 1,500 B.C. but with older oral traditions dating to at least 2,000 B.C.

Call of Abraham circa, 2000 B.C.

Law of Moses, 1450 B.C. or so.

Formal Hinduism, 1450 B. C., or so.

Buddha 563 B.C. at the earlliest

Exile of the Jews and many battles, including the Kingdom of David, proved by archaeology and texts. King David's Jewish reign, 1000 B. C. Exile and other events in the Old Testament proved by extra-Biblical sources. which "even" Wiki lists partially,

Christ, Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, and Son of God, born most likely 7 B.C. at the census of Augustus, but common date is year zero, A. D.

Christ's public ministry, 30-33 A. D , including extablishment of the Catholic Church

Christ's death and resurrection, 33 A.D.

Dates of lives of apostles, Acts of the Apostles, Gospels and all epistles known and all before 100 A. D., the ending of revelation.

Mohammed born 570 A. D., died 632 A. D.

The only leader of any "religion" who has claimed to be God is Christ.

As C. S. Lewis states, Christ, therefore was either a liar, mad, or indeed, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

All humans are born in Adam's Sin, and we all need baptism to become free of Original Sin, to become heirs of heaven, and chilren of God. From the CCC:


1213 Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua),4 and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: "Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word."5

1214 This sacrament is called Baptism, after the central rite by which it is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptizein) means to "plunge" or "immerse"; the "plunge" into the water symbolizes the catechumen's burial into Christ's death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as "a new creature."6
1215 This sacrament is also called "the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit," for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one "can enter the kingdom of God."7
1216 "This bath is called enlightenment, because those who receive this [catechetical] instruction are enlightened in their understanding . . . ."8 Having received in Baptism the Word, "the true light that enlightens every man," the person baptized has been "enlightened," he becomes a "son of light," indeed, he becomes "light" himself:9
Baptism is God's most beautiful and magnificent gift. . . .We call it gift, grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of immortality, bath of rebirth, seal, and most precious gift. It is called gift because it is conferred on those who bring nothing of their own; grace since it is given even to the guilty; Baptism because sin is buried in the water; anointing for it is priestly and royal as are those who are anointed; enlightenment because it radiates light; clothing since it veils our shame; bath because it washes; and seal as it is our guard and the sign of God's Lordship.10

Prefigurations of Baptism in the Old Covenant

1217 In the liturgy of the Easter Vigil, during the blessing of the baptismal water, the Church solemnly commemorates the great events in salvation history that already prefigured the mystery of Baptism:
Father, you give us grace through sacramental signs,
which tell us of the wonders of your unseen power.In Baptism we use your gift of water,
which you have made a rich symbol
of the grace you give us in this sacrament.11
1218 Since the beginning of the world, water, so humble and wonderful a creature, has been the source of life and fruitfulness. Sacred Scripture sees it as "overshadowed" by the Spirit of God:12
At the very dawn of creation
your Spirit breathed on the waters,
making them the wellspring of all holiness.13
1219 The Church has seen in Noah's ark a prefiguring of salvation by Baptism, for by it "a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water":14
The waters of the great flood
you made a sign of the waters of Baptism,
that make an end of sin and a new beginning of goodness.15
1220 If water springing up from the earth symbolizes life, the water of the sea is a symbol of death and so can represent the mystery of the cross. By this symbolism Baptism signifies communion with Christ's death.
1221 But above all, the crossing of the Red Sea, literally the liberation of Israel from the slavery of Egypt, announces the liberation wrought by Baptism:
You freed the children of Abraham from the slavery of Pharaoh,
bringing them dry-shod through the waters of the Red Sea,
to be an image of the people set free in Baptism.16
1222 Finally, Baptism is prefigured in the crossing of the Jordan River by which the People of God received the gift of the land promised to Abraham's descendants, an image of eternal life. The promise of this blessed inheritance is fulfilled in the New Covenant.

Christ's Baptism

1223 All the Old Covenant prefigurations find their fulfillment in Christ Jesus. He begins his public life after having himself baptized by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan.17 After his resurrection Christ gives this mission to his apostles: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you."18
1224 Our Lord voluntarily submitted himself to the baptism of St. John, intended for sinners, in order to "fulfill all righteousness."19 Jesus' gesture is a manifestation of his self-emptying.20 The Spirit who had hovered over the waters of the first creation descended then on the Christ as a prelude of the new creation, and the Father revealed Jesus as his "beloved Son."21
1225 In his Passover Christ opened to all men the fountain of Baptism. He had already spoken of his Passion, which he was about to suffer in Jerusalem, as a "Baptism" with which he had to be baptized.22 The blood and water that flowed from the pierced side of the crucified Jesus are types of Baptism and the Eucharist, the sacraments of new life.23 From then on, it is possible "to be born of water and the Spirit"24 in order to enter the Kingdom of God.
See where you are baptized, see where Baptism comes from, if not from the cross of Christ, from his death. There is the whole mystery: he died for you. In him you are redeemed, in him you are saved.25
Baptism in the Church

1226 From the very day of Pentecost the Church has celebrated and administered holy Baptism. Indeed St. Peter declares to the crowd astounded by his preaching: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."26 The apostles and their collaborators offer Baptism to anyone who believed in Jesus: Jews, the God-fearing, pagans.27 Always, Baptism is seen as connected with faith: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household," St. Paul declared to his jailer in Philippi. And the narrative continues, the jailer "was baptized at once, with all his family."28
1227 According to the Apostle Paul, the believer enters through Baptism into communion with Christ's death, is buried with him, and rises with him:
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.29
The baptized have "put on Christ."30 Through the Holy Spirit, Baptism is a bath that purifies, justifies, and sanctifies.31
1228 Hence Baptism is a bath of water in which the "imperishable seed" of the Word of God produces its life-giving effect.32 St. Augustine says of Baptism: "The word is brought to the material element, and it becomes a sacrament."

Remember when I had these in the flat earlier?

UPDATE AT TEN P.M. Well, just disposed of one which came in through the open window. No screen on that window. Eeiiuu....I still cannot believe how these live in such cold weather. I shall have to be very careful when I get up in the morning to make sure none are on the floor.....

Well, I had to go the other night in the courtyard and I stepped on one in the dark. Eeiiiuuu! Even though I was wearing clogs, the experience was not nice.

At least the creature was not in the apartment. But, how can they live in such cold weather? It has been about 34 at night. Amazing!

The cold has killed off the mosquitoes, which is great, as Maltese ones like me, but North American ones do not.

I  admit I smashed one of these Lehmannia melitensis which was trying to slide in under the crack in the door the other day. My son would not approve. He likes mollusks. 

The Cats of Malta do not eat these, I guess, as two cats live in the courtyard and they ignore these creatures. I suppose the fact that I give the Cats of Malta tuna has something to do with it.

 I do not mind the snails, as they just climb on the walls and do not try to get inside. Here is a photo of Theba pisana.  Thanks to wiki for the links and photos.

Spiritual Pacifists

Someone recently made a comment that they did not like the phrase "Church Militant". This person thought it was too militaristic.

What about the old teaching that at Confirmation we become "soldiers of Christ"?

Three battles wage daily and we are part of these battles.

First, the battle in our own soul, mind, heart, imagination and will.

Second, the battle against the world and all the pressures and distraction it brings into our lives.

Third, the battle against Satan and his legions of demons.

I think the Church Militant is a most appropriate name, as opposed to those who want to be in the Church Mushy.

How is it that so many Catholics have become spiritual pacifists?

Christ Himself waged spiritual war not only in His forty days in the desert, but on the Cross.

The Cross is a sign of victory.

Sigh, Third Change in My Four Visits Here


My little flat smells like a cheese shop.

I have decided I am addicted to Äˇbejniet, which is from Gozo. I must say that some of the best cheeses I have ever had are Gozitan cheeses.

There are three kinds of the same cheese, which is made from goats' milk.

The first is fresh, the white ones in the photo.

The second is sundried, the creamy colored ones in the photo.

The third is peppered, which is obvious, and that type is a bit harder.

The little cheeselets are found in ravioli here, a Gozo speciality.

I am addicted, totally....

The Epiphany And The Dark Night of The Soul

My own experience of the Dark Night, which I am still "in" resembles that of the Three Magi on their way to finding Christ. They had corrupted information from when the Jews had been in Exile in Babylon and some of the prophecies of the Messiah crept into the Zoroatrian religion. Through their own false religion, and through the study of both astrology and astronomy, the Magi figured out that a savior king would be born in the House of the Hebrews, the sign of Pisces, the Fish.

Most likely a combination of planets, such as Jupiter, the god planet, Saturn the savior planet and Venus or Mars, either love or war, moving into Pisces, brought the Magi to Christ.

So ended paganism at the feet of the God-Man Christ.

But, until they met Christ, the Magi travelled in darkness. They only had hints from natural, man-made sources and a few Jewish Scriptures. They were not part of the Chosen People of God. They did not have Revelation.

That God allowed them to take a long and arduous journey must have been part of the Three Kings purgation. They had to leave a comfortable, high status in their own culture, where they would have been counselors to kings and go into desert and mountainous areas to find a Person they believed was divine.

They only had enlightenment, or illumination at the moment when they found the Child.

The Epiphany is not only Christ revealing Himself to the Gentiles, but the inner, spiritual illumination which comes after purgation. The Kings would never be the same after their experience of God Made Man.

The Magi must have moved to Bethlehem totally on faith, without any consolation except the mysterious star. That one, small light was like the faith one has in the Dark Night.

One cannot see God, one cannot perceive any consolations, but one continues moving forward towards God in faith.

One waits for the moment of epiphany, of illumination.

What the Magi tell us is that we must persevere in faith even if the journey takes a long time.

They may have travelled months.

Faith kept them moving towards the goal of seeing, being in union with the Promised One.

Such is the journey of the Dark Night of the Soul.

Feeling Very, Very Homesick

Interesting Article...

I did not know until I read this that one can get a Master's Degree in Digital Humanities.


And, I know what this feels like...but God makes new doughnuts everyday!

Pre-Internet, we accepted that media had a mayfly’s life span: Yesterday’s news was yesterday’s news, and that was it. If you were the creator of it, you made peace with the notion that people either saw it or didn’t when it appeared, and you moved on; there was no alternative.
If it lingered in the public consciousness, it was because of its durability, not repeated reminders. Content had finite endings and deaths, not asymptotic approaches and long-term vegetative states from which resuscitation is always an option.