So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Thinking and Believing Catholic

FIDES QUAERANS INTELLECTUM
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, fac nos tibi semper et devotam gerere voluntatem, et maiestati tuae sincero corde servire. 
Almighty ever-living God, grant that we may always conform our will to yours and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart.
—Roman Missal, Collect, 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
The Holy Father recommends that we study the Catechism of the Catholic Church as part of the Year of Faith. He describes the Catechism as a means of encountering the person of Christ. Remarkably, he writes “on page after page, we find that what is presented here is no theory, but an encounter with a Person who lives within the Church” (Porta fidei, 11). That Person is Jesus Christ, God made man. Excerpt from the Homily of His Excellency Archbishop Charles Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, at the closing Mass of the National Novena, Knock.


CCC Link




Baltimore Catechism





THEOLOGICAL RENEWAL

New Theological Movement
Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute for Eastern Christian Studies
Nova et Vetera International Theological Journal
Thomistica a site for the academic study of St. Thomas Aquinas


How to Destroy a Relativist's Argument
Formatting edited by CS to add emphasis.

The word “fallacy” comes from the Latin word fallacia, which could also be translated as “deception.” A fallacy is a misleading or unsound argument that can be either accidental or intentional. This will be the first in a series of posts dedicated to understanding and responding to logical fallacies.

The first logical fallacy we’ll look at is: Self-Referential Incoherence
A self-referentially incoherent claim is one which, when applied to itself, refutes itself: Such as when a man says, “I can’t speak a word of English.”
Let’s take a look at some other examples of self-referentially incoherent propositions and worldviews. We will divide them into three groups: relativism, skepticism, and scientism.

Relativism

Several years back, I ministered with a team of young adults in Ireland, hosting day retreats for high school students. After one particular retreat, a teenage boy came up to my friend, Charity, and me and declared with an air of condescension, “This has all been very interesting, but there are no absolute truths. Everything is relative.” Without missing a beat my friend looked at him and asked, “Are you absolutely sure about that?”

The young man didn’t know what to do with himself. He took a step back and gasped. He realized then and there that epistemological relativism (a fancy term meaning that nothing we come to know can be said to be objectively true) is self-refuting.

Another example of this absolute relativism can be seen in the song "I Gave You All" by the band Mumford and Sons, which contains the lyric, “How can you say that your truth is better than ours?”

By this, they almost certainly mean that it’s arrogant and incorrect for a person or group to claim that what they know to be true is truer/better than what another person or group claims to be true. If this is what they mean then the lyric is, again, self-refuting, for the question itself implies a claim to knowledge that they think to be “better” than others.

Skepticism

A few years back I had a discussion with a man who said he was an atheist. I spoke at some length with him, laying out what I considered to be good arguments for the existence of God. In response to each premise I offered, he offered a dismissive shrug.

At one point he stopped me, saying, “Look, human reason is so fallible, either there is no such thing as truth or, if there is, we have no way of knowing it. It’s arrogant to say otherwise.” Without realizing it, my friend made three self-referentially incoherent propositions:
  1. Infallible certainty that we cannot have infallible certainty.
  2. Assertion as a truth that we cannot know truth.
  3. Assertion as a truth that if anyone asserted anything to be true, he must be arrogant.
When I pointed out these things to him, he said, “I guess that’s the difference between you and me. I see the value in skepticism.”

“Well, so do I,” I said. “But you’re not simply saying that you’re skeptical about some truths, but of all truth!”

“That’s right. I think it’s the only intellectually honest thing to do.”

“But to be skeptical of all truth would lead you to be skeptical of your skepticism, which would entail you becoming more certain!”

Scientism

Scientism is the belief that one should only accept as true that which can be shown true by the scientific method.

This is an impoverished view of human knowledge that cannot account for:
  • logic and mathematical truths (which science presupposes but cannot prove);
  • ethical truths, and metaphysical truths—such as the existence of the external world;
  • or that the past is real.
Most devastatingly, however, scientism is self-referentially incoherent:
  • You cannot show by the scientific method that one should only accept as true that which can be shown true by the scientific method.
The fact is that the existence of truth is self-evident. As St. Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century, wrote,
“The existence of truth is self-evident. For whoever denies the existence of truth grants that truth does not exist: and, if truth does not exist, then the proposition ‘Truth does not exist’ is true: and if there is anything true, there must be truth.”


What is the Mass?
Fr. Douglas Martis, director of The Liturgical Institute

Everytime I'm at Mass, I can't help but think that we have the most beautiful, poetic prayer possible, but if what we say does not resonate in our hearts, then it is empty and meaningless. It is lip service.

There are three things that we must always remember:
1. Who God is.
2. Who we are.
3. What Mass is.
Who is God?
Thinkers have for centuries tried to describe, to put into words what God is like.

What is especially unique to Christianity is that we believe in a triune God, a Trinity who is a relationship of persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Everyone knows St. Patrick’s image for the Trinity: the clover leaf.

Pope Benedict describes the Trinity as a song of love. He says that essential to God is the quality of communication, communion.

The Trinity is a dialogue, an eternal song of love. And what is song but a combination of word and breath. Here we have the most perfect word: Jesus. And the sweetest breath, the Holy Spirit.

Who are we?
Another thing that we have got to remember, that we often forget, is that WE NEED NOT BE.
  • We are contingent.
  • We do not have to exist.
  • It is only God who keeps us in existence at every moment. And that is something we ought to be grateful for all the time.
What is the Mass?
Why do we have Mass? What’s its purpose? We answer this question at every Mass. At the Orate fratres, we say the purpose of Mass:
For the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church.
That’s it. We come to Mass to praise God (for what he’s done for us in Christ—and for keeping us in existence) and to pray for our needs (ultimately that we will be united with him forever in heaven). The Mass isn’t so much about what we can get out of it, but what we give in praise to God.

Holy Trinity, One God

The Trinitarian God created us in His own image and likeness. He desires to make himself known and to share His life with us (CCC 257, 260) so we may share in his truth, beauty and goodness (CCC 41, 319). Being in the image of God, man is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons (CCC 357) - in other words, of imitating the Trinity's life-giving love. This is our ultimate calling: to become capable of loving as God loves us, and to imitate the life-giving love which is the very nature of God, who is an eternal exchange of love within Himself. Our participation in God’s trinitarian life is made possible especially in the Church's liturgy and sacraments, whereby we partake of God's life of grace. The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace by which God's divine, trinitarian life is dispensed to us (CCC 1131). Catechism of The Catholic Church.

Catholic Faith

10.¶3 Confessing with the lips indicates in turn that faith implies public testimony and commitment. A Christian may never think of belief as a private act. Faith is choosing to stand with the Lord so as to live with him. This “standing with him” points towards an understanding of the reasons for believing. Faith, precisely because it is a free act, also demands social responsibility for what one believes. The Church on the day of Pentecost demonstrates with utter clarity this public dimension of believing and proclaiming one’s faith fearlessly to every person. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit that makes us fit for mission and strengthens our witness, making it frank and courageous. APOSTOLIC LETTER “Motu Proprio Data”, PORTA FIDEI, of the Supreme Pontiff BenedictXVI for the indiction of the Year of Faith.

Fr. Hopkins On Mystery

'You do not mean by mystery what a Catholic does. You mean an interesting uncertainty: the uncertainty ceasing interest ceases also... . But a Catholic by mystery means an incomprehensible certainty: without certainty, without formulation there is no interest;... the clearer the formulation the greater the interest.—Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889), British poet, Jesuit priest. Letter, Oct. 24, 1883, to Robert Bridges. Gerard Manley Hopkins: Selected Letters, ed. Catherine Phillips (1991).

G.K. Chesterton

There are two kinds of people: those who have a dogma and know it, and those who have a dogma and don't know it.

Journalism is popular, but it is popular mainly as fiction. Life is one world, and life seen in the newspapers in another.

Fr. Angelo Geiger
The Latin phrase sentire cum Ecclesia, “to think with the Church,” succinctly identifies the truly Catholic state of mind. Christ and His Church possess “the same Spirit which governs and directs us for the salvation of our souls.” The Catholic possesses the mind of Christ when he or she thinks with the Church. 

This is because the Church is the body of Christ and is never separated from its Head. The sacramental life of the Church was born from the side of Christ on the cross, and at Pentecost the Spirit of Christ made Himself present in the fullest possible way in the midst of the Twelve. Christ is present in history through the Church He established while He was still on earth. He said to the Apostles, the twelve foundation stones of the Church, he who hears you hears Me (Lk 10:16). 

For a Catholic, every authentic spirit is characterized by its “ecclesiality,” which means that the Holy Spirit works in and through the Church and always leads to communion with the Church.

Archbishop Charles Chaput

The ultimate goal of our laws is to make us morally good. Our laws should help us accord with the design God has written into human nature. Thus, Maritain writes, civil law “should always maintain a general orientation toward virtuous life, and make the common behavior tend, at each level, to the full accomplishment of moral law.”—Law and Morality in Public Discourse: How Christians Can Rebuild Our Culture


Theologian: Shared Communion With Protestants Would be Blasphemy and Sacrilege
Msgr. Nicola Bux reflects on the possibility this pontificate is sympathetic to Protestant theologian Jürgen Moltmann’s theory of “open Communion.” - LINK
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