(Note: I’m presenting an argument in this post and I think I have the right answer, but I’m not 100% beyond a shadow of a doubt sure. I’m inviting friendly debate because I really am seeking the truth.) How many times have you heard this statement: It doesn’t feel wrong, so it’s right. Maybe you’ve even said it. But let’s think about it some more. If it doesn’t feel wrong, then does that really mean that it’s right? I’ve been pondering this problem for a while and I have some thoughts I’d like to share with you, to bounce off of you, and you can let me know what you think, whether you agree or disagree, whether you find these ideas helpful or not. And we’ll go from there. Alright? Okay, let’s go then. Continue reading

This is part of a continuing series of posts on the Mass, salvation and the sacraments. Acknowledgments may be found at the end of this post. (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4) (Part 5)

Why do we get baptized or baptize our children? Why do we even need to go to church? I often hear people ask these questions of various believers, some of them teachers of the faith. Rarely do I hear them receive a good answer. Even more rarely do I hear them receive a true answer. I’ve heard people say that we go to church because we need the fellowship of other believers in order to stay faithful on our walk with the Lord. I’ve heard people say that we get baptized to show the Lord that we’re serious and ready to commit our lives to Him. I’ve heard that we Catholics baptize children because of some silly notion that baptism actually does something when anybody can see that it is merely symbolic of a decision made by a person who can reason about such things; so obviously a mere child isn’t capable of benefiting from it, much less, a baby. Continue reading

The following is Part 5 in a continuing series on the Church, salvation and the Sacraments. We’re beginning our exploration of the Sacraments themselves and where better to begin than with Baptism, the Sacrament by which we become members of the Body of Christ. (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4)

In the series to follow this one we’ll be looking more closely at the Old Testament background of the Church and the Sacraments, but I want to spend some time reflecting on the Church as the Barque of Peter, carrying the faithful safely across the crashing waves of the world, guiding them on their journey home to the Father. I’ll base these reflections mostly on the sources listed below in the acknowledgements. I offer the drawing below in the hopes that it will help you to visualize what I’m saying and will help me too.

Let’s look first at the entry into the Church, the Sacrament of Initiation par excellence: Baptism.

Journeying Toward God in the Barque of Peter

Continue reading

Well, I’m not a catechist. Not yet, anyway. But I’ve been grousing about the deplorable state of catechesis in our parishes for a long time now and my theologian friend asked me today, “Why don’t you do it?”

Do what, I said.

“Be a catechist. You could even train catechists.”

You’ve got to be kidding, I said. Continue reading

I have a friend in RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) and I can feel the frustration growing. It’s a good thing she’s an avid reader; I’ve given her some Catholic books and every time I see her, she’s either ordering books and DVD’s online or she’s heading out the door to look for more. She goes to Mass with me every chance she gets and Catholicism has become our favorite subject to discuss. And it’s a good thing because she would be learning nothing at all about the faith in that class. Continue reading

I’m sponsoring a friend in the RCIA these days and we went to session two this past Sunday. This Sunday’s topic was the authority of the Church. I expected to hear some of the same old objections and thought I might even hear something surprising. And I did.

From the one teaching the class! Continue reading

Once again someone has attempted to confront me with the old issue of grace versus works, implying that her religion is biblical and that mine is not. The phrasing of the issue itself is misleading because it mistakenly sets grace and works against each other. as if grace and works were unconnected, even opposed to each other. Now it is true that we cannot earn grace by works or else grace would not be grace. Grace is gratuitous, freely given and not compelled by any means. God gives us grace freely in that He is not compelled, He is free to act and to bestow His blessings on us as He pleases. He is not required to give us anything, not grace or anything. Continue reading