Saturday, July 2, 2016


The Diocese of Savannah acquired Henry Ford's Martha-Mary Chapel in 1955. It was built by Ford in the 1930's as a Protestant Congregationalist Chapel and named for his mother and mother-in-law.

This is how this once Protestant chapel looked after it was converted into Saint Anne Catholic Church in 1955. Please note the altar railing in its original position but which I believe was a part of the original plan as a Protestant chapel.

Of course the altar elevated three steps would have been new. The altar shown below is gone; I have no idea where it is now:
Eventually, the altar railing was saved by pushing it back to the location it is now--which prevented it from being removed altogether and thrown away. It might be possible to place it back in its original location.

However, when we celebrate the EF Mass, the second free-standing altar is easily moved away and the altar railing would function as it would in an EF Mass with its current location, which is somewhat Anglican in style!

Here is the progression of how things looked in the last week and a half.

The tabernacle to the side:

Tabernacle dead center on freestanding pedestal:
 Post Vatican II altar placed against the tabernacle pedestal with traditional altar arrangement. Unfortunately there are only five remaining candlesticks; I have no idea where the sixth one is, but the two shorter ones in the middle of the sets of two is the same style. Pray to St. Anthony that he finds our 6th one! What a miracle that would be!
 This front altar is easily removed and communicants would receive Holy Communion at the EF Mass the altar railing beyond! This altar was used in the Social Hall which seats more than 700 when the original chapel became too small for the growing congregation here. It remained in the social hall until today and will be used as the free standing altar for daily Mass in this chapel.


Marc said...

This little chapel reminds me of St. Francis in Townsend, Tennessee. This'll be a nice little chapel for the traditional Mass.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Well, it's better. So glad you have the tabernacle back in the center. Any reason why it can't be placed on the white altar?

If you're keeping the wooden altar in the foreground, maybe paint it white so it blends better with the altar in the rear and the rest of the sanctuary? Another alternative would be to stain it to match the wooden paneling against the back wall.

If you were to use the rear altar for an EF mass, and the communion rail as it is now, wouldn't the communicants have to go up the two steps and across the front platform? I think that could easily be a trip/fall hazard. I does seem better if the rail would be moved back to the front of the lower platform.

But the layout already looks more crisp and pleasing to the eye.

I'll say a prayer to St. Anthony about that 6th candlestick.


gob said...

Looks like the folks on the St. Anne Facebook page don't know you're in town yet....You could write something there...invite them to the blog maybe....

gob said...

Might not be a bad idea to update your "About me" and your "Complete profile" too...kind of move in and become part of the community...

rcg said...

What wood is floor made from? It looks beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Perfect for the TLM nice job Father!! And thank you!!!

Anonymous said...

Cardinal Sarah said Mass should be offered facing the East. Why not get rid of that free standing table and put the tabernacle on the altar and fave East saying daily Mass. It will not cause trouble because you have to remember that the majority of Catholics don't really care about anything anymore. They won't even notice.

TJM said...

Ditch Cranmer's table and return the sanctuary to a truly Catholic appearance. What did 50 years of liturgical "progressivism" get us? Answer: Empty pews!!!! And please, spare us the progressive excuses.

Dialogue said...


The one thing Modern Catholics notice and abhor is reverence. As for Cardinal Sarah, his European and American confreres believe Africans "should not tell us too much what we have to do".

Anonymous said...

If all of us here think that ISLAM is a religion of PEACE then take a look at the GRAPHIC and SICK photos at BREITBART.COM these are Muslim men being beheaded for mocking ISLAM. The man in the White House is a traitor and must be brought to trial!

gob said...

An awful lot of conversation about choosing "furniture", tables, altars (white or brown?), altar rail (forward or back)... candlesticks (how many)... arranging it all, paint colors. Many, many photos of it all... Is this about "pastoring" the people of the parish or re-decorating the buildings...? Then there's the all-important question of what direction it all faces......Really?...Is this what our Church is all about? I don't think it is...(I'm sure we've all heard the remarks about re-arranging the furniture on the deck as the Titanic went down...)

Gene said...

Gob, you just don't get it...bless your pea-pickin' li'l ol' heart.

Anonymous said...

Indeed I just saw the pictures posted on and my God it is beyond belief that this is happening in 2016, and yes I agree with Anonymous at 5:37 PM that Barack Hussein Obama is a complete and utter fraud and an Islamist apologist installed by George Soros and company. Sadly he will never be brought up on treason charges the fake Republicans like Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the RINO's in power have protected Obama since day ONE! Reason being they are totally afraid of being called a racist and bigot yet they go after with gusto Donald J. Trump the Republican nominee for President of The United States. Friends they would rather have Hillary Clinton power than TRUMP, they have shown their true colors.

Paul C said...

I have followed this blog for some time.

I don't know why but after reading hundreds of comments here by several of the people who comment regularly I have thought of that famous quote by the critic Cyril Connolly, ie that with some people their personality shines out in almost anything they write.

I really feel that is true for several people who comment here regularly.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the tabernacle is on a white pedestal and you pushed a white altar against the pedestal and also have another altar. Why so many altars. Keep the tabernacle on the pedestal get rid of the ugly brown altar and say Mass on the white altar. What is the point of pushing that white altar up against the pedestal with the tabernacle. Or get rid of the pedestal and put the tabernacle on the white altar. But whatever you do get rid of the carpet under that brown altar. Tables have rugs under them altars do not.

Dialogue said...


You offer an awful lot of complaints about choosing "furniture", tables, altars (white or brown?), altar rail (forward or back)... candlesticks (how many)... arranging it all, paint colors. You view many, many photos of it all...

TJM said...

gob, you wouldn't know Catholicism if it bit you in the derriere!

Gene said...

So, Paul C, what is your point...or is there one?

Dialogue said...


Post-Moderns have freed themselves from committing any real meaning to textual, architectural or musical forms. They find it amusing, or even surprising, when recusant Christians, defying Post-Modernity, honestly convey ourselves--that is, the truths we hold dear--in any of these forms.

Paul C said...


I suppose I was just making an observation more than making a point and sharing just one thought I have had after spending probably hundreds of hours over past several years reading this blog and all the comments.

I can share another thought I have had where I hope I will be making a point.
I believe I have learnt a lot from this blog. I have enjoyed reading a lot of what appears here and even occasionally get a good laugh at times. But
I think Catholics or many Catholics have a problem with getting too caught up in and spending too much time on every little detail of the present papacy, endless discussions for 50 years on what Vatican II was all about and changes in liturgy and so on. Then there are the "progressive" liberal and radical Catholic priests and laity I have met who seem much more passionate about different aspects of the secular humanist agenda than any core Christian belief or teaching.

Anyway, I can contrast this when over the past 5 years I have been to a Protestant service (either C of E or Salvation Army) with my wife or her family, and it really seems people there weekly or more get their hearts, souls and minds washed with most of the core, central Christian beliefs and teachings, eg God loves us, Jesus died for our sins then rose from the dead, love your neighbour etc.

By the way, too, I have found it interesting what you have stated at different times regarding Calvin and what Catholics might at times learn from him.
Unlike you I do not have behind me 4 years undergraduate philosophy and theology and then 5 further years of graduate study in Church history, scripture and further theology etc but about 20 years ago I completed courses as part of a combined arts/theology degree.
Unlike you, at that time I preferred Luther, who seemed to most often go back to St Paul, where with Calvin it was back to St Augustine.
Of course, with Luther it was not just an attack on abuses as they were in early 16th century, but a burning desire to restore God to the centre of everything. I have not looked at those old texts for many years, but I think a number of times Luther claimed there were too many "who will not let God be God."

Paul C said...


I am not sure if my first more lengthy reply to you was properly sent. I had to complete 2 tasks to prove I was not a robot; also, it is 4am here in eastern NSW Australia; I am having an episode of insomnia, which can often happen with sober recovering alcoholics.
.....but, also by the way, Cardinal George Pell, I believe, when Archbishop of Melbourne and then Sydney did his best to keep out of the seminaries and Catholic colleges priests/theologians who, for example, had trouble or doubts about the resurrection as a real historical event or who believed that Luther had a better understanding of the real presence than orthodox Catholic theologians at that time.

Gene said...

Paul C, Thank you for that fine response. I will respond later...I have a house full of grandkids.

Gene said...

Paul, wow! You covered a lot of ground. I think we agree on very much. Luther was my first brush with Reformation theology...I started backwards with courses in contemporary theology (Barth, Tillich, Moltmann, Bonhoeffer, etc), then to Ritschl/Harnack and the history of Christian Dogma. When I got to Luther and Reformation Theology, it was like a breath of fresh air from all that cloying dialectic. I think, as a protestant, I was naturally drawn to Luther because of his passion and earthiness and his unpretentious love of Christ. But, once I got to Calvin, I realized that here was the systematic, analytical thinker who created the protestant dogmatic and which, ultimately, led me to Catholicism...after all, Calvin is called the protestant Aquinas.

It is not so much what Catholicism might learn from Calvin as it is what is already there in Augustine which has been downplayed since Aquinas. All of the elements of Calvin's TULIP theology are there in Augustine and only one, the first one, is completely antithetical to Catholic thought. Anyway, in contrasting Luther and Calvin, my professor (Wilhelm Pauck) summed it up this way, "For Luther, God's sovereignty is shown in love; for Calvin, God's love is shown in sovereignty." Catholicism embodies both and has room for emphasis on either. As Fr. MacDonald told me once, "Catholicism has a fairly broad theological umbrella."

As for the repetition on the blog, I think that can only be expected from those of us who actually believe the articles of the Creed and take Jesus' words at face value, believing He is who He said He is and that His promises will be fulfilled. I view theology, theological study, and theological dialogue (such as a few of us on the blog have with one another) as a form of prayer. We say the same Creeds over and over, as well as the Our Father. I never get tired of those and never find that they become monotonous in a living faith. As far as the acerbic comments and ridicule in which I sometimes engage, we are dealing with the enemies of the faith. All weapons may be employed.

Do not apologize for your theological studies or your perceived lack thereof. It is really quite simple after is all right there in the Nicene and Apostle's Creeds and in the Our Father. When someone asked Karl Barth, the modern protestant Aquinas, after his 12 NYC phone book thick volumes on Dogmatics, "Can you sum up your theology in a few lines," Barth replied, 'Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so."

Paul C said...


Thanks for your reply.

One of the main points I was trying to make was that it is a matter of balance and priorities.

The central, basic and essential beliefs and teachings of Christianity can be found in the New Testament and the councils of the undivided Church that occurred approx 800 years after Christ's death and resurrection.

In the big picture how important to that are endless discussions of hundreds of statements by Francis over the past 3 years, even more discussion on what are or are not orthodox interpretations of one pastoral council of 1962-1965 and millions of words written and thousands of debates regarding OF and EF over the past decade.

It is not as though what Francis says or writes is not important, or that Vat II or changes in the mass are not important but I believe too much time and mental effort can be focused on those matters, time that could be spent in prayer and reflecting on and feeding off the core, essential truths of Christianity.

100, 200, 500 years from now and more there will still be the New Testament, the Creeds and the Our Father etc. 500 years from now just how many theological disputes and ecclesiastical dramas of the period 1966-2016 will be regarded as crucial? Historically significant? Or even remembered?

Anonymous said...

Questions: I have about a million questions. Ill only start with a few. I would love for a Priest to explain some things to me.
I am a Baptist but I love and respect the Catholic Church. I want to know more.
1. How do we know WHY the Devil fell from Grace? Is there some reference to this in the Bible. WHY he fell?
2. What sources gave the Catholics the Catholic Tradition where so many things Baptists can't find in the Bible are explained by Catholics.
3. Why do you think God allowed the Devil to roam the world and bother his children?
4. I once read that God asked the Devil where he had been and he said roaming the earth. Do you think God communicates with the Devil. Talks to him.
5. Do you think the Devil can actually work through people? Can he really enter their body?
6. God created the Devil as an angel. Where did the "evil" come from. If the Devil chose this behavior and other angels followed him then do angels have free will?
7. Would it ever be possible for one of the fallen angels to ask forgiveness?
8. Why do you think God did not destroy the Devil so that he could not tempt Adam and Eve?

Paul C said...


What you wrote inspired and motivated me to go to my garage where there are boxes of books and to look for G R Elton's "Reformation Europe".
I did not find it but I came across some twenty plus year old lecture notes from first and second year university courses in early modern European and modern Church history.

For example:
The basic question was the matter of Redemption.
Were Luther and Aquinas basically in agreement?
Especially in the decade leading up to 1517 when Luther was a respected Catholic priest and theologian and lecturing on Romans and Psalms etc.
Before there were circumstances when Rome and Luther divorced each other ......was there nothing really in Luther's early writings and lectures that needed have caused schism?
What Luther meant by faith, Aquinas meant by hope?
(How much of it was a matter of " semantics " as we say in late 20th century?).
Could the excommunication of Luther been avoided and thus could all the political and religious agony that followed have been prevented?..........
.......YET (nota bene!!) it turned out with Luther and other major Protestant reformers the implications were almost limitless to what appeared, deceptively, a small shift in orthodox Augustinian theology!

Paul C said...

Dear anonymous,

Thanks for your questions and comments.

I hope father, Gene or John Nolan or some one else here can answer at least a few of your questions. I feel they would do a better job than me.
But I would like to say it is great in our present generation for any Christian to take the Devil seriously.

This might seem a strange thing to say or write but I believe any Christian who takes Satan or the Devil.....and Hell seriously is also much more likely to have a strong faith in God and the 4 last things, death, judgement, heaven and hell.

I hope in particular Gene can reply to you as I believe he has the compacity to often explain a theological matter briefly and clearly.

I don't want to over do any flattery to Gene but I'd like to state the following even if I am digressing or going on off on a tangent.

My father was educated in a Catholic religious order and was a teacher and so on but he left the Marist order just before taking final vows. Anyway, thanks to my father I received a fairly good Catholic education and through this and contact with friends of my parents etc who were priests or ex priests and nuns etc I was for example exposed to more traditional Catholics who loved the novels of Evelyn Waugh and "progressive" Catholics who loved the novels of Graham Greene.

Anyway, years later at university I came across the 4 volumes of George Orwell's essays, journalism and letters.

It blew my mind at times at Orwell's insights and great ability to get to the heart of a matter and very briefly and clearly express his views.
For example, Orwell wrote: forget about the alleged snobbery of Evelyn Waugh with Graham Greene we have hell as a sort of high class night club, entry to which is reserved for Catholics only, since the others, including Protestant Christians, are too ignorant to be held guilty, like the beasts that perish........Mr Greene appears to share the idea which has been floating around ever since Baudelaire, that there is something rather "distingue" in being damned.......the way many seem to approach this cult of the sanctified sinner seems to be frivolous, and underneath it there probably lies a weakening of belief, for when people TRULY believed in Hell, they were not so fond of striking graceful attitudes on its brink, there were a lot less poses on the edge of the abyss.

I believe that more Christian people in medieval times and into the early modern era had a stronger belief in God than in modern times and also a REAL literal belief in the Devil and Hell and the 4 last things etc that has been largely lost and weakened in modern times.

I might have a break now. I don't want to turn this page of Southern Orders into my own blog....... If I have done that a bit, I am sorry.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Paul. Even tho I am a Baptist I often disagree with my church. Some things just do not feel right. I do not for example think that you should take the Bible in every case literally. Jesus told stories as parables so I think instead of every time its the literal word the words are there for you to dig deeper.
The Devil interests me because I TOTALLY believe in him. In my uneducated opinion he is the reason for everything that has separated us from God. I don't believe a true believer can believe and love God without also feeling the forces against God. In my uneducated opinion God is so Good that he did not even destroy the Devil who causes so much stress. God gives us tools to deal with him. So many people think the Devil is a myth and that in my opinion is a big mistake. I think that is exactly what the Devil wants people to think. I just wanted to know if God does communicate with him because like I said I know its in the Bible wheer God limits the devil with Job. Why did a beautiful angel that was called the Morning Star fall from heaven. Where is that in the bible? How do the Catholics know that the devil had a beautiful voice? How was Satan able to talk other angels into following him?

Anonymous said...

Marc: "This little chapel reminds me of St. Francis in Townsend, Tennessee."

Where the TLM is no longer offered, its former pastor having been promoted to a much larger parish. One might (or might not) conclude that TLM priests are so valued in our diocese that they cannot be left isolated in such tiny parishes.

Anonymous said...

1. Why do Catholics believe that Joseph and Mary had no other Children after Jesus?
2. Do we know when Joseph died and where he was buried and how old Jesus was at that time?
3. Some Catholics I have talked to believe that Mary eventually moved to France? Is that true?
4. Are our loved ones who are in heaven. able to know what we are doing on Earth. If so wouldn't that interfere with their happiness of heaven.?
5. Many people believe in ghosts. Jesus appeared to many people after he died. At times even those close to him did not at first notice who he was. Was Jesus able to change his appearance. If there is not such thing as a ghost then what do some of these people who really think they have seen a dead loved one see?
6. Im not being rude..... Do Catholics believe that other faiths are false? Don't you think that God reaches out to people on different levels and in different ways. To me (and I am uneducated) the Catholic Faith if you really study it is a very difficult faith to understand. I hear a lot about the service to worship God but not much about Bible stories. I have read through this blog and the language is way above my head. And I mean no disrespect but do you think that for many the Catholic Church is just to difficult to understand?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 1:35 am,

1. Satan’s fall from heaven is symbolically described in Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:12-18. He fell because of pride, because of his desire be God, not merely a servant of God.

2. The sources of Catholic tradition are the apostles and disciples who themselves knew Jesus, and their own disciples. Those who knew Christ or know those who did, are the principal authors of the Bible--as well as of other writings that the Catholic Church didn't select for inclusion in the Bible--and they passed on orally much that did not get transcribed in written form. All of this comprises Tradition.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anonymous Baptist:

1. How do we know WHY the Devil fell from Grace? Is there some reference to this in the Bible. WHY he fell? A: Lucifer had free will. Lucifer’s pride got the better of him – he wanted to be “like God” and refused to adore/serve God. The Archangel Michael – the name means “Who is like God?” and the answer is “No one” - took care of the devil and his angels.

2. What sources gave the Catholics the Catholic Tradition where so many things Baptists can't find in the Bible are explained by Catholics. A: They (Sacred Traditions) have been handed down and entrusted to the Church. It is necessary that Christians believe in and follow this tradition as well as the Bible (Luke 10:16). The truth of the faith has been given primarily to the leaders of the Church (Eph. 3:5), who, with Christ, form the foundation of the Church (Eph. 2:20). The Church has been guided by the Holy Spirit, who protects this teaching from corruption (John 14:25-26, 16:13).
How do we know what constitutes Tradition? “The task is to determine what constitutes authentic tradition. How can we know which traditions are apostolic and which are merely human? The answer is the same as how we know which scriptures are apostolic and which are merely human—by listening to the magisterium or teaching authority of Christ’s Church.” (from Catholic Answers)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a good place to start. I use as my online Catechism – very easy to use.

3. Why do you think God allowed the Devil to roam the world and bother his children? A: God chooses not to override the free will he has given to angels and humans.

4. I once read that God asked the Devil where he had been and he said roaming the earth. Do you think God communicates with the Devil. Talks to him. A: I don’t think so. God simply knows (omniscience). The biblical description of God having a conversation with the Devil is not meant to be taken literally, but indicates the knowledge of God regarding His creation.

5. Do you think the Devil can actually work through people? Can he really enter their body? A: The Devil works through us every time we sin. On the other hand, God’s grace works through us when we resist the temptation to sin and act virtuously. Demonic possession is certainly possible, though very, very rare, in my opinion.

6. God created the Devil as an angel. Where did the "evil" come from. If the Devil chose this behavior and other angels followed him then do angels have free will? A: Evil came from and comes from the misuse of free will. Angels all have free will.

7. Would it ever be possible for one of the fallen angels to ask forgiveness? Since the judgment of the fallen angels is a “done deal” they are living with the consequences of their sinful choice – they are separated eternally from God in Hell.
8. Why do you think God did not destroy the Devil so that he could not tempt Adam and Eve? Again, God does not override free will.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Michael thank you SO VERY MUCH for taking the time to help me understand these things.
I am very interested in Catholic Tradition. I realize that The Catholic Church was the only and first church after Jesus. I knew that they edited the Bible and must have more information that is not written there. Again I am ignorant and I am hoping God has inspired me to LEARN. Why did King James change the bible and why did he leave out certain parts of the Catholic Bible. My family has always been Baptist but it is interesting that my parents insisted on using the Catholic Bible. How did King James have the right to take out parts of the bible?

Gene said...

I think Henry and Kavanaugh have done a pretty good job of answering Anonymous Baptist's questions. These are old questions, and Aquinas addresses many of them in the Summa. I will respond to Paul C and to Anonymous Baptist's other questions after lunch.

Paul C said...

Fr K,

Thanks for what you have written above.

Yes, of course each person has free will but for some people (as it is put in your great American play "Long days journey into Night") even for a lot of people, they have no say in what life can throw at them, bad things can happen to good people, at times such things can happen before we fully realize it, and then that can lead one to acting in ways that one can lose his true self, sometimes for ever.

I have had episodes of bipolar mood swings including severe mania and alcohol abuse that had me in the past break the law that could have put me in jail for decades. The fact I spent relatively little time in jails and maximum security prisons was thanks to a compassionate judge, who my lawyer said was more likely to take circumstances and mitigating factors like childhood trauma, addiction etc into account than other judges at his level.

Anyway, my point here is that yes we have free will but often so much else has to be taken into account when trying to work out why each of us has done what we have done at different times,........and a more important point to me personally as a believing Christian is that if a human judge in Australia can show mercy to me how much better will my chances be with receiving mercy from a divine and heavenly judge!?!

(BTW we have here in Australia a much better criminal legal system than you in the USA, for example, we have thousands of people out of jail in 5 to 10 years, and then out to freedom, or at most a year or two in drug and alcohol rehabs or psych wards, people who in USA would get up to 25 years to life without parole. But we have a MUCH lower crime rate and much more safer streets. I wonder what all the factors are in bringing that about?)

rcg said...

AnonBaptist: i recommend you get with a good preist, any of the ones on this blog will do, and start your inquiry. I am personal friends with some of the smart folks on this blog and you are VERY lucky to have found them. But most of advice you find on the internet about the Church or the Catechism is not worth the effort to delete it. I would avoid this discussion in most other places.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... 1. How do we know WHY the Devil fell from Grace? Is there some reference to this in the Bible. WHY he fell?

The Church applies a portion of the text of Isaiah to Satan by accommodation. The proximate reference is to the king of Babylon; the remote reference is to the devil.

Lucifer fell through pride, as he wanted to be like God.

Isaiah 14.

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...Questions:
3. Some Catholics I have talked to believe that Mary eventually moved to France? Is that true?

I'll leave the other questions for the priests to answer, but regarding this one, there is an oral tradition that, sometime after Our Lord's ascension into Heaven, Mary Magdalene relocated to southern France and died there.

There is an oral tradition that the Blessed Virgin Mary moved to an area near Ephesus, in modern day Turkey.


Gene said...

Paul C...I love the quote from Orwell about "striking graceful poses on the brink of Hell." That certainly describes many in our society...especially Hollywood. LOL!

RE: Free Will...Augustine says our wills are not free until they are enslaved to God's will. This means that, for our wills to really be free, they must be in harmony with the will of God. Angels have complete free will because their wills are completely in harmony with God's will. When most people think of free will, they mean free I want to go to a movie or do I want to go swimming...certainly we have free choice. But, free will is a bit more theologically complicated. When we are enslaved to sin, our wills are corrupt and clouded. Concupiscence means that, left to his own devices, man will always choose the path of selfishness and self-destruction. Once Christ enters our hearts (when God's will seizes us) and we are Baptized, our wills become oriented toward God. They are thus free from the compulsion to sin and from the darkness of original sin. But, we still can sin through our own free choice. God allows us free will...the freedom to wander from the path of salvation. Does God determine our bad, but He allows them. Calvinists (and Augustine) call this the "perfect and permissive will of God"... In this life, our wills are never completely in harmony with God's will but, if we are Christians, they are oriented toward him. This means that we are given the gift of awareness of when we sin and we seek Confession and forgiveness.

RE: The Devil. Karl Barth, my favorite protestant theologian, was once hounded by a student in the audience of one of his seminars. The student asked, "But, Dr. Barth, do you believe the snake spoke to Eve?" Barth's reply, "What is important is not that the snake spoke to Eve, rather what he said." The Devil takes many forms, often those we would never expect or that we take for granted as non-spiritual entities. Never the figure with horns and the long forked tail (how easy that would be to recognize and avoid), but always the deceiver, the shape shifter, the demonic jester. Remember, this realm is under his sway. Every aspect of this world is a vector for his spiritual wickedness. I re-iterate that when Satan offered Christ all the Kingdoms of the World (political, military, and economic power), Jesus never questioned Satan's ownership or his right to offer them. So, where might we find Satan...I suggest the following rocks under which to look...Disney, CNN, FOX, the Republican and Democratic parties, court rooms, law schools, Wal Mart, MGM, IBM, Lockheed, Dupont, Merck, the Capital, the White House, the Kremlin, Red Square, Yale Divinity School, the CIA, the FBI, the KKK, seminaries, divinity schools, the bar down the street, that woman you nearly ran off the road looking at today (remember the old R&B tune, "Devil With the Blue Dress On.")
Satan is the anti-life spirit at large in our world...from war to abortion to drug abuse, to homosexuality (an anti-life choice), pollution, and murder... and embodied, in one way or another, in all of the places I mentioned above. But, he is not merely symbolically present here...he is real and powerful beyond our understanding. He is the ultimate liar, but his words are sweet and appealing to our senses.

Gene said...

Anonymous Baptist:

1) There is no Biblical or oral tradition evidence that indicates Joseph and Mary had other children.

2) We do not know when Joseph died or where he is buried.

3) LOL! There are many legends about Mary...and that became embodied in a prominent sect that Jesus came to America after his resurrection, married, and had children.

4) It depends upon which theologian you ask. Scripture does speak of those in Heaven being aware of things on earth. If our loved ones do know of our lives here, they have no anxiety or sadness because they now understand the beauty of God's salvation history and the ultimate purpose of all of our lives and the entire creation, as well as His infinite love and mercy for His children.

5) It was an early Church heresy to say that Jesus was a ghost or some other kind of spirit or apparition. His resurrection was a bodily one, he ate with the disciples, Thomas touched his wounds. Many people believe in ghosts, but I believe the Church's stance is that ghosts do not exist. A soul is either in Heaven or Hell. God does not leave His work unfinished. Perhaps He allows appearances of various kinds to Saints and others of His chosen.

6) There is one, and only one, true God and true Faith and that is Christianity. The Church believes that other religious expressions may prepare the heathens for salvation by making them aware of a creator and a purpose for their lives and the world. These other religions can lead people to Christ through missionary preaching, the Church, etc. But, in themselves, they are false religions. It has become popular since Vat II to take an egalitarian approach to religion and attempt to place other religions (e.g. Islam) on the same level with Christianity. This is heresy and false thinking. Do not be taken in by modernist unbelief...even in the Church.

If you stick to the Creeds, the Rosary, and the Catechism the Catholic Faith is very easy for anyone to understand. If you get into Augustine, Aquinas, Scotus, Anselm, etc. you will tear your hair, slam theology books against the wall, and say a lot of ugly things that will require Confession and penance.

Anonymous 2 said...

The following hard-hitting commentary was prompted by the horrendous ISIS terrorist attacks in Baghdad this weekend. It addresses a striking example of evil in our time and warns that we should also resist the evil of demonizing an entire religion because of the actions of “a small, ugly group of evil, insecure, hyper-masculine men who do not represent the faith.” The Devil’s promptings can take many forms:

While I do not agree completely with the author’s statement that “These men aren’t Muslims. They have no regard for Islam” (in actuality, ISIS claims to be Muslim but they certainly are not acting in accordance with normative Islam as defined by the tradition), I certainly do agree with his statement that “Americans aren’t great at nuance,” at least when it is qualified to eliminate the over-generalization.

Another reaction that really struck a chord with me is the following prayerful response to the Orlando massacre:

The entire prayer is to be commended but that part of the prayer that is for the author herself is particularly noteworthy:

"And I pray for myself:

As sin and violence spill across the pages of modern history, I acknowledge the seed of this violence within me. Humanity’s sinful concupiscence joins with the devil every day to fight to win our souls from God. None of us is immune to sin. To violence. It begins in gossip, division, small-mindedness, ostracizing, and constant criticism of others. Terrorism, the towering oak tree of large-scale violence and sin, all begins with the same single seed present in each one of our souls.

Will we let it grow?

Will we let the violence perpetrated by a sinful man ravage our own souls as well? Will we allow the violence of a terrorist to beget violence in our own hearts? Will we respond to egregious violence with the petty seeds of violence? Will we continue to plant seeds of anger, nastiness, unforgiveness, and scorn all over the internet and in our personal relationships?

Or will we beg God to shine his light on the shadows of our souls and help us to bring light into our dark world?

Will this tragedy move us to become more like Omar Mateen or more like Christ?"

gob said...

Fr. K.....I'd love to hear you have a go at answering the next set of questions....1 through 6.....

Do you believe that there were two actual (first) people named Adam and Eve...and that they begat two sons...and that somehow somebody begat some girls? Really?

Gene said...

Anon 2 still defending his favorite religion...Islam. He must be married to a Muzzie or have Muzzie relatives. If he spent half as much time defending his alleged Christian faith, he'd have written several volumes by now.

Gene said...

Gob, scholars have recently discovered ancient scrolls in Alabama indicating that the Garden of Eden was actually just outside of what is now Montgomery. The first two people were named Tommy Lee and Bobbie Sue and lived in a double wide cave. Bobbie Sue was visited by the Devil in the form of a possum and tempted Tommy Lee with a peach while wearing a tiny Confederate Flag bikini (who could resist). For their sin, they were banished to Mississippi, where they raised a bunch of young un's who all became politicians.

Anonymous 2 said...

This thread reveals very clearly the truly inspirational side of Gene, a side that I have always greatly respected and indeed admired. His last comment at 5:56 p.m., though, not so much . . . =)

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anonymous Baptist:

1. Why do Catholics believe that Joseph and Mary had no other Children after Jesus? A: There is no indication from Scripture or Tradition that they had other children. Jesus is spoken of as “first born,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there was a second, third, fourth, etc. “First Born” refers to the child who “open the womb.” The “brothers and sisters” of the Lord mentioned are relatives, cousins maybe. Scripture isn’t always perfectly clear on relatives – Genesis speaks of Abraham’s “brother” Lot. But we know that Lot was Abraham’s nephew.

2. Do we know when Joseph died and where he was buried and how old Jesus was at that time? A: We have no information on this. Joseph is often depicted as being very elderly – long white beard – but that is just artistic license.

3. Some Catholics I have talked to believe that Mary eventually moved to France? Is that true? A: Mary would have been wise to move to France for a variety of reasons. But this sounds like pious legend to me.

4. Are our loved ones who are in heaven. able to know what we are doing on Earth. If so wouldn't that interfere with their happiness of heaven.? A: Jesus conversed with Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration, so we know that those in the next life can communicate with those who are on earth. (Yes, this is an extraordinary example.) We believe that those in heaven are no longer bound by the limitations of mortal life, so it is not unreasonable to think they know what’s up with us. Does our travail impede their heavenly joy? No, nothing can do that.

5. Many people believe in ghosts. Jesus appeared to many people after he died. At times even those close to him did not at first notice who he was. Was Jesus able to change his appearance. If there is not such thing as a ghost then what do some of these people who really think they have seen a dead loved one see? A: Ghosts do not exist. Period. I have seen a lot of things that I cannot explain, but I don’t jump to the conclusion that there is some supernatural cause (or ALIENS!). People who did not recognize Jesus – Mary in the Garden and the 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus, were in a state of desperate grief and fear and amazement. It is not hard to think that they saw him but didn’t recognize him. Seeing a person who has risen from the dead – They “could not believe their eyes.”

6. Im not being rude..... Do Catholics believe that other faiths are false? Don't you think that God reaches out to people on different levels and in different ways. A: No, we do not believe other religions are “false.” It is the Catholic faith in which the fullness of God’s revelation is to be found, and other religions, Christian and non-Christian, share elements of that Revelation (Truth) to varying degrees. God reaches out to people in whatever way or ways God chooses.

Anonymous said...

To all of you who have taken so much time to answer my (Baptist) questions I thank you very much. I know that it took quite a while to answer my questions. Are all of you Priests? If I take up too much room on this blog please just let me know and I won't ask so many questions.
1. Why did King James change the original bible and why do all churches except for Catholics use a bible that has missing chapters.
2. I have had my DNA and ancestry traced and it is very interesting. I do not know if this is exactly correct but the information stated that they can trace all humans alive today to one DNA "EVE and one DNA Adam. This of coarse is not as far back as Adam and Eve. I noticed that someone seemed to think that there might not really be an Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. Do you all agree that in fact God did create all humans from this first couple?
3. I do totally agree that the devil today would not be the scary character with horns. He would in my opinion appear beautiful so that people would fall for his lies. It does indeed worry be that what we see on TV could be his work especially in the news. But... how is a person to know. We follow church teachings I realize but the world changes so quickly.
4. I have a very good christian friend who honestly thinks that she saw her dead grandmother. If there are no ghosts, was that her imagination or could that have been something Evil pretending to be a grandmother.
5. Do you believe that God can communicate with a person through dreams? I know he spoke to Joseph this way but what about a simple person who was not the step father of Jesus.
6.Yes Jesus had a human body after death wounds and all but why was it that several of his close friends did not recognize him at first. Im thinking of Mary in the Garden and the apostle on the road to E.
7. In your church you believe the bread and wine become the actual body and blood of christ. (this is the part that makes me want to be a Catholic because I believe that also) but how do we know like so many other things he said that this is not just a symbol of his body and blood. Why would Jesus want us to eat his body and eat his flesh. I mean no disrespect I am really trying to understand.
8. What about the Catholic Purgatory Could a good baptist go to purgatory? And what happens there. Are you instructed on failures you had on earth.
9 And finally..... I know the quote from Jesus in the Bible to the apostles but don't you think that a person can completely confess his sins to God directly without a minister. I have to confess to God many times a day ha ha. But I am serious what about those that do not live near a church to confess or people like Billy Graham who state that all you have to do is with a pure heart go to a quiet place and confess your sins to God. If I do this are my sins forgiven?

Paul C said...


I would rate your last post 5 out of 5 on the LOL humour scale.

The first religious joke that comes to my mind is:

"What did the Dalai Lama say to the hot dog seller?"

"Make me one with everything!"

Gene said...

I am happy to see that Fr. Kavanaugh and I are in synch on these things except for the last one....

Anonymous, I am not Priest. I am a former Presbyterian minister who became Catholic 8 years ago.

5) There are certainly Scriptural accounts of God communicating through dreams, and many of the Saints had such experiences.
I believe that there are certain people, often who lead simple lives and are particularly oriented toward God, who are more open to and aware of God's presence and the possibilities of His speaking to them than the rest of us. An uncluttered life and a tranquil life are best suited for listening to God. I have never been in that category...I am too angry and too impatient.

6) The disciples expected something different to happen than what happened on the Cross. They were in shock and despair (their faith was always a bit shaky), and when they saw Jesus out of context (deep down they thought he was dead) they did not recognize him. Perhaps they are everyman, so to speak. In our doubts and fears, we often fail to see His presence in our lives. There is a sermon here.

7) Priest question.

8) Fr. MacDonald should answer this one. He preached one of the best homilies I have heard on Purgatory at a Requiem service when we had a Church full of protestants.

9) We can always Confess to Christ directly. The Church does not deny or discourage that. But, if you understand the Priesthood, when you confess to a Priest, any Priest, you are confessing directly to Christ and receiving Absolution from Him. Priests are His representatives on earth and they are acting in Him. Who would not take advantage of this? But, it should fill people with more awe and humility before Him than I sometimes see at Confession.

Gene said...

Paul C, LOL!

A Priest and a Rabbi are on a flight together. The Priest asks the Rabbi, "Now, Rabbi, you are sworn not to eat pork but, be truthful...have you ever failed in your vow?"

Rabbi says, "Yes, sadly once, when I was very hungry, I ate a ham sandwich."

Priest says, "I understand. We all sin and fall short. We must ask God for mercy.'

Rabbi says, "Now, Father, tell me, you have taken vows of chastity but, be truthful now, have you ever broken those vows?"

The Priest looks down and humbly admits, " Yes, Rabbi, once when I was a new Priest I succumbed to the wiles of a beautiful woman."

Rabbi says, "I understand. We all sin and make the Hell out of a ham sandwich,. doesn't it."

Anonymous said...

Gene that is so neat that you were a minister before you converted to the Catholic Faith.
What was the factor that caused you to be led to the Catholic Faith. You seem to know so much I thought
you had been Catholic all of your life. What a wonderful story. From Baptist

Anonymous said...

Father Michael K.... I am touched so much by your answers and the time it took to write them.
I wish so much that I could meet you. You do not know...... how I am searching and I found this site by accident.
All of the answers have been so helpful. If I am taking up too much of anyone's time please let me know and I will read books ha.
Baptist Sarah.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anonymous Baptist

1…King James had a very keen interest in encouraging biblical support for monarchies. Hence, his political views heavily colored his views on the translation of Sacred Scripture. “Kings” come off looking pretty darned good in his translation. As to the difference in which books are included, there were two major sources of Old Testament books available to European Christians. One was the Jerusalem Codex which did NOT include the “apocrypha” – we call them the deuterocanonical books – which was preferred by the Reformers. The Septuagint – Catholic translation – used, I believe, Alexandria Codex which DID include the “disputed” books.

2…As early as St Augustine there was an understanding that the Creation Accounts are not literal history, nor were they meant to be understood as such. The DNA question you raise had to do with mitochondrial DNA only, and that hypothesis has, in the last decade or so, fallen out of favor among scientists. In fact, the research was criticized from the time it was released. Adam and Eve are symbolic, not historical. They stand for the first humans, wherever they came into being (via Darwinian evolution) and whatever their names may have been.

3… I don’t think the news is the work of the Devil. Sin is. When the news reports on that which arises from sinful behavior…

4… Who knows? Ghosts don’t exist. The human mind is an amazingly complex and, in many ways, poorly understood organ. If you want to get an idea of just how strange the mind can be, read any of the books written by Dr. Oliver Sacks, a NYCity neurologist. He wrote from his clinical notes.

5…God can communicate in any way, shape, or form God wishes. I think, though, that far too much is made of the “interpretation” of dreams these days.

6…His friends were in shock after his arrest, trial, execution, and reported resurrection.

7…We know via Sacred Tradition. We take the words of Scripture, we look at how they were understood by the Apostles, we read how they were understood by the earliest Christians after the Apostolic age, we read what the great theologians, the Fathers of the Church (Patristic authors) wrote…. And in this we find the consistent understanding that the bread and wine are changed by the power of God into the Body and Blood of Jesus. The term you may have encountered is transubstantiation. The accidents of bread and wine (taste, smell, texture, etc) remain, but the substance of then is transformed.

8…Purgatory is the final cleansing (or washing or “purging”) a soul is given by the saving act of Jesus Christ. Nothing impure/imperfect enters heaven, so whatever stain or remnant of sin remains at death must be purged. This is the action of Christ working on the soul of the Christian who is destined for heaven. Yes, lots of good Baptists have discovered Purgatory after death, much to their surprise I imagine.

9…Confession through a priest is to God. Yes, a person can go to God “directly,” but there is a human element that is needed for full healing/reconciliation. Imagine you broke your sister’s favorite doll. You went to God and asked for and received forgiveness for being such a wicked brother. But you still need to go and be reconciled with your sister – the human element.

Anonymous said...

Father thank you so very much for your answers to my questions. They help very much. I think the thing that I am most shocked about is that Adam and Eve and creation are not to be taken literal. Wow. I have tried to read St. Augustine but I have to admit he is way to deep for me. I agree with every single one of your responses. I do love you.
Baptist Sarah

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The work in which Augustine refers to the nature of the Creation Accounts is "On The Literal Meaning of Genesis."

"Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of the world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion [quoting 1 Tim 1:7]."

Gene said...

Some of the weaker brothers and sisters, however, are in danger of going astray more seriously when they hear these godless people holding forth expertly and fluently on the “music of the spheres,” or on any questions you care to mention about the elements of this cosmos. They wilt and lose heart . . . and can scarcely bring themselves to touch the volumes [Scripture] they should be devouring with delight . . . [because] they have no time to be still (Psalm 46:11), and to see how sweet the Lord is (Psalm 34:8). And that is why they are too lazy to use the authority they have received from the Lord . . . . (Augustine 2002b, I.20.24).

Gene said...

And, just for another opinion:

I ask you, dear reader, what need is there of those obscure and most foolish allegories when this light is so very clear . . . Do they not smother the true meaning and replace it with an idea which is not merely useless but disastrous? . . . For we have the Holy Spirit as our Guide. Through Moses, He does not give us foolish allegories, but He teaches us about most important events. Martin Luther

Anonymous said...

Father K, One proud accomplishment that I have made is that I have read the bible from cover to cover several times. I don't want to die and God ask me why I didn't read his book. In all of the times I have read it I have never really understood lots of it. The passage you quoted above is just so very very true. That is why in my church so many things change as the minister changes. I want a true authority to go back to in times of not understanding and not someone's opinion or honest mistake in explaining things. I have to read the work that you mentioned on the Creation of Genesis. Speaking of Saint Augustine I grew up in Florida and lived near the city named for the saint. I am certain that you have been there. They have a beautiful outdoor Catholic alter and a chapel and the most beautiful tall cross in a park that you can see all over the city. The Church there is the home of the bishop and it is just an amazing beautiful Church. Thank You Father Baptist Sarah

Marc said...

Sarah, please be aware that the Catholic Church's doctrine is that Adam and Eve were literally people who actually lived and from whom every person is descended.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Sarah - Marc is incorrect. The Catholic Church does not teach as doctrine that "Adam and Eve were literally people who actually lived and from whom every person is descended."

He may, I suspect, cite the papal encyclical "Humani Generis" (Pope Pius XII, 1950), in which is found the following passage: "When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parents of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now, it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the teaching authority of the Church proposed with regard to original sin which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam in which through generation is passed onto all and is in everyone as his own" (Humani Generis 37).

(I will post more on polygenism in the near future.)

Note a couple of things. First, although the pope saysThe faithful cannot embrace that opinion" he went on to say that "It is in no way apparent" how this idea of polygenism could be reconciled with Church doctrine. In this, Pius was wise and left open the possibility that, at some time in the future, it might very well become apparent how this idea could be reconciled with Church doctrine.

Second, the statement by Pius is specifically related to the question of the Church's doctrine on Original Sin. Again, the Holy Father wisely and cautiously tied this passage to one thing, the question of the effect of Original Sin on ALL humans.

Further, paragraph #390 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the accounts of Genesis use "figurative language." The figurative language used here is "mythology." Note carefully, a myth is not fiction, it is not a fairy tale, it is not something made up with no relation to reality. A myth is an imaginative story that uses symbols to talk about reality, but a reality that is beyond human understanding.

In #109 of the Catechism the Church teaches that "To interpret Scripture correctly, the reader must be attentive to what the human authors truly wanted to affirm and to what God wanted to reveal to us by their words."

In #110, the Church teaches that we must take into account, "... the literary genres in use at that time..." One of those genres is mythology, so to understand the accounts as myth is not opposed to the Church's doctrine. Other genres are poetry, narrative, letter, didactic fiction, allegory, parable, etc etc etc.

Also, the Church cannot by any form of decree determine what was or what was not involved in anthropogenesis. This is because the "how" of human evolution and development is not a matter of faith and the Church is competent only in matters of faith. In the same way, the Church could not decree that the first humans had red hair, that they appeared in what is now known as London or Beijing or Nairobi.

Anonymous said...

Father I often get in trouble in Sunday School because I discuss Adam and Eve and try to point out that it is not to be taken word for word. I have about a million things that I wish you could teach us Baptists. I appreciate even more the time it took for you to make sure that I had correct understanding. They tell me often to quit being so picky but its a story from the Bible and the lesson I have learned is everything there while wonderful and inspired cannot be taken word for word. Sarah

George said...

"On the other hand the Catholics say the Bible is not to be taken literally."

>Not true. Our very Creed which we regularly recite (whether the Apostle's or Nicene) is based in what is found in scripture..
We do accept some of what is in the Bible as literal,in fact some of the same things the Protestants do. We also acknowledge that there is much symbolism and allegory contained therein.. We should read the Scripture from the perspective of what is being conveyed to us while at he same time being guided by Church teaching.

Adam and Eve:

At the Incarnation, God intervened in a most profound and dramatic way, when Christ the Second Person of the Holy Trinity was conceived through the over shadowing of the Holy Spirit in the womb of one of His creatures, the Blessed Virgin. It is any more profound and miraculous that He intervened in creation to form a man and woman(Adam and Eve) whom He created without sin? We know and believe by faith that they did end up disobeying God and committing what is known as Original Sin. There arise difficulties in accounting for original sin if that first fall can't be traced to a our first parents, Adam and Eve. This is why baptism is necessary which wipes the sin from our soul and initiates us into the life of Christ,

The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.

Catholic doctrine still maintains that a literal man (Adam) and (Eve) must have existed, a primal couple who committed that personal original sin, which occasioned the need for, and the divine promise of, the coming of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

The Council of Carthage in 418; the Council of Orange in 529; and the Council of Trent in 1546 " to mention outstanding and ecumenical examples, all speak of original sin, and in this connection of one Adam. The Council of Trent has an entire decree devoted to Original Sin. Session 5, June 17 1546 mentions 'the first man Adam' in Canon 1. And Canon 2 quotes St Paul in Romans 5:12, 'Sin came into the world through one man, and his sin brought death with it.'

St. Thomas Aquinas :

According to the Catholic Faith we are bound to hold that the first sin of the first man is transmitted to his descendants, by way of origin. For this reason children are taken to be baptized soon after their birth, to show that they have to be washed from some uncleanness. The contrary is part of the Pelagian heresy . . . all men born of Adam may be considered as one man, inasmuch as they have one common nature, which they receive from their first parents . . . (ST 1-2, q. 81, a. 1c)

According to the Catholic Faith we must firmly believe that, Christ alone excepted, all men descended from Adam contract original sin from him; else all would not need redemption which is through Christ; and this is erroneous. (ST 1-2, q. 81, a. 3c)

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Sarah - As Catholics, we do not leave behind our ability to question, to reason, to disagree, or to wonder. (This is one of the great gifts of Humanism to the faith - that we are not constrained in the matter of asking for better explanations.)

The great theologians of Catholic history all questioned and reasoned, and through this they came to deeper, more eloquent (in most cases) expressions of the Christian faith. The intellect God gave us is a tremendous gift, one that we use with joy and trembling.

To be free to question, to wonder, and even, at times, to doubt, is a huge blessing. Keep asking questions, keep reading, keep wondering. God's Holy Spirit, working through the Church, will guide you.

Gene said...

The Catholic Church does teach that Adam and Eve were real people. That may not be comfortable to some, but we should be asking how we might understand this Revelation...this revealed Faith, rather than dismissing it in some modernist "interpretation."
There is actually a faction of scientists and anthropologists who seem to think there may actually be evidence of a "first couple." But, that does not really is a matter of faith. One of my professors once said that modernists, when considering the events in the Bible, always begin with the premise, "this cannot be;" whereas, believing scholars ask (non-rhetorically), "How can this be." It is the difference between a dismissive humanistic response and a response of faith seeking understanding. The modernists are pretty weak on Original Sin, as well they might be, which logically leads to their rejection (never admitted) of NT Christology and the entire Salvation History edifice. They are, in a word, Christian humanists...which is unbelief. There is a disturbing number of Priests who are actually unbelievers (at least one on this blog, but many more) but continue the charade, hoping to see the Church become a huge social organization for doing good and creating a nice socialist utopia on earth. They say they hate our dogmatism, but they are just as dogmatic in their unbelief and in their calling us non-Catholic. So, if you believe the articles of the Creed, you are non-Catholic. Wow, and this from Priests. Be careful out there, Catholics...

Gene said...

Sarah, do not be deceived by this Eve was by the sweet words of the Serpent. Even the Devil can quote Scripture...or, at least, the Vatican II documents and CCC. LOL!

Anonymous said...

Gene I am not deceived by this priest. He is a priest and I am sorry but you are not.
I believe everything he tells me because he never mocks, never insults and he is an ordained
man of God. He is kind and he has helped me more than any minister I have ever met. He
can back up everything he says and the Catholic Church in a Baptist Person's mind would never
not train Priests in correct responses to those that seek help. Fr. Michael has spent a great deal of
time helping me a person who is not even Catholic. Thank you so Much Father Michael. I do wish
that I could meet you in person. I read a post today that bothered me. Someone was asking if people in
their family who were not Catholic were going to Hell. So I will ask Fr. Michael one more question and then
Im not asking any more because I do not want all of you on blog to fight with each other and call each other
the Devil. So this is the last question I will ask Father Michael I am a Baptist all of my family are Baptist. We have
been baptized and we love the Lord God. Because we are not Catholic are we going to Hell? Baptist Sarah

Gene said...

Good luck, Sarah.

Anonymous said...

Thank You Gene,
Catholic Sarah

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Sarah - No, because a person is not Catholic he/she is not automatically going to hell. It is in the Catholic Church that the fullness of God's revelation is to be found, and that is why I am Catholic. A person, of whatever faith or of no faith, goes to hell only because he/she rejects God's commands.

Gene - No, the existence of a "first couple" is not a matter of faith, it is a matter of science - anthropogenesis.

That they were given souls directly by God - that is a matter of faith.

That they rejected God's command and sinned - that is a matter of faith.

That they were ashamed and hid in the garden from the Lord - that is a matter of faith.

That the expulsion from the garden was enforced by an angel with a flaming/revolving sword, thus pointing to the necessity of direct intervention by God to effect our salvation from sin - that, too, is a matter of faith.

Gene said...

There is a direct conflict between anthropogeny and the Biblical account of Creation. It simply cannot be resolved theologically. Even if anthropologists are able to say (as some are saying) that DNA studies tend toward a true "first couple," the scientific proof of a first couple still does not give us the theological truth of the first couple or the understanding that faith demands of us. The same with the "Big Bang" vs Creation. It is acceptable to say that the "Big Bang" was the means whereby God created the universe but, even if science proves a first creative event, it does not give us the theological Creation account or the belief that faith demands. Likewise with "near death" experiences. They give us no proof of an afterlife or of Heaven or of Resurrection. These thing are all misguided efforts at applying science to theology. They just do not work if you believe in a Revealed faith and NT Christology...which you apparently do not. These are examples of both bad science and bad theology.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

There is no conflict between scientific anthropogenesis and the Biblical account of Creation. Both tell the same story, though from different perspectives and using different languages.

The Biblical literalist is wrong for demanding that the scientist set aside all that he/she knows to be true scientifically for the sake of approving the literalist's version of human origins.

The atheist scientist is equally wrong for demanding the believer set aside all that he/she believes by Faith to be true for the sake of approving the scientist's view human origins.

The conflict exists only if 1) one misuses Scripture to deny the validity and value of science or 2) one misuses science to deny the validity and value of Faith.

Gene said...

K, you really do not get it. I have to go back to not engaging you. It is just a waste of time. Any theologically educated, Biblically literate person should understand these issues and distinctions, but you continue to be either deliberately dense so you can prevaricate, or you really are a lot less intelligent than you seem.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Gene - As a theologically educated, Biblically literate person, I disagree with you. Your problem is in thinking that anyone who has the temerity to disagree with you, to point out the obvious times when you reject the teaching of the Catholic Church, and to call you out on your racism is prevaricating or unintelligent.

You can either discuss the issue or, as is your standard operating procedure, heap ludicrous and untrue accusations on your learned opposers.

You biggest waste of time is in your attempts to put down others.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

From an interview with, Stephen M. Barr is a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Delaware, AMERICA Magazine, 26 Nov 2014

Q: "Does science disprove the Bible?"

A: "It could only do so if the Bible is construed as making assertions about the nature of things in the physical universe. But, as Pope Leo XIII taught in "Providentissimus Deus," that is not the right way to read the Bible. St. Augustine famously warned in vehement terms against interpreting Scripture in a way that would make it seem to conflict with what is known "by experience and the natural light of reason."

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Lest it be thought that Dr Barr's comments do not reflect the mind of the Church regarding the mutuality between Faith and Science, here are two relevant passages from the letter that Pope John Paul II wrote to the Reverend George V. Coyne, S.J., Director of the Vatican Observatory, dated 1 June 1988:

"The unity we perceive in creation on the basis of our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord of the universe, and the correlative unity for which we strive in our human communities, seems to be reflected and even reinforced in what contemporary science is revealing to us. As we behold the incredible development of scientific research we detect an underlying movement towards the discovery of levels of law and process which unify created reality and which at the same time have given rise to the vast diversity of structures and organisms which constitute the physical and biological, and even the psychological and sociological, worlds."


"To be more specific, both religion and science must preserve their autonomy and their distinctiveness. Religion is not founded on science nor is science an extension of religion. Each should possess its own principles, its pattern of procedures, its diversities of interpretation and its own conclusions. Christianity possesses the source of its justification within itself and does not expect science to constitute its primary apologetic. Science must bear witness to its own worth. While each can and should support the other as distinct dimensions of a common human culture, neither ought to assume that it forms a necessary premise for the other. The unprecedented opportunity we have today is for a common interactive relationship in which each discipline retains its integrity and yet is radically open to the discoveries and insights of the other."