Don’t Mess With Marriage – a Pastoral Letter from Australia’s Catholic Bishops

Good news from Aussie bishops witnessing with acts of truth for Jesus

Click on the link below to read the letter, then

click on the link within the letter to read the document on the Family.

“Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
28 May 2015

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP

Catholic Bishops of Australia have written a pastoral letter to all Australians  as the debate  on same-sex  “marriage” gains momentum.

The Bishops want to highlight not only the meaning of marriage but the implications in redefining marriage.

The letter says at this time in history there is much discussion about the meaning of marriage. Some suggest that it is unjustly discriminatory not to allow people with same-sex attraction to marry someone of the same sex. Others believe that marriage is an institution uniting a man and a woman.”  Read more at

http://www.sydneycatholic.org/news/latest_news/2015/2015528_1872.shtml

Let us continue to pray and fast for Cardinal  Pell  and Archbishop Anthony Fisher and all the priests and bishops of the Catholic Church in Australia.

May this witness to the truth and unity of bishops in Australia continue at the synod in October and beyond.

Trinity Sunday: The Doctrine of the Trinity

The Doctrine of the Trinity

This is the most fundamental of all Christian beliefs.

There are 3 persons in one God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

God has one Divine nature , but 3 persons.

Each person – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are all equally God; they cannot be divided.

Without the the doctrine of the  Trinity, we could not have the doctrine of the divinity of Christ .

Defender of this doctrine:

The fourth century bishop of Alexandria – Saint Athanasius (296-373)  was the strongest defender of the doctrines of the Trinity and the divinity of Christ.

Saint Athanasius spent his life combating the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ by denying that there are three Persons in one God.

He composed the Athanasian Creed which defines very concisely the doctrines of the Trinity and the nature of Christ. It is the longest of the standard Christian creeds.

Trinitarian Prayers: Sign of the Cross, Glory Be, Apostles’ C reed, Athanasian Creed.

The Athanasian Creed

Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith; unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity.

But the Catholic faith is this, that we venerate one God in the Trinity, and the Trinity in oneness; neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance; for there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit; but the divine nature of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is one, their glory is equal, their majesty is coeternal.

Of such a nature as the Father is, so is the Son, so also is the Holy Spirit; the Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, and the Holy Spirit is uncreated; the Father is infinite, the Son is infinite, and the Holy Spirit is infinite; the Father is eternal, the Son is eternal, and the Holy Spirit is eternal; and nevertheless there are not three eternals but one eternal; just as there are not three uncreated beings, nor three infinite beings, but one uncreated, and one infinite; similarly the Father is almighty, the Son is almighty, and the Holy Spirit is almighty; and yet there are not three almightys but one almighty; thus the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; and nevertheless there are not three gods, but there is one God; so the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, and the Holy Spirit is Lord; and yet there are not three lords, but there is one Lord; because just as we are compelled by Christian truth to confess singly each one person as God, and also Lord, so we are forbidden by the Catholic religion to say there are three gods or three Lords.

The Father was not made, nor created, nor begotten by anyone. The Son is from the Father alone, not made nor created, but begotten. The Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son, not made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
There is, therefore, one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits; and in this Trinity there is nothing first or later, nothing greater or less, but all three Persons are coeternal and coequal with one another, so that in every respect, as has already been said above, both unity in Trinity, and Trinity in unity must be venerated. Therefore, let him who wishes to be saved, think thus concerning the Trinity.

But it is necessary for eternal salvation that he faithfully believes also the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Accordingly, it is the right faith, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God is God and man. He is God begotten of the substance of the Father before time, and He is man born of the substance of His mother in time: perfect God, perfect man, consisting of a rational soul and a human body, equal to the Father according to His Godhead, less than the Father according to humanity.

Although he is God and man, yet He is not two, but He is one Christ; one however, not by the conversion of the Divinity into a human body, but by the assumption of humanity in the Godhead; one absolutely not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person. For just as the rational soul and body are one man, so God and man are one Christ.

He suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, on the third day arose again from the dead, ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead; at His coming all men have to arise again with their bodies and will render an account of their own deeds: and those who have done good, will go into life everlasting, but those who have done evil, into eternal fire.

This is the Catholic faith; unless everyone believes this faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved. Amen.

Catholic Church Teaching: Sacramentals

“Sacramentals are holy things or actions

of which the Church makes use to obtain for us from God,

through its intercession, spiritual and temporal favors.”

  • Sacramentals increase our devotion in the worship of God.

         They include Prayers and Ceremonies of the Church, Objects of Devotion and Blessings.

  • Sacramentals resemble Sacraments – visible signs are used (Holy Water, Sign of the Cross, Rosary), together with a special form of words.
    • These visible signs invoke God’s blessing on persons, places or things, through the prayers of Holy Mother Church. We use these blessed objects to obtain favours from God.
  • Sacramentals are not necessary for salvation, but Sacraments are.
    • They have no power of themselves, but they have power through the virtue of prayers of the Church and our devout disposition.
  • Sacramentals are used to teach the truths of our faith, by sight and by inspiring good thoughts and increasing devotion.
  • Sacramentals are of benefit in times of trouble, pain, danger or temptation.
  • Effects of Sacramentals depend on our pious disposition. Those in mortal sin will not profit from them.

Chief Benefits of Sacramentals:

1. Actual Graces

2. Forgiveness of venial sins (Sacramentals are an aide to true contrition

and contrition obtains forgiveness of   sins).

3. Remission of temporal punishment.

4. Health of body and material blessings.
e.g. The Apostles anointed and healed many people
e.g. Miraculous Medal has had many miracles attributed to it.

5. Protection from evil spirits.

Sacramentals in Scripture:

In the New Testament:
Jesus blessed the loaves and fishes.
Jesus blessed the little children
Jesus blessed the Apostles before the Ascension.

In the Old Testament:
God blessed Adam and Eve
Noah blessed his sons
Isaac blessed Jacob
Moses blessed the tribes of Israel

Objects:

Holy oils, Holy water, Blessed salt, candles, ashes, palms,

Crosses and Crucifixes, Scapulars, Medals,

Rosaries, Holy pictures,

Bells, Sacred Vessels, vestments, altar linens

Persons:

Pregnant mothers. Sick people, Before an operation, At the end of Mass,

Last blessing before death, Remains of the dead, Nuptial blessing

Consecration of kings, monks and nuns

Parents blessing their children

Places:

Churches, chapels, altars, cemeteries, houses, workplaces, farms – crops, fields

Other:

Blessings for cars, planes, libraries.

Sign of the Cross.

“We should ask the priest to bless everything we use and have.

(…) By Sacramental blessings, we consecrate to God all we are and have” (My Catholic Faith p.367)

“Whether you eat or drink, or do anything else, do all for the glory of God.”(1 Cor. 10:31)

Source: My Catholic Faith by Most Rev Louis LaRavoire Morrow, S.T.D. (1954)