A silly classic from Catholic-Pages.com:
666: No. of the Beast
OK, you know that 666 is the Number of the Beast, but did you know that:
||Approximate number of the Beast
||Roman numeral of the Beast
||Number of the High Precision Beast
||Number of the Millibeast
And there are more at http://www.catholic-pages.com/grabbag/666.asp
It has been nearly two weeks since Pope Benedict XVI announced his intentions to resign from the papacy – or in his more precise words, to “renounce” the office.
I think he has been a great pope since his elevation to that role in April 2005.
Personally, I was surprised when I first heard the announcement, but not disturbed by it.
Catholics pray to God. Catholics also pray to the saints. Many non-Catholics claim that it is “unbiblical” to pray to anyone other than God. But a closer look at Scripture reveals that this is not the case. Instead, it is quite “biblical” to pray to others, in addition to praying to God.
Part of the issue is one of language. “To pray” simply means “to ask.” Protestants typically use the word “pray” in a restrictive sense, limiting it to requests made only to God. Catholics sometimes use the word “pray” in a less restrictive sense, allowing its use for requests made to God, but also to other people and to angels. When we pray to God, there is an aspect of worship combined with the asking. When we pray to others, it is merely asking, with no element of worship.
The less-restrictive usage of “pray” is what we find in the Bible, most apparent in the older English translations, like the Protestant King James Version. (The Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible has similar passages, but for this article, I’ll limit citations to the KJV.)
Several verses in the KJV record people praying to God (no surprise there!), but also people praying to other people, people praying to angels, people praying to others asking them to pray to God for them, and even an occurrance of God praying to man. Let’s take a look: Continue reading
It happened in 2005, and it’s happening again this year. With Christmas falling on a Sunday, some — perhaps many — Protestant/Evangelical congregations are canceling their Sunday worship services.
Earlier this week, an opinion piece entitled “Skipping Christmas“ on the Associated Baptist Press’ website addressed this trend. Brett Younger wrote:
The big issue is not that people will skip church on Sunday. The real problem is that churches are failing to tell the truth about Christmas. … On Sunday, Christians would do well to gather, sing, pray and listen to the story. We should celebrate by remembering the first Christmas and giving ourselves again to the one born in Bethlehem.
In general, I agree (although I take odds with the part about skipping Sunday worship not being a “big issue”; Christians ought to worship every Sunday). I chimed in with this comment:
I think the Catholic Church has the right emphasis on Christmas. It is a holy day of obligation regardless of what day of the week it falls on. Gathering together for worship is the primary emphasis of this holiday (holy-day), and the rest (family meals, exchanging gifts, etc.) is secondary. Perhaps all Christian congregations regardless of denomination should be encouraged to have a Christmas Day service every year, even if it isn’t on Sunday. Our culture won’t “put the Christ back in Christmas” if we believers don’t do it first.
When asked what my family and I will be doing for Christmas, I try to make a point to my friends, extended family and coworkers that we’ll be attending mass. I’m not obnoxious about it, but I try to gently convey that worship is the main purpose of the holiday. After all, it is “Christ’s Mass,” the day we celebrate the Nativity of the Lord.
So if you get in conversations today, encourage people to worship either at a Christmas Eve service or a Christmas Day service. That’s the real meaning of Christmas!
CatholicVote.org sent an email today with this interesting graphic:
It’s quite telling. In the 31 states where voters have been given the choice to defend marriage or redefine it, the traditional definition of marriage has always won.
See the full email message here.
Here’s one book I plan on getting: YOUCAT, the Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church:
It seems to be a perfect catechism for young people. But frankly it looks pretty enjoyable for a forty-something like myself.
Pope Benedict XVI gives it a strong recommendation in his foreword:
So I invite you: Study this Catechism! That is my heartfelt desire. This Catechism was not written to please you. It will not make life easy for you, because it demands of you a new life. It places before you the Gospel message as the “pearl of great value” (Mt 13:46) for which you must give everything. So I beg you: Study this Catechism with passion and perseverance. Make a sacrifice of your time for it! Study it in the quiet of your room; read it with a friend; form study groups and networks; share with each other on the Internet. By all means continue to talk with each other about your faith.
YOUCAT is published by Ignatius Press. Get one soon…I’ll be getting mine!
More perspective on Osama bin Laden’s death, this time by Jimmy Akin:
The National Catholic Register has this statement from the Vatican on Osama Bin Laden’s death:
The Vatican has released this statement this morning on the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed by American forces in Pakistan:
“This morning, following the killing of Osama Bin Laden, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, P. Federico Lombardi, issued the following statement to reporters:
Osama Bin Laden – as everyone knows – has had the gravest responsibility for spreading hatred and division among people, causing the deaths of countless people, and exploiting religion for this purpose.
Faced with the death of a man, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibility of everyone before God and man, and hopes and pledges that every event is not an opportunity for a further growth of hatred, but of peace.”
A statue of Christ was discovered vandalized on Easter morning at St. Peter Chanel parish in Alpharetta, Georgia, north of Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:
Pink paint was sprayed on the face and hands, and the $80,000 statue was tagged elsewhere with offensive symbols. Church officials believe the vandalism probably happened during the early-morning hours on Sunday; it was discovered by members arriving for early Easter services on Sunday.
The newspaper also reports that the pink paint was successfully removed on Monday (today). Read the full story or view the photo gallery.
Unplanned by Abby Johnson, available from Ignatius Press
If reports are true, Abby Johnson will be entering into full communion with the Catholic Church at this evening’s Easter Vigil Mass.
Johnson is the former abortion clinic administrator turned pro-life activist, who recently penned the book Unplanned. A news release from the USCCB entitled Thousands around the country will join Catholic Church at Easter includes her as one prominent new Catholic:
In the Austin, Texas, area, Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director and author of the bestselling book “Unplanned,” is getting ready for yet another “unplanned” conversion that will bring her into the Catholic Church. In September 2009, Johnson was asked to hold the ultrasound probe during an abortion. In the monitor, she saw the baby struggle to get away. This experience, and her unease with Planned Parenthood’s emphasis on increasing abortions, gave her the courage to leave her job and undertake a journey of conversion. She went to the Coalition for Life’s office down the street, a Christian pro-life organization whose members were a constant, prayerful and peaceful presence outside the clinic. There she received practical help as she navigated joblessness, legal problems with Planned Parenthood and broken friendships. Her pro-life advocacy also met the disapproval of her pro-choice church. Many of her new friends are Catholic, and through them she has learned about the faith. She and her family will join the Church at Easter, along with 911 others in the Austin Diocese.