Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Fun show today on Catholic Answers Live with my regular Q & A for Non-Catholics. Lots of good questions and interesting conversation. You can see it by video on Facebook HERE. Or you can listen to the podcast below.

Questions Covered:

  • 04:20 – If the papacy is not the antichrist, who or what is it? 
  • 07:33 – Did Mary have pain during childbirth? If she did, that means she was not free from original sin. 
  • 14:12 – I am attracted to the Catholic faith but I am concerned that it could be the harlot of revelation. 
  • 22:26 – Where in the Bible does it say that Catholics are supposed to go to confession to a person before receiving the Eucharist?  
  • 38:00 – I know that Catholics honor Mary, but it seems like they worship her. How do you respond to this? 
  • 46:23 – The Bible says nothing about denominations, it just says to be holy. Why do you claim that being Catholic is right?

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Catherine of Siena and Leaving the Church

by Steve Ray on February 5, 2020

What this 14th-century mystic can teach us about fidelity to Christ and to a Church in crisis

Thomas McDermott, OP

In the wake of so many clerical sex abuse scandals, too many people the Catholic Church appears hypocritical and bankrupt morally and spiritually. In the midst of such trying times, how can Catholics justify remaining in the Church? The words and deeds of St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), Dominican Mantelatta—or penitential woman—who lived during an earlier crisis, can offer us some guidance and hope.

download (6)Catherine lived in worse times than our own because it was not only the Church that seemed to be collapsing but larger society and even the world itself. The Black Death, or bubonic plague—one of the deadliest pandemics in human history—reached Sicily via Genoese trading ships from the Black Sea the year Catherine was born.

It is said that four-fifths of the population of Siena died from the plague the following year. There would be several successive waves of the disease during Catherine’s lifetime. One anonymous chronicler in Siena at the time wrote: “And no bells tolled, and nobody wept no matter what his loss because almost everyone expected death…. And people said and believed, ‘This is the end of the world.’”

At the time, Italy was a conglomeration of feuding monarchies, communes, and republics with factions such as the Guelphs, who supported the papacy, and the Ghibellines, who supported the northern Italian rulers. The Italian peninsula was beset by foreign mercenaries, the most famous of which was the Englishman John Hawkwood, to whom Catherine directed one of her 381 letters.

download (7)Outside of Italy, the Hundred Years War between England and France was raging, and there was the additional threat of militant Islam as seen in the advance of the Turks twice to Vienna.

Catherine lived during a time of pessimism and cynicism. Barbara Tuchman, in her historical narrative A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, described the period as “a time of turmoil, diminished expectations, loss of confidence in institutions, and feelings of helplessness at forces beyond human control.”

The popes lived in exile in Avignon between 1309 and 1377, only returning to Rome after Catherine went personally to the papal court and pleaded with Gregory XI. Monasteries and convents in Europe were decimated by the Plague, and in order to re-populate them unsuitable candidates were often accepted. The secular literature at the time described clerical celibacy as a joke. By the time Catherine died in 1380, the Church was in schism with the election of an anti-pope, Clement VII.

Yikes! For the whole encouraging article, click here.

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