Category Archives: Teaching & Living the Faith

Chaput talks about acceptance of Catholic teaching

The new Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, OFM, Cap., is doing what Saints Peter and Paul would have done: teach the Faith with clarity but pastorally: if you don’t accept the teachings of Christ as found in the New Testament and articulated by the Church, then you really aren’t Catholic. You may be Christian, but not really Catholic. Cafeteria Catholics –Catholics who pick-and-choose what to believe– don’t trust in Christ, nor do they believe in the objectivity of truth taught by the Church. The promises of Christ and the Church aren’t too good to be true. The teachings of Christ and the Church are the way, the truth and the life for all Christians. Chaput has been clear about what it takes to be an authentic Catholic and picking and choosing is not the method. Sorry.

A recent AP interview with Archbishop Charles can be read here.
Here’s a moment of truth: are we going to walk on water OR sit in the boat and talk about what we know? Will you do great things for God and His Church? Archbishop Charles is making this clear….

Sofia Cavalletti needs our prayerfilled support

Sofia Cavalletti & Scott Hahn.jpg

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.

~John 10:27, 28


Life is a passage from the less to the more.

~Sofia Cavalletti, The Religious Potential of the Child, page 43


We have heard from [friends with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd] in Rome that she had spent yesterday with Sofia who is now too weak even to speak. We would like to ask that everyone who has loved Sofia would pray for her now that she may continue to experience, in her body and her spirit, the peace and joy she has so often found in the atrium with the children. We praise God for the treasure she is for us and has illuminated for us in the child. We stand together in vigil and prayer, silently and at peace. Together may we pray the prayer Sofia herself has prayed with us this last year:


Lord, now you let your servant go in peace;

Your word has been fulfilled.

My eyes have seen the salvation

You have prepared in the sight of every people,

A light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people, Israel.

A Still Small Voice: meeting God

Still small voice.jpgThe first reading from today’s Scripture readings at Mass call us to reflect on how Revelation is made known to us; in what ways do we meet God? How are we to understand the teachings of the many saints and others who have claimed to have encountered God? Knowing who are true visionaries is rather difficult, I have to say, and some are even frauds. The credibility of the witness is so crucial here since we only have indirect knowledge of God because only Jesus’ Mother (and family) and apostles had direct experience of Him, how can we talk about an encounter with the Lord. One way to wrap our minds around meeting the Divine Majesty is to listen, in part, to Father Benedict Groeshel:

The best lesson one may learn from these authenticated and canonized visionaries is to do what you are supposed to do and leave the rest to God. The fulfillment of duty is the guiding principle of any decent moral life, in any religion of the world, because it expresses the natural law and is completely consistent with the revealed law of God. The fulfillment of duty placed before us by the providential circumstances of life, as we are guided by the commandments and the teaching of the gospel, is the straight road to God. Along that road any valid religious experience which occurs may be useful.
Father Benedict Groeshel, CFR
A Still Small Voice, p. 138

Hugo Chavez received the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick

Venezuela’s President, Hugh Chavez, 56, is suffering from cancer. This has been a diagnosis he’s lived with for more than a month. And while this is not shocking news because many people live with cancer and face their mortality in a new way with such each day. However, I found a Fox News article a bit odd; odd because they found this event newsworthy, something out of the ordinary. I might even say Fox is a bit presumptuous for mentioning it. My reading of the story was that the un-named writer question the intentions of an outspoken president who would approach the sacraments of the Church for the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, that is, to ask God for a cure and a healing. Deo volente. The President’s lived experience with the bishops of his country have reportedly been fragile, but so what. A baptized Catholic has a right to receive the sacraments and to seek forgiveness begging not from the Church but from the Holy Spirit the graces of conversion and healing of body, soul, and spirit regardless of politics. Should we be surprised or consoled that someone would recognize his place before God? Christ came for the sick, not the healthy. The Church is a hospital for the ill, not the well.

The promise made by Christ: error won’t prevail

I read a recent post by my friend and fellow blogger Webster Bull’s article “Richard III and the Contemporaneity of Christ” on the Il Sussidiario (the post was first published on Bull’s blog, Witness, a few weeks ago). Webster asks a great question: how do we know the Church has gotten Christ correct? That is, do we have confidence that the Church hasn’t given the faithful a wrong teaching about the person of Jesus and the Gospel?

Well the Church relies on use of natural reason and the coherence of Divine Revelation to authentically pass on knowledge of God’s plan of salvation. Theologians, priests, catechists and the like don’t define the tenets of the Faith; we hear the sound teaching of saints like Augustine, Bonaventure, Aquinas, Ratzinger, but they are not the ones who define what is to believed. Only the Church through the communio that exists between sacred Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium, gives what is to be believed and how to live the Christian life. In divine revelation, the Lord told us, actually He promised us, that the Holy Spirit will preserve all that He (Jesus) preached and the historical reality we know as the Church: the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, that is, error will not destroy the Truth. This historical reality, this guided companionship, this sacrament, this icon is what is known as the Church. So what was truth in the 1st century is also true (with some development since the first days) in the 21st. Hence, the contemporaneity of Christ. Christ is not a past event, He is a present reality. This theological datum is expressed in the Plus, we Catholics believe that one piece of Scripture interprets another, and all of Scripture speaks of Christ and the plan of salvation; the same is true for the dogma of the faith.

In one of his letters, Saint Jerome said that he follows no one but Christ and those in communion with Him, that is, with the chair of Peter. So, I don’t think it is possible for the Church to teach anything but the truth of Christ that is free from ideology. But we also need to use our reason –in light of magisterial teaching– to determine if error could be taught by some theologian because we know that some theologians are their own magisterium and wedded to their opinion alone when it comes to dogma or doctrine.

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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