Thursday, June 27, 2013

Refutation Of Heresy Through The Nicene Creed

We recite the Nicene Creed, which was formulated at the Council of Nicaea (325) and the Council of Constantinople (381), every Sunday at Mass. But do we really take into account all that we are saying? Many people do not know that not only are we professing what we believe, but in the Creed, we are also condemning heretical notions of Christianity. The reason for this is that the Nicene Creed arose out of ancient baptismal interrogations. Before being immersed into water three times, the catechumen was asked if they believed in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When the fathers of Nicaea wished to condemn Arius, they couldn’t merely have him recite the old formulations, because they were just vague enough to allow for Arianism. So the fathers inserted phrases which would be odious to Arius. They also inserted phrases that would be problematic for other forms of heresy. See below: 

I believe in one God, (Against Gnostics)
the Father almighty, (Against Gnostics)
maker of heaven and earth, (Against Gnostics)
of all things visible and invisible.
(Against Gnostics)
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
(Against Gnostics)
born of the Father before all ages.
(Against Arians and Adoptionism)
God from God, Light from Light,
(Against Arians)
true God from true God,
(Against Arians)
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
(Against Arians)
through him all things were made.
(Against Gnostics and Arians)
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
(Against Docetism and Ebionism)
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
(Against Docetism)
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
(Against Modalism)
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
(Against Modalism)
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, (Against the Pneumatomachians [The Spirit Fighters])
who proceeds from the Father
(Against the Pneumatomachians [The Spirit Fighters])
and the Son, (Against the Greeks. Originally against the Arians)
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
(Against the Pneumatomachians [The Spirit Fighters])
who has spoken through the prophets.
(Against the Pneumatomachians [The Spirit Fighters])
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Tale Of Two Mountains: An Exegesis Of Hebrews 12:18-29

Outline and Structural Analysis
vv. 18-21: Sinai
vv. 22-24: Zion, Heavenly Jerusalem
vv. 25-26: Warning with passage from Haggai 2:6.
v.   27: Explanation of Haggai 2:6
vv. 28-29: Exhortation
There is an inclusio with pyri and pyr in vv. 18 and 29, respectively (Attridge 373, Vanhoye 209). In the Greek, the section consists of five sentences (vv. 18-21; vv. 22-24; vv. 25-26; v. 27; vv. 28-29), with vv. 25-26 in the middle, suggesting that the warning about not refusing him who is speaking combined with the quote from Haggai is central to the section. In vv. 18-21, the author gives a description of the institution of the Old Covenant at Sinai, which is contrasted with the New Covenant characterized by Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem in vv. 22-24. This contrast sets the stage for our author to present a warning to his audience, reinforced by the Haggai quote (vv. 25-26). Next, in v. 27 is a brief explanation of the Haggai quote followed by an exhortation in vv. 28-29.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

7 More Reasons Why Catholic Men Should Have Beards

What? You thought there were only 10 reasons why Catholic men should have beards? Au contraire!

Since Friday was the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Saturday was the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and today is the Feast of the Sacred Beard of Christ (well, it should be!), I present to you seven more reasons why Catholic men should have beards:

7. The 12 Apostles

All of the Apostles had beards. What's that you say? Look in the picture, St. John didn't have a beard? Sure, when he was a youth that was the case, but not when he reached manhood. The writer of the Fourth Gospel was just as bearded as the rest of his brother Apostles.

"In the beginning was the beard..."

6. Apostolic Constitutions 1.3:

"Nor may men destroy the hair of their beards, and unnaturally change the form of a man. ...For God the Creator has made this decent for women, but has determined that it is unsuitable for men."

5. St. Augustine, City of God XXII.24:
"Certain things are associated with the body in such a way as to have beauty but no use. For example...the beard on his face. The fact that the beard exists as a manly adornment and not for purposes of protection is shown by the beardless faces of women, who are the weaker sex and for whom a beard would therefore be more suitable if it were a protective device."

Behold the beauty of my beard!

4. Lactantius, On the Workmanship of God, or the Formation of Man, ch. 7:
"Then the nature of the beard contributes in an incredible degree to distinguish the maturity of bodies, or to the distinction of sex, or to the beauty of manliness and strength; so that it appears that the system of the whole work would not have been in agreement, if anything had been made otherwise than it is."

3. St. Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus, Bk 3, ch. 3:
"But for one who is a man to comb himself and shave himself with a razor, for the sake of fine effect, to arrange his hair at the looking-glass, to shave his cheeks, pluck hairs out of them, and smooth them, how womanly! And, in truth, unless you saw them naked, you would suppose them to be women. …For God wished women to be smooth, and rejoice in their locks alone growing spontaneously, as a horse in his mane; but has adorned man, like the lions, with a beard…"

In the same work, St. Clement goes on to say:

2. St. Dominic 
Bearded St. Dominic was the founder of the greatest (objectively speaking, of course) religious order in the Catholic Church, the Order of Preachers. Now, here I would normally make a Jesuit joke, but out of reverence for our Holy Father, I will refrain.

Seen any Albigensians, lately?

1. Beards are pro-life!