An Apologetics Primer on Explaining the Communion of Saints to Protestants

November 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Every Sunday, millions of Christians around the world recite the Creed, professing their belief in the “communion of saints.” Few realize the importance of this phrase, which is sandwiched between other deep mysteries of the faith.
The Catholic understanding is denounced by many Protestants as “unbiblical.” It’s a bitter irony that the very doctrine of Christian unity has itself become a barrier to unity. The controversy revolves around the question, “Is it biblical to ask the saints in heaven to pray (intercede) for us?”

Catholics say yes. Since Christians are united with each other through Christ, and are commanded to love and pray for one another, Christians on earth can ask Christians in heaven for their prayers.

 Protestants say no. They say that praying to saints undermines Christ’s unique mediatorship, pointing to 1 Timothy 2:5: “There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” They think asking the saints to intercede for us is in direct conflict with this verse. The Anglican Reformers, under the leadership of Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said, “The Romish doctrine concerning . . . [the] invocation of saints is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but is, rather, repugnant to the Word of God” (39 Articles of Religion, article 22). Vatican II gave the Catholic position . . . (click to continue reading)

Peter Kreeft and Robert Spencer Debate the merits and demerits of Islam

November 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Several weeks ago, I heard that this debate was coming up, but I was unable to attend. Two people I know personally and respect, Dr. Peter Kreeft and Robert Spencer, debated the question of Islam. For those of you who know Dr. Kreeft’s work, you know he is eminently reasonable, always irenic, and a deep thinker. In fact, as I have gone on record saying many times over the years, I regard Peter Kreeft as our generation’s C.S. Lewis.

Robert Spencer, who, like Peter, is a fellow Catholic, has in recent years produced a serious body of in-depth critical scholarship on Islam. His website,, is very influential and both widely admired and widely reviled (mainly, though not exclusively, by Muslims). These two men have very different views of Islam and of Muslims, and this debate promises to be an excellent opportunity for both positions to be carefully examined, compared, and contrasted. That’s the hallmark of any good debate, in my opinion. I say “promises to be” because I haven’t watched this video of the debate yet, though I am just about to do so.
Catholic blogger (and one of my Twitter friends), Lisa Graas, alerted me to the video clip, which I post for you now on my blog. I’d also like to lead off with the beginning of her commentary on the debate (below). And, as ever, I am very interested in knowing what you think of this. So, please, post comments to your heart’s content.
Lisa writes:

On Thursday, November 9, 2010, Robert Spencer and Peter Kreeft participated in an historic debate at St. Thomas More College on the topic “Is the Only Good Muslim a Bad Muslim?” Video of this debate is below. 

Kreeft’s final remark:

“I suppose Bob must be right in saying that if everything in the Qur’an must be accepted literally and practiced then these are bad Muslims, so in that sense, I would have to agree with him that the best Muslim is a bad Muslim.”

Any Catholic who cares to understand this issue with any intelligence is strongly encouraged to watch this debate. I also recommend, of course, the catechism and Vatican II, particularly Nostra Aetate. Here are my thoughts on what Vatican II had to say about Jews, Christians and Muslims. . . .

Here's the most encouraging headline I've since since yesterday's election

November 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Abortion Groups NARAL, Planned Parenthood, Emily’s List Dejected After Election
Oh, yeah, baby! I loved seeing that. And I loved seeing this quote from the same article:
“’Yesterday was a difficult day’ for the pro-abortion movement, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards admitted in the opening of an email to supporters of the abortion business today.”

"Put no trust in princes, in mere mortals powerless to save" (Psalm 146:3)

November 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

I find this picture from today’s Drudge Report very poignant and thought-provoking.

Here we are, on the eve of the U.S. mid-term elections, and most people seem to sense the palpable unease that is in the air. A great tumult may be not be far off. Tumult and turmoil go hand in hand. And many pessimistic prognosticators have been prognosticating for the past year that something big and bad will happen in the U.S. that will shake things badly. An economic implosion, perhaps, or another successful terrorist attack, a natural disaster, or some kind of event that will provoke wide-spread civil unrest. God forbid! 

I hope they’re all wrong. I hope that tomorrow’s election will help to stabilize things somewhat and maybe even move us back toward some kind of sanity in our fiscal and social policies. Heaven knows that the damage wrought in the last two years of the current regime’s disgusting bacchanalia of spending and social engineering will be hard to correct. Some say impossible. But I am hopeful. Like many of you, I am worried and prayerfully cautious about how things will turn out. I don’t put my trust in the princes and princesses of either political party, but I remain hopeful. 

Look at that poor man in the picture. He is not hopeful. He personifies the despair that so many are experiencing these days. See how he kneels (kneels!) in the gutter, hands folded and face set like flint in grim mask of supplication as the presidential limousine whisks by him. I don’t know what was in his heart at that moment, and I don’t know what his political views are or what he hopes will happen in tomorrow’s election. But I am quite moved by this picture. This man represents something very sad to me about the way America has been changing in recent decades, certainly since I was born in 1960. His face reflects an abject servility that is very disconcerting when I think of how cringing and servile so many Americans have become in their attitude toward The Government. How bad can it get, and how long can it go on?

What makes me so sad — and angry, too — is that this disconsolate man should feel so hopeless that he is reduced to kneeling in the gutter in hopes that the occupant of that armored limousine will take notice of his plea for help. I see a look that says, “Please look at me! Live up to your promises. Don’t betray me. Don’t leave me here in the gutter after you promised to help me me up.”

The Government (certainly not this one) can’t save him. It can’t save us. It can’t even save itself from itself. It devours. It’s a necessary evil that seems bent on becoming ever more unnecessary.

Perhaps the most disconcerting thing about this poignant image is that it might just as well portend the calm before a storm — one man’s last, ditch effort to get help. And when the limousine passes him by once again, and things just continue getting bleaker, what then? 

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