Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views -1/19/19

It’s definitely too early to assess the total impact of the “Summer of 2018,” when the Catholic church’s sexual abuse and cover-up scandal became a tsunami. But as this article reveals, two-thirds of the Catholic laity now believe their priests are immoral. That’s an absolutely astounding statistic in a church that propagates priest-dependent works-salvation.

Archbishop Vigano’s accusations against cardinal Wuerl for his role in the cover-up for sexual predator, cardinal Ted McCarrick, have been vindicated. In his accusations, Vigano also implicated pope Francis.

Popular pastor and one of the leaders of the “seeker” church-growth model, Andy Stanley continues his assault on Biblical orthodoxy.

Here in Rochester, N.Y. we’re seeing ongoing headlines related to the predatory priests sexual abuse and cover-up scandal. There is no end in sight as the state and F.B.I. continue their investigations. An education at the ultra-expensive, all-boys, McQuaid Jesuit High School here in Rochester is looked upon as a first step in the fast track to a highly lucrative professional career. For decades, like fish in a barrel, the school’s male teenage students have had to dodge the advances of their predatory Jesuit priest instructors. Seven priests who taught at the school over the years have been cited, but many more “flew under the radar.” I attended less-prestigious Bishop Kearney High School on the northside of town and both the male and female students had to keep a constant eye out for the predatory Irish Christian Brothers teaching staff.

I get most of my Catholic news from ultra-conservative EWTN. But in reality, only a small percentage of Catholics adhere to EWTN-style militancy.

Francis is definitely going to give the green light to female deacons, it’s only a question of when.

Last week, I mentioned that liberal German cardinal, Reinhard Marx, serves as the vanguard for pope Francis’ progressive reforms. Conservative priests and prelates voice their objections, but can’t overcome the Francis steamroller.

The procession of the Black Nazarene in Manila, Philippines is a blatant example of Catholic-pagan syncretism.

The LGBTQ lobby has set its sights on evangelical churches that defend Biblical teaching on homosexuality.

Advertisements

The abduction of a Jewish boy by the Catholic church that caused an international uproar

The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara
By David I. Kertzer
Alfred A. Knopf, 1997, 350 pages

The Roman Catholic church has an extremely uncomplimentary history in regards to its relationship with the Jews. There’s a lengthy and sordid record of persecution, pogroms, forced baptisms, ghetto quarantines, and expulsions. Popes, prelates, and priests were not only aware of the intolerance, they were more often than not the instigators. Adolf Hitler credited the Catholic church with fomenting anti-Semitism throughout Europe, which culminated in his Final Solution:

“The Catholic Church considered the Jews pestilent for fifteen hundred years, put them in ghettos, etc, because it recognized the Jews for what they were …. I recognize the representatives of this race as pestilent for the state and for the Church.” – Adolf Hitler, April 26, 1933.

By the mid-19th-century, autocratic, monarchical governments in Europe were being overturned in favor of democratic republicanism. The Papal States on the Italian Peninsula represented one of the last vestiges of one-man-rule tyranny. In the midst of this revolution was an incident that became an international symbol of the struggle between the old rule versus the new.

In this excellent book, the author describes in detail the “Mortara Case.” In 1858, in the city of Bologna, which was part of the Papal States, information reached the office of the Roman Catholic Holy Inquisition that a six-year-old Jewish boy had been baptized as a baby by the family’s Catholic servant. Church law forbade that a “Christian” child could be raised by Jews. With permission from the Vatican, the inquisitor directed the civil magistrates to forcibly remove the boy from his family. The child, Edgardo Mortara, was immediately sent to Rome to be raised and indoctrinated into the Catholic religion by clerics. The abduction of Jewish children who had been secretly baptized was not uncommon.

Edgardo’s father strongly protested the kidnapping of his son. Such acts had been accepted as prerogatives of the Catholic majority in previous generations, but as Western Europe moved increasingly toward democracy, the affront became an unacceptable symbol of old rule. Jewish communities around the world were galvanized via their own newspapers. Ambassadors of many national governments lodged complaints with the “Holy See.” In the United States, Protestant pastors and journalists pointed to the Mortara Case as an example of the depravity of the papacy and Catholic system. Champions of Italian unification used the incident as a cause célèbre in the effort to relieve pope Pius IX of his significant territorial holdings (approx. 7000 sq. mi). Despite the mounting international outrage, Pius resisted returning Edgardo to his parents and actually took a personal role in raising the the boy (Edgardo eventually entered the seminary and was ordained a priest in 1873). When Italian military forces of the “Risorgimento” captured Rome in 1870, pope Pius IX reacted by excommunicating everyone who participated in or assisted the “rebellion.”

This is an excellent history of a very sordid affair. The author successfully juxtaposes the heartbreaking predicament of Edgardo’s parents and the father’s determined but unsuccessful efforts to rescue his son alongside the growing international pressure against the pope and his arbitrary religiosity. The author did his homework. The references to various records and testimonies are voluminous. Perhaps the only drawback to the book is the thirty-one pages devoted to the unrelated investigation and trial of Edgardo’s father on murder charges in 1871. The material detracts from the main topic, but it’s not a show-stopper.

This book was a finalist in the 1997 National Book Awards. Steven Spielberg is currently developing the story of the Mortara Case into a feature film.

Most contemporary Catholics would view the Mortara Case as an embarrassment and a product of “unenlightened, sectarian religiosity.” But how do today’s conservative Catholic apologists explain their church’s institutional anti-Semitism, which was advanced by allegedly Holy Spirit-guided popes and prelates and included the abduction of Edgardo Mortara from his parents that was personally upheld by the “Vicar of Christ”? They’ve shown they can shamelessly rationalize away every unflattering sensibility and event in their church’s past.

Postscript: In 1998, John Paul II became the first pope to issue an apology to Jews for all of the Catholic priests, prelates, and infallible popes of previous generations who promoted and supported anti-Jewish persecution. Click on the link below for a very recent story regarding pope Francis’ apologies for the anti-Semitism of popes and prelates in the past:

Catholics must continue seeking pardon for anti-Judaism, pope says
https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2019/01/16/catholics-must-continue-seeking-pardon-for-anti-judaism-pope-says/

New Year’s Resolutions?

Did you make any resolutions for 2019? It’s seventeen days into the new year, so are you still sticking to that/those resolution/s?

The subject of New Year’s resolutions brings to mind a period in my life back in the late-1970s and early-1980s. I was in my twenties, married with a couple of young children, and had my whole life ahead of me. My goals included:

  • Attending night college to earn a degree so I could ascend the Kodak corporate ladder.
  • Following a fitness regime that included running, weight lifting, and eating a very clean diet. My plan was to die a very healthy one-hundred-and-ten-years-old.
  • Becoming more spiritual. I was a Roman Catholic at the time and I knew all about institutional religiosity, but I desired to find “something” that really fulfilled my soul.

To the above ends, each December I went to the local stationary store and bought a red, hardcover, At-A-Glance Standard Diary-Daily Reminder (see photo) for the upcoming new year. Wow! Those things were expensive and they still are; $31.54 at Amazon! The idea was that every day of the year, I would diligently record my efforts to improve my mind, body, and spirit. In fact, that became my personal mantra: “Mind, Body, and Spirit.”

So how did I do? Well, I was attending night college at the time and definitely making progress toward improving my mind and earning a degree. I was also pretty good about working out and eating well. But becoming more spiritual? What did that mean? I had no answer for that one. I wasn’t a regular at mass. Did becoming more spiritual mean delving back into Catholic ritualism, legalism, and formalism? I’d been down that road as an altar boy for four years in grammar school and I knew that wasn’t the answer.

So my impressive daily diary was filled with henscratch ONLY under the categories of “mind” and “body” for the months of January, February, and March, but I usually fizzled out after that. The following December, I would go out and buy ANOTHER expensive diary and begin the process all over again. Repeat cycle. Repeat cycle. This went on for several years. At some point, I got the very bright idea that becoming “more spiritual” might include reading the Bible. Well, that was a life-changing thought! Through God’s Word and several other factors the Lord led me to the Good News! of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. In 1983, I repented of my sin and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior by faith alone.

I’m no longer thrashing about, trying to become generically “more spiritual.” I know exactly who my Savior and Shepherd is and my goal is to better serve Him each day by His grace.

Billions of people in this world would like to be “more spiritual.” They try a multitude of different approaches. But Jesus Christ is the only way to spiritual truth and life. Resolutions and goals are fine and can be helpful, but if you haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone, you’re on a spiritual Titanic and nothing else really matters.

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” – Matthew 9:36

Update: As for climbing the corporate ladder, that dream fizzled out years ago with Kodak’s plunging fortunes. I eventually did earn a degree in 2000, which has helped keep me employed at a company that has leaked employees like a sieve for the last thirty-four years. My only goal now in that regard is to retire in one or two more years. As for that old fitness regime… Fitness? What’s that?

Ramblings about mental illness

I’m going to “think out loud” a bit about a topic that I know only a little about, but I do have some experience with it: mental illness.

Many of us have been touched by mental illness in one way or another and I have a few personal examples:

  • Many years ago, I worked with a person at Kodak who was convinced everyone in our department was conspiring with his ex-wife to cause him harm, although none of us had ever even met his ex-wife. He was becoming increasingly agitated, but Human Resources said they could not intervene unless he actually threatened someone. This increasingly tense situation continued for several months until the person was eventually dismissed in a general lay-off. It was my opinion that if the person had worked in the offices of management rather than on the production floor, he would have been dealt with promptly.
  • My wife suffered through a bout of depression and had suicidal thoughts after she severely fractured her leg in 1984.
  • My mom suffered from Alzheimer’s the last several years of her life.
  • A close relative grew up in a household with a mother who was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and did not take her medications regularly. The close relative dropped out of college last Spring due to anxiety and depression.
  • A very good friend is going through a second divorce at the age of sixty-three. The situation has completely unnerved him. He contemplated suicide this past summer after his wife moved out. Although he is no longer considering suicide, he is almost completely debilitated by anxiety and depression. I’m reluctant to visit with him because every time we get together he talks about his woes incessantly, for literally hours on end. It’s the same “poor me” pity-party over and over and over, like an endless loop. Yes, I’ve interrupted him many times and told him he must “get a grip.” He acknowledges that and then goes right back to his loop. He has taken a wide assortment of medications and has seen therapists without much change. He stopped seeing a therapist because he says he can no longer afford it. My friend seems to “enjoy” being a victim and wallowing in his misery. He craves company (i.e., people who will listen to him), but his behavior is driving his family and friends away. The situation has “unnerved” me to some degree, which explains this post.
  • I won’t go into detail, but I have seen situations within my extended family that included bulimia, anorexia, alcoholism, paranoia, paralyzing grief due to the death of a child from a drug overdose, and obsessive-compulsive disorder including hoarding. These terms aren’t “psycho-babble,” but describe very real circumstances that I have witnessed personally.

There’s a lot of controversy about mental illness in Christian circles. There are some Christians who say most mental illnesses are actually manifestations of a spiritual problem. In other words, if a Christian is suffering from depression or anxiety, then their faith in/relationship with the Lord isn’t strong enough. While that could certainly be true in some cases, I also believe there are pathological/neurological/chemical bases for mental illness. Not only must a Christian with mental illness deal with the problem, they must also deal with the stigma and guilt of allegedly not having the requisite faith.

Psychology and psychotherapy get a bad rap in Christian circles and sometimes for good reason. There are cases where drugs are mis-prescribed or over-prescribed and people become dependent rather than dealing with the root cause of their problem. Psychology is based upon humanistic, godless principles that are often at odds with Biblical teaching.

I haven’t suffered from any debilitating mental illnesses myself, although I have experienced depression and anxiety at times throughout my life. One morning, I was listening to a show on (c)hristian radio and the host mentioned her friend who has Asperger’s Syndrome (a type of high-performing autism). The symptoms that were described actually fit me to a tee, but we get into trouble when we self-diagnose. I subsequently took a couple of online tests and scored extremely high for the syndrome. No worries. I’m doing fine with my quirky self.

When a Christian experiences some type of troubling mental/emotional problem, the first thing they should do is pray. They then might want to see their pastor before they consult with anyone else. The situation may very well be a spiritual problem that can be helped with godly counseling. If not, the pastor can hopefully recommend a qualified Christian therapist. Obviously, there are serious cases of mental illness that require immediate medical intervention.

Okay, I’m done “thinking out loud.” Comments are welcome.

Postscript: Our eleven-year-old, forty-five-pound dog has frequent anxiety/panic attacks which most often occur in the middle of the night. She will start crying and shaking for no apparent reason and jumps up on the bed to try curl up around my wife’s head. We’ve tried various vet-prescribed medications without much success (also, my wife is against “pushing pills on her”). I must get up out of bed and put her in an enclosed room where she barks and claws at the door until she tires herself out. Not a good situation at 2 a.m. during the work week.

Pets rebel: “We’re not gonna take it anymore!”

It’s time once again to climb into our fictional time machine and travel to the 30th Century for another adventure from DC Comics’ Silver Age with the Legion of Super-Heroes in…

The Revolt of the Super-Pets!
Adventure Comics #364, January, 1968
Writer and layouts: Jim Shooter, Penciller: Pete Costanza

Not every pitch is a strike, but with this story, Jim Shooter served up one of his lamest tales.

Plot

A few of the Legionnaires have pets with super-powers. Superboy has Krypto the super-dog and Beppo the super-monkey; Supergirl has Comet the super-horse and Streaky the super-cat; and Chameleon Boy has Proty II, a shape-shifting Protean.

One day, the five pets are cavorting together in open space, when they encounter three remote controlled “crime machine” spaceships invading Earth. The animals destroy the ships, but when they return to Legion headquarters to report their success, they are scolded by the Legionnaires for not allowing one of the ships to escape so they could trail it back to its source. As the Legionnaires set out to find the origin of the raiders, they condescendingly instruct the pets to stay behind and guard the clubhouse.

As the pets jointly commiserate about how they’ve been disrespected by the teen heroes, each one relates to the others how they gained their super-powers (for the benefit of the reader).

Frustrated by the treatment they received, the five pets abandon their post, but they’re soon met by a high-ranking dignitary from the planet Thanl. He informs the quintet that they’re highly respected on his planet and invites them to be the resident crime fighting super-heroes and the pets gladly accept.

In the meantime, the Legionnaires encounter some “crime machines” themselves, but are given the slip. When they return to the clubhouse in Metropolis, they learn the pets have gone AWOL. The teens track the pets to Thanl and attempt to convince the disgruntled animals to return with them. Tempers rise and things get ugly when the pets clobber the teens. Convinced of a Legion conspiracy against the pets, Comet and Proty II return to Earth, assume human form, and infiltrate the club as new members, Biron the Bowman and Blockade Boy. But rather than plotting against the pets, the Legionnaires continue searching for the raiders and tap the two newest members to join the investigation. Biron (Comet) and Blockade Boy (Proty II) determine the Thanlians are behind the raids and return to that planet and lead the other pets against the villains. In the heat of the battle, the Thanlians unleash a deadly weapon against the super-animals. Just when all seems lost, the Legionnaires show up and help defeat the Thanlian crooks. What prompted the teens to show up at Thanl in the nick of time? It’s too convoluted to summarize here.

You may be wondering how the super-pets were able to communicate with the Legionnaires? Saturn Girl, a telepath, temporarily endowed the pets with some of her super-abilities.

Comment

There’s not much to say. This was a very hokey story typical of the worst of DC’s Silver Age. Pete Costanza’s artwork detracts from what little story there is. Is Curt Swan coming back anytime soon? No worries. Next issue, Shooter delivers a classic Legion tale with a huge assist from Swan’s master pencils.

Answering the alleged “95 Catholic Verses” – #s 75 and 76.

Today, we will continue with our response to Dave Armstrong and his book, “The Catholic Verses,” in which the Catholic apologist presents ninety-five Bible verses or passages that allegedly validate Catholicism and are claimed to “confound” Protestants.

Last week, we examined the first two Bible passages that Armstrong presented as proof texts for the Catholic teaching of penitential suffering. This week, we’ll examine the last two passages:

#75) 2 Corinthians 4:10: “…always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”

#76) Colossians 1:24: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.”

Beneath these passages, Armstrong writes, “God allows us to take part in the great drama of redemption by allowing us to share the sufferings of Christ that brought it about. That does not mean that the cause of redemption does not completely lie with Jesus Christ, but that we can be part of it in some mysterious way (in his will and by his design and providence), just as our prayers are part of his redemption and our works part of salvation.” – p.130.

I’m not going to spend a lot time on these two verses because I already examined in quite a bit of detail last week how Catholics believe suffering is expiatory (see here). Catholics will not only offer up any natural sufferings they encounter as penance for themselves or others, the will even inflict pain upon themselves as exercises in self-mortification.

But does suffering contribute to Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross towards redemption/salvation as Armstrong and Catholics claim? Colossians 1:24 is admittedly a difficult verse to interpret. Does Paul mean by this verse that there is something lacking or deficient in the sufferings that Christ endured to atone for the sins of the world? Such an interpretation would contradict the MANY passages Paul wrote regarding the absolute sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice including the very passage (vv. 15-23) leading up to verse 24, which proclaims Jesus the Savior “making peace by the blood of his cross.”

In the article below, theologian, Sam Storms, presents several evangelical interpretations of Colossians 1:24. Although they differ in detail, the main point is the same: “the calling of Christians is to willingly and joyfully endure suffering for the sake of Christ and his kingdom, for the sake of Christ and his body, the church. In this way we are seen to be his own. In this way others see him, through us, in his love for sinners. In this way we “share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Phil. 3:10).”

Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ by Sam Storms
https://www.samstorms.com/all-articles/post/filling-up-the-afflictions-of-christ–1:24-

Pats steamroll Chargers, 41-28. Who cares?

Today, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots soundly defeated Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers, 41-28, in an NFL divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The final score doesn’t really indicate just how thoroughly the Pats dominated the Bolts throughout most of the game (it was 38-7 with 1:16 left in the third quarter).

The Pats advance to the AFC Conference Championship Game versus the Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday at Kansas City.

Some people might assume I’m upset by the Chargers’ embarrassing showing. Not me. The bottom line is professional football (as well as baseball, basketball, and hockey) is just a bunch of grown men playing a kids game.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 1/12/19

Last weekend, I mentioned that the American Catholic bishops were meeting outside of Chicago to mull over the sexual abuse and cover-up scandal tsunami that’s wracking the Catholic church. Next stop? The American bishops are scheduled to meet with all of the church’s bishops from around the world at the Vatican from February 21 to 24 to come up with some type of comprehensive plan to address the scandal. That is like putting Al Capone in charge of the Neighborhood Watch committee. Sexual abuse has been a “problem” within the Catholic church for centuries due to its mandatory rule of celibacy for clerics that has both attracted and fostered deviancy.

Seventy-years ago, back when the Catholic church was still religiously and politically militant, such a large number of Catholics in Congress would have been a concern. These days, most of these Catholic legislators are nominal/cultural Catholics at best, e.g., Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tim Kaine, etc.

Pope Francis is using cardinal Reinhard Marx and liberal German bishops as the vanguard for his progressive reforms.

Catholics love to boast that they have an infallible pope leading their church, although Catholic theologians can only agree on the infallibility of three papal declarations: the immaculate conception of Mary in 1854, papal infallibility in 1870, and the assumption of Mary in 1950. What’s the use of having an infallible pope if they never declare anything as dogma? Ironically, Catholic conservatives believe that everything the current pope has to say is not only fallible, but should be ignored.

Pope Francis’ progressivism is fueling a renaissance of pre-conciliar, militant traditionalism. Not all that long ago the Catholic church taught that only baptized Catholics had a chance of going to Heaven. These days, pope Francis says even atheists can merit Heaven if they are “good.”

I’m not happy to see this series coming from DC Comics, but caricaturizations of Jesus and Scripture are nothing new.

More than a few new Christians have enthusiastically resolved to read the Bible from cover to cover only to run into Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy and become discouraged. It’s really helpful to use some Bible study aids (commentary and Bible dictionary) when reading those books.

Prosperity gospel scammers like Meyer make a shamefully grandiose living off of people’s greed – “Send in your ‘seed faith’ money so that you can also receive your financial blessing.”

“See a movie, talk about a movie…”

The Oscars are coming up in six weeks and there’s quite a lot of buzz in the media because they can’t seem to find anyone with a politically-correct enough past who’s willing to host it. Movies (and entertainment in general) are such an important part of our culture. For many people, deciding on the next movie they’re going to watch is the opiate gets them through the day. Which brings to mind a couple of memories from the past:

My paternal grandfather died in 1967 when I was eleven-years-old. Back in those days, it was routine to have calling hours for the deceased at the funeral home for two or even three evenings in a row prior to the funeral service and burial. Our extended family gathered for the three-night wake at Felerski’s Funeral Home on Hudson Avenue in what remained of Rochester’s small Polish enclave. I wasn’t very close to my grandfather, who spoke very broken English and was 66 years older than me when he died. So I viewed the wake and funeral pretty much as an occasion to get together with our many first-cousins.

Anyway, while at the funeral home during one of the evenings, I was standing by my oldest sister who was carrying on a conversation with our cousin, Rick, who were both in their late-teens at the time. They were discussing the 1966 movie, “Fahrenheit 451,” which was directed by Francois Truffaut and based upon Ray Bradbury’s popular 1953 sci-fi novel. Very briefly, the story is about a futuristic society in which the government is so repressive, that “firemen” don’t put out fires, they START fires in order to burn “subversive” books. Okay, so back to my sister and cousin. It wasn’t that they were just discussing the movie, they were picking apart every little detail as if it was the most important thing in the world! I didn’t time it, but it seemed like the intense conversation lasted an hour. I thought to myself, “Sheesh, who could possibly care that much about a dumb movie? These teenagers aren’t so smart after all.”

Flash forward twenty-five years later to 1992. At that time, our two sons were seventeen and fourteen-years-old, respectively. There were three things the boys loved to regularly banter about; sports, music, and movies; especially movies! They would talk incessantly about movies. All of that chitchat reminded me of that endless and ridiculous dialogue between my sister and cousin. One day, in my scolding, fatherly tone, I interjected into their lengthy movie discussion, saying, “Boys, it’s all a big nothing. What does it all count for?” Right then and there, I coined that phrase that still reverberates in our family’s lore:

“See a movie, talk about a movie. Talk about a movie, see a movie, and round and round and round.”

Our youngest son then turned to me with a quizzical look on his face and responded, “Well, what else is there?” I knew the answer to that question deep down, but I had walked away from the Lord the previous year so I kept my mouth shut. Sad.

There’s nothing wrong with having hobbies and interests. I’ve been known to spout off at length about a few topics myself (including some lengthy posts about movies directed by Elia Kazan!). But believers need to do a self-check and see if the Lord is sovereign over every aspect of their life. Entertainment, in all of its various forms, isn’t the be-all-to-end-all, but for many people, that is exactly what gets them through the day. Our sons still love their sports, music, and movies, but now I’m able to let them know that there is something, no, Someone, who is so much more than all of that.

How Catholics craftily try to “get around” taking the Lord’s name in vain

Many people are well aware of the third commandment of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” – Exodus 20:7. But using the Lord’s name as a frivolous exclamation or even as a swear word is quite popular throughout our society. Even atheists will mindlessly use “G–!” or “Oh my G–!” or “J—-!” as empty exclamations. Many people think nothing of also attaching filthy expletives to the Lord’s name as part of their profane utterances.

But pious Catholics think they have figured out a way to “beat the system” and avoid this sin while still vainly using the name of Jesus. Instead of exclaiming “J—-!” or “J—- Christ!” they will substitute the expression, “J—-, Mary, and Joseph!” They imagine they can take the Lord’s name in vain, but still not sin if they append the names of Mary and Joseph. They would defend themselves by saying they are only invoking the “holy family” trio in prayer rather than using the Lord’s name disrespectfully.

Two thoughts:

  1. No matter how they try to sugar coat it, they’re still taking the Lord’s name in vain.
  2. Invoking anyone in prayer other than God is blasphemy. Nowhere in the entire Bible does a believer pray to anyone other than God.

My parents went to mass every Sunday, but that was the visible extent of their Catholic faith as far as I ever noticed. However, I had a boyhood friend whose parents were very pious Catholics. Whenever the occasion called for a forceful exclamation of anger or surprise, the mother or older sisters would let out an animated, “J—-, Mary, and Joseph!” My sister-in-law, who also once fancied herself a pious Catholic, would also use this same “pasteurized” version of profaning the Lord’s name. This exclamation is used by MANY Catholics who think they are cleverly getting around the 3rd commandment. Whoops, Catholics actually number it as the 2nd commandment, which is another post altogether.

Have you ever come across Catholics who use the camouflaged curse expression, “J—-, Mary, and Joseph”? I’ve read that the phrase was once especially popular among Irish Catholics.

We are all sinners and all of us break the Ten Commandments either in thought, word, deed, or by omission every day. We can’t merit salvation because none of us are good. But God the Father sent Jesus Christ, God the Son, to pay for our sins on the cross at Calvary. He defeated sin and death when He rose from the grave three days later and now offers forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and fellowship with Him to all those who repent of their sin and accept Him as Savior by faith alone. Won’t you trust in Jesus to save you?

Postscript: I’m a believer and I’m pretty adept at not using the Lord’s name as a curse word, yet I admit that I also take the Lord’s name in vain. How? I call Him my Lord, but I don’t always do what He commands me to. Praise God for His grace, forgiveness, and encouragement to keep pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus! – Philippians 3:14